Monday, July 31, 2006


ER's rodeo report

The blur on the left is Dr. ER Niecelet Thing 2, age 9, during the calf scramble Saturday night at the Boomtown Rodeo outside Burkburnett, Texas.

It was too dark to shoot with my play camera -- the digital, good for snapshots only -- but I fired some off anyway. This one turned out sorta artsy, I think. She and her older sister, Dr. ER Niecelet Thing 1, were among 100 or so other kiddos chasin' calves in the calf scramble, one or two of which had ribbons tied to their tails (the calves, not the kids) good for a money prize or gift certificate or something. It is laughably ironic that Niecelet Thing 2 appears to have a halo in this picture. She is smart as a whip, willful as all get-out and a handful. Takes after her aunt, Dr. ER, that way.

It was the first-ever rodeo for Dr. ER Niecelet Thing 1, who is 13 I think, and Dr. ER Niecelet Thing 2, as well as Bird's boyfriend, YankeeBeau, who, hailin' from Massachusetts way, had never seen such.

They all had a big time -- except for during the "kill the cow part," as Niecelet Thing 1 put it, over and again, at increasing decibels. Bird and I, perpetuating the cultural-conventional wisdom, explained to her that calf roping doesn't *really* hurt the calves, it just looks like it hurts when they get roped and flipped and thrown to the ground and tied -- with any luck in 7 or 8 seconds flat. The fact is, most of those calves were at a rodeo last weekend, and will be at another rodeo next week -- and in the end, they will wind up as hamburger.

Niecelet Thing 2 got over the "kill the cow" part by the end of the night. I think seeing about 10 bulls face-plant about 10 cowboys in the dirt showed her that the man-beasty balance of power is about even at a rodeo.

It was a grand time, all in all.

When we pulled up, a young man sitting a horse and directin' traffic directed us and others in trucks capable of 4WD into a "parking lot" of deep sand, droughty grass and tumbleweeds. Others in more sissified vehicles were sent to a little more firmer terra firma.

Both niecelets got to ride an aged, trained (and somewhat sedated) Longhorn steer hitched to a circle walker. The more adventuresome of the two -- the young'un, who ate two or three of those big, solid-sugar pixie stick candies and gleefully tried her first-ever hot cinnamon toothpick provided by her Uncle ER -- complained that the Longhorn didn't go fast enough to suit her. She'd be a barrel racer if she could, I'm sure.

YankeeBeau declared the experience "awesome," even though, technically, he did not see "bull riding" per se, he only saw attempted bull riding, which, truthfully, can be just as fun to watch.

As we were leavin' we saw a big shootin' star in the Texas night sky. Nifty.

After I deposited a truckload of niecelets, their daddy, Mr. Sister Dr. ER, Bird and her YankeeBeau at Mama and Daddy Dr. ER's house, I then snuck to downtown Wichita Falls to an old haunt of mine and had a couple pints of coldbeer. Picked up a sack of Fritos and a little can of bean dip on the way home, had a post-midnight snack with some milk.

I then collapsed on the hotel couch so as to not disturb a snoozing Dr. ER, who had eschewed the rodeo in favor of one of the Indian casinos just north of Red River in Oklahoma, with Sister Dr. ER and Mama Mr. Sister Dr. ER, where she, Dr. ER, broke even after being several hundred ahead at one point.

It don't get much better than all that.


Sunday, July 30, 2006


Of the United States of America

Growin' up in the heartland has trained me well. No matter what else, this is a gorgeous sight. May the ideals it represents return to our land.

After we found our seats last night at the the rodeo, I looked over my right shoulder and saw this. Awesome. I fired off 20 or so shots. I've stood waiting for a breeze to unfurl a flag for a photo before. A stiff wind presented a picture-perfect opportunity -- *and* made the 100-plus-degree heat tolerable.

This is Dick West and Champion, his wonder horse! Ol' Dick, the announcer said, has been a trick roper since age 14, "in 1942." That' means he's 78. The heat like to did him in. We thought he was going to keel over. Kept grabbin' his chest and got all red in the face. But the show went on and ended with his finale: twirlin' three ropes at once, one in each hand and one in his mouth. Lord grant me such energy at 78.

Another pic or two anon. Blogger is being fickle about pix all of a dang sudden.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


'Authentically Liberal' warriors

GTT. Here's something to chew on.


How Democrats Can Defeat Terrorism and Win Elections

By Richard Holbrooke
in Foreign Affairs

Among the chattering classes, it has recently become commonplace to say that the Democrats are weak on national security. In the 1990s, when domestic issues dominated the public consciousness, polls showed little difference between the two parties on foreign policy. But after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, there was a huge change. Until this spring, every poll taken in the past five years had indicated that the American public trusted Republicans -- seemingly any Republican -- more than Democrats on national security. "Foreign affairs assertiveness now almost completely distinguishes Republican-oriented voters from Democratic-oriented voters," a comprehensive report from the Pew Research Center stated in 2005. "Attitudes relating to religion and social issues are not nearly as important in determining party affiliation."

Given the actual record of the two parties since 1993, the Republicans' advantage is richly ironic.

Read all about it in this review of:

The Good Fight: Why Liberals -- and Only Liberals -- Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again. BY PETER BEINART. HarperCollins, 2006, 304 pp. $25.95.


Politics Lost: How American Democracy Was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid. BY JOE KLEIN. Doubleday, 2006, 272 pp. $23.95.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Yee haw! Rodeoin' this weekend!

Dr. ER is in Texas already. I'm headin' down in the morning to help with a missionary effort.

Bird and her Yankee Beau, who hails from Massachusetts and has never been to a rodeo, are going to the Boomtown Rodeo tomorrow night with me and Mr. Sister Dr. ER (that'd be Dr. ER's sister's husband) and my two niecelets, who likewise have never been, having been born in Texas but having lived most of their young lives in Ohio.

A fine time will be had by all, in Burkburnett, Texas. (Map). Named for rancher, oilman, banker Samuel Burk Burnett.

They got an event down there I've never seen or heard of: "Wild trailer loading." What a hoot. I've seen team pennin' done right and done wrong, but I've never seen 'em do anything of the sort with a trailer.

Y'all got any rodeo stories?

Mama ER says I charmed the crowd at a rodeo in Fort Smith, Ark., (map) as a lad by jumpin' up and hollering "Batman!" when one of the specialty acts involved a man in a cape. I was cute as a button, I'm sure.

What about y'all?


Thursday, July 27, 2006


Meet Mr. Way-Too-Proud-of-Texas Guy!

Y'all all surely know of Budweiser's "Real Men of Genius" radio ad campaign, now going on seven years.

But if you don't live in Texas, you've probably never heard this one. If you ever *have* lived in Texas, or if you've ever known a typical Texan, you'll LOL. Bird, who is spending the summer in the Houston area, told me about it!

Click here to hear Budweiser's salute to ..

Mr. Way-Too-Proud-of-Texas Guy!

"Yankie wussies ..."



On stage: Reinhold Niebuhr, Pat Buchanan, Jesus (cameo), Robert E. Lee, ER and thepoetryman

"Anyone who finds any joy in the fighting in Israel and Lebanon is a fool or a devil."


(sound of fingers snapping)

Let us take steps to confront our butchered age;
Cross the plains of reason, peering over the chasm.
Do not now upon time’s ripeness wait. It is here;
Black and bleeding, pulsing malevolence most foul,
Most ready… Take heed! Take heed! It is near!

Read the entire poem, by thepoetryman (first seen at KEvron's place).

(sound of fingers snapping)

May Israel do what it must do quickly -- and no more! May Israel and the world care for the women, children and other innocents; may none forget the human cost of war as politics by desperate means. Amen.


(sound of fingers snapping)

"What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world."

--Robert E. Lee

(sound of fingers snapping)

"Any Christian who feels anything but sorrow over the fighting in Lebanon and Israel should think on it some more."


(sound of fingers snapping)

What Israel is doing is unAmerican and unChristian.

-- Pat Buchanan, paraphrased, but very close.

(sound of fingers snapping)

"War comes for one of two reasons. To acquire something someone else has, or to deprive others of something they have."


(sound of fingers snapping)

"The rigorism of the gospel ethic and its failure to make concessions to even the most inevitable and 'natural' self-regarding impulses may best be judged by analyzing the attitude of Jesus toward various natural expressions of human life. Every form of self-assertion is scrutinized and condemned in words which allow of no misinterpretation. The very basis of self-love is the natural will to survive. In man the animal impulse to maintain life becomes an immediate temptation to assert the self against the neighbor. Therefore, in the ethic of Jesus, concern for physical existence is prohibited: 'Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat and the body more than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? ... Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithall shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.' The prudent conscience will have an immediately unfavorable reaction to these words. No life can be lived in such unconcern for the physical basis of life. Those who try to make the ethic of Jesus a guide to prudent conduct have, therefore, been anxious to point out that the naïve faith in God's providential care which underlies these injunctions had more relevance in the simple agrarian life of Palestine than in the economic complexities of modern urban existence. But it must be noted that they cannot be followed absolutely even in simple agrarian life. The fact is that this word contains a completely unprudential rigorism in the ethic of Jesus which appears again and again."

-- Reinhold Niebuhr, from Interpretation of Christian Ethics (1935).

(sound of fingers snapping)

"Jesus's way is hard. I confess I'm not even close."


(sound of silence)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


If the world gets any smaller ...

... we're all gonna see each other nekkid. Or dead.

Israeli Defense Forces Web site.

Hezbollah Web site.

Eerie (1.b.).


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I went to church and voted

I think it's a charming bit of Americana, a vestige of a more innocent time -- nothing to be alarmed over -- that Dr. ER and I go to a Southern Baptist church about a mile from our house to vote.

Today is primary day in Oklahoma. Here's what you get by voting where we vote (if you choose to pluck them off the wall you have to walk by, where they are almost literally in your face, to get to the voting booths):

"Big Daddy."

"The Sissy?"

"The Letter."

"Room 310."

And the Jack Chick piece de resistance: "This Was Your Life!"

I loves me some America.

On the other hand: What if these were comic book stories about Mohammed?

"Jack Chick" at Wikipedia.



Honest confession from ER

(Typos fixed.)

I have a confession to make.

I can't stand this guy, Daddio, at Daddio's Dark Side.

I've tried and tried but I can't. He's the Hezbollah of Blogdom, and I've been one of his Israels several times. We've established a modicum of peace a few times -- but it always blows up.

The first time was a few months back when I dropped this, the Covenant of Openness and Affirmation from my church, in a comment on his blog and told him he needed to read it. It basically says, "We will not stand in the way of homosexuals who are trying to get to Jesus. Y'all come on in."

I still think Daddio needs to read it, judging from an angry statement of intolerance he now has on his blog, which I probably inspired:

(Gay Audience Beware)

Homosexuals and those who support the homosexual agenda are duly warned that if interjected into any post, references to homosexuality will be met with language and argument some may find offensive.

The most recent blow-up was this week, when we, probably to our mutual discomfort, discovered that we are on the same side when it comes to Israel and Hezbollah. We both think it's time to kick ass and take names. Yesterday, out of the blue he hurled BS at me, again -- and when I saw it late last night, I lost my cool -- again.

Last week, he posted a mocking "invitation" to "leftist Christians" to give him money so he could move from his house in a small town out to the country. It was the most appalling thing I've seen from a professing Christian in the blogosphere.

It made a mockery of the Sermon on the Mount and it made a joke of Jesus, the Savior. I still can't imagine what was going through his mind. He has since deleted the post and the angry comments that flew from both of our keyboards over the next few days.

I'd like to be able to maintain peace with Daddio. He's in Arkansas, closer to where I grew up in extreme eastern Oklahoma than where I live now, around Oklahoma City, geographically and culturally. I think he's a chicken-pickin' guitar player, and I am, too. He is a decidedly rural pursuasion, and I am, too.

And, although I'm pretty sure he doubts my confession, we both try to follow Jesus in our own way. Of course, all he has to go on is my profession, and all I have to go on is his profession -- which, let's be honest, is about all any of us have to go on when assessing anyone's "Christianity."

But I can't do it and I don't want to pretend. I think Daddio is crazy as a loon and mean as a snake. I think he's a two-bit country punk who makes up for some major deficiency by beating up people in Blogdom. That's what I think.

But so far, I haven't been able to stay away from his place. I don't know why, because I'm not trying to change his mind, and there's no way he has the rhetorical resources or willingness to utilize real, hard evidence that it takes to change mine. Daddio's place attracts me, nonetheless, something like -- well, it's like intellectual porn or something. Hard to break the habit.

So, this is an ER Confession: I cannot live in peace with the bozo, no matter how hard I try. I don't hate him because I don't hate anyone. In fact, I grit my teeth and strive to love him as Jesus told us to love others. But it's hard.

He laughs it all off. My inability to keep peace with him has actually cost me some sleep. To that end, I consider him a bigger man than I am.


Sunday, July 23, 2006


'Liberating Word' and 'False Stewardship'

Just a couple of interesting articles from unapologetically liberal -- and unapologetically Christian -- magazines.

The first one is profound and humbling to me. The second one (hat tip to commenter GP) is pointed and interesting.


From The Christian Century

Liberating word
The power of the Bible in the global South

by Philip Jenkins
Gatherings of the worldwide Anglican Communion have been contentious events in recent years. On one occasion, two bishops were participating in a Bible study, one from Africa, the other from the U.S. As the hours went by, tempers frayed as the African expressed his confidence in the clear words of scripture, while the American stressed the need to interpret the Bible in the light of modern scholarship and contemporary mores. Eventually, the African bishop asked in exasperation, "If you don't believe the scripture, why did you bring it to us in the first place?"

Read all about it.

From Sojourners

False Stewardship
Dobson's is a fringe position gussied up in mainstream garb.

by Steve Thorngate
James Dobson believes that Christians should be good stewards of the earth. He said so on his radio show in May—right after he harshly criticized the National Association of Evangelicals’ Rich Cizik, who has led a tireless crusade against global warming. (Dobson’s censure also included Jim Wallis and Sojourners.) According to Dobson, Christians should not let environmental “doomsday theories” distract them from abortion and same-sex marriage. Stewardship, while crucial, doesn’t require any particular action on global warming.

Read all about it requires registration, but it's free).


Church bulletin notes and quotes

The church to which ER belongs. I love it. But it still burns my ol' Baptist eyeballs sometimes! Amen and amen!


x x x

"If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth."

-- Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe, letter to President Franklin Pierce.

x x x

The Prayer of Confession:

Lord of Life, we come this morning not to see or be seen, but to lose ourselves in the search for truth, and find ourselves in service to others. The world is weary of itself -- its addictions, its impatience, its greed. Turn us, we pray, from love of things, to love of one another. And save us from all form of idolatry, lest we waste our days in wanting foolishly. In Christ's name we pray, Amen.

x x x

(ER's personal prayer: May Israel do what it must do quickly; may Israel and the world care for the women, children and other innocents; may none forget the human cost of war as politics by desperate means. Amen.)

x x x

"Attention parents: Kay Bessler Northcutt is the pulpit series speaker on July 30. The subject of Ms. Bessler's message that morning is on David raping Bathsheba and she has asked that no children younger than middle school be in services that day (and, rather, be in Sunday school or child care.)"

x x x

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Two metro-area churches committed to welcoming gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) individuals into their congregations -- St. Stephen's United Methodist Church in Norman and Epworth United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City -- will host a weekend of workshops and worship July 29 and 30 featuring Rev. Troy Plummer, executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network.

Read all about it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006





Friday, July 21, 2006


Humane Society of Fascist America

Extremists suck. I'm sure Tugboat and others who would suspend the First Amendment for those with whom they disagree are all for these animal-right freaks.


By The Associated Press
via The State

The Humane Society of the United States is threatening a lawsuit against, saying the online retailer is violating federal law by selling two magazines that promote cockfighting.

Read all about it with one hand, and clutch the First Amendment close to your heart with the other!


Order The Gamecock here.

Order The Feathered Warrior here.



'No Earthly Good'

Can't believe I'm 42 years old and just now have encountered this song! God(cq) timing, I reckon. Yesterday, I went lookin' for the new Johnny Cash album and mistook this one for it. And on the one I bought was this song.

No Earthly Good

Come hear me good brothers come here one and all
Don't brag about standing or you'll surely fall
You're shinin' your light yes and shine it you should
You're so heavenly minded and you're no earthly good
No earthly good you are no earthly good
You're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good
You're shinin' your light yes and shine it you should
You're so heavenly minded and you're no earthly good

Come here me good sisters you're salt of the earth
If your salt isn't salted then what is it worth
You could give someone a cool drink if you would
You're so heavenly minded and you're no earthly good
No earthly good you are no earthly good
You're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good
You could give someone a cool drink if you would
You're so heavenly minded and you're no earthly good

If you're holdin' heaven then spread it around
There are hungry hands reaching up here from the ground
Move over and share the high ground where you stood
So heavenly minded and you're no earthly good
No earthly good you are no earthly good
You're so heavenly minded you're no earthly good
Move over and share the high ground where you stood
So heavenly minded and you're no earthly good
No earthly good...

Awesome song.

Until about a year ago, I made no attempt to be any "earthly good" to my fellow man. That's changing, and that's all I have to say about it.

But the changes keep me from hidin' my light under a bushel when it comes to exhortin' Christians about what it means to live the Christian life. I didn't dare for the 20 years I chose not to be a part of a local congregation.

If you're holdin' heaven then spread it around
There are hungry hands reaching up here from the ground ...


Thursday, July 20, 2006


ell war is hell war is hell war is hell war is hell war is hell war is hell war is hell war is

(Rated PG for language at bottom).

OK. Peace. Jesus is for peace. I'm for peace. War is harmful to flowers and other living things. War sucks, I hear -- and thank God, I've never been there, done that.

Begin rant.

But, apocalyptic nonsense aside, the state of Israel either has a right to exist or not. Zionism's excesses aside, I believe that, yes, it does. And anyone or anything with a right to exist has a right to self defense.

Yep, we're watchin' the fightin' in Lebanon and Gaza closely in the ER household.

Dr. ER says I watch the war news like an acquaintance of ours watches NASCAR races: He just won't shut up reacting to what the drivers do and what the commentators say, and it drives me nuts: Shut up and watch the race, I think.

Myself, I simply loathe the shallowness of the newsies on TV -- even people like Keith Olbermann (sp?) and, oh, the former Fed chairman's wiufe whose name escapes me ... Andrea Mitchell -- so I rant and holler and throw things at the TV.

Not 48 hours into Israel's response, if that long, all the TV graphics talked of PEACE, PEACE, DIPLOMACY, CEASE FIRE. And as late as last night, all the questioning and commentary on TV rested on the same premise: Somebody has to do something to stop Israel now!

Is the United States dragging its feet diplomatically? Horrors! Don't our leaders see what tragedies are befalling those poor people? The shame!

Pony pucks. Sometimes the best way to ensure peace -- real peace, not just the absence of hostilities -- is to kick ass and take names. The eve of destruction was a week ago. Hezbollah went one toke over the line, man, one toke over the line.

I am all for Israel seeking real peace.

I am all for Israel rooting out the terrorists Hezbollah.

I am all for Israel kicking ass and taking names.

Talk of "proportional response" is sophomoric. This isn't tit for tat. It's Sherman marching to the sea -- Union soldiers gunning for the KKK in Mississippi in the 1870s, the Iroquois League destroying every people it can't subsume.

Israel is rightly doing in Lebabon what the United States rightly did in Afghanistan after 9/11 in going after the Taliban even to the point of destroying the government of Afghanistan, which the Taliban had infested. Israel is going after Hezbollah, it looks like, even to the point of destroying the government, such as it is, of Lebanon. More power to them.

May Israel *not,* as the United States did, go off on a tangent.

Damn Iraq! Damn every neocon loon who saw, imagined or fabricated a basis for responding to Osama bin Laden by toppling the tyrant Saddam. It's caused Afghanistan to drag on longer than it would have, and it leaves us too stretched to ... oh, I don't know, rush in with the cavalry if Israel bites off more than it can chew in Lebanon.

Damn neocon's disdain for international relations and suspicion of diplomacy! Bushco. doesn't have the balls to sit down with an eighth-grade bully like Kim Jung Il(sp?) and tell him where to head in at! Joe Biden put it best on Meet the Press last week: We should sit him down like the schoolyard punk he is and tell him exactly what he may and may not and tell him "we will annihilate you" if he keeps on showing his ass. But we won't.

So, I don't have any hopes for American limp-dick diplomacy to get anywhere in the Middle East now.

End rant.

Rant p.s.: I am all for the United States going in to rescue Americans caught up in the war in Lebanon. I am all for We, the People footing the bill. But unless people are over there under the employ of the U.S. government, or otherwise directly connected to U.S. interests, being rescued is more than they should expect. So don't whine about the timing, or the mode of transportation, or anything else.

End rant p.s.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Proof that cats are aliens!!

Last night, about 2 seconds after Dr. ER said, "That cicada sure is loud!" the cicada, which apparently was inside the top of the chimney, apparently fell to its demise down into the fireplace, complete with a bzzz-ooof! bzzz-ouch bzzz-thud! -- and Mighty Ice-T was johnny-on-the-spot!

Ice-T stalked the formerl buzzin' critter for quite awhile, despite the fact that the cicada's buzzer apparently did not survive the fall and crash. I keep the camera by my recliner for just such photo ops.

And what a cool pic. You might not notice it in the big photo, but in the detail shot you can see Ice-T's eyes reflecting in the glass front of the fireplace.

Dr. ER dreamed just the other night that all animals on earth were descendents of one of two space aliens. Maybe they're trying to make contact now through the kitty-cat! ( ... Great. I just now got over Dr. ER's late sighting of the Holy Mother ... see art of the Virgin here ... )


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Gene Autry, Okla.

Dang! I had legitimate cause to be in Gene Autry, Okla., today, but I was an hour late to get to visit the Gene Autry, Oklahoma, Museum! Well, I've been there once. Next time!

Read a story about the town.

Read the Wikipedia article about Gene Autry, Okla.

Read the Wikipedia article about Gene Autry.


Monday, July 17, 2006


ER book review: 'Godless: The Church of Liberalism,' by Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter, Godless: The Church of Liberalism (New York: Crown Forum, 2006, pp. 310, notes, index.)

By The Erudite Redneck

Ann Coulter couches her most recent polemic within the framework of a brilliantly incendiary thesis: Liberalism, as she defines it, is not as irreligious as its most secular proponents insist. Rather, as a political orientation, liberalism functions exactly like the historical church, with its own cosmology, martyrs, sacraments, doctrines, priesthood, creation myth and crusades. Liberalism is the state-sanctioned religion, she insists, since it is propagated mainly in tax-funded public schools, especially dogma surrounding evolution. Her argument is surely appalling to secular liberals who care nothing for religion, as well as progressive Christians who cringe at the comparison.

Coulter sets up Chapter 1, “On the Seventh Day, God Rested and Liberals Schemed,” with a Scriptural epigraph that apparently is meant as a kind of grace note for the entire book, since it is the only chapter heading. Romans 1:25-26: “They exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator. … Therefore, God gave them up to passions of dishonor; for their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature.” It is gratuitous and a little off. Limiting the quotation to Verse 25 would have been more appropriate. Better still, for Coulter’s purposes, would have been Romans 1: 22-23, especially since she later attempts to debunk evolution “theology” -- “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

Why such scrutiny of an epigraph? Its awkward placement as a marker for what follows sets the standard for the remainder of the book. Coulter whips her thesis – liberalism as religion – into froth. The devil, as they say, is in the details – and he leaves snags and tears in her tapestry of sophism.

Early on, Coulter shows either bald ignorance or, perhaps she is relying on the ignorance of many of her most loyal readers, with this note on Page 3: “Throughout this book, I often refer to Christians and Christianity because I am a Christian and I have a fairly good idea of what they believe, but the term is intended to include anyone who subscribes to the Bible of the God of Abraham, including Jews and others.” Coulter, then, joins a 2,000-year-old line of people who want the terms “Christian” and “Christianity” to mean just what she wants them to mean. That or by “and others” she means Islamists, since Muslims claim the Koran interprets the New Testament in the same way that Christians claim the New Testament interprets the Old Testament. Islam, after all, traces itself to Ishmael, Isaac’s brother, Abraham’s “other” son.

Crucial to her argument is this premise, on the same page: “Liberalism is a comprehensive belief system denying the Christian belief in man’s immortal soul.” Her mention of People of faith for Kerry, the famously liberal Riverside Church in Manhattan and “liberal minister Jim Wallis” give the lie to her central argument, which weakens it considerably.

So, viewing the rest of “Godless” becomes easier in some ways. Despite the appearance of logic, the book isn’t actually an argument at all. Coulter is a genius at turns of phrase. She can be knee-slapping funny, although, like most successful comedians, she is gratuitously mean. She self identifies as a polemicist. Yet she masquerades as an apologist – for political conservatism, which is one thing, the Republican Party, which is another, and traditional Christianity, which to hear her tell it, includes Judaism “and others,” which must mean “nice” Muslims.

In Chapter 2, “The Passion of the Liberal: Thou Shalt Not Punish the Perp,” Coulter berates anyone who still insists that rehabilitation, as well as removal and retribution, should be a goal of incarceration. Chapter 3, “The Martyr: Willie Horton,” gleeful rehashes the disgraceful use of the infamous “revolving door” spot to belittle Gov. Dukakis during the 1988 presidential campaign. Chapter 4, “The Holiest Sacrament: Abortion,” perpetuates the myth that to be “pro choice” is to be “for abortion on demand” and repeats the tired complaint that the judiciary – “Co-equal Branch of Government since 1803" -- dares to interpret the Constitution. Coulter would do away with the Supreme Court of the United States in favor of a populist right-wing Congress and a strong executive, apparently. Which raises the question: Why is she so unhappy? Conservatives are taking over SCOTUS, the Congress is in Coulter’s kind of hands and a powerful regency leads the executive branch.

In Chapter 5, “Liberals’ Doctrine of Infallibility: Sobbing Hysterical Women,” Coulter castigates Democrats for “using” emotion – including the legitimate grief and righteous indignation of the “gaggle of weeping widows,” survivors of 9/11, and Cindy Sheehan. As if they speak for the Democrats. It’s a free country, more or less. They speak for themselves, with many, but not all, Democrats, amening them all the way. In this chapter, she dares attack Max Cleland, disabled Vietnam vet, for fairly labeling George W. Bush as a “chicken hawk,” and shamelessly mischaracterizes U.S Rep. John Murtha’s position on the war in Iraq and being “for surrender.”

In Chapter 6, “The Liberal Priesthood: Spare the Rod, Spoil the Teacher,” Coulter excoriates the Democratic Party for being beholden to the National Education Association and slams teachers for being more interested in themselves than the pupils and students in their charge. She has a point on the Democrats’ tie – it’s a steel cable, actually – to the NEA, but with the right wing condemning “government” (public) schools and pushing home schooling as an act of patriotism, it’s a tolerable relationship. Her complaint about teachers’ unions caring more for teachers than for their students fell on deaf ears here; what union does not exist to protect its members first? Odd that Coulter, while insisting that teachers not think so highly of themselves, would at the same time make “teaching” a form of “public service” on the same level as the clergy. Which is it? She does have a point about teachers’ unions clamoring for higher teacher pay: Shut up already. Teachers make more than most of the working press, whose calling is as high – which is the main reason teachers get little empathy from the press, at least outside the liberal bastions of the press.

The remainder of the book is a more or less sustained attack on evolution: Chapter 7, “The Left’s War on Science: Burning Books to Advance ‘Science’ ”; Chapter 8, “The Creation Myth: On the Sixth Day, God Created Fruit Flies”; Chapter 9, “Proof for How the Walkman Evolved into the iPod by Random Mutation”; Chapter 10, “The Scientific Method of Stoning and Burning”; and Chapter 11, “The Aped Crusader.” Coulter is right to expose efforts in the academy to close legitimate debate; she probably informs a new generation of historical shams and dead-ends associated with evolution; she summarizes the political and Babbittish hucksterism surrounding the Scopes trial in 1925; and she seems to fairly characterize the emotions surrounding the Intelligent Design movement, although at bottom, she bases her own anti-evolution position on something that, itself, is as empirically inscrutable to many scientists as the actual elements of evolutionary theory are to Christians whose sense of cosmology, science and ultimate truth is summed up: “The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.” So, while she gets kudos for taking a crash course in evolution before tackling it, so she says, these chapters add little, save more froth, to arguments over the origins of life. They do add to the politics surrounding science versus faith, but again, mostly just suds.

It pained me to read “Godless,” mostly because Coulter is so adept at polemics, and because polemics are mistaken for logic by so many people. I’m jealous of the way she has with words, and I’m disturbed that, even despite the recent revelations of her plagiarism, she is still so defended by her True Believers. It upsets me that her valid points are lost in the explosion of words and wit. On the other hand, without such explosions, nothing she wrote would be noticed. I’m suspicious of the footnotes – not because I checked them but because they exist. They seem to be an attempt to add a scholarly patina to something that is book journalism. Keeping attribution and further clarification in the text would be more honest in writing such as this.

Reading “Godless” is like listening to heavy metal or early rap: Important words and even valid ideas lose power when drowned out by so much sound and fury. Of course, those who consider heavy metal and rap high art forms, that is, those, who enjoy sound and fury, whatever it signifies, will enjoy “Godless.”

(Special thanks to regular commenter and uber-righty Nick Toper, who gave me a copy of "Godless" -- a payback for me sending him Jimmy Carter's Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis, and Robin Meyer's Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, Your Future [see ER's review here.])

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Crawford's Sunday concert

A Life of Illusion. (crank it up).

God bless the press.



Dr. ER has split!

Dr. ER hauled out of here yesterday. Just packed her bags, grabbed her laptop and split. Took my cat even!

Said the environment in the ER household had become unbearable. Said she deserved better. Left it to me to work things out. Said that Friday night was the last straw. I'd never seen her so hot and red in the face!

We even sought professional help. Smoothed things over for awhile. But it didn't take long for the problem to heat back up. We couldn't stand to even be physically close to each other.

It made me very, very sad.

:-( :-( :-(

But the air-conditioning repair guy is coming back today.

Of all times for the AC to go out! Hottest days of the year so far. It was 103 yesterday evening -- and 83 inside the house.

Dr. ER, bein' the whitest white girl I've ever known, couldn't stand it and is in a nice cool hotel room with Ice-T (his first Big Adventure since going with me in the truck last December to go through a drive-though.) Had breakfast with her this morning.

Dr. ER, the sissy, is stayin' there tonight, too, 'cause she ain't comin' back to the house until the AC is fixed and she *knows* it's fixed!


Saturday, July 15, 2006


Dream doggerel: Daddy ER

There you weren't, Daddy.

You weren't at your place at the table.

You weren't on your side of the bed.

You weren't at your desk.

You weren't in your recliner.

You weren't outside, not in the big barn, not in the milkhouse.

You weren't on a tractor, not on the John Deere, not on the Massey-Ferguson.

You weren't in the Ford pickup, not in the one with the fuel tank.

You weren't in the big truck.

You weren't anywhere you used to be.

And there you weren't in my dream.


(Daddy ER died in March 1989. No idea what triggered this dream.)

Friday, July 14, 2006


Woody Guthrie Folk Festival

Might just get up early in the morn, mow what's left of my yard and mosey on over to Okemah for the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival tomorry.

Who was Woody Guthrie?

Still some older Oklahomans around who consider him a commie. Ah, no. A socialist, for sure, but not a commie -- a distinction that feeble minds never *have* been able to make.

Woody Guthrie did -- and continues to do -- Oklahoma proud.


Thursday, July 13, 2006


Mortar BORED!

I'm gettin' an itchy brain again. This December will make 2 years since I finished a master's degree in history. What next?

Law school? (What I'm thinking about is the Native American Legal Resource Center.)

Seminary? (What I'm thinking about
is a Certificate in Graduate Theological Studies, perhaps an M.Div.)

University of Oklahoma? (What I'm thinking about is a Ph.D. in history or a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology.)

One of my bosses told me he thought I'd probably do the least damage (to society, he meant) by going to seminary. What do y'all think?

Starting in August, I'm going full steam ahead again on getting my book manuscript expanded and broadened and resubmitted for publication, as directed.

Come 2007, I want to be back in school ...


Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Christian Reformed urge churches to raise moral questions about preemptive war

That crazy lefty Christian Reformed Church! Expect more Christian chickens to come home to roost.


From The Christian Century

The theologically conservative Christian Reformed Church, in its first major statement on war in two dozen years, urged its churches to raise moral questions with governments about weapons of mass destruction and preemptive military actions.

Read all about it.


'Conservatives Betrayed'

Bad title. Should have called it "America Betrayed." Righty-rights complain when their political opponents say "Bush lied about (fill in the blank)." Hell's bells, y'all, his whole administration is a lie.


"CONSERVATIVES BETRAYED: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause"

by Richard A. Viguerie
July 2006 · Current Events/Politics · 271 pages
$24.95 · 6” x 9” · Cloth

A Conservative Indictment of the Big Government GOP:

• Federal spending has increased by 33% since George W. Bush became President, including a 48% surge in discretionary spending The increases in spending during the Bush Administration have exceeded the entire federal budget under President Jimmy Carter.

• The Republican Congress passed, and President Bush signed, a $286.4 billion Transportation Bill with 6,371 pork barrel spending projects, including the $224 million Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. (In 1986, President Ronald Reagan vetoed a Transportation Bill because it contained a mere 150.)

• With Medicare already headed for bankruptcy, the Republicans passed the biggest expansion of the federal government since the Great Society - the Medicare prescription drug bill.

• More than 1,000,000 illegal aliens enter the U.S. every year, and rather than doing anything to stop it, the President has proposed amnesty for those who have breached our borders and broken our laws.

• In 2000, Bush campaigned against the Clinton practice of “nation-building,” but his nation-building in Iraq has got the U.S. stuck in a $1 trillion Middle Eastern quagmire that shows no promise of ending.


On evil, sin and repentance

I find the following a profound and eloquent explanation of some *real* fundamentals of the Christian faith (as opposed to *fundamentalism*).



According to some modern interpreters of Christianity, “demonology” belongs to an antiquated world view and cannot be taken seriously by the man who “uses electricity.” We cannot argue with them here. What we must affirm, what the Church has always affirmed, is that the use of electricity may be “demonic,” as in fact may be the use of anything and of life itself. That, in other words, the experience of evil which we call demonic is not that of a mere absence of good, or for that matter, of all sorts of existential alienations and anxieties. It is indeed the presence of dark and irrational power. Hatred is not merely absence of love. It is certainly more than that, and we recognize its presence as an almost physical burden that we feel in ourselves when we hate. In our world in which normal and civilized men “used electricity” to exterminate six million human beings ... in this world the “demonic” reality is not a myth. And whatever the value or the consistency of its presentation in theologies and doctrines, it is this reality that the Church has in mind ... at the moment ... it lays hold upon ... a human being ... who, according to statistics, has a great likelihood someday of entering a mental institution, a penitentiary, or at best, the maddening boredom of a universal suburbia. The world from which the human being has received his life, and which will determine this life, is a prison. The Church did not have to wait for Kafka or Sartre to know it. But the Church also knows that the gates of this hell have been broken and that another Power has entered the world and claimed it for its true Owner. And that claim is not on souls alone, but on the totality of life, on the whole world. ...

The sin of all sins -- the truly “original sin” -- is not a transgression of rules, but, first of all, the deviation of man’s love and alienation from God. That man prefers something -- the world, himself -- to God, this is the only real sin, and in it all sins become natural, inevitable. This sin destroys the true life of man. It deviates life’s course from its only meaning and direction. And in Christ this sin is forgiven, not in the sense that God now has “forgotten” it and pays no attention to it, but because in Christ man has returned to God, and has returned to God because he has loved Him and found in Him the only true object of love and life. And God has accepted man and -- in Christ -- reconciled him with Himself. Repentence is thus the return of our love, of our life, to God, and this return is possible in Christ because He reveals to us the true Life and makes us aware of our exile and condemnation. To believe in Christ is to repent -- to change radically the very “mind” of our life, to see it as sin and death. And to believe in Him is to accept the joyful revelation that in Him forgiveness and reconcilation have been given. ...

And yet sin is still in us and we constantly fall away from the new life we have received. The fight of the new Adam against the old Adam is a long and painful one, and what a naive oversimplication it is to think, as some do, that the “salvation” they experience in revivals and “decisions for Christ,”and which result in moral righteousness, soberness and warm philanthropy, is the whole of salvation, is what God meant when He gave His son for the life of the world. The one true sadness is “that of not being a saint,”and how often the “moral” Christians are precisely those who never feel, never experience this sadness, because their own “experience of salvation,” the feeling of “being saved” fills them with satisfaction; and whoever has been “satisfied” has received already his reward and cannot thirst and hunger for that total transformation and transfiguration of life ...

-- from Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1963, 1973), 69-70, 78-79.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Indian trust case to get new judge

This is gut-wrenching to anyone who knows anything about Indian affairs in this country. Justice delayed is justice denied -- for more than 100 years.

They should rerelease and update Helen Hunt Jackson's famous work and rename it "Centuries of Dishonor."



... an appeals court ordered the removal of a judge who had repeatedly vowed to expose a cabinet level agency whose "spite" he said, has led it to turn its "wrath" on trust beneficiaries and engage in "willful misconduct," "iniquities," "scandals," "dirty tricks," and "outright villainy."

The removed judge had called the Interior Department "a dinosaur -- the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago, the last pathetic outpost of the indifference and anglocentrism we thought we had left behind."

(And that is inaccurate how? -- ER)

Read all about it.

Read the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the latest development in the infamous Cobell case.


'Mouse trap

So, I thought the Anonymice were probably gettin' restless, since I hadn't posted anything remotely controversial in a few days. I misunderestimated their desperate need to bitch.

See here: I'm attacked for not liking Jeff Gordon, presumably because "He is a Christian," which is 1., irrelevant -- in a post where I give him the highest praise possible for any NASCAR driver and actually compare him to Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Anonymice are jerkwads.

In the spirit of a previous attempt to corral all such lower lifeblogforms, let this post serve as a 'Mouse trap.

Bring it on, y'all. What else is there to dislike, disparage and dismiss about ol' ER?


Monday, July 10, 2006


Teditor's note

This just in, from Mr. Teditor -- courtesy title reflectin' his recent nuptials.



Thanks for the well wishes. It was wonderful. It was quick, too. We haven't seen the Web cam thingy magic yet, but we watched the DVD when we got home.

Six whole minutes. Now that's my kinda weddin'.

Truthfully, I was very impressed with the ceremony. The minister said the right words. I cried. (Yep, I, big, ol' pixely blob on the left, with the bald spot, I've since learned) (am) actually a big, ol' pixely sap).

Fortunately, ya couldn't tell on the video. :-) Oops, I guess I just let the cat outta the bag.

Our flight outta Vegas was delayed, so we didn't get home until 3 a.m. -- but it was only 1 a.m. in Vegas. Thankfully, I tweren't plannin' on goin' in to work anytime early today.



Texas oil boom, redux

This is a hoot, from the name of the town -- Petrolia -- and its history to the news of the day. I know this little town, about 2 miles south of the Oklahoma border as the crow flies, about 5 miles driving, well.


From the Clay County Leader, in Henrietta, Texas.

Petrolia City Council was scheduled to take up permits for two oil wells drilled within the city limits Wednesday night, July 5.

The monthly council meeting was delayed until Wednesday due to the Fourth of July holiday Tuesday, the council's regular meeting night.

The two wells in question have already been drilled in the southwest part of the city, off Austin St., in apparent violation of a long-standing city ordinance.

The ordinance that restricted oil well drilling inside the city was put on the books when the Byers brothers originally platted the town, which celebrated its centennial two years ago.

The shallow Petrolia oil field is among the oldest in the state and also home to the original Lone Star gas field, which launched the natural gas industry in Texas.

The oil wells were drilled about five weeks ago, close to another working well that is just outside the city.

The city council discussed whether to seek a restraining order on the wells, but decided instead to go through with permitting procedures outlined in the ordinance, upon advice of an attorney. ...

The unpermitted wells have apparently resulted in complaints from several citizens who live nearby.


Balanced interests

I heard some people talking about Haydn's Symphony No. 47 in G. Can someone tell me about it? Is it actually interesting, or is the palindrome just a musical gimmick?

Dang it! I missed the seventh annual Okie Noodling Tournament!



Spirit of Earnhardt

This is some sort of NASCAR sacrilege, I know, but what Jeff Gordon did yesterday was a very Earnhardtian (Dale Sr.) thing to do.

But Jeffy-poo is still a sissy boy.

Read all about it, from the Beckley, W.Va., Register-Herald (I go potluck on my racin' sources ...)


Sunday, July 09, 2006


ER kitchen still life (and utter rejection)

What yer lookin' at, among other things, is the plum pie I baked last night. First pie ever!

I only recently discovered pre-made, all-you-do-is-open-the-tube-and-unroll-'em Pillsbury pie crusts! Seriously. Dr. ER wonders how I've survived this long. Every trip to the grocery store, and I've been makin' a LOT of 'em lately, I come home with some new "discovery."

"Hey, looky here," I might say to Dr. ER when I come a-boppin' in to the house, loaded with grocery sacks. "It's a potato scrubber! Idn't it cute? Looks like a lil tater!" Whereupon Dr. ER will give me that look. That look that says, "How have you survived this long?" And I will shoot her a look that says, "Circle K hotdogs and Fritos, mainly. Oh, and any form of livestock you can sear on a grill or fry in a pan."

Anyway. Here's the plum pie recipe:

6 cups of plums, sliced thin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
premade pie crusts
9-inch pie pan

Slice and pit the plums. Preheat oven to 425. Mix sugar, flour and spices in a big bowl. Pour in sliced plums and toss. Bottom crust in. Pour in mixture. Top crust on. Vent. Brush a little milk on the top. Spot with butter. Into the oven: 15 minutes at 425, then 1 hour at 375.

Now, as is obvious from this picture, I overfilled the pie. Oh, well. Live and learn. But it's a good, tart pie. Yum.

Now, for the the utter rejection.

This is what I found in front of the house the other night when I came home from work: Our household dumpster, with some of its innards in the street.

What's in the box of papers? About 15 copies of the last paper I presented at a history conference. They fell out as the trash truck arm-lift thing dumped our trash.


Hoot! :-)




Sigh. Bird's car! The Mazda is living with us for the summer. Bird and her YankeeBeau are spending the summer with his parents in their new home in suburban Houston.

They saw Skynyrd and Shooter Jennings and some other cool acts at a concert last night. Bird sent pix. I wonder how YankeeBeau reacted to the big morphed American-Confederate flag they had on a huge screen behind the stage?

Ahhh, he's pretty cool. He's never given me crap for the battle flag, or the Stars and Bars, I have tacked to my home office ceiling (strictly for historical and personal heritage purposes).


Saturday, July 08, 2006


Teditor's hitchin' (and a small bear)

Good friend and regular commenter Teditor is gettin' hitched tonight in Vegas. You can watch the nuptials live here at 7 p.m. Central.

How-to, from Teditor:

"Once you get there, on the right side is a link to "Live Web Cam." Go there, and if you're on at 7 p.m., then go to the "Our Main Chapel" button and watch it live. If you're not available, you can go later to the "July 2006, Wedding Couples" link.

"You'll need RealPlayer, but you can download it free."

Congrats to Teditor. He is 39 and holding and this is his first trip down the marryin' aisle.

For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow -- which bobody can deny!

x x x

Junior the Bear, the ward of Fatman, good friend of regular commenter Drlobojo, has posted pix from his recent trip to Tiny Town in Colorado. Check 'em out. That lil bear is a big hoot, that lil bear is.

x x x

Off to pay bills, deal with dishes, bake a plum pie, maybe mow the yard, maybe deal with a weed patch as high as an elephant's eye in one of the backyard "flower" beds, probably go look at trucks and do some other stuff. Y'all be good.


Friday, July 07, 2006


Well, truck it

This is basically the truck I drive now, a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, four-door, silver. Mine is 4WD and has running boards. I love it. It's the closest thing to the Cowboy Cadillac I always wanted.

When I bought it, I said I'd drive it until Bird graduated college. And I meant it. That's still two years away.

But dang it. Dr. ER's hip situation -- she fell and broke it while taking pictures of Christmas lights on Christmas night -- is taking its sweet time resolving itself. She is healing, but slowly -- and she can barely stand to ride in my ol' rough-riding Dodge.

So, I need to know from y'all who know: What is the smoothest-riding pickup? I'm on the verge of trading. But for what?

I hear the Honda Ridgeline is a smooooth ride. My neck's not so red that I won't drive a Honda.

What do y'all think?


Thursday, July 06, 2006


Copin' without Cope

Today makes three years since I quit dippin' Copenhagen snuff. I started chewin' tobacco when I was 11. Stopped when I was 39.

I'm not sure what the point was -- although not havin' to fool with spit cups is nice. Dr. ER *really* appreciates that. There is still a place or two on the carpet from pre-2003 "spit cup mishaps."

But I eat more now, and I probably drink more, and I smoke more fricking cigars, and I still chew at least one piece of nicotine gum a day. I'm tempted to say fooey on quitting.

But then, I know deep down that I do not want my next dip of Copenhagen. What I want is my *last* dip of Copenhagen -- and that can't happen. The next one would burn my mouth like battery acid, give me a headache and make me nauseous.


Three days without a smoke for Dr. ER today, too. She has her own ways of compensating.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Copycat Coulter Caught!

Hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee!


New York Post

Conservative scribe Ann Coulter cribbed liberally in her latest book, "Godless," according to a plagiarism expert.

Read all about it.

By Dave Astor
Published: July 05, 2006 5:15 PM ET

NEW YORK Universal Press Syndicate has requested a copy of a report about Ann Coulter's alleged plagiarism, according to a post on the blog. Meanwhile, in her latest column, Coulter has hit back at the newspaper that aired the latest plagiarism charges -- but did not refute them.

Read all about it, from Editor & Publisher.

One more thing: Hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee, hoo hoo ha ha hee hee!



China, N. Korea: Global Texas Hold'Em

USA deals.

China takes care of North Korea.

USA gets off China's arse regarding Taiwan.

What a hand.

I'm bluffing -- but what to do about North Korea?

Here's a plan: Air drop iPods and Blackberries -- and food -- over North Korea.

Full bellies and actual information from the outside world would work wonders. North Koreans could topple their own lunatic tyrant.

Read an interesting article on Taiwan in comparison to our own pre-Revolution colonies, from

Read an article on China's response to North Korea, from the Hindustan Times.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Baseball on the Fourth of July!

Isn't this a beautiful ballpark? I think so. It's AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, at the southeastern edge of downtown Oklahoma City. Gorgeous ballpark.

Dr. ER and I will be in the stands tonight to see the Oklahoma RedHawks, the Texas Rangers' Triple A farm team, play the Omaha Royals, Kansas City's Triple A squad.

I love Minor League baseball. It'll be an extra treat having Dr. ER with me! The fireworks tonight after the game won her over!

Baseball, hotdogs and coldbeer. With my sweetie. On the Fourth of July. Dude.

Happy Independence Day to all y'all!



CIA cuts, runs (Happy Fourth of July)

Idiots. The one damn thing all Americans agree on in the Current Unpleasantness is that Osama bin Laden needs to be brought in dead or alive. And the CIA does this? Talk about a PR gaffe. Is Bush running the CIA *personally* now?

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK - The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, The New York Times reported in its Tuesday edition.

Read all about it.



'Not because we are right'


Cathedral of Hope Prayer Ministry

Devotion for Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Two hundred and thirty years ago a group of men signed a document which would have been their death warrant if the American Revolution had not been successful. In January of 1776 Thomas Paine had published a book called "Common Sense." Paine advocated the separation of the colonies from the British at a time before the final decision had been made.

He said, ". . . we have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the event of a few months." Thomas Paine's book became the philosophical foundation for the Declaration of Independence.

Today we live in a deeply divided nation. We can repeat what Thomas Paine said after the Revolutionary war had started. "These are the times that try men's souls." The war we now fight hangs like a heavy stone about our necks. Many people believe that America has a divine mission to rescue the world through this war. By connecting this war with the divine will of God, the killing of innocent people, the torture, the detention of people against their will without trial, is somehow condoned or excused. It is what Jim Wallis, author of "God's Politics," calls a "theology of war."

Perhaps as Christians we should be more careful not to equate the theology of war with the theology of Christianity. We should strive toward the goals set out by Thomas Paine who was not even a Christian. We should try to honor the principle that we are to be peacemakers, first and foremost. In so doing, we must be willing to hold up our own country to the light of God's standards and see where we are lacking.

As you celebrate the fourth of July you will probably hear that famous song "God Bless America." Pray that God will bless America, not because we are right and everyone else is wrong, but because we really need God's blessings. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

O God, we thank you so much for the privileges and blessings you have given to us as Americans. Help us to use these blessings wisely and for your purposes. Help us to direct our energies and assets toward helping the world - your world.

Devotion by Larry Colyar
Prayer Ministry Volunteer
Cathedral of Hope, Dallas

Monday, July 03, 2006


Hot grriilllling action!

I am on a mission to grill three days in a row, if not four! Hey, what else's a premature empty-nester gonna do on this greatest of American holidays!

(My trusty Weber is like this one only mine has a side table.)

Last Saturday:

Steak sandwiches -- thin ribeyes rubbed with Montreal seasoning on toasted oblong buns dressed with a sauce of 1 part salsa, 1 part sour cream and 1 part thinly chopped green onions and a couple of leafs of lettuce.

Sides: Beer-soaked, bacon-wrapped large shrimp, bacon-wrapped scallops; corn on the cob.


Three kinds of chicken: Lowry's, Montreal rub, Kraft honey barbecue sauce.

Sides: Dr. ER's grandma's grandma's potato salad; pickled cucumbers; (gaspacho[sp], Dr. ER-style (not pureed, and with corn), available, but I had some for lunch, so passed at supper.


Thick burgers (probably with beef-and-onion soup mix mixed in); and some regular Oscar Mayers.

Tomorrow (maybe):

Hmmm. I'm runnin' out of livestock to cook! Maybe salmon, then. Maybe not. Coworkers recommended swordfish! Never had swordfish! Wonder where to get it around here ...

What culinary treats do you have in store for yourselves and your loved ones for the Independence Day holiday?? Do tell!


Sunday, July 02, 2006


Pre-1979 Southern Baptist comes in from wandering the wilderness of moderate-liberal Baptist diaspora, finds new church home -- amen and amen!

Been wondering all week what I would post today, knowing that I would be joining the second church I've ever actually belonged to this morning.

Simple thoughts.

I love this church.

It's drips with grace. It breathes freedom -- the soul freedom I grew up with in a Southern Baptist church, back before freethinking, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, went out of style in the SBC. And it is radically open.

I have nothing negative to say about the church of my upbringing. I love it. I met God through Jesus there.

Nor do I have anything negative to say about the SBC, nor any other church or organization where two or three are gathered in Jesus's name.

I love the Southern Baptist Convention. But I went away for a while, and when I came back I didn't recognize it. We evolved past each other, or something.

It's fundamentalism itself, not any particular church or group of churches, that worries me. And there are fundamentalists in all religions and churches and church groups. Some just have more than others. It's a free country, more or less. That stuff's just not for me.

I think of my church now as what a Baptist church would be if it were theologically liberal, and socially liberal, and filled mainly, but not totally by any means, with people who are politically liberal. In fact, there are a few shellshocked Republicans in the church, libertarian types, non-interventionist types who feel buffaloed by the leadership of their party -- and by the fundamentalist religion the GOP is dancing with.

(Oh and yes, TugboatCapn, if you're lurking. I reckon I *do* "own" a church now, along with every other member. It's in the bylaws.)

It is a local, autonomous congregation of Christians who have chosen to affiliate with the United Church of Christ. It's right up my alley now.

From the church Web page:

The people of Mayflower Congregational UCC church of Oklahoma City invite you to experience Christianity as a way of life, not a set of creeds and doctrines demanding total agreement. We invite you to join us as we seek to recover the meaning of the gospel for our time, looking to scripture, faith, and reason -- interpreted by love. At Mayflower we believe that what Jesus teaches us about God is more important than what the church has taught us about Jesus. We believe in the liberty of conscience, the responsibility of every believer to work out his or her own salvation, and the obligation of faithful men and women to become partners with God in building the kingdom. We take the Bible seriously, not literally, and believe that in our time the church must recover, above all, its radical hospitality -- welcoming all persons into her midst, without regard to race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical abilities.

So, I joined today, after 10 months of regular attendance, after much meditation and prayer. Dr. ER did me the kindness of coming to see me stand up in front of the congregation, with 20-something other new people, and be welcomed in a short ceremony.

I'm off here directly to see if the local Barnes & Noble has the Harper Collins Study Bible. Commenter GP, an old friend of mine, recommended it back in January, when I asked y'all to tell me about your own Bibles and to make recommendations.

I've got a few Bibles already, including a Scofield Reference Bible and a Ryrie Study Bible, from my teens and early 20s, and a Living Bible. There's nothing wrong with any of them if you think as you read. But, as this is a time of renewal for me, I figured I ought to get a new one.


Saturday, July 01, 2006


The Royal Theatre

The Royal Theatre, in Archer City, Texas, was the inspiration for Larry McMurtry's book and the Peter Bogdanovich great film, "The Last Picture Show," and later OK movie, "Texasville."

Photo by Dr. ER, a week ago today.


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