December 12, 2019

Saturday Brunch, September 21, 2019: Shakespeare-Animal Mashup edition

Hello, friends, and welcome to the weekend. Ready for brunch?

You know what’s funny? The pictures from Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. You know what’s funnier? Those same pictures mashed with Shakespeare quotes.

The awards are now in their fifth year. Last week we showed some of the 40 finalists for 2019. This week I would like to intersperse some of the pictures from that site, along with captions taken from the Bard. Because…why not? let’s start with these two:

This is cool: scholars believe they have found John Milton’s annotated copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio: “The astonishing find, which academics say could be one of the most important literary discoveries of modern times, was made by Cambridge University fellow Jason Scott-Warren when he was reading an article about the anonymous annotator by Pennsylvania State University English professor Claire Bourne. Bourne’s study of this copy, which has been housed in the Free Library of Philadelphia since 1944, dated the annotator to the mid-17th century, finding them alive to ‘the sense, accuracy, and interpretative possibility of the dialogue’. She also provided many images of the handwritten notes, which struck Scott-Warren as looking oddly similar to Milton’s hand.”

That reminds me of a joke I heard some years ago:

Jimmy had decided to take a year off before starting college and to hitchhike around Europe with a friend.  After several weeks he called his dad to get him to send them more money .

“It’s been more expensive than I thought over here Dad”, Jimmy told his dad. “We got to Germany and we were dead broke.”

“Well, do you have any money to eat until I can get more money to you?” Dad asks.

“Yeah”, Jimmy replies. “We made a little money cleaning all the junk out of an old house for a guy. Man there were a lot of old papers and books and stuff in there. The guy said we could have anything of value we found, but it was all just junk.”

“Oh?” Dad says. “You didn’t find anything you could sell for a few Euros ?”

“Well, I almost kept this old bible that was in pretty good shape. It was really old. Published by some Gutenberg guy.” Jimmy says .

“Gutenberg! Son, that bible was worth hundreds of millions of dollars if it was in good shape!” Dad exclaims.

“Wow! Well, this one probably wasn’t worth that much” , Jimmy replies. “Some clown named Martin Luther had scribbled his notes all over the margins.”

Speaking of Paradise Lost, an undergraduate student has discovered a secret message in Milton’s epic poem. The hidden message is an acrostic, and spells out “FFAALL” and “FALL” — an appropriate triple-use of the word “fall,” as the poem’s subject is the Biblical story of the decline of Satan, as well as the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

*From his surmise prov’d false, find peace within,

*Favor from Heav’n, our witness from th’event.

*And what is Faith, Love, Virtue unassay’d

*Alone, without exterior help sustain’d?

*Let us not then suspect our happy State

*Left so imperfect by the Maker wise

*As not secure to single or combin’d.

*Frail is our happiness, if this be so

The asterisks mark the hidden message: Reading from top to bottom, Milton spelled out “FFAALL,” likely representing the double fall of humanity represented by Adam and Eve. Reading from bottom to top, the poet spelled out “FALL,” possibly a reference to Satan’s descent from Heaven.

The new acrostic was found by Miranda Phaal, a Tufts University senior. In August, Phaal published an article about her discovery in the journal Milton Quarterly.

“This acrostic entwines the double fall of man (FFAALL) with the fall of Satan (a single FALL, read from bottom to top), perhaps commenting on their shared inciter—Satan—or their shared root—pride, …Milton uses the acrostic to foreshadow what will happen to Adam and Even. Ultimately, the acrostic distills the entire poem down to its essence: three contingent falls, two paradises lost.”

Merriam-Webster has added“non-binary” definition of “they,” and the Oxford Dictionaries are reviewing its definitions after receiving a petition demanding it eliminate all entries that “patronize” women. The dictionary is also being asked to “enlarge the dictionary’s entry for ‘woman’.” You see, the word “man” has 25 different usages, whereas “woman” only has five, and the petitioners are asking Oxford to increase the number of usages for “woman.” I’m not sure that’s how dictionaries work…

Want to burn 6,000 calories a day while barely moving? Play chess.

Robert Sapolsky, who studies stress in primates at Stanford University, says a chess player can burn up to 6,000 calories a day while playing in a tournament, three times what an average person consumes in a day. Based on breathing rates (which triple during competition), blood pressure (which elevates) and muscle contractions before, during and after major tournaments, Sapolsky suggests that grandmasters’ stress responses to chess are on par with what elite athletes experience.

“Grandmasters sustain elevated blood pressure for hours in the range found in competitive marathon runners,” Sapolsky says.

It all combines to produce an average weight loss of 2 pounds a day, or about 10-12 pounds over the course of a 10-day tournament in which each grandmaster might play five or six times.

Union Seminary in NYC is perhaps the best-known progressive, mainline seminary in the country, hosting such distinguished faculty as Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the past. Things got a little…unusual last week:

Union took a little heat for this. The school responded with a long twitter defense, saying it was “a beautiful ceremony”, and concluding:

No one would have blinked if our chapel featured students apologizing to each other. What’s different (and the source of so much derision) is that we’re treating plants as fully created beings, divine Creation in its own right—not just something to be consumed. Because plants aren’t capable of verbal response, does that mean we shouldn’t engage with them? So, if you’re poking fun, we’d ask only that you also spend a couple moments asking: Do I treat plants and animals as divinely created beings?”

A few thoughts ran through my mind as I researched this one. Did the organizer of this chapel take Veggie Tales way too seriously? Could they not take the students outside, instead of snatching a few faculty office plants and throwing them in a pile of dirt? Coincidence there is no TULIP? And just what did they have for lunch after the chapel?

By the way, Bonhoeffer was not impressed with the students at Union during his time there.  He wrote they “are completely clueless with respect to what dogmatics [theology] is really about. They are not familiar with even the most basic questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, are amused at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level.” Ouch. Wonder what he would have said about praying to plants…

The Far Side returns . . . online: “A new era of The Far Side, the newspaper strip by Gary Larson, is coming. Fans noticed over the weekend that the strip’s official website had been updated with a new cartoon and a message: ‘Uncommon, unreal, and (soon-to-be) unfrozen. A new online era of The Far Side is coming!’”

You may have noticed I don’t mention our current president too often in our brunches. You get enough of that other places, don’t you? But the Babylon Bee had an almost perfect satire article this week about a Trump stained glass window at Liberty University.

LYNCHBURG, VA—Liberty University has come under withering criticism after unveiling a Donald Trump stained glass window in the school’s newly renovated Worley Prayer Chapel.

The window is featured prominently in the chapel, allowing students and faculty to pray to their lord and savior Donald Trump as they escape the pressures and worries of campus life for a few minutes.

“We wanted the renovated prayer chapel to really help students think about what’s important: President Trump and His anointed agenda to make America great again,” said school president Jerry Falwell, Jr. “It’s important to remain focused and anchored. Now our students can take some time to reorient their hearts and spirits around Trump whenever they want.”

Falwell encouraged those attending Liberty University to turn their eyes upon Trump, “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glorious policies.”

One small window in the chapel is always open in the direction of Washington, D.C., so students can pray facing Trump.

While Trump’s stained glass window occupies the place of honor in the prayer chapel, the spot right in the center where the cross used to be, several other stained glass windows were installed along the walls of the chapel. These windows honor lesser icons of the Christian faith, such as the Republican elephant, the NRA, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Mike Pence. One particularly powerful piece beautifully depicts Trump’s Playboy magazine cover in exquisite colors.

Critics have questioned whether the move was appropriate.

“It seems like they may have gone a little too far here,” said one political pundit. “I mean, I get maybe having a small Trump statue or plaque in your place of worship, but a big stained glass window? It seems like that should be reserved for an American flag or something.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in the news, which is not unusual. But it was bad news: a photo emerged showing him wearing brownface at a party 18 years ago when he was a private school teacher.

Trudeau admitted to wearing the racist costume when he attended an ‘Arabian Nights’ themed gala at West Point Grey Academy – the private school in Vancouver where he was teaching at the time. He also admitted to wearing black makeup in high school to perform a version of African-American singer Harry Belafonte’s song ‘Banana Boat Song (Day-O)’ during a talent show.

Trudeau acknowledged that he had ‘always been more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate’. Which leads to jokes like this:

Image result for trudeau village people

What are your thoughts on this, friends? On a scale of one to David Duke, how racist was this, and should it keep him from being re-elected? Should there be a “political statue-of-limitations”?

Well, that’s it for this week. Let’s end with a few more pics of animals quoting Shakespeare.

Comments

  1. The deer photo should be captioned, “Who can impress the forest, bid the tree unfix his earthbound root?”

  2. Nice mix of topics and pics today. What has really bothered me more than it perhaps should is the J. Trudeau blackface controversy. His pathetic defense blaming not his own self, his ownership of his actions, his decision making ability, his complete lack of awareness and his own personal short comings , no he did not apologize for that but blamed his “privilege ” defense that made him the arrogant toad he is. How many times does the average person in any circumstances do the black face thing? We are talking a highly educated person that is a serial cultural cross dresser and so unaware that he does the blackface thing for Arabian Nights. I would bet he was the only clown with the black face on at the Arabian Nights. This is the hypocrite that lectures a woman for using mankind instead of personkind. I do not buy the argument that it was so long ago, Al Jolson even stopped the blackface routine. Even in the picture in the article , no one else thought to look like a fool but Mr. I Am so Privileged I Can be Offensive Trudeau.
    Even David Duke, the perennial strawman would not do the black face even “way” back in medieval 2001 when black face was okay. This man is the leader of progressive , PC Canada yet he is sorry, sorry the pics came out.
    Again, it is the “explanation not my fault Richie Rich apology ” that bothers.

    However the topics were well done and amusing today and I will use them to calm down now. Thanks .

    • defending David Duke as a way of attacking racism seems somehow appropriate in the age of Trump

      • Any sentence that starts off with “Even David Duke” is likely going to go to a bad place…

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Yip. In addition, Trudeau said the following – quoting from Globalnews.ca:

          “Darkening your face, regardless of the context of the circumstances is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface,” Trudeau said during a press conference in Winnipeg.

          So that addresses a lot of your complaints above.

          Then your mankind / womankind complaint. In context it was not what you say it was:

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/07/justin-trudeau-tells-woman-to-say-peoplekind-not-mankind

        • Like I stated David Duke , the perennial strawman. No following, no influence but he is a good shorthand description of a racist with no following, that is why I used him. Trudeau is what he self described, a privileged , rich, out of touch and above the crowd person who is what Canada seems to appreciate. I am afraid he might declare Halloween a national holiday or demand Amos and Andy reruns be aired on Canadian TV. His apology was based on the fact he was so privileged he did not know he was being insulting , that might have worked in in 19?? but not in Trudeau’s adult lifetime. To use my strawman David Duke, he was so under privileged he did not know he is a racist nut job, his childhood and life experience were the problem not his own uncontrollable actions as an adult. How many people have even ever seen blackface much less think it ok. Of course I do not live in Trudeau’s world.

          • According to Michael Zatarain’s biography of him, Duke (b. 1950) was not raised in a racist household or community, but sought out a meeting ot the (White) Citizens’ Council in 1964 as part of a school project (a paper arguing both sides of the desegregation controversy) (p. 76). By 1969 he had already joined KKK and neo-Nazi groups (there are photos showing him wearing both sorts of garb), and started a racist student group at LSU. So I wouldn’t blame his racism on his environment.

            • He chose racism, as many other young people are doing today. That’s why the Department of Homeland Security recently announced a new focus on white supremacist domestic terrorism.

        • thatotherjean says

          There’s nowhere for a sentence like that to go but straight downhill.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I chalk it up to “Trudeau was young and stupid”.

      When you’re that age, you do some pretty dumb things.
      As in “What Was He Thinking?????” things.

      Unfortunately, Jack Chick’s “This Was Your Life” J-Day scene has NOTHING on today’s Woke Activist Guardians of (Secular) Morality. Not only “every idle word” but every fleeting thought….

      • I agree with you. We’e all done things when we were young and stupid that would make us cringe–and apologize–if they ever saw the light of day. Trudeau apologized. Without a time machine, there’s not much else Trudeau can do.

        • For some folks no apology of any kind is never enough, they are satisfied with nothing less than permanent condemnation for life.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            How does that differ from preachers giddy with denouncing all others to Eternal Hell?

            “New England Puritans, seven times distilled down to eliminate any hint of God-talk, yet retaining all the Righteousness and Moral Fury.”

  3. the first cool
    evenings of autumn —
    worth the wait

    • yes, the heat of summer subsides, and to paraphrase Emily Dickinson, ‘the roses will be out of town’ 🙂

      what a relief are these cool breezes !

  4. The Union Theological Seminary plant ceremony is lost on me. To my thinking it seems foolish and faddish rather than deep and spiritually serious; yet it is far less foolish and harmful than much of what is currently happening in American Christianity. For instance, it would be a wonderful development if Jerry Falwell Jr. would turn away from his vile mixing of religion with politics, and instead start “praying to plants”.

    • Robert, i think some of the *intent* was good, because we do tend to take all other species – and kinds of species – for granted, until they disappear (or are under threat of that). I’m sure you read pieces this week about the precipitous decline of bird species in the US and Canada over the past 40 years, for example.

      Although I’m thinking they got the notion of confessing to plants from another religious tradition, maybe the idea, however misguided or not, was to get people to actually *think* about plants, the role that they play not just in our lives, but in entire ecosystems.

      While i agree that it’s pretty odd on the face of things, it does look like their statement about it has some excellent points.

      It’s the same, basically, with Japanexe decluttering expert Marie Kondo, when she takes a *very* Japanese view re. thanking objects that have been useful to us for their service. Sure, people can think it’s kooky, or just “Oh, Shintoism,” but it actually *does* make one stop and think about things in a different way. (Not to mention that, apparently, objects actually can become kami – or have one living in them – once they’re 50+ years old, according to some Shinto thought. )

      We are, i think, very deficient in our awareness of the world around us, except for when it either causes benefit or harm. Even then, our view tends to be *extremely* utilitarian, rather than appreciative. We take other species for granted, just as we do seemingly mundane objects and experiences – and we pay for it, i think, by being less fully human than we might be if we paid more attention. (When i say “we,” I’m *definitely* including myself.)

      • Daniel Jepsen says

        This is a charitable interpretation, and I appreciate that. And there is much truth in what you say. I hope that this was indeed their motivation.

        I do fear, however, that the way they went about this will blur the creator/creation distinction, which is the bedrock of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. If the Creator is not distinct from His creation, very little in Christian theology makes sense, and Union would do well to abandon their claim to be a seminary “in the Christian tradition”.

        • I commented more, further down. Short answer: i don’t believe they were “praying to” plants; and i do think the intent was good, also that it’s drawn from Native American religions.

          But whether you agree with what they did or not, they do make some points in that statement that i think all of us might take to heart.

          Like i said, YMMV. Also, UTS isn’t in the evangelical world – and i guess you are still evangelical? There’s a wide swath of Christianity that doesn’t even know about, or play by, evangelical “rules.” I was raised Lutheran, spent 3 decades in evangelicalism and am now back to the ELCA. What UTS does isn’t germane to the “rules” of evangelical practice, b/c it’s not an evangelical seminary.

          Now, if they really *were* praying TO plants, that’s germane, but frankly, i do not believe that they were. Besides, some scientists now think that plants actually do have consciousness of a sort, albeit in a very, very different manner than what is usually meant by “consciousness.”

          In all, I’m inclined to think that “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio,” but that’s just me. 😉 (i liked your Shakespeare quotes, see?! Seriously, i did.)

          • “There are more things …” is obvy a paraphrase, about as close as i can get without looking it up, which I’m going to do, as i am curious as to how much i meandered away from Shakespeare’s own line

            • I did screw it up a bit, however, back then, “philosophy” was the term for science (natural philosophy was a common term, at least throughout the 18th c., anyway).

              So i am just being very geeky here, since i do love Shakespeare. 🙂

          • Daniel Jepsen says

            I’m confused by why its germane whether or not I am an evangelical. As I mentioned, the creator/creation distinction (Kierkegaard rightly called it the “infinite qualitative distinction”) is foundational to all western monotheistic religions, not simply evangelicalism.

            What was their intention? I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But their public pronouncements on the matter at least claimed they “offered” prayers to the plants, and their response said that these plants are “divine beings”. It shouldn’t take an evangelical to find that troubling.

            • Daniel Jepsen says

              And I’m glad you like the Shakespeare quotes.

              • Ok, i reread the UTS response, and i cannot see anything that ascribed divine status to plants.

                But, like i said earlier, YMMV.

            • “Divine beings” can be understood as “created by God” – part of the divine will, in a way. If they actually were giving the status of divinity to plants, then it’s a different kind of practice, from another kind of religion – not monotheism as we know it in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

              However, that’s a big “if,” and clearly, I’m wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt. Animism does, usually, acknowledge the spirits 9of plajts, animals, bodies of water, rocks, mountains, etc.

              I’d like to know more re. how this service came about, and who wrote the prayers. My hunch is that there’s a bit of syncretism going on, but I’m not entirely sure as to where it’s beind taken from.

              Beyond that, i got nothin’! 🙂

              • Of plants

                Apologies for typos, and enjoy the wedding!

                Again, no offense, but evangelicals tend to be literalists, and about more than the Bible. Even though I’ve been away from that world since late 2002, i still find myself slipping into the kind of literalism that was ingrained in me, from time to time.

                I did comment below on the use of the word “offer,” as i take it to mean something different than you do, but really, it’s a moot point. In addition to being a thoroughly dead horse.

                All the best to you!

    • I know a serious Vegan whose rationale is that one should not cause conscious beings to suffer. I asked him what he would do if we found out that plants have a kind of consciousness however rudimentary. I’m not sure he has an answer. I admire his principles and certainly our treatment of animals, especially our mass food production industries could stand a lot of improvement. But the truth is, life is that thing which survives by feeding on itself. A bottomless self-consuming maw. An appalling revelation.

      The Ainu, the indigenous peoples of Japan, has the same relationship to the bear that the Plains Indians had to the Buffalo. It was a totem and source of food and material. They were conscious of their fraught relationship with nature so to assuage their guilt they set a place at the feast table for the bear when they consumed its meat. They honored it and felt gratitude towards it. Because of our farming practices and technology we have so divorced ourselves from the production of food that we forget that life depends on killing. To the degree that this ceremony at Union reminds of that and gives us a way to reconcile ourselves to it, it was not in vain.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Young Trudeau is not the only one to do “WHAT WAS HE THINKING?” dumb things.

  5. The Canadian people will decide whether or not Trudeau’s blackface antics in the past were sufficiently egregious to warrant not reelecting him. I suspect that Canadian people of color will largely cast their votes based on which candidate they believe will best advance their interests, and as a result of his track record in that department they will vote for Trudeau. As for the white Canadian electorate, these revelations will doubtless result in the loss of some of their votes, but how many no one can know until the election. My own attitude is that, if Trudeau with all his Canadian political track record were somehow running as the nominated Democratic candidate against our current American president, all other things being equal, these revelations would not prevent me from voting for him.

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Probably right. As one of the “white electorate ” up here, I concur. I am not exactly a Trudeau fan, I think he is too naive and idealistic. But be that as it may, sometimes (always??) you have to be pragmatic and pick the least bad option….

      • I should’ve called it the white part of the electorate.

        Although I’m not altogether sure what it means to call people white. It’s a category that involves a complex sociological reality far more than it refers to a biological one, but people tend to view it as the latter, and using it tends to reify the idea that there are clearly defined and differentiated races of human being when there are not. As a person of southern Italian ethnic descent, I am aware that I’m genetically very complex; but then, so are all so-called white people. A few generations ago the US officially viewed and treated Italian and other southern European immigrants as a different race from the northern Europeans that already lived here, not as “white”.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          And a few generations before that, the Irish were a different race from Native Americans (19th Century definition), NOT White.

          Ah the Enlightenment of19th Century Scientific Racism, which defined “White” a LOT narrower than today. In the Anglosphere, the only true WHITES were “The Anglo-Saxon Race”, tall, blond, and blue-eyed. (Description sound familiar?) The de facto definition was the definer’s tribe were the only True Whiteness, and they kept defining it narrower and narrower like A.W.Pink defining Uttterly Correct Theology. With the same theoretical end state.

          That I got from reading a lot of Stephen Jay Gould essays. But I noticed an additional pattern:

          Which light-skinned European stocks were White and which were NOT broke down in a near-exact match to the sides in the Reformation Wars — if your tribal pedigree came from a Protestant country, you were WHITE. If your line originated in a Catholic country, you were NOT.

        • Robert, i think that in the US, even with the earlier racist classification of immigrants from the Mediterranean basin, it’s painfully simple: whether we want to admit it or not, the “one drop” rule is still the de facto standard.

          Whether white people like me – and you – want to *accept* that or not is another thing entirely, but black folks and other POC know that it simply *is,* independent of the things you’re talking about + attemots by white folks to deny the reality of it.

          It really isn’t hard to figure out, in Canada or here. *Especially* here. The resurgence of white supremacism and neo-Nazisim is proof, especially given that it is the default view of those in the WH.

          • Attempts

          • I’ve read that Sicilians have around 4% sub-Saharan maternal DNA, and more total African DNA, up to 10% Since my father’s family lived along the shore directly across the water from Sicily, in Calabria, wouldn’t that mean I probably would fail by a wide margin the “one drop” rule that is the racist genetic classification standard?

            • Sicily was ruled by N. African arabs during a chunk of the Middle Ages.

              I don’t know about your results. It’s not like that’s something that happened anytime recently…

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              By 19th Century Scientific Racism (when racial Darwinism replaced the Curse of Ham as a measure of Who’s White), being from the other side of the Strait of Messina won’t help you. You come from CATHOLIC Europe (including Ireland or Poland), You’re NOT White.

              • Actually I think you were classified as ‘white’ but ‘white’ was subdivided into multiple subraces with races like ‘Nordic’ being considered better than races like ‘Mediterranean’. Frequently subdivided down to national boundaries (Irish race, French race). The Irish and Italians were considered lesser whites (but still superior to the black or yellow races).

                • Italians and some other European immigrants were considered a racially inferior subgroup of whites. I’ve read, however, that in the South Italians were subject to Jim Crow laws; and one of the worst mass lynchings in U.S. history was against 11 Italians in New Orleans.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                    …one of the worst mass lynchings in U.S. history was against 11 Italians in New Orleans.

                    “WHO KILLA DA CHIEF?”
                    Gumbo Ya-Ya‘s chapter title journaling that mass lynching

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            whether we want to admit it or not, the “one drop” rule is still the de facto standard.

            Even blacktivists adhere to the “one drop” rule for determining whether you’re really Black. The more people get classified as Black, the greater their political clout.

            I am so tired of living in a continuous South Park episode…

      • Klasie K. The lesser of two evils in the USA is about 1/3 of Trump voters. Without the clown show of Democrat candidates Trump would not be the lesser but the candidates cannot help being the greater of two evils , it seems.

        • randy don’t be the guy out in the woods at 2am stull hunting snipes when everybody else has long gone home.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          The Dems have got to rein in their More-Woke-Than-Thou Lunatic Fringe, or they’re just handing Trump his President-for-Life.

  6. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women” (and other animals) “merely players…”

    Thanks for the funny Shakespeare-Animal Mashup, Daniel.

  7. Whatever Bonhoeffer might have had to say about “praying to plants”, he would’ve had a lot more to say about the current American prostitution of Christianity to racist politics.

    • Yeah, but if you want to be taken seriously about it, you better quit praying to plants. I wonder, do you and they treat Trump supporters as divinely created beings?

      • I can’t answer for the participants in the plant ceremony, but I certainly do. That doesn’t mean I smile and make nice to them all the time; but then, neither do you to those you disagree with, as your reply to my comment indicates.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        With a $100M+ endowment Union doesn’t need to be taken all that seriously; they can peel a $3M operating budget off from that every year forever, plus anything else they collect. Not to mention the property they sit on being essentially priceless. Union has maybe 300 students?

        On the other hand Liberty University is sitting on a cool $1.4B (B as in Billion). Liberty has tens of thousands of students.

        They are both going to be around forever. They can both afford to be absurd if they like.

        I’m more concerned when absurdity becomes aggression; so I will throw in with the plant people.

      • Jon, nice try, but they weren’t praying to plants. As for being taken seriously, the same could be said of evangelicals who supports Trump. From the photo it looked like a dozen or so folks gathered for the prayer service. Let’s compare that to the millions of evangelicals who voted for and continue to enthusiastically support him. Which group presents a more clear and present danger to Christianity?

        • In a way, Jon is right: we should definitely take the evangelicals who support him more seriously, because they are the more clear and present danger to Christianity.

          (Explanatory note: I don’t know about Jon’s reasons, but I used the term “praying to plants” in my comments because it was used by Daniel in the post. The scare quotes I put around it each time I used it were meant to imply that I had some doubt about their accuracy in describing what the Union Theological Seminary folks were actually doing.)

          • Daniel Jepsen says

            “Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor.”

            • Still not sure that’s the same as saying “Together we prayed to plants”. One of the meanings of prayer in modern nomenclature can be to reflect and meditate on. That’s quite different from praying to the deity, just as the Roman Catholic practice of devotions to Saints is different from praying to God.

              • Daniel Jepsen says

                Hmmm, so a well-known theological seminary “offered” prayers to plants (their phraseology) but it’s possible that, for them, prayer means nothing more than to reflect or meditate? Somehow that doesn’t make me feel better.

                • Tempest in a teapot. You seem to be missing the big idea.

                • Daniel, i *think* it’s meant to be an apology, in part, at least.

                  Which isn’t prayer per se, though it can certainly be incoporated into prayer.

                • Also, i think they used a bit of liturgical-speak in the wording.

                  “Offer/to offer” doesn’t necessarily mean what you are thinking. We offer a lot of things to others, including apologies.

                  My take on this is that here, “offer” is pretty much synonymous with “give” and/or “extend to [you].” IOW, we want to extend our apologies. That plants are being apologized to, well – perhaps the humans who are offering that apology are the *actual* point of things. That we take it to heart, don’t continue to disregard or trivialize.

                  I think that was and remains the goal, and it’s certainly worth taking, i think, to heart.

              • Robert, good points.

                Daniel, Native American views on this – which, I’m thinking, is what they were thinking of when they put this together – have merit and are worth looking into, whether you or i or anyone else agrees with them or not.

                I don’t, fwiw, think they were actually “praying to” plants, but clearly, YMMV.

              • Hasn’t prayer always been about reflection and meditation, though? Meaning, even during the post-exilic period, and during Jesus’ lifetime, then on through the early centuries of the church.

                There are various passages where English-language translations, of the Psalms in particular, repeatedly use the words meditate and meditation. (Ps. 119 is probably the most obvious example.)

                I don’t think prayer has ever been mainly about w9rds per se, let alone “a cojversation with God,” as it’s framed by many evangelicals. Yes, it *can* be that, but for my money, it’s mostly along the lines of reflection, etc., with occasional verbiage thrown in.

                I don’t think the definition is anything close to being “modern,” although i can see how some folks would be inclined to take it that way.

                And, with that, let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in they sight o Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Ps. ? – am blanking on the #, but it’s used in Lutheran liturgy.)

    • “I will weep and wail for the mountains, and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds have all fled and the animals are gone.” (Jer 9:10)

      It’s perfectly Biblical to say that human sin damages the created world, and that we need to confess and repent of the ways that we have contributed to that damage. I don’t know if that was exactly the content of the Union service, but if anything we should hope for even *more* Christians to take seriously their responsibilities as stewards of God’s creation. Not just the natural world but many human beings as well are suffering right now (e.g. in Bermuda, and in Houston) because we’ve abrogated that responsibility.

      • I’m not sure what is being done in this service necessarily constitutes taking seriously ones responsibilities as stewards of God’s creation. If it involves commitment to changing ones lifestyle, that’s one thing; but apart from that, it is gesture in place of substance.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          > it is gesture in place of substance

          Sure. But that is a *H*U*G*E* umbrella that covers a whole heckuva a lot that goes on every day. We’re all full of crap a lot of the time. 🙂

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Yep. I don’t “get” the plant thing, but it doesn’t seem to be harming anyone. I am completely certain, if I was at Union at the time, I could have said “nah, i’ll pass” and that would have been it.

        • True. By contrast, try saying no to Falwell Jr.’s money-making schemes at Liberty University, and have him refer you to the FBI for investigation.

      • maybe
        IF when the floods get to the TEXAS oil fields and inundate them and bring production to a halt:
        THEN the waters will have reached their limits?

        we older ones are reaping what we have sown but then
        . . . . comes the Children’s March comes in the midst of the chaos, pleading for a chance for their lives to be lived out in some better world than the one we have determined to leave to them, a burning, scarred dust bowl of a planet? a world like T.S. Elliott’s ‘death’s twilight kingdom’?

        You know, we could do better than confess to the plants.
        We could confess to our children, and begin to at least attempt to save them from that something unspeakable that they can see is ahead of them.

        The last glaciers in Glacier National Park are gone.

        • only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010.[4] Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the active glaciers may disappear by 2030 if current climate patterns persist
          Christiane, not exactly true about the glaciers

        • Chritiane – yes. Excellent comment!

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          We Baby Boomers are making the Death Bet: “But we’ll be Gone by then, so THAT’s YOUR PROBLEM!”

          While Christians(TM) make the Rapture Bet, just as they did when the apocalyptic certainty was Inevitable Global Thermonuclear War: God will beam ME up to Paradise before anything bad can personally happen. “I’LL BE GONE, I’LL BE GONE…” plus “IT’S ALL GONNA BURN”.

  8. I think the Trudeau flap is silly. If you’re going to a dress up party as Aladdin, who was not Caucasian, then brown faced it should be.

    People seem to be looking for ways to hate.

    • To be fair, Trudeau and other Canadian liberals/progressives have contributed to the sniffing for things to hate, and set the stage for the blowback Trudeau is experiencing, by forcing everything through a grid of political correctness and wokeness. For instance, the time when Trudeau himself chided a woman at a town hall meeting for not using gender inclusive language.

      • Very true. Where does it stop?

        • senecagriggs says

          When an EMP is set off, the electrical grid goes down and the Internet suddenly dies. Of course, pretty much everybody else dies too except the strong and violent men.

          The Patriarchy will once again emerge.

          • Your reply has nothing to do with the conversation we’re having, but as C.S. Lewis wrote in one of his essays, bare survival and mere extension in time of either the individual or the whole human race is not an ultimate value; what matters far more is how we live, as an individual or a race, not how long.

            • senecagriggs says

              Robert, aren’t you the one who brought up political correctness?

              • And how exactly is your evocation of a testosterone-saturated apocalypse connected with that?

                • senecagriggs says

                  I told you how P.C. ended; It was quite simple. No electricity, no internet. That’s how PC ends. Strong men take over.

                  • Tom didn’t ask when PC ends; he asked where finding reasons to hate others stops. In your scenario, the “strong men” are giving the wheel of hate another spin, not stopping it. Hell, their the ones who built the apocalypse weapons!

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                    No electricity, no internet. That’s how PC ends. Strong men take over.

                    I assume you are stockpiling weapons and ammunition (and more ammunition) to become one of those Strong Men, Patriarchs who Hold the Whip?

                    Because THAT was the pattern I encountered over and over and over during the Survivalist craze of the Eighties. Every one of them figured they would be The Strong Man who SURVIVES(TM) to become The Great Humongous, LORD of the Waste Lands. Because When Push Came To Shove(TM), they would be PREPARED.

                    Pretty much a secularized version of Rapture Ready types.

              • If you want to see how patriarchy fares in a testosterone-fueled apocalypse, you don’t have to wait for a war – you can just take a look at the middle-aged white dudes dying from opioids and suicide in rural parts of the US right now. Gun-worship and “rugged individualism” are not particularly good survival traits – the communities that thrive in difficult times are the ones that look out for each other and are able to build trusting and interdependent relationships, not the ones obsessed with strength and violence.

                • senecagriggs says

                  Everybody has the internet. The middle aged white men dying of suicide or opioid abuse appear to have no particular responsibilities. Men do not fare well emotionally/psychologically if they do not have serious responsibilities.
                  ____________

                  When you can no longer call the police to enforce political correctness; it will die; very quickly actually.
                  ________

                  If there’s no electricity; alpha males with weapons will dominate.

                  [ I’d be one of their first victims at my age ]

                  • If there’s no electricity; alpha males with weapons will dominate.

                    You mean terrorists will prevail.

                    • senecagriggs says

                      You can call them whatever you want but strong men with weapons will rule. Political Correctness will die in a heartbeat.
                      ___________

                      There will be only two things of value; Food and Water. Nothing else will matter. Whoever has, and can hold on to, food and water will have the whip hand.

                    • Political correctness is a form of moral belief and practice. If you think any human society will go on for long without moral beliefs and practices, you have a piss-poor understanding of human nature. The whip hand all by itself cannot control anything for long; it turns on itself. Granted, in the beginning, the dominant groups, whatever they are, would devise moral beliefs and practices that support their domination, just as patriarchy has for thousands of years. But, given enough time, the moral understandings that have supported and legitimated the desire for justice and fair treatment up to this point would be rediscovered, because they are perennial and rooted in the transcendent human spirit, the spirit that God created and perfected in Christ.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                      There will be only two things of value; Food and Water. Nothing else will matter. Whoever has, and can hold on to, food and water will have the whip hand.

                      And if you have enough Guns & Ammo, you can always get all the Food and Water you want. Who needs a whip hand when you have a trigger finger?

                      Again, I went through all this during the Survivalist craze of the Eighties and their longed-for secular Armageddon/Apocalypse.

                  • Klasie Kraalogies says

                    Once again, the alpha Male thing is a myth. Also, evolution tells us this is not so. While “strong man” situations may last for a season, they ar horrible at surviving and thriving. Cooperative social dynamics win every time.

                    However, your giddiness for testosterone driven apocalypse tells us all what we need to know about you and your perverse beliefs.

                    • Klasie – yep!

                      Robert, istm that many people who inveigh against “political correctness” are actually looking for an excuse to continue to say hurtful things about others, whether of a different skin color, or religion, national origin, or mother tongue, etc.

                      So much of this boils down to basic kindness and decency. It’s definitely *not* hard, and those who protest about it are often those whose consciences it touches, in a way that’s pretty unflattering to them.

                      And yeah, I’ve screwed up, too, so please, no holier-than-thou responses. I won’t respond to them, and frankly, they have nothing to do with the topic in question. We all screw up. Period. Knowing how helps us to do better in the future, if we choose to.

                    • In social species, the most successful “alpha males” (or females) tend to be those with enough emotional intelligence, compassion, and impartiality to draw a social group together and reconcile people across differences. Using the term “alpha” when you actually mean “narcissistic bully” is a bit of an insult to all true alphas, human or otherwise. As is using “alpha” language as an excuse for mistaking dominance for true leadership.

                • Michael Z,

                  I think the opioid situation is much more complex than that. It’s not about feeling strong; it’s about feeling weak and useless, for a variety of reasons. Yes, caring and connectedness are the antidote – and those things have to be expressed in ways that people will accept.

                  Dana

          • Burro (Mule) says

            I think little is served by equating patriarchy with the shootout at the OK Corral. When it works it works admirably well and provides a great deal of social stability. Testosterone was created/evolved as the response to something in the environment that evoked it, and it is one of the chemicals humans respond to. Demonizing it without understanding it is stupid, but we’re all pretty stupid these days.

            Yours truly included.

            The I time spent in 2009 – 2014 on the “survivor/peak-oil/climate collapse” boards left me with one powerful piece of wisdom. One commenter on the Archdruid’s board wrote ‘if you find a friend whom you trust to watch your fourteen year old daughter and ten year old son, treat him or her like gold. That friend is worth more than an SUV full of ammo. The blackened bones of all you locked-and-loaded, don’t-trust-anyone, shoot-first-and-palaver-later red-a**ed baboon wannabees on this board are gonna be found next to the burnt-out husks of their cars. Too little and too late they’ll learn the power of social cohesion.’

            The irony of this is that PC behavior is a result of this instinct for social cohesion, and at the same time the enforcement of it is serving as a tribal marker and a solvent of this same social cohesion. A little acknowledgement that extending tribal trust privileges to those outside the tribe is harder for some people than it is for others.

            • “The irony of this is that PC behavior is a result of this instinct for social cohesion, and at the same time the enforcement of it is serving as a tribal marker and a solvent of this same social cohesion.”

              True, and it has brought about a kind of “reverse PC” from the opposite tribes. I cannot even wish a “Happy Holidays” without someone getting upset and chiding me that it is OK to say “Merry Christmas.” From now on I’ tempted to just go wit “Bah Humbug” 🙂

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            “Three days after Push Comes to Shove(TM), the most plentiful food source in the Cities will be Human Flesh. Prepare to Do What Must Be Done To SURVIVE!”
            — Survivalist mantra during the Eighties

            In the backstory of David Brin’s original The Postman, after the Apocalpse groups of preppers were actually surviving until they get knocked over by a locust swarm of Survivalists who follow the above mantra to SURVIVE. “You have food, I have guns. I pull a trigger and I have the guns AND the food. (And when I eat it all, I go on to the next one with food. And the next. And the next. And the next…)”

    • I agree with you. Take a look at the ‘orange’ faces so prominent in our government. It’s some kind of ‘tanning’ product, but it goes ‘orange’ on old white men, much to the amusement of the public and of African Americans.

      I can understand ‘costumes’ for a party, but I cannot fathom the desire to be orange-faced in the halls of power, no.

      I guess we are talking about ‘racism’? Or maybe not? People can’t go back and change the past. But we can own it, if it helps us to go forward in a good direction, yeah, sure.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Take a look at the ‘orange’ faces so prominent in our government. It’s some kind of ‘tanning’ product, but it goes ‘orange’ on old white men, much to the amusement of the public and of African Americans.

        Remember J.F.Kerry (“Did you know I Served In Vietnam?”) and “Oompa-Loompagate” back in 2004? Tried to get tan and manly for his campaign image, and ended up an Oompa-Loompa Who Served In Vietnam(TM).

        “Oompa Loompa,
        Oompa Loompa,
        Oompa Loompa…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      People seem to be looking for ways to hate.

      More like ways to be Holier Than Thou and Count Coup.
      (Nowadays called Virtue Signalling in a secular context.)
      Any God-talk in that Holiness and Righteousness is strictly optional.

  9. Enjoyed the mash up Daniel.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Thanks, Tom

      • Love the animals, Daniel. They bring joy. Thanks.

        • “What is man without the beasts?
          If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of the spirit.”

          (Chief Seattle)

          • Chief Seattle providing us with perhaps the greatest argument for why animals will have to be “in heaven”/the eschaton.

          • Indeed we will suffer in ways we cannot imagine, if somehow all the animals are gone.

            While i don’t think we actually *know* much at all about the World to Come, I’ve long taken Jesus’ statement that “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions” to mean that it’s all *much* bigger than we can comprehend with our finite minds – but that love is the constant.

            Personally, i am of the “animals have souls” persuasion, but i realize this is all about belief and so isn’t “proveable” in any way. What does irk me: those who are quick to proclaim that everyone who hopes to see their animal friends in the next life are SO wrong, b/c they have no souls and Christ did not come for them. (I’ve seen that happen on the Christianity Today site, and it was extremely hurtful.)

            In the end, it’s all in God’s purview, not ours. I can’t help thinking that Christ, who shared space with animals both during and immediately after his birth, would leave animals out in the cold. It just doesn’t compute, for me, anyway

            • don’t worry for the animals, not for eternity

              worry now, when so many suffer neglect and torment from people who hurt them

              help the ones you can help . . . rescue if you can a fur baby and it will love you forever

              • I don’t think “praying to plants” accurately describes the situation. Maybe “Thanking the plants for their role in sustaining life” would work. Not that such thanks were intended for the plants, since they are not sentient–at least not in the same way we are–but were intended as reminders to the people who see them, use them, eat them, and consume the oxygen they produce without being fully aware of them. Without them, there would be no life as we understand it. As for the “divinity” of plants, if you believe that we were created by a Divine Being, then so were plants. Perhaps they contain some spark of the divine, as perhaps we all do.

                • thatotherjean says

                  Again, this post is clearly in the wrong place, since it belongs with the plant discussion. If it’s not the site, my computer must be haywire, again.

              • thatotherjean says

                I volunteer for a cat and dog rescue, and can only respond, “Hear, hear!” I don’t know about eternity–but I rather hope that, if there is an afterlife, animals share it with us–but I do know that in the here and now, there are wonderful animals in need of homes with people who will love and care for them. If you can be one of those people, please, go find yours.

                I am reminded of something I read on another site I read and post to. “It takes days, weeks, months–sometimes years–to fall in love with another person. It takes about two minutes to fall i love with a dog.”

                I am an example: We have two dogs and three cats, all house pets, all of whom (yes they are individuals who count as people for us) came to us second hand. Love them all dearly.

                • my priest says ‘dogs go to heaven’

                  I’m assuming cats do too . . . . and in the spirit of the Franciscans, I think if we can get all animals blessed, then God must love them dearly

                  animals have feelings, animals can love, and many animals serve as ‘therapy animals’ in hospitals and for PTSD victims and for old folks like me and my husband to whom our pup is a care-giver extraordinaire (we are so lucky to have him, what a sweetheart)

              • Animal rescue person here. So yeah, i get it. You’re preaching to the converted. 😉

            • Wouldn’t leave animals….

              Talk about misspeaking! I’m kind of embarrassed that i didn’t catch my mistake earlier.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              Indeed we will suffer in ways we cannot imagine, if somehow all the animals are gone.

              Already anticipated you, Anon.
              Don’t you know Heaven will just be one never-ending 24/7 Compulsory BIble Study?

              (Or like in Left Behind: Volume 16, a Never-Ending Testimony Night where all we ever do is Tell Each Other About Jesus constantly for all eternity.)

              i.e. Visions of Heaven that are supposed to be a better deal than Hell, but not by much.

              • thatotherjean says

                If “Left Behind”‘s version of heaven is right, I’m with Mark Twain: “Heaven for climate; Hell for society.” I think my preferred vision of Heaven would be a town with a never-ending library at its center, with a chance to learn something new every day.

            • Christ came for all Creation . . . . . including the animals 🙂

  10. Frankly, given a choice between an hour of ab crunches and an hour of playing chess… I’ll take the crunches, please. :-/

  11. When I saw the last photo (the hawk with the three capabaras), the bit if Bard that came to my mind was Henry Vs Saint Crispin’s Day speech.

  12. Steve Newell says

    Given how strong the Cult of the Donald is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Liberty University actually doing it. But then again, Trump is the model Christian for many of his followers.

    • Agree with you Steve. But how in the world is he a model Christian for many of his followers-what am i missing about his Christianity or Christian walk?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Eagle and I have been wondering about that for some time. (His blog has a regular troll who is a BIble-verse spouting Trump Fanatic, and I mean FANATIC – direct quote “I give Donald Trump Praise and Adoration”.) Our working hypothesis is:

        Like Mormonism in the famous online essay “Mormons : Southern Baptist Zombies?”, Trump not only hits but exceeds every metric Evangelicals have been groomed to see as God’s Anointing. Especially today’s Culture War Christians. Look at all the MenaGAWD that show up on all the spiritual abuse blogs, and the rabid strikeback in their comment threads from Bible-verse Defenders of the Faith. Identical in Arrogance, Ego, and even Sexual Activity, only More So. So He must be more Godly, even God Himself.

        • Steve Newell says

          I have noticed that many followers of Trump who claim to be Christian has adopted his contempt for those who are suffering. Just look at how Christians who support Trump view immigrants (both illegal and legal), Puerto Rico, the homeless, etc. Trumpian Christians are more concerned about politics and the courts that our fellow humans in need.

          Trump is a cruel individual devoid of compassion.

          • IMO he has zero compassion. I ask myself often did many of the christians i used to hang out with con me about caring for other people-especially the unfortunate? I do not know the answer.

            • I think he is a sociopath.

              How anyone who claims to believe in Jesus’ teachings could endorse such an individual is beond me.

              Equally true for those who follow other religions, as the heart of every major faith i know of seems to hold compassion and kindness as nonnegotiable.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            I have noticed that many followers of Trump who claim to be Christian has adopted his contempt for those who are suffering.

            Eagle’s regular troll sure is.

            Shortly after Eagle gave me his OK to “counter-troll the F’er” (my words, not Eagle’s), he commented on a post about increasing economic inequality and hard times for the 99% with a “Thank You Donald Trump” for his own secure high-paying job and prosperous career.

            Okay. Counter-troll Time.
            I counter-trolled with lyrics from Glenn Frey’s song “I Got Mine”:

            “I Got Mine,
            I Got Mine,
            The World’s the Way It’s Meant To Be,
            I Got Mine…

            “I Got Mine,
            I Got Mine,
            I DON’T WANT A THING TO CHANGE
            NOW THAT I GOT MINE…”

            Troll shot back piously foaming at the mouth with how Glenn Frey is Dead and Burning In Hell for All Eternity.

        • It seems to me they have little to no spiritual discernment. It is obvious who he is and what he is about.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            But to them, “He is LOOOOOOORD! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!”

            Like Eagle’s besetting troll, they have Bent the Knee, burned the pinch of incense, and taken the Mark of the Trump on both Forehead AND Right Hand.

            (And if you’ve read Christian End-Times, you now what that means. In their own words, “God Shall Send Them Strong Delusion, that They Should Believe a Lie. Tsk. Tsk.”)

  13. On the Gutenberg joke, one thing I realized in the post-evangelical wilderness is that all Christian groups (Evangelicals, Catholic, Mainline, Orthodox….) have equally bad sermon jokes.

    • yep, the priest at my parish announced that the parish food bank is asking for more jars of peanut butter and jelly now that school has started

      . . . . . then he say’s “PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY !!!!!! . . . haven’t the poor suffered enough!”

      I’m ashamed to say we all laughed. (But I did go out and buy them some cans of tuna along with the peanut butter)

      May God forgive our meanness in the midst of plenty . . . we are more ‘the poor’ than they who hunger’

    • …with maybe an exception made in this case.
      However, not sure if this would make it to the level of a sermon joke 🙂

      An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”
      The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”
      “Oh, I don’t know,” said the atheist. “How about why there is no God, Or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” as he smiled smugly.
      “Okay,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?” The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea.” To which The little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know shit?”
      And then she went back to reading her book.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        There was a one-panel cartoon where one guy wearing a “ASK ME ABOUT JESUS” T-shirt is telling another “I wear this when I want a whole seat row to myself”.

        And Tony Campolo once said that when he’s flying and the guy in the next seat asks “What do you do for a living?”, his answer depends on whether he wants to talk or not:

        If he does, it’s “I’m a sociologist”.
        If he wants to be left alone for the entire flight, it’s “I’m a Baptist Minister”.

      • HA! Too funny!
        And it does bring out an inconvenient truth.
        Ideologues of any stripe, fundamentalist ixtians or fundamentalist atheists, it makes no difference, always seem to be on the lookout for possible converts.

  14. Let me start by saying that Saturday Brunch is what my new weekly feature, The Satur-deja Vu, aspires to be when it grows up. It’s not there yet and I can’t devote an hour or two each day for one week into a single post. I also mentioned the Merriam Webster addition of “they” but the Oxford story was news to me.

    On chess playing: “Grandmasters sustain elevated blood pressure for hours in the range found in competitive marathon runners,” Sapolsky says. I could sustain that level of elevated blood pressure for days at a time by simply not taking my blood pressure meds. I would be more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than lose 2 lbs. per day.

    Thank you for Saturdays Daniel.

  15. Wow, made one comment, went away for half a day, and I can’t believe how many comments were made in reply defending Union. Folks, that stuff is bat sh*t crazy (I don’t normally talk like that but I don’t know how else to describe it). And we can recognize that without having to compare it to Jerry Falwell Jr. or whatever other person it is you are itching to talk about. It is crazy. And it could only come from a society that is so free of real survival issues, so privileged, that it has nothing better to do than sit around and apologize to house plants.

  16. Jon, well said. I just prayed to my plants, I prayed my mashed potatoes are creamy not lumpy, my fries are hot , not cold, my banana is not too old and of course the cornerstone prayer of my prayers to plants, that I do not find half a worm in my apple. Of course , I will have to tie it into Hitler, who was a vegetarian who thought it better to not kill animals to eat but ate plants and no one came to their defense. First they came to the tomatoes etc. I think your description was pretty well on target. Actually I might go and confess to my peach tree as I think it is dying anyway. I will confess I bought some South Carolina peaches. Oh, the humanity, no , oh the plants.

  17. senecagriggs says
    • senecagriggs says

      And people allege there is no such thing as an Alpha Male. Obviously, they didn’t know Chesty.

      • You are obsessed, infatuated, with the mythology of that fictional creature, the Alpha Male.

      • Senecagriggs, In basic training we all said good night to Chesty Puller. With out a doubt he was the real deal and a legend in the Corps. His son who was a Junior is the other side of the hero coin. As a young Lt. in Vietnam he was terribly wounded by a booby trap and lost legs and part of his arm. He almost died but recovered physically. Sometime in the early 1990 period , he committed suicide , after years of pain . So heroes like Chesty Puller are the ones we remember but at my training several times we were told of the ordeals of the son as a caution that with brave actions and risk taking , there is always a price to pay. Mike Mansfield , was a Democrat political leader and had quite an accomplished life. on his tombstone in Arlington National there is only one description, Marine, he was old school also. Good night and God Bless Chesty Puller and his son, both heroes.

      • I know someone who served with Puller.

        He probably wouldn’t agree with your polemical use of him as a supposed “alpha male.”

        But hey, it’s hardly as if you, seneca/jimmy, will listen to anyone here, let alone in the comments on other blogs.

      • And yet Jesus wasn’t an ‘Alpha male’, at least if you read the Bible & not Mark Driscoll. What Alpha male puts gentleness, kindness & self-control at the heart of their ethics?