Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween! Ice-T says ...

Eh! Ehh! Do a little dance! Make a little love! Get down tonight! Ehh!

You may remember me from last year's smash one-cat, one-Scrat play, "Catback Mountain."

Eh! Ehh! (I still don't know how to "meow" properly!) Here is ER's only "real" ghost story.

Ehh! Here's ER's report of an Oklahoma Mountain Haint sightin'!

Happy Halloween!. I will be layin' low the rest of the day and night!


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Martel Van Zant: OSU Cowboy hero

Matthew 20: 16
"So the last shall be first, and the first last."

This rocks.



2007: Oklahoma's SIN-tennial year

Oklahoma outlaws Christian kindness.


Monday, October 29, 2007


The Christian Century: 'Talking with the enemy'

"When we're talking with each other, we're not shooting at each other."

On Iran: DIPLOMACY to the bitter end!

"Some claim that the religious leaders who met with Ahmadinejad were naive and that they were being used to bolster his status on the international stage and back in Iran. But that's a risk that people of [Christian] faith must be willing to take in the search for peace."


Read the entire editorial in The Christian Century.


Sunday, October 28, 2007


An alternative view on U.S. Rep. Pete Stark

He said what he said.

Think about it.



First Presbyterian Church of Dallas gets it right

DALLAS (AP) — In response to a police crackdown on the homeless, a downtown church has opened its parking lot to homeless people, allowing as many as 150 of them to sleep on the pavement while a security guard keeps watch.

The First Presbyterian Church started the practice after police began removing people found sleeping in public places. The Rev. Joe Clifford sees it as a temporary solution until more options are available.

Read all about it.

Read some more about it.



Thoreauly draconian

Oklahoma Legislature outlaws Christian kindness.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to transport, move, or attempt to transport in the State of Oklahoma any alien knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law, in furtherance of the illegal presence of the alien in the United States.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to conceal, harbor, or shelter from detection any alien in any place within the State of Oklahoma, including any building or means of transportation, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the alien has come to, entered, or remained in the United States in violation of law.

I will not act as an agent of the government. I hereby disregard the fact of one's citizenship if one is in need and I am in a posititon to help.


But government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?—in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right.

Read all of Henry David Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government, or Civil Disobedience."


Saturday, October 27, 2007


'Christianity ... no longer like Jesus'

There's a common thread among all this.

Oklahoma lawmakers reject gift of Quran.

Churches shame them.

Oklahoma lawmakers pass strictest state immigration law in the nation.

Education leaders cowed.

Churches prepare to defy law.

It's all in Jesus's name, of course. So nobody should be surprised by a new study showing that Christianity's image is in the tank.

... One of the biggest surprises for researchers was the extent to which respondents — one in four non-Christians — said that modern-day Christianity was no longer like Jesus.

"It started to become more clear to us that what they're experiencing related to Christianity is some of the very things that Jesus warned religious people about," he said. "Which is, avoiding removing the log from your own eye before trying to take the speck out of someone else's."

All of which is why nobody should be surprised that a children's movie coming out in December is anti-religion and anti-God, and is *meant* to "kill God" in the minds of viewers.

I think the greatest evidence for God's existence is the fact that Christianity continues to exist when it is so generally corrupt, selfish, myopic, stupid -- sinful! May God have mercy on us all.


Friday, October 26, 2007


Call me 'Blind Melon' Redneck

The watermelon in the picture weighs 262 pounds -- a Guiness Book record.

I weighed in today at the doc's at 262 pounds -- a personal record, as far as I'm concerned. I was positive I'd put on pounds since the last check-in, in August, when I tipped the scales at 269. Oh, my blood pressure was 138/92 -- an improvement, too.

Major cool. That makes 32 pounds I've lost in a year, since I weighed in at 294 pounds and freaked out.

Mr. Phentermine helps me four days a week, and on those days I have a small bowl of cereal (usually Apple Jacks or Honey Nut Cheerios) for breakfast, no lunch, and a Subway sandwich with low-cal chips for supper, and usually a couple of cookies, and some milk.

Fridays, I eat what I damn well please -- and tonight it might be the whole dang Official State of Oklahoma Meal! :-) Weekends, I just don't gorge myself.

Also, I hit the treadmill three times a week at least, I'm not eating fast food, or processed food, hardly at all, and I'm eating more fruits and veggies.

That's it. Very cool.



Why I and other Americans of actual conscience cannot get bent out of shape about illegal immigration

Click and watch. I promise it is worth all 15 minutes of your time.


(Big time hat tip to Junk Thief.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


See OKC! See The Flaming Lips Alley!

It's official, and I think it's damn cool, even though it ain't my personal musical genre.

About the Lips.

Flaming Lips Web site.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007



ER extended house divided on World Series! YankeeB and Bird, of course, cheering for Boston Red Sox! ER and DR cheering for Colorado Rockies! Fun!



'Raising Sand'

What a great album of sweet and haunting duets. "Killing the Blues" is the one I heard on the radio Sunday, which sent me directly to B&N to reserve one.

I thought it was some '70s easy-listening tune I'd never heard -- and was floored when the jock said it was new ---- and dang near drove off the road when he said it was Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

No wonder I thought it was a '70s tune: It's a John Prine tune from '79.

Go here and listen to snippets of "Killing the Blues" and other songs on "Raising Sand"!

Here's a review from That Truncheon Thing, two guys in Atlanta. They were as surprised by the coolness of this collaboration as I was.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007


'God shows no partiality'

This post -- a sermon by The Rev. Frank Logue of King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, Ga. -- inspired by this post.

The Crux of the matter (but the sermon is good; go read it!)

Peter declares, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Peter goes on to say that Jesus is Lord of all. But how can Jesus be lord of all if not everyone has even heard the name Jesus? How can people fear God and do what is right if they have never been taught what God expects of them?

The answer is in the Bible. Scripture tells us that God reveals God’s own self to all people. People all around the world share some common knowledge of what God expects from them? The book of Ecclesiastes states that God “has planted eternity on the human heart” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). And God promised through the Prophet Jeremiah, “I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).

Discuss if you like.



Oklahoma Centennial Parade redux

More pix! The big balloon guy is ol' Will Rogers hisself. Below, the good-lookin' gal givin' the thumbs-up is Oklahoma's Teacher of the Year, Stephanie Canada, who (incidentally) teaches P.E. at Will Rogers Elementary in Shawnee.

Also below, you will see the only surrey with a fringe on top seen at the parade -- in a mural! The bandies with drum and cymbals are from Langston University, Oklahoma's historically black college, the western-most historically black college in the country. The babes at right likewise are from Langston.

Read about Oklahoma's mixed-up Cultural Regions, from the new Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. I think the article nails it!


Monday, October 22, 2007


Oklahoma Centennial Parade, Oct. 14, 2007

Photos by ER. This is one of my favorite shots: The Oklahoma State University Rodeo Club. It just *hollers* "Oklahoma!" Note that Jesus is Lord of the horse! --ER

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Robert Plant and Alison Krauss!

Whoa. I heard a single off this on the radio and went directly after church to buy the CD -- and it doesn't come out until Tuesday. I'm pretty sure it's already my new favorite album. Check out the backstory:


Saturday, October 20, 2007


GOP prez candidate Mike Huckabee: Christian Right craves power over principle

"I think that some of them, frankly, are more intoxicated with power than principle, and I know that's a pretty outrageous if not rather bold statement to make, but I think it's the truth," Huckabee said.

Ya think? Read it all in the first comment.

(From Ethics Daily)



Go ye, therefore, and smack down

By Robert Parham

Unless presidential candidates want a spiritual smack down, they should avoid talking to Southern Baptist Convention president Frank Page, who failed to retain the pastoral confidentiality of two conversations and then boasted to other pastors about his soul-winning ways. ...

The SBC leader bragged to a gathering of Southern Baptist fundamentalist pastors in Oklahoma that in a private, two-hour meeting with Rudy Giuliani, a Roman Catholic, that he "shared Christ with him."

Page's perception about Giuliani's lack of Christian faith was so strong that at the end of the meeting he recounted: "Rudy, I'm not going to leave this place unless I give you an opportunity to pray with me to receive Jesus as your savior. Would you do that with me Rudy?"

Read all about it at Ethics Daily.

WOW. Catholicism is a "false religion," ya know. ...

On a lighter note: Dr. ER is in the house! We are granddog-sitting this weekend while Bird and YankeeB go to a wedding in Texas. And this weekend is Oklahoma State's homecoming! I wish we could be in two places at once!



Source of Christian-Muslim comity is right in front of us: Love God, love neighbor

By Omar Sacirbey

Without peace and justice between Muslims and Christians, there can be no "meaningful" peace in the world.

That's the message from 138 Islamic clerics and scholars in a letter to Pope Benedict XVI and 25 other Christian leaders that urged a focus on common ties and a partnership for peace. ...

Citing the Quran and the Bible, Muslim leaders said the basis for understanding between the two faiths already existed in the shared recognition of "One God" and the mandate to love one's neighbor.

Read all about it from Ethics Daily.

And may I add, Amen.


Friday, October 19, 2007


'No one knows the mind of God'

By Lauren R. Stanley
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
via the Kansas City Star

... what is being debated is whether the Scriptures are God’s final word to us. Did God finish speaking when the Scriptures were written? Or does God still speak to us today? ...

If you’re a constructionist, the answer to that one is no. God spoke, and that’s it.

If you’re an activist, the answer is yes. God is still speaking to us.

Each side can quote Scripture at length to prove its point. Each side can cite historical events to prove its point. Each side can pretend that this is a black-and-white debate, with clear, easy-to-discern answers.

But of all the arguments that have been made in this debate, the only thing that is certain, that is true, that is not open to debate is that there’s nothing black and white about it.

Good article on the debate that will not die in our lifetimes.

But it is sparking a New Reformation.

(About the author: The Rev. Lauren R. Stanley is an appointed missionary serving in the Diocese of Renk in the Episcopal Church of Sudan. She is serving temporarily in the United States.)


Thursday, October 18, 2007


God, holy joy from His judgment against New Orleans having waned, stokes own flames of righteousness, takes out sinful beer tent in Tulsa, Oklahoma

True story.



Another lie: 'Iran is a nuclear threat'

I suggest people not assume the president was deliberately raising the stakes vis-a-vis Iran with his off-the cuff remark yesterday about "World War III."

He doesn't have that much strategery in his thinking. He pulled that right out of his butt in response to a reporter's question. But today, he's probably thinking: "Hey! Campaign thing!"



President Bush thinks that going to war is the best way to prevent war. Dust off your duct tape and plastic sheathing, y'all.

Iran doesn't NEED the bomb as things stand. Iran has more power in the feigned threat than it would have in the thing itself. If Iran had the thing itself and dared even pretend to use it, it would be turned into a big parking lot.

Like Iraq? You'll loooove Iran.

Iran is no nuclear threat. It's another lie.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Resolved: It is moral, and patriotic, to undermine an immoral war if waged by one's own country

A proposition. Discuss.



ER still life: workin' at the kitchen table

It's probably a good thing that Dr. ER and Bird were nowhere around this weekend. Hoo boy. The house is a wreck, spreading out in waves from right here. This is a mere snippet of the wreckedness.


Monday, October 15, 2007


ER, start your combine

It's 7:54 a.m. in God's Country, and I have four stories to go before I sleep today. And I have to select the best of more than 100 pix and write captions. I only got two of the six stories done, the hardest, and the pix shot over the weekend.

It's all due today, which means end-of-day, which really means tomorrow -- but I am weary of it, since I've not once had the luxury of concentrating only on this stuff; it's all been on top of what I usually do.

Not whining over the workload: whining because the extra stuff, having to do with Oklahoma history, is worth the attention I could have paid it, if I'd had it to pay! Especially in my beloved Oklahoma's centennial year. Grrr.

Some news stories are high-yield: A couple of phone calls, look at some documents, scratch yer butt -- voila! You got you a story done, 500, 600 words, maybe more, depending.

Even some features: One or two interviews, and if you know the subject pretty well generally, as a writer you can fill in the gaps and spin a good yarn.

Others are low-yield, like farming fricking wheat in southwestern Oklahoma.

I'd say the stuff I'm working on right now is low-yield: I've taken two trips to another, nearby city, made three trips to downtown Oklahoma City, which is just about as far, checked out a half-dozen books, consulted another half-dozen of my own books, scoured three spread sheets for local government data, most of which didn't apply, and interviewed a half dozen people.

It's low yield because for all that, these stories aren't necessarily long, and they don't appear to be that involved. That's the rub, and that's why the wheat-combine metaphor fits:

Most of what I'll do today is thresh chaff to get to a few kernels to string together to make for some interesting reading.

It is for dang sure time to get this crop laid by.

(This time of year, I should've used a bean theme, not wheat, but hey, soybeans, in eastern Oklahoma, aren't as low-yield as wheat is in the west.)


Sunday, October 14, 2007


There better be a surrey with a fringe on top!

I'm just sayin'.

Oklahoma Centennial Parade -- today, downtown Oklahoma City.



Can I get a witness?

Bloggy bud Pecheur, an Alabaman Baptist on some sort of long-term mission-related educational sojourn in France, has a good, honest post on the Presence of God wherein he asks:

"Do you have a story about the presence of God in your life?"

Read Pecheur's post at his blog, Crushed Leviathan.

I love ya, Pecheur.

My response:

Hey, Pech!

I have almost tangibly felt the presence of God a few times:

When I was a young teen and was struggling with alcohol. I felt, once, while drunk, in the floor, that God was standing near me, shaking his head, wishing I would turn from something that was harmful, for me at least. I did not. But now I faintly feel God nearby whenever I drink. Which is often.

I felt Jesus riding with me when I was on my way east on I-40 knowing I was going to see my mama for the last time. As real, minus actually seeing Him, as if he were sitting there in my truck with me. He was singing along with me and Keith Green songs.

Once, at a meeting of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International, a local meeting in Fort Smith, Ark., when the speaker bounced down into the audience and grabbed my hand and said, "Are you saved, Brother?" And I hesitated for just an instant, because the difference in our understanding of that was so large, that I let myself be compelled to be led to the front to have hands laid on and to be prayed to receive the Holy Ghost and the gift of tongues: The Lord said to me, as clearly as if He whispered it into my ear: "Relax. If you resist, these brethren of yours will throw you to the floor and pray ON you!" And I felt God smile. And I smiled, and relaxed, and allowed myself, despite my ego, to be laid on the floor and have brethren lay hands on my head, and my chest, and my calves and feet, and pray for me to receive the Holy Ghost! I humored them to keep peace! And I believe that's what God had me to do.

I never felt God's presence, almost tangibly, more regularly, than when I was living "in sin" with a recovering crack addict and "whore" (such an ugly word!) who I had fallen in love with, in the early 1990s in Texas! DAILY surrender and HOURLY consciousnesss of God's presence, as she struggled with her addictions, and I struggled with my love for her, with her, and with the fact that, from the very beginning of my relationship with her, that I KNEW it was a God thing.

I felt Jesus standing next to me, with his arm around my shoulder the first time I saw the United Church of Christ "Bouncer" TV ad, on my home computer, and I repented of my homophobia and my cultural redneck hubris concerning people of a different sexual orientation than my own.

I felt God take my heart and break it when I saw the images on my TV from the aftermath of Katrina,l and I repented of my indifference about the poor and destitute, and starting giving, approaching tithing even, for the first time since I was a teenager.

Those are just the times that come immediately to mind. Thanks for asking! I think I just testified to myself, if no one else. And I needed to hear the witness! :-)


The UCC "Bouncer" ad:


Saturday, October 13, 2007


Help with 'Onward and Upward'

First: My beloved Oklahoma State Cowboys MAULED Nebraska this afternoon. Dude. The Pokes put the worst first-half whup on the Cornhuskers they had EVER had, and ever started in 1890 Cornhuskers-football-wise.

If I were writin' the main "big wood" head for sports pages for tomorrow, it'd be:


Two-o: I'm working on four projects due Monday. I need to know some origins for the popular use of the phrase "Onward and Upward." The sentiment, at least, might can be linked to Auguste Comte's positivism.

I know from studying 19th-century newspapers that it was a common phrase among that era's progressives, that is, America's-business-is-business types, at least into the 1870s.

What I need to know is whether the phrase was still common after the turn of the 20th century, specifically 1907-1910. Anyone with more time than me who wants to go on a wild etymological goose chase, feel free to help! :-)

It just occurred to me: That sounds awful Babbittish. Maybe Babbitt is online...



Got NASCAR? Had all your shots?

News item:

The argument began when congressional aides were advised to get real-life immunizations against several communicable diseases — including hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus and influenza — before traveling to look at preparations being made by local first responders for hypothetical scenarios at the tracks in Talladega, Ala., and Concord, N.C.

Read all about it.

Hey, I've been to NASCAR races in Fort Worth, Texas, Kansas City, and Indianapolis.

After seeing people continuing to use an overflowing porta-potty heaving with methane and floodwater, at Fort Worth, I think I might have hoped all MY shots were up to date!

What a hoot.


Friday, October 12, 2007


Hay un borracho en la esquina con su perro!

Ah, fall. Crisp air reminds me of school days!

About 28 falls ago, as el presidente del club de espanol at my high school, I presided over a short club road trip into Fort Smith, Ark., to see a movie.

The chicks had outvoted the dudes, so we were going to see the 1979 chick flick, "The Promise." Gut-wrenching love story, actually.

On the west end of downtown, at Texas Corner, where you turn south onto Towson Avenue from Garrison Avenue, the school bus stopped at a light. Over the din, someone -- and I think it was my nephew, but I don't remember exactly -- hollered:

"Look! There's a wino on the corner! With his dog!"

And someone, perhaps myself, but I can't actually remember, rang out, to the tune of "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" ...

"There's a wino on the corner with his dog!"

Whereupon most of the rest of the bus joined in:

"There's a wino on the corner with his dog!"

Then, everybody brought it home:

"There's a wino on the corner, there's a wino on the corner, there's a wino on the corner with his dog!"

We were not the most sensitive kids. I mean, here's was this poor dude, and right there was a bus load of kids raucously singing such crude, uh, doggerel.

Hey, we were kids. If we'd been bright, we'd have sang:

Hay un borracho en la esquina con su perro!
Hay un borracho en la esquina con su perro!
Hay un borracho en la esquina, hay un borracho en la esquina, hay un borracho en la esquina con su perro!

This has been an autumal trip down Memory Lane (where it interects Garrison and Towson in downtown Fort Smith), courtesy of ER.


Thursday, October 11, 2007



She needs to just shut her self the hell up.

Christian: Jews 2.0.

Inanity. Insanity, Profanity.

Somebody needs to find a find an advertising rope and a tall oak tree on the political-commentary horizon. What a damn embarrassment to people who can read and write.



Flags, fags* and Farces on the Family

You can tell Farces on the Family is sweating, with an election in the offing and the Smurfs running for the GOP presidential nomination. (Smurfette, of course, is a Dem).

Most of the "news" on the Farces on the Family Reaction site is no more news than the fact I just tooted:

Pelosi Defends Removal of 'God' From Flag Certificates

I've got one of these certificates, and I never noticed a God reference.

Hmmm, looks like an Eagle Scout is trying to use a side-door method of imposing his own will, and that of the theocratic wing of the GOP, on the rest of this increaasingly secular country. Side-door methods are OK, unless you're ...

... gay ...

Same-Sex 'Divorce' Cases Have 'Marriage' in Mind

"The truth is, they want to destroy traditional marriage." A lie on its face. Expanding the definition of marriage no more destroys marriage than expanding my vocabulary destroys my ability to communicate.

Do what? These people are wack, I tells ya, wack.

"The opponents of marriage aren't merely trying to redefine marriage, they're trying to eliminate marriage."

Dr. Dobson is sounding increasingly shrill and desperate: "It's not just marriage that is at stake, it's absolutely evrything." Consider yourself called to action.

Aren't most of the people who oppose marriage married, heterosexuals and professed Christians who demonstrate their hatred of it by cheating on their spouses and getting divorces of expedience? Thought so.

Let 'em marry. Let 'em divorce. I DON'T CARE. What's good for the heterosexual goose is good for ... the ... gay ... gander.

I should probably have some coffee now.


(*Minor epithet used for alliterative and rhyming purposes only.)

P.S. Word schmords! Above, I answer Farce on the Family's brand of disingenuousness with some milder, rolling-of-the-eyes forms of my own. Y'all word people can work it out,

Usage Note (from The meaning of disingenuous has been shifting about lately, as if people are unsure of its proper meaning. Generally, it means "insincere" and often seems to be a synonym of cynical or calculating. Not surprisingly, the word is used often in political contexts, as in It is both insensitive and disingenuous for the White House to describe its aid package and the proposal to eliminate the federal payment as "tough love." This use of the word is accepted by 94 percent of the Usage Panel. Most Panelists also accept the extended meaning relating to less reproachable behavior. Fully 88 percent accept disingenuous with the meaning "playfully insincere, faux-naïf," as in the example "I don't have a clue about late Beethoven!" he said. The remark seemed disingenuous, coming from one of the world's foremost concert pianists. Sometimes disingenuous is used as a synonym for naive, as if the dis- prefix functioned as an intensive (as it does in certain words like disannul) rather than as a negative element. This usage does not find much admiration among Panelists, however. Seventy-five percent do not accept it in the phrase a disingenuous tourist who falls prey to stereotypical con artists.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Humility, schmumility: Vote for ME ME ME!

My site was nominated for Best Religion Blog!

Ol' bloggy buddy Geoffrey nominated ER's joint in the Best Religion Blog category of the Blogger's Choice Awards.

Why, this ain't no more of a religion blog than it is any other specific kind of blog; I just let it all hang out around here, faith, fear, worries, ego, attitude and politics. Whatever brain gas comes to mind, I'm liable to blog about it.

But, I reckon it wouldn't hurt my feelin's none if some of y'all went over there ...

My site was nominated for Best Religion Blog!

... and voted for me. :-)



Literacy: historic aberration?

What if? ...

Specifically, I mean the ability to read and write a language, or any language. Bo-zillions of people now get along without such abilities.

In the video-audio-Internet age, are we returning to a pre-literate world?

Is this a new global frontier?

On the American Western frontier, explorers and early Euro-American settlers communicated with sign language understood by all who wanted to communicate -- whatever tribe.

I think we're coming full circle.

What do you think are the ramifications and potentialities?

Among many other things, I think one consequence is that the bloody intraChristian arguments over the "literalness" of the Bible will disappear, and I think that's a good thing.

On the otrher hand, I think post-literate realities will post mortal dangers for governments and societies that have based their historic and present realities on mere texts, and the supposed "hard-and-fast" interpretations thereof, whether it be SCOTUS interpreting the law of the land, or Mom and Dad understanding the rules at the local school, or anyone else trying to read the newspaper (online) and make sense of the world around them.

In the meantine, I say: Learn Spanish.

But then what?



Tuesday, October 09, 2007


A Republican who doesn't make me want to throw up

Ron Paul.



Corn dog: mood-altering substance

Who knew? Woke up in a terrible mood. Now things are tolerable. -- ER

Monday, October 08, 2007


Pray for 'all the children of Abraham'!

JERUSALEM (AP) — Senior Israeli officials expressed support Monday for the transfer of Arab parts of Jerusalem to Palestinian control, offering a concession on one of the most contentious issues in the Mideast conflict. The offer appeared to fall short of Palestinian calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from key areas of the holy city.

Read all about it.

Steve Earle, "Jerusalem."

"Jerusalem," by Steve Earle

I woke up this mornin' and none of the news was good
And death machines were rumblin' 'cross the ground where Jesus stood
And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way
And there was nothin' anyone could do or say

And I almost listened to him
Yeah, I almost lost my mind
Then I regained my senses again
And looked into my heart to find

That I believe that one fine day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem

Well maybe I'm only dreamin' and maybe I'm just a fool
But I don't remember learnin' how to hate in Sunday school
But somewhere along the way I strayed and I never looked back again
But I still find some comfort now and then

Then the storm comes rumblin' in
And I can't lay me down
And the drums are drummin' again
And I can't stand the sound

But I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb
Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem

And there'll be no barricades then
There'll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls

And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem


Sunday, October 07, 2007


A modern interpretation of the Cross

I think Jesus so radically challenged first-century Palestine's world view that the people he encountered were compelled to one extreme or the other: Follow him or want to kill him.

And I think that because they were Jews, the only way they could follow him, and so radically change their lives, was to stick the experience of their encounter with Jesus onto their existing world view. So, voila: He's the Messiah.

Which is a great vehicle for communicating the story, if you're living in first-century Palestine: the Ultimate Paschal Lamb. But, not being a Jew, that doesn't do it for me -- although I have no problem with it, as an important metaphor and part of my Christian heritage.

But here's another way to tell the story:

February 2003. Jesus of, say, Omaha, is preaching peace in the face of the principalities and powers of his day, condemning the Rome of his day, Pax Americana, on the eve of its invasion and occupation of Iraq.

"Satan" enters the Judas of his day, in the form of a clandestine government arm using a piece of data-mining software that illegally monitors his phone calls. Jesus of Omaha is arrested as a threat to national security, but there's no press, and no public record.

His followers, fearful for their own freedom, scatter. The few others who notice he's gone don't care -- he *was* a long-hair and an unAmerican trouble-maker, after all.

He's shipped to Iraq. He's turned loose on a "field of battle." He's captured and sent to Abu Ghraib, where "the U.S. doesn't torture people."

President George W. Pilate washes his hands of his torture and death, like he's washed his hands of the very real and actual sins against God and crimes against humanity his administration has been responsible for.

Jesus's followers experience his death, and his resurrection -- although there are doubters as to the actuality and meaning of the resurrection from the very beginning.

Nonetheless, the power of God is unleashed in their midst by their devotion to Jesus of Omaha, his teachings, his example, his very SELF, and his followers, in turn, turn the world upside down!

That's a way of telling the Gospel story that makes more sense that one involving a lamb without blemish. ... And in 2,000 years, Christians will still be talking about "data-mining software" as if it had any real meaning to them, and they'd be arguing over whether Abu Ghraib was a real place or a metaphor for Jesus of Omaha's willingness to suffer and die for humanity!

I reserve the right to revise and extend my remarks!

(Originally posted in part in a thread at Dan's place, inspired partly by the sermon today at church.



It's the Lord's Supper -- not ours

Run from any church, or pastor, who "fences," guards or otherwise dares "protect" the Communion table from "the unworthy." We all are unworthy.

Christ issues the invitation -- not the Church. It's the Lord's Supper -- not ours. I take and eat -- sin and all.

People, forgive me my incomplete humanity! Lord, thank you for Your Grace.


Saturday, October 06, 2007



Yeesh. --ER


Wherein ER eats games! Bad, bad ER!

Sigh. When Bailey, the semiretarded, semisweet redneck weinie dog who deserves a short, yellow doghouse, was a puplet, and we would leave him alone in the sunroom (in the winter, or during a storm), he would get upset.

And he would eat a game -- one of the board games we have stacked in the corner of the sunroom.

"Eating a game" entered the ER family lexicon to describe anything (mainly) I did that was self-indulgent, in self-defense, when I'm upset -- that is, tired, stressed, angry or whatever.

Boy have I eaten some games the last couple of days. Dang near every self-indulgence of mine has been indulged:

Bought 10 bottles of wine last night -- four Gnarly Head zin, four Carchelo monastrell, and two Black Swan chardonnay-semilion. Oh, and I picked up a bottle Cuervo because it was there. The wine will last a long time. The Cuervo, not so long. $130 right there.

Bought a halibut steak, which I had for supper last night, and a pound of big shrimp, for supper tonight. Food as an indulgence? I guess not. But for a landlubber, cow-eatin' farm boy from the heart of the heartland, that kind of seafood will always seem exotic somehow. Hey, it ain't pan-fried or chicken-fried? It doesn't moo? It's exotic.

Bought a big handful of cigars: some maduros and some maduro-maduros. $50 right there.

And being a weak, weak man, I just now ordered two books, because the University of California Press is havin' a dang "dirt cheap book sale," and as a member of the American Historical Association, I get a good discount: I ordered "Law for the Elephant: Property and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail," which sounds fascinating, and "Sierra Crossing: First Roads to California," which sounds equally fascinating (I have developed an odd fetish for early America, pre-railroad transportation history for some reason).

Let's see ... laundry's on, dishes are on, gettin' the house under some semblance of control. Gotta make a run to the grocery store ... I WILL finish a paper, and the talking version, for a history presentation I'm making in early November, and I WILL start reading a book to review for the state history journal now that I've read the two earlier works on the same person-topic that I felt obliged to study before delving into the new one. ...

The ou sooners are on at 2 or so, playin' Texas -- HOOK 'EM HORNS! And my Oklahoma State Cowboys are on tonight playin' Texas A&M -- GO POKES!
Lordy, I am just wallowin' in my personal vices today.


Friday, October 05, 2007


Johnny Reb and Billy Yank see eye to eye?

"Billy Yank and Johnny Reb" (audio).

Secede! By God, bring it on. Secede!

Repeat after me: "Balkanization."

The tipping point.

Let the South rise again!

Let the North go!


Thursday, October 04, 2007


Gnarly, dude

One in an occasional series of wine recommendations from ER. Motto: If I blog about it, it's got to be damn good.

Gnarly Head, red zin, 2005. (It'll ask you what state you're shipping to -- just click one to read the winemaker's notes and customer reviews.

I'd seen Gnarly Head (winemaker's Web page) in my local wine shop, but I've got just enough gripey-butt-old-man in me to be suspicious of anything that sounds too cute, like "Gnarly Head."

But I tried a couple of glasses with some wild game appetizers and a trout entre the other day at the Red Lion Restaurant in Boulder. Burned out on shiraz, cabs, etc., I wanted a red and it was a mid-priced "other."

Pretty gnarly stuffm, this Gnarly Head, and it's a real decription, not, like, you know, neo-Valley Girl-ese:

"Unlike modern rows of trellised vines, these old Zinfandel vines were grown as free standing 'head trained' vines. Today they resemble wild bushes with twisted old trunks and branches that spread out in all directions sprouting leaves like unruly umbrellas -- truly gnarly heads. The grapes from these brash old vines create Zinfandel with rich, concentrated fruit flavor that is easy to drink and pair."

I bought a bottle, and last weekend had it with a seasoned and grilled pork chop with a jalapeno-and-cheese sausage on the side. Muy bueno.

Gnarly Head comes with the ER Seal of Approval.

Previous wine recommendations:

Black Swan Chardonnay-Semillion.

Carchelo Monstrell.

WHAT'S YOUR RECOMMENDATION? Doesn't have to be wine! Beer? New CD? Book? Movie? Eatin' joint in Oklahoma or Colorado? Do tell!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


On Jimmy Carter's balls, and other news

Brother Jimmy's are huge. He makes me proud, again, to be an American.

In other news:

Rush Limbaugh is not just a big fat idiot, but a fool whose days, among those taken seriously -- and certainly not literally (yes, the difference is a hang-up of mine!), are numbered. Fox Bullshit Alert!

In other news:

Bush shows himself, again, to be no more compassionate than conservate -- just a war prethident! And yes, I would gladly pay more for cigars.

In other news:

[DELETED and RETRACTED: Hard remarks about Sen. Domenici; I thought he was just retiring, I didn't realize he was ill. Nonetheless, it means better numbers, probably, for Dems in Congress.]

Don't forget: Jesus is a liberal.

What with the new computer stuff at work, I'm busier than a one-legged man at an ass-kickin' contest this week. Or, a one-armed man on a dove shoot (I have participated as a two-armer in this event). This is the best I can do. :-)

BTW, Dr. ER is in D.C. on bidness this week and I am majorly jealous! She just had supper at Anna Maria's!


Tuesday, October 02, 2007


System upgrade update

Working with the new system at work is like, well, it's like reading the Bible! Best to take it seriously, but not literally!

Files aren't "sent" anywhere. They are always everywhere, yet nowhere. "Stories" aren't "stories," but are "content." Files aren't files but are folders.

Some things are incredibly simple now, but others are now insanely difficult. To create a bullet, for example, takes doctoral-level knowledge of Klingon computer programming or something.

You can't tell by looking at copy whether it's coded for a drop-cap.

The system as a whole is a string of similes and metaphors, parables and object lessons, gray areas and situational suggestions.

Dealing with art is a lot easier and cooler.

But it's all plumb wack.



Sheep eye gate, see greener pastures

Conservative Christians consider bolting GOP.

Who can blame 'em? The Goofy Ol' Party's been using and abusing fundies for years.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Change is bad

Total system upgrade at work! Can open! Worms everywhere! Files missing and wounded! Blood in the aisles! Cubicles in disarray!

Medic! Medic!

Man down!


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