July 12, 2020

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: February 1, 2020

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: February 1, 2020

A picture’s worth a thousand words…

The Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, located at the Haleakala Observatory on the island of Maui, Hawaii, recently released its first images of the Sun’s surface. It shows turbulent plasma arranged in a pattern of cell-like structures that indicate violent motions which transport hot solar plasma from the interior of the Sun to the surface. This process, known as convection, sees this bright plasma rise to the surface in cells, where it then cools and sinks below the surface in dark lanes.

A newly documented form of the northern lights, nicknamed ‘the dunes,’ has been discovered by scientists and stargazers in Finland. (Kari Saari)

This year, Holocaust Memorial Day coincided with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, in Nazi-occupied Poland. Set up in 1940, Auschwitz was initially intended to house Polish political prisoners, but it became the largest of the Nazis’ extermination camps, where Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution” was put in to practice. More than 200 survivors visited the memorial for this year’s anniversary.

Dumbo rats are displayed ahead of Lunar New Year celebrations at the Singapore Zoo’s Rainforest KidzWorld in Singapore on Tuesday, January 21. 2020 marks the year of the rat. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

A performer blows fire during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown, Binondo, Manila, Philippines, January 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

Members of the Chinese community dance at the Eiffel Tower in Paris on January 25. (Michel Euler/AP)

Members of the Movistar Estudiantes basketball club pay homage to the late basketball star Kobe Bryant in Madrid, Spain, January 30, 2020. The 41 year-old Bryant, one of professional basketball’s greatest players of all time, died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna. .(REUTERS/Susana Vera)

According to the requirements for the prevention and control of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus, Harbin Ice and snow world was closed, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China, January 30, 2020. (Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Chinese tourists wearing protective masks pray at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. The World Health Organisation declared a global health emergency over the outbreak of coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China. At least 213 people in China have died from the virus, with almost 10,000 cases nationally. (Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters)

Excavators at the site of a new hospital being built to treat patients against the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 24. China is rushing to build the facility in a staggering 10 days to treat patients at the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

A girl tries to chase away locusts from her family’s farm in Katitika village, Kenya, on Jan. 24. Desert locusts have swarmed into Kenya by the hundreds of millions from Somalia and Ethiopia, destroying farmland and threatening an already vulnerable region.

A Brexit supporter is decked out in London on Friday, hours before the U.K. was to leave the European Union. More than 3 1/2 years after the referendum that approved Brexit, Britain is parting ways with the 27 remaining members of the European bloc. (Alastair Grant/AP)

A fire in Namadgi National Park threatens rural communities south of Canberra. From our IM friend Susan: “A State of Emergency has been declared for our Australian Capitol, Canberra. Conditions expected to deteriorate over the next two days. Summer is far from over.”

It’s time again for the Big Game!

Commercial preview…

From Marketwatch

On my winter playlist…


I awoke today and found the frost perched on the town
It hovered in a frozen sky, then it gobbled summer down
When the sun turns traitor cold
And all trees are shivering in a naked row
I get the urge for going but I never seem to go

Songwriter: Joni Mitchell


  1. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Cocktail Weenies as the most popular Bowl snack? Michigan, you disappoint me again. That’s the worst possible option.

    • Obviously, somebody is eating them, because they keep making them and selling them. But I wouldn’t touch one with a 10-meter cattle prod.

    • I haven’t spent one penny on Super Bowl snacks and probably won’t.

  2. senecagriggs says


  3. Joni is the best!

  4. I get the urge for going but I never seem to go

    The story of much of my life.

  5. A lot of racist stereo-typing is circulating about Chinese people, especially about what the Chinese eat, specifically with regard to eating bat. Bat is eaten in many places around the world, not just China, and regarding it being disgusting, that is a matter of cultural opinion, not fact — is it more disgusting than sucking down raw molluscs, which is very popular here in the US? In any case, bat is not a popular food item in Wuhan, the place where the outbreak started. It is not even certain that the disease was transferred to human beings by eating any particular kind of food, but if it was it has to do with the hygienic conditions of the markets, the result of poverty and insufficient regulation, not the type of foods sold and eaten. Incidentally, the picture of the sophisticated-looking young Chinese woman eating a whole bat that has become a widespread meme used to reinforce racist ideas about Chinese “dirty” eating habits — the picture was not taken in China, but in Micronesia, where bat is considered a delicacy, and she is a celebrity vlogger who was showing the exotic eating habits of the locale she was visiting.

    • Heck, as far as I’m concerned, some of the foods eaten around the US for the Superbowl are as unappealing as rat.

  6. I am amazed by the Chinese government response. It is representative of the ultimate modern philosophy, that it is possible through massive human effort to solve problems. As much as that thought permeates all modern thinking, it normally does not end well. Stalin and many others throughout the 20th century tried it, with disastrous results. The United States continues to try it through wars, drone attacks, and military interventions. Evangelicals try it at an individual level, proclaiming “God has a plan for your life”.

    God does has not plan for my life, and I can’t fix anything.

    • And progressives, like me, try it through advocating legislation and social change that support human rights, civil liberties, and the social and political inclusion and empowerment of marginalized groups. Everybody’s doing it! The ancients did it too, to the degree that they could and understood how. It’s part of human nature. Yes, it can and has at times gone wrong spectacularly and tragically and catastrophically, but what’s the alternative — giving ourselves over to kismet?

    • “…the ultimate modern philosophy, that it is possible through massive human effort to solve problems…”

      As opposed to what? What would you recommend?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        FAITH FAITH FAITH, what else?

        Like how after 1800+ years of Faith, Prayer, Faith, Devotions, Faith, Theology, and Faith women still had to roll a saving throw vs Death in childbirth, half to 2/3 of all children born died before age 10, you could die of infection from any break in the skin, and famine and plague were normal.

        • Allen’s not talking about faith vs technology and medical advances, and doing what we can to care for those around us, including our communities. He’s talking about an attitude that, because it is **centered** on human beings, is ultimately destructive. You’re a good enough thinker, HUG, to discern the difference.


  7. I reflect with humor from the days when I first participated in an evangelical church super bowl party, designed to invite friends so that they may “Discover a relationship with Christ”. It seemed like a great idea in the day, now it seems silly.

    My favorite memory was their attempt to manage commercials and the half time act. They were concerned families would see something from the “secular” world like a beer commercial or a pop music song (or god forbid a wardrobe malfunction), so they had a guy blank the screen during commercials, and they showed some christian video during half time.

    Those were the days.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      No, Designed to invite HEATHEN friends so you could Get Them Saved by Superbowl Ambush Witnessing. Assuming you had any HEATHEN friends in the first place.

      I remember something similar in Cal Poly Campus Crusade for Christ. There was a Billy Graham Crusade going down in Anaheim Stadium (at the other end of Brea Canyon) and “Bring Your Friends To Get Them Saved”.
      Reaction: Mass Panic: “Oh, no! I have only two weeks to make some HEATHEN friends to take to the Crusade! What do I do? What do I do?” ( am NOT making that up.)

  8. The Superbowl snack survey is fake news. I’m proud to be from Buffalo, home of the king of game food. People will eat 1.4 billion of them tomorrow night.Not even a mention of that reality. Go Bills – next year!

    • David Greene says

      It is totally fake news. Nobody serves Lobster Dip here in Washington State 🙂

    • Blue cheese dip in Maryland? Seriously? Sure, I always go to the wing place and order up a mess of blue cheese dip with a side of wings. Now crab dip, that’s another story.

  9. Re: Holocaust Memorial Day: It’s startling how few German industrialists faced any significant repercussions after WWII for the help they provided the Nazis in the Final Solution. For example, the top executives of IG Farben, the German corporation that produced Zyklon B gas for use in the Holocaust and was deeply complicit in the many war crimes of the Nazis, were tried for their complicity after the War; several were acquitted, a few got several years each, and the most severe sentence was 8 years in prison for one of the defendants. They went on after serving their time to comfortable, high-level executive positions in post-War Germany industry and business. In addition, the survivor-victims of IG Farben received disgustingly little in the way of reparations, and the constituent companies that resulted from the split of IG Farben after the war resisted paying reparations every step of the way.

    • Three globally powerful constituent companies of IG Farben that are still very much with us today: BASF, Bayer, Agfa.

    • West German industry was rebuilt with many Nazis and sympathizers still in power. Adenauer needed that know how to get the economy going and had bigger fish to fry to creat a new army (with many former Wehrmacht generals) to hold the Russians at bay. He had a lackadaisical attitude toward officials that had been “rehabilitated”, including many judges who were hearing these cases. Seventy years on, with Germany being the economic engine of Europe, one needs to wonder whether Germany’s Nazis lost the war but won the peace.

      • Seventy years on, with Germany being the economic engine of Europe, one needs to wonder whether Germany’s Nazis lost the war but won the peace.

        Yes, one does need to wonder about that.

      • I think the Germans have requited themselves quite well actually. They’ve certainly faced their legacy better than the Japanese have, and, well, better than we have if truth be told..

    • Norma Cenva says

      Let’s not stop there Robert.
      How about the tidy profits our own arms industry is making by supplying the Saudis with the means to prosecute a genocidal war against Yemen?

  10. Last night, at 11pm I put on a recording of Ode to Joy, drank some French wine and cried.

  11. Accepting the fact that as an American citizen it is somewhat presumptuous to have an opinion, and realizing the inherent hypocrisy involved considering the choices we’ve made recently, I still must say that I think that Brexit is one of the dumbest decisions ever made by a modern western democracy. But that’s what the freedom to choose consists of does it not, the freedom to choose badly.

    • “When the voters vote for the impossible, they get the disastrous possible instead.” – Robert Heinlein, *Starship Troopers*

      • Choose badly often or bigly enough, and you end up losing your freedom to choose badly or well.

  12. senecagriggs says

    Brexit – England no longer told what to do by un-elected bureacrats in Brussels. And this is a bad thing?

    • Yes. It is a tragic thing. I have had my citizenship taken from me. My country has turned its back on being part of something larger than itself. It has chosen to blame outsiders for our own problems. We have shut off opportunities for our kids. We have turn inwards instead of outwards.

    • Also, the fact that you use the word “England” rather than the correct name of the nation state in question is very telling, both of your ignorance on the matter and your prejudices

      • senecagriggs says

        I’m just as prejudiced as the next guy.

        BTW, I didn’t use “Great Britain” because I’m not sure how this shakes out for Ireland, Scotland, Wales etc.

        • It’s called the UK.

        • Iain Lovejoy says

          If you don’t know what you are talking about, how about actually taking the trouble to find out, or, if you can’t be bothered to, keep your mouth shut?

          • https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmauldin/2016/07/05/3-reasons-brits-voted-for-brexit/#1b4e84e1f9d6

            Iain, Donalbain, I think your comments and attitude define the wordy haughty. The linked Forbes articles of 2016 holds true. How dare the great unwashed think that their vote on the issue should be honored.
            Guess you guys would not have supported the Magna Carta as the King, well, is the King but now the King was in Brussels, were I will tell you in a haughty way is where the horrible brussels sprouts come from. Can any good come from Brussels , yes the fries.

            • All of which completely ignores the prosperity brought by economic trade and integration with the EU, the special privileges the EU allowed the UK (keeping the Pound), the UK still had independent foreign policy, and the fact that the UK was fully represented at the EU parliament (and often used that representation to gum up EU proposals). Look at what the UK economy was like before it joined the EU and before the North Sea oil fields were developed – it was a shambles.

              The fact that the very party which has run the UK economy and socal safety net into the ground was able to pin the blame for all that on the EU, and secure the original referendum mandate and last fall’s general election, boggles my mind.

              Does the EU have problems? Most certainly. But the UK would have been (and was) much better off working within the EU to fix them -as well as addressing the internal root problems it has. Instead, they chose to burn all their continental bridges and guarantee that they will end up an economic satellite of either us or China – at least, those parts that don’t choose to break off and rejoin the EU.

              Brexit is an “own goal” of historical proportions.

              • senecagriggs says

                Eeyore, the common folk [ non elites ] of Britain voted to leave. Ya gotta honor the vote.

                • No, they didn’t. I should know, I am one.

                  This should have been a referendum that required a super majority for such a huge change, it also should have been re-run, once the truth about the Boris Bus & the utter lack of a real plan for leaving emerged.

                  We actually also voted in MEPs, so the idea we were just dictated at was nonsense.

                  Boris Johnson is a world class idiot – on the surface – & him & his elite cronies are those who stand to make a killing via tax evasion & disaster capitalism from Brexit. His advisor Dominic Cummings, & the media giants who used propaganda to such devastating effects are those who actually dictate to the UK. We didn’t elect any of them, & yet here we are.

                  The only thing the ‘common folk’ gain from this is…well…that’s yet to be determined. It’ll probably be the end of the UK as we know it, & could easily reignite the troubles in Northern Ireland.

                  • “This should have been a referendum that required a super majority for such a huge change”

                    Indeed. David Cameron has as much or more to answer for as Johnson and Farage.

                  • +1. I’m 70 years old and definitely not a member of the elite. I voted to remain. Absolutely agree that a super majority should have been required to carry a vote where so much is at stake. It was down to Cameron trying to fix his party’s inner conflicts by handing the troublesome right-wing brexiteer faction a referendum in an effort to shut them up, I’m pretty sure he thought the result was bound to go the other way,.. All the important, necessary details like this fell by the wayside. Downright carelessness by him and those around him, which Johnson and Cummings have exploited ruthlessly..

                    I’m heartsick and apprehensive for the future of the country, but also for myself. . I lived and worked for 10 years in France in the 1980s, and I realise now that it was an extraordinary privilege to have been able to do so. I receive a pension from the French state for the time I worked there, I’m assuming this will continue but the general uncertainty about the future is very hard on the nerves. And with predictions of job losses, etc,there are thousands like me – in limbo for the next year during the transition period – and many, many in far worse predicaments. It’s just so unecessary and should never have happened.

                    But indeed, we are where we are, I’m having to dig deep in my faith, try to stop catastrophising, and look around to see where I can help and generally do my small part. in the world. It’s fasten your seat belts time.

                • Christiane says


                  there is only one winner when Western alliances fail . . . . only one

                  can you guess who?

              • Pellicano Solitudinis says

                “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

                • It’s hard to see how renascent European nationalism, such as is embodied in Brexit, can end any way other than European nationalism ended the first time: war after war between the different nation-states, culminating in two World Wars and genocide.

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      Oh FFS. How many times. EU law is made jointly by a council of the foreign ministers of the nation states (elected) governments and the directly-elected European Parliament. The word for you spouting made up stuff from what? Breibart? is “duckspeak”: look it up.

      • senecagriggs says

        Actually, following Niles

      • Iain (and Donalbain),

        I admit that I don’t know anything except what’s in the news… I do watch the BBC report on TV. I hope that B. Johnson will make good on his spoken intention to make the economy work for the working class, especially in the North. And I wonder if the vote on the Brexit split reflects the split between DJT supporters and everyone else in the US, in terms of class? And if the educated, well-off folks are listening to the concerns? Here, our elites really don’t have a clue as to why some educated people, along with people in other classes, are enthusiastic, or hold their noses to vote, for DJT.

        Anyhow, I’m old enough to remember the Common Market days, when all of the trade and travel rules were negotiated and things seemed to run rather smoothly. Of course the UK will negotiate such issues in the wake of Brexit. Perhaps in the end it will be better. If not, it’s a lot easier for you lot there to throw out the MPs you don’t want than it is for us to get rid of our incumbents – not to mention that you have more than two viable political parties.


        • MODERATOR: Sorry folks, I really didn’t want to mention he who must not be named today.

        • Dana,

          Sadly Boris won’t make good on any of his promises, let alone to those in the North. He has already renaged on resources due to be given to them, diverting them to the South. He also promised he had a ready made solution to the issue we have here in social care, especially after austerity. He’s backed down from that too, already.

          Boris is a notorious liar, who was sacked from 2 journalist jobs for lack of truthfulness, & has lied repeatedly & overtly to the British populace, both as a politician & a PM. No-one believes a word he says. He has a bizarre guffawing school boy ‘charisma’, but that’s really it. I don’t actually think he’s stupid though, but he shows no signs of any kind of being good either.

          He & his cronies will feast while the poor starve, & he somehow twists it so they are to blame. Such is life under the Tories, it always has been. Only the rich have worth in their eyes.

    • “…England no longer told what to do by un-elected bureacrats in Brussels. And this is a bad thing?”

      And that by and large is any different than we have in the US?? That statement sounds like the “conservative” mis-trope I’ve heard all my life. Not be fooled again. And, btw, it is still the UNITED KINGDOM–but I wouldn’t be surprised that in the next 3-5 years Scotland and N. Ireland split off.

      The UK has had a devastating lack of leadership in the past several years–since the Great Recession actually–and the voters have been lied to and promised a pack of fantasies, much like half of the US voting public has been exposed to in the past several years.

  13. I’ll be fine. I’m a middle class, well educated white guy. My job is to be as helpful and open as I can, and to reject the smallness that my country has chosen.

  14. senecagriggs says


    • Iain Lovejoy says

      Only if “wilfully pig ignorant of the subject matter” is in the job spec.

    • I’ve given up on talking to him directly – he’s had *years* to change his tune, and has only gotten worse.

    • David Greene says

      Yeah, like Reed College maybe. Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz discusses the Christians vs Reed.

  15. Christiane says

    thoughts and prayers for Australia

  16. senecagriggs says

    Make that Nigel Farage. Apparently he spent about 25 years working to get Britain out of the European Union. Nigel is not a globalist.

    • No, Nigel is an idiot.

      He is a national joke, & an embarrassment, an absolute laughing stock here. He is basically Mr Toad from Wind of the Willows, content to spout his nonsense, take his pay & huge pension from the European Parliament, & then stand there & bray on about how great he is & how rubbish they all are.

      Nigel is summed up by the day he stood up in the European Parliament & loudly pontificated about how they’d never done a day’s work in their lives, entirely unaware that he was stood in front of another MEP who had become a cardiac surgeon after growing up in a Gulag. Farage is not fit to lick that man’s shoes. The stunt he pulled with the flags as the Brexit Party left the Parliament was like a forgotten Monty Python sketch, without any of the charm, pretending we still have an Empire & that Englishmen like him are worth ten of Johnny Foreigner.

      He’s been a useful idiot to the press & those around him. But idiot he remains.

    • Christiane says

      Nigel is a buddy of Vlad . . . many photos taken together . . .

      • Vlad has numerous sychophants that play Renfield to his Dracula, and I have no doubt that Nigel is one them.

  17. Beakerj , If you are not careful I will have to add you to the haughty list that I started above at my 1.24 timecomments.
    Making a list, checking it twice , going to find out who is haughty not nice.

    Who decided to let the people vote? How very unfair.

    • The people voted. I think they made a bad decision, and that those who obscured the issues when campaigning to them will be harshly judged by history, but it *was* the voters’ decision.

      I do not decry democracy – I DO decry those who play to the lowest common denominator for their personal gain.

    • People can disagree without being disagreeable, Dan. Everyone gets to have their opinions, there are reasons for those opinions, and sometimes those reasons are reasonable.

      And ALL blog commenters, especially on a Jesus-shaped spirituality blog, need to be mindful that everyone suffers.


      • Dana, as well spoken, well mannered and thoughtful as you, you can read the comments of the 3 people I commented on and caution me to not be disagreeable? I thought my little , silly “haughty” rebuke was a fair observation as compared to the insulting language and condensing tone of the 3 (in my opinion) haughty commenters. Of course, everyone gets to have an opinion but we do get to challenge and question the opinions of others , unless the elites brand us as uninformed, stupid, easily led and of course nationalist. I do not decry people who vote differently than I do , I just question their intellect and motive as they should never disagree with the decisions of those above them who do not appeal to the common denominator but to the elite dictates of their globalist betters.

        • Sometimes you just have to let it roll off, Dan, and not answer back the same way. So what if people “sound” haughty in a blog comment? Present your evidence, if you think it necessary, without sarcasm. Assume good motives, especially with people who comment here. Could you go out for a beverage with them? Then talk to them as if you were sitting across the table from them. Scot McKnight, Evangelical theologian, made that a ground rule when he started his blog more than 10 years ago. I think it’s a good rule.

          I also think globalism is not all it’s cracked up to be. But again, reasoning and evidence, not snark. I’ve mentioned snarky tone to others here in the past. Most of the time people don’t mean to be snarky – again, what is written in a blog comment box needs to be read and re-read before posting. We do apologize to one another here every now and again…


        • Substitute “blog comments” for “email”…

          Without the benefit of paralinguistic cues such as gesture, emphasis, and intonation, it can be difficult to convey emotion and tone over electronic mail (e-mail). Five experiments suggest that this limitation is often underappreciated, such that people tend to believe that they can communicate over e-mail more effectively than they actually can. Studies 4 and 5 further suggest that this overconfidence is born of egocentrism, the inherent difficulty of detaching oneself from one’s own perspective when evaluating the perspective of someone else. Because e-mail communicators “hear” a statement differently depending on whether they intend to be, say, sarcastic or funny, it can be difficult to appreciate that their electronic audience may not. (Kruger, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2005, Vol. 89, No. 6, 925–936)

    • Ah Dan, you promise?

      And as you judge me please keep these things in mind:

      I’m a Brit, this about real life, in my country to my family & friends

      I have a chronic health condition, & am now off with burnout due to trying to work hard protecting vulnerable kids under austerity conditions

      Given the economic downturn predicted for the UK, if I end up on benefits due to my health again, I end up in penury, in my 50’s

      Given the threat to our NHS due to Brexit, I could end up on the sharp end of the lack of healthcare stick

      People like Farage & Boris Johnson, who bleat & bray on about Britain & what it needs, are rich playboys that none of this will touch.

      But by all means, judge me. I am so unbelievably sorry I don;t live up to your tone policing. How very unChristian of me.

      • People like Farage & Boris Johnson, who bleat & bray on about Britain & what it needs, are rich playboys that none of this will touch.

        Farage and BoJo are elites. They live in a global world, free to pass from country to country without obstruction — like the members of the globalist class that they are — in the meantime putting barriers up that lesser mortals cannot get over.

  18. I would rather any other American administration that led during my lifetime be at the helm during this coronavirus crisis than the one we have now. I have little to no trust that this one will do the right or even competent thing. And I do not trust it to not use the occasion to exploit any necessary suspensions of civil liberties in country — not in the least.

    • Let’s hope that the remaining “deep state” bureaucrats of competency are not hindered in doing their jobs.

    • senecagriggs says

      Only liberals are competent? dryly

      • Did you see that I said I wished any administration during my lifetime, Democrat or Republican, were in the driver’s seat now rather than this one? Oh, that’s right, you guys consider all previous Republican administrations to have been RINOs. You think conservatism was invented in 2016.