Built on the Rock

Here is a poem for your consideration as we celebrate Holy Week in the midst of sadness over the great damage to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. This poem does not come from a post-Christian, unbelieving viewpoint, teetering on the edge of depression. I spared you my comments on those poems. Instead I have a different poem to offer. This is a manly poem, encouraging us to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and start all over again, striding out with confidence in the approaching bright Easter Day.

Built on the Rock, the church shall stand
even when steeples are falling;
Crumbled have spires in ev’ry land;
bells still are chiming and calling.
Calling the young and old to rest,
calling the souls of those distressed,
longing for life everlasting.

Not in a temple made with hands
God the Almighty is dwelling;
high in the heav’ns His temple stands,
all earthly temples excelling.
Yet He who dwells in heaven above
chooses to live with us in love,
making our bodies His temple.

We are God’s house of living stones,
built for His own habitation;
He fills our hearts, His humble thrones,
granting us life and salvation.
Yet to the place, an earthly frame,
we come with thanks to praise His name;
God grants His people true blessing.

Thro’ all the passing years, O Lord,
grant that, when church bells are ringing,
many may come to hear God’s Word
where He His promise is bringing:
“I know My own, My own know Me,
you, not the world, My face shall see;
My peace I leave with you. Amen.”

The author was Nikolai Fredrik Severin Grundtvig. It was translated from Danish by Carl Döving.

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Happy Vernal Equinox!!

Today, all through Japan it is a holiday to celebrate the Vernal Equinox.

Vernal Equinox Day (春分の日 Shunbun no Hi) is a public holiday in Japan that occurs on the date of the Northward equinox in Japan Standard Time (the vernal equinox can occur on different dates in different time-zones), usually March 20 or 21. The date of the holiday is not officially declared until February of the previous year, due to the need for recent astronomical measurements.

Yes, we celebrate V. E. day.

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To Love is to Wait

The stages of development of spousal love are described in our literature, sometimes one stage at a time, sometimes in consideration of all the stages.

Andrew Klavan, who does not join us here and is therefore ultimately foolish, made in a recent podcast a wise recommendation on this subject. He recommended the poem Wordsworth wrote about his own spouse: She was a phantom of delight. It recounts the progression of the poet’s understanding of his lady, from initial sensory impact, to appreciation of manners, ultimately to respect for her transcendent humanity: a Being breathing thoughtful breath.

In a similar vein is a poem that starts off Love is waiting  . . .  

It does not mean Love is waiting for you,  or any such stuff.  It means that loving constitutes waiting.  Look; you will see.

Miłość

Jest czekaniem
na niebieski mrok
na zieloność traw
na piesczczotę rzęs.

Love

Is waiting
for the blue dusk
for the green grass
for the embrace of eyelids.

(As the Italians say:  amore fulmineo!  thunderbolt love!)

But we continue:

Czekaniem
na kroki

szelesty
listy
na pukanie do drzwi

Waiting
for footsteps
rustling
letters
for the knock on the door

Czekaniem
na sełnienie

trwanie
zrozumienie

Waiting
for fulfillment
constancy
understanding

Czekaniem
na potwierdzenie

na kryzk protestu

Waiting
for confirmation
for cry of protest

(Mutual trust gives us the freedom to be mutually, and non-fatally, candid.)

Czekaniem
na sen
na świt
na koniec świata

Waiting
for sleep
for dawn
for the end of the world

(And so we can be constant through the life we are given.)

The poet is Małgorzata Hillar (1930-1995.)  The translator is Morosław Lipiński. My editorial interruptions are in parentheses. Nice clean layout is here or here.

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This Week’s Book Review – The Texas Calaboose and Other Forgotten Jails

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday.

Book Review

‘The Texas Calaboose’ a study of small lockups

By MARK LARDAS

Jan 15, 2019

“The Texas Calaboose and Other Forgotten Jails,” by William E. Moore, Texas A&M University Press, 2018, 344 pages, $35

“Locked up in the calaboose” sounds like a line from a cheesy Western. It was reality for thousands in 19th and 20th century Texas.

“The Texas Calaboose and Other Forgotten Jails,” by William E. Moore is the definitive study on Texas’ small lockups.

Moore defines a calaboose as a small jail, typically less than 300-square-feet, with one or two cells. They were intended to house lawbreakers for short stretches; overnight or until they could be transported to the county jail.

Most small Texas towns had one. Usually one of the first buildings constructed after a town incorporated, it was almost always the sturdiest. They were austere: bare walls, minimal amenities, no electricity and no heating or cooling system. A night in the calaboose didn’t coddle, nor was intended to.

They were also homespun, built by locals with materials at hand, and for a minimal cost. Wood, brick, stone, concrete or iron and steel were used depending on availability. Some were simple cages, open to the elements. No two were alike.

Moore became fascinated with small jails, viewing them as markers of Texas society. They were tenanted by the more eccentric members of small-town society. Occasionally, a famous name occupied a calaboose. Bonnie Parker spent a night in the Kemp lockup.

These small jails passed out of use starting in the 1950s. The automobile and better roads made it easier to take lawbreakers to the county jail, eliminating the need for local lockups. Yet because they were sturdy buildings, many survive today. Most are used for storage. Others have become museums. Some are neglected and will disappear. A few have (or had) more eccentric uses, such as a chicken coop and an upscale room for rent.

Moore’s book catalogs all surviving calabooses, small jails and cages in Texas. This includes details and descriptions of their construction: size, footprint, materials used, location, current owner and (when known) date built. He includes photos of every specimen; illustrating these building ran from basic concrete cubes to elaborate crenelated castles.

“The Texas Calaboose” captures Texas’ past in a new and entertaining way.

 Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.

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Lunar Lander


How many of you remember the old Lunar Lander video game? For those who don’t it is a simple game that challenges you to land a LEM on the lunar surface. You have to slow down the horizontal speed; slow down the vertical speed; and find a flat place to land. Well, it is simple til you crash a bunch of times because you are going too fast or at the wrong angle. Oh, you also have to watch your fuel. No fuel and you “die’>

You are probably wondering why I am bringing this up. Well, I am on an exercise bike every day and find a game helps me to enjoy the ride. It distracts my mind and gets the kilometers in. Also I met with my Japanese side of my family and played the game with my nephew. He grew up on Play Station 2 so I was wondering how he would like old school video. He liked it and wanted to keep trying till he got the landings right. He is a quiet person so sharing a game worked out better than trying to get him to talk.

I figure some of you are Lunar Lander Pros so you can give me some good advice to not crash so much. So far the moon surface is so full of holes from my failed attempts the “cheese” is not green but Swiss.

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Calm Down and Enjoy the Ride

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!

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Books of the Year: 2018

Gnome carrying pile of booksHere are my picks for the best books of 2018, fiction and nonfiction. These aren’t the best books published this year, but rather the best I’ve read in the last twelve months. The winner in both categories is barely distinguished from the pack, and the runners up are all worthy of reading. Runners up appear in alphabetical order by their author’s surname. Each title is linked to my review of the book.

Fiction:

Winner:

Runners up:

Nonfiction:

Winner:

Runners up:

What were your books of the year for 2018?

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Merry Christmas!

I thought I would put up a Christmas post before the 25th was gone on my side of the planet.

I remember a year ago when TempTime considered this site as a great Christmas present.  Her thoughts as always were kind. I also remember the hits we got to the site around Christmas time from spammers. They are a giving lot! Luckily things are in more in place this year.

May you and yours have a merry Christmas! Isn’t it great that we get to spend time together?

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Night before Christmas – What has PC Wrought?

http://humormatters.com/holidays/Christmas/xmaspoliti.htm

A Politically Correct Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the North Pole,
were alleged by the union, to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety,
released to the wilds, by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear,
that Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his beautiful sleigh,
because the ruts were deemed dangerous by the EPA,
And millions of people were calling the Cops,
when they heard sled noises upon their roof tops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe, had his workers quite frightened,
and his fur trimmed red suit was called “unenlightened”.

To show you the strangeness of today’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.
He went to Geraldo, in front of the Nation,
demanding millions in over-due workers compensation.

So…half of the reindeer were gone, and his wife
who suddenly said she’d had enough of this life,
joined a self help group, packed and left in a whiz,
demanding from now on that her title was Ms.

And as for gifts…why, he’d never had the notion
that making a choice could cause such commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur…
Which meant nothing for him or nothing for her.
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot,
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls and nothing for just boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific,
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacifistic.

No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish upon the truth.
And fairy tales…while not yet forbidden,
were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden,
for they raised the hackles of those psychological,
who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football…someone might get hurt,
besides – playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passe.
and Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled and perplexed,
he just couldn’t figure out what to do next?
He tried to be merry he tried to be gay,
but you must have to admit he was having a very bad day.
His sack was quite empty, it was flat on the ground,
nothing fully acceptable was anywhere to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
give to us all, without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy – with no indecision,
each group of people in every religion.
Every race, every hue,
everyone, everywhere…even you!
So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…

“MAY YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES, ENJOY PEACE ON EARTH”


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Enjoy Your Appropriately Diverse Holiday…and meanwhile, Merry Christmas for Those of You with Real Heart & Soul

Winding down today- putting the dental startup to slumber for a week, all shipments are doing fine, my Chapter 11 case is successfully closing and my Manufacturer is headed to New Zealand for some family time.

We are hosting the son’s side of the family on Sunday and Christmas Eve, and I found the prime filet to slice into medallions for the grill.

Weather permitting, Christmas Eve night the Red Headed Irish Wisecracker and I venture north to Seattle for the three granddaughters Christmas morning.

It promises to be a relaxing time to exchange simple talk with family, enjoy dining together and engaging with 14, 10, 6 and 4 year olds to see the human renewal in action.

I have already watched White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street and will avoid Its a Wonderful Life like the plague. I assume we will see a Christmas Story as part of the ritual, and Christmas is not real until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi Tower.

Presents are wrapped or put in the hands of Amazon for delivery, the lights are up, the tree is up and decorated, the Sirius Country Christmas Channel is on Alexa and I have one last trip to the Safeway for provisions.

As of now, it seems POTUS has timed the messaging so that as everyone heads into the holiday cocoon, the last meme was “Schumer will not protect the border”. Good timing.

So have a Merry Christmas , good citizens of Ratburger, may this time of year bring joy in life.

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