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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

30 years ago


Thirty years ago I was a drowning man coming to the top of the water and taking a breath of air. The proud preacher boy with his loving wife going off to seminary had crashed and burned. The marriage was over, clerical career a thing of the past and I started to pick up the pieces of my life to start over. After working as a door to door salesman selling fire alarms, in the Sears automotive department, Asst. Sporting goods flunk--eerr manager at a Woolco, and driving a dump truck for a high school buddy with a backhoe service; the divorce was final and I needed to get on with my life. I felt my choices were to enlist in the military (no wars looming on the horizon) or get certified to teach. Two years of high school ROTC taught me the last thing I wanted to do was sign my life away to any branch of the armed forces. So I got a job substitute teaching during the days and working as a security guard in the evenings. In three months I had paid off my credit cards and I was starting to sock some money away for the fall semester at UNM. Then one Wednesday after I came home from subbing and had a day off from standing out in front of a grocery store watching picketers wearing while a fake police uniform, I was looking forward to catching up on some sleep. BTW I was living at home, when I walked in Mom asked if I wanted to go out to dinner. A real no brainer of a question. After eating Dad then drove to church for prayer meeting. I've always maintained that they kidnapped me so I'd be there that night.
At prayer meeting it was announced that there would be a singles retreat in a few weeks in Glorieta. Since I was now single and the church where I had been Baptized and liscenced to preach was getting a pretty sizable unmarried and recently divorced population. I figured I could get off from my security job for that weekend so I signed up.
When the weekend came on the Friday night we drove up I knew most of the group and was having a pretty good time. The one thing I still remember that night was getting in my sleeping bag on top of a twin bed and needing to turn out the light, so I hopped up still in the sleeping bag, hopped over to the light switch which turned the room pitch black, I hopped over to what I thought was the bed and hopped right onto the floor. So much for being Mr. Cool.
Saturday morning while we were eating breakfast a few others of the group showed up that couldn't come the night before. This lovely girl walked in that everyone else seemed to know, but I didn't. A little later I introduced myself to her and as the saying goes the rest is history. We went out on a hike with the group, but by Saturday afternoon it had pretty much paired up as the lady heading the class intended. That weekend resulted in at least five marriages within a year. Grinnygranny and I got to know a little about each other and Sunday I asked her if she would like to go out on a date the next weekend. Two weeks later the church I was attending (I had been youth director there a couple of summers earlier and the pastor of that church was helping put me back together) was having a revival. I asked her if she would like to go to the revival with me and we went every day for a week, singing in the choir together.
Six months later we were married in that little church -- it's not a little church anymore and the sanctuary where we were married is now a sunday school class. The church that had the singles group's pastor let everyone know in no uncertain terms that he would not marry anyone who was divorced. 
Still it's hard to imagine that I've known Grinnygranny for thirty years now, and what a life we have made together.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Balloons

Went out golfing with Grinnygranny today and then helped Mom with her unpacking, so there hasn't been much time for a Sunday Soapbox. Maybe I'll give both barrels next week. Instead this is what we woke up to yesterday. Nothing new really we have balloons fly over the house all the time, but these landed much closer than usual.



Friday, April 25, 2008

Dust settling

Mom's moved in. They got in Tuesday night, unloaded the truck Wednesday and yesterday Auntypesty and Mom started the unpacking. Grinnygranny is off today and is going over to help.

Last night APS held a dinner for all 25 year teachers. It was nice, met some friends that I taught with at other schools and was surprised there were two others from my school there as well. We were all given a piece of Nambe ware. Something I've always wanted, but found a little too expensive. It's a candle holder for one of the big round candles. I haven't figured out where to put it yet, but it is nice to have.



I'm feeling rather validated today. In February when it came time to vote in our caucus I wrote a post explaining why I was voting for Hillary Clinton over Barak Obama. I basically decided my vote on Barak's whining and fussing at the criticism he was getting from the Clintons. In my view if he can't take what other Democrats dish out how will he stand up to the Republicans? Well today Paul Krugman in the New York Times has essentially said the same thing:

The attacks from the Clinton campaign have been badminton compared with the hardball Republicans will play this fall. If the relatively mild rough and tumble of the Democratic fight has been enough to knock Mr. Obama off his pedestal, what hope did he ever have of staying on it through the general election?

It's always nice to know others have the same opinion, especially someone I admire as much as Krugman. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Book Buy

I was e-mailed by Publish America  today that they are having a special open to the public. If you go to publishamerica.com you can buy any book on their site at 50% off list price. It's only good through April 28, which is just a scant five days, but if any of my dear readers are interested in Optimus: Praetorian Guard you can buy if for just $10.95 + shipping, when it normally sells for $22.95. I'm going to see if I can get some of the book stores in town to order some books at this price and set up some book signings, but for all my nice readers that stop by here and are interested hopefully this makes the book more in your price range.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Soapbox


My church and many others are pushing this miserable piece of manure laden celluloid.
  • I've never liked Ben Stein because he has made a career out of disrespecting teachers.
  • When we first had T.V.'s added to our classrooms and started showing Channel One I dutifully took time out of my schedule to let the students watch it. Every school I've worked at has set aside time in one period for announcements and Channel One, the only thing is that announcements usually eat up all the time alloted for this and Channel One is then discretionary on the part of the teacher. About four or five years of watching Channel One and the obligatory disciplinary problems of trying to get the students to stop talking and actually watch the news show, a commercial came on with Ben Stein doing his monotone boring teacher schtick and that was the match that lit my short fuse. I've never bothered with Channel One since. I'LL BE DAMNED IF I'M GOING TO MAKE STUDENTS BE QUIET AND LISTEN TO SOMETHING THAT CUTS ME OFF AT THE KNEES.
  • Now Mrschoolissoboring has a Michael Moore documentary style clone trying to prove to everyone that Science is bogus and superstition  is what students need to be learning. He is the last person on this planet to be pushing anything relating to education.
  • What next a documentary advocating the belief that the world is flat, the Sun revolves around the Earth, and that the mustard seed is the smallest seed?
  • Sophistry has a place in education, the humanities. English, history and electives are tailor made for debating both sides of any issues and students should be encouraged to develop their minds by looking at different viewpoints, but science and math are empirical by nature. You don't debate if 2 + 2 = 4 or the fact that germs and viruses cause illness, and you don't muddy it up with a viewpoint offered by someone who has  intentionally assassinated their intelligence to accept a fundamentalist doctrine intent on conformity instead of learning.
  • Adding Creation Science or Intelligent Design to a science curriculum would move our schools back to pre-Sputnick, and the cost to our children and this country as we fall scientifically and technologically behind other countries would be too great to count.
  • Last point, if we need to add Genesis with Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden to our Biology and history books, what about every other major religious creation story? Are we to start teaching the Greco-Roman myths as truth? Norse mythology? Hindu? Buddhist? Then the class becomes a comparative religion class instead of science. Science is hard enough for students to learn without all this extra baggage. 

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Poetry

Went to the monthly Writers to writers meeting. April is National Poetry Month and the topic was poetry. The lovely lady who led the meeting had us all writing and sharing poetry. She gave us the opening line and then we were on our own. Here's what I came up with:

Haiku

The New Mexican sun
Warmed us all up today
For all to enjoy

Free Verse

Just like the moments
Before the gun sounds
And the race begins
So is graduation night
A child begins their adult life
And starts on the marathon of their future.


The move is finally here

E and S are flying out to Canton Saturday, they'll load up a truck with all of Mom's stuff (she's sold a bunch at an estate sale) and bring her back. She'll be much happier here with her friends and not having to drive sixty miles or more to go shopping or see a doctor. I'm sure she would prefer to stay out there with Penni and her grand daughter, but the time has come for her to come home.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grief

In the grief cycle some days stay touchy for a long time. 
Today is the first time I'm not able to call Dad up and wish him a happy birthday. He had the easiest birthday to remember. 
A few years ago this day fell on a Sunday. Frank Cates the pastor of a church here in town, who passed away a year ago, had the same birthday as Dad, and he graciously allowed me to preach in their honor that day. They are both sorely missed today.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Soapbox

Grinnygranny is driving me crazy. She is going on and on and on about how wonderful it is to "see this" and "see that." She's worn glasses all her life and for the first time all she needs is sunglasses.  The old adage without the negative, "I Momma's happy, everyone's happy."

Bruce's blog has a statement in response to Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I couldn't have said better myself, so I'll let him have today's soapbox.

Ever since schools were integrated, fundamentalists have been doing their best to vilify, malign and undermine public education. Their desire is to get Christians to pull their kids out of public schools, deprive public schools of funding, and create a network of primary and secondary religious indoctrination centers. Mohler and his cronies have made life hell-on-earth for public school teachers -- regardless of their social, political or sexual orientation. Who would knowingly encourage their children to enter a field that is under relentless attack, woefully underfunded, about to implode from nihilistic micromanagement by its ideological enemies?

Last word: at church in the weekly prayer list there is a section for the public school teachers which are members. When you consider the number of bi-vocational pastors who are teachers, pastor's wives who teach, and the of all the Southern Baptist university's graduates that have and are currently employed in the public schools for the Southern Baptist Conventions leadership to be so anti-public education is down right silly if not absolutely stupid.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Aw shucks

Scott Horton at his No Comment blog for Harper's magazine is stepping back from blogging. He always put up great artwork, poems, quotes from historical notables, and was a strong voice in rebuke of the present administration. He'll still do some interviews and post sporadically, but I will miss his day to day good reading.

This is an example that the English teacher in me has enjoyed immensely for some time:

Andrew Melville 
The Garden
How vainly men themselves amaze
 To win the palm, the oak, or bays ;

And their uncessant labors see
Crowned from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-verg├Ęd shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid ;
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose.

Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence, thy sister dear!
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men :
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow ;
Society is all but rude,
To this delicious solitude.

No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green ;
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress’ name.
Little, alas, they know or heed,
How far these beauties hers exceed!
Fair trees! wheresoe’er your barks I wound
No name shall but your own be found.

When we have run our passion’s heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat :
The gods who mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race.
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow,
And Pan did after Syrinx speed,
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.

What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head ;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine ;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach ;
Stumbling on melons as I pass,
Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness :
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find ;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas ;
Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade.

Here at the fountain’s sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree’s mossy root,
Casting the body’s vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide :
There like a bird it sits and sings,
Then whets and combs its silver wings ;
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.

Such was that happy garden-state,
While man there walked without a mate :
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But ’twas beyond a mortal’s share
To wander solitary there :
Two paradises ’twere in one
To live in Paradise alone.

How well the skillful gard’ner drew
Of flowers and herbs this dial new ;
Where from above the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run ;
And, as it works, th’ industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we.
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers!

Andrew MarvellThe Garden (ca. 1660)

A wonderful, and not really well known or appreciated little gem from Marvell. In a sense it’s just a simple tale of a garden, of an amorous encounter, but then the suggestions build that of course it is the garden. Among the poems of the age of Milton (and Marvell stands in many ways right next to Milton himself), this one has a unique place. I am fascinated by its wandering perspective. Note how the narration builds, how the descriptions move through the garden, adding layers of nuance, imagery and sophistication. You can imagine the poet wandering through the garden and describing what he sees. He begins from simple premises and builds slowly towards a suspiciously theological message. This poem is in differing ways a forerunner of William Blake and of Voltaire. And suddenly the perspective of the poem ceases to be outward, the poet looks within (”The mind, that ocean where each kind/Does straight its own resemblance find”). This seems to me not the work of an extrovert, amiable poet, but of a complicated and introverted man who thinks himself misunderstood. A misfit perhaps. The garden is simply a country garden. And the garden is “paradise,” a word that etymologists tell us comes from an old Persian tongue meaning a garden with a walled enclosure. But Marvell is not giving us the lesson Milton would; he is not writing about the fall. He is giving us the address of his own private retreat. And Marvell’s garden is the final stop for one year of No Comment. Good-bye and best wishes.

Goodbye Mr. Horton a year will seem like forever to await insights such as this.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

They was robbed!

Last night was the first time I've ever seen them take points (alright it was only one point) off the scoreboard in a basketball game. The one point Memphis needed to win the game. Good thing I'm not a gambling man.

Grinnygranny was talking about how clear her eyesight was as we were walking down the steps after her surgery. When we got home her eye started hurting and she was in quite a bit of pain last night. She went back to see the doctor today for an after surgery check up -- everything seems fine and she should be feeling better by tomorrow.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Busy week ahead

Took off over the weekend to have some quiet time with Grinnygranny. The house didn't fall apart and everything was normal when we got in yesterday. Then we did nine holes for some exercise. All in all a very pleasant two days, made it hard to go to work today.
Grinnygranny is having lasek surgery this afternoon and will most likely not be feeling too well for a couple of days. She's looking forward to only needing sunglasses from now on.

I pick Memphis over Kansas 80 to 75 tonight, we'll see how good a prognosticator I am.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New Anne Littlewolf's





Anne received a commission for 7 paintings by a hunting lodge. I guess she'll be real busy for awhile.