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Location: California, United States

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Happy Easter

Here below is a resurrection clip from my favorite Jesus movie, Jesus (Jeremy Sisto) ...



It's 2001

I'm now up to 2001 in music now and here are three songs from albums released then ...

- The Lighthouse's Tale by Nickel Creek ...



- Wedding Day by the Bee Gees ...



- From an Aerosmith compilation album, the Run–D.M.C. version of 'Walk This Way' ...





Friday, March 30, 2018

Trump unleashed



Watching Lawrence O'Donnell tonight. He talks about how unleashed Trump will be now that Hope Hicks has left the White House, and he shows the awkward parting of the two, including a kiss. Having read Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury, I am kind of curious about Hicks ... the book gives some insight into her. I can't help thinking that she must be a somewhat disturbed person, given her strangely close relationship to Trump (Why Hope Hicks Resigning Matters), her affair with married man and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and her romance with accused wife-beater and former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (The Trump White House has been plagued by rumors of illicit romances — and now Hope Hicks is at the center).

Scary times.

Bad Friday

In Christianity this is Good Friday, the day Jesus was killed by the Romans, but I always think of it as Bad Friday because of the horrible suffering ...



What I've never understood about most Christians is why they seem to really really like that Jesus was murdered amid a whole lot of suffering. In my opinion, Jesus would have been resurrected no matter how or when he died, and I don't think it was God's plan that he be tortured to death at an early age ... it's just the awful way things turned out. It's not just me who doesn't buy the creepy atonement theory ...

Here's a bit from an article by Richard Leonard SJ ...

God did not need the blood of Jesus. Jesus did not just come ‘to die’ but God used his death to announce the end to death. This is the domain of ‘offer it up’ theology: it was good enough for Jesus to suffer; it is good enough for you. While I am aware of St Paul in Romans, St Clement of Alexandria, St Anselm of Canterbury and later John Calvin’s work on atonement theory and satisfaction theology, I cannot baldly accept that the perfect God of love set [us] up for a fall in the Fall, then got so angry with us that only the grisly death of his perfect son was going to repair the breach between us. This is not the only way into the mystery of Holy Week. For most of Christian history the question that has vexed many believers seems to be, ‘Why did Jesus die?’ I think it is the wrong question. The right one is ‘Why was Jesus killed?’ And that puts the last days of Jesus’ suffering and death in an entirely new perspective. Jesus did not simply and only come to die. Rather, Jesus came to live. As a result of the courageous and radical way he lived his life, and the saving love he embodied for all humanity, he threatened the political, social and religious authorities of his day so much that they executed him. But God had the last word on Good Friday: Easter Sunday.

More ...

- The Incarnation: Why God Wanted to Become Human by Ken Overberg SJ

- BBC Radio 4 Lent Talks by Jeffrey John

- Duns Scotus and the meaning of Love by Seamus Mulholland OFM

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Holy Wednesday


- Jesus gives Judas the gimlet eye in Jesus of Nazareth

Holy Wednesday ...

In the New Testament account of Holy Week, after Palm Sunday, the Sanhedrin gathered and plotted to kill Jesus before the feast of Pesach. On the Wednesday before his death, Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the Leper. As he sat at the supper table with his disciples, a woman named Mary anointed Jesus' head and feet with a costly oil of spikenard. The disciples were indignant, asking why the oil was not instead sold and the money given to the poor. But Judas Iscariot wanted to keep the money for himself. Then Judas went to the Sanhedrin and offered to deliver Jesus to them in exchange for money. From this moment on, Judas sought an opportunity to betray Jesus.

So many questions. Did Judas really do this? Why? Did Jesus know beforehand? If so, why did he choose Judas as a disciple, why didn't he stop him, was Judas needed as the bad guy, was it fair to use him as an object lesson? Don't know the answers, but as I read The Last Jedi, I think of Luke Skywalker and his apprentice, Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, who he knew would probably betray him but who he took on anyway in order to save.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The new kittens

I wrote in an earlier post that one of the cats I was trying to get spayed had had kittens. That was Snowy. Strangely, Marie, who did get spayed a few weeks ago has become kind of the co-mom of the kittens. I hadn't seen them up until today because they've been in a cat igloo under a table in the garage, but my sister has been crawling under there every couple of days to check on them. Today they somehow moved or got moved to a corner of the garage that is all icky with decay and piles of junk. I had to dig them out and I put them in a box back under the table. Hopefully the mom cats will decide that's an ok place for them. But while I was doing that, I got a photo of them. Kawaii!!! Look at their tiny tails :) ...



Thankfully, the vet did say she would take them to find homes for them for a donation, but she wants us to wait until they can eat on their own. I hope I can keep track of them until then.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Stormy Daniels on 60 Minutes



I just watched the 60 Minutes Stormy Daniels interview with Anderson Cooper - it can be found online here at CBS. It was interesting. It showed Trump to be what we have come to expect ... creepy (he told her she reminded him of his daughter) ... and manipulative (he maneuvered her into having sex). There was the threat by some unknown Trump-affiliated thug who warned her to stay silent, which I found credible. There was a bit about the payment to her being a campaign contribution (Trevor Potter), and also some bits with her attorney in the interview. As her attorney opined, this whole thing is not only about the sexual encounter between Trump and Daniels, but about the cover-up of that, the lengths Trump and his fixers have gone to in order to clean up his mess. This part of the interview struck me ...

Anderson Cooper: Jenna Jameson, another well-known adult film actress, said recently about you, "The left looks at her as a whore and just uses her to try to discredit the president. The right looks at her like a treacherous rat. It's a lose-lose. Should've kept her trap shut."

Stormy Daniels: I think that she has a lot of wisdom in those words.


I'm on the Left, but I don't look at her as a whore. I think she's a vulnerable person in a very difficult situation. I'm glad she decided to come forward. It's past time Trump learned that becoming president means one thing he hadn't counted on ... he can't use his money and power to make all his problems quietly disappear anymore.

Palm Sunday

I really like the movie depictions of the gospels - they help me think about the events. My favorite two versions from the movies of Palm Sunday are very different but both are interesting in their own way.

- The movie by Martin Scorsese, The Last Temptation of Christ , we see the disciples and Jesus walking into Jerusalem ...



- The Gospel of John, which is pretty neat in that it presents, word for word, that gospel. Also, there's Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus. Here's Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the donkey ...


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Almost Human

The latest sci fi tv series I've been trying is Almost Human ...

an American science fiction/crime drama that aired from November 17, 2013, through March 3, 2014, on Fox. The series was created by J. H. Wyman for Frequency Films, Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television. Wyman, Bryan Burk and J. J. Abrams are executive producers. After one season, Fox canceled the series ....

The series is set in the future, 2048, and the main character, played by Karl Urban, is a cop with an android as his partner. Here's a trailer ...



I decided to watch the show because I like Karl Urban. He's a really versitle actor - how man guys could play both Éomer in The Lord of the Rings movies ...



And also Dr. McCoy in the rebooted Star Trek? ...



So far Almost Human is pretty good. Too bad there are only 13 episodes.

March For Our Lives

The March For Our Lives is happening today and in New York City, Paul McCartney made an appearance ...



I hope something comes of the march and the Parkland students' efforts. The Democrats have always been for gun control, but the Republicans are so scared of the gun lobby that they have done nothing to stem the violence.

More: Paul McCartney remembers John Lennon at March for Our Lives ... and ... Schumer unveils Democratic gun control plan with plea for Trump support

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Trump congratulates Putin


- Make Everything Great Again

Trump calls Putin to congratulate him on his (sham) win and says they'll be getting together soon, this despite Russian meddling in our elections and what they did in the UK ...



Noooo, that's not even a little suspicious.

Why I'm not on Facebook

Cambridge Analytica CEO claims influence on U.S. election, Facebook questioned

And aside from getting hacked, if you're a fan of science fiction you'll know that a social platform to which almost every human belongs might tend to warp their ways of thinking - you know, a kind of intellectual version of the technological singularity - eeek! ...



But back to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. On the PBS NewsHour, Roger McNamee, one of Facebook’s original investors and Mark Zuckerberg's mentor, talks about this stuff ...


Monday, March 19, 2018

Noooooooo!

Tonight my sister came over to help me with some chores, and while we were in the garage we heard squeaking. In a cat igloo under a table we found Marie, Snowy, and kittens. Marie has been spayed, so they must be Snowy's. My sister said the kittens look really small and young - not sure how many there were. I've managed to get three of the (now) seven unfixed cats fixed, but it's been hard to coordinate getting the appointments, getting transportation, and catching those particular cats. Tomorrow I'll call the vet I used to visit and see if they will take the kittens to find homes for them for a donation. They did that for me a few years ago, but it's been some times since I've been one of their customers, so not sure if they will or can do it again. Once the kittens get old enough to run around, I may not be able to catch them to take to the SPCA, and I'm at 16 adult cats as it is. Argh! I feel cursed :(

Photos

The orange tree is making orange blossoms ...



Siblings Snowy and Goldy. A couple of weeks ago we were able to catch Goldy and take him to be neutered. Last week we had another appointment (still four cats left to spay/neuter) but we couldn't catch anyone. It's hard to coordinate getting the appointment, getting transportation, and actually catching the right cat at 7 am. Must try harder! ...



Don't know what these flowers are called, but so yellow :) ...


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Trump's latest badness

Every time I think Trump can't get worse, he sinks to a new low. Two stories in the news ...

Trump has had his little possum Jeff fire former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe just hours before he was to retire with a pension ...



And now Trump has filed a law suit against Stormy Daniels for 20 million dollars because she has dared to speak up ...



More: Donald Trump and the Craven Firing of Andrew McCabe ... Trump Officially Gets Involved in Stormy Daniels Saga With Lawsuit Seeking $20 Million in Damages

Friday, March 16, 2018

Two bears

On the PBS NewsHour last night there was a segment about some victims of the awful Thomas fire here in California - two bears - and how they have been helped ...

Music from the ancient past ;)

More Than a Feeling by Boston ...



I looked out this morning and the sun was gone
Turned on some music to start my day
I lost myself in a familiar song
I closed my eyes and I slipped away

It's more than a feeling
When I hear that old song they used to play
And I begin dreaming
Till I see Marianne walk away
I see my Marianne walkin' away

When I'm tired and thinking cold
I hide in my music, forget the day
And dream of a girl I used to know
I closed my eyes and she slipped away
She slipped away

It's more than a feeling
When I hear that old song they used to play
And I begin dreaming
Till I see Marianne walk away

The Last Jedi: the book



My latest book from the library is actually an audio file, the electronic audiobook version of The Last Jedi: Expanded Edition (Star Wars). It's narrated by Marc Thompson, who does a lot of Star Wars books and is really good at the main characters' voices. Here he is doing a few impressions :) ...



And here' a review of the book - ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ novel is beautifully written

I'm really looking forward to the movie. Hopefully it will come to DVD soon. The trailer ...


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lordy, there *are* tapes



Remember when former FBI director James Comey testified ‘Lordy, I Hope There Are Tapes’ in response to Trump's threatening tweet about their conversations? Well, it looks as though there might really be tapes (or some other form of memorialization) after all.

Yesterday, the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee - you know, the committee in which the ruling Republican members decided there was no collusion between Trump and Russia all on their own - have released a report (it can be read here) detailing some of the information the Republicans chose to ignore, including the probability of existing evidence of the conversations between Comey and Trump ... the report states ... The Minority has a good faith reason to believe that the White House does in fact possess such documentation [tapes or “recordings, memoranda, or other documents”] memorializing President Trump’s conversations with Director Comey. Subsequent press reporting revealed the existence of a memorandum reportedly composed by President Trump and Stephen Miller that referenced President Trump’s communications with Director Comey. The Committee should subpoena to the White House to produce all responsive documents.

More: Democrats tease James Comey bombshell in 'status report' on terminated House Intel Russia probe

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A Catholic no more

An article at America magazine notes that Francis has been pope for five years now. Perhaps this is a good time for me to state what has been true for me for some time now ... I don't identify as Catholic anymore.

I became a Catholic about 20 years ago. Why I joined and how I felt about the church changed a lot over the years. At first I just wanted a friendly place where I could belong. My sister was living in Japan and I was lonely, I wasn't even really sure I believed in God, but a Catholic church was withing walking distance and Catholicism seemed so exotic and mysterious. That phase lasted for a few years, and I eventually stopped going to church, no closer to knowing anything about God or myself.

Some years after that, the internet happened, and I came upon Ignatian spirituality and took an online retreat. This made a big difference to my ideas about God. But at the same time, I was also learning a lot more about Catholicism too and it wasn't pretty: the sex abuse of children and its continuing cover-up, the treatment of women and LGBT people, doctrines on contraception, divorce, transubstantiation, Mariology, purgatory and indulgences, celibacy, and the incredible wealth disparity between the church and its "preferential option for the poor", to mention a few things.

When Francis became pope I was hopeful that things would change for the better, but he has only doubled down on stuff like the mismanagement of sex abuse and the way women are seen in the church. I think the truth is that the church will never willingly change .... it has painted itself into a corner with its scholastic theory that what's perfect (like God, like the Catholic church) can never be improved upon. Because of this, the church is dying.

There are good things about the Catholic church, yes, but those things can be learned and practiced at pretty much any Christian church or often on one's own, including Ignatian spirituality. I don't want anymore to belong to a church that has become the last redoubt of misogynists, homophobes, child molesters, and worse, people who just don't care about that stuff as long as they are getting what they themselves need out of the institution.

Monday, March 12, 2018

SNL

What happened on The Bachelor meets the Mueller probe ;) ...

House Republicans end probe



The Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have decided there's no evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia. The Democrats on the committee were left out of the loop. Shocker! If Devin Nunes believes this will convince anyone, aside from Trump's dead-head base, he is even dumber than he seems. Thank God there's still the Mueller investigation.


An article and some songs

- An interesting article at The Atlantic ... The Last Temptation: How evangelicals, once culturally confident, became an anxious minority seeking political protection from the least traditionally religious president in living memory. It's about Evangelicals but I think it applies to Catholics as well - a lot of Catholics voted for Trump and the US Bishops, Republicans at prayer, turned a blind eye to Trump's badness to insure a Republican win (Cardinal Dolan especially).

- And a couple of songs from 1996 that I liked ...

Change the World by Eric Clapton ...



Don't Speak by Gwen Stefani ...


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Spring flowers

The plum trees are blooming ...

Friday, March 09, 2018

Music from 1995

I'm still checking out music by the year and I'm up to 1995 ...

- I have to post this one - it's a song by Cher but I only know of it because it was featured on an episode of The X-Files in which Mulder and Scully dance :) ...



- And this song by Edwin Collins I only know of because of Lucifer. There's a vibraphone! ...



Thursday, March 08, 2018

Catholic church: International Women's Day

On this, International Women's Day ... Women take to the streets as the world marks International Women’s Day ... there's one place that won't be celebrating = the Catholic church.

The church is one of the last western organizations (and states) that refuses to even consider the idea of treating women as equals with men. Pope Francis has been hailed as a reformer by many, but he has said about women that they will NEVER be priests in the church (nor deacons either). And women religious? Nuns and Sisters are used by the church as scut dogs .... In Vatican Magazine Exposé, Nuns Reveal Their Economic Exploitation

On days like today, more progressive Catholic sites post mournful articles about how sad it is that women can't be priests ... When my daughter whispered to me, “I wish girls could be priests,” I didn’t know what to say ... as if the issue was out of our hands. They hide behind the cover of 'the will of the Holy Spirit' though there have been numerous scholarly opinions, including that of the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1976, that show there's no credible religious reason women can't be priests. Women aren't priests in the Catholic church because of sexism.

And because of apathy. We in the church have no way to influence what the leaders of the church decide on doctrine and practice, besides making a stink or leaving altogether. Most of the Catholics who really do care about the problems of sex abuse or celibacy or women priests or divorce or contraception or LGBT rights have already left the church. Those who remain mostly don't care about these issues as long as they can go to church on the occasional Sunday and get the eucharist.

I think it's shameful. Shameful that the church treats women the way it does and shameful that most Catholics don't care enough to do something about this.

Here's more in the news: Catholic Church 'An Empire of Misogyny' Claims Former Irish President Mary McAleese

The Catholic Church is “an empire of misogyny” and must reform its traditionalist outlook if it wants to stay relevant, former Irish President Mary McAleese has claimed.

McAleese, who led Ireland from 1997 to 2011, was speaking in Rome, Italy, ahead of the Voices of Faith conference, the BBC reported.

The meeting—taking place on International Women’s Day—invites prominent Catholic women from around the world to speak at the conference, and campaigns for greater inclusion of the church’s female members within its leadership .......

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Trump and the porn star, cont.



I'm sure Trump just wants us all to forget about the affair he had with Stormy Daniels while he was married to Melania, but we shouldn't, and more info about the way Daniels has been treated is coming to light. Here's something from the LA Times on the latest ...

After Trump's legal team gets secret gag order against porn actress Stormy Daniels, she pushes back

Trump/Sessions sue California

The Trump/Sessions justice dept. has sued my state ... Why the Trump administration’s ‘sanctuary cities’ lawsuit against California could backfire. My first response to Trump and Sessions is "f**k you" but I'll let my governor, Jerry Brown and the AG, Xavier Becerra, speak to the issue as well, from an interview tonight on the PBS NewsHour ...



Watch a press briefing with Governor Brown and his AG here

Trump and big game hunting

Remember the thing about the Trump administration allowing the importation of animal parts from big game hunting in Africa (Trump's sons are big game hunters) - we thought Trump decided against this because there was such a public outcry against it. Well, Trump's changing his mind. Again ... Trump Administration Reverses Promise To Ban Elephant Hunt Trophies


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Steve Chalke: animals

Thinking of Steve Chalke today. He was one of the first Evangelicals (British) to be accepting of LGBT people, and he also created controversy by questioning to theory of penal substitution I like him :) Here's a bit about him from Wikipedia ...

Stephen John "Steve" Chalke MBE (born 17 November 1955) is a British Baptist minister, the founder of the Oasis Charitable Trust - now one of the UK's largest charities, a former United Nations' Special Adviser on Human Trafficking and a sometimes outspoken Christian leader, popular public speaker, entrepreneur and social activist ...

Today I listened to a video pf him speaking about animals ...


Friday, March 02, 2018

The last few days


- Marie and Goldy

It's been a stressful last few days. I got what I guess is a pretty bad cold (not the flu, I hope) and it finally seems on its way out. Also a big storm here the last couple of days ... Biggest storm of the season moves into California, bringingwarnings of blizzards and mudslides. Roof's leaking a bit despite the tarping :(

The most stressful thing, though, has been the continuing effort to catch and spay/neuter the cats. Of Marie, her five adult babies, and a couple of other strange cays hanging around lately, I've so far only caught Fig. When she so easily went into the trap I had bought (Fig goes to the clinic) I thought it would be just as easy to catch the rest of them. Hah!

We made another appointment at the SPCA, got up at the crack of dawn, and set up the trap, but the cats we needed to catch wouldn't go in and the cats we didn't want to catch all did. We missed the window of opportunity and had to reschedule. The next time I tried, I was able to lock most of the cats already spayed/neutered in the garage while i followed the other cats around the yard with the trap, trying to get them interested. They would have none of it. We missed that appointment too.

I was starting to really worry - cats get pregnant and have babies in two months so that's not a lot of time, and Marie, the mama of the other cats, was looking very bloopy and bulgy. I searched online and found advice for hard to catch cats, and they mentioned using a drop trap. I had actually bought one of these a couple of years ago but it was so heavy and unwieldy that I had never used it, but desperate times, desperate measures.

I did manage to catch Marie with the drop trap the day before the next appointment. My sister helped me get her from the big trap into a smaller container and I kept her inside overnight. She howled all night long. I hadn't realized just how frightening getting caught in the trap and then spending so many hours in the carrier would be for Marie. I hate doing all this stuff :(

My sister picked her up the next morning and took her to the County's spay and neuter clinic (almost identical to the SPCA in price and procedure). She picked her up at 4pm, whence we put her back under the drop trap in the garage to keep her safe from the other cats overnight. The clinic people said Marie was really feral and that we should let her go that night or at the latest in the morning so she wouldn't hurt herself trying to escape. Well, she somehow did manage to escape - this morning I went to let her out and she was gone. Marie Houdini! I hope she is ok! Still 4-6 cats to go.