Nature Girl took me for a walk through the swamp on Sunday afternoon. It was the first warm day of the year; after a really cold week the temperature zoomed up into the 60s Fahrenheit. It was a nice day for a walk. We started in midafternoon, and it was nearing sunset as we returned. She stopped to look at something to the side of the trail.
She stepped off the trail to get a closer look.
I zoomed in on the cottonmouth.
The sun had just dropped down and put that little warm spot into the evening shade. Around the bend, the sun was still shining on the trail. She spotted something on the trail.
It was a pretty little yellow rat snake. A much more welcome denizen of the swamp.
A few moments before we encountered those critters, I took a couple of pictures from the access road that traverses the swamp.
We have only lived here for less than a year. We enjoy living next to the Conservancy woods. There are many trails that we were unwilling to walk on until after we had a hard freeze just before Thanksgiving. After the sedges grow up so that you cannot see where you are putting your foot, we will stop walking those trails again.
I bought snakeboots and snake gaiters for her birthday last year. I try to get her to wear her thornproof gloves when gardening. After she saw a copperhead in a flower bed, she started to wear those gloves. But Nature Girl is irrepressible. It makes me nervous when she walks through the woods by herself, but she is having fun exploring our new surrounds.
OK, so I don’t have the fancy, dance to the music, lights, but I did a little something different this year. I decorated my mailbox with numerous multi-color LEDs that I soldered to strips and screwed them to the mailbox. They run off 3 volts so I had to make up a little regulator circuit for them. Then I found out I was exceeding the current for the circuit so I had to make up another. I solved the heat problem with the regulators by attaching them to little copper plates to be cooled by the cooler weather outside.
There is one persistent “tele-monster” that had called 15 times in the past 2 weeks. Last night I had enough. Granted NoMoRobo does detect these scam calls and terminates them as soon as they can get the caller ID. Unfortunately the caller ID is transmitted after the first ring, so I must endure many single rings from my land line phones. Tired of this, I set up my phone system through my provider so that when another call would come in and I knew it would, it would forward that call and only that call back to the point of origin.
This morning I was reading over at the other place, as I do from time to time. I read Brian Watt’s post, The Church’s Ongoing Gay Orgy, and the first page of the comments. The first comment was Bryan’s, and he proposed a solution to the gay-clergy crisis:
The laity should abandon the church. Stop giving money. Leave it. Only that will force it to change. It was so 500 years ago.
There are a few ways I can argue why this isn’t a good idea, and they involve using arguments that have already been used over and over, none of which are really my own. And I see that others have attempted this strategy over there.
Rather than rehashing old arguments, I’d like to share something dramatically more personal. I don’t think people here have read my book (and for a couple of you, that’s my fault since I still haven’t sent the copies I promised to send!). I mention the book because it outlines some of my experiences that led me to become Catholic.
The bottom line is that I couldn’t have seen what I saw about God’s plan for marriage and human sexuality had I recommitted myself to any sort of Protestantism after leaving the Gnostic cult. This is because what I saw about the distortion of those things has its roots and foundation in contraception. Everything that I saw about God’s plan for marriage and human sexuality, much of which Protestants can and do affirm, is grounded in the notion that contraception is contrary to God’s plan.
You’ve probably all heard of the Catholic phrase, “the contraceptive mentality.” Pope St. John Paul II coined the phrase in 1981. I have noticed that the phrase doesn’t seem to make sense to non-Catholics, so I prayed hard for a long time about how to convey the idea in a different way. I finally settled on the following that I believe says essentially the same thing: that fertile opposite sex couples have a right for pregnancy-free coitus. I have used this phrase online many times, and it resonates with people. They believe that they do have such a right. I like this phrase because it captures something dear to people. We all do have rights, and rights are important. The State is obliged to recognize our rights.
Here is how the phrase applies to abortion: if fertile opposite-sex couples have a right for pregnancy-free coitus, then abortion must be legal, because it upholds that right. A right for pregnancy-free coitus positions the unborn as unwelcome invaders. Their humanity is irrelevant because they have violated the right. This is why they can be terminated.
Here is how it applies to same-sex marriage: I’m sure you recall the marriage wars at the other place. Those on offense argued repeatedly that marriage, sex, and children were not linked in a principled way. And in one sense they were correct. What I mean is that contraception is what unlinked sex and children in a apparently-principled fashion. The right to pregnancy-free coitus is so appealing that people don’t realize that it is a new right. It did not always exist.
Because of the new-found right for pregnancy-free coitus given by
contraception, children are added-back to marriage in an ad hoc, couple-by-couple manner. If sex is a presumptively sterile act, making the ad hoc approach to children the correct approach, then same-sex marriage is logically justified since same-sex couples cannot conceive their own children.
Let me make it clear that when I use the word “right” in this sense, I am not referring to a clearly articulated legal right. I am using the word in a colloquial sense, although certain significant SCOTUS decisions allude to it. For example, see Planned Parenthood v Casey and Obergefell v Hodges.
I know, beyond any doubt whatsoever, what God’s full plan is for marriage and human sexuality. I would never have understood this plan so thoroughly had I reaffirmed any sort of Protestantism after leaving the Gnostic cult. This is because the Catholic Church is the very last Christian body that understands the problem of contraception.
The gay-clergy and those who affirm them are wrong. They may do tremendous damage to the Church, along with the entire sexual revolution. Much damage has already been done. But for me, leaving the Church is not the answer to the destruction. The question is: who is right about the entirety of the sexual revolution, including contraception? We all think we’re on the “correct” side, but how we got there matters. I know where I stand, where I have driven my stake into the ground, and most importantly, how I got there. I can’t predict the future, but if I ever wanted to leave I don’t know where I’d go. By God’s grace I have seen so much of which I have shared a little here.
OK, the last post about standards drifted way off topic, or so it seemed to some. I tried to get a screen grab of an interview with the owner as seen on FOX News. Since I could not get a direct link to the clip, I grabbed it and reduced it in size to post. Unfortunately the video clip is still too large, even after I reduced the resolution by 50%, so here is the audio from the clip. The video just included stock footage that many have seen before. The point is that he took the effort to exceed standards, deeper pilings, special windows and accepting the fact that the first floor would be swept away.
Not trying to be a prolific poster, but I just have to share this; we were in receipt of a letter from our mortgage company yesterday. It said to call them, which I did just moments ago. They said that since our escrow was so high, we had several thousand in it, and my last payment was far less than that, they tapped the escrow for the last payment and our mortgage is done!
I inherited a few mementos when Uncle Fred died five years ago, and my Cousin Bo sent me some old papers. I started looking through them after Dad died two years ago. Among them is a package of letters that were preserved by my great-grandmother from my grandfather’s time in World War I. Mostly they are his letters to home that were kept by his mother. The Army heavily censored all soldiers’ mail, so they mostly consist of “I am still alive and I heard from” this or that relative. His name was Otis and he died when I was a small boy.
A couple of the letters are different. Below is a letter that he kept in his kit and brought back from the war. It is a letter from home. We are approaching the centennial of that letter.
It is not real encouraging. Things at home were pretty grim. The Spanish Influenza had hit hard in the South.
The family lived in Memphis, where my great-grandfather was the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. He preached two sermons every Sunday; one in German and one in English. In the letter, there are references to “Synod,” which is the gathering of clergy and lay representatives that the Lutheran Church –Missouri Synod holds once every three years. It was always held in St. Louis in those days, but these days it moves around to different cities. (I served as a lay delegate two years ago when it was held in Milwaukee.) Since the Synodical Convention is only held once every three years, skipping one was a big deal. Arno and Victor were Otis’s brothers; Victor was a student in the seminary and had hoped to see his Father who had been planning to see him on a trip that got cancelled.
[Letter from home] Oct. 13, 1918
How are you? Is the Flu in your camp? Or regiment rather? I
hope you have not got it. Arno is all well again, and as the schools are
closed this week yet, he will work. Anna Ringger is quite sick with
the Flu. So is Mr. Wergle. Otis, I saw in the paper where “Bill Little” died. I will send you the clippings.
Otis the Flu is quite bad in Memphis. All public places, churches,
schools, Theaters; everything is closed.
It sure did seem fam’ly today, real old timey. No church, no tele
phone was supposed to ring, no automobiles except doctors and under-
takers. And during the week after 6 o’cl. every store is closed. You
can not buy candy, Ice cream, cigars or cigarettes. It looks dead.
All public places closed. You sure would not know Memphis again.
Papa will not get to see Victor this week as the Synod is called
off, on account of the Flu all over the country. I know Victor will
Mr. Schromm died this morning of tuberculosis.
That great singer Mrs. Walter Wynn Yates died of the flu, also.
Well, Arno just came home and we must eat,
So I will close,
with Love, your dear
“Nothing to do til tomorrow.” Never in the more than 25 years of my ministry did I have so lazy a day. Even the trolley was hushed – to give the operators a day of rest. They sure need it, with their operating force shot all to pieces by the flu. –Am sorry I can not go to Synod, as I was looking forward to that all summer. –But such is life. Hope you are having a good trip.
Well the saga continues, I posted, (see BLUE text ), on several “who called me” sites because another scammer got through NoNoRobo. Why did they get through? Well this scammer, like many others, fakes the caller ID to that of a somewhat local number. But the number they said to call was from Florida. So NoMoRobo did not recognize the (local) number as a scammer or robo-call (telemonster).
The message on my recorder said; “This message is intended for Jolene. I’m calling in regards to a pending matter that is being in the process of being reviewed today. I’m also calling to verify that we do have the correct address on file for this individual. To avoid any further proceedings at this time you have the right to contact the information Center. Should you wish to contact them the contact number listed as 561-223-6950 and you will have to reference your file number 16112.”
The message I posted on several web sites was; “called left this number to call back, asked for someone by first name that I never heard of except in Dolly Parton song, “Jolene”, LOL. Took the number they called from and forwarded it to the number they gave, let them get a taste of their own medicine. If you have XFINITY, you can do this free of charge, forward scammer calls back to themselves. Hope it ties up their call center!”
I hope XFINITY customers that are plagued by these calls do the same.
We began a key milestone task this weekend. We started to narrow down where we will buy our last residence.
I know the usual key criteria but they all fall by the wayside:
1. Overlapping fields of fire
2. High ground
3. Good location when Yellowstone blows, or the Cascadia fault goes, or Mt St Helens does a repeat
4. Water supply
5. Ability to hinder access by explosives when the starving urban mobs roam the countryside.
So we settled on the really important criteria:
1. No Income tax at the State level
2. Single level house- the knees , hips and ligaments have seen better days and stairs are the enemy.
3. Must have three bedrooms so one can house the office and gym
4. Must have AC and Internet, the two elements of an advanced society.
5. Must be reasonable distance from grandchildren and children.
It is a bittersweet task as we drove the ever shrinking zone of opportunity. It is the reality of time shrinking as we go along our usual paths, day by day.
I am exploring the various financing , including a reverse mortgage. I do so love the idea of a bank forced to wait until the last one of us kicks off to get their money back.
I do figure I can make a case to St Peter that “I need five more years so I can really piss of my banker”. He might go for it.
Right now, it seems like all the forces are focused on bringing anger to the world. Imagine if each of us, instead of worrying about what others are doing wrong, spent all that energy focused on bringing Joy to others. Imagine, when someone tries to bring joy to us, we are able to actually accept it.
It is easier to focus on what is wrong. It is easier to hate another, and to be honest, to hate what we don’t like about ourselves. Our brains look for what is going off, so we can protect. But if we charge around in protection mode all the time, we are not doing more than just staying alive. It is not living and thriving.
I am going to try to focus on giving Joy and Receiving it more. I need God to help me on this one.
This is related to the persistent bugger post I made a little while ago.
OK, I did some looking around on Youtube regarding “telemonsters” or Robo-callers. There was everything from actual conversations that people had with them, especially the hard to understand Indian scammers,to people with the technical know how to initiate their own robocallers to flood the telemonster’s phone center preventing them from making outgoing calls.
Just got back from the latest vacation after driving 600 miles from Montana to Oregon in ten hours. I am both tired and wired.
Itinerary: We drove up for a quick grandchildren visit in Seattle with the three girls 8,6 and 4. Delivered each a complete set of Incredibles 2 toys from McDonald’s (courtesy of Grandpa hitting six locations in a week to get all the characters). Once again had a big hit.
Lit out for the border, allowed in despite being an admitted knife owner, and headed northwest into British Columbia, stayed in Kamloops, (Not a breakfast cereal).
On to Jasper National Park in Alberta. Many natural wonders to behold.
A wondrous and awe filled journey down the Icefields Parkway, which runs the spine of the Canadian Rockies from Jasper Park in the north to Banff Park in the south and runs up to 6800 ft above sea level.
Stayed in Banff at a very classy place, treated ourselves to Victorian Luxury in service, atmosphere and food.
Lit out for the US border into Montana and revisited Glacier National Park which we had seen thirty years earlier.
Drove Going to The Sun Road across Glacier Nat Park.
Woke up in Kalispell MT, 605 miles from home in Oregon and drove it today on one tank of gas.
Still tired and wired.
Ground covered- 2685 miles, five hotels from Super 8 to Five Diamond class.
Casualties- One Windshield, One tire
First- The wildlife knew their lines, made well rehearsed entrances and put on a good show. All these were shot from the truck window with no telephoto.
Then we suffered from Vacation Interruptus- a truck threw a rock chip into the windshield of the Faithful 150 and a small starburst crack turned into a three foot slice within an hour. We added a day, and the local Ford dealer suggested a little glass shop just outside the park. Next morning, I was there, drank coffee for 90 minutes while a very competent auto glass guy got the windshield in, connected the embedded sensors to the truck network so I could sense rain, maintain lane and sundry other stuff the windshield does for me. Even my insurance worked, so I just paid my $100 deductible in Canadian and was off.
Our highlight was one of the World’s best scenic drives- the Icefields Parkway. You climb almost 4000 feet over 140 miles and there is a photo of awesome nature in every mile. Do it.
On our way back to the States, about thirty miles out from Cut Bank Montana, just on the edge of the Blackfoot Indian Res. We were barreling down a two lane and my dash flashed a low tire pressure warning. My diagnostics panel showed my left rear tire was running at 28 pounds to the other three’s 40, and seemed to be dropping a pound every ten minutes or so. (I was still rolling hot down the road).
So we decided to keep rolling and make it to town. We did with 24 pounds left.
The tire place in town was just closed, but the guy told me to bring her in at 7am the next morning (Saturday) and he would open up and fix it.
On the next morning, of course the tire is flat, so I grab the inflator from the toolbox, plug it into the dc outlet and bring it back up to 40 pounds. Rolled down to the tire place and the owner waved me right in. He apparently had been working at tires since high school and he was my age, so he was what you could call a Master Craftsman of Tire Repair. He and his Blackfoot sidekick worked their magic, plugged the hole made by a small jagged piece of iron, remounted it and I was on my way, happy to pay the whole of $15.00 American, as requested.
I ran the diagnostics the whole trip over Going to the Sun Road and the tire never lost a bit of pressure.
It was great to see real folks who know what the heck they are doing and happy to do it.
Lesson learned from the trip. Even though I was tethered to work by the magic of the interwebs, it was easy to run that from my mind and refocus on the scenery, the sights and the people we met.