Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Well, I see that they've inserted little disclaimer notices under the ads. That helps a little I guess. I haven't noticed anything too outrageous blessing me with its presence but on the other hand I usually go out of my way to ignore them. The most interesting thing I've noticed so far is something for a dating service, florists, and B of A ATMS.

The quest to post "my" pictures in my journal continues. At least it works for those great astronomy pictures. And they're the ones that really benefit from being in a larger format. If anyone has any good ideas I'd love to hear them. The weird thing is that some of the stuff that doesn't show up on my PC shows up on my Mac. Go figure. I can't post them that way from the Mac but I can see them. Bless the universe in it's endless quest to keep me from being bored.

Speaking of astronomy, I've probably used the Starry Night software more in the last two weeks than  have in the last year. Of course the recliner is much more comfortable than my desk and chair and the newbie is a laptop. I can reset the home location for just about anywhere in the world. I can look at the night sky my cousin sees from her home in Tauranga in New Zealand. Which I think is kind of neat, Or for the sky over say Ireland this time of year. You can set the software to run in real time and watch stars come out in your living room that you can't see through the rain outside. Or you can set it to advance faster and go through a whole night in about twenty minutes. The weather inside is not only drier but a little warmer.

So far there's snow above us and in all the passes but no snow down here. Since snow lost its appeal about two days after I got my driver's license it can stay up in the mountains, thank you very much. So wherever you are, may you be warm and dry and in the company of friends.


Well, I see that they've inserted little disclaimer notices under the ads. That helps a little I guess. I haven't noticed anything too outrageous blessing me with its presence but on the other hand I usually go out of my way to ignore them. The most interesting thing I've noticed so far is something for a dating service, florists, and B of A ATMS.

The quest to post "my" pictures in my journal continues. At least it works for those great astronomy pictures. And they're the ones that really benefit from being in a larger format. If anyone has any good ideas I'd love to hear them. The weird thing is that some of the stuff that doesn't show up on my PC shows up on my Mac. Go figure. I can't post them that way from the Mac but I can see them. Bless the universe in it's endless quest to keep me from being bored.

Speaking of astronomy, I've probably used the Starry Night software more in the last two weeks than  have in the last year. Of course the recliner is much more comfortable than my desk and chair and the newbie is a laptop. I can reset the home location for just about anywhere in the world. I can look at the night sky my cousin sees from her home in Tauranga in New Zealand. Which I think is kind of neat, Or for the sky over say Ireland this time of year. You can set the software to run in real time and watch stars come out in your living room that you can't see through the rain outside. Or you can set it to advance faster and go through a whole night in about twenty minutes. The weather inside is not only drier but a little warmer.

So far there's snow above us and in all the passes but no snow down here. Since snow lost its appeal about two days after I got my driver's license it can stay up in the mountains, thank you very much. So wherever you are, may you be warm and dry and in the company of friends.

Monday, November 28, 2005


These are our three little ladies. From left to right. Lucky, Sunny, and Misty. Each is very unique. I knew cats had personalities, but it wasn't until we could keep them in full time that we discovered just how different each one is.

OK one way or another there is a picture of three cats in this entry. It's either in the entry or above the entry. Good luck. Looks like just copying from webshots without downloading doesn't work. This will be a work in progress because AOL's picture feature is wiggy too. :-(

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Found this on a website that called Astronimic Photo of The Day. Enjoy Also Lisa was showing me how to put pictures IN the journal entry instead of the little tiny pictures at the top.


I was having so much "fun" trying to get last night's entry into my journal formatted the way I wanted it that I forgot to include an attribution (whoo boy, there's a word worth a good buck and a quarter.) This one is also from Caitlin Matthew's Celtic devotional.

If anyone is missing a favorite there are three more where this came from. One for each season.

Saturday, November 26, 2005



I clarify my soul in the snows of  Winter:
Crystal of truth,
Crystal of nature,
Crystal of knowledge,
Clarify any darkness
In by breast, my being, my minds.
Three candles to cleanse my soul
From broad daylight
Til dim of night.  

 I don the breastplate of Wisdom
Wrought of the constellations of Winter.
Vigilance of Orion,
Splendor of Taurus,
Faithfulness of Gemini,
Patience of Cassiopia.
Nine star powers upon my breast
To preserve my soul,
From crack of light
til fall of night.  

Cunning Woman,
Trickster and Clown,
Keep me streetwise
To the wile of the world
This Winter's day
til I come home to you.  

I know it seems a bit odd to ask a Celtic style blessing of constellations that are known by Greek or Latin names. But I've just spent two weeks fogged in at the southern end of the Willamette Valley. And when the fog left the rain came in. If the weather in Ireland is anything like western Oregon, they're darn lucky to see any stars this time of year much less find pictures in the sky of mythical heroes and beasties.   Cunning men or women are traditional conjurers, advisors or herbal healers, and according to the Cunning Folk website  they were common in Britain until the early 1900's.     

Friday, November 25, 2005


Well, that was very weird. I'm used to doing longer entries in Word and then copying to the journal. I'm also used to finding the little id thingies between the paragraphs. I am NOT used to finding little squigly things everywhere I put punctuation other than a period. So after e-mailing this to myself because the Mac has the printer, here we go again.

On the hit side, I have plans for later this weeked so I stayed home yesterday. Spent the day periodically refereeing encounters between the new membor of the family and her adopted "sisters." As in I have a water bottle and I "will" use it. Doesn't take much. The idea is that when the newest fur face goes back out she's relatively relaxed not feeling run out. We're moving towards Sunshine for the new one, so far she hasn't expressed an opinion. Lucky doesn't get too uptight and Misty is well Misty. Adorable, a little insecure and likely to try to go three directions at the same time. In other words, a cat. And I have just been informed by Lisa that we have a Calico Point. Looks a lot like Lisa's Choo Choo, except bigger and with shorter fur.

So far, so good. No strange little symbols. My Starry Night Backyard software works beautifully on the new PC. Turned it on about four yesterday afternoon, let it run and watched the stars come out in my living room. You can let it run in real time. It updates, say every five seconds, and the sky changes to approximately match what you would see outside. Without the lines showing you where the constellations are and without the label names, of course.You can also set it to run a little faster. You can literally watch the night sky change in one direction, reset and watch another set of stars cycle through on the opposite side of the sky. We live on the east side of a hill and we have a lot of trees and security lights in our neighborhood so I have a better chance of exploring the stars in my living room than in the backyard.

The living room was the only place the stars were coming out last night. We went straight from fog to rain. On the plus side I can see the neighbors and the temperature is about ten degrees higher than this time yesterday. On the down side it's a lot wetter.

On the miss side. the guy who was running FEMA during the Katrina disaster is starting a consulting firm. Get this, he'll advise clients how to aviod his mistakes I'm not going to hold my breath.

It appears that we're about to lose one of the three daysof the year that were considered no-shopping day for the big retailers. Yep the biggies are starting to make being open on Thanksgivig Day noises. God forbid they only have access to my check book 362 days a year. I'm trying to cut back on my shopping, not increase it. Of course they're only responding to "consumer demand." And I have a piece of real estate on the Gulf coast I'd like to unload.

It's seventeen days since the president made his "we do not torture" speech. The Register Guard is still running their big little editorials. I'm not upset that they are. I'm mad as hell that they feel they still have to. Bush, Cheny and the rest: please, please, please get a clue guys.

Back to the plus side. The picture I've posted is a beauty called the Whirlpool Galaxy. I found it on a site called the Astronomy Picture Of the Day. It's a mere twenty three million light years away. That's how it looked twenty three million years ago last July 24, 2004. It's M51 on the Messier scale and can be found in the constellation Canes Venaciti, the Hunting Dogs. That's below the curve in the handle of the Big Dipper for those of us lucky enough to actually go outside and see the stars.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


The newest member of the family is getting used to her new digs. And I took the opportunity to get used to the new camera. She's obviously used to people. She'll go to the door when she wants to go out. Even try to reach the door knob if we're a little slow. She and the other two are getting used to each other, sort of. Obviously somebody has used a squirt bottle because I get the same reaction from shaking a bottle as I get from the other two. A temporary truce.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Spent some time this afternoon seeing what would work on the PC. My collection for pictures from the Northwest and The Hubble Telescope. This shot of a star cloud that's stellar nursary seemed to fit this piece if only because the colors are so magnificent.

I waken my soul at the harp of poets:

String of joy,

String of peace,

String of truth,

Resound in my heart, my soul, my mouth.

May your soul be preserved in harmony

From Winters day

To Winters night.

I don the Breastplate of Wisdom,

The nine jewels of the gifted ones:

Song of poetry,

Sustenance of reflection,

Strength of meditation,

Deepening of lore,

Response of research,

Replenishment of knowledge,

Illumination of intelligence,

Nurture of understanding,

Exaltation of wisdom.

The nine jewels of bards and druids

Shield and protect my soul

From scathe this Winters day.

Sustainer of Life, giver of Death

May I be held in your blessed balance

This Winters day.

From the Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews


Well I can save again. Tried reinsstalling AOL and downloading the latest vesrsion OF JAVA and yelled uncle. Got some help from AOL and I'm going to post what they sent me. The first suggestion got rid of the runtime error message and the second let me save again. So for what it's worth.

Dear Jackie,

I understand that you are receiving a run time error  message when you try to save a new journal entry on your PC.

Thank you for immediately bringing this matter to our attention and for giving me the chance to help you. I want to assure you that I will do my best to give you all the help you need.
??? 1. Please click START, select PROGRAMS or ALL PROGRAMS, then INTERNET EXPLORER.
??? 2. On the Internet Explorer menu bar, click TOOLS, then click INTERNET OPTIONS.
??? 3. At the General tab in the Temporary Internet Files section, click DELETE FILES. Put a check mark next to DELETE ALL OFFLINE CONTENT to select?? the option then click OK. Click DELETE COOKIES then click OK.
??? 4. Click the SECURITY tab. Click CUSTOM LEVEL then click RESET. Click YES then click OK. Click the DEFAULT LEVEL.
??? 5. Click the PROGRAMS tab. Click RESET WEB SETTINGS. Click YES. Click OK.
??? 6. Click the ADVANCED tab. Click RESTORE DEFAULTS, then click OK.

A damaged Web browser cache and/or a damaged AOL Adapter may cause this issue. Windows? networking requires that a network adapter exist for any application that must access the Internet. The AOL software uses the AOL Adapter to access the Internet.

NOTE: Please make sure that the AOL software is closed before you follow the steps.

   1. On the Windows? taskbar next to the clock, right-click the AOL icon, then click SYSTEM INFORMATION.

NOTE: If the AOL icon is not displayed, click the START button, select PROGRAMS or ALL PROGRAMS, select AMERICA ONLINE, then click AOL SYSTEM INFORMATION.

    2. Click the UTILITIES tab.
    3. Click the CLEAR BROWSER CACHE button until the CURRENT CACHE SIZE reads 0 KB, then click the UNINSTALL AOL ADAPTER or REBUILD AOL ADAPTER button.
    4. Click the OK button.
    5. Click the CLOSE button.
    6. Restart the computer and launch the AOL software again. The AOL Adapter will be rebuilt automatically.

Webutil restores system settings to resolve connection and browsing problems. There are two ways to run this utility.

Using an AOL? CD
    1. Insert an AOL? 9.0 or higher CD. If the AOL software starts to install, cancel the installation and return to the desktop.
    2. Click the START button, then click MY COMPUTER. Alternately, click MY COMPUTER on the Desktop.
    3. Right-click TRYAOL, then click EXPLORE.
    4. Double-click the AOLTECH folder.
    5. On the keyboard, hold the CTRL key, then click once to highlight both WEBUTIL.EXE and UNICOWS.DLL.
    6. On the menu, click EDIT, then click COPY.
    7. Right-click the DESKTOP, select NEW, then click FOLDER.
    8. Type WEBUTIL to name the new folder, then tap the ENTER key on the keyboard.
    9. Double-click the WEBUTIL folder.
  10. Click EDIT, then click PASTE.
  11. Double-click WEBUTIL.EXE.
  12. Click the OK button.

Using AOL? Keyword
    1. Go to AOL Keyword: Webutil.
    2. Read the directions provided, then click the DOWNLOAD NOW button. The utility will automatically install.
    3. Click the OK button when complete.
    4. Restart your computer to allow all setting to take effect.

NOTE: You will not see any changes to your computer. When the computer restarts, the AOL software will start automatically. If prompted, click RESTART NOW.

I hope that I have sufficiently provided you with useful information about your inquiry.

If you have other concerns or questions regarding AOL, please do not hesitate to contact us in the future.

You can chat online with a technical support specialist by going to AOL Keyword: Live Help. My colleagues there are available 24 hours a day to assist you in a secure, one-on-one session.

If you prefer to be assisted via phone, you may call us at our toll-free number: 1-800-827-6364. Calling early in the day usually reduces the waiting time to speak to a consultant.

We are always ready to answer questions and do whatever we can to make your online experience even more enjoyable.

AOL Customer Care Consultant

AOL? Keyword:


There is a scene in the first episode of Band of Brothers that keeps sticking with me. It's the evening of June 5th 1944. Since England was on double day light savings time during the war it's probably ten or eleven at night. Still daylight but getting close to sundown.

The troops are so loaded with equipment they can barely move. In the staging area by one plane the lieutenant goes to each man sitting on the ground, helps him up and looks him in the eye and wishes him luck as they head for the plane. These men are sworn to obey and perhaps die under his command. By end of June 6th 1945 this young lieutenant will be in command of Easy company. By the end of the war he will be in command of three of the companies in their regiment and he's still looking every man in the eye.

If I could tell president Bush one thing it would be this. You be there when a unit ships out for the Middle East. Not for a photo op. Not for a speech. Not somebody from your staff. You. Just be there and look each trooper in the eye when they head for the transport. These people are sworn to obey your orders and perhaps to die under your command. The least you can do is look them in the eye and wish them God speed when they head out.

When a unit comes back, you be there. You look them in the eye and thank them for what they did under your command. Just be there damn it!


Saturday, November 19, 2005


Clipped these out of some pictures I took this morning. Little guys were busy this morning. I really lucked out getting the little guy with the seed in his beak. Pure luck

Funny thing, It's actually easier to download pictures from my new camera to my OLD Mac. Partly becuase you do everything on the desktop and I really love the drag and drop option for dealing with pictures.

The U of O played the last conference game tonight. Officially it was the Civil War game against Oregon State. Personally I'm calling it the Fog Bowl. The fog came back in about four or so this afternoon and went right for the valley floor. It was so thick that the commentators were working off their monitors. There were times when about all you could see were the numbers on the players uniforms. The white on the OSU uniforms was blending in with the fog and the green uniforms on the U of O players was blending in with the green turf and the fog. Don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it. I can only imagine what the plays looked like to the audience at either end zone when it was goal to go.

Oregon won. I don't feel that great about seeing us wipe the field with OSU. Only the third time in the U of O's history that we've scored over fifty points in a game. We'll see what happens. If the fates are kind the U of O has a shot at the Fiesta Bowl. If not, it'll be another bowl game, somewhere.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Candle flickers, day's end,
    Winter shivers, nights' friend;
         Brightness echoes heart's giving,
              Soul's quickness ever-living.

I cleanse my soul in the well of wisdom,
         protection of being,
         strength of mind,
         healing of heart,
    be the triple cleansing of wisdom.
May the blessing-drop be upon all beings,
     conferring wisdom from swift twilight
         til dawn's chill light.

The blessing of the Eagle-winged Renewer,
    the blessing of the Raven-winged Transformer,
         attend my soul this Winter's night.
             May all that burdens my being
                   be lifted as I mount on wings of
                        dreams this night.

from the Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews

A peaceful night to you all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Got these shots through the window yesterday. The leaves on the trees are pretty much down and the birds and squirrels are heading back down to the yard. These are for Lisa since the trees next to her place got cut down last year and her little furry friends have moved on for awhile.

I ended up with more camera than I anticipated. If you can spare the time to take the really big pictures you can crop the shot to look like a close up and still be focussed. I've barely scratched the surface but these two are actually better than anything I can get with my 35mm until I can swing a scanner with a transparency unit. I just have to be sure to print off the best ones.

If anyone is interested, it's a Fugi F10. Probably fairly high-end, since I went to the local camera store to shop. Technically it's a 6.9 megapixel unit, but it has two settings at that level. Standard and fine. I could probably tell the difference if I tried to print something.

Which brings me to something else that's been kicking around. I'm falling in love with the convenience of digital, but I'm afraid we may be in danger of a kind of amnesia. The things that jog our memories become ephemeral.

We went through a large stack of old photos that my cousin had stashed. Many of them were from the teens and twenties Some went back to the 1800's. It was almost magical to hear mom and Leah's niece talking about who they remembered and wondering who some of these people were. There was a picture of a man in a WWI uniform. I think he was a distant cousin. With the picture was a death notice. He died in camp in France in 1918. In camp, not in battle. Dollars to donuts it was the flu epidemic of 1918. It was something none of us knew about. And we wouldn't have known about it if Leah hadn't been a bit of a pack rat and if she hadn't had something to hang on to.

There were pictures from a road trip they took in the twenties. Including some road side attraction in BC that had a very large tree with a cleft in it. There was an ELEPHANT standing with its back to that cleft. Note to the folks who live back East. The old growth timber out here is something else. What's left of it. The real irony over the battle over the old growth is that there are no mills left out here that can take logs that big. I assume they'd be cut for export. When I can swing a new scanner, man do I have some pictures for you.

Imagine a tree that takes a half dozen trucks just to carry it to the mill or a stump that can hold the whole cutting crew. If you can get copies of some of the X-Files early seasons look for the stories set in the BC woods. You'll get a little taste of what some of the forests used to look like out here.

My, my this entry sort of took the bit and took off on its own. We've gained a lot in convenience as technology improves. What are we losing?


The ads are bad enough, but I get the feeling they jumped the gun and didn't have their programming up to snuff. Bad move guys. But, I put in my years in retail and I'm really good at ignoring advertising. The mute button on the remote gets a good workout. If you scroll down just a little the ad is out of sight. Personally I think I'd find the e-mail address of the company involved and go at it from the other direction. Tell the company where you saw their ad and tell them you won't be blessing them with your business and why.

My dad used to take the junk mail he got and take the material from one company, put it in the return mail envelope for another company and send it off. That way they had to pay postage on a useless piece of mail.

Just a thought for the day from your friendly neighborhood subversive. :-)

Monday, November 14, 2005


Between trips to the "reading room" today I spent some time getting to know our new digital camera. Here's a couple of shots of the little lady that's adopted us. She came in at breakfast this morning and checked out part of the house. We're letting her go at her own pace. Hopefully she'll leave a little of her scent around and the inside kitties will get used to the idea. Hoping I know.

Getting used to how to how this machine does things. The second picture is better.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Seem to have picked up some sort of bug. A general feeling of being "bleah" and not wanting to wander too far from the reading room. Either that or my system is not happy about the flu shot I had Thursday. Yuck. :-(

On a lighter note, we seem to have been adopted. There's a very sweet pussy cat that's been at our door for the last few days. Good appetite. Acts like it's not sure it's going to get to finish a meal. Friendly as all get out. Loves to have it's ears rubbed and purrs louder than Misty and that's saying something. Not too sure about coming in. We'll go at her speed. Can't take too long because we do not need kittens. She comes in, before the resident cats come in from the back room, looks around and heads for the door. Tabby point siamese markings and slightly cross eyed. First time in all the years we've lived here that we're run into this. We'll see how it goes. At least make sure it has food and a sheltered place to stay.It's definitely a newbie and low cat on the neighborhood totem pole. Either that or a couple of the others that hang around are absolute shits. (shoulders shrugging)

Managed to get some of my fan fic files transferred to the new 'putor. Finally figured the easiest method is just e-mail the darn things to myself. Out on one and in on the other. Saved all my photo discs to the new machine. Has a very slick program for that you just have to be sure to set up a folder before hand to save to. Letting them go to the desktop and then dragging them to the appropriate folder, forget that. With a folder for each batch, hopefullly it will narrow the search.

Oregon won. I've heard of Hail Mary passes, I think this was a Hail Mary field goal. Three pointer with four seconds left on the clock. Makes up for all the years they couldn't quite pull it together in the final quarter. But, really, both teams worked hard and we just lucked out. It came down to who was ahead when the game ended and it was the University of Oregon.

So, good luck for the coming week. Hope everything goes well for you all.  

Saturday, November 12, 2005


One of the nicest things about finally having a PC is that I can put links in my journal. The picture above is a collage using the Little Fairy Day Lily in our yard. I've done several over the summer and put them in an album on Webshots. There is a link below to album with the rest of the pictures. I hope you have as much fun looking at them as I did making them.






Friday, November 11, 2005


Well,  Pat Robertson has stepped in it again. The wire services would do us all a favor if they would just ignore the man. "Nuff said.  The man is a broken record. If something terrible happens to this town ten years down the road I suppose he'll pop up to claim he knew it was going to happen all along. Clicking on the link should take you to the CNN story. Thanks for nothing CNN.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


One of my favorite documentary sets is Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. I especially like the afterwards sections to some of the episodes. After the one on the lives and deaths of stars he described some of the recent research on the distribution of galaxies. Many of them appear to be riding the surfaces of giant “bubbles.” He ended with an aquarium full of soapsuds and a really big straw. And then he asked the question. “If a bubble maker created all those bubbles, who created the bubble maker?" It’s endless and to be honest, I don’t believe it really matters.


I honestly don’t know what to make of all the fuss and feathers over the attempts to get so called “Intelligent Design” added to the science curriculums. I suspect most of these folks don’t know their kids very well. If we’re going to do it let’s start in kindergarten. Kids that age haven’t really learned to self-censor. I can hear the questions now. “Who designed the designer?” Subversion, subversion, subversion. J


I would prefer to see it taught in a history of science section. I suspect what we really need is a more integrated curriculum. Teaching this as part of the history of science would give us a chance to integrate the scientific concepts with the other ideas of the period. (Man oh Manechevitz, talk about the buck and quarter vocabulary here). It would also give students a chance to learn how similar some of the creation stories are. For example, there are many similarities between the Biblical stories and the creation stories of the Babylonians. But, somebody lost a couple of zeroes in translation. The Bible time frame is about 4,300 years. The Babylonian time frame is about 430,000 years.


They might even get to learn about a “day of Brahma.” That’s 4.32 billion YEARS. But, I seem to be seeing some similar numbers here with a steady decrease in the number of zeroes. That’ssome trick. Start with 4.3 billion years and get it down to 4,300. I’m beginning to get a headache out of pure frustration. Actually, the only time frame that makes sense is the one from India. It is the only set of stories where the periods of time are actually longer than the apparent age of the earth.


The main concern of religious conservatives seems to be that acknowledging our kinship with the rest of creation somehow makes us less human. That realizing that we evolved over time makes us less likely to act in a moral or ethical way. Personally, I think this is an insult to the animal kingdom. I don’t know of any animal remotely capable of doing what humans do to each other.


In an earlier entry I touched on the idea that our ability to imagine, to put ourselves in a possible future that hasn’t happened yet is a blessing and a curse. It allows us to plan ahead, put food by, farm; compose sonnets, paint wonderful pictures, and dream of going to the stars. On the flip side, that ability also allows us to plan to do things to our fellow humans that would shame a so-called animal-if animals needed to feel shame.


Sorry if this entry seems a little disjointed. That’s what happens when you write something on your breaks and lunch. But, if I don’t get some of this down when it comes to me, I lose it.

Monday, November 7, 2005


Lisa made the comment that a lot of us in journal land seem to be getting very introspective these days. I can’t speak for anybody else but I always have been prone to introspection. It’s just more conscious right now.


For me it’s the realization that all the sturm and drang that fills the news these days are the symptoms. They aren’t the disease. I guess I’m trying the get closer to the roots of the disease. I find the unity between the physical and spiritual world in Celtic spirituality to be very comforting and maybe part of the answer.


We keep trying to treat the symptoms. It’s like trying to get up a muddy slope. Each time we get a little way we slide back and we never quite make it as far as we did before. A little further away from the light every time we slide back until we’re cold, tired, covered with mud and ready strike out at anything the seems to get in our way.


It appears too easy for too many people to use the Bible’s claim of a separate creation for humans as an excuse to not take care of the rest of the God’s creation. Here is a statistic for you. Scientist’s have mapped the genetic code for humans and many other creatures. There is an approximate four percent difference in the gene code between humans and chimps and approximately six percent for dogs. That means that over ninety percent of the genetic code does the same job for most of the creatures on the planet, especially mammals. We all breathe, digest, move our muscles, chew, swallow, create the substances our bodies need to work,  and so on pretty much the same way.


But oh that four to six percent. In that small difference you will find color vision, stereoscopic vision, fully upright posture, the ability to walk upright, fully opposable thumbs, (even apes can’t touch their thumbs to their first finger the way humans can) and spoken language. Apes have learned sign language and some symbolic computer created languages, but cannot speak as we do. The speech center in the human brain appears to be unique.


Apes make simple tools, sticks to fish for termites for example. They can pile objects to reach food that’s just out of reach. But I’m not sure if they stockpile sticks or big rocks for a rainy day. The ability to project ourselves into the future, to visualize possible futures and act on them may be unique to human beings. At least unique among land animals.


Unfortunately, that imagination also allows us to make war, find ways to oppress and dispossess our neighbors, and generally act in ways that “brute creation” never has and probably never will. Cats may not build cathedrals (they probably wouldn’t see the need for them even if they could) but they don’t make war, build torture chambers or death camps. And I fear that is our blessing and our curse.


We can build huge monuments to honor our conception of the Creator. But I’ve never felt in a building what I feel on the edge of a cliff above the waves at high tide or deep in a grove of trees. I can’t describe it. I suspect you all know what I mean and if anybody has found the words I’d love to hear about it. I don’t feel dwarfed so much as complete. It’s that “oh, these are the pieces that I didn’t even know were missing” feeling. Your soul feels like it’s glowing and you feel all warm and as if the cork has just been pulled from the bottle of champagne. It’s scary and wonderful. Does any of this make any sense?


I take it back I did feel this in church once. And guess I’m lucky to feel it even once. The cross on the wall behind the alter and organ in the sanctuary is lit so that it appears that the head and shoulder of a man are on the wall behind the cross. I’d just gone through the membership class again and it was communion Sunday. For just a moment all the pieces of the puzzle seemed to fall into place and I felt “something” that I can’t describe. I have never felt that inside a building since. 

Sunday, November 6, 2005


Between the new computer, laundry, cats, apples and a produce run something fell through the cracks this weekend.

The Ducks won in overtime in rain and windstorm. Yay for the secondary quarterback who stepped up and did a darn good job in a game that was anybody's right up to the last score.

For Sunday evening,

I soothe my soul at the harp of poets:
    joy of heart,
    peace of soul,  
    truth of utterance,
resound in living light this evening.
May the soul of all beings be preserved in
    from Winter's night
    all winter's day.

Grandmother of Memory,
Grandfather of the Dream,
May I sleep safely in you.

From the Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews

Saturday, November 5, 2005


This is just a little weird. I'm getting used to this new notebook computor. On the PC all of my journal formatting has disappeared. I guess I shouldn't mind but it is a little strange. All the links and everything is there but the colorscheme has disappeared. Anybody ever run across this?

Friday, November 4, 2005


And a rousing good CD it is too. David Arkenstone at his toe tapping best.

Just a little thought for the night.

I veil my soul in the blessing of Winter:
Blessing of truth on my breast,
Blessing of nature about my being,
Blessing of knowledge in my mind,
The blessing of peace upon all beings,
This night and every night,
This season and every season,
Three candles to bless my soul
    from broad daylight
         till dim of night.

On the Ship of Silence I am safely borne
     to the Shore of Wonder;
this Winter's night I seek the harbor of sleep.

Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews

Tuesday, November 1, 2005


Pangur Ban

I and Pangur Ban, my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at;
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill will,
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

9th century
translated by Robin Flower from 1000 Years of Irish Poetry,  ed. by Kathleen Hoagland.
Copyright © 1947, renewed 1975

I first ran across this poem in Andrew Greeley’s “May the Wind be at Your Back” a series of meditations on some Irish poems. He uses the theme of the poem to discuss the problems many writers face from the people around them. “Why do you write so much?” may be the most common. Or that writing isn’t a real job. Ninety five percent of what I write is in this journal. Once in awhile it’s really easy and once in awhile it’s like pulling teeth.  

Pangur Ban is also known as the scholar and his cat. The scholar in this case is a monk probably Irish and the cat is, well the cat. Anybody who knows cats knows that you don’t own them. So you have the monastic writer, perhaps translator and his furry companion. Each doing what he does best.

The original dates from the late 8th or early 9th century. And other translations are not quite as polished. This is as much for writers as for people who share their lives with cats. Pangur is a cat and he’s very good at doing what cats do, catching mice. Chasing mice is part of what cats do. Part of their “catness” if you please. If Pangur quits trying to chase anything that moves he would lose part of his identity as a cat.

For those of us who love words, not writing is like cutting off your right arm.  If we don’t write part of what makes us who we “are” is missing.   And we give up writing because the outside world believes that we write too much or it isn’t a real job then a vital part of us is lost.

Part of the Winter season of Samhain is a time of reflection and remembrance. A time to remember what our grandparents, friends and teachers have taught us. Perhaps a time to remember someone who also loved to write and shared that love with us.