The subjects on this blog are mainly political and theological, but your ideas on other topics are welcome. My hope is that we can dialog honestly even if we disagree.. There are some previous posts on this blog. I will be responsible for them even though I may no longer fully support them.

Welcome again!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tillich &Theism

Paul Tillich speaks  of  "theism" in three ways, in his book COURAGE TO BE.  

(1) It can mean an unspecified affirmation of God.  E.g., a politician or public speaker may reference "God" in order to appear serious or morally trustworthy. Theism is thus used to convey a character quality from the speaker to the audience; but this can be negated if the audience takes its theistic affirmation [more] seriously.  (302)  

(2) A second meaning for theism is that it may be the name for the divine-human encounters found, for example, in the Judeo-Christian scriptures.  The personalistic representations of God show theism as the "non-mystical side of biblical religion and historical Christianity" ( (303)

(3) Theism in a third sense is dependent on the first two meanings. It is strictly theological and is thus dependent on the religious substance which it conceptualizes.  In the first sense it attempts to shore up the necessity of affirming God in some way.  It may formulate arguments for "existence of God".  In the second sense it attempts to translate the person-to-person experiences into a doctrine of two different realities which may or may not coincide.

All three of these views of theism must be transcended.  The first because it is irrelevant; and the second because it is one-sided.  The third must be transcended because it is just wrong.  It is bad theology  Check this out:

Friday, June 18, 2010

York: a great English ciy

Yorkminster June 15 Tuesday

A day spent walking close to the edge of heaven. We decided to spend the day with the magnificent church structure, known as Yorkminister. Just to approach this building is.an intimidating event. Never have i seen so huge and so awesome a place of worship.

                                            (a side view)
First, Judee wanted to walk around the outside. A really good choice. Half way around we sat on bench and examined the Gothic design the statues of the saints and the gargoyles placed there to ward off evil. As we turned the southwest corner we came back to the statue of Constantine--the Roman Emperor who opened the door of toleration for Christianity. He was in York when his father died, and it was there he was proclaimed emperor.  The city of York commissioned this statue a few years ago.

Inside one is impressed by the size of the place. Over 2,000 can be seated for worship. There are twelve chapels, one of which was celebrating Holy Communion as our tour group passed. The nave was built in 1300 AD.

Our tour guide spent nearly the entire hour giving the history of a thousand stained glass windows. Perhaps I am just too hickified for this sort of thing but I could have had a better experience just sitting in a corner and taking it all in.

We went down to the " Undercross" area below the main floor. There you can find three levels of history: Roman, Norman and medieval. The Romans had built a secular basilica sometime before the 3rd or 4 th century. I stood on the very street where a Roman soldier stood guarding an entrance. Many stone artifacts were on display
The Norman invasion brought with it the construction of a Norman cathedral about 80% the size of the current one.

Well, I got home before finishing this day and Yorkminster.

We did attend Evensong at the minstrel and I did purchase a small gargoyle.

The next day we rode the train from York to London and spent the night in our last Bed and Breakfast. Early on Thursday we grabbed a Tube and got to Heathrow. Got through all the red tape, Had c. ten hour flight to Houston, then a 40 minute jog to San Antonio.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kiburn to York June 15

Kilburn to York June 14-15

Cathy, Judee's cousinto took us to Thirsk (an old Viking town) where we caught a train to York. We immediately bought tickets to London (and reserved seats). We checked into our B&B (Abbeyfield) which is the nicest accommodations of our trip. After a nap we walked around this ancient and beautiful city .. York is a must see for any visit to England.

Roman structures from the third century are here. Constantine was proclaimed Roman emperor here. The Yorkminster Abbey is awesome. We stopped off and ate pizza on the way back to our B&B.

Today, Tuesday, we will take a tour of Yorkminster and attend Evensong worship. Judee has several sights lined up. As wonderful as all this is, my heart is now pointing to San Antonio via London.

We are truly fortunate to have been able to make this trip; and blessed with great home and friends to return home to.

Tomorrow night, London. Thursday, San Antonio.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bath, Epworth, Kilburn (NW of York) June 11-13

Bath, Epworth, Kilburn (York) June 11-13
We travelled on the Northern railway for four hours. The cars are clean and comfortable but we discovered that purchasing tickets gurantees travel, but does not guarantee a seat. So we stood up a portion of the trip

We transferred to a smaller train for the trip to Epworth. On the way I struck up a conversation with a blind man who told me that Epworth was a very small town with only a few stores and no social life. So we were surprised to find that Epworth was a market town of 6,000, many businesses and a roaring social life.

We did find St Andrew's Church where Samuel Wesley was buried. And that is
where John Wesley preached on his.father's tomb. We were not able to go into the church because we were late getting there.

We stayed at the Red Lions Inn--a place where John Wesjey stayed sometimes. And a party took place close by which was rather lively until around midnight.

The next morning Judee decided to have a "full English breakfast": eggs ,bacon, sausage, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, toast, jam and coffee.

On to the old rectory where more surprises lay in store. The place was a magnificent building with 12 rooms, perhaps, and some magnificent furniture

(some, not much). The rectory was owned by the Church of England, but one must remember that Susanah often noted that the family lived on the edge of poverty. The house is a treasure of personal possessions and memorabilia of John Wesley. We had a fine guide but I disagreed with her on several issues.

This picture shows a wax representation of John Wesley done by Madam Tussaud's wax museum and donated to the parsonage.  My wife is five feet tall, so you can see the Father John was a rather small man.

Charles chose to sabotage a romance between John and Grace Murray because  (1)-she was a domestic servant (beneath John's status). (2)-John received a stipend as an Oxford Don so long as he did not marry. He chose to give this stipend to Charles' wife.  It follows that  stipend would stop if John married. (3)  Charles feared John's dedication to his ministry would diminish if he were to marry//fat chance)

I am very glad we visited Epworth.,

A bus back to Doncaster, and a train ride to YorK where we were met by Cathy and Nick. Cathy is cousin of Judee--the two had never met. We went to their home @ Kilburn (nw of York), had a super supper of lasagna and a good night's sleep. there is something special about family no matter how distant the connection.


A side note re automobiles: I have noticed the following types of cars in England
Vauxhall, Volkswagen, Ford, Citroen, ILT, Honda, Volvo and surely there are more.
If General Motors is selling cars here I do not recognize them

And we noticed a "box store" with the name "ASDA" and in small letters "A
part of the Wal Mart Family",

Another interesting note: a service station was selling gasoline for £1.13 a liter. That would be around $1.78 a liter. I don't remember how many liters are in a gallon but guess c. 4 If so that means gasoline is selling for nearly $7.00 ? Do the Brits pray more taxes. Why don't we , in light of our deficit?

Cheerio, Wheaties and Grape Nut Flakes

Bath, Lacock, Stonehenge, June 10 Thursday

Lacock was a waste of time to me. Judee said it was charming. The vIllage was built from the 11th to 14th centuries and is used in many movies, Harry Potter being one.

Stonehenge was a tremendous place--awesome, mystifying and, alas, only 45 minutes
were allotted to walk around it. Some spiritual motivation must have driven the massive and prolonged effort. This construction took place some. 5,000 years ago. I speculate the people worshipped a "Sun God"--but that is just conjecture. There is a mystical quality here.

We did eat at Thr Huntsman (Bath's oldest pub) and had wonderful English cuisine. judee enjoyed fish and chips and I had ia great sample of pub food: an 8 oz cheese burger And chips and a Carling.

Tomorrow we take a train (four hour trip) from.Bath to Doncaster and then a bus over to Epworth where we will spend the night, walk around the town and take a tour of the Wesley parsonage. We feel rather smug that we have learned how to get around the bus stations and.rail stations. But it Is a new day. . .

We miss everyone, and Angus!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bristol Bath

Newton Guest House, Oxford, June 9

Did I mention that yesterday, while waiting for our bus to take us from Blenheim Palace to Oxford i met a fellow from Africa. He was visiting Oxford where he had attended college. We had an interesting conversation about the world debt crisis.

At breakfast i asked for bacon and got ham. It is the unfulfilled expectations that makes for travel frustrations--minor yet present. Our cook and waitress Is from Brazil. Combine my Texas dialect with her Portugese and miracles need to happen.

Yesterday we walked from our BnB to.the rail station. Couldn't figure out which bus to get on.

Today we are on a train going from Oxford to Bristol. Doing anything for the first time is fqull of confusion but have been rescued by very nice people.

Met a man at train station waiting for a transfer. He had a very sweet little dog named "Feather". He had gone to Oxford to buy a new car: a 17 year old Mercedez-Benz. He was a retired musician and said he appeared in a movie with "the American comic genius, Mel Brook".

We got to Bristol and managed to find John Wesley's New Room. I confess to shedding a few tears and raising some chill bumps upon entering the sanctuary. It is a plain facility but heavily laden with Wesley's spirit. David Worthington, manager of the structure, took us on a tour--enlightening, inspiring.

A bus ride to Bath where we found the Wentworth House Hotel. We settled in for a nap, then headed for downtown Bath. The Bath Abbey, Roman Baths, the Avon River. The vast majority of the buildings in this city are said to have been built in the 18 th century (surely not?). We found the pickup place for our tour of Stonehenge tomorrow.

Then off to dinner at a favorite diner: McDonalds--and that great English delicacy, a quarter-pounder, fries and a large diet Coke with extra ICE.

Another "to-do" for tomorrow is to get back to an Internet cafe and send this page out.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blenheim Palace (north of Oxford) June 8 Tuesday

Tuesday June 8 OXFORD
Spent the night at Newton's Guest House. the water was nice and warm. It does seem that most things here are smaller.
The transportation system is super: underground, buses, coaches (intercity buses), trains. It is possible I am sure to get around with no car quite well.

Breakfast at our B n B. Judee said it was good.

At noon we were at Blenheim Palace (some twenty miles north of Oxford). Winston Churchill was born here and is buried here. He never lived here but did spend considerable time as a youth here.

We met a couple from Boston at lunch. They had rented a car. I think it would be extremely unwise for me to try to drive on the left side of the road,

The first part of the tour was going thru the rooms of the palace and hearing about the Dukes of Marlborough. The last part was dramatic presentations of the personal lives of the dukes and duchesses.

Back to Oxford, and late lunch @ McDonalds. This is the. Way the world should eat.

We bought train tickets to Bristol and Bath for 36 pounds. We will travel there tomorrow. We will see Wesley's "New Room" and then Stonehenge at Salisbury. Time is flying past. Tomorrow will be our seventh day here (I think). CHEERIO!

Monday, June 7, 2010


We arrived in London on June 4 (Thursday) , and checked into our authentic London hotel, The  Holiday Inn Express.  This view is looking out of our window to a double decker bus.  It was a unique thing at that time.  Soon  double deckers were everywhere and not so unique.

We made the mistake of ignoring all the warnings about "jet lag"; and, went to the Globe Theater on our first day in London.  We had arrived some time before noon, took a nap (mistake) and went to the Globe Theater sleepy, sleepy, sleepy.

The Globe was restored by Sam Wanamaker (American filmmaker?) and was a great experience, except for us nearly falling off our seats from lack of sleep (no backs).

@on Friday we went to Wesley's Chapel, said to be the mother church of Methodism.  The chapel is a functioning church, and a wedding rehearsal as going on, so we did not get down into the sanctuary.  However, I did get to stand in a pulpit, said to have been used by John Wesley. 

Across the street from the Chapel was a cemetery where Susanna Wesley was buried; however we could not find her grave, as there was no map to the gravesites.  We did find graves for William Blake and John Bunyan.

The picture to the right is the home of John Wesley   
which is next door to the chapel.  But alas, Mister Wesley was not home and we could not
have a cup of tea together.  Below is a picture of his grave, which is behind the Chapel.  And a   close-up of the memorial statement on his grave.

The Wesley Chapel had the atmosphere of a cherished museum, and the guide who led us around was rather formal and structured.  He did not really want to hear anything I had to say about Wesley.

We went back to the hotel, got some fish and chips from a neighborhood vendor.  Long John Silver can beat this.  But, the next day I found a Burger King a block from the  hotel.

The next day, we got smart and took a tour bus of London, where we saw more things than I can remember.  I do remember circling Trafalgar Square the guide pointing to the Admiral Lord Nelson's statue.   As we came around to the other side of the circle, he pointed out a view of the Rear Admiral Lord Nelson.

We did get to  Buckingham Palace, but alas did not have our camera.  We say the changing of the guard, but, no offense meant to the Brits, I was more impressed with the same ceremony done at the tomb of the unknown soldier, in Washington D.C.

We did see the Texas  Embassy Bar as the bus whizzed around a corner; but, I couldn't find it again on a bet.

Yesterday was a tiring and slow day. We walked a lot. Riding the Underground to major destinations, walking in between. Must figure out the bus routes soon. Saturday wanderings :

@ it took us some time get there, but we did find an Internet cafe near Trafalgar
Today we went to the Churchill War Room and museum. Got a great quote from WC:
We are worms, but I do believe I am a glow worm."

Then on to the Methodist Center for a great salad lunch Hit the spot.

Next to the National Gallery where we saw all the famous artists that we learned about in art history. I decided I am more of. An audio responder than a visual,.
Tomorrow we go to Oxford for two days. We expect to have better wi-fi

Monday June 7 Oxford

Took a snazzy double decker bus to Oxford (it had wifi) Took a city bus to our Bed and B'fast. walking down the street I noticed the men's shoes are about two inches longer than their feet. Look like " elf" shoes to me. we walked about six blocks further than we should have . They don't have a very good system of marking their streets.

This evening we walked around Oxford, discovered how the bus runs, ate supper at a Mexican cafe & tomorrow go up to Blenheim Palace (ancesteral home of Winston Churchill).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lies Told and Believed

My mother was a strict disciplinarian.  So much so that I lived in dread of getting a whipping from her:  leather clothes brush, naked butt, leaning over the toilet.  Mom loved me I have no doubt; she said she would walk through fire for me, and no doubt she would--even though the necessitating occasion never arose.

Fear of punishment sometimes drove me to lie to her questioning: "Did you do what I told you not to do?"  My eight-year-old mind weighed the options:  (1) tell the truth (I had done what she told me not to do) and take the very painful punishment, or (2) lie and evoke the future wrath of God for lying.  Of course, I was not a very good liar and I only got away with it about half the time.

When I did not get away with it, I really got angry at her.  I rationalized to myself that I had told the truth (even when I had not) and then I would get angry that she would not believe me.  I was her son and she should believe me--even when I was not telling the truth.

I bring this up because of the many lies being told today on the political front; and the obvious position of the liars that they are telling the truth.

Look at these topics--which I believe to be lies:
  • Obama is a Muslim.
  • He is not a citizen of the United States.
  • The Health Care Reorm Act includes "death panels"
  •  the government is taking over health care
  • we are losing our freedom
  • we need to take our country back
  • the current administration is raising our taxes
I understand that those who perpetrate these lies think they are true (or they deceitfully mislead the gullible for selfish gain); and whatever I might say about any of them would just be a lie to them.

When we hear someone make some statement, the test of truth has become, "do I agree with it?"  If we don't  agree, we often lower our level of trust for the speaker, our sense of their personal integrity diminishes.

If five of us were in business as partners, how successful could our business be if two of the five said, "No matter what you want to do, we are going to say "No"?   Today the Republican members of the Senate adopted the position that whatever the Democrats propose to reform Wall Street and the banks, the Republicans will oppose it.  They have also said, whoever Obama nominates to the Supreme Court, they will oppose that person. 

Two considerations:  first, if we do not enact financial reforms, the same practices that caused our recession will remain in play.  Second, the balance of the court will remain about the same as it was if Obama appoints a liberal jurist (which he probably will).  The real fight will come if Obama gets the opportunity to make another appointment and nominates a liberal in the place of a conservative.

Remember this:  this current court voted 5-4 to allow corporations to donate to political campaigns in such a way that will diminish  the importance of individual donations.  Though this may give comfort to the right wing, it is very scary to me.

One last word:  whether it is ignorance or deceit that fuels the false statements of the right wing, a larger danger looms.

Have you seen signs held by the Tea Party demonstrators:  "Armageddon is coming", "Take Back our Country",  "We came unarmed, This Time", "Clean Your Guns and Have Them Ready", "Obama is a Nazi Socialist".

In a speech given today, President Clinton said, We want to promote disagreement and dialog; but, be careful the words you use.  Remember what you say enters into a vast echo chamber and those words resound across this land and fall up the ears of the serious and the delirious, those who are well-connected and those that are unhinged.

An acquaintance sat down at the dinner table last night.  The first thing he said was "Obama is a Muslim".  I told him that was not true.  Obama's father had been a Muslim, his mother was a non-believer who had a Ph.D  degree (in anthropology?).  Obama has been a member of a Disciples of Christ  (this was a mistake, it should have read:) United Church of Christ in Chicago before the pastor of that church became embroiled in controversy. 

I spoke the truth, as I know it.  Long ago I gave up lying to avoid unpleasant consequences.  But, my acquaintance had been told this by an influential person, and I doubt very seriously if he believes me.  Lies told by friends have  power.  Corrosive and corrupt power.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cornbread Crumbs, etc.

As I get older, my memory grows dimmer; but, it does seem that our political banter is filled with invective and distortion in a manner higher than ever before.  And it comes from all sides of the political spectrum.  While I usually support the more liberal side of most propositions, this year I did not vote in any primary and declared myself to be an independent.

I supported the Health Care initiative in spite of the threats of "death panels" and the predictions that our country would be destroyed by it.  Where things stand right now it appears the economy is slowly turning around, jobs may follow in about six to nine months, and the control of nuclear proliferation looks like a winner (even though the Republicans may mount a push against ratification of the treaty, saying it weakens our national defense or what not).  We are now capable of destroying the world how many times over?

What is really scary is how our trust in the integrity of our leaders (on both sides) has been ripped apart.  The level of criticism is so acrid and hyperbolic that everyone loses.  Eric Severeid said, fifty years ago at another time of national crisis, "He who throws mud, loses ground."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Feliz, Feldham, Francisco, Harden, Olsen, Wilson, and hopefully "Big Game" Hunter promise to be a solid pitching staff for the Texas Rangers.  Pitching has been the biggest problem in the past.  "It's Time" for the Rangers to step out..
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Going to England for the first time in June for two weeks.  It's tough setting an ininerary--so much to see.  London five days, Oxford (and Blenheim Palace), Bath (and side trip to Stonehenge)  then York for four days--that only leaves one day or so for the rest of the trip.  Any "don't miss" suggestions?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
iPad fever is growing in my head.  Anyone have one?  Any suggestions?  Any wi-fi problems?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
My stint as a temporary associate pastor at my church is slowly winding down.  Seven Sundays left.  It has been a real joy to be so involved in the life  of a great church, but my "second retirement" will also be a joy.  At sixty-nine years of age, I understand better the phrase, "My get-up-and-go has done got-up-and-went."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tiger Woods stepped up slightly on the national pecking order with his play and demeanor at the Masters in Atlanta.  Chickens finding one in their midst with sickness or weakness will gang up on it and peck it to death.  That seems to be the intent of many golf "purity" supporters. 

The chief spokesman for the Masters in his opening statement couldn't pass the opportunity to stab Tiger for his lapse of morality.   This is the man whose organization will still not allow women to be members, and for the longest would not allow Afro-Americans to play on their sacred fairways. 

I  think of Jesus looking down at the woman charged with adultery, then up at the men who had thrown her at Jesus feet.  "You without sin, cast the first stone." Leave Tiger alone.   He has paid for his indiscretions.  Let  he and his wife deal with this.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The greedy wealthy are like the junipers (Cedars) in Texas.  Refusing to let the  rain trickle down,  they suck dry the ground which supports them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Always We Begin Again (An adaptation of the Benedictine Rule)

John McQuiston II, an attorney who lives in Memphis has opened the door to a more ordered and peaceful life by translating the sixth century Benedictine Rule into contemporary language.  The result, a small book:  Always We Begin Again

The Memphis Bar Association, no less, has commented that this book can "help its readers escape a frenetic pace of life and seek a more balanced approach to living and to peace of mind". 

The chapters are short (two and three pages) and give themselves to a daily reading.

An excerpt from "The First Rule":

"These words are addressed to anyone
who is willing to renounce the delusion
that the meaning of life can be learned;
whoever is ready
to take up the greater weapon of fidelity
to a way of living that transcends understanding.

The first rule is simply this:

live this life
and do whatever is done,
in a spirit of Thanksgiving.

Abandon attempts to achieve security,
they are futile,

give up the search for wealth,
it is demeaning,

quit the search for salvation,
it is selfish,

And come to comfortable rest
in the certainty that those who
participate in this life
with an attitude of Thanksgiving
will receive its full promise.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
John McQuiston II, ALWAYS WE BEGIN AGAIN, Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse Publishing, 1996, 2001.

[Three correlations to Jesus' teaching:  (1) searching for security:  "the Son of Man has no place to lay his head"; (2) search for wealth:  "you cannot serve both God and the power of money"; (3) search for salvation:  "he who would save his life will lose it".  Living an attitude of "thanksgiving" is deep and requires a sacrificial and loving approach to others.  --cornbread]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Have Held an iPad In My Hands

Judee and I went to an iPad demonstration last Saturday at the Apple store in La Cantera Shops, San Antonio.  We arrived maybe 15 minutes late for the scheduled demo. 

First  impression:  movie premiere, rock concert tickets, championship playoff game.  What I mean is, there was a line that stretched back way around the corner of the block.  A policeman stood at the door of the store.  An Apple employee was passing out bottles of water to an orderly but urgent herd of folks--just waiting to take a bite off the Apple tree.

And these folks weren't there for the demo.  A sign in front of the line urged all those who had "pre-ordered" an iPad,or who were ready to purchase one, to queue up.  Every minute or two (literally) people would emerge from the store, to the cheers of five or six Apple cheerleaders, with a smug smile and carrying a white plastic bag in which was enfolded:  an iPad.  Their very own.

We were told the demo was pushed back to ten oclock, so we went for a cup of coffee (in what must be one of the most beautiful shopping centers in San Antonio, La Cantera).  Returning, we found the cheerleaders' enthusiasm had not waned, but the line was now less than half as long.

We were ushered to a table in the store and an iPad was placed in front of us.  Our demo leader showed us how to turn it on (just punch a button and instantly you are in the apple grove, where "magic" hides behind every tree).  She then led us through the photos, iBook store, web sites, iStore (where apps reside), email, magazines, newspapers, etc.  The touch screen instantly filled our requests and the screen resolution was really good--the color, superb.  I even found this blog, Archer's Tracers easily. 

I am a little concerned about the usability of the on-screen keyboard.  Perhaps with more practice it will become friendly, but for the moment it was strange, typing without "feeling" the keys.  Of course, by now  you probably know you can turn the iPad sideways (from "portrait" to "landscape") and the screen automatically adjusts.  The landscape keyboard is larger and one might just learn how to use it.  Nonetheless, an external keyboard and dock are available for $69.

The wi-fi hookup was either overloaded or underpowered.  I read in Newsweek that the antenna for the wi-fi reception may face a "recall" to beef it up.  Our demo leader said the slow response (at times)  was due to so many iPads in the store all accessing the wi-fi at once.  Maybe.  I don't understand, but am a little skeptical of that explanation.

Nonetheless, I hope to be able to acquire one of these little jewels soon.  I am currently involved in an effort to "remotize" my world, by acquiring as many remotes as possible.  The goal:  to be able to sit in my recliner and control every device in my home without having to get up.  (A small refrigerator could double as a night stand.)  The iPad will save me from having to go six feet over to my desk and firing up my Dell. 

And, Judee and I are travelling to England in June.  I hope to have a book, a couple of movies, a game or two loaded up for the flight over; and maps of London, guides to places of interest, and instructions as to how to get on the Tube--all accessible on my iPad--snuggly tucked into my back-pack.

Where is that tree of the knowledge of good and evil?  I relish the first bite.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Joining the Tea-Baggers, Radically

Perhaps my taste has changed; perhaps I have grown tired of the failed promises, but whatever the reason, I have given up on the mainline and gone for a radical solution.

No more coffee for me.  After months of hopes raised by slick, colored tin-foil packaging, of smelling the delicious aroma of coffee--only to be disappointed by the brewed result, coffee is gone from my daily diet.

I have tried at least  ten different highly-recommended brands with poor results.  Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Folgers, imported Rowandan  coffee, Cafe Ole, Sensco, Eight O'Clock, Maxwell House, name it, I've tried it.   I have bought a new coffee pot, tried three older ones with poor results.  I have ground coffee beans, thinking that might render my sought-for pleasure.  Nada. Nada. Nada.

The only satisfying cup of coffee I have found is at McDonalds--and I'm not going to drive thru there five times a day to fix my caffeine level.

Starbucks was a tremendous let-down.  The mecca of good coffee seekers, so I thought.  I tried, but, I don't want a coffee milkshake, just a plain cup of black coffee.  When I asked for that, what they gave me was strong enough to clog my esophagus.  I can only assume the appeal of that place is to adolescent desires for candied coffee.

Hello tea.  For some reason, unexplained to me, I can taste hot, freshly-brewed tea.  It has a pleasant flavor, and I get a smug affirmation of my distant English roots.

Brewing tea seems so elementary and so idiosyncratic.  You can steep your cup to your precise taste. 

A covenant forms between you and your little bag of tea.  A bonding is fused:  "treat me kindly and I will deliver just the taste for which you thirst."  The only pain associated with the process is the discarding of the bag, after the steeping is done. [I wonder if you can get a quality taste by using the tea bag more than once?]

Earl Grey is the tea of choice for the moment; but, I have only been on this kick for a couple of weeks.  I am willing to experiment around with other flavors.  In the meantime you may call me a "tea-bagger", in the radical sense of course.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, A Real Comer

During an interview on Rachel Maddow, Thursday evening (4-01-10), this tweet appeared:  "We did it.  No murders for the past calendar month".  For the first time in 44 years, the city of Newark, NJ went for 30 days with no murders. 

This is in the city which Money Magazine, in 1996, labelled a "Most Dangerous City".  This is the city for which Cory Booker, D-Newark, is completing his first term as mayor.  This is the city in which the crime rate has dropped 20% since 1997.

Booker is a Rhodes Scholar, a Yale law school graduate.  He is "clean and articulate" :-), somewhat hyper, a dreamer grounded in the pragmatic next step.

He is a major tweeter on Twitter (search for "CoryBooker").  In addition to city news, and efforts to mobilize the citizens to improve their lives, Booker intersperses city news with such tweeting aphorisms  as:'

Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress. --Edison

One-half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.  --Sidney Howard

It always seems impossible until its done. --Nelson Mandela

One way or another, you need to follow this guy if you wish to join the effort to solve all the world's problems.

[If  you know how (or if it is possible) to access TRMS (Rachel Maddow) shows via I-Tunes or other means, please comment below.]

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rachel Maddow: Best News Commentator on TV

Every weeknight I record TRMS (The Rachel Maddow Show) for viewing whenever.  With a PhD from Oxford, Maddow has the skills and the questing to provide true investigative reporting with an open mind (I find her to be quite progressive.) She was a Rhodes Scholar.

Currently she is bedeviling the congressional occcupants of the house at C Street who have been receiving rent subsidies and who may not have claimed such on income tax reports.  She follows the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" issue closely, has excellent guests on [whom she interviews one-on-one (no two opponents yelling at each other)].  She has been a guest on other shows:  Meet the Press, the Today Show.

She is intelligent, tenacious and enthusiastic (unless you are a Glenn Beck fan); and, she is the first openly gay person ever hired to be a news commentator on a network outlet.

Check her out:  MSNBC weeknights, 8 pm central.

Today I saw a woman dressed in jeans, high heels, blackened eyes going into  Wal Mart.  She looked like a cheap prostitute.  If we want to save the world, we need to:

(1) get rid of high heels.  They serve no practical purpose other than to purport faux-sexuality.  They are doubly stupid: (a) who cares how tall you are, (b) they hurt your feet.  Stop it.

(2) Women should stop wearing so much make-up--in fact stop wearing it all.  We'll get used to it; and start seeing real beauty.

Of course, going against cultural norm means tough resistance from the Maybellines, Revlons and Estee Lauder corporations.  So what.  Their propaganda is a bunch of self-serving, greedy sales-pitches.  They care only for making money at women's expense.