Sunday, December 16, 2007

the crime that never was, or: how i learned to stop worrying and love the gov.

Philadelphia Cheesesteak Shop Owner Defends 'Order in English' Policy

Saturday, December 15, 2007

PHILADELPHIA —  A small sign that asked customers to order in English at a famous cheesesteak shop was never meant to be offensive, the shop's owner testified Friday at a hearing to decide whether the policy was discriminatory.

Joe Vento, the owner of Geno's Steaks, defended his policy before the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, which filed the discrimination complaint.

"This country is a melting pot, but what makes it work is the English language," Vento told the commission. "I'm not stupid. I would never put a sign out to hurt my business."

Vento posted two small signs in October 2005 at his shop in a diverse South Philadelphia neighborhood, telling customers, "This is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING PLEASE 'SPEAK ENGLISH.'"

[ oh really?  i don't see the word PLEASE on that sign he's holding. unless it's that little bit of red by the nape of the eagle's neck.  in that case, shouldn't it read "PLEASE WHEN ORDERING 'SPEAK ENGLISH'"?  i get the feeling these signs were printed in China. . .]

He said Friday that he posted the sign because of concerns over the debate on immigration reform and the increasing number of people from the area who could not order in English.

But he said he also wanted to keep the line moving at his busy store.

"The case should, without question, be dismissed," Vento attorney Shannon L. Goessling said. "There is a legitimate business purpose for this sign."

Paul M. Hummer, an attorney for the commission, testified earlier that the sign is not about political speech, but about "intimidation," and that it suggested business from certain individuals was not wanted.

[ uh, would that REALLY be so bad?  i'm sure business from counterfeiters, robbers and thugs is not wanted.  discrimination is NOT intimidation. also, if it's not about political speech, why are politicians sticking their big fat unwanted noses in it?! ]

No ruling is expected for at least two months, the three-member panel said.

[ well, at least it's only THREE people getting paid to do nothing, instead of nine or twelve. ]

After extensive publicity in 2006, the commission began investigating whether Vento violated a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodation and housing on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

[ well, gee, i'm no highfalootin big city lawyer, but it seems to me that the signs are clearly aimed at customers, and he runs a flipping restaurant!  how does this have ANYTHING to do with employment, public accommodation or housing???  not to mention it has ZILCH to do with race, ethnicity or sexual orientation!  could it be the politicians only act on things the media brings to everyone's attention?]

In February, the commission found probable cause against Geno's Steaks for discrimination, alleging that the policy at the shop discourages customers of certain backgrounds from eating there.

Friday's hearing was held at the Arch Street Meeting House, given to the Philadelphia Quakers by William Penn in 1693. The building is billed as a symbol of "tolerance, equality and peace."

Vento arrived carrying a bouquet of red and white roses. He met some resistance outside the hall, with protesters carrying signs reading, "No Hate in Our Town." About 100 people were in attendance when the meeting started shortly after 1:30 p.m, but only a few dozen were left when testimony ended shortly before 8 p.m.

[ WHERE IS THE HATE, YOU WHINY LITTLE TWITS?!  i'll tell ya's right HERE!  i hate stupidity! ]

Vento told of starting his steak shop in 1966 with just $6 and developing it into a multimillion-dollar business.

Camille Charles, a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, testified that Vento's signs harken back to the "Whites only" postings of the Jim Crow era.

"The signs give a feeling of being unwelcome and being excluded," Charles said.

oh, brother.  this whole situation is SO far beyond the bounds of reasonable or sane, i don't even know where to start.
do only WHITE people speak English in this country?  are there particular racial, ethnic or sexually oriented groups that (on the basis of one of those three attributes, mind you) DO NOT speak English in this country?  is this woman a sociology professor, or a social sensitivity and potential for taking offense professor?  how much money goes into this retarted Commission on Human Relations, so that they can find stupid, trivial things like this to complain about and take to court?  oh yeah, thank goodness our judicial system will be tied up with utter nonsense like this, while felons sit in jail waiting for a trial.  this entire fiasco is almost certainly going to cost MILLIONS of dollars, pretty much ALL of it coming from the public's pockets.

and what about a proprietor's right to refuse service?  it's NOT on the basis of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation!  it's on the basis of the potential customer being unable to communicate what they want!  believe me, there are PLENTY of white people in this country whose grasp of English is just as bad as a fresh-off-the-boat Mexican's.  if this restaurateur put up a little sign somewhere (in the event that he hasn't already) stating that the management reserves the right to refuse service based on inability to communicate, would this whole ugly mess of inanity go bye-bye?

i don't think ANY person with even the slightest shred of intelligence would argue that we DO NOT have serious problems in this country; massive issues involving the economy, the military, crime, drugs, corrupt and/or incompetent politicians, need i go on?  it's downright pathetic that some folks who achieve just a wee bit of power or authority over others will drum up rubbish charges like this.  then again, i guess if they weren't finding witches SOMEWHERE, the hunt would end and they could no longer feed at the taxpayers' teat.

this sort of ludicrousness ought to be a clarion call to all American voters. apathy will get us nothing but more of the same governmental garbage.  EVERY government representative, regardless of level, power, and salary, has got to be held fully accountable for every penny they spend or waste.  let's put a bit more resources toward the Government Accountability Office and a lot less toward these silly "keep everybody perfectly happy at all times and in all places" commissions.  you'll recall that the founding fathers wrote of the rights to "Life, liberty and THE PURSUIT OF happiness."  it is NOT our government's (or anybody else's) job to keep the entire populace from any unpleasant thing, any potentially bothersome or offensive sign (ooh, remember that thing we used to have called the First Amendment?), any harsh or scary reality of life.  furthermore, any person whose greatest goal in life is to achieve perpetual happiness will never come CLOSE to doing so, unless a quantity of drugs sufficient to destroy all higher functions of the brain is involved.

all those who LIKE the idea of having a government that plays nanny and does its best to insulate the public from a world full of ugly truths, please seek it in another land.  as for the rest of us, it takes dogged determination and hard work to deflate a seriously bloated body politic in a Republic.  notice how a big majority of the people who sat in on that meeting had left before it was over?  six or seven hours of one's time apparently requires a lot more outrage than they had in 'em.  but if somebody approaches them on the street and tells them a cheesesteak shop owner is RACIST and doesn't want certain people eating there, heck, they've got enough righteous indignation to grab a sign that somebody else made and march around on their lunch break -- then of course feel very good inside for being so socially conscious.  freedom is not free, and liberty can indeed be taken away; history has made these facts painfully clear.  let us never forget these words, uttered so wisely by Abraham Lincoln (as most of his words were): That government is best which governs least.

personally, i don't see this as a partisan issue at all.  i know many people have the point of view that such uber-sensitivity is knee-jerk liberal bleeding heart political correctness ("Oh no, the PC Police!") -- or something similar to that -- but i have to say that bloated government and ppl being paid way too much to do way too little is NOT a problem that can be blamed on one party.  just to add some grist to the mill, consider how much the fed'l gov't has grown under Bush, an alleged conservative.  i realize it's not a simple cut-and-dried thing, but neither is an ever-increasing (and increasingly more infringing and nosy) government.


And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts:
for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Luke 16:15

Saturday, December 15, 2007

About Death




A sick man turned to his doctor,

As he was preparing to leave the examination room,

And said, "Doctor, I'm afraid to die.

Tell me what lies on the other side."

Very quietly the doctor said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You, a Christian man,

do not know what is on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door;

On the other side, a sound of scratching and whining,

And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room

and leaped on him in an eager display of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said,

"Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this

room before. He didn't know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his master was here,

and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death,

but I do know one thing...

I know my Master is there and that is enough!"

You're Invited!

please to be making sure the volume of your multimediary device is not being set too low or too high.

here are my ratings (1 being the least of given attribute):
cheese factor: 2
grammar ignorance: 2.5
punctuation abuse: 3.5
factuality: 9
music quality: 8

overall (10 being the highest possible): 8.5

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts:
for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Luke 16:15

Monday, December 3, 2007


where else can you find a woman:man ratio anywhere NEAR 2300:1?

Meet the Only Man on Campus, Among 2,300 Women

Monday, December 03, 2007

 Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff

He's the only man on campus.

Wellesley College's all-female world is hosting Mohammad Usman, 19, for a semester-long program, making him the only male student among 2,300 females.

"I thought it would be really fascinating to be the only male at an all-women's college," Usman, a government and geography student at Dartmouth, told the Boston Globe.

Click here to read the report in the Boston Globe.

Usman, who says he doesn't have a girlfriend, lives in a dormitory on campus with a private bathroom.

"A lot of people don't know his name, really," Johanna Peace, a Wellesley junior, told the Boston Globe. "They're aware that there's a boy on campus. And if they see him, they'll say, 'Oh — there's the boy.'"

[ i'm not sure why, but i find it quite endearing that a 20 year old (+/-) woman would refer to a man practically her own age as a 'boy.'
perhaps it hearkens back to a more innocent time. ]

Wellesley College isn't changing it's ways to allow men to become full-time students. Usman, who grew up in Bronx, N.Y., is at Wellesley on a semester-long exchange program

Students can apply to spend a semester at another school under an agreement among 11 New England institutions.

[ swell!  meanwhile, here *i* am in the freakin Midwest, with NO semester-long exchange program!  and there's even an all-women college not five miles from my house! ]

Usman's parents, who dropped him off on campus, didn't know their son was going to be the only male on campus. Even campus police questioned if he was a student.

[ hmmm...d'ya think his folks gave him an earful when contacted by USA Today for comments?  ;) ]

"This is a women's college," said Wilbur Rich, a political science professor at Wellesley, who is teaching Usman. "There's no doubt in anybody's mind what's going on here. This is an institution for women. But men are welcome. If you don't mind being around very, very bright women, it's no problem."

[ well, i don't think i'd mind being around bright women, or even very bright women.  but very, very bright?!  i dunno...]

this will look VERY familiar . . .

if you've seen The Bourne Ultimatum.  if you haven't, you should!

oh, and here's a related article about Parkour (1st comment by yours truly):

perhaps the coolest thing the French have given us since that kiss.  or fries.

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts:
for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Luke 16:15

Thursday, September 13, 2007

how i photographed my summer vacation
(for those who don't know, flickr is owned by yahoo, so you can use your yahoo acct to login there)

this is by no means ALL of the pictures, but it is the best of 'em.  if you reeeeeally want to see the whole lot, you can: come over and see them on one of our computers, come over and borrow a thumbdrive, or come over and i'll burn 'em onto cd for you.  or, for the right bribe, i might be willing to send out the cd.  ;)

If you can only remember and try to live by 1 verse from each Testament of the Bible, try these:
Deuteronomy 6:5  "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
Matthew 6:10  "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Faith Leaders Gather for Retreat at Best Friends (Animal Sanctuary)

[ if this is of any interest to you, i would strongly encourage you to check out ]

August 3, 2007 : 2:41 PM ET

“In a world of increasing violence towards others, ourselves, and the planet we call home, we believe it is absolutely essential to reclaim and recover a commitment to compassion for all living things.” Rev. Michael Bruner.

It was the first evening of a two-day retreat at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for a small group of religious leaders from around the country and beyond. Feeling particularly inspired, one of them, Rev. Michael Bruner, professor of religion at Azuza Pacific University, jotted down some ideas for the preamble to a proclamation to which the group hopes thousands of faith leaders from many countries will eventually add their names. Most of the group were meeting each other for the first time, and Michael Bruner’s “jottings” raised a cheer from everyone.

“You get the feeling that you’re part of something that’s going to be very big and very wonderful,” said United Methodist Church Pastor Jonathan Massey of Chandler, Ariz. “We’re ready to take the next jump into the rights of other living beings. It’s a major step spiritually and ethically.”

Rabbi Robin Nafshi, of the Jewish Community Center in West Orange, N.J., said kindness to animals is an important part of the Jewish faith. “We are taught that we have an obligation for their well-being and to avoid causing pain whenever possible.”

The group dove deep into some of the issues that have divided people of faith in their attitude to animals – like the question of whether non-human animals have souls. But the group quickly concluded that theological debates of this kind really don’t address the issue. Rabbi Nafshi pointed out that all living beings are endowed by the Creator with “nefesh”, the breath of life. “They are sentient beings, and that’s what matters most.”

Imam Qasim Ahmed, Founder and Director of the Islamic Learning Institute, Inc., added that “An animal is a living, breathing being we have a responsibility to care for. We humans are born into the heavenly state…It is disobedience that removes us – In order to make a difference for the animals, we must focus on the humans…on bringing the humans back into the obedience state. Animals are not disobedient ... so we can learn from the animals. The animals have always been there [in a heavenly state].”

Several people noted that even raising the subject of animal protection can be challenging. A few were heard to say things like “I can’t really say ‘that’ from the pulpit.” Rev. Zandra Wagoner, professor of religion at the University of La Verne, pointed out that historically there has always been pressure in Christian traditions to toe the line and not rock the boat.

“I have no doubt that if this initiative takes flight and becomes a real conversation within our faith communities,” she commented, “there will be backlash. And sadly the Christian tradition has a long history of dealing with conflict through censure, excommunication, firing, and defrocking.” She said that any initiative will need to include encouragement of faith leaders to be courageous. “There is so much pressure to be mediocre, middle-of-the-road, don't-rock-the-boat ministers and priests. It will help if there is a critical mass of religious leaders who are advocating on behalf of the animals.”

The two-day retreat included participants from overseas, who joined in through a webinar hookup.

In the breakout sessions, groups worked on subjects like Companion Animal & Community Welfare; Commercialization & Exploitation; and Wildlife Preservation & Protection – with the goal of determining benchmarks for how people of faith and leaders of faith might be called upon to support animals from a spiritual perspective. For example, the Wildlife Preservation & Protection group suggested a boycott of companies that benefit from deforestation; the Commercialization & Exploitation group said leaders of faith should help expose corporate cruelty; and the Companion Animal & Community Welfare group pointed out that while millions of homeless animals are still being destroyed in shelters each year, people of faith are obligated to put compassion into action for all of God’s creatures.

When the various groups came back together to report on their discussion, there was much passion laced throughout their reports. One in particular had everyone sitting right up in their chairs. With a voice that would have done justice to the Ten Commandments being delivered on Mount Sinai, Father Larry Evans of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Jersey City, N.J., read from the draft text of the Sports & Entertainment group:

“We, as people of faith, have been called upon to care for the most vulnerable among us. And because animals are sentient beings who are dependent on us for their quality of life and wellbeing, we call upon all people of faith to reject arenas that harm and exploit animals and instead choose to support sports and entertainment venues that are both educational and beneficial to animals.”

The retreat concluded with many of the religious leaders expressing gratitude for being called to this very important work of the soul and, particularly, for being introduced to other like-minded faith leaders; “Until now,” said one, “many of us thought we were alone in seeing the connection between animals and faith. Now we know there is hope and we believe there are many more of us out there.”

When members of the group have completed their work on the proclamation, they’ll be inviting religious leaders of all faiths and denominations to add their names to it.

“Every major religious tradition holds that we are called upon to protect all living beings,” said Paul Berry, executive director of Best Friends, “and never has this been more urgent than now. Here at Best Friends, we’re delighted and inspired by the enthusiasm of these leaders and the colleagues they represent. And we want to help them, in every way, to bring the message of kindness to animals to their congregations.”

There’s news about animals and religion at, where we’ll also be updating the continuing discussion that began at the recent gathering.

Photos of Larry Evans and Michael Bruner and group shot by Rebecca Preston
Photo of group at the blessing by Michael Delgado-Hand

Friday, August 3, 2007

Lake Superior Changes Mystify Scientists

[ as always, clipped with utter disregard for copyright laws; it ain't like i'm gonna profit. ]

Aug 3, 5:59 AM (ET)

(AP) Empty boat slips at Presque Isle Marina on the northern side of Marquette, Mich. . .

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Deep enough to hold the combined water in all the other Great Lakes and with a surface area as large as South Carolina, Lake Superior's size has lent it an aura of invulnerability. But the mighty Superior is losing water and getting warmer, worrying those who live near its shores, scientists and companies that rely on the lake for business.

The changes to the lake could be signs of climate change, although scientists aren't sure.

Superior's level is at its lowest point in eight decades and will set a record this fall if, as expected, it dips three more inches. Meanwhile, the average water temperature has surged 4.5 degrees since 1979, significantly above the 2.7-degree rise in the region's air temperature during the same period.

That's no small deal for a freshwater sea that was created from glacial melt as the Ice Age ended and remains chilly in all seasons.

A weather buoy on the western side recently recorded an "amazing" 75 degrees, "as warm a surface temperature as we've ever seen in this lake," said Jay Austin, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota at Duluth's Large Lakes Observatory.

Water levels also have receded on the other Great Lakes since the late 1990s. But the suddenness and severity of Superior's changes worry many in the region. Shorelines are dozens of yards wider than usual, giving sunbathers wider beaches but also exposing mucky bottomlands and rotting vegetation.

On a recent day, Dan Arsenault, a 32-year-old lifelong resident of Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, watched his two young daughters play in mud on the southeastern coast where water was waist deep only a few years ago. A floatation rope that previously designated the swimming area now rests on moist ground.

"This is the lowest I've ever seen it," said Arsenault.

Superior still has a lot of water. Its average depth is 483 feet and it reaches 1,332 feet at the deepest point. Erie, the shallowest Great Lake, is 210 feet at its deepest and averages only 62 feet. Lake Michigan averages 279 feet and is 925 feet at its deepest.

(AP) Dan Arsensault of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and his daughters Bree, 5, left, and Andie, 3. . .
Yet along Superior's shores, boats can't reach many mooring sites and marina operators are begging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge shallow harbors. Ferry service between Grand Portage, Minn., and Isle Royale National Park was scaled back because one of the company's boats couldn't dock.

Sally Zabelka has turned away boaters wanting to dock at Chippewa Landing marina in the eastern Upper Peninsula, where not long ago 27-foot vessels easily made their way up the channel from the lake's Brimley Bay. "In essence, our dock is useless this year," she said.

Another worry: As the bay heats up, the perch, walleye and smallmouth bass that have lured anglers to her campground and tackle shop are migrating to cooler waters in the open lake.

Low water has cost the shipping industry millions of dollars. Vessels are carrying lighter loads of iron ore and coal to avoid running aground in shallow channels.

Puffing on a pipe in a Grand Marais pub, retiree Ted Sietsema voiced a suspicion not uncommon in the villages along Superior's southern shoreline: The government is diverting the water to places with more people and political influence - along Lakes Huron and Michigan and even the Sun Belt, via the Mississippi River.

(AP) John Hubbard, of Burt Township, Mich., checks the water levels at the harbor's only. . .
"Don't give me that global warming stuff," Sietsema said. "That water is going west. That big aquifer out there is empty but they can still water the desert. It's got to be coming from somewhere."

That theory doesn't hold water, said Scott Thieme, hydraulics and hydrology chief with the Corps of Engineers district office in Detroit. Water does exit Lake Superior through locks, power plants and gates on the St. Marys River, but in amounts strictly regulated under a 1909 pact with Canada.

The actual forces at work, while mysterious, are not the stuff of spy novels, he said.

Precipitation has tapered off across the upper Great Lakes since the 1970s and is nearly 6 inches below normal in the Superior watershed the past year. Water evaporation rates are up sharply because mild winters have shrunk the winter ice cap - just as climate change computer models predict for the next half-century.

Yet those models also envision more precipitation as global warming sets in, said Brent Lofgren, a physical scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. Instead there's drought, suggesting other factors.

Cynthia Sellinger, the lab's deputy director, said she suspects a contributing factor could be residual effects of El Nino, the warming of equatorial Pacific waters that produced warmer winters in the late 1990s, just as the lakes began receding.

Austin, the Minnesota-Duluth professor, said he's concerned about the effects the warmer water could have.

"It's just not clear what the ultimate result will be as we turn the knob up," he said. "It could be great for fisheries or fisheries could crash."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Wasatia Movement - An Alternative to Radical Islam

This is a very interesting and inspiring article, the likes of which you probably won't find in any of the domestic media. Some like to place the blame for this squarely on the media itself, while ignoring the fact that this country has become more insular and self-centered with every passing decade -- something that can scarcely be attributed to media alone.

It's really rather sad and tragic that it takes something like genocide or a terrorist attack for most folks in this country to take any notice of the non-Western hemispheres, the people who live there, their beliefs and ideologies, and how terribly poor (in a LOT of ways) most of them are. It may be human nature to focus on one's own yard & neighborhood to the point of excluding the REST of the world, but then greed/lust/malice/pride/etc (i.e. sin) are also in our nature, right?

Monday, July 30, 2007

holy planefest, batman!

peep this beautiful slideshow of planes that you can see (and maybe even touch!) in Tucson.
as if i needed any MORE reasons to want to go to Tucson. . .

sad news for cinephiles

Ingmar Bergman has died.

Sure wish i had some of his movies on dvd, instead of just a couple on VHS. . .i would have liked to hold a tribute marathon.


7/30/2007 3:16 AM


Having succeeded for many years in the semi-conscious quest not to fall in love with a woman I hardly know (or one who plainly does not and will not feel the same way), and having thankfully experienced a (possibly related) significant decline in the frequency of (remembering) dreams wherein I am happily in love . . . it was all the more powerful and heart-quaking when I woke from just such a dream today.

Incidentally, this was also the first dream in MANY years to feature Nicole Marie Polka.


Backstory: I am in high school.  I believe this was one of those relatively frequent dreams where I actually go BACK to high school at my CURRENT (or at least recent) age, or at least with my current-age mind.

I do not recall if my friends & classmates were in a similar situation.  Bob Heinrich, Tom Rausch and possibly Mike Starr were present at some point(s).  Interestingly, I had recently developed the ability to levitate; I could will myself slowly up to any height I desired, as well as rotating my body into any position I liked, and I think I could even move slowly from place to place.  Each movement against gravity was very closely linked to my breathing; I think I had to concentrate on any given inhale/exhale cycle during which I wished to make a movement, i.e. going up a little bit, or twisting my body a bit.  That is to say, that particular breath cycle required much effort and focus in order for the movement to be executed just as I wanted.


I just realized the rarity of this particular dream or sequence thereof . . . while a dream involving high school, a superhuman ability, OR a love interest is not at all uncommon, I don't know that I've EVER had one that featured all THREE elements.  Of course, this serves to make it all that much more memorable.



So.  After demonstrating to my class(mates) this fantastic skill, and presumably reaching the end of the class period, I floated out of the classroom and into the hall, whilst approaching from another direction, who should appear but that high school sweetheart of mine.  At this point we were definitely present-day-aged.  Nicole had two broken legs.  I'm not sure of her stage of recovery, whether she had crutches and/or casts and/or some bizarre thing one tends to find only in a dream (but finds quite normal whenst dreaming).  Come to think of it, I believe that her being in that condition made her more approachable to me!  As if her being unable to excel in athletics (which she certainly did in reality, being a varsity member of both basketball and tennis all 4 years) made her less interesting/popular/accepted, and therefore closer to me in social status.


Some words must have been exchanged between us, though I've no recollection of them.


The next dream/sequence I recall took place in something like a large banquet hall, a single room at least the size of a very large high school gymnasium.  I believe I was still engaging in levitative (?) behavior at this point.  It seems to me that this may have been a high school reunion in fact, as my impression now is that our entire graduating class was present.  In fact, given the size of the room and the number of people present, there would have to have been a LOT more people there than the 80 or so that comprised our class.  Whatever the event, it took place in the future, sometime in our 40s or even early 50s I'd guess.

This, too, is very rare in my dream experiences.  Ergo, much harder to forget or allow to fade.


Again, most of the specific dialog escapes me, but Nicole was at my side as spouse or committed partner, and I/we were chatting casually and comfortably with our alums.  The one phrase that echoes in my mind was something to the effect of ". . . and to think, this is the girl I was in love with for 6 years!  No, actually, it was 7."  Actually, it was 4 ½ at most, but mathematics (like physics and other aspects of reality) seems terribly unfixed in the land of somnus.


Oh, wow.  I've remembered another scene tied into this whole storyline.  I don't know if it was before, after, or actually PART of that whole "reunion" scenario.  There was definitely karaoke, or something quite like it.  I was performing before a fairly large crowd (larger than the reunion group), at some point doing at least one DC Talk song . . . and also fearlessly trying to pull off octaves and/or vocal equivalents of instruments that I KNOW are well beyond my abilities.  I remember holding the microphone much closer to my mouth than is advisable. 


Yet another scene, also before/after/during that last one . . . I am something like a leader of a worship service, in a small arena-type setting, and a very unconventional service too.  Just walking around in the main area as well as up and down some of the steps, speaking and/or singing.  I THINK Nicole also played a part in this episode, perhaps providing me with support and courage?


I guess the bottom line is that a significant chunk of the whole dream series takes place in THE FUTURE, after Nicole and I have been together very happily for several years, and the feelings and sensory impressions left by THAT are so much stronger and more immediate and more important than all of the details (who/what/when/where) combined.


Then of course upon waking, one cannot help but give credence to the possibility (despite its infinitesimally minute nature) that she and I CAN meet again someday and finally be able to relate to one another . . . find enough common ground to develop a relationship . . . and ultimately become so content and fulfilled in each other that we don't even think about – let alone regret – all those intervening years between NOT getting to know each other in H.S. and living out our lives apart, before finally embracing the beautiful fate of togetherness.  4 ½ years of unrequited (and inexplicable) love (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), 20 years of distance so great that they might as well have been light years.

Then ultimately, whatever amount of time we might have together, being so joyous and magnificent as to essentially erase any negative aspect of the past.


Has anyone who ever lived dreamt a more beautiful dream?


If you can only remember and try to live by 1 verse from each Testament of the Bible, try these:
Deuteronomy 6:5  "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
Matthew 6:10  "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

International Grandmothers Council

[ copied with utter disregard for all legal copyright protection and related AP warnings/threats ]

Int'l Grandmothers' Enviro Movement

Jul 29, 3:06 PM (ET)


HOT SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) - Several times a day over three days, 13 women from around the world, several in their 80s, gathered around an open fire as each led a prayer ceremony unique to her native tribe.

After each outdoor gathering they moved into a convention center auditorium, where they exchanged ideas and learned about problems that plague the Oglala Lakota who live on the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Among them: high unemployment, suicide, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes and contaminated water.

The women share a common vision and mission to spare future generations problems that now vex much of society.

"It's hard to be proud of your cultural heritage and traditions if every day you face extinction," Debra White Plume of Manderson told the women.

The women, formally called the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, come from Africa, Asia and the Americas. Their languages, cultures and traditions are as different as their lands.

"They're not women of politics. They're women of prayer," said Jeneane Prevatt of The Center for Sacred Studies in Sonora, Calif., who goes by the name Jyoti.

The indigenous grandmothers hope to ease war, pollution and social ills by teaching traditional ways that served their people long before the birth of modern peace and environmental movements.

Roughly every six months, they visit each other's homelands, most recently in June here in the southern Black Hills, near the Pine Ridge reservation that's home to two of the women, sisters Rita and Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance.

During the prayer ceremonies, they spoke very little. Often the only sounds were the crackling fire and traffic on a nearby road.

"We're praying for peace, which is not only the wars but in our homes and in the schools. We need that peace amongst children," said Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance, who believes social problems on the reservation are a direct result of people abandoning traditional ways of life.

The group first met in October 2004 in New York. So far their effort has earned them a meeting with the Dalai Lama and a relationship with the Bioneers environmental group.

The 13 women next plan to meet in October at San Rafael, Calif., for the annual conference of the Bioneers, who share the indigenous grandmothers' belief that there's a spiritual aspect to life and more to environmentalism than preventing pollution, said Nina Simons, co-executive director.

"We will never have environmental sanity and health while there are so many people living in abject poverty," she said. "We can't expect people to care about the environment when they're worried about feeding their children."

The grandmothers and Bioneers also believe that natural solutions can fix many modern problems, such as using a type of mushroom to digest petroleum spills, Simons said.

"Part of our challenge is to learn to have a relationship with nature that makes it healthier and stronger instead of weaker and depleted," she said.

The Black Hills conference attracted people from the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, France, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Nepal and Brazil.

Among the roughly 250 people attending the gathering was Jan Rhine of Newberg, Ore., who was raised in Africa by missionary parents. She said the grandmothers movement makes her appreciate a simpler way of life.

"As technology has grown, along with the gifts it brings, we've lost our roots to nature, to mother earth and to each other. And what they are doing is bringing back these old ways that they and their tribes have carried throughout the centuries, bringing it back into this new modern technology to help us remember who we really are and what this planet is really about," Rhine said.

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i've gotten fairly excited the last few years by the growing "Evangelical Ecologists" or "Green Christians" movement in America. to wit:
Evangelical Ecologist
Evangelical Environment Network
National Religious Partnership for the Environment
Planet Ark: Interview
Republicans for Environmental Protection (you read that right)
USA Today article...
...and another
Washington Post article
Reuters articles aplenty!

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On the Net:

Grandmothers Council:

Grandmothers Film:


Sacred Studies:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


due to the excess of right-margin content, and dearth of posts, i'm going to hunt through some of my old writings and post those. then, perhaps, at some later date, i may find the inspiration and wherewithal to put fingers to keyboard and enlighten/amuse you, gentle reader.


i have joined the blogging masses.
intense, i know.