Crazy People, Religion, and guns

Its hard for a sane man, and indeed I don’t often call myself a sane man, nevertheless, I’m wondering about these people who murder in the name of religion.

They had a skit on SNL tonight – something like “Should I weigh in on this”.   It makes one think.  Still I feel the need to note that a little over a week ago a small band of Muslim religious fanatics hit 6 locations in Paris murdering hundreds of people almost exclusively by automatic weapons.  Cold.  Personal.  Random.  Murder.

They were inspired by their religion.  Many others of their religion say “This is not us”.  “Our religion is peace.”

The religion I was raised in calls itself a religion of peace.  They went to these middle east countries and murdered muslims in the name of peace.  Hundreds of years ago.  But people don’t forget the insult.

The muslims call the “west” Crusaders.  Its something they say with great disdain.   Still, recently we (the west.  the British and the Americans) exploited their “backwardness” for our oil that they had under their sand.

I don’t know how many cold blooded murders in the name of Allah the god of peace it takes to change it from a religion of peace to one of war.

Bill Maher says Muslims are having their age of religious wars right now.  The one group is making people recite dogma correctly or murdering them.

Their killings are intentional.  Brutal.  Personal and random as well as directed.

My country has been dropping bombs since the last attack on America.  From the sky. Kkilling from a distance.  By remote control, and accepting random innocent deaths in the deal.

The arms dealers are profiting like mad.

Like madness.

Sunni Muslims took over planes 14 years ago from our ally in Saudi Arabia and attacked us.

Apparently they have schools over there where they teach  children how to murder.  Apparently rape, is a tool of war.

I used to debate cultural relativism with an old college roommate.  I used to say murder is always wrong.  I used to say female genital mutilation is wrong.  Now I’m not sure if there is a space between self defense, war, and murder, categorically.  Always.  I can see nothing but fear, subjugation, and cruelty in female genital mutilation.

I used to say some wars can be righteous.

I wonder if death from the sky for 14 years would have fit under the rubric of justice for me then.

I know these murderers in Paris were Muslim.  Were directed by leaders of a faction calling itself the true Islam.  They were evil.  Is Islam evil?

I know drone death from the sky in the middle east comes from America.  Are we evil?

I know its too simple to say they hate our freedom.  And I think I know the Saudis are supporting these mass murderers and getting military aide from the U.S.  Which seems to say we are paying them to kill us and protecting our enemies.  They are our friends?  I believe they are playing both sides against the middle.

I know our “enemies” the Shiite Iranians are helping us fight Daesh (also called ISIS, ISIL and the evil ones).

I don’t believe in Good and Evil.  However I do believe in right and wrong.

And I believe that many many people in Iran like the US, are educated and middle class and want rapprochement with the US.  As do the Syrian refugees, who are fleeing Daesh by the millions from Syria.  And these people overran our embassy 35 years ago and kidnapped and tortured our people for 444 days.   Of course we were sheltering their brutal dictator that we put into power.   They are also fighting against our enemies alongside our enemies (the Russians).

And Republican American politicians are saying keep the Syrian refugees out.   But then they say keep everyone out who doesn’t have a computer science degree.  These people from our right call Muslims evil.  My hero Bill Maher, a leftie calls Islam evil.  The religion itself.  The teachings.  Most Muslims in the world live in peace, yet a small percent applaud the evil of terrorism.

What I don’t know is if we are evil too.

I think war itself is changing.  I don’t like Islam, but huge majorities of Muslims are peaceful.  Some Americans claim to be followers of the King of Peace, and they want war.

I’m not sure about much.  However I know those 130 people murdered in Paris last week were innocent.

This I like:  Liberté, égalité, fraternité


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Music in the 1970s

Years ago I saw a commercial for the 70’s Restoration Society and I laughed.  I thought it was the middle of an SNL type show and this was a skit.   People loved the 70’s music it seemed.

Well I grew up in the 1970’s and here’s what I have to say about 1970’s Rock and Roll.

Crosby Stills and Nash

The Eagles

Fleetwood Mac


Now I consider the 1960’s to have ended about 1972.  Its also my time, for me, ya know.  And its the best music, of ever.

I may add to this list, right now I don’t feel the need to, and in any event it will never contain the names Neil Sadaka, or The Captain and Tennille.

Ok, well, Warren Zevon, and Steely Dan (really more jazz fusion).

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Dana Carvey is Huge

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David Brooks’ comment expresses what I’ve been feeling

Speaking about what they themselves call the “Freedom Caucus” but what others have termed the “Hell No!” caucus, David Brooks, self described Conservative, had this to say:

These insurgents can’t even acknowledge democracy’s legitimacy — if you can’t persuade a majority of your colleagues, maybe you should accept their position. You might be wrong! – David Brooks

Here’s the whole article

In his underrated and fundamental non-fiction Eat The Rich, Conservative commentator PJ O’Rourke argues that the thing that keeps us from destroying ourselves is a fundamental faith in institutions. Buy Eat The Rich .   PJ suggests that once we can’t rely on our institutions we have anarchy.

I believe David Brooks is saying that these so-called Conservatives aren’t conservative, aren’t revolutionary, but rather nihilistic.

They act like temperamental children who want to take their ball and go home.

They aren’t governing.

They should behave like grown ups, or be sent home to make room for grown ups.

Unfortunately it is difficult to dislodge them since they have already corrupted the institution of the House Of Representatives by gerrymandering districts so radically that they have ensconced themselves in office.  They need only to listen to the most intransigent, irrational members of their constituencies to retain their position within the institution.

They are like termites.  They have burrowed so deeply into the wood, they may destroy their own house.

I hope David Brooks has sent at least a working number of these children into quiet thoughtful reflection.

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Thanks Teddy

Today is national Poetry Day in national Haiku Month – here goes

Catskills, Adirondacks

red, orange,  blue Finger Lakes

don’t tell anyone


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Bye Yogi

Today they announced culmination of an extraordinary life.  I can’t add any laudits not already heaped upon Yogi Berra.   I can’t dig up a new Yogi-ism most people haven’t already heard, though, if you haven’t, yourself, dug up all of Yogi’s great sayings, do that.

So I’ll hereby salute a great life humbly lived.

Bye Yogi

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Sigh – or – How I met the girl I wanted to meet for 35 years, and it wasn’t her

Spoons.  We used to play spoons.

We only spent a week together, and there were about a dozen other people there too, but we used to play spoons.  She loved it.

During the day the young people at the farm would work either on the new dormitory or on the farm itself.  Roles were somewhat traditional, I think.  Vaguely.

Sometimes we would go into town with Father Dave and visit with families in his congregation.  Charging out to greet us yelling “Father Dave!  Father Dave.”  Some of my reservations went away and since we were building things and making people happy, it seemed like a good place.

In the evening we would play “Spoons”.    Sort of like musical chairs but I think we had to pick up a spoon and stick it on our noses; not really sure how to play the game, but the short girl with the weird name loved it.

I was the oldest of the volunteers.  The staff was older, but that was pretty much just Jo and Father Dave.  Murt wasn’t there for most of that week.  Mike Mooney was a fun kid.  Eileen was hot!

But increasingly the girl with the weird name and I spent more and more time together.

Then the week was over.

I got an invite to a party from Eileen when we got back home.  She was at the university, but I couldn’t find her room.

Later I asked the short girl out.  I don’t remember how much later, or how old she was.  She was younger than I and pretty much pure in spirit, so to speak.

And she had this weird name.

We went out once.  A Harry Chapin concert.  He was late.  3 hours late.  He said “I’m gonna play my ass off for you!” when he got there.  And he did.

I loved the show.  She loved that I loved it.  Now that I think about it, she hadn’t known Harry Chapin.

But she was SO pure, I didn’t know how to touch her.  So I treated her like a friend.  Then we drifted apart.


It might have been a year later.  Maybe 2.  I saw her at the nude beach at Empire Lake, and I realized she wasn’t as innocent as I had thought.  Apparently so did the guy she was with, they were both naked.  I however, had modestly kept my bathing suit on.

We said “Hi”and went our separate ways.

One of us was stunned.


Recently I saw the unusual name on the Hawkcount report from the Hawk Watch.   Next day I saw it again.  Next Day I went up because its prime Broadwing season.   I asked the two women if they were M, and they said no.

I stayed all day.   Ran my mouth too much.  Pissed off the counter and didn’t really contribute much beside a tan for myself.

When I got to the bottom of the hill, there was a woman with a row of hewn grass, a large straw hat and what looked like more hay on a reflecting blanket.

“Whatcha up to?”  I asked

“Hayin.  Scythe’n  really.  I cut it down and offer it to the animals at the farm.”  She said, something like that.  I was lost after “Scythe’n'”.

“Wow that’s a lot of work.”

“Its fun.  And its good for you.”

“Reminds me of a joke I just heard on a podcast.”

“What’s that?”

“Don’t fear the Reaper.  Fear the scythe!”  She half smiled.  Not knowing what to say.  I said “Its not that funny really.  Its just that you don’t see a scythe every day.”

“Its good exercise.   Especially for me since I’ve hurt my back.”

“Wow.  I would think just the opposite.  That it would be hard on your back!  All that raising and swinging”

“No!  Just the opposite.  You barely lift it off the ground.”

“Oh.  Ok.”

“I’m M”  She said.  Then she said her whole name.  It was the girl from the lake and the Harry Chapin concert and the farm!   Except she was 5’11”.

I told her of the girl I’d been wondering about.  Asked her how she pronounced her last name, again, as the other girl had a highly unusual, short, last name.  It was the same.  Right down to the spelling.

So I asked her if she’d ever been to that farm.  If I’d ever taken her to a Harry Chapin concert.


She was a little too young too.  She’d graduated 11 years after I graduated HS.  We talked.

She said she was the only M around.  She has a sister but she’s younger.  No cousins.

I COULD have been 24 when I went to the farm, and I think I was 22, but if this is her, she would have had to have been 14, and about 5 feet 2.  I told her we were all HS and college kids.  I couldn’t think of the word “mission” or “missionary”.

And she hadn’t gone to the farm, or to see Harry Chapin.

Could have been the same face though.  35 years later.

And she’s the only M with the same weird little last name.  She said so herself.   Shes Catholic, but from Vestal.  Went to a different church which could explain how I could have met her at a missionary place and not known her before.

Sweet and easy personality.  Open and gentle.

And 7 inches taller than the girl I took to the concert, but, by her own account, the only one with this name.  And she didn’t remember me.  Or Harry Chapin.



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CO2 and the atmosphere – The US Airforce discovers the heat absorbing properties of Carbon Dioxide

The first 1:21 were what I remembered seeing somewhere.   I think it shows the unbiased science behind the idea of CO2 absorbing heat.   They changed heat seeking missle calculations because they had to adjust for CO2 levels.  They just did.   No bias.  Certainly not liberalism.  They just wanted their heat seeking missiles to work.

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A not so narrow fellow, not so in the grass

I was out driving not too far away from home the other day, on a narrow country lane when I almost ran across this fellow.  I’m not a naturalist, but I’d call him a snapping turtle.   He was camera shy, but we had a meeting of the minds.  Two cars travelled by while we were shooting, but they were patient and I even got a thumbs up.


Everybody saw the potential danger and went out of their way to give this snapper a wide berth.

Snapping Turtle_IMG_0701 ByeBye_IMG_0707 Time_to_go_IMG_0703

I may have caused him to sit in the sun just a bit longer than he wanted, but maybe I protected him too.  He looked like a piece of asphalt when I first saw him.  Anyway, here are some picts of my snappy new friend.

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Fool’d by the internet

I was looking for the lyrics to Jackson Browne’s “That Girl Could Sing”, to post on Facebook, because I thought it might be an appropriate answer to another FBFriend’s post, (Its really not that close to what I thought and didn’t post it, but I did go down a rabbit hole).
While there I found a YouTube “video” of Jackson Browne’s 10 greatest hits.  I can’t name them all, but I put them on in the background while I was catching up with Facebook.  As I got to the end of this poor idea, I became aware, that “The Pretender” wasn’t even in this guy’s top 10!

I was pissed.  So I bitched about it in the comments and then post here now with the lyrics and a link to The Pretender.  Everyone has their own opinion.  Jackson Browne IS great.  But come on …


Jackson Browne – The Pretender


I’m going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
I’m going to pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I’ll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again
Say it again

I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening
I’ve been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it’s the wink of an eye
And when the morning light comes streaming in
You’ll get up and do it again

Caught between the longing for love
And the struggle for the legal tender
Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
And the junk man pounds his fender
Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic light
And the children solemnly wait
For the ice cream vendor
Out into the cool of the evening
Strolls the Pretender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams
Begin and end there

Ah the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight

I’m going to find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we’ll fill in the missing colors
In each other’s paint-by-number dreams
And then we’ll put our dark glasses on
And we’ll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We’ll get up and do it again
Get it up again

I’m going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Though true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the Pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender

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