Monday, October 31, 2005


There are four Celtic Sabbaths. They come midway between the equinoxes and the solstices. Actually they would consider the December solstice to be midwinter and that makes real sense in this part of the country. We call December 21 the first day of winter, but by late January we’ve got crocuses and snowdrops peaking up. Although some of the crocuses that peak up during a warm streak may look like they want a rewind button before they get fully up. Shivering little frosty crocuses in late January give hope of spring.

So this is eve of Samhain. A time for remembering those who are gone and to reflect on year that’s past. To be glad for the summers harvest and plan for the year to come.

Threshold Invocation for the Festival of Samhain

Grandmother Wisdom, open the door,
Grandfather Counsel, come you in.
Let there be welcome to the ancient lore.
Let there be welcome to the Winter of the Year.
In cold and darkness you are traveling,
Under crystal skies you will arrive.
May the blessed time of Samhain
Clarify the soul of all beings,
Bringing joy and wisdom to revelation,
From the depths to the heights,
From the heights to the depths,
In the cave of every soul.

From the Celtic Devotional edited by Caitlin Matthews


Saw a little magic on the way in this morning. I don’t know if it’s because there is some bad weather coming in or if there’s something really good in the new grass that’s coming up in the local fields but I saw several snowy egrets and one great blue heron on the way in this morning.


The egrets were in a small field next to the new runway extension at the local airport and the heron was sharing a pasture with a couple of horses. If it hadn’t been right next to the fence I probably wouldn’t have even seen it. And there were the usual flights of ducks and geese making the commute between the two local rivers, the McKenzie and the Willamette. Wherever they spent the night they wanted to be on the other one for the day. Go figure.


Oh, and there was a picture of a river otter on the front page of the local paper this Saturday. They’ve revamped a local creek/canal that drains into the Willamette. They put back the curves that were taken out years ago, planted native trees and grasses and voila. Where you have otters you have good habitat for all the goodies otters like to munch on. One local naturalist has followed a group of five or six down the creek and apparently that isn’t the only one. According to the paper, Oregon has supplied breeding stock to other states where the otters were native but trapped out. Yay for Oregon.


After a Sunday of really feeling at sixes and sevens being able to experience this was really good for my spirit.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Last week I was suddenly posting every day and this week zip, zilch, zero almost nada. It's not that I don't have anything to say. Actually I'm afraid there's too much and it's skittering all over the place. Keeping focused has always been something of a problem and my current reading list is literally all over the place.

I'm currently working my way through a book on the history of Tudor England, leafing through Affluenza, and glancing through three books on Celtic sprituality. Looks like some focus is required here. So on the eve of the turning of the Celtic year it looks like I need to do some evaluating. All of them are interesting but trying to do it all in one journal may not be the best idea I ever had.

These are all topics that I want to dig into more deeply. They would involve multiple entries on the same subject, book or books and I'm pretty sure I don't want to do this in this journal. I think I'd like to  take these potential entries into another journal and keep this one for the sudden insanities like my last entry. That had been kicking around in the old brain box for a long time and suddenly elbowed its way to the front. That and the little things like how bread dough feels when gets just right. Or how the front yard is suddenly full of birds now that the pickings are getting thin up the hill. Or how the color ot the sky has been changing as I drive to work in the mornings. And what a unique place Oregon is.

There are a lot of great things here. And frankly not so great things. Mostly because most of us live in the Willamette Valley and we're spread too thin in the rest of the state to do some of the great things I've read in journals from folks in more heavily settled parts of the country. I guess we're still trying to figure out who we want to be when we grow up.

Actually if I'd take the time to work through all the books on logging, the coast and Oregon in general I could probably do a journal on Oregon and keep myself in material for a couple of years. Oops, off on another tangent. I may have to start scheduling my reading. (God'dess that does sound a bit obessive doesn't it?) Frankly I think it's the only way I'm going to make any progress on any of it.

And I'm contemplaing becoming a computer hybrid. I need to upgrade my computer. Still works but needs some work. Frankly I like the Mac but, big big but, they're expensive and if get ol' Frankie cleaned and get a PC laptop I can still use the printer and scanner I already have. I have a top of the line Epson scanner  and the high powered new OSX operating system seems to have mislaid it. They simply aren't talking to each other. Gotta admit it makes a hell of a paperwight. Frankly, I can get a top of the line laptop and the PC version of Office for about what a new MAC system would cost me with no guaranty that most of my software would work with handy dandy newest version of OSX. It would be on speaking terms with my camcorder and I could buy a digital camera anywhere I darn well please without worrying about compatibility. Bit like an arranged marriage actually. And big difference. The Mac journal entries are one line to a paragrah. I've done some entries at work on lunch and PC journal entries are mulit lined paragraphs. Much easier to edit. I suddenly have twenty more hits on my counter and they're all mine as I try to edit this entry. I usually try to do them in Word and then copy. Easier to edit and it has spell check. I'm about to say the heck with to, two and too and post this as is. Any errors are mine and deeply regretted.  

Another advantage of the laptop is that frankly by the time I get home, I'm just not comfortable sitting at the desk. This way I can put one of those desk pillows in my lap, read and take notes and be in a much more comfortable chair. Why don't I take handwritten notes you may ask? Because my handwriting seriously sucks and it's getting worse every year.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


"Sometimes I think that the surest sign that intelligent life exists somewhere is the fact that none of it had tried contact us."

Calvin & Hobbes

I ran across this quote in an X-Files fanfic. Personally, I think it’s just as likely that somebody did bop in for a quick check, took one good look around and got the hell out of Dodge as fast as their little afterburners could take them. They took one quick run around the outer limits of the solar system planting beacons as they went. All the beacons have the same message. “Enter at your own risk. Beware of that beautiful little blue marble third out from the local star. Their weapons may be primitive but they have a lot of them and they aren’t shy about using them. If you do insist on dropping in for a visit, please register you vital information and ship registration so we can notify your next of kin. Message repeats.”

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Last week it was tomatoes. This week is was apples. Apple butter actually. About fifteen pounds of braeburn apples, some cider, sugar and spices are now living in some very nice jars. And some of those jars are probably older than me. That’s the nice thing about Ball, Kerr, and Mason; you can use them over and over. All you need is lids. We’ve even got some of the wire clamp variety that uses the rubber gaskets. We don’t use those for canning anymore but they are great for dry storage. Bean, rice, pasta, home made granola, that kind of thing.

Over several batches I’ve learned a few things about apples. Gravensteins may be great apples, but I’ve only used them once for apple butter. The juicier the apple, the longer it takes for the batch to cook down and gravensteins are really juicy. Really, really juicy. We’ve gone back and forth between macintoshes and braeburns since then. That food mill I talked about last week comes in real handy. We finally got smart and we don’t peel the fruit, just trim, core and chunk. It saves a lot of time and the peels get left behind when you put them through the food mill. Besides some of the best flavor is in the peel. And that food mill is really great for meditation. It’s quiet, it’s repetitive. You can get a good pray in while you’re making a mess. Then you can do some more meditating while you clean the kitchen. Several times. It’s a small kitchen.

Anyway, the house smelled wonderful while the batch was cooking in a very slow oven. The kind of scent that commercial air fresheners or candles try to duplicate and never can.

We use the big roasting pan and this was a great test run to see what will fit in the big oven. Should hold a twenty pounder plus very nicely. Or two good size roasting chickens.

We’ve restocked the feeders. As the leaves fall, the chickadees, squirrels and other critters remember that the buffet is open down here and come back down. The birds flit from feeder to big rhodie, butterfly bush and back. The cats are in heaven. Free kitty cable, so to speak.

Funny, while I was running the spell check for this entry Word made it obvious that the only Apples called Macintosh it knows about are the ones with printed circuits and a capitalized name. Chuckle, chuckle

Saturday, October 22, 2005


This prayer refers to the kindling of the new fire in the morning, but it could be used for the beginning of any task.


I will kindle my fire this morning
In the presence of the hole angels of heaven,
In presence of Ariel of the loveliest form,
In presence of Uriel of the myriad charms,
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear, without terror of any one under the sun,
But the Holy Son of God to shield me.
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear, without terror of any one under the sun,
But the Holy Son of God to shield me.

God, kindle Thou in my heart within
A flame of love to my neighbour,
To my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all,
To the brave, to the knave, to the thrall,
O son of the loveliest Mary,
From the lowliest thing that liveth,
To the Name that is highest of all.
O Son of the loveliest Mary,
From the lowliest thing that liveth,
To the Name that is highest of all.

From the Carmina Gadelica in The Wisdom of the Celts

Friday, October 21, 2005


When you take your car to the garage you expect (and hope) that the person who will be adjusting your brakes knows what they’re doing. In other words they’d better be pros. If you have a bellyache or a lump you expect that the doctor who’s poking about in your inner self has had at least a year or two of training. You don’t expect to find a grease monkey behind the grill at your favorite diner.

So, boys and girls, what’s this thing about “professional” politicians and who started it? When did it become a good idea to put people in charge of running our government who can't find the back of their laps with both hands, a map and a compass?

We’ve got more and more people running for office trumpeting the fact that when you come right down to it they have no idea what they’re doing. These people have the power to decide where businesses will be built, what farm land will be saved, if our pensions are going to be there when we need them, the kind of breaks business get for sending our jobs overseas, whether they represent us or if we’re getting the best government that money can buy, so on and so forth ad nauseum. Although from where I’m sitting, even the lobbyists arent’ getting their money’s worth.

When you come right down to I’d like to think that the people making the decisions have some idea how the process works. I’d definitely prefer someone who not only respects the constitution but may have actually read the document.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


This was in our local paper, The Eugene Register Guard, today. Thomas Friedman is an excellent columnist. The tag as the end is this is (Yes, all of this is a fake news story. I just wish that it weren’t so true.) Thomas Friedman.

It’s sad that our right hand literally doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. Or it does and just doesn’t give a damn. (me) It’s really sad that I thought it was true until I got to the end because I recognized all the events. (me)

Thomas Friedman

WASHINGTON (Iraq News Agency)

---A delegation of Iraqi judges and journalists abruptly left the U.S; today, cutting short its visit to study the working of American democracy. A delegation spokesman said the Iraqis were” bewildered” by some of the behavior of the Bush administration and felt was best to limit their exposure to the U.S. system at this time, when Iraq is taking its first steps toward democracy.

The lead Iraqi delegate, Muhammad Mithaqi a noted secular Sunni judge who had recently survived an assassination attempt by Islamist radicals, said that he was stunned when he heard President Bush telling Republicans that one reason the should support Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme court was because of “her religion.” She is described as a devout evangelical Christian.

Mithaqi said that after two years of being lectured to by U.S. diplomats in Baghdad about the need to separate “mosque from state” in the new Iraq he was also floored to read that the former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, now a law school dean, said on the radio show of the conservative James Dobson that Miers deserved support because she was “a very, very strong Christian (who) should be a source of great comfort and assistance to people in the households of faith around the country.”

“How would you feel if you picked up your newspapers next week and read that the president of Iraq justified the appointment of an Iraqi Supreme Court justice by telling Iraqis ‘Don’t pay attention to his lack of legal expertise. Pay attention to the fact that he is a Muslim fundamentalist and prays at a Saudi funded Wahabi mosque.’ Is that the Iraq you sent your sons to build and to die for? I don’t think so. We don’t have our people exposed to such talk.”

A fellow delegation member, Abdul Wahab al-Unfi, a Shiite lawyer who walks with a limp today as a result of torture in a Saddam prison, said he did not want to spend another day in Washington after listening to the bush team defend its right to use torture in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfi said he was heartened by the fact that the Senate voted 90-9 to ban U.S. torture of military prisoners. But he said he was depressed by reports that the White House might veto the bill because of that amendment, which would ban “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment of POWs.

Finally, the delegation member Sahaf al-Sahafi, editor or one of Iraq’s new newspapers said he wanted to go home after watching a televised videoconference last Thursday between soldiers in Iraq and bush. The soldiers, 10 Americans and an Iraqi, were coached by a Pentagon aide on how to respond to Bush.

“I had nightmares watching this,” Sahafi said. “It was right from the Saddam playbook. I was particularly upset to hear the Iraqi sergeant major, Akeel Shakir Nasser, tell Mr. Bush: ‘Thank you very much for everything, I like you.’ It was exactly the kind of staged encounter that Saddam used to have with his troops.”

Sahafi said he was also floored to se the A.S. Government Accountability Office declare that a Bush administration contract that paid Armstrong Williams, a supposedly independent commentator, to promote Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy constituted illegal propaganda.

By coincidence, the Iraqi delegated departed Washington just as the bush aide Karen Hughes returned from the Middle East. Her trip was aimed at improving America’s image among Muslims by giving them a more accurate view of America and Bush. She said, “The more they know about us, the more they will like us.”

Thomas Friedman is a columnist for The New York Times.

I think this is an interesting way to contrast what we’re telling others, including the Iraqis, to do while we do the exact opposite. What do you think? Oh, and I wonder if these are real Iraqi’s.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


A blessing of a parent for their children.

The joy of God in thy face,
    Joy to all who see the,
The circle of God around thy neck,
    Angels of God shielding thee,
    Angels of God shielding thee.
Joy of night and day be thine,
Joy of sun and moon be thine,
Joy of men and women be thine,
    Each land and sea thou goest
    Each land and sea thou goest.

Be every season happy for thee,
Be every season bright for thee,
Be every season glad for thee,
    And the Son of Mary Virgin at peace with thee,
    The Son of Mary Virgin at peace with thee.

Be thine the compassing of the God of life,
Be thine the compassing of the Christ of love,
Be thine the compassing of the Spirit of Grace,
    To befriend thee and to aid thee,
    Thou beloved one of my heart.

from the Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther de Waal


There was a bit of a dawn chorus in the the pre-dawn gray as I left for work. And I saw a fairy ring by the road. Not a bad a bad start to the day. It's a little drippy, and the temps in the mid fifties which is ok by me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I wrote the original Bookworm (most of it, anyway) on my lunch hour. So I guess I kind of forgot to mention my complete collection of Bloom County, the dozen odd paperbacks of early Tumbleweeds, my classic Garfields, a Charles Addams, various other cartoon books, the complete collection of X-Files comics (I felt really weird buying comics at my age until I spotted a guy with more gray than me over in the Star Trek section.) some Calvin and Hobbs, oh and Bill Mauldin. If you’ve ever seen the MASH episode where Potter shoots his crushed jeep, it’s straight out of Up Front.


I think there’s so much history (and the science tends more towards the history of science not the nuts and bolts lab type science) because I’m terminally curious about how we’ve ended up the way we are. We’re the puzzle and the books are the pieces. The collection may sound very serious but believe me there’s a laugh or three tucked in there. Oddly enough some of the best laughs are in the history books. Will Durant for one had a wickedly dry sense of humor.

Monday, October 17, 2005


To call me a bookworm would probably be an understatement. It may be the small town upbringing but didn’t realize that the average person didn’t have at least one bookcase in the house until I was well out of college.

When I was little dad hired a neighbor to build us a bookcase that was a good six feet long and had four shelves, including the top. It was always full, especially with copies of the National Geographic. As of this summer we’ve been taking that magazine since 1955.

My grandparents had a bookcase that was at least six feet tall. I know I couldn’t reach the top shelf without using a chair until I was in Jr. High. Everybody in the family had bookcases.  My friend’s families had bookcases. The last time I checked we had ten of various sizes. All pretty full. Granted a lot of those books haven’t been read in awhile, I just haven’t put my hand over my eyes and started packing the second culling so to speak. Sort of the “if you haven’t touched in the last five years do you honestly think you’re going to re-read this anytime soon, honey?

There’s a fair amount of science fiction, popular science, books on religion, especially the Celtic path of the spirit, novels, not a best seller in sight. I take it back, some of these books were best sellers just not when I bought them. Books like ‘How Green was My Valley,” “Cry the Beloved Country,” and “In This House of Brede.” And history, lots and lots of history. The majority of the books are either English or American History but I’m trying to get at least one volume for each of the major players. Russian, Indian, Arabic, that sort of thing. And Will Durant’s multi-volume History of Civilization is in there too. Oh, and a whole shelf of books on Oregon. Books on logging,  lighthouses, sailing ships, local history. We got them for dad over the years and it’s a pretty impressive collection.

We watch TV, but a lot of the programs are either things I’ve bought or taped. But, when was the last time you saw an adult character in a program read something for pleasure. Or read anything besides a menu, now that I think about it. I think the last one I saw was Jean Luc Picard on The Next Generation. And he hopped back and forth between detective stories and Greek Mythology-in Greek no less.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


We turned about fifteen pounds of beautiful Roma tomatoes into fifteen pints of pureed tomatoes this morning. The sorta of easy way is to cook the tomatoes first and put them through that little gadget above. It's a Foley Food Mill. We have one that looks just like it, but a little more used. Circa 1933 works on elbow grease. Makes great applesauce too. The beautiful thing is that you don't have the peel the fruit or vegetables. Just trim, cube, cook, process, put in jars and nurse 'em for about half an hour. Uh, we have a pressure cooker that's almost as old as the food miill. We've had to replace a pressure gauge and some gaskets over the years but it still works fine too.

They still sell them. They don't look quite like the one we inherited from grandma but they're still on the market, don't cost much and appear to wear well. After all ours is probably 72 years old. I think that's pretty darn remarkable.


An entry of Cynthia’s sent me to my little Wisdom of the Celts volume and I found this. There is a wonderful feeling of protection and companionship in this piece.


The Three who are over my head,
The Three who are under my tread;
The Three who are over me here,
The Three who are over me there,
The Three who are in the earth near,
The Three who are up in the air,
The Three who in heaven do dwell,
The Three in the great ocean swell,
Pervading, Three, O be with me.

Poems of the Western Highlanders.

It’s a tiny little book with some really good material from different sources. The complete Carmina Gadelica is on the net and there are several sources of the book this wonderful little prayer is from.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I was reminded the other night that I tend to march to a different drummer, Actually most of the time I’m usually three streets over from the parade. Heading the other way. I spent a very happy Saturday afternoon tormenting the cats, doing some knitting, planning dinner, working on that entry on volcanoes and trying to wrap my brain around the idea that once upon a time the Oregon coast was somewhere east of where Pendleton is now. Pendleton, if you aren’t familiar with Oregon, is about two hundred miles from the modern Pacific coast and surrounded by scrub and bushes with delusions of grandeur.

I do realize that an afternoon like this does not float everybody’s boat. For me this is just a little less than heaven. I seem to be channeling some ancestors that were very happy hermits. Or were at least related to some very happy hermits. There is a strong strain of Celt in my background. Celtic monks like the Romans didn’t marry. So there’s probably an aunt, uncle, cousin or six who headed off to Lindisfarne or Iona and spent their days praying, translating, illuminating manuscripts while listening to the wind and the gulls

When the Creator, bless him/her, created Jackie he left out the “I need to be sociable to be happy” genes. I enjoy people when I’m with them. But, I’m also contented if I happen to be the only human in the house.

But, hey you are never alone with cats in the house. At least not the cats that share our digs. If I’ve been working all week and mom’s been busy all week the weekends can get very interesting. As in there is a large purring hairball in my lap before I have a lap. If that makes any sense. Misty comes and goes. She lights for a few minutes, adores you, lets you adore her and scrams. Lucky, well Lucky settles in. You’d better have your book, your tea, and the phone because when that girl settles in she plans on staying for a while. Oh, and if you are trying to read it better be something you can handle with one hand because the other will be occupied. Petting is ok, ear massages are preferred. Hey, how can you turn down somebody you can hear purring clear across the room.

Sunday, October 9, 2005


This column appeared in the Sunday edition of the Register Guard. It doesn't need much introduction except to note that I had a huge lump in my throat and was almost crying by the time I was finished reading it. Most small children have that expression that says "all things are possible." To see that change to "this is how things are no matter how hard I try" has got to kill part of their parents spirits.

LEONARD PITTS JR.: Race issue hits home with son

October 7, 2005


My youngest son was arrested last year.

Police came to my house looking for an armed robbery suspect, 5-feet-8-inches with long hair. They took my son, 6-foot-3 with short braids. They made my daughter, 14, lie facedown in wet grass and handcuffed her. They took my grandson, 8, from the bed and sat him beside her.

My son hadn't done a damn thing. I was talking to him long distance at the time of the alleged crime. Still, he spent almost two weeks in jail. The prosecutor asked for a high bail, citing the danger my son supposedly posed.

A few weeks later, the prosecutor declined to press charges, admitting there was no evidence. The alleged perpetrator of the alleged crime, a young man who was staying with us, did go on trial. There was no robbery, he said. The alleged victim had picked a fight with him, lost, and concocted a tale. A video backed him up. The jury returned an acquittal in a matter of hours.

Too late now

But the damage was done. The police took a picture of my son. He is on his knees, hands cuffed behind him, eyes fathomless and dead.

So I take personally what William Bennett said. Bennett, former education secretary, said last week on his radio program that if you wanted to reduce crime, "you could ... abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down."

Bennett says critics are leaving out his denunciation of the idea and the fact that he was criticizing a thesis that holds that making abortion readily available to low-income women in the '70s led the U.S. crime rate to drop in the '90s.

I get all that. But what bothers me is his easy, almost causal conflation of race and crime, as if black, solely and of itself, equals felony.

The way it is

It's a conflation that comes too readily to too many. The results of which can be read in studies like the one the Justice Department cosponsored in 2000 that found that black offenders receive substantially harsher treatment than white ones with similar records.

They can also be read in that picture of my son, eyes lifeless and dull with this realization of How Things Are.

I asked a black cop who was uninvolved in the case how his colleagues could have arrested a 6-foot-3 man while searching for a 5-foot-8 suspect. Any black man would do, he said.

So how do I explain that to my son? Should I tell him to content himself with the fact that to some people, all black men look alike, all look like criminals?

Actually I don't have to explain it. A few months back, my son was stopped and cited for driving with an obstructed windshield. The "obstruction" was an air freshener.

So my son gets it now. Treatment he once found surprising he now recognizes as the price he pays for being. He understands what the world expects of him.

I've watched that awful knowledge take root in three sons now. In a few years, I will watch it take root in my grandson, who is in fifth grade.

The conflation of black and crime may be easy for William Bennett, but it never gets any easier for me.

LEONARD PITTS JR. appears most Wednesdays and Fridays in the Free Press. Reach him at the Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132; at 888-251-4407 or at


Willamette Pass is approximately 5,000 feet up, I've done some Googling and can't find a figure for Summit Lake so I'm assuming it's about 5,000 feet up too. So the shot of Diamond Peak is another three thousand feet or so.  Most of the plateau behind the Casades doesn't go any lower than three thousand feet or so.

Saturday, October 8, 2005


on the way home from work I can see four volcanoes. Two state highways take off from the Springfield area. Through a gap in the Cascades up through the McKenzie pass area you can see the Three Sisters. Looking through the gap they aren’t as tall as the other Cascade Peaks. You have to remind yourself that they are at least sixty miles away.

There are actually four major peaks in the McKenzie Pass area but you can’t see Broken Top through the McKenzie Pass gap. The three peaks you can see have been given really imaginative names. North, Middle and South Sister. Several years ago either the BLM or the forest service suggested that the peaks be renamed. Something a little more dramatic. The silence that met that suggestion was deafening. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The mountains speak for themselves. All three are over ten thousand feet high and have year round glaciers.

The North Sister is probably the oldest and probably topped out at over eleven thousand feet when she went dormant. Heavily eroded, the northern peak probably won’t become active again.

The Middle Sister is the smallest of the three. The cone is gone but the mountain has permanent glaciers. The third peak, the South Sister, is the tallest and still has a distinct cone. The last eruptions probably occurred two or three thousand years ago. And that’s ok by me. Where volcanoes are concerned, dormant is good, permanently asleep is better, and comatose is best.

My reference book “Fire & Ice-the Cascade Volcanoes” has a sketch showing the heaviest ash fall from the explosive eruption that formed the caldera that holds Crater Lake. The fall extends beyond the Canadian border into B. C. and Alberta. The debris fields near the mountain are forty to fifty feet deep. And that was only 6,600 years ago. Give or take a century or two. The original Mt. Mazama may, emphasis on the may, have had an elevation of between 11,000 and 12,000 feet. Parts of the rim are between six and eight thousand feet high now. Think Mt. St. Helens on steroids. Lots of steroids.

State highway 58 heads southeast of Springfield and through the Willamette Pass. On a good day you can see Diamond Peak. It’s a good sixty-five or seventy miles from my front door. Diamond is currently just over 8,000 feet high. The mountain hasn’t erupted since the last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago and also has permanent glaciers. I could see the mountain from my old hometown of Oakridge. I can remember walking home backwards more than once on a winter day because the sun was getting close to setting and the peak was a wonderful rose color.

These are the mountains I can see from Springfield but there is a string of peaks from Mt Shasta in California to Mt Garibaldi in Canada. Some have the potential to erupt again. And land in the area of the Three Sisters is rising. We may be looking at a fourth sister. Probably won’t happen in my lifetime.

The pictures are from the net. First is a side view of Diamond Peak from Summit Lake in the Cascades. The Second is the South Sister and the third are the Middle and North Sister. The North Sister is the one in front.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005


Somewhere in all the books on all the shelves in the bookcases in our house is a bookmark. A very special bookmark. There’s something peeking up out of the drain. Just eyes, nothing more. Spooky eyes. The kind you don’t really want to find looking back at you in the middle of the night. The caption reads Be A Lert. We need all the Lerts we can get.


Right now I think that bookmark is more useful than the AOL alerts for comments in my journal. Where’s a Lert when you need one!

Sunday, October 2, 2005


Fall arrived with a very wet thud this weekend. This is a good thing really. Our water year starts on October first and we were about fifteen inches short last year. Actually we’ve been short the last few years. It’s been pretty dry for a part of the state that has a wet reputation to maintain.

Back in the late seventies and eary eighties a local cartoonist did a series of cartoon paperbacks that poked fun at Western Oregons’ wet reputation, Eastern Oregon’s dry reputation and just about everything in between. They starred a guy called Hugh Wetshoe who always appeared in wet weather gear no matter where he was. My scanner still is not talking to my operating system so I’ll have to settle for just the words. My journal has been pretty serious lately and these books have tons of material. I can be funny and serious at the same time.

You know what’s really funny, or scary depending on your point of view? The jibes at the Oregon legislature are still spot on, unfortunately. It’s still true. The more things change the more they say the same.

On the note of “If this is July and it’s raining this must be Oregon.” James Cloutier in Oregon III. (Which oddly enough, was the first book, he really like to mess with our heads)  I think I’ll say goodnight. :-)

Saturday, October 1, 2005


Spotted this on a car today and lucked out on finding the website. There's plenty more where this one came from. Also on a t shirt. I love it, love it love it. LMAOH (laughing my ass off hysterically) This is the address of the website that has this bumper sticker and plenty more. They have t-shirts, magnets, buttons, you name it. Some are more pointed that this one. Some are more subtle. With a few you have to laugh...........before you start crying.


This one's been on the back burner for a few days.

One of the excellent documentary series in my DVD collection is the British series The World at War. It was originally broadcast on PBS in the seventies. I’m not sure you’d call it enjoyable but it’s close to the real thing most of us are going to get. The set includes a “how we did it and why” documentary with the producer. Either film footage and or on screen interviews. No reenactments, period. There is some footage that was staged for the camera but you are told about and why it was done. Excellent, and I do mean excellent narration from Lawrence Olivier. That man could do more with a slight inflection of voice than a paragraph of prose.

They managed to get interviews with soldiers and pilots from both sides. There are interviews with Hitler's secretary and German civilians who opposed the war as much as they could, including Dietrich Bonhoffers' sister in law. They tracked down Holocaust survivors and Heinrich Himmler's attache. And got him on film. Oral history at it's best.  

For me, the most effective footage is of bombed out cities, columns of refugees and interviews with survivors of the bombings. On both sides. Allied or Axis, in the end the civilians took it in the teeth, as usual.

Americans haven’t had anything like this happen to our people since the Civil War. Parts of Kansas, Missouri and sections of the south saw devastation nearing the scale of some of the earliest bombing raids. By the time the allies perfected long range bombing they were able outdo the Luftwaffe on a scale of at least a hundred to one.

Nothing on the scale of Hamburg, Dresden, Stalingrad, Tokyo or the fall of Berlin has ever happened on American soil. Sorry folks, as bad as September 11, 2001 was, it wasn’t even close. According to the series the Russians had nearly 200,000 casualties in the taking of Berlin. There’s never been an accurate count of the German casualties when the city fell. And that was one city. Just one city out of hundreds of cities and villages on both sides of the war.

The generation that fought in WWII is passing. The Vietnam generation is aging. None of politicians currently in office have seen combat or cities in flames. I’m willing to bet that very few of them have seen this series. Our leaders criticize European leaders for being unwilling to go to war. We don’t have any room to put the French or Germans down for their reluctance to send their citizens to war based on evidence that hasn’t held up. God knows they’ve seen enough destruction in the last century to last anyone with an ounce of empathy for several generations.

American cities have never had to endure night after night of bombing. We’ve never had a city with so many fires that the river supplying the fire crews literally dropped below the water intakes. Or had fires so fierce that it didn’t matter if the city was blacked out. The flames lit up the Thames so brightly it was like a beacon.

I never, ever want our people to find out first hand what such a war is like. But, maybe if we could imagine it just a little we’d be a little less eager to inflict it on someone else.

Oh, and that goes double for the ones setting off car bombs. But, what did we expect? The Sunnis have held the power in Iraq for several generations. Watching what the current party in power in our country is willing to do cement their hold on political control can we really expect the Sunnis to do any less. As least we’re still content with verbal dynamite. At least most of the time.