Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Just Knew This Would Happen...

Today I received one of those "forwarded" e-mails that made my gut twist. It came from a long-ago acquaintance. Someone I knew many years ago. Someone who no longer knows me, or he would not have sent it.

I am not going to dignify the content by quoting it here, but I will simply say that the far right of the Christian Conservatives are starting to move on Senator Obama. They are painting him as the Anti-Christ, the One sent to do the bidding of the Beast, and bring down the New Jerusalem, or whatever.

If I got a message such as that, I am positive the Internet is just lousy with them.

I only hope and pray Senator Obama will be up to the challenge of standing up to this craziness!

I am not sure what response to make, other than to redouble my intention to vote for him on the first day of early voting.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dog Blogging

Most bloggers appear to be cat lovers, except for Heather Armstrong at Dooce.com, who blogs about her dogs. Heather's dogs are a lot like mine, except mine don't eat poop (at least not to my knowledge). They do, however, eat vomit if we don't stop them. Personally I find that just as disgusting.

In any case, I am posting this photo of one of our dogs. I think he's way too tense and needs to relax more. Don't you?

God, I wish I could be that laid back!!

Why I hate politics...

I did not watch the debate on TV. I read the transcript on CNN's website today. I'm glad I didn't waste my time watching it. Neither of the candidates said anything worth while. I think televised polictical debates are a total and utter waste of time. I am glad I have already made up my mind because the debate would have only made it harder to decide.

Here's the transcript.


I also did not see Gov. Palin's interview with Katie Couric. First of all I find it just too painful to watch Katie Couric in the seat of Walter Cronkite and, even, Dan Rather. I just can't do it. Secondly, well, Gov. Palin's not looking exactly like media star material.

I finally did watch a few seconds of the interview on Dooce.com, as in here.

This is why I do not watch the television news. The Comments are (as usual) the best part.

World View and Politics

This is sort of a follow-up to my post from last night. Satchel Pooch pointed out this article by Diana Butler Bass regarding Gov. Palin's world view.

Personally I think that a candidate's world view is every bit as important as the candidate's specific policy proposals. Maybe it is more important in view of the fact that the specific proposals are often forgotten as soon as the votes are counted but the world view is still there, controling how the elected official makes decisions.

I said yesterday our world view (which I think is determined by our spirituality) is (and should be) the motivating factor in our political decisions. If that is true, then the candidates' world view should be a very significant factor in our voting decisions because it is the thing that will inform the decisions made by the people we elect.

What do I look for?
More than anything else, I look for a candidate who is absolutely, positively committed to separation of Church and State and to protection of religious freedom for everyone (not just Christians). I am more adamant about that than ever after tolerating eight years of evangelical encroachment on our religious and civil rights.

Denominational affiliation is not necessarily a good indicator of exactly what a person's world view is. We have to look a lot deeper than mere religious affiliation. I grew up Catholic and I know from up-close experience that Catholics are all over the place when it comes to "world view." Some of them are downright spooky. On the other side, I have always been attracted to both the theology and the politics of the liberation theologians (within certain limits). There are good (and bad) Catholics at every point along the spectrum. The same can be said of most mainline Protestant denominations, Judaism, Islam and about every other major world religion. A candidate's religious affiliation may or may not disqualify him/her for my vote. What matters is what the candidate does with his/her own spirituality. Is it the ground and source of their desire to serve God's People? Or, does it provide boundaries that allow the candidate to separate, divide and classify people?

Sen. McCain is often described as a maverick. I've never been really convinced of that. I think he is just very typical of his generation; his real religion is the American Civil Religion that he learned growing up in a military family. Frankly, that is the main thing I always liked about him and why for a long time I really wanted him to be our president. In this campaign, he seems to be singing a different hymn, and that has troubled me. In this religious bio from the Pew Institute, he appears to take from a church what he needs without getting overly involved or worrying too much about the details. That could be a sign of "independent" thinking. It could also be a case of hedging his bets. I am troubled a bit by the idea of a person attending a church for 15 years without joining. Perhaps that is my old church-lady's prejudice against pew-sitters rearing its head. Nevertheless, I find it odd. Nothing in McCain's religious background raises too many red flags, however. The fact that he was raised in a deeply religious home with a father who prayed regularly but who never talked about his faith tells me that McCain understands that religious beliefs are personal, private and that other people are entitled to have their own. If he can work with people on that basis (which his entire political career has evidenced he can), then he passes the smell test.

Sen. Obama talks more openly about his faith, and is very clear about how it informs his decision making. Here's the Pew religious bio on him. He came to Christianity from a non-religious background, so he understands there are people of good will both in the Church and outside of it. While he personally appears to be deeply committed to his faith, he is clear that he respects others' rights to believe as they choose -- and that respect even extends to the looney-tunes beliefs of his friend and former pastor. I happen to like that. I have some friends who believe wacky things, too, but that does not disqualify them for my love. Obama clearly understands the critical need to separate church and state and to distinguish between personal religious convictions and protecting the religious freedoms of people who believe differently. He not only passes, he earns extra points from me for that.

Sen. Biden (here's the article) scores high in this area as well. He's my kind of Catholic! He goes to church and appears to be personally sustained and motivated by his faith. He makes up his own mind, even at the risk of getting him in trouble with the Church, i.e. he is pro-choice despite the Church's opposition to abortion or any other kind of birth control. Best of all, he is very reluctant to discuss his faith in public. He has demonstrated his willingness to protect religious diversity. That's all that matters to me.

And then there's Gov. Palin. Here's the Pew article. It is troubling to contemplate that she is so deeply rooted in Pentecostalism, the American version of which is so weirdly dysfunctional. That is the point of the original article that set me off on this diatribe (
this one). What worries me more is that she apparently hops from church to church without deeply immersing herself in any of them (why?). The most troubling of all is her self-identification as a "Bible-believing Christian." That's a buzz phrase that makes me break out in a cold sweat all over. I just can't get past that.

I want my elected officials to be personally acquainted with a God of love and mercy. I want them to understand the dangers of governments interfering in religious matters. More importantly, I want them to understand the greater dangers of churches interfering in government.

It would be a nice bonus if the officials had at least passing familiarity with Scripture if for no other reason than because it is so fundamentally a part of our culture and our literature.
They (I) can be deeply inspired, informed, and fascinated by the Bible. But I don't want my elected officials actually believing in it! Yikes!

(Here endeth the Ranting.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ruminations on the Upcoming Election

This is a very interesting post by Andrew Cohen, a writer whose work I only recently encountered. I don't know much about him, but I want to know more -- at least based on this post.

On the one hand, I think my own disenchantment with Christianity came out of the same "Stop The Madness" impetus as this article. I'm not interested in a religion that focuses only on pie-in-the-sky-after-you-die. I want and need the kind of religion that will help me in the here and now as I attempt to navigate the tricky passages of growing up, growing older, and letting go of people and things I love.

My personal disillusionment with Christianity in the post-post-Modern world began niggling around the edges of my soul more than a decade ago, but it overflowed after 9/11/2001. I realized the churches (full though they were for a few weeks or months after the attacks) had absolutely nothing to offer us in the wake of that tragedy.

I continued to participate in a church for a while in the hope that I would rediscover the joy or that the Church would get "fired up" in the post 9/11 world and start to focus on the issues facing us in this Post-Modern, Post-Christian world. It never happened.

When the churches encourage us to focus on the unknown future and ignore the reality of the here-and-now, we are in trouble.

When church leaders seek to use their "authority" to control and manipulate the people in the pews for political ends, the Church falls into sin, and leads the People astray.

Religion should not be about the afterlife or some transcendent, mysterious unknown and unknowable god up there in the sky, in a galaxy far, far away. Real Religion, true religion, valid and useful religion, Religion that Matters a damn, should be about how (and why) to get out of bed in the morning and how (and why) to bother about "doing what needs to be done" (as they do in Lake Woebegone). That's the kind of religion I want and need.

It strikes me that is the kind of religion/spirituality Cohen is talking about.

Voting in this presidential election is not just a civic duty or a privilege. It is a sacred obligation.

I am not optimistic that Senator Obama will be able to change very much.

I am absolutely positive that Senator McCain will not change anything.

Senator Obama's grassroots experience making a real difference in organizing neighborhoods in Chicago, strikes me as the best possible experience for the job of President. We will say nothing of administrative experience as a shill for interests of Big Oil in Alaska.

In any case, I like the idea that spirituality is not about fairy tales (despite my passion for fairy tales) or pie in the sky. Spirituality is about caring for Creation.

What we buy at the grocery store, what we drive, the size and location of our homes, and who we vote for are all a reflection of what we believe about how we should care for Creation.

This is our World. According to Genesis, it was given to humans to care for. We in America have a chance (maybe) to vote in the near future. However we vote, it should be an outgrowth of our spiritual vision.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Beautiful World - Day 11

It is fall in Central Florida. Today the weather changed (at least for the moment). The air was fresh and cool early in the morning. In the afternoon the temperature hovered only around 80-degrees, with a nice breeze. It was almost perfect, if you ignore the intermittent showers, due to the tropical system, I guess.

Whatever was going on, it was such a pleasure to get outside after work and take a walk under a blue sky with a fresh breeze in my face.

It won't be too long before it will be too dark to take a walk after work. I cherish every day that I can be outside in the sunshine and fresh air.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Beautiful World - Day 10

This is the "other side" of my last post.

My business trip was a totally miserable experience. I do not wish to go into the details. I hated it. However, I have learned that even the worst experiences can often contain moments of transcendent beauty. This trip was no exception.

I was staying in a hotel in a business complex in St. Petersburg, Florida. I did not even get a glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico, which is why people visit St. Pete. My hotel faced the other direction. From my room, I could see Tampa, Tampa Bay and the causeway from Tampa to St. Pete. The sunrises were amazing.

The complex has a boardwalk/walking path around and over a man-made pond. The whole area is a bird and wildlife sanctuary. I spent an hour or so a day walking around and around and around the path. I saw birds of varieties I don't see on the Atlantic coast, including a purple bird that was incredibly beautiful. Typically birds in my neighborhood or on the Daytona beaches fly away when you walk by them. That place was different. The birds owned that boardwalk. Let me tell you, sea-birds have some wicked-looking beaks. They also have very long necks. As I walked around the boardwalk, they roosted on the railings and looked at me ominously, as though I was some kind of unwelcome interloper. Having seen The Birds a time or two in my life, I'm not totally thrilled about making close-up eye contact with a wild bird with a very long neck and a four-inch beak.

In addition to the birds, I saw several varieties of turtles and one alligator.

The grasses made me sneeze. The bird-poop on the walkway was gross.

But, the cool thing for me was that, in the middle of a business and residential area there was a little island of "real Florida": birds of every imaginable type; 'gators; turtles; and, various other indigenous critters. It was lovely.

As much as I loathed and despised the experiences I had in the meetings I attended, I appreciated and cherished the opportunity to commune with nature close up and personal. Even if it was artificially created, and even if it freaked me out a lot.

Courtesy on the Highways (or NOT)

My recent business trip involved travelling to St. Petersburg. My options were driving or Southern Trailways, so I drove. I do not like to drive, but the timing was such that I should not have had much traffic in either direction. That was true, but "light traffic" is a relative term. On the way to St. Pete, traffic was relatively light (as light as it ever gets in Central Florida) and there were no delays, so I made great time.

Even without any actual mishaps, I was a nervous wreck, by the time I reached my hotel because of the idiots on the road!

I think they must put drugs in the water in Orlando. Those people over there are absolute menaces on the highways. At one point, I was in the middle lane (of three). An Orlando police cruiser passed me on the left. A guy in front of me suddenly decided to change lanes with no signal or effort to determine whether or not there was room -- and he very nearly ran the cop into the wall! It looked just like Kyle Busch and Robbie Gordon (or anybody) pretty much any Sunday afternoon. What was amazing to me was that the cop did not pull the guy over! He just drove away. Maybe he had to go back to the police station and go to the bathroom. I know it scared the shit out of me because I was right behind them and would not have been able to avoid getting involved if they had collided.

It appears that in Orlando the traffic rules are different from other places in America. Those people drive like Italians: they decide where they're going and everybody else just needs to deal with it.

I am never going to look in my rear view mirror again when driving through Orlando! Every time I glanced in my mirror there was some bastard in a SUV or a big old redneck truck right on my ass. Scared the hell out of me every time I peeked back there, so I quit.

I didn't worry about the trip home on Sunday morning. I expected traffic to be light. The church traffic would be on the surface streets. Truck traffic should be light (WRONG!). I hoped to make it home without any undue trauma. Just outside of Tampa I came across a multi-car accident that had apparently just happened. I did not stop partly because there were a bunch of people helping who appeared to know what they were doing, and because there was some Cruella DeVille look-alike in a Mercedes about a half inch from my rear bumper, talking on the phone. I was too scared to even begin to slow down. Once we passed the accident and she realized any cop the area was likely to be busy for a while, she whipped around me and roared down the left lane like the Roadrunner.

My hopes about getting through Orlando without any undue freaking out were dashed when I passed the Disney ramp. What the hell all those people were doing getting ON the highway at 11:00 AM, I have no freaking idea, but a lot of people were leaving Disney early today. Traffic never came to a stop (which it typically does at that point when the Parks are busy), but it got heavy and hairy for a while.

Just past downtown Orlando, in pretty steady traffic, I saw something I have never seen before outside of the movies: street racers. A white Honda Civic and a red car that was probably some kind of sport scar I should recognize were racing, weaving in and out of traffic and cutting people off in every lane. It looked like a scene from The Fast and the Furious. A few miles down the road, I was gratified to see the red car on the side of the road with the hood up. It appeared to have a mechanical problem. I was pleasantly surprised. I had rather feared that if I saw either of those two cars again, they would be strewn in pieces down the center median, hopefully not intermixed with bits and pieces of the drivers.

My car arrived home in one piece, but I was kind of a wreck.

Oh, and by the way, my 'weekend' consisted of Sunday afternoon only. I will try to refrain from writing much this week as a mercy to the reading public.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Taking a Break

I will be away for a week, preparing for and then traveling on business. I hope to be back in the swing of things at some point next week.

On Catastrophes and Priorities

It was weird today to read the stories in the paper about the horrific experiences the people had yesterday on the Texas coast, and to look out the window here at the totally perfect weather. I commented about that yesterday. It was even more striking today after seeing some of the early photos and video from East Texas. I have a very strong feeling that once we start seeing more photos and video from Galveston, we are going to be appalled. I've heard people who experienced Andrew and Hugo talk about those storms. From the snippets in the paper today, I'm pretty sure this one was another Big Bad One that will spawn a lot of horror stories as well.

DH commented today that living so close to the ocean may not be such a good idea. We don't live on the beach, but we live a whole hell of a lot closer to the ocean than Houston! I am not sure what DH has in mind. We're not in a position to move any time soon. While living in Florida ranges from the merely frustrating to the truly maddening, and as elections draw near, it often devolves into the totally bizarre. I could do without the drama, the corruption and the rampant stupidity in the Sunshine State. But, I read the papers. I'm not sure anyplace else is any better. Besides, when there are no hurricanes bearing down on us, I really like living near the ocean.

Instead of moving, I have developed a personal survival plan, which is sort of a hierarchical plan, depending on the intensity of the storm. (It also applies to wildfires or other potential catastrophes.)

If its a tropical storm or a Cat 1 'cane, I will stay here. For those kinds of situations my hurricane preparations involve
buying peanut butter, pretzels and red wine (i.e. things that don't require refrigeration and can be consumed without cooking) and stopping by the library to load up on books. Large print books are good because if the power goes out, I can read them on the back porch in relatively low light. Sometimes we put up plywood. Sometimes we don't. When we do, it's usually at the very last minute. No point going to that hassle needlessly.

If a Big One is headed our way, we're outta here. I have simplified my life to the point that the "things" I can't do with out will fit in a small bag. The truth of the matter is if I had to leave my house with my husband, my kid, the dogs and the clothes on my back, I absolutely could do it. If the Big One comes here, we will leave and we won't be back till the power comes back on! You will not catch me sitting out a monster storm under a mattress in the bathroom, nor will you likely find me crying in my front yard the morning after wondering how the hell we are going to eat that day.

DH and I have often joked about taking advantage of the aftermath of a really bad storm to get in on one of those last minute deals on a cruise. There would likely be a lot of cancellations. We could book a nice room, and enjoy a few days of entertainment and great food before coming back to pick up the pieces. Our insurance company might even pay for part of it, since they'd be paying to put us up in a hotel anyway. [I can dream, can't I?] The mess will still be here when we come back. I don't know if we'd actually do that or not, but I love to think that we would.

Interestingly, I think that way of "planning" sort of applies to my life at a lot of levels. I have simple tastes. I have few needs. I don't really want anything I don't already have. To be honest, most of the stuff I already have, I could do without. In fact, I find a most of the stuff I already own to be downright burdensome.

I'm not a real people person, so I don't have a wide circle of friends. I have a few stalwart soul-sisters, some of whom I hardly ever talk to (but, when I do, we pick up where we left off the last time). We are scattered around the country, so it sort of doesn't matter where I am, or where they are for that matter.

Seen from the outside, I am quite possibly the most boring, miserable excuse for a human being imaginable. From my perspective, I think of my life as an endless adventure.

I know that as long as my family is safe and we are together, I don't care very much about anything else. With that Survival Plan in place, I'm okay living near the ocean..... at least as long as hurricanes continue to move slowly enough for us to get out of the way.

Bare Nekked In Public

I am not sure exactly how it happened, but today I broke a blood vessel on the ventral side of my left ring finger. I noticed it was sore when I was mopping the bathroom. I didn't think anything of it.

Later in the pool, I noticed that my finger was swollen and had become very sore. I could twist my wedding ring around but I couldn't slide it forwards and backwards like usual. When I came in from the pool, I soaked my hand in ice water for a few minutes and managed to get the ring off after a couple of tries.

The only other time I took my wedding ring off was when I was pregnant and, well, everything sort of got too tight. During those months I wore a ring that had been in my mother's family for generations. After DD was born, I put my own wedding ring back on and I haven't taken it off in 19 years.

This afternoon I had to go to the grocery store to pick up a few items. I was fully clothed and otherwise presentable, but I felt as though I was walking around Target stark naked without my wedding ring.

It was a weird feeling.

I hope the swelling goes down before Monday. I don't think I could go to work in the nude like this.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gov. Palin, Fashionista -- ???

Satchel passed along this item about women flocking to copy Gov. Palin's fashion style.

I expected McCain to nominate a woman. The theory was that the femi-nazi Clinton supporters would switch to the Republicans for the opportunity to vote for a woman. How many ways does that theory make me want to go off on somebody??? Do they think women are really that shallow, that we would vote for a woman solely because she is a woman, regardless of what she believes?

I have spent my entire life trying to downplay the role of sexism in my world. The last few months have proven me wrong, in, oh, so many ways!

It boggles my mind to try to think of one serious Clinton supporter who would be persuaded to vote for McCain because of Gov. Palin. I could always see Clinton supporters who don't like Obama supporting McCain, and lighting candles for his health. I could easily have been one of them because I happen to like John McCain (or I did in previous years before he lost his mind).

I can fully understand people on the far Christian right who will support McCain because of Palin's evangelical beliefs and right -wing politics. They boggle my mind but I understand they make up a bigger part of the population than I expected.

The idea that true blue "Clinton Women" would vote for Palin is laughable.

The idea that women are looking at Gov. Palin as a fashion icon is.... well, excuse me while I go take some Pepto Bismol.


My Beautiful World - Day 9

While all hell was breaking loose on the Texas Coast this morning, we had the kind of day in East Central Florida that Florida's Chambers of Commerce live for. It was breezy and hot, but not totally miserable. Above me was that impossible blue sky, with just enough little white, wispy clouds for contrast but no threat of rain. The ocean was calm and "Bahamas" clear. The tides have returned almost to normal, so the beach was wide, flat and hard. For some strange reason there were very few people at the beach. It is fun when the beach is crowded; there is lots to see and enjoy. However, I'm a bit of a recluse, so the less crowded the beach is the better I like it.

The only downside was that my camera battery died, so I did not get any pictures.

As I walked in the sunshine basking in the glory of a perfect late summer day in Florida, I was aware in the back of my mind that the day was unimaginably different for the people in Texas and western Louisiana.

My heart goes out to them.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Beautiful World - Day 8

The absolutely glorious day we had today was a reminder for me of the absolute truth of the old saw about there being two sides to every story. It is my understanding that our absolutely glorious weather today was a direct result of the power of Hurricane Ike. The strong low pressure in the storm sucked in high pressure around it. While the Turks and Caicos Islands were taking a beating, approximately 600 miles away, Central Florida was enjoying one of the most beautiful days we have had in a long time.

The ocean was very different from the norm, however. Three hours before high tide, the water was almost up to the cars.

If there is any doubt about the power of a "mere" Tropical Storm, take a look at the crookedness of the dune-guard posts Fay and Hanna left behind. They usually stand straight, and they are about 8' or so tall. These were pushed over to the side, and only maybe three or four feet of the posts stuck out from the sand.

Never mind what happened last week or what may happen in the future. Today was a day for cherishing the Gift of a perfect day.

My goal in this exercise is to notice and to be grateful for the beauty around me. Sometimes that is difficult for me because I can get so caught up in my own "issues" it is easy to overlook some incredible things.

Fortunately, even my powers of denial were not able to ignore the glorious day we had today. I am duly grateful ... not to mention awed and amazed.

Dear Corporate America: Read This

Here is an interesting article from TechDirt. As usual some of the comments are as interesting as the article.

Wow! This is the first time I've run across this site. It's going on my "Daily Coffee" list today.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My Beautiful World - Day 7

It has been a while since I have experienced a totally beautiful day, in part thanks to Mother Nature and in part thanks to my shitty attitude about life in general lately.

Today even I couldn't help but be dazzled by the beauty of the sky.

The weather is usually totally glorious after a storm or when there is a hurricane far off in the ocean. This weekend finds us in the immediate wake of one storm with another on several hundreds of miles to the south. It was almost too beautiful to imagine, despite being amazingly HOT.

People on the beach were cheerful and friendly. I can't remember the last time so many people spoke to me, smiling and cheerful. I don't know if that's because there were more cheerful people on the beach or because I was more receptive to their smiles and friendliness. Well, the truth is I sorta do know, but I'd rather not go there now...., so let's just move on to the pictures:

Ponce Inlet Jetty Park

The flag was flying full out until I started to take a picture, then the wind died down and would not cooperate until after I put the camera back in my pocket. (Mother Nature can be such a PITA.)

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse / Jetty Park

Best of all, I got this way cool picture of the shadow of a seagull. I'm usually thrilled if I can get a photo of a bird in flight that isn't so blurry as to be unrecognizable. Capturing a bird in flight and its shadow. Well, I almost had to sit down and take a breath, I was so excited. The color was "off" in the original, so I switched it to B&W. That was my creative "thing" for the weekend.
That'll do, I think.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another stunner of a day along our stretch of the coast.

Just so we keep our perspective, I think it is important to note that it probably won't be so fabulous in Cuba ... or the Keys. During hurricane season I think one of the more important things we can learn is how important it is to remember that we can't have the rose without the thorns .... and vice versa.

It's the latter I sometimes lose sight of. Which may be why I like to take pictures. I need a lot of reminders.

This is cool

I have see these things before, but I never knew they had a name. This article shows the principal presidential convention speeches in "Wordles". It probably means absolutely nothing, but it's totally cool.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


As a person who was all but driven from the Church by the Lord Christ for my own good -- primarily because I was always too caught up in my own need to be "reverent" and "respectful" in church -- to the detriment of my ability to be kind to others, this article from Gordon Atkinson hit me right where I sin.

I'd love to think that if I were to go back to church now I could have this kind of perspective on things and appreciation for the contributions of church-mice, oddballs and poopy toddlers. The truth is, I'm about 90% sure I would immediately revert to being a prune-faced old ChurchLady who would get all freaked out at the thought of mice in the church, much less poop anywhere near the Holy Communion.

That is why I am where I am... and RLP is where he is. Thank God!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day - Beach Bust

This morning we headed to the beach right after high tide for a walk. That turned out to be a bust. The surf was still almost up to the seawall. What was at the time still Tropical Storm Hanna was southeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands, hundreds of miles away, but she was already pushing an extra high tide and angry-looking surf. I guess it isn't half as bad as it will get as the week progresses.

Sorry about the horribly edited video, but it was the first time I tried to use the Windows Movie Maker software. I'm not exactly Steven Spielberg. Take my word for it, this is better than the upside-down and sideways pictures I started out with!

If I can, I'll try to take some more pictures this week as Hanna comes closer.

No guarantees, because I may, however, be otherwise occupied as she approaches.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the folks on the Gulf Coast tonight. The winds weren't as bad as they could have been, but I fear for the flooding that could follow the storm.

Letters to God and other B.S.

Didja read Michael Moore's letter to God, which was written in response to the Focus on the Family suggestion that good Christians should pray for rain on Obama's speech? This is not Michael Moore at his very best, but it is an understandable reaction to such a suggestion which was outrageous, even if you consider the wackos who were its original source. Their defense that it was "joke" is ludicrous. Has anyone ever seen any evidence that those people have any sense of humor at all?

Anyway, God didn't answer James Dobson's prayers to bring rain to the DNC, and Senator Obama had a brief moment of glory.

God also did not answer Moore's plea for Gustav to die out at sea and the Gulf Coast is getting pounded even as I write this.

While it is kind of fun to fantasize for a minute that God has just totally had it with W and all his ilk and decided to lob a few hurricanes just to let everybody know how pissed off God is, timing them perfectly to disrupt the GOP convention this week. It would be fun to stand up and say, "Thank, Dear Lord, for preventing at least one Republican love fest in honor of Dub, Dub-ish and, now, Dub-ette."

It was fun for a minute to do that.

It was also pure fantasy and as ridiculous, wrong and sinful as Dobson's original suggestion/joke/stupid remark ...

It would be all that because.....


God does not work in that manner. God does not bring suffering on God's people (no matter how pissed off God might be at us -- and there are PLENTY reasons for the Deity to be pissed off these days). Nor, unfortunately, does God reach down and stop the course of natural events, even if they do bring suffering on God's people. God does not turn hurricanes at us no matter how sinful we are and God does not turn hurricanes aside no matter how many poor, innocent people may be in their path.

We need to get this straight: God is not responsible for our suffering nor is God likely to do anything that violates the laws of nature to alleviate it.

God will only be present to suffer with us.

Deal with it.

The Hits Keep on Coming

Hanna is now officially a hurricane. She's presently on a course to take her along the coast of Florida toward landfall in Georgia or the Carolinas. That might sound consoling, until I think of the damage done by Ophelia in 2005 as she passed by. She never made landfall, but she pounded our beaches.

You won't hear this on the Weather Channel very often (although one of the reporters did say it today): a hurricane does not have to make landfall anywhere nearby to do a hell of a lot of damage.

Hurricanes and tropical storms that slide up the coast without actually making landfall can do a ton of damage. Don't believe me? Check out the flooding Fay brought to Brevard County, Florida. Those folks are still under water. A close encounter with Hanna will not help them.

It appears we shall be dealing with Hanna by the end of this week, probably before Gustav has completely petered out over Arkansas or Texas.

Word from the weather blogs is that T. D. 9 should become T. S. Ike before tomorrow morning. Fun. Fun. Fun.