Archive for November, 2007


November 30, 2007

Yesterday the first real snow fell on Walla Walla. I always think that Winter is a good time of year to read from ‘The Northern Thebaid.’ It is just that reading about monastic Saints from the Russian North seems appropriate during this time of year… the weather gives you a feel for their world. By the same token I think Summer is a good time to read about the Desert Fathers and Mothers. But then what do I know, I have never been to the Russian North or to the deserts of Egypt.

Because of the snow’s arrival our three year old, Andrew, put on his sister’s snow boots and went outside. Perhaps he was a bit confused, apparently he thinks when there is snow there should also be a Christmas tree.

While outside he walked around the yard, periodically shoving snow into his mouth. He was stopped when he got too close to the street and was eating, what my wife refered to as “street snow.”

I was glad to learn he was eating snow from the front yard, as our dog spends time in the back yard.


In Church we pray for “seasonable weather” and in our part of the country this is some of our “seasonable weather.” Enjoy your “seasonable weather,” whatever it may like.

Thots regarding English snow words: here.


November 29, 2007

Have you eaten your fill? Remember the hungry.
Have you quenched your thirst? Remember the thirsty.
Are you warm enough? Remember the frozen.
Do you live in a richly furnished house? Bring others into it.
Have you made merry at a party? Bring merriment to the sad and sorrowful.
Have you come out joyful from your master? Make sure all your servants are joyful as well.
If you are merciful and indulgent towards them, you will yourself be shown mercy when your soul leaves your body.
~ Saint John Chrysostom

How easy it is for me to just give lip service regarding helping others in need.
How easy it is for me to overlook the needs of others because I am so focused on my own needs.
How easy it is for me to put off, until a later date, helping others; because “now” is not a convenient time.
How easy it is for me to justify not helping others because of my own limited resources; as opposed to my finding creative ways to respond to others around me.
How easy it is for me to just forget those in need.

How easy it is for me to write these words, and then do nothing.

Lord have mercy on me.

a quote to ponder

November 27, 2007

“Patriotism, in my view, does not mean unquestioning acceptance of whatever the government does. To go along with whatever your government does is not a characteristic of democracy. I remember in my own early education we were taught that it was a sign of a totalitarian state, of a dictatorship, when people did not question what their government did. If you live in a democratic state, it means you have the right to criticize your government’s policies.” –Howard Zinn


November 24, 2007

I enjoy seeing hidden pictures in things… Like when you look at the clouds and see that their shapes resemble animals. I like looking at rug patterns and noticing that the rug has a creature hidden within it’s pattern. It is just kind of fun.


I was reminded of this today when my wife opened our bedroom curtains this morning as I layed in bed. Looking out the window, I could see the bark patterns of our tree. Within the pattern I saw two different faces. I wanted to get a piece of paper and draw them.

my two cents worth

November 23, 2007

So today is celebrated by some as “Buy Nothing Day” a financial protest of sorts against what is seen as the first shopping day of the Christmas season… A “A 24 hour moratorium on consumer spending – participate by not participating” day.

I want to throw my two cents into the ring.

“Buy Nothing Day” is about as effective as those “Don’t buy gas days.” Why is that– because retailers know, just as much as the oil companies know, that people who protest the Day after Thanksgiving sales will still spend their money either before or after Thanksgiving– so in the long run, money is still being spent. And if asked, shoppers probably appreciate a few less people for them to deal with amidst the chaos of the sales.

I personally find the whole ‘Day after Thanksgiving’ sales with their “We will open at 4am for special deals” rather amusing. I find the fact that people do wake up to wait in line for the special 4am opening a bit amusing too.

But some people are into it– Apparently there are some good shopping deals out there and if a person wants to go through the hassel for the savings, so what.

Christmas is not about presents and blatant capitalism- I know, I know… I agree: spending, materialism, and etc are all out of hand. That too many people go into debt for Christmas. I am not talking about what Christmas really is, I am merely commenting on the whole idea of protesting something– something that I am sure most of these “buy nothing day protesters” have just post-poned and are going to go do a couple of days later. Maybe they should just be honest and call the day “I am buying nothing today because by not buying anything today it makes me feel like I am better than you, but I will go buy it tomorrow because I have no real commitment to the long-haul of this idea.”

Sure there are those folks who truly have avoided the whole ‘go and buy’ thing through the whole Christmas season. I applaud that –not because it is what I do, but because it is showing commitment, it is actually doing something. (You can learn more about these type of folks here.)

What does not spending money today, when they are just going to spend it a week from now prove? Not much. What has a person proved by spending $100 on an item that they could have bought today for $35? I guess they proved that they are not very good at math. I guess they showed the retailers by giving them an extra $65.

But I do propose a different kind of “buy nothing day.” I propose that we all refuse to buy anything on holidays– It is a shame that stores make their employees work on a holiday instead of being at home and spending time with their families. But they do this because apparently there is quite a bit of money to be made from people who have not planned ahead to make sure they have everything they need for a holiday. And I point the finger at myself first, because I am one of those gotta-make-a-quick-trip-to-the-store-on-a-holiday-people.

This will involve a little planning ahead– make sure you have everything your going to need before the holiday arrives. Check your cupboards… This is not a protest, this is supporting the employees so that they too can be home with their family as opposed to waiting at a cash register because you forgot to buy beer. And FYI: complaining to the person working in a store while you shop that it is a bummer that they have to work on a holiday is not really supportive– because if you were not there, they would not have to be there.

Let’s make it NOT cost effective for stores to be open on holidays. That is the kind of “buy nothing day” I can support.

Sadao Watanabe

November 19, 2007

Recently I have been exposed to, and enjoying the artwork of Japanese artist: Sadao Watanabe.

He was a printmaker, whose work was associated with the mingei movement. Mingei is basically a Japanese folk art.

Some of Sadao Watanabe’s work reminds me of Coptic Icons. I enjoy his simple style.

Flight into Egypt:

Cleansing the Temple:

The Last Supper:

See more examples of Sadao Watanabe’s work here.

i had too much to dream last nite

November 18, 2007

I do not remember my dreams very often, so it seems to be a rare occassion when I wake up remembering a specific dream. When that happens, my favorite dreams are ones where I have been flying.

Most of the time I fly by flapping my arms; as opposed to flying like Superman. I like those dreams, just flying around. Nice.

Last nite I had one that was a bit odd, but I seemed to enjoy almost as much as the flying dreams.

Last nite I dreamt that I was hopping about on a pogo stick! And not just little wimpy hops. I was hopping up about 20 feet in the air, and getting some air time while I was up there. It was great.

I even dreamed that I was hopping on the pogo stick at work, and considering that I work in a prison… I guess that is why they call it a dream.

I am not into the whole “what do dreams mean” thing, but I wonder why I was dreaming that I was on a pogo stick?



the story continues: While looking for a picture of a pogo stick to include with this post I came across the following picture:


This is a picture of a guy (okay a kid) riding the Vurtego pogo stick. The description of this mama-jama is: “This is the pogo stick that set the world record for highest jump, and is capable of jumping more than 7′ in the air using an air compression spring that generates over 1,500 pounds of thrust, more than any pogo stick available. …. Tension is calibrated in relation to your weight and pogo skill level, and regular use can result in greater bone density and improved cardiovascular health.”

Okay so 7 feet is not 20 feet, but close enough for starters… Dreams do come true!!!!

Then I saw these videos:

I need to write Santa a letter!

(pic/video/product source)

“what a tangled web we weave….”

November 16, 2007

While reading a comment to a previous post regarding my running a-foul with trick or treaters it dawned on my that this was not my first mishap with people at my front door….

I am not a big fan of door to door salespeople. So one day a guy from some “we sell meat from our car” type of company came to my door pitching his speale, trying to get me to buy their meats.

Okay, I lied… Instead of just telling him “no,” I told him that we were vegetarians.

But he looked through the gate by our front door that leads to our backyard and he saw our bbq’s and smokers sitting 10 feet away. “What’s with all of the barbeques?” He asked…


I told him the bbq’s were for grilling vegetables.

I know… I know….

November 15, 2007


I am currently reading ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac.

As I was reading I came across a part in the book that seemed somehow… strangely prophetic (to use the term in it’s most casual sense):

“…. When daybreak came we were zooming through New Jersey withthe great cloud of Metropolitan New York rising before us in the snowy distance. Dean had a sweater wrapped around his ears to keep warm. He said we were a band of Arabs coming in to blow up New York. We swished through the Lincoln Tunnel and cut over to Times square; Marylou wanted to see it.”

Now I am not trying to create a conspiracy theory or anything, I just found this interesting. –Although Amazon may want to check their shipping records and see if they ever did a book shipment to Osama Bin Laden….

Good Night

November 13, 2007

~I came across the following video on YouTube. The text is from the YouTube site as well.~

About This Video:
Footage has been taken from famous documentary about russian underground music during Perestroyka – “Rock” by Alexey Uchitel.
The band was formed in the summer of 1981 in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia) as punk rock band Garin i giperboloidy (after Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi’s novel Giperboloid inzhenera Garina, published in English as Engineer Garin and His Death Ray) by Tsoi, Aleksei Rybin and Oleg Valinskiy. A year later the name of the band was changed to Kino (Russian for “cinema”). Since rock music was considered “anti-Soviet”, Kino, like the other rock bands, performed only in semi-underground clubs and at musicians’ apartments (kvartirniks).
In the summer of 1982, Kino’s first album 45 (named for its length in minutes) was recorded as a collaboration with the the band Aquarium. The album was slowly distributed through underground channels and gave a new fame to the group.
The band’s first real hit was the album Noch (“night”) released in 1986; the six songs from the album were included in the Red Wave: 4 Underground Bands from the USSR compilation disc released in the U.S. in 1986.
Due to the beginning of the Perestroika era, the band emerged from the underground, and the 1988 album Gruppa krovi (Blood Type) together with the movie Igla (The Needle), which starred Tsoi, brought the band to the pinnacle of popularity.
During the next two years the band released another album and did shows in the USSR and abroad, attracting enormous audiences, until August 15, 1990, when Tsoi died tragically in a car accident near Riga. The tape with the vocal track for the new album survived the accident. The album was completed by the rest of the band and released in 1990 without a title, though it is always cited as Chornyy Albom (The Black Album) since it has a wholly black cover.
The band’s popularity in the Soviet Union was so extraordinarily high that after Tsoi’s death, the words “Цой жив!” (“Tsoi lives!”) and “КИНО” appeared on various public surfaces throughout the country. Writing these words became a kind of a memorial ritual among fans of the band. Even today the slogan occasionally surfaces in urban graffiti.
All Kino songs were written by Viktor Tsoi. His lyrics are characterized by a poetic simplicity. The ideas of liberty and democracy were present (one song was named “Anarchy”) but, on the whole, the band’s message to the public was not overly politically charged. Their songs largely focused on life, death and love. Daily life is embedded in Kino’s vocabulary (for instance, there is a song about the elektrichka, a commuter train many suburbanites use daily).