Archive for the ‘Things to Think About’ Category

Is it 2019 Yet?

December 31, 2018

Is Portland, Oregon weirder than Austin, Texas?

I watched a program on public TV the other day about Vortex I, a documentary about a 1970 event, really interesting and historic as it relates to the state of Oregon. I may have to do a follow-up blog about the Portland vs Austin question.

Thanks to Portland State University and the Oregon Historical Society for the Vortex I web write-up.

It Is Still 2018?

Yes, as I put pen to paper (actually fingers to keyboard) drafting this post, probably my last post for the year, there is only a full day left in 2018 before the big ball drops in Times Square. No, I won’t be there, but I have a runner friend who lives in Oregon but really likes New York.

The first and only time I was in New York occurred when I was a teenager. I was with my oldest sister and her husband, and it was Christmas time. We did a lot of “tourist stuff”, went to Rockefeller Center with the big tree and the ice skaters. We also went to a supper club in mid-town Manhattan where Joan Rivers was performing. She was pregnant, and I thought her jokes were pregnant. Anyway, for a boy who had grown up in small-town Texas, New York was an amazing experience – from a town of less than 8,000 to New York City, walking down 5th Avenue where people were packed in practically elbow to elbow. The subway and Greenwich Village were fun too.

Was 2018 a Good Year for You?

For me, now winding down 2018. I can say that it has been a good year, possibly a great year, but I’m ready to move on to new challenges. When you get “older and wiser”, you tend to get philosophical (and more forgetful) about life. Hopefully, no matter what your age, if you look back and reflect on 2018, you will smile and say that it has been a hoot or an adventure or whatever, and you will look forward to 2019. There are two quotes, a Nelson Demille quote at the top of that page and a Hunter S. Thompson quote at the bottom in my Favorite Quotes post. In my opinion, those two quotes say it all.

What is the Meaning of Life?

If you are at all interested in the meaning of life or the purpose of life I’m suggesting that you read another Reader’s Digest article, to start you off on the right foot for 2019.

The excellent article, Maintain Your Purpose in Life, was written by David G. Allan.

If you’re old enough, you may remember that screensaver from many years ago, a weird red and green cartoon character, mouth open and tongue hanging out (captioned the “meaning of life”) that flitted around the computer screen daring you to click it with your mouse, and of course it always evaded you. Regardless of the implication suggested by the screensaver creator that it isn’t possible to figure it out, read Allan’s article and give it some thought, about your own purpose in life. For him it’s a yearly exercise, and he says that his answer changes over time. Don’t overthink it – the year he got engaged, Allan’s answer to the question was “Love”.

He also points out that this isn’t a theoretical exercise, you should turn your answer into action. If your answer is “love”, then you should love more.

Bottom line, there is no right answer, only what’s right for you at any given time. He talks about how studies have shown that people who have a specific purpose in life and can articulate it, live longer. He suggests that if you take the time to think about it and answer the question, it will in effect add meaning to your life.

Allan quotes some of the answers from famous people.

  • “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.” (Leo Tolstoy)
  • “There is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.” (Anais Nin)

What’s Ahead – Foreshadowing my Blog for 2019

Stuff about good people and what they do. If you read my November blog, I included a link to Reader’s Digest stories. Every November Reader’s Digest publishes their America’s Nicest Places issue. A  couple of other interesting links for you:

Imprimis articles (of course)

Vietnam, my experiences and my observations about the war.

More about “Is Portland, Oregon weirder than Austin, Texas?”

Mindfulness, a continuation of my blog topic. A subject that keeps popping up in the media.

The Big Leap, a book by Gay Hendricks – I included the link in a November post, just boring “self-improvement” stuff. Kind of like meditation, it may require some effort on your part to realize the positive results.

Music and Pictures

Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Winter)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Spring)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Summer)
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons (Autumn)

Some Parting Shots

I’ve mentioned my Daily Word readings – just a couple of recent ones to pass along that I thought were noteworthy.

December 29, 2018, “Love: It is my nature to extend love.”

“I recognize that forgiveness is easier than condemnation because forgiveness reflects the truth of who I am. God is perfect love and therefore so am I.”

A companion Bible verse, Ephesians 4:26: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”

December 30, 2018: “Power: I am a spiritual being, bestowed with great power.”

“I align my thoughts with my highest good, envisioning health, abundance, love, and success.”

If you have been reading The Big Leap, the last sentence should remind you of Hendrick’s “universal success mantra” that he discusses in the book.

That’s it for 2018, see you next year.

 

 

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November 2018 Reflections

December 1, 2018

Quotations and Books

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”  Marcus Aurelius
Books:  The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (not an easy read but a good “self-improvement” book if you’re willing to make the effort, link to audible.com).

I really like Marcus Aurelius quotes, so here’s another one that Hendricks includes in his book toward the end of it. Keep in mind that Marcus Aurelius was a soldier who lived in first century Rome.

“I am part of the whole, all of which is governed by nature. I am intimately related to all of the parts which are of the same kind as myself. If I remember these two things, I cannot be discontented with anything that arises out of the whole because I am connected to the whole.” Marcus Aurelius
“There are times in our lives when we realize that our past is precisely what it is, we cannot change it, but we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that we can change the future.” Eleanor Brown (from a Criminal Minds episode)

With the Eleanor Brown quote in mind, let’s dive in to the rest of this November blog.

Other Thoughts – Boomer or Not, Imprimis

It’s fun to reflect to get a different perspective. Obviously, since I’m older, I suppose I’m a “baby boomer”, but I’m right on the cusp. Tom Brokaw called another pre-WWII group “the greatest generation” (he wrote a book by that title). For “millennials”, it would be a shorter time period to reflect on their lives. They also would not be able to remember a time when you didn’t have to lock things – house, car, bike, etc. I was talking to someone at the gym about that, growing up in a time when that was true, at least in a small town like the one where I grew up. You walk out the front door leaving it unlocked and spend the whole day out, no worries. Not drawing conclusions on society in general, but obviously things are different in the 21st century.

As you already know if you read my blog, I’m an Imprimis fan. You might want to check out their publications online or better yet, get on their mailing list for a free printed copy of each publication. For example, here’s a different take on how things used to be, the piece that Amy Wax did for the Imprimis January 2018 publication, “Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real of Problems”. Pay special attention to the first 10 or 12 paragraphs, where she contrasts contemporary American society with our society between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s. You can draw your own conclusions, but I strongly recommend reading the last three paragraphs, especially the one that starts with “Disliking, avoiding, and shunning people who don’t share our politics is not good for our country.”

Back to November 2018 – A Few Snippets

You’ll notice the details that I’m able to remember from the entire month of November – admittedly, I do a daily journal, so it’s not all from memory.

On November 1, I tested some Nike shoes (testing gives me Nike Employee Store privileges, which saves me money on running shoes). November 1 is also my beautiful daughter’s birthday. In my family it’s a tradition to take the birthday honoree out to eat at a restaurant of their choosing. We celebrated her birthday on November 3 at the Old Spaghetti Factory, a great place for adults and kids, with good food and reasonable prices.

The rest of that first week of November, was our normal routine – for my wife, volunteer work at a local senior center, Bible study, pitching in with the grandkids, and cooking for our Monday night family dinner at our house. For me, it was gym workouts, running, and my running club had a banquet to reward volunteers who participated in 2018 events. Actually, on November 6 we went to SoCal to visit relatives. You may have seen my “On the Road, SoCal, November 2018” entry. Just a brief diversion from my November snippets to share my reactions to the SoCal trip.

What Did I Learn in SoCal?

Did I learn anything, or was it just another vacation trip, five days in the sun (no complaints), hanging out with friends and relatives, and total relaxation in a very nice setting. About learning, the question is rhetorical, we always learn things. On this trip I learned on a higher level:

  • People are tough and resilient. While we were there, the mass shooting at Thousand Oaks happened, and the Woolsey fire in SoCal and the fire in northern California, all happened in that week.
  • Most people (not all) are friendly and approachable, willing to share things about themselves. There were many people in the hotel who had evacuated their homes.
  • Most people will help others who are in a bind, sometimes going out of their way to help. There were hundreds of fire-fighting professionals from Oregon and Washington who volunteered two weeks of their time to help fight the fires and to help people in need. Another example, an Oregon man loaded up his business truck with food and supplies and drove to California.
  • More examples of people helping people, check out these Readers Digest stories – I was especially impressed with “Life Moves Yoga in Killeen, Texas”.
  • Relationships with people close to you are worth preserving but may require extra effort.

Back to November 2018 – A Few Snippets (continued)

On November 10, we returned to Portland, unpacked and did our laundry. It was good to be back.

On November 11, Veterans Day, I went to a local event honoring Vietnam veterans. It was a large turnout with people from other wars too. There were speeches and socializing, vets meeting other vets, and we received pins honoring our service. Just remember, not everyone who served had a choice, but that doesn’t matter, they served.

Interesting side-note – my Daily Word affirmation for that Sunday was “I am free through the freedom of Spirit.” The Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 3:17, for that day was: “. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

On November 15, one of our grandsons did a sleepover. We walked the dogs and hung out.

On November 17, I continued my annual battle of the leaves (we have lots of trees) for disposal. My daughter hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner at her house, which gave us all a chance to overeat. The food was delicious.

On November 20, we made a decision on which Medicare supplement insurance to go with, after weeks of researching and thinking about. More leaf accumulation, up to about 50 bags now. Met with my running club in the evening to run on the track at a local school, windy and cold but dry.

Thanksgiving Day, November 22, I ran a 5K race and won my age group, which felt really good. I ran my fastest 5K time of the year. We had already celebrated our Thanksgiving dinner.

On November 24, we got invited over to my brother-in-law’s house for another Thanksgiving dinner, very well prepared and delicious. I overate again.

On November 25, I hauled 54 bags of leaves over to a disposal site, multiple trips in my truck. Done for this year thank goodness.

The rest of the month, we played Top Golf a few times, and did the rest of our normal routine.

“Oscar Wilde: ‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ Sarah Bernhardt: ‘I don’t care if you burn.'” Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt quotes – You can pick one that YOU like.

Pictures and Music

 

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Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

The X-Files: 2018 (Part I)

March 23, 2018
Vitamin String Quartet:  The Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to the Who – Tommy

 

What’s Up, Rufous Blog? (Blog of the Week: March 23, 2018)

What happened to the Rufous blog you may have asked – actually I did do a post on February 23, my birthday – but my so-called “blog of the week” has been more of a “blog of the month”. OK, multi-tasking doesn’t always work (some experts say that “single-tasking” is actually more efficient). Multi-tasking only works if you don’t forget to do the higher priority items on your list, which in my case is blogging.

Blogger’s note:  The following quote is not totally  in context with my topic, but it struck a chord with me so I wanted to include it.
Quote from Life in Oregon, February-March 2018:
“Think about how the conversation in America, in Oregon, would change if each of us assumed the best of the person who disagrees with us. Together, let’s think about and interact with people on the other side of the issues as if they are potential allies, not enemies.” (ORTL president Harmony Daws, January 14, 2018, Oregon Right to Life annual Roe v. Wade Memorial and March in Portland, Oregon)

Politics or TV?

Did I tell you about John le Carre’, who writes his books out in longhand, then gives the manuscripts to his wife who types and edits them. He’s 86 and just published a new novel. A would-be writer could get inspired by David Cornwell (his real name). I also write out my content longhand in my bright green composition book before transferring it to the blog. Always, I’ll have several blog ideas going, like something political (always a challenge to be “correct”) or like today I have a blog about TV. Maybe I’ll include some “politics” too in this blog (spoiler alert).  :}

The X-Files – The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

I was never a big fan in the past, but the new season 11 caught my attention, in particular episode 4, which I found very interesting on many levels. If you’ve watched it, you may have noticed that the stars (in my opinion), David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, have aged fairly well. OK, enough small talk, here’s my rehash of episode 4. Kudos to the producer and writer, Chris Carter, Darin Morgan, staff writers Brad Follmer and Benjamin Van Allen, and (wait for it) David Duchovny. Episode 4 has some humorous moments, maybe satirical/tongue-in-cheek is a better description, compared to the paranormal or whatever you normally expect from X-files – like a more recent episode with the drones spying on and pursuing Fox and Scully.

OK, having mentioned the producer and writers I think I’m OK legally in quoting the dialog (yes, I paused the TV and wrote it down). If you’re a fan and missed it, you should watch episode 4.

As Long as the Truth Gets Out

Continuing . . . take this scene, about 44 minutes into the episode, Mulder and another character named “Mr. They” are in this wonderful sculpture garden with all these statues. Mulder is having a conversation with Mr. They.

Mulder:  “As long as the truth gets out.”

Mr. They:  “They don’t really care if the truth gets out because the public no longer knows what’s meant by the truth.”

Mulder:  “What do you mean?”

Mr. They:  “Well, I mean, no one can tell the difference anymore between what’s real and what’s fake.”

Oh, ouch, OK, is anyone picking up on the political angle here? I have no idea what Chris Carter and his staff of creative people were trying to accomplish with episode 4, but it’s kind of fun to speculate, eh.

Mulder:  “There’s still an objective truth, an objective reality.”

(Transition to main story line)

Mr. They:  “So what? I mean, you take this Mandela effect.”

Mr. They (quotes George Orwell):  “He who controls the past controls the future.” (More quotes later)

Mr. They:  “Well, believe what you want to believe, that’s what everybody does now anyway.” (Slight break in the dialog)

Mr. They:  “All you really need is a laptop.”

Mulder:  So that’s what this has been all about, the spread of online disinformation.”

Mr. They:  “Maybe?”

Mr. They:  “You know, our current president said something truly profound.” He said, “Nobody knows for sure.”

Mulder:  “What was he referring to?”

Mr. They:  “Does it matter?”

The previous scene lasts only about two minutes and ends with a great shot of Mulder standing in front of a statue with its arms outstretched, as if to say, what’s going on.

The scene shifts to a parking garage, with Mulder and Scully talking to another character, Reggie, who says, “We found the truth that’s out there.”

Rather than risk spoiling the rest of the episode, I highly recommend you watch episode 4 just to see the ending.

The Red Mustang

The next scene shows Mulder, Scully, and Reggie driving down the road in a red Mustang convertible and then the final scene . . .

Tip: Google “x-files season 11” to get more reviews and analysis.
Definition/primer on innuendo:
  • Veiled or equivocal reflection on character or reputation.
  • The use of such allusions resorting to innuendo.
Example:
His reputation has been damaged by innuendo.

One or Two (or Three) More Quotes

Voltaire: “To hold a pen is to be at war.”
Voltaire:  “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.”
Read more at:  Voltaire Quotes.
John 8:32:  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV Bible)
Next Up:  “The X-Files 2018 (Part II)”. Just a hint, expect some content based on my favorite Imprimis readings. No surprise there. Feel free to peruse the Imprimis issues.
Definition of “Imprimis”:  In the first place used to introduce a list of items or consideration.
Antonio Vivaldi:  The Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)

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Blog of the Week: December 24, 2017

December 25, 2017

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A Christmas Eve Blog

What can I say, on this Christmas Eve, 2017, to edify and perhaps entertain you. First, I’ll update you on my week in wintry Oregon, then move on to the “edifying” part.

The Recap for the Week

Did I say “wintry”? Which reminds me, I hate it when she’s right all the time (well, most of the time). My spouse called it (before the weatherman) at least two weeks ago, “The conditions are right, and we’ll have snow by Christmas.” And we did, on Christmas Eve.

And the rest of the week . . . Christmas preparations, some indoor golf on Tuesday, a couple of short runs for me in the cold, visits from the grandkids, and the wife came down with a cold. So, some plusses and some minuses for this past week.

The Edifying Part

It’s late, so I’ll wrap it up with some thoughts and affirmations from my Daily Word readings (see my note below). It’s good to slow down, to stop, and to reflect. I’ll include the accompanying Bible reference in parentheses for each of these daily affirmations. Look them up if you like.

Note: You can go to dailyword.com to get a copy if you’re interested.
Coldplay: God Put a Smile on Your Face
  • Joy: I expand my joy as I share my blessings with others. (Isaiah 55:12)
  • Healing: I am an ever-renewing expression of Infinite Life. (Luke 9:2)
  • Giving: I freely express my giving heart. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Receiving: I prepare to receive as I give without an expectation of return. (Luke 8:15)
  • Strength: In stillness, I renew my strength. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
  • Celebrate: I celebrate the glory of God with all that I am and in everything that I do! (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Silent Night: I find peace and love in the Silence. (Isaiah 30:15)
  • Christmas Eve: I am ready to give birth to new expressions of Spirit as I release limitations. (Luke 2:14)
  • Christmas: I welcome the rebirth of Christmas spirit into my heart today. (Luke 1:14)

Blog of the Week: December 17, 2017

December 18, 2017
dadson_at-the-beach-2

Dad & Son

What’s the Hook?

For the answer, go back to my Crystal City, Part I blog to refresh your memory about journalism. Basically, rather than start out with some of the more routine things that happened this past week, I wanted to start with my morning meditation thoughts from this morning, which I thought were well-worth passing along, although the thoughts didn’t actually happen last week. Doesn’t matter really, try to be flexible. :}

As part of my morning routine, as I mentioned last week, I try to spend some time reading – I read different things, always the Bible, and some other things, just to get my day started on the right foot (or the left). Often, I’ll just open my Bible at a random location. This morning was in the book of Psalms, Psalm 15 to be exact. I recommend reading the Bible even if you aren’t “religious” (whatever that means), partly because of the way it was written, especially the Psalms, which are poems, songs of praise, or thankfulness verses, and they show a wide variety of emotions and feelings. My Bible is the New International Version. I quote part of Psalm 15, just a bit to get you started, then you can read all of it, it’s only five verses long.

Psalm 15 (part of it)

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose life is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money
without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Actually, I got carried away, that’s all of Psalm 5.

Journal Recap

Just a few high points from my journal for the past week, that’s all.

My son-in-law came over to help install a new kitchen faucet after the other one stopped working. Actually, I don’t claim to have mechanical abilities sufficient for such a task, so I watched, and he installed the faucet. It would have taken me three times as long. Water is an amazing commodity in our daily lives, try washing your dishes in the shower.

My wife and I played golf at Killarney Golf Course. It was chilly, but dry, and the greens were as hard as a rock from the cold weather we’ve had. She won (again). We’ve recently started playing golf at a place called Top Golf, which is undercover and has food and drink, not a regular golf course, but still a lot of fun and at least it’s dry and warm.

Lots of soup and salads this week, fortunately I’m married to a creative cook, who creates wonderful soups that are especially good during the cold months. Otherwise, I did my usual routine going to the gym and running, but less distance this time of year. On Saturday we did a sleepover at my daughter’s house so she and her hubby could have a weekend night at the beach while we stayed with the kids. Lots of walks in their new neighborhood, with and without the dogs, just exploring to find the best places to go.

Closing in on Christmas, so maybe my next BOTW will be about Christmas. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas in advance.

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Mt. Hood, Oregon

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Sunriver, Oregon

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Estacada, Oregon

My Mom’s Blog

May 14, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, in remembrance of you on this day!

Just a photo or two or three and some music to honor my Mom, that’s all.

A few notes about the music and photos. My Mom was buried in Liberty, Texas. I was able to honor her with a visit in 2015. The bird is the Varied Thrush. It represents my beautiful Mom, because I couldn’t find a good picture of her to share with you. The music is totally random but music that I thought was appropriate to express my feelings about her. The Glen Miller piece was from her era. He died in 1944. She died in 1964. Listen at your leisure to the music as I did when I was putting this together.

It was good to visit Mom's grave.

It was good to visit Mom’s grave.

Glenn Miller: Big Band (swing)
Stevie Wonder: You are the Sunshine of My Life
Norman Greenbaum: Spirit in the Sky
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Varied Thrush

Lion King soundtrack: The Circle of Life
Vangelis: The Tao of Love

I miss you, Mom!

Adam & Eve in Love!

March 31, 2017

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tine Turner: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The idea for this blog dawned on me in SoCal (southern California) on one of our many trips down to visit relatives and of course get away from the @#$%^&* rain for a few days – I do love that natural  vitamin D! One morning I was enjoying an early breakfast and reading the Wall Street Journal (provided by the hotel). In the “Review”, section was an essay written by Bruce Feiler. It was adapted from his forthcoming book (March 21), The First Love Story: Adam and Eve and Us.

By the way, my recommendation is that you read the article if you’re a WSJ subscriber, or just use this link and check out the video interview with Bruce Feiler. I think the essay is a very thought provoking piece, especially if you’re married and (hopefully) in love or perhaps recently fallen in love. Rather than get off on a side trail about my opinion of how important love is or what it means, I’ll just let Bruce Feiler’s ideas speak for themselves. I may summarize his ideas along the way. Also, if you have a Bible handy, it might help you to better understand if you read Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and for good measure 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love” chapter) in the New Testament. It’s a lot to digest, but I’ll provide some bullet points that might help.

Here’s a totally irrelevant (but wonderful) quote to get you started. I saw this on a napkin dispenser at MOD Pizza in Beaverton, Oregon on March 28th while I was eating my pizza, enjoying a beer, and making some notes in my blog notebook.

Bob Dylan, Poet Laureate and Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016:
“May you’re your heart be always joyful.
May your song always be sung.
And may you stay young forever.”
Karen O and the Kids: All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

Quoting from Bruce Feiler’s Essay

“In December 1867, Mark Twain was touring Jerusalem when he visited a room in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre identified as Adam’s tomb. He was overcome with emotion. ‘The fountain of my filial affection was stirred to its profoundest depths,’ he wrote. Twain became obsessed with his oldest ancestor, at one point urging planners in New York to replace the Statue of Liberty with a monument to Adam. He went on to write a half-dozen pieces about the first couple, including Extracts from Adam’s Diary and an Autobiography of Eve.”

“Adam, in Twain’s retelling, is initially uncomfortable with Eve. It used to be so pleasant and quiet here, he says, ‘I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.’ Eve is equally unimpressed with Adam. ‘He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright, and is sensitive about it.’ (who says Twain didn’t have a sense of humor!) But slowly the two come around. ‘I see I should be lonesome and depressed without her’, Adam says. Eve echoes his feelings: ‘I love him with all the strength of my passionate nature…It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together.’”

Patti; Tuck & Patti: Love is the Key

Adam and Eve in love? Really? Who would think such a thing?”

Feiler goes on to say that several very famous people would agree that, yes, they were in love, and that, given the transitional state of the family for the last 30 centuries – major changes with high divorce rates, lifestyles in our hyperconnected world – maybe Adam and Eve could offer some guidance.

Some Bullet Points in Summary of Feiler’s Ideas

Obviously taken out of context (you really need to buy the book or get a copy of the WSJ essay), here are some more thoughts, quoted and/or paraphrased from the essay.

  • The first couple have been victims of a long campaign of character assassination. One reason is that we rarely read the opening chapters of Genesis with the idea that Adam and Eve might be in love. He goes on to explain this important point in detail.
  • Who is God’s chosen sex, man or woman? If you read and compare Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the answer appears different. Feiler elaborates, then concludes by saying they are entirely equal.
  • In support of the equality idea, if you look at Michelangelo’s famous painting in the Sistine Chapel, it is Eve, not Adam and not God who occupies the exact center of the room. In the third panel, the two figures (Adam and Eve) reach together for the forbidden fruit. They are not estranged, they are partners.
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost was a step-by-step argument that Adam and Eve were equal.
  • In Shakespeare’s words, “Love is not avoiding conflict; it is about overcoming it”.
  • The most underappreciated aspect of Adam and Eve is how they continually return to each other after periods of separation. They start life united, then Eve goes off alone. She could remain apart but instead returns to Adam. Once out of Eden, they could split, but instead they stay together.
Beatles: And I Love Her

Some Final Thoughts

The Bible is the first to put a man and a woman at the start of the human line. God can’t procreate. He needs human partners – starting with Adam and Eve – for humanity to succeed.

Feiler concludes his essay by saying that the first couple struggled too, yet they found a way to heal their wounds and forgive their wrongs.

Some More Music

Eagles: Love Will Keep Us Alive (Hell Freezes Over album)
Del Shannon: Sea of Love (really old song)
Karen O and the Kids: Building All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

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Thanksgiving Day – Just Pictures and Some Words

November 25, 2016
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Dad and Son at the Beach

It’s good to step back from all the things going on in our lives and remember the important events, like Thanksgiving Day. Just some brief thoughts before I jump into a few pictures, some quotes, and maybe some music.

Huey Lewis and the News: The Power of Love

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for my family, because they have enriched my life beyond measure. Families should never be taken for granted.

Henry David Thoreau
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
Read more Thanksgiving quotes.

I am thankful for my country and feel very fortunate to live in the United States of America. I was reading in the American Legion magazine about the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. A man who had survived the attack, a sailor on the USS Tennessee, described what it was like to be there when it happened. We should all thank the many men and women who have made sacrifices to protect our way of life.

Coldplay: God Put a Smile on Your Face
Ronald Reagan
“If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.” Read more Reagan quotes.
John F. Kennedy
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Read more Kennedy quotes.

I am thankful that I have the freedom to worship my God freely and express my beliefs freely.

Take a minute and express your own thanks, not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day.

Just Some Pictures

I like taking pictures. More of my pictures are here.

Music from the Lion King: The Circle of Life
Family

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Eagles: Spirit in the Sky

Birds

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J. S. Bach: Toccata in D

Scenic

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What Happened at Crystal City (Part III)

May 30, 2016

First Things First

In Part I, there is a picture with the caption, “What is It?”. Maybe you weren’t fooled ..

It was merely a garden ornament masquerading as a miniature planet (somewhat earth-like).

The Power of Love (from the Back to the Future soundtrack)

What’s the Big Deal?

OK, so what, the federal government decided to imprison a lot of people against their will because they might be a threat to America. That seems reasonable and justifiable, right? Obviously, not the power of love.

I had to think about what all of it meant to me after I started reading Jan Russell’s book, which as I said before, is really quite interesting and revealing. Note the following passage from her book. Go to Amazon if you want to snag a copy.

“By August 1945, the machinery of internment implemented during the run-up to the war in December 1941, was already being taken apart. Already many of the fifty-four internment camps  operated by the US military and the thirty camps operated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service had shut down. The camp at Crystal City, the only family camp, was still open, but with a reduced population That summer 2,548 Japanese, 756 Germans, and 12 Italian internees were left.”

The author estimated that there were approximately 6,000 internees incarcerated at Crystal City during its six years of operation. It was officially closed on February 27, 1948. I had just turned three at the time and was living in Texas.

In her preface to the book, the author talks about the 120,000 Japanese (62% of them American-born) who were forcibly evacuated from the Pacific coast after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. She also talks about the executive order signed by President Roosevelt, which permitted the secretary of war to arrest and incarcerate Japanese, Germans, and Italians who had been declared “enemy aliens”.

Just an aside, as you mull over the previous two paragraphs, I want to comment on the effort and methods used to write the book, which author Russell describes in detail in the sources and notes. As a writer, I thoroughly appreciate the effort it took to compile the information. Interestingly, another book, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, also involved internment during World War II and was very well-researched and written and also relied heavily on personal interviews.

It Is a Big Deal!

The answer of course is yes, it is a big deal. I may do more Crystal City installments, after going through the book in more detail and gaining more insights into how I feel about what happened and how I should respond. OK, it was just plain wrong, all of it – there, I’ve said it. Am I going to recommend to others how they should respond? No, it’s up to each individual to make up their mind how to respond.

Back to the Future Main Theme (City of Prague Philharmonic)
A Quick Tour of Washington and Yamhill Counties in Oregon

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What Happened at Crystal City? (Part II)

May 9, 2016
DSCN1364

Gospodor Monument

Note about the pictures and the music: One of the structures in the monument represents the Holocaust, which seemed to be an appropriate photo for this blog. Please Google Gospodor Monument for more information. The picture in Part I, if you’re still curious about it, will eventually be explained. I guess I’ve always had The Police song on my favorites list, and one day while I was swimming laps I decided it was a good choice for this blog. Did I hear someone say “what an understatement”!
The Police: Every Breath You Take

Introduction to Part II

Giving the appropriate credits and attributions is always a necessary part of what I write about in my blog. Without good sources for information and inspiration, the creation process would be much harder if not impossible. One of my sources is a book by Jan Jarboe Russell, The Train to Crystal City, published in 2015 by Scribners, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. I will annotate any direct quotes with her name in this and any succeeding installments. Other credits will be included as needed.

The Five W’s and the H

I highly recommend Jan Russell’s book. The following synopsis comes from Amazon where I bought my copy.

“During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during the war, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called ‘quiet passage’. Hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City were exchanged for other more ostensibly important Americans—diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, and missionaries—behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.”

Jan Jarboe Russell focuses on two American-born teenage girls, uncovering the details of their years spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists. Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp, from the ten-foot high security fence to the armed guards, daily roll call, and censored mail, have never been told.

Combining big-picture World War II history with a little-known event in American history, The Train to Crystal City reveals the war-time hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, the secrets of FDR’s tactics to rescue high-profile POWs in Germany and Japan, and above all, ‘is about identity, allegiance, and home, and the difficulty of determining the loyalties that lie in individual human hearts’ (Texas Observer).”

Most of us older types and others, perhaps younger history buffs, know about the internment camps that existed during the war, on the west coast and other locations. Manzanar in California is the one that I remember. However, Crystal City was the only family internment camp during World War II. I’m including a Wikipedia link. Be sure to check it out. Wikipedia has included a very interesting map and photos. The number of locations is kind of mind-blowing.

Also, the following caption from a photo in the Wikipedia piece is interesting and ironic.

“The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was composed primarily of Japanese Americans, served with uncommon distinction in the European Theatre of World War II. Many of the U.S. soldiers serving in the unit had families who were held in concentration camp in the United States while they fought abroad.”

More to come in Part III. Read the book if you get a chance.

Two parting quotes

The first quote is off-topic but appropriate for the holiday (May 8), and the other quote is on-topic and also very good.

God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. Rudyard Kipling
The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men. Lyndon B. Johnson

 


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