Friday, September 2, 2016

Happy September

Tree

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Ugh

I've lost my muse.  SO hard to find inspiration these days.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
  Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lie a leafy island
  Where flapping Herons wake
The drowsy water-rats,
There we've hid our fairy vats
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries,
Come away, O, human child!
To the woods and waters wild,
With a fairy hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than
              you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
  The dim grey sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
  We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands, and mingling glances,
  Till the moon has taken flight;

To and fro we leap,
   And chase the frothy bubbles,
   While the world is full of troubles,
And is anxious in its sleep.
Come away! O, human child!
To the woods and waters wild,
With a fairy hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than
               you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
  From the hills above Glen-Car.
In pools among the rushes,
  That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout,
  And whispering in their ears;
     We give them evil dreams,
Leaning softly out
  From ferns that drop their tears
    Of dew on the young streams,
Come! O, human child!
To the woods and waters wild,
With a fairy hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than
        you can understand.

Away with us, he's going,
  The solemn-eyed;
He'll hear no more the lowing
  Of the calves on the warm hill-side.
Or the kettle on the hob
  Sing peace into his breast;
Or see the brown mice bob
  Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the woods and waters wild,
WIth a fairy hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than
              he can understand.

W.B. Yeats

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Publishing

I have had two columns published in hard copy where people pay for subscriptions...for free. So I guess I am starting off on neutral ground-not paying to be printed, nor receiving compensation.

I have been blogging for years and years.  I started off with yahoo 360 under a different user name.  I was all over yahoo back in the day-late 2004/early 2005, primarily as a regular in one of the top science chat rooms.

I haven't been in a chat room in years, but the way the old yahoo rooms worked, thirty users could intereact live.  We could have different types of font, colors, sizes, so as comments came up on the screen in list fashion, it was easy to see which user was posting by their fonts.  Very often two or three conversations would be happening at the same time, interspersed with random spam posts and people coming and going were noted in small red font in between the live posts.

There was a room list to the side that showed everyone in the room, and you could click on one of those names and it would open up a new window where you could have a private conversation with that person.

Sometimes you could get kicked out.  Folks also had the opportunity to block certain posters.  Things would really get hopping on the weekends...the screen going so fast it was hard to keep up, nevermind monitoring the three private conversations you might have going.

We talked about everything-mostly current affairs.  I remember The last Bush running for re election mentioning chat rooms in a speech-he said it awkwardly .  I can't remember the exact wording but it was clear he had never been in a chat room.  But he referred to them as public opinion on a certain matter.

Well, it was also about that time that we started to lose rights to peacably assemble, and freedom of speech, due to the passage of an act that pretended it was all in our best interests.

The chat room was systematically shut down.  Someone using multiple computers, or computers they hacked, to fill the chat room up with clones.  Like, "Sillyrobot1"  "Sillyrobot2" and so on.  No attempt was made to hide the cloning.  Two or three of the thirty slots were alsways occupied by duds, or observers, who never said anything, but then the cloning started.  If you were lucky enough to be able to get in the room, one or two regs might have squeezed in as well, really limiting the conversation.

So we moved on to another room by passing the word along.  Then the clones moved in that room.  We had crashed three rooms by the time I gave up.  I had started blogging with 360 and kept that up until they closed THAT down.  They supposedly gave use the opportunity to migrate our blogs to another yahoo platform-our profile, I think-but only one of two of my blogs migrated.  The primary really outspoken one vanished.  I was getting several hundred pageviews a day back then.

I don't keep copies of my posts-hopefully I keep the original photos somewhere.

I got mad at yahoo and migrated the remaining blog over to multiply.  Shutting 360 really split us up- I had a lot of good pals blogging around the world and we all went different directions.  I tried multiply and didn't like it, so I started up a new blog here on blogger, this one.  I recently went back to read my blog that moved to multiply-I hadn't been there in years, and found out it's gone.  All of multiply is no more.  They probably sent a notice to my old yahoo email.

Now I have found a quasi solution to things that disappear on the intenet. Managing to get published in hard copy with a small circulation.  Maybe somewhere 100 years from now someone will be replacing the floor on an old house and find my column spread out as an underlayment.  Or maybe, once my head shot is added, my column might find it's way as a puppy toilet.  More than likely, it will go up in a cloud of fire and smoke up someone's chimney-but at least it will leave a trace of it's demise, unlike publishing on the interent, where things just seems to vanish without a trace.






Friday, December 18, 2015

We Have A Deal

Over 190 countries have agreed to reduce their carbon emission enough to limit the global temperature average to a 2.5 degree Farenheit rise over pre-industrial standards.

The few countries that did not contribute to the agreement are ones whose own government is in turmoil due to civil wars.

"If trees absorb carbon, why can't we fight increased carbon doixide levels by planting more trees?" The WIllow asked me.

"hmmm, I am not sure, perhaps the location of the carbon in the atmosphere -if it is in the upper levels, for example, it may not be readily available for absorption by plants," I responded.

But I was't exactly correct.  Because part of the limiting of carbon emissions is calaculated to how much CO2 the plants and oceans can absorb.

Perhaps that's why when I drive around my own small community, my gut wrenches when I pass gravel pits that are gangrenous holes in the Earth.  Clearcuts where the local loggers go in and level everything, leaving a scarred landscape.

We have a new neighbor.  A little ways up the road, a lot was selectively cut a couple of years ago and then put on the market.  20 acres, with pond frontage.  I didn't think it would sell, it sits rather close to some folks that take living out in the country a little too seriously and give meaning to the word ramshackle.  (so do I ,but they have a bit more going on than I do)

This fall a nice little camper appeared, and the guy started clearing some of the lot.  After a few weeks, the camper was gone.  About a month ago, the gravel trucks started banging up and down our road.They were brining it in, not taking it out.  They made a very long drive out of sight in the direction of the pond.  I have been dying to go snooping and see how close he went to the pond.  But the WIllow has suddenly turned righteous and won't allow it, so I plan on waiting until the pond freezes over and then walk up the pond and see what I see.

I did talk her into loading our neighborhood on google Earth.  We could see that he would have to go quite a ways to build down by the water.  We could see all the neighbors houses up the road, and their fields and yards and outbuildings.  But we could not see our house, or our drive, or the goat pasture, or the lawn.  I could see the trees did look a little thinner than in the woods directly behind us, but I was glad to see that in the 20 years that I have been here, the canopy has not been harmed to a noticeable extent.

Now the woods farther behind us is a different story.  Between our road, and the next road that runs parallel to it, there is about 2 miles of woods, and that runs for at least five miles before it is intersected by another road.  An acre is 200ftX200ft, a mile is over 4000 feet...so that's a lot of acres of woods behind us.

But a big chunk of it is owned by Plum Creek lumber.  About five years ago I could hear heavy equipment in the woods.  It went on for two years.  I tried to sneak in there at one point, but chickened out.  Google Earth tells the story.  They raped it.  A vast expanse of lighter vegetation-stump growth-and exposed rock.

There is about a half mile along the road between my place and the next house on my side.  When I bought this land, it was old growth forest.  Then the local lumberjack went in and over cut it.  He didn't clearcut it, but the trees he left were too spindly to withstand the microburst that came the next year.  Then it was a clearcut.

I sat at my desk looking out the window the next summer and watched clouds come over the house.  As they drifted away and reached over the clearcut, they disappeared-they dissipated.  That's how much heat was rising off the scarred landscape.

That was about ten years ago, and the balsam fir and white pine seeded and had enough light to grow.  The stump growth started to grow as well.  This fall I asked permission from the landowner to tip some greens for garlands, and he gave it to me, gladly.  I was psyched, it looked like it would be very easy to gather some brush.

He told me he had given someone else permission to tip there a year or two ago as well.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, I decided to start tipping.  I found that the previous person had stripped the trees.  The younger firs had trunks and tops and that was it.  The larger firs had been tipped back so hard they hadn't recovered.  The stump growth was ten feet high and so thick I couldn't get through in places.  I would see fir trees, bushwhack my way through the blackberry brambles and stump growth, to find two or three decent tips in a grove.

I did get two deer ticks lodged in the back of neck as a bonus.

I gave up.  I ran a little short on balsam tips for a garland order, so I headed down to my firs on my own property.  The tips were GORGEOUS.  I have been tipping those trees nearly every season for almost 20 years, but I always tip looking toward the next year.  If the tip is small, I leave it.  On bigger branches I take small tips and leave the branch to grow out more tips for the next season.

But tell that to people who want to make money.  Tell them to leave some for next year-ask them to leave a few trees to maintain a canopy-

do you think they'll  make that deal?









Thursday, September 24, 2015

I still Heart Pope Francis!

First I would like to say that I am not a Catholic, or techically officially aligned with any religion.  I have studied many of them, and continue to do so.  I am not an Atheist, as I recently answered the query from visiting Jehovah's Witnesses.  They looked rather surprised when I told them I had just been reading Genesis.
My father's side were devout Catholics, right through the reformation, having a hidden chapel on the premises in England.  They were actually even involved in the Gunpowder plot.

My grandmother's home in the US was next door to a Catholic church, and as long as she was able my Father's sister never missed a mass.

While others had ooed and ahhed over the royal wedding, it was the election of Pope Francis that raptured me.

Even as a youngster with little to no religious background, I identified with Saint Francis of Assisi-he could talk to animals! When the new Pope, hailing from Argentina, took the name of Francis I was enamored.

And I have not been disappointed.  Ever.

While I am a supporter of same sex marraige, I do not disagree with his remarks about family.  I think family is people that love and support each other.  I may be wrong on this, and you may choose to disagree.

 Afterwards, from the balcony of the Capitol, he blessed the viewers.  And then he did something that I viewed as unusual -he asked us to pray and bless him, or, if we could not pray, to send him well wishes.  I would ask the same of you on his behalf. :)

Here's a transcript of the speed he gave to a joint session of Congress this morning, courtesy of Time. com.

I find the bit he left out intriguing...and still part of a powerful message.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Pope Francis addressed a joint meeting of Congress in a historic speech Thursday morning.

Here’s a full transcript of his remarks.

   I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.

    Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

    Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.

    Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and – one step at a time – to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.



    I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land. I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.

    My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self- sacrifice – some at the cost of their lives – to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people. A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.

    I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

    This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.

    All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.

    Our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. We are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today’s many geopolitical and economic crises. Even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent. Our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. We must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good.

    The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.

    In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.



    [Editor’s Note:The following section, which was in the prepared remarks, was not included in the speech.] Here I think of the political history of the United States, where democracy is deeply rooted in the mind of the American people. All political activity must serve and promote the good of the human person and be based on respect for his or her dignity. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776). If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance.

    Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.Here too I think of the march which Martin Luther King led from Selma to Montgomery fifty years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his “dream” of full civil and political rights for African Americans. That dream continues to inspire us all. I am happy that America continues to be, for many, a land of “dreams”. Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.

    In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those peoples and their nations, from the heart of American democracy, I wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but it is difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. Nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our “neighbors” and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. I am confident that we can do this.

    Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12).

    This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.

    This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.

    In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.

    How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.

    It goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. The right use of natural resources, the proper application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good” (Laudato Si’, 129). This common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which I recently wrote in order to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home” (ibid., 3). “We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (ibid., 14).

    In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to “redirect our steps” (ibid., 61), and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play. Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a “culture of care” (ibid., 231) and “an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature” (ibid., 139). “We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology” (ibid., 112); “to devise intelligent ways of… developing and limiting our power” (ibid., 78); and to put technology “at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral” (ibid., 112). In this regard, I am confident that America’s outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead.

    A century ago, at the beginning of the Great War, which Pope Benedict XV termed a “pointless slaughter”, another notable American was born: the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. He remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. In his autobiography he wrote: “I came into the world. Free by nature, in the image of God, I was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which I was born. That world was the picture of Hell, full of men like myself, loving God, and yet hating him; born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers”. Merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church. He was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.

    From this perspective of dialogue, I would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. It is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. When countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue – a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons – new opportunities open up for all. This has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. A good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing spaces (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 222-223).

    Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.

    Three sons and a daughter of this land, four individuals and four dreams: Lincoln, liberty; Martin Luther King, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion; Dorothy Day, social justice and the rights of persons; and Thomas Merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to God.

    Four representatives of the American people.

    I will end my visit to your country in Philadelphia, where I will take part in the World Meeting of Families. It is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a recurrent theme. How essential the family has been to the building of this country! And how worthy it remains of our support and encouragement! Yet I cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life.

    In particular, I would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. For many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. Their problems are our problems. We cannot avoid them. We need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions. At the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family, because they lack possibilities for the future. Yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they too are dissuaded from starting a family.

    A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.

    In these remarks I have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the American people. It is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.

    God bless America!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Blame the Hungry and Homeless

I had a conversation with a woman today that made me cry.

I was in a waiting room, and she was the owners wife.  We exchanged idle chit chat, she discussed at length with my encouragement the winterizing of her inground heated pool.  Their enormous motor home was parked outside.

She checked her phone and commented that Governor Lepage was in another battle.

"Oh, the Land for Maine's Future?"

(Maine voters approved a bond in the amount of some millions of dollars to purchase vulnerable habitat.  The Governor has refused to release those funds to try and coerce the legislature to do what he wants)

"No, he wants to create a rule that single people on food stamps cannot own more than 5000 in assets."

This led to a conversation between us about the less fortunate in society.  I told her that I give 5 bucks to the sign wielding homeless on the streecorners, she countered with they can turn around and walk up to the local
 walmart and get a job.

I asked her how someone who has no phone and no address and no where to even take a shower can apply for a job?

She said if they are given money they will just spend it on drugs or alcohol.

I told her I didn't care  how they spent the money I gave them.

She said they must have some kind of money coming in, disability or whatever.  I told her that some people were incapable of filling out applications for help, or may not be able to get transportation to the agency.

I find this attitude so prevelant in middle and upper middle class society. 
"Get a job!"
"Stop freeloading"
"I work my ass of to pay my bills and they are getting food stamps!"

"I am paying for those food stamps!"

Yet the fact that most of those taxes go to fatten the coffers of 450 families that control 90% of the money in this country is perfectly ok. 

I once calculated that food stamps make up .002 percent of the total federal budget.  If you pay $10,000 a year in taxes, $20 of that goes to food stamps.

I will also add most of the people around here that have decent jobs work for the state.  Their paycheck comes from taxes. 

Poor people pay taxes too.  Tax on gas, tax on non food items, tax on cell phones.

And listen to them have a fit about poor people who suffer from addictions and drink or smoke!!

Even though  tobacco taxes make up 5% of the state budget.

Go ahead, blame the hungry and homeless.

 If I had to stand on a streecorner begging for money, I would probably need a drink myself.

I certainly wanted one after that conversation.




Thursday, June 18, 2015

I Heart Pope Francis

"Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth,"

Pope Francis

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Secret

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
poetry.

I who don't know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can't find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
lines

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,
for

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

Denise Levertov

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jupiter conjunct moon

Tree2015