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

Monday, July 28, 2008

Last full week of vacation

Nice to be home after ten days of travel. Wouldn't you know that just as we get back the price of gasoline drops thirty cents a gallon.
We have a retreat this weekend through Grinnygranny's work. Doesn't give me much time to try and get some work done on my novel before school starts again.

Friday, July 25, 2008

In Amarillo

Taking it easy right now in Amarillo. We've been on a marathon vacation trip. Went up to Nebraska to visit Grinnygranny's Mom, then dropped down to Canton, Tx to see Penni. She gets tired easily, but was doing well. Michelle had lots of un swimming in the Motel pool. We tried to make it all the way home today, but stopped to spend the night here as we were too tired to keep going. When we get back home tomorrow hopefully everything will be back to normal.

Monday, July 14, 2008

News on Penni

Penni is now home and in Palliative care. She has a new website where her husband has a very touching and informative post. It would be appreciated if all those visiting this site would go to the site and sign the guestbook.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

From the Yikes Blog

Your results:
You are Deanna Troi
Deanna Troi
Will Riker
Geordi LaForge
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Jean-Luc Picard
Mr. Scott
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Beverly Crusher
Mr. Sulu
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
You are a caring and loving individual.
You understand people's emotions and
you are able to comfort and counsel them.
Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test

Thanks to Yikes for the link.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Hard Post

The word came today that Penni is being sent home from the hospital to hospice care. Mom will be flying out there next week, she explains the details on her blog.

She was out here to see Dad's grave last month. It was really difficult to say goodbye to her then.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nicholas of Kues

 Scott Horton today had an interesting post on one of the writings of Nicholas of Kues. I'd never heard of him. My main focus of Medieval history is on England and Cusanus (the name most preferred for him) was a Catholic theologian in northern Italy a century before the Reformation. When I delved deeper by looking up his biography in Wikipedia he knocked my socks off. Here was someone who really made a difference in history in many aspects that is under the radar for me at least.

To summarize just some of his accomplishment reveals a truly great intellect and what might be a proto-Renaissance man and forerunner of the Reformation as he predates them by a hundred years.

1. Theologically he stood for reconciliation. He was part of a delegation to try and rejoin the Orthodox and Catholic faiths, where he encountered Islam. When Constatinople fell to the Ottoman Turks shortly after his return his was the voice of moderation and reason against the call of Crusade. (This was the main thrust of Scott Horton's article where he discusses on of Casanus' works De Pace Fidei (On the peace born of faith).

2. He impacted philosophy with De Docta Ignorantia (Of Learned Ignorance), De Visione Dei (On The Vision of God), and On Conjectures. Here he predates the Enlightenment by numerous centuries with a reliance on Reason. He influenced such later Philosophers as Bruno and Leibniz.

3. In science Johannes Kepler referred to him as "divinely inspired" in the first paragraph of his first public work. His work inspired Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Bruno in astronomy. In mathematics his books on numerology led to Leibniz developing Calculus. This is the accomplishment that affects me -- he was the first to use concave lenses to correct myopia (near sightedness) -- Wow the father of all reading glasses. This field alone should have him in all science and history books (in my humble opinion). But that's not all.

4. Politics. Here I'll paste what Wikipedia says:

In 1433, Nicholas proposed reform of the Holy Roman Empire and a method to elect Holy Roman Emperors. Although it was not adopted by the Church, his method was essentially the same one known today as the Borda count, which is used in many academic institutions, competitions, and even some political jurisdictions, in original form and a number of variations. His proposal preceded Borda's work by over three centuries.

Nicholas' opinions on the Empire, which he hoped to reform and strengthen, were cited against papal claims of temporal power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Protestants writers were happy to cite a cardinal against Rome's pretensions. Protestants, however, found his writings against the Hussites wrong. Nicholas seemed to give the church too much power to interpret Scripture, instead of treating it as self interpreting and self-sufficient for salvation, the principle of sola scriptura.

It's not often enough I come upon someone that did so much that I had never heard about. Scott Horton is expanding my education into so many fields with his blog I can't praise it enough.

As Epicuris said: "Knowledge is Pleasure"

Neitsche is credited with saying: "Knowledge is Power"

When I learn of men like Casanus I get both joy and am empowered.

Jury duty is over

I just checked and I don't have to go in tomorrow, so jury duty is over. In three weeks I went to the orientation (two hours), checked for two weeks to see if I had to go in and they didn't need me (two weeks that Grinnygranny was on vacation and we could have gone up to see Ann Littlewolf in Colorado and her mother in Nebraska), and for the last week I've gone in now three days only to be told to go home. Isn't civic duty wonderful?

E took Ritchie back to Arizona today. The good news -- it's quiet around here, the bad news -- it's too damn quiet around here.

Had my eyes checked today and new glasses are on order, going to take auntypesty to get her eyes checked tomorrow.

At least next week I can get back to editing Human Sacrifices and golf whenever I want.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Maximum inconvenience

Got up early to play some golf, got in 9 holes, it would have been nice to do the whole 18, but I wouldn't have had time to finish before the anticipated 1:00 pm reporting time for jury duty. Checked to see if I needed to go in, had to report at 2:30 (could have done 18 if I had known this). Had lunch with Grinnygranny and reported. At 2:45 they told us to go home. Now I need to report tomorrow at 10:00 am. They wonder why no one wants to be on jury duty.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

At last

Finally got called in for jury duty today. Sat there for 2 1/2 hours and then told to go home. Oh joy. I have to check tomorrow at 11:30 to see if I need to go in after lunch.

Interesting point made by Scott Horton today:

Oil clearing $142 a barrel means that the Russian treasury is flush with cash, putting the state in a position to pay salaries and meet its pension and benefit obligations with little fuss. Russia seems unquestioningly resurgent on the international stage. On this point, a Russian close to Putin’s administration tells me “Why should we dislike Bush? What American leader has done more to advance Russian interests in the world? He has squandered American authority, built distrust within the NATO alliance that we never could have imagined, and helped us gain entry into the Middle East by alienating the entire region. He has paved the way for a generation of Russian successes.” 

As Russ says, "Stop the madness!"

Friday, July 04, 2008


Mark Twain (1909)
A speech given by Mark Twain in 1901. For a complete understanding of the passage click on Scott Horton's No Comment blog.

Yes, patriotism. We cannot all agree. That is most fortunate. If we could all agree life would be too dull. I believe if we did all agree, I would take my departure before my appointed time, that is if I had the courage to do so. I do agree in fact with what Mr. Skinner has said. In fact, more than I usually agree with other people. I believe that there are no private citizens in a republic. Every man is an official. Above all, he is a policeman. He does not need to wear a helmet and brass buttons, but his duty is to look after the enforcement of the laws.

If patriotism had been taught in the schools years ago, the country would not be in the position it is in to-day. Mr. Skinner is better satisfied with the present conditions than I am. I would teach patriotism in the schools, and teach it this way: I would throw out the old maxim, ‘My country, right or wrong,’ etc., and instead I would say, ‘My country when she is right.’ Because patriotism is supporting your country all the time, but your government only when it deserves it.

So I would not take my patriotism from my neighbor or from Congress. I should teach the children in the schools that there are certain ideals, and one of them is that all men are created free and equal. Another that the proper government is that which exists by the consent of the governed. If Mr. Skinner and I had to take care of the public schools, I would raise up a lot of patriots who would get into trouble with his.

I should also teach the rising patriot that if he ever became the Government of the United States and made a promise that he should keep it. I will not go any further into politics as I would get excited, and I don’t like to get excited. I prefer to remain calm. I have been a teacher all my life, and never got a cent for teaching.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

4th of July weekend

We canceled our trip to Colorado to visit Anne Littlewolf, had to buy tires for the van, replace an ABS module and on the truck redo the front end and replace shocks. Dad once told me that when you have a car you can't afford anything else. With gas prices rising that is really becoming true. I thought long and hard before fixing the truck of trading it in on  a newer vehicle, but decided that I didn't need monthly payments. Hopefully that's the last they'll need for some time. Anne's bought a carriage so she can hire out to the local brides for weddings. She's competing in an artist contest this weekend doing pictures in chalk on businesses sidewalks, it would really be nice to see her at work. Maybe we can make it up there labor day. Kind of an iffy time in that part of Colorado.

Bought fireworks for tomorrow, hope the grandkids like them.
Grinnygranny and I have a tee time for Saturday at Paako ridge golf course. We're only going to play the nine hole course. I've tried to play there for three summers and never could get up there, now I'll finally have the chance.

One week of Jury duty left, haven't been called in yet, don't think I will.