Sunday Roast: What if…

What if hate hadn’t killed the best of us?

What if fear hadn’t made us hateful?

What if ignorance hadn’t made us fearful?

What if poverty, hunger, and a lack of education hadn’t left so many of us ignorant?

What if greed hadn’t left so many of us hungry, uneducated, and in poverty?

What if wanting too much hadn’t made us greedy?

What if forgetting what was “enough” hadn’t made us want more than our share?

What if we all had enough?

This is our daily open thread — What is enough?

The Watering Hole; Thursday March 20 2014; Reflections

It’s been a busy week here in the foothills of the Front Range. More on that later. Meanwhile, some ‘reflections’ courtesy of Denny Green, Tempe AZ, taken at the Gilbert Water Ranch last Sunday. I dunno. Sometimes the message(s) implicit in the beauty of the natural world can be a bit humbling to “superior” beings everywhere (not one of which I’ve ever met, but then I’ve never been in Washington, never been on Fox News, etc., so that’s surely why, right?).

Humbling. Reflections. Enjoy.

3-16-14-1

3-16-14-2

3-16-14-3Emily Dickinson said it best: Beauty — be not caused — It Is. She was right. It’s surely fair to point out that depiction of beauty most certainly does NOT require the personage (or portrait) of any known politician, or billionaire oligarch, or even of most any common criminal (assuming there’s ever a difference between, etc.). Funny how that works, how those who are totally unimportant and useless (e..g. Koch Bros., Putin, Boehner, McConnell, McCain, Graham, Palin, Bachmann, Cruz, Paul, Rubio, Jindal, and most anyone named ‘Scott’ et al. et al.) are demonstrably paled by even just-last-Sunday’s soliloquies of/by waterfowl enjoying winter’s warmth courtesy of an anonymous desert watering hole. Beauty implicit invariably manages to overwhelm even human ugliness, and with luck the message therein embedded will someday become a driving thesis . . . here . . . in this so-far hallowed hollowed world, the world of . . . ummm . . . “men” I think some have called us . . . them?  . . . errmm . . . ? Yeah. That world. Our world. The world of, as T.S. Eliot described us, The Hollow Men . . .

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

‘Nuff said. At least for now.

OPEN THREAD

Hurricane Sandy: A few glimpses of the human toll

Estimates of the death toll from Hurricane Sandy along the Eastern U.S. Coast are hard to pin down right now, but CNN has the number at 110. While The Huffington Post movingly describes the tragic affect Sandy had on many of the elderly nearer to the NYC shore, my own focus is a little closer to home.

As Wayne said in a comment on today’s Sunday Roast, “our area…lost a handful of people” – yes, only four people died in or around Putnam County (we’re in Dutchess Cty, but only 4 miles north of the Putnam county line.) But two of the four were children, killed when a tree fell on the house they were in. The house had power despite the hurricane, and two children from a neighbor’s house were visiting with their two friends, watching TV, when the tree came down. Now two more families are beginning their struggle to cope with every parent’s nightmare.

Here’s what our hometown’s community turnout looked like at Beecher’s Funeral Home for one of the youths. Beecher’s is a sort of local landmark: it seems to have been there forever (certainly for our entire lifetimes), standing atop a large wedge of hillside that slopes down toward the Village proper. It’s where the vast majority of Brewster and nearby area residents are waked. Wayne and I have said goodbye there to so, so many family members, friends, loved ones, neighbors; we both grew up in Brewster Heights, a development on the next hill behind Beecher’s; Bobby and Judy (my brother/Wayne’s sister) raised Emily and Adam in a house right behind Beecher’s. So yes, this is kinda personal.

Our area is coping with the loss of electricity, the downed trees, the blocked roads. As of this past Thursday, Putnam County had cancelled their “State of Emergency.” NYSEG crews have been out in force for several days, reconnecting power; grocery stores are gradually refilling their shelves; lines for gas stations that have been hindering traffic are beginning to slowly disappear as more deliveries are getting to the gas stations; residents are clearing trees and debris, and are starting to repair damage.

But for two local families, there is no ‘fixing’ or ‘repairing’ their losses; hopefully, there may someday be ‘coping.’ My heart aches for them.

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 Post-Debate Detox

Happy Hump Day!

Ok, The Presidential Debates, Round Two, is now history.

Who won?

Obamny?

Rombama?

The President certainly brought his A game this time, and closed on a slam-dunk with bringing up Romney’s 47% remark behind closed doors.

The moderator did a credible job of moving things along, but could have been better in cutting Romney off after the TV monitor showed his time was up, then not allowing Obama a chance to rebut.

Romney’s Etch-a-Sketch was in full play…again…in this author’s perspective.

What do you think? Think the President regained his Mo-Jo? Think Romney will continue to add to his momentum? Think Fox News will go apoplectic over Mitt telling the President, basically, to not interrupt Romney’s interruption, that he’ll get his turn?

OPEN THREAD.

GO FOR IT.

MAKE MY DEI.

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 6th, 2012: You Said It, Sister!

As some of you know, I have been invited to start my own blog on the local ‘Patch’ online newspaper. Before getting set up in my ‘new digs’, I thought I’d take a look around at the other blogs on the Patch site, to see what they looked like, what personal info showed, etc. While doing so, I ran across a blogpost from the Fourth of July, written by M. Doretta Cornell, RDC, of the Sisters of the Divine Compassion, and thought it well worth sharing.

While I do not agree with 100% of the good Sister’s sentiments, she makes excellent points, based on her interpretation of her faith, the Constitution, and in science. A few excerpts:

Our founders were declaring independence from rule by birth, by a class of people whose only claim to that rule was their parentage. No test of ability or morality or vision for the country and its people was necessary, only birth into the “right family.”

Hmm, sounds like a recent Republican President and a current Presidential hopeful we all know.

In our current economic crisis, we have much to reflect on:
– How faithful are we to this basic tenet of our country that all people are created equal and have equal rights to life, justice, ability to make a decent living – even happiness, as our founders claimed?
– How can we reform our laws and policies to create a nation in which all could prosper?
– What are we doing to close the rifts between races that are still deep in our culture, in spite of all the scientific evidence that race is a superficial characteristic?
– What are we doing to close the newer abysses that have been created between people of different religions, particularly since September 11, 2001?

Sister Mary Doretta certainly sounds like quite the liberal – just as so many of us believe Jesus would have been. Personally, I believe that today’s “Christians” would, at least figuratively, crucify him if he showed up now.

“Another aspect of independence that comes to my mind is that, for many people, independence today seems to be synonymous with egocentric individualism: the feeling that no one has contributed to this person’s achievements, and therefore that person has no responsibility for anyone but him—or herself.”

(Psst…Republicans, faux-Christians, and Libertarians, listen up, I think she’s talking to you. C’mon, even the god of the Old Testament got pretty pissed when Cain asked “Am I my brother’s keeper?”)

“…along with Independence, we must also celebrate today our Interdependence! Interdependence—not subservience. Subservience is what our founders were rebelling against in founding this new nation: the belief that some are inferior and others superior by nature, and therefore people have different rights.

Interdependence says that we all have the same “inalienable rights” and that these rights are intertwined, as are all elements of our very existence.

And here’s what I found most impressive and inspiring about Sister Doretta’s piece:

Over the last few decades, we have been learning just how deep our interdependence is, at microscopic levels of ourselves and of the world around us. Astronomy and cosmology teach us that each molecule of our bodies is inherited from one pool of matter, each breath we take is dependent on the exhalations of trees and other plants. Even the tiniest shift in temperature, or chemical makeup of the air, position of the sun, or radiation in the atmosphere would render Earth unable to support human life. We are all interdependent—people, animals, grasses, stars, Earth.

Independence, then, demands that we reflect on and adjust our understanding to the interdependence of all things and all people on each other. It also demands that we learn to act in ways that support that interdependence—ways all our moral and religious educations have taught us. And, as Jesus taught, “the greatest of these is love,” and understanding of the essentialness of each creature to the enterprise we call life.

If more Christians were this enlightened about the role of their faith’s principles and their implicit responsibility to each other and the planet that we call home, this world, or at least this country, would be an infinitely better place.

This is our daily open thread — Got anything you feel like discussing?