Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Lisa's paragraph

There may have been some time in the distant past when achieving great age was seen as a path to wisdom. But here in the 21st century, the wisdom of three days ago, let alone three decades ago, is discounted as outdated. Amassing the experience of several decades on the planet is looked upon not as a passage to wisdom, but as an express ticket to irrelevancy. It’s no wonder people of my generation—we ubiquitous Baby Boomers—nurse an irrational fear of growing old. We are shown daily that we must either match the frenetic pace of our children’s society, or be cast aside like yesterday’s iphone.

Jackie's paragraph

I’m not sure that age has ever been that respected in America. At least not since the middle of the 1800's. Once the frontier opened up at the end of the revolution we were able to endlessly reinvent ourselves. My dad’s family hit the east coast by the end of the seventeenth century. They hit Ohio before the 1840’s and the Oregon coast within a generation. We don’t preserve our cities, we abandon them. We don’t pass our homes to our children; how can we? The folks have moved to Florida. The sons were transferred to Dallas and Seattle. The daughters ended up in Atlanta and LA. How can you respect the wisdom of the ages when it’s pulled up stakes and moved to Miami? It’s not just technology. Too many shop at big box stores in strip malls catering to our appetite for fast food, fast coffee, cheap clothes straight off the ship from you know where. Neighborhood churches are abandoned for mega churches that were founded not centuries or even decades ago but last year. Is there any way to put this country on rewind?


George Carlin you are greatly missed and it’s too bad we couldn’t clone you with a guaranty that your absolutely spot on ability to deflate anything or anyone on the planet would come through. It’s true I’ve spending a lot of time trying to make sense of my spiritual path, but if we can’t laugh at ourselves we are truly lost. That said here is George Carlin’s take on how to condense the Ten Commandments.
Here is my problem with the ten commandments- why exactly are there 10?

You simply do not need ten. The list of ten commandments was artificially and deliberately inflated to get it up to ten. Here's what happened:

About 5,000 years ago a bunch of religious and political hustlers got together to try to figure out how to control people and keep them in line. They knew people were basically stupid and would believe anything they were told, so they announced that God had given them some commandments, up on a mountain, when no one was around.

Well let me ask you this- when they were making this shit up, why did they pick 10? Why not 9 or 11? I'll tell you why- because 10 sound official. Ten sounds important! Ten is the basis for the decimal system, it's a decade, it's a psychologically satisfying number (the top ten, the ten most wanted, the ten best dressed). So having ten commandments was really a marketing decision! It is clearly a bullshit list. It's a political document artificially inflated to sell better. I will now show you how you can reduce the number of commandments and come up with a list that's a little more workable and logical. I am going to use the Roman Catholic version because those were the ones I was taught as a little boy.

Let's start with the first three:




Right off the bat the first three are pure bullshit. Sabbath day? Lord's name? strange gods? Spooky language! Designed to scare and control primitive people. In no way does superstitious nonsense like this apply to the lives of intelligent civilized humans in the 21st century. So now we're down to 7. Next:


Obedience, respect for authority. Just another name for controlling people. The truth is that obedience and respect shouldn't be automatic. They should be earned and based on the parent's performance. Some parents deserve respect, but most of them don't, period. You're down to six.

Now in the interest of logic, something religion is very uncomfortable with, we're going to jump around the list a little bit.



Stealing and lying. Well actually, these two both prohibit the same kind of behavior- dishonesty. So you don't really need two you combine them and call the commandment "thou shalt not be dishonest". And suddenly you're down to 5.

And as long as we're combining I have two others that belong together:


Once again, these two prohibit the same type of behavior. In this case it is marital infidelity. The difference is- coveting takes place in the mind. But I don't think you should outlaw fantasizing about someone else's wife because what is a guy gonna think about when he's waxing his carrot? But, marital fidelity is a good idea so we're gonna keep this one and call it "thou shalt not be unfaithful". And suddenly we're down to four.

But when you think about it, honesty and fidelity are really part of the same overall value so, in truth, you could combine the two honesty commandments with the two fidelity commandments and give them simpler language, positive language instead of negative language and call the whole thing "thou shalt always be honest and faithful" and we're down to 3.


This one is just plain fuckin' stupid. Coveting your neighbor's goods is what keeps the economy going! Your neighbor gets a vibrator that plays "o come o ye faithful", and you want one too! Coveting creates jobs, so leave it alone. You throw out coveting and you're down to 2 now- the big honesty and fidelity commandment and the one we haven't talked about yet:


Murder. But when you think about it, religion has never really had a big problem with murder. More people have been killed in the name of god than for any other reason. All you have to do is look at Northern Ireland, Kashmir, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the World Trade Center to see how seriously the religious folks take thou shalt not kill. The more devout they are, the more they see murder as being negotiable. It depends on who's doin the killin' and who's gettin' killed. So, with all of this in mind, I give you my revised list of the two commandments:

Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie.


Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone, unless of course
they pray to a different invisible man than you.
Two is all you need; Moses could have carried them down the hill in his fuckin' pocket. I wouldn't mind those folks in Alabama posting them on the courthouse wall, as long as they provided one additional commandment:

Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself


THE DUEL by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat.
T’was half past twelve and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat
(I wasn’t there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!)
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!

(Now mind: I’m only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! What shall we do!)
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Walled this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfulest way you ever saw—
And oh, how the gingham and calico flew!
(don’t fancy I exaggerate—I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about that cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really thing of that!
(the old Dutch clock it told me so,
And this is how I came to know.)

I was reading something else (isn’t this always how it goes) and remembered a fragment of this old poem. I believe it perfectly describes parts of out current political climate. I just hope there won’t be shreds of gingham and calico when it’s all over. It makes for a great mental picture though. The doors of the house and senate open and all that’s left are multicolored shreds of fabric.

Tag-Team Post

I just sat down to make a post out of some ideas that have been whirling around in my head. And, as usual, I ran out of writing time after finally settling upon a pretty decent opening paragraph...but nothing more. So I had an idea. Rather than saving this one paragraph and letting it sit and rot for a couple of months on my desktop before I lose interest and finally delete it, why not put it out there and see what it inspires the rest of the collective to write?

So here's the paragraph. Someone pick up the ball and write the next paragraph. And then someone else can go on from there. It should be an interesting exercise...

There may have been some time in the distant past when achieving great age was seen as a path to wisdom. But here in the 21st century, the wisdom of three days ago, let alone three decades ago, is discounted as outdated. Amassing the experience of several decades on the planet is looked upon not as a passage to wisdom, but as an express ticket to irrelevancy. It’s no wonder people of my generation—we ubiquitous Baby Boomers—nurse an irrational fear of growing old. We are shown daily that we must either match the frenetic pace of our children’s society, or be cast aside like yesterday’s iphone.

Have at it, ladies...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My New England Blizzard 1-12-2011 The Abridged Version

That's my girl, buried in snow. Brrrr

A Junco finds eating while it is snowing just a fine activity.

No, that's not the spray-one type.

Loved the peace and quiet of no cars.

A male Cardinal stops in for a visit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Blessings For THIS World?

I have had the seeds of several rants running through my head the past couple of weeks. On everything from gun control to work ethics (or lack thereof.)

This past weekend in Arizona, a very public mass murder has left our nation with tears in our eyes, guilt in our hearts, and big question marks over our heads. What should we do or say now? How should we respond? Who gets the blame; or is it even appropriate to start pointing fingers?

A rant certainly seems inappropriate here…ranting and raving and violent, divisive language are very likely what have brought us to this place. Now is a time to be still and think before we act, or write, or speak.

Our friend marigolds2 posted on Facebook something that has given me pause, made me think. And made me very sad, really. Because the following words are some that I was taught from the time I was old enough to read. And though I no longer adhere to the religion from which they sprang, I know wise words when I see them:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Do they teach this anymore, anywhere?

Winter Wednesday Photo

My new best friend ...
December 27, 2010

Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm here...

Hey everyone...

I'm here...I hope you all had a great holiday.

It was a strange holiday here for us. Hannukah was here so early, it was over long before my daughter was home from school for her semester break. We had a little celebration one evening once we had everyone home but it hardly felt like a holiday.

The New York blizzard was not as severe out on Long Island as it was in the city. Despite the snow, Aaron and I went in to Manhattan on the Tuesday after Christmas. Many of the streets were in terrible shape and the mountains of plowed snow (and slush) made walking less than ideal. But it was an absolutely beautiful day.

I took this photo quickly, with my iphone as we were hurrying across the street.

Post blizzard in NYC...


Hello Out There?

Our little ensemble blog, after a short re-birth early last year, seems to have dried up and blown away.

Well,'s Friday. Remember Photo Friday y'all? I'll try to jump-start things by posting a picture and issuing a challenge.

Here's the picture:


The LAST Christmas Tree at the Old Town Cafe...

And here's the challenge:

The picture above best represents Christmas 2010 to me. Does anyone (if anyone is still out there...) have a picture that best represents their Christmas 2010?

If so....feel free to post it.

Or post anything. Anything at all.

I'll be back later with a real post...