April 14, 2014
Since Palm Sunday is on the second Sunday of April, I should have travelled to Tempe for Chapter meeting but I didn’t because I was scheduled for participating in the service at Grace-St. Paul’s. The Gospel for Palm Sunday and the Gospel for Good Friday were both read and the Good Friday Gospel was read as play with various people reading specific people in the Gospel, I was Judas Iscariot. So, I got to read, kind of, but I missed Chapter. I should make it the 27th with no problem but next month with Memorial Day, I may be asked to take part in the service on the 4th Sunday and miss Chapter again. I do want to go to Tempe for both Chapter meetings per month but it seems like once per month is what I will be able to do for some time.
Also at church, a friend visited to do homework for his New Testament class. He is an atheist, former Roman Catholic. He liked the service and I answered some questions he had. I hope this is the start of something, but without his approval I am not going to push the issue. I really don’t like being pushy, I had to do too much of that when I was an NCO on active duty.
I am still looking for a breviary. None of the local stores, nor the gift shop of the one Episcopal Church that still has pone, carries the Anglican Breviary so I’m going to have to order online. I know where I can get one without trouble and it is occasionally listed on eBay and Amazon. So, Wednesday I order one. It will be nice to have, even if I do not continue as a Benedictine Canon, but that is not a weakening of resolve since I do not intend to drop out unless it becomes quite clear that my longing to become a monk is false; at least, in this form.
I’ve been thinking about my Arlun campaign and I am setting it to the side. I will continue to work on it but the campaign I’m going to start will be something completely different. There is a campaign setting called The World’s Largest City published by AEG. I have a copy and will run in that with side adventures. I won’t have to build a world, I can add bits and pieces to use published adventures. The game system I will be using will be the D20 / Open License system, so I have to go back over my books on that and get caught up.
Last week the Pima County Board of Supervisors put out a proclamation based upon the propaganda that women make only 77 cents per dollar that men make. That’s true but that is a median value, derived by comparing (for example) the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals with a cheerleader for the Bengals. Once like is compared to like the difference becomes something on the order of 5 cents plus or minus 1 cent. In general women do make less than men at the same job but there are reasons for that which have nothing to do with racism. I intend to speak on this this upcoming Tuesday. I will have 3 minutes and so far I have been able to get my comments down to about 15 minutes. This is a complex subject that should not be treated so simplistically as is happening on the National stage. I may just write out my comments and speak an abbreviated version. This might even be my political rant on Wednesday although I haven’t decided on what subject I will write about yet.
My arm is getting better in some ways but lifting it straight out to the side is still a problem. I need to do the exercises more regularly. I am able to use my right arm for a lot of things now and the soreness, while still present, is not as strong as before. There are days when I wish I had not opted to have the rod put in and just trust to a cast to get my arm to heal properly. However, it is too late, by several months, and at the time I was afraid of my arm not healing right. I just wish it would hurry up and heal.
For those of you who wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian, Adrian, Ken, Adam, Margaret H., Shannon, Kevin, Chris, Melanie, Jason; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Eleanor Feeney, Oma “Sam” Guard, Jacque Hendrix, Richard Jenrow, Nikki Kerns, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Barbara Reynolds, Susan Southwick, Dick Steele, Heather Williams, Michi Yamasaki, Millie Zuniga, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Laura Briggs, Donna Guy, Francesca Jarvis, Robert Jonas, Pat & Greg Kimmins, Julie LaRue, Hedy Lanczek, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Mary Wilcox, Jerry & Rondy, Barbara, Karl, Leah, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rebecca, Susan, Tony, Jane, Genie, Donnie, Rick, Russ, Shirley, Cedric, Jeri, Shane, Shannon, Virginia, Donald, Odell, Monica, Eleanor, Patty; for animal companions in need especially Luna; for those who have died especially Helen Baker, David Gooden, Dorothy Jackson; for animal companions who have died especially Artie. I also ask your prayers for the millions of Christians and Jews who have been murdered, driven from their homelands, or otherwise persecuted by Muslims all across the world in Muslim majority countries and countries where there is no Muslim majority.
What I’m watching: Still working on the Mythbusters DVDs I recently bought. I like that series quite a lot.
What I’m reading: Still on the Calvin Coolidge biography but with the need to now relearn the D20 books, that will slow down until I get caught up with the campaign setting and the rules system again
What I’m writing: I got nothing written last week and I’m not sure why. Yes, I was busy but I’ve been busy before and I was able to get at least a paragraph or so written. I’ll just have to make sure I get something done this week.
April 9, 2014
A perfect society is such a wonderful idea, what could possibly be wrong there? Well, everything.
If you read any of the books describing a perfect society such as Plato or Thomas Moore or Thomas Hobbes, or Karl Marx or whoever else tries to describe a perfect society one fact stands out. The perfect society is perfect for only a minute fraction of the population. Everyone else is suppressed and forced to live under conditions that could be best described as horrifying. And this is inherent in every such perfect society.
Perfect societies are perfect only for the person who dreams them up. For everyone else, ;their choices are limited because if they do not conform to the dictates of the one whose utopia it is then obviously society is not perfect. If there are any dissenting voices those voices must be eliminated because they might get people to not live the dream of the person who designed this utopia and live their own dream. Once the original dreamer is no longer, then the dream passes on to another dictator who modifies the dream to match the new dream, obviously merely clarifying some obscure points because changing the dream means that the dream wasn’t perfect and the new dreamer has power because of the perfection of the old dream. However, regardless of how much the dream is clarified, the utopia is a hell for the vast majority of the people living in it. That is why the Iron Curtain existed, to keep people in that hell for the benefit of the elite minority.
Go ahead, try to concoct a utopia that does not require violence or the threat thereof for it to work. Be careful, you have to know something of Human nature o else your utopia will be based upon everyone complies with what I want them to do because they realize it is for the best. They won’t realize it is for the best, they will disagree with you and insist on trying to realize their own dreams and trying to make life better for their children. Your utopian dream doesn’t even come second unless that person realizes a path to power over others in being part of your dream and enforcing your dream.
When I was in my early 20′s I tried to create a utopia that would make a perfect society that everyone would acknowledge and willing be a part of. Unfortunately I had done some studying of Human psychology and the reality of Human nature kept interfering with perfection. There is n0 person on the face of the Earth today, or in the foreseeable future, who I would trust to run a Utopian society. I would trust God but only God. You, me, or anybody else I cannot trust. But regardless of how impossible the idea is, despots keep trying to install a perfect society. Plato was smart enough to state in his book The Republic that his version of a perfect society would not work. No one else has risen to that level of wisdom yet.
So, when someone tries to talk you into supporting some program designed to make society better, remember that it will fail on the rocks of Human nature. Society will improve over the years, decades and centuries but improvement cannot be imposed without making it worse for the majority of people.
April 7, 2014
I have on occasion been late in posting one of these posts but last Wednesday I totally missed a post. So, if you have been following my political rants and wondered, I screwed up. I didn’t realize that I had forgotten to post until Friday afternoon, Tucson time, and decided to not do anything then.
Last week was a fairly normal week, with my doctor’s visit as the major thing out of ordinary. I found out that my legs and feet are swelling up again, I should have realized it without the doctor mentioning it since my shoes are getting tight but this is something that happened slowly so I missed it. I did learn that I am using my cane right, I have it on the side where I’m dragging my foot a lot, so it is nice that I guessed right on that. As I have been saying a lot lately: I don’t mind getting old, I do mind getting decrepit.
One other thing I finally realized last week is that I haven’t been moving my right arm during the day. Deliberate exercises aside, I almost never use my right arm now and that is hindering my recovery. Most of what I used to do with my right (dominate) arm, I now do with my left one. And, as I just said, that is hindering my recovery. So, I have to remember to use my right arm and force myself to use it. And it aches when I do that but I have to do it. A lot of the aches are the result of the rod holding my arm together and when I see the surgeon Tuesday I expect him to suggest having another surgery to remove it. Remembering what the last surgery was like, I am against doing that. I’ll take the aches rather than go through the pain again. Even if this time it won’t be so painful since my arm isn’t in a cast and thus blood draws can happen through my right arm where the veins can be found. Last time, the cast prevented blood draw (and anesthetic being given prior to the surgery) using that arm. In my left arm the veins are not accessible so blood draw had to be done through my hand and I was screaming in pain each time that happened. Plus, the surgeon gave me an anesthetic through the old-fashioned mask until I was out and then for the remainder of the surgery it was given through my foot. After the surgery I had trouble walking for a day or so. Granted, my right arm could be used this time but I am still not welcoming a repeat of the surgery.
I am still hunting down an Anglican Breviary. None of the church supply stores here have it or can get it through their regular supply chain. I am going to try through one of the local Episcopal churches and if they cannot get it, then I am going to have to order it on-line. I would rather go through a local source and support local businesses when I can. Then, my next hunt is for a suitable cassock. Again, I doubt I can get one locally and will have to order through an on-line store.
Next Sunday is Palm Sunday and I should be travelling to Tempe for Chapter meeting but I am scheduled to take part in the service so I skip this week. My usher schedule lets me travel twice a month now and what happens? The first week I should travel up to Tempe this month, I can’t. However, next month will be the start of twice a month until there is a fifth Sunday in a month when instead of ushering on the third Sunday of a month, it will be the second and I miss Chapter for that week and am back on the once a month instead of twice a month schedule for attending Chapter.
For those of you who wish to do so, please pray for Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian, Adrian, Ken, Adam, Margaret H., Shannon, Chris, Melanie, Jason; for those in need especially Katherine Bernard, Eleanor Feeney, Oma “Sam” Guard, Richard Jenrow, Nikki Kerns, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Danielle Phillips, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Dick Steele, Heather Williams, Michi Yamasaki, Millie Zuniga, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Laura Briggs, Donna Guy, Francesca Jarvis, Robert Jonas, Julie LaRue, Hedy Lanczek, Maribel Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Mary Wilcox, Jerry & Rondy, Karl, Leah, Mike & Rainbow, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rebecca, Susan, Jane, Genie, Donnie, Rick, Russ, Shirley, Cedric, Jeri, Shane, Shannon, Virginia, Donald, Odell, Monica, Eleanor, Patty; for animal companions in need especially Luna; for those who have died especially Helen Baker, Dorothy Jackson, James E. Chaffin III; for animal companions who have died especially Artie. I also ask that you pray for the millions of Christians and Jews who have been murdered, driven from their homes, or otherwise persecuted in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mali, and elsewhere by Muslims.
What I am reading: Coolidge by Amity Shlaes. This is an interesting biography so far. Like most Americans, I knew little of the man.
What I am watching: Mythbusters Season 6 & 7. I just bought these and am going through them. I like the series as it presents science in an interesting way. I doubt it is always accurate, I actually know it isn’t, but it is fun to watch as long as I don’t watch too many episodes in a row.
What I am writing: I got a little done on Magic in the Monastery done last week. I hope to get more done this week.
March 30, 2014
Yesterday I was up in Tempe Arizona for the ceremony where Brother Philip took his final vows as a Benedictine Canon. Very nice ceremony. I await the day when I take mine although it will probably be at least two years or maybe three before I reach that stage. I met a couple of Benedictine Canons from another community in the Phoenix area. If I remember right they were the Order of Silent Contemplation. I could be wrong, my memory isn’t as good as it used to be (it never was) and I heard their name only the once and never remembered to ask for them to repeat it so I could remember it. Anyway, their Order is another ecumenical order much like the Order of Saint Andrew. The one monk who I spoke with the most said that he had been told be an old Benedictine monk that the form of monastic life that we canons represented was probably the future of monastic life. That is, living under a Rule but not in a community but rather in the community and meeting as a community on a regular basis. I think that having a monastic community attached to each parish would be a good thing since the monastic spirituality would be more visible and available to the parish.
Last Friday, as I was on my way to the Election Integrity Commission meeting I talked with a woman about spirituality. I thought I spoke well and she did say that she would attend Grace-St. Paul’s this Sunday (today) but I didn’t see her so she either forgot, was tied up with something else, or was just being polite. I hope it wasn’t the last reason.
Looking back over what I did last week, it wasn’t much. I seem to remember being busy all week but thinking on the results, little or nothing. The high point, perhaps, was getting a haircut and beard trim. Late last spring I was waiting at a bus stop and a woman came up and spoke about my having her do my hair. She was at a “multicultural” beauty salon but I admired her willingness to go out and drum up business so I tried her. I was the only white guy in the salon, everyone else except one of the beauticians was black, but I got a good haircut and I enjoyed myself. Plus, the salon is within walking distance for me. So, if you are in Tucson and are willing to try her, I recommend Julia’s Multicultural Beauty Center and ask for Tammie. And I hate to make recommendations.
Tuesday, probably, or maybe Wednesday I will go to St. Philip’s in the Hills to visit their gift shop and see about getting an Anglican Breviary. As I have mentioned, I intend to become a Benedictine Canon and a breviary (a monastic prayer book set up according to the Rule) will be greatly helpful. I can get one on-line but I prefer to use local stores when I can. I may have to order on-line but I’ll try St. Philip’s first. Since the buses don’t go by there, I’ll have a nice walk. And I need to exercise more ion order to get my weight down to where I want it to be.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop of Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military and especially those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian, Adrian, Ken, Adam, Margaret H., Shannon, Chris, Melanie, Jason; for those in need especially Robin Beelen, Katherine Bernard, Jay Elliston, Eleanor Feeney, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu, Dorothy Jackson, Richard Jenrow, Dana Maiello, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Jennifer Orvis, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Dick Steele, Heather Williams, Millie Zuniga, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Do0nna Guy, Francesca Jarvis, Brian Johnson, Peggy Southwick, Sandra Steffes, Jack & Mary Lou Sullivan, Tarke Sweet, Mary Wilcox, Bethany, Brenda, Cathy, Chelsea, Conner, David, Deana, Diana, Hayden, Jennifer, Jerry & Rondy, Jordan, Joshua, Justin, Karl, Mary Jo & Maureen, Mike & Rainbow, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & family, Jane, Gerie, Donnie, Rick, Russ, Shirley, Cedric, Jeri, Shane, Shannon, Virginia, Donald, Odell, Monica, Eleanor, Patty, Judy Turberg, Kurt Monroe, Ron Adinolfi, Sylvia, Father Ernest, Amy Bryan & Dave, Scott & Starlette Baker, Gerry Smith, Manny Cruiz, Maria, Wendy, Ty & her mother, Judy & Jeromy, John & A.., Dana Gault, Roy Jr., Chris & her cousin, David Carey; for animal companions in need especially ZsaZsa, Ziggy, Miss Liberty; for those who have died especially George “Yami” Yamasaki, Elise Petropoulos, Jackson Steffes; for animal companions who have died especially Salander. Please also pray for the millions of Christians and Jews who have been murdered, driven from their homes or otherwise persecuted by Muslims in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan & South Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere.
What I’m reading: Not much of anything except some Harn material and some Nero Wolfe.
What I’m writing: I got nothing written last week.
What I’m watching: Just the occasional old western, some news shows and some Simpsons reruns.
March 27, 2014
The Progressive Income Tax is based upon discrimination, in the bad sense of the word. If you believe in the principle of equality before the law then you must oppose a progressive income tax. The progressive income tax is based upon hatred and bigotry.
Yes, I know that the idea behind the progressive income tax is that those with more should pay more. But think about it, when you go to the store, does the cashier ask for your income in order to determine the price of a loaf of bread? The price is set by the seller and does not vary by your income. Why then should government services? And yes, you can choose between various loaves of bread, of different types and prices, but you cannot do that with government services. There is no competition in military protection and the government is working to eliminate any service that might compete with its offering.
So, the progressive income tax is obviously discriminatory. It requires paying for services in a manner done no where else and by nobody else. The fact that it is a bad idea is borne out by the fact that whenever it is discussed, those supporting it will not argue the progressive income tax on its merits but instead argue the religious belief that the “rich” should pay more, a clear example of the unfairness of the idea.
If you read the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution you will notice that the Federal Government may impose a tax on income from whatever source derived. So, if we eliminate all the deductions and adjustments and credits and all the income not presently figured into the taxable income total then we can set a tax rate much lower than now, even the lowest of the rates used in the progressive income tax – 15%. If Congress believes that certain causes are worthy, then Congress should appropriate the money once collected and be honest about it.
With no income not taxed the tax rate can be set at a percentage that is easy to compute for the average taxpayer. I prefer a 10% rate; after all, God only wants 10% why should the government get more? By setting, and keeping, a fixed rate without adjustments, deductions, credits and whatever business, and personal, planning can be done with more confidence. People will be more willing to work harder, invent more, start up businesses and generally expand the economy without the disincentive of a higher tax rate. The way it is now, if you get a promotion, or a raise, you might end up with less money in your bank account because of the higher taxes involved. That isn’t good, either for you or the economy as a whole.
I have been asked about businesses and their need to invest in their business. If they can’t deduct their business expenses then they are getting hurt. Actually that isn’t the case. If you put $10,000 into a savings account and withdraw $500 every month only that part of the $500 that is not part of the $10,000 that you originally put into the account is taxed. The rest is not new income and thus not taxed. It would be the same with a business. The person(s) starting up the business would put some of their money into the business at the start and throughout the life of the business. Money paid out to the investors, and money reinvested into the business would be taxed, but that tax would not start until the amount of money (already taxed) invested is withdrawn rom the business.
People and businesses would have a stable tax system and would be able to plan with greater certainty. Government would not have to spend the millions of dollars on the IRS writing rules and trying to enforce them. The IRS would shrink to just a handful o people compared to now and the tax code could be understood by just about anyone. Instead, now we have a tax code that even the IRS (who wrote it) can’t understand with any regularity.
March 24, 2014
Sunday again and here I am wondering if what I write has any effect on what other people think. I started this blog with the hope that my thoughts on politics and my personal life would inspire other people, even if only slightly. But I sit here and wonder because of the slight evidence that other people read my posts. Yes, occasionally I exchange comments with someone on a specific post, but I wonder if anyone stays with my thoughts for any length of time. Go back through my posts and look, someone will comment on a specific post and then vanish, so to speak. I get the occasional person who likes more than one post but the comments are one and done as it were. Oh well, I’d still be doing this even if no one commented I think. I do like to get my thoughts written down and by writing them I clear up a lot of the confusion I have. I can take both sides of an argument, quite often, and make an argument in support of whatever. Normally I will come down on one side after thinking about something for a while, and I do try to find out the information on both sides of an issue before deciding what to stand for. When my family lived in San Diego CA, I attended the public school system there. I attended Albert Einstein Junior High School, the dedication had Albert Einstein Jr. dedicating the Junior High School named for his father, and Claremont High School, until my family moved to Loveland Ohio where I graduated from high school. And while I was there the San Diego school system in 1964 acted like it was part of the LBJ election campaign. My father was upset and told me: Unless you honestly look at both sides of an issue, you don’t have an opinion, you are a parrot. And I try to live up to that ideal after not realizing how wise it was for many years.
All this is a preamble to my statement why I rarely believe any specific source on anything. Several sources saying the same thing yes that I can believe I can trust; but even then I try to hold a suspicious mind. Which is why I like comments, these allow me to possibly see an aspect I hadn’t considered before. But, before you start in that I haven’t considered something, beware. I might have considered and rejected it or discounted it. As an example my views on Human Caused Global Warming are based upon my training and experience as an electronics technician. Thus, when someone says that the science is settled, I discount what they say because I know that science is NEVER settled. When someone says that 97% of all scientists agree on this issue, and I check and find that the percentage is about 35% once you take out those whose income depends upon supporting the idea of human caused global warming then I discount whatever else that person says. But if someone comes up with some new information I consider it, I hope I consider it honestly as my father told me to do. But I haven’t seen any new information on this subject or most others.
So I go through the week plodding along, trying to get some writing done and some research done and rarely getting as much done as I want to get done. If I had the time and opportunity I would learn everything I could, even chemistry. I haven’t talked about chemistry yet and why I know so little about it. Back in high school I had to take a semester of chemistry. The instructor was a jerk. His favorite story was about the time his sister rejected a suitor and the guy blew his brains out. My instructor thought that was funny. At the end of the semester he called me up to his desk and showed me his grade book, with the names of all the students except mine covered (it was no hardship to do that as my name was at the bottom of the list). I received a “D” and my percentage score was two points below two other students who had each received an “F” as their final grade. Even in my biology class my grade dropped from an “A” to a “C” for the biochemistry section. Chemistry and I do not get along. But, maybe it has been long enough so that I can start studying chemistry and actually learn something.
Last week I spent some time doing work for the Pima County Election Integrity Commission. And, at the Pima County Board of Supervisors meeting I got up and spoke on the issue of buying new central count equipment. If the idea of election equipment is too esoteric for you, consider that the integrity of elections is vital to the continued existence of democracy in this country. There are too many uninvestigated reports of election irregularities and fraud for good people to not be concerned. I am concerned and actually find the issue interesting. Not overwhelming but still interesting. I do what I can. The BOS listened to our report and arguments on the issue of a requirement in the Election Procedures Manual that is not required by either State or Federal law and voted to ask the Arizona Secretary of State to waive or eliminate that requirement. Did I bore you yet? When you vote, do you want your vote counted as you cast it? If so, you can understand my concern with elections.
This coming Saturday I am up to Tempe for a ceremony. One of the canons in my chapter is making his final vows this Saturday and I am going up to support him. Now that there is a fifth Sunday the usher schedule will shift a week and I can make it up for chapter meetings twice a month now instead of once; at least until the next fifth Sunday happens and I usher on the second Sunday and thus miss that chapter meeting. It costs almost $100 each time I go up and if I saved up that money, in a year or two I’d have my own car and not have to pay for the shuttle to go up to Tempe. But, going up on the shuttle prevents that savings so I stay on the shuttle until I get some money from another source and can buy a car. Twenty years ago I got rid of my car because I never needed it, now I do and don’t have it. Not that that car would have lasted until now. If I had kept my 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit diesel I would probably still have a working car now, but I had to get rid of it because it would not start in the cold weather and I was stationed at a Northern Tier base at the time, I had to get it push started every morning when it was cold and it was cold from October to April. Oh well, if we knew what was going to happen life would not be as interesting.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military especially those in combat zones especially for Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian, Adrian, Ken, Adam, Margaret H., Shannon, Kevin, Chris, Melanie, Jason; for those in need especially Robin Beelen, Katherine Bernard, Jay Elliston, Eleanor Feeney, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu, Dorothy Jackson, Richard Jenrow, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Jennifer Orvis, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Millie Zuniga, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Francesca Jarvis, Brian Johnson, Cheryl Johnson, Robert Jonas, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Mari Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Jack & Mary Lou Sullivan, Tarke Sweet, Mary Wilcox, Brenda, Deana, Jennifer, Jerry & Rondy, Joshua, Karl, Mary Jo & Maureen, Mike & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Jane, Gerie, Donnie, Rick, Russ, Shirley, Cedric, Jeri, Shane, Shannon, Virginia, Donald, Odell, Monica, Eleanor, Patty; for animal companions in need especially ZsaZsa, Ziggy, Miss Liberty; for those who have died especially Nichole Dryfous, George “Yami” Yamasaki, Elise Petropoulos; for animal companions who have died especially Salander. In addition I ask that you pray for the thousands of Christians who have been murdered, the tens of thousands of Christians who have been driven from their homelands and the hundreds of thousand of Christians being persecuted in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and elsewhere as well as the unknown number of Jews in each category.
What I’m writing: Still plugging away at Magic in the Monastery but making slow progress.
What I’m reading: The main book I’m reading is The Bowmen of England by Donald Featherstone. But I’m reading some Nero Wolfe as well.
What I’m watching: Not much of anything except Jeopardy and some news shows.
March 20, 2014
Two weeks ago I wrote about President Obama’s response to the Ukraine situation and compared him unfavorably with President Truman. This week I’ll explore another aspect of the situation, and probably confuse some people since there was no hint of this position two weeks ago.
In several of the reports about the situation is has been stated that in an opinion poll just a couple of years ago 47% of the Crimean people wanted to leave Ukraine and join Russia. In the recent election with large numbers of heavily-armed Russian troops present, 93% voted to do so. Granted this sounds a lot like the old Soviet elections l can remember reading about. Plus, there are reports that the ballot was constructed in such a way that it was almost impossible to vote to remain with Ukraine. I haven’t confirmed this but if it is true, I wouldn’t be surprised.
So, why do I accept this election even though there is evidence that it is coerced and fraudulent? There are many separatist movements throughout the world and not all are fraudulent. The Scottish Independence movement, the Tamil, the Basque, and various other separatist movements, as a general rule, reflect the wishes and desires of various ethnic groups and regions. To unilaterally act against the Crimean people’s wishes absent evidence that the vote was coerced and fraudulent is to discredit all of the other movements valid and invalid.
A world of a thousand small states might have wars but those small states will not be able to afford nuclear weapons and thus the scale of war would be reduced. Also, small states will probably be small enough so that the population can pay attention to the government better. If, however, one or two large states continue without dissolving due to separatist movements then those large states could intimidate the others. Thus, I doubt that it would happen for a long time due to the fact that there are too many Cold War warriors left yet alive.
So, Ukraine has lost a significant part of itself. A part, that according to reports, the Ukrainian Government and people have treated badly. I don’t know why Khrushchev moved Crimea from Russia to Ukraine, no one alive does, but it would have been better, I think, if that had not happened. The main reason why President Clinton guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine was to rid that country of nuclear weapons stored primarily in Crimea, something that would not have been needed if it was never part of Ukraine. So, now President Obama may have to up the ante in guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Ukraine and given how much the rest of the world, especially Russia, sees him as a weakling, the chance of a war over Ukrainian territory has increased. If a show of military force had been presented Russia might have not pushed so hard, but given that President Obama is widely perceived as a liar, more so that other politicians, it might not have. But, one can dream.
It has been widely reported that President Putin wants to recreate the Soviet Empire even if not with as tight of control over the other nations in Eastern Europe. That might be. Humans are strange in a lot of ways. If that is so, he is at the stage that Hitler was at when he was gathering all Germanic peoples to Germany. Success breeds excess and I doubt that President Putin will stop with what he has accomplished so far.
March 17, 2014
Once again I sit down on a Sunday evening and write about my life. Some of you, I hope, find it interesting and even, perhaps, thought-provoking. Maybe not.
Last week was a week of cancelations – two of them. The Election Integrity Commission had to cancel the scheduled meeting because someone forgot to post the notice of the meeting as required by the Arizona Revised Statutes. So, it got rescheduled for the end of the month. Which means that come Tuesday when we speak before the Pima County Board of Supervisors we won’t have had a chance to get some points clear nor get what we want to say straight. Oh well, fighting for a change in the Election Procedures Manual so that the County has better options while buying new election equipment probably won’t go anywhere but the attempt must be made. The other cancelation was the weekly game with my friends. The family whose house we meet at has a child, not quite two-years old, who came down sick and so no game while the parents deal with a sick child. Mama is at the edge of her nerves from what Papa texted when cancelling the game. I have no children so my memories of sick children are from when my brothers were young: over fifty years ago.
I am still attending the Pima County Board of Supervisors weekly meetings. I find them interesting and chatting with the various Supervisors I learn a lot about politics. I haven’t seen fit to change my politics but the workings of county government are interesting. If you can, I urge you to attend whatever local government meetings you can, even if there is nothing on the agenda that you thing is important to you. Ordinary citizens attending such meetings can help keep government straight. Corruption and despotism are easier behind closed doors or when actions are effectively in secret because no one cares. That’s enough of politics for today, maybe I’ll expound on this point Wednesday
Sitting here, thinking about my week past, it is amazing to me just how full a week can be but full of nothing really important; at least, important enough to write about here. No one wants to read about the hours I spent on the bus bored out of my skull waiting to get to where I was going or the hours I spent waiting for the bus at various stops. So I ignore that and all the other little things I do that are interesting, sort of, because of what I’m doing elsewhere but not interesting for a paragraph here. I mean, I mention that I got some done on Magic in the Monastery but most of that was trying to research 12th Century England so that I don’t write stupid things. Not interesting to you, right? Oh well.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military and those in combat zones especially Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian, Adrian, Ken, Adam, Margaret H., Shannon, Kevin, Chris, Melanie, Jason; for those in need especially Robin Beelen, Jay Elliston, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu, Dorothy Jackson, Richard Jenrow, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Jennifer Orvis, Elise Petropoulos, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Millie Zuniga, Ed, Lee, Betsy Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Francesca Jarvis, Brian Johnson, Cheryl Johnson, Robert Jonas, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Mari Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Jack & Mary Lou Sullivan, Tark Sweet, Mary Wilcox, Brenda, Deana, Jennifer, Jerry & Rondy, Joshua, Karl, Mary Jo, Maureen, Mike & Rainbow, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rob, Jane, Gerie, Donnie, Rick, Russ, Shirley, Cedrick, Jeri, Shane, Shannon, Virginia, Donald, Odell, Monica, Eleanor, Patty, Judy Turberg, Kurt Monroe, Ron Adinolfi, Sylvia, Father Ernest, Amy Bryan & Dave, Scott & Starlette Baker, Gerry Smith, Manny Cruiz, Maria, Wendy, Ty & her mother, Judy & Jeromy, John & A.J., Dana Gault, Roy Jr., Chris & her cousin, David Carey; for animal companions in need especially ZsaZsa, Ziggy; for those who have died especially Nichole Dryfous, George “Yami” Yamasaki, Michael Rael, and the husband of Carol; for animal companions who have died especially Salander. I also ask that you pray for all refugees and for the thousands of Christians murdered, the tens of thousands of Christians driven from their homes and the hundreds of thousands of Christians persecuted in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Nigeria, Libya, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere by Muslims; and the unknown number of Jews treated the same.
What I’m watching: Not much of anything except the news and the occasional old show on one of the cable channels.
What I’m writing: Still plugging away at Magic in the Monastery but I have dropped the Arlun campaign for now.
What I’m reading: GURPS books, the occasional Nero Wolfe and now various Harn materials since I have decided to use the Harn campaign setting for my upcoming campaign.
March 13, 2014
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
The borders of America are no where near as secure as the Iron Curtain was but that cost several million dollars a mile for security back in the 1970′s and didn’t cover the entire length of the East-West border. Our borders with Canada are extremely porous both into Alaska and into the continental region. Our border with Mexico is less so but not by much. Our seaboards are just as porous, if not more so.
Why care about the border and its security? The border is what helps define America: that is, this is America and that five feet over there is not. Just as your home is defined by borders: inside this wall is mine and outside is not (for an apartment or condominium) or inside this line is my property and outside it is not. Defined borders are everywhere in our lives. Indeed, one would have to go back several thousand years to a time when such did not define the majority of peoples lives in at least some fashion.
So, we have clearly defined borders and everyone inside those borders is an American, right? Wrong. Not only are there tourists and resident aliens and students and various other groups of people here legally but there are those here in violation of the law as well. The numbers given for those last are suspect as far as I am concerned since those numbers come from people and organizations with an agenda in the issue of people here illegally. Even the most accurate numbers (comparatively speaking) are little more that educated guesses (estimates) with no way to check on the accuracy of those numbers. The Government – pushing for granting amnesty and citizenship – has reason to inflate those numbers and those screaming for a more secure border have also a reason for inflating those numbers. Both sides seem to have settled on a number somewhere around eleven to twelve million people in that category.
If the border is not defined with any real meaning then people can ignore it and the existence of America separate from any other country can blur. But the border cannot be secured to the point where only those we wish to let in are able to enter. As I mentioned before, in another post, the immigration quota system started out from the racism of the Progressives believing that certain ethnic groups were inferior and did not deserve to be able to enter America. Ethnic quotas are gone but the bigoted idea that only the government can decide who is worthy to enter still stays. And yet those people find a way into America once rejected, or once they believe they will be rejected. And, as a result, we enter again into the cycle of amnesty and free citizenship. And, once this has been done, it will start over again because the underlying causes have not been dealt with.
I am not going to advocate placing a minefield all along our various land borders. Land mines have a valid place in war but none in civilian life. Besides, there is a better way to deal with border security. Eliminate the quota and let anyone in who passes a criminal background check and has no infectious diseases. The amount of traffic across the borders at someplace other than a crossing point will decrease with the only ones who will be crossing elsewhere are smugglers and other such. Those will be easier to handle since they will be burdened with whatever they are smuggling. Of course, terrorists trying to enter will still be harder to spot but ore resources will be available for that task since the resources now used to catch migrants will become available.
The idea of a border fence is attractive but such a fence will not stop migrants but might deter smugglers who are burdened with goods. And, of course, those who smuggle in sex slaves will still have problems getting through checkpoints but, again, more resources will be available for that task. Eliminating the Progressive idea that only certain people can be permitted into America and returning to our roots as a nation of immigrants frees up resources and reduces the need for those resources to counter immigrants who come in violation of the law will free up those resources for real border security and indeed, the overall security of America.
March 10, 2014
Just about an hour ago I got back from Chapter meeting in Tempe. I enjoy visiting St. Augustine’s where the service is slightly different than at Grace-St. Paul’s. Both parishes follow the Book of Common Prayer but there are differences between the two that keep me on my toes. Then after the service there is the Chapter doing Sext in Plainsong, which I am still getting used to and using the Breviary rather than the BCP. I need to get my own breviary for use at all other times besides the chapter Sext. I have committed myself to trying my best at being a Benedictine Canon and this is part of it.
I tried to get a breviary for myself by bidding on a used one on EBay but I got outbid at the last minute. I’ll have to get one elsewhere and probably a new one which doesn’t bother me as I intend to keep it and use it for the rest of my life. Once I have that, the next on my list is a cassock and later, once I make my vows, a hooded scapular. The Prior, Brother Chad and the other members of the Chapter take their cassock off once they leave the church campus, I was going to ask but forgot, it that is a requirement. It isn’t a big deal either way but I had in mind using my religious garb as a means of outreach. I have talked about a religious life to several people but those conversations started on another subject and drifted to religious life. I think it would be nice if, by wearing my religious garb, people would ask me about religious life and I could start a conversation based upon what they ask rather than drifting into such a conversation. Wearing my garb would be an invitation to conversation.
The election machinery in Pima County is wearing out at an increasing pace. There was a special meeting of the Election Integrity Commission last Friday to take some action on the issue. From a comment made during the meeting, I forget by whom, this is a problem elections departments face all over the country. What makes is worse is that the Federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is dysfunctional and cannot be expected to certify new equipment, which is one of (if not the) primary jobs of the EAC. The Arizona Secretary of State has added a requirement in the Election Procedures Manual that any equipment we (Pima County) buy has to have an EAC certificate – a requirement not stated in the Arizona Revised Statues. So, the meeting was finalize a pair of letters, one to the Board of Supervisors asking them to ask the Secretary of State to waive or drop that extra requirement and a sample letter that the Board could use to write their letter to the Secretary of State. These won’t be on this weeks agenda but on the agenda for March 18th. This week I have to meet with my Supervisor and discuss the issue with him in hopes of persuading him to support action now. Plus there is the regular EIC meeting this Friday and I have to run around seeing about a breviary. Nice full week.
I got the first book in the Sister Fidelma series and read it. As a detective novel it isn’t all that great as I was able to figure out who the murder was very quickly but the story is good and the background color is great. I enjoyed it in spite of the low quality as a detective novel – it is too good on all the other levels as a novel. I am going to collect the series and I hope that Peter Tremayne gets better as a mystery writer.
If you wish to do so, please pray for: Katharine the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Kirk the Bishop for Arizona, Steve and the other clergy of Grace-St Paul’s Episcopal Church; for those in the military and in combat zones especially Adrian, Ken, Adam, Margaret H., Shannon, Kevin, Chris, Melanie, Jason, Ronald Berryhill, Christopher Gallo, Michael Hannan, Andrew Harris, Donna Heath, Frederick Jenning, Jordan S. Marks, Eric Osche, Mark Pundt, Terrence Robinson, Laramie Struble, Brian; for those in need especially Jane, Gerie, Donnie, Rick, Russ, Shirley, Cedric, Jeri, Shane, Shannon, Virginia, Donald, Odell, Monica, Eleanor, Patty, Robin Beelen, Jay Elliston, Oma “Sam” Guard, Sara Heitshu, Christine Nelson, Suzanne Nystrom, Jennifer Orvis, Elise Petropoulos, Doree Ramey, Susan Southwick, Heather Williams, Millie Zuniga, Ed, Lee, Betsey Bret Harte & Mkay Zeeb, Francisca Jarvis, Brian Johnson, Cheryl Johnson, Robert Jonas, Tony Jones, Julie LaRue, Mari Ortiz, Peggy Southwick, Jack & Mary Lou Sullivan, Tark Sweet, Beryl Todd, Mary Wilcox, Amy, Phil & Vince, Charlie, Deana, Jerry & Rondy, Joshua, Karl, Mary Jo, Maureen, Mike & Rainbow, Monica & Carri, Nichole, Nick & Emily, Rob, Judy Turberg, Kurt Monroe, Ron Adinolfi, Sylvia, Father Ernest, Amy Bryan & Dave, Scott & Starlight Baker, Gerry Smith, Manny Cruiz, Maria, Wendy, Ty & her mother, Judy & Jeromy, John & AJ, Roxie. Dana Gault, Roy Jr., David Carey; for animal companions in need especially ZsaZsa, Ziggy; for animal companions who have died especially Salander; for those who have died especially Nichole Dryfous, Michael Rael, the husband of Carol, Charles the husband of Roxie, David L. Poirier, Caleb L. Erickson. I also ask that you pray for the thousands of Christians who have been murdered, the tens of thousands of Christians who have been driven from their homes and the hundreds of thousands of Christians who are being persecuted – as well as the unknown number of thousands of Jews in those categories as well – in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia and elsewhere by moderate Muslims.
I’ve stopped working on my Arlun campaign and have decided to use the Harn campaign setting but stay with the GURPS rules. This way I don’t have to make all the maps, that is already done and the societies are done up as well. This way I just have to come up with the adventures and I have sources for those – the company that makes the setting has some published and I expect more. Plus, now that I can concentrate on adventures I should be able to come up with some. I have ideas already.
What I’m reading: Harn material and GURPS books, of course. But I’m also reading The Making of the First World War by Jan F.W. Beckett. It isn’t what I expected but it is interesting nonetheless.
What I’m watching: Not much of anything, except the late night news and maybe the Simpsons. I haven’t even been watching any of the DVDs I have.
What I’m writing: I have been getting some done on Magic in the Monastery but not a lot. I discovered I skipped a whole section that I wanted to have and I’ve been going through what I have written to make sure that I have written something that would make inserting that part troublesome.