Saturday, February 28, 2015

San Diego with clouds is a jewel, a bracelet...  I saw a glimmer of a rainbow beginning to form while I waited over on Harbor Drive for the phone call that would tell me our friends had disembarked and with luggage in hand were waiting for me to come to Terminal Two… that called to mind a picture of a rainbow flag I got a couple of days ago in Hillcrest, so I include it here to remind me that ours is an inclusive city.

San Diego… Our Fair City
I like it.
Poppies grow well here, so bees like it.
Our friends from Houston like it.
And, Ah… with clouds…

Friday, February 27, 2015

From the Delightfully Ridiculous to the Sublime...
Beginning with the Sublime.
This evening we heard the San Diego Symphony play Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major
and Schubert's Symphony in C Major, D: the Great C Major.

Earlier at Pancho Villa, my favorite Mexican market, I took pictures of Mariachi Band folk sculptures

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Homeless man on the front steps of St. John the Evangelist Church in Hillcrest at noon today. 
I was on my way to my volunteer job at the Museum of Photograph Arts when I got the picture.

A few days ago I came across radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's explanation for why we have so many poor people and homeless people in America.  Basically, he says it’s their own fault and the government’s fault because “the government” encourages them to stay in poverty because they believe they will be rescued by “the welfare state.”  Limbaugh’s net worth: $400 million.  Limbaugh’s annual salary: $70 million. 

Whether they like it or not, Limbaugh believes he is speaking for all conservatives... for all Republicans.
 “We recognize that we are all individuals. We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. We conservatives think all three are under assault.  We don’t want to tell anybody how to live.  That’s up to you.  If you want to make the best of yourself, feel free.  If you want to ruin your life, we’ll try to stop it—but it’s a waste.  We look over the country as it is today, we see so much waste, human potential that’s been destroyed by 50 years of a welfare state.  By a failed war on poverty.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Anza-Borrego Desert
Where have all the flowers gone?

...found them back at Tom's House.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I’ve been thinking that I must be more careful when I head into a rant (or even when I’m just sitting quietly thinking) to acknowledge that I am not a learned Biblical scholar and to make clear that I am simply reacting to disturbing doctrines and practices common to Christian churches and other organizations that insist they are “Christian.”  I must remind myself that although I am not a Biblical scholar it seems reasonable to acknowledge that the word Christian suggests something about the Jewish peasant Jesus of Nazareth who lived two-thousand years ago that is dramatically inconsistent with most of his day-to-day life and teachings as they are described in Christian Scriptures. Christ from the Greek Χριστός, meaning the anointed one, a messianic prince, was folded into the accounts of his life a couple of generations after the man Jesus died.  Jesus Christ became the expected name of the historical Jesus of Nazareth in biographies written by authors of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Bible scholars generally agree the Gospel of John is significantly different from the other three Gospels, and while many theologians and historians today believe he was the only writer of one of the four gospels who might have actually witnessed events he described, most modern scholars believe the apostle John was not the author of any of the books of the New Testament referred to as “Johannine” literature. Mark and Luke almost certainly did not witness any of the events of Jesus’ life, and there are compelling reasons to believe that the Gospel of Matthew wasn’t written by the apostle Matthew. For one thing, it was common practice for biographers of the period to attach the name of some well-known person as author of a work they hoped would be taken seriously.

If we set aside the mythic stories like those about virgin birth with angels in attendance, a voice booming from heaven at his baptism, transfiguration, resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven, almost everything else in his life story suggests he was distinctly not royal.  He spent his short life going around among poor, oppressed people doing whatever he could to help them. He was clearly a situationist. He always did what the situation required… not because of law but out of love and compassion for the people encountered.  He was more like a servant to people than a kingly overlord.  We must consider the possibility that after his horrible death, some of the men (notably no women) who wrote about his life stuck into their narratives little magical stories that somehow don’t fit with the things he said were important. It’s difficult to imagine the historical man Jesus relating comfortably to the images of him as a light skinned, fair haired European nobleman with royal crown pictured in Renaissance paintings and sculpture… or to him seated in a heavenly throne room at the right hand of God through all of eternity the way he is presented in stained glass windows, laudatory sermons and songs, and Sunday school pamphlets distributed all over the world. 

Why am I thinking heretical thoughts about what two thousand years of Christian tradition established as Holy Writ, Sacred Scripture, the Word of God?  It’s my reaction to the very real danger of jihad in any culture when religious zealots and radical politicians justify their madness by claiming allegiance to religion based on some historical person as ISIS is doing now, as the Salem with witch trials demonstrated in the late 1600s in Protestant Colonial Massachusetts, and as the Crusades, the military campaigns sanctioned by the Latin Roman Catholic Church did during the High Middle Ages and the Late Middle Ages.

Monday, February 23, 2015

In the middle of this afternoon
I got that old
I must go down to the sea again
feeling... I went
there it was...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

President Obama has talked about the deadly dogma infiltrating some Muslim communities and decried the acts of terrorism carried out in the name of what he calls a “distorted” version of Islam.

The President has said, “We are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

Many Americans, especially conservative American Christians, don’t like the President’s defense of the great majority of the world’s Muslims who, he says, are committed to moral and ethical structures very much like those valued in Judaism and Christianity.  An outcry, including the heard-around-the-world silly remark by a former New York City mayor, is a chorus sung loudly by some politicians and ordinary citizens who self-identify as Christians and insist the President is somehow approving terrorist tactics that put the Christian world at risk.  What a crock…

Today's Photographs:  Sitting in church this morning, in the middle of the third pew from the back of the east transept, I was transfixed by a bee crawling across the jacket of the man sitting in front of me.  The bee seemed healthy, so there was the possibility that it might sting the guy if it got to his neck and he reached to swat it. I confess that I was worried more about the bee than about the guy.  In my consideration of living creatures, bees rank right up there with hummingbirds... and everybody knows how I feel about those little birds. I coaxed the bee onto a piece of paper, and handed the paper to my friend Liz who was sitting closest to the exit.  She took the bee on the paper outside and set it free.  For a couple of minutes I felt my existence was justified. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Yesterday I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with my second cousin Michael Mengis.  He reminded me of my grandfather, Michael's and my children's great grandfather whom they never knew... Ezra Inlow was a farmer and a blacksmith in Pine Ridge, Arkansas.  It was the way Michael put words together more than the way he looks. 

We say we love the earth and try to prove we do
by taking pictures of hummingbirds and whooping cranes
and writing poems about vanishing rain forests.
I doubt we know the land the way my grandfather did.
I remember how he tilled the river bottom
walking freshly turned furrows
behind his team of mules and plow.
He knew how much they were the same,
he, the mules and the land.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Hey!  Hey! Finally the  word has come down from that distinguished American patriot and self-proclaimed expert on the subject of love (and marriages,  three of them), Rudolpho Giuliani, informing us citizens what we need to know about our President Barack Obama.  "Obama doesn't love America..."  Now before  you jump to a conclusion about what Giuliani means by "love", consider the possibilities. We can assume the Italian former mayor of  New York City loves ..... putinesca (as in spaghetti alla putinesca) and mashed potatoes, and he probably loves his dog, he has said he loves Judith Nathan Giuliani, not sure about love for his children (second marriage) from whom he has been estranged since Giuliani divorced their mother... and there was that flap about which of his partners should live in Gracie Mansion...  and I'm guessing he would have said he loved his parents... and on and on and on.  Giuliani is obviously suffering from a bad case of unrequited love.  He wanted to be President, and wearing his heart on his sleeve, he threw his hat in the ring; but alas even his own party didn't want him to be their candidate.

So here's what I think.  I'm guessing Giuliani has been talking to that other great American patriot, Donald Trump, who thinks President Obama is an illegal alien.  Everybody knows what an expert on the subject of love (and just about everything else) The Donald says he is; so I'll bet Giuliani learned from Trump that the President doesn't love America.

Hey... I've got an idea.  Maybe their party should pair... wait...wait... I'm not suggesting  anything unseemly... Giuliani and The Donald for President and Vice Preident.  No, no... wait, another idea just came to me.  Maybe they could start a new party that suits them.  Giuliani was a Democrat once upon a time, and then he became an Independent, and then he began to love the Republican Party... I think it was about the time he decided he and Ronald Reagan had a lot in common.  But back to that idea about Giuliani and Trump running on the same ticket.  They've  got what it takes to be serious candidates.  Both of them are rich.   The Giuliani name clearly suggests "Christian" not "Muslim."  Trump is a handy word to know if you're a gambler.  ...and both of them know a thing or two about being faithful (or not) in love and can say definitively that they do indeed love America, at least for now.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

I had expected this might be the day when the hummingbird chicks would leave the nest... and it happened.  When I went out to pick up the morning paper at seven o'clock, both birds were sitting on the nest.  Only one was left when I checked a couple of hours later.  The second one stayed through the day and was still there at four o'clock this afternoon.  At five-thirty o'clock the nest was empty.  Of course,  tonight I am very happy that the little guys are so obviously healthy and were ready to set off into the big world on their own, but I admit to feeling somewhat bereft.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Today President Obama asked Americans to be clear about who is responsible for the outrages committed by Isis and al-Qaeda.  Those organizations do not represent Islam or the million Muslims in the world.  The Koran says whoever kills an innocent person it as though he has killed all mankind,  and whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind (Qur’an, 5:32)  The President emphasized the importance of not granting these terrorists religious legitimacy. “The leaders of Isis and al-Qaeda are not religious leaders… They are terrorists,” the President said.

A few hundred people became new citizens of the United States today in Golden Hall at San Diego Concourse.  I joined several other volunteers there to help the new Americans register to vote.  What a pleasure it was to recognize the great sense of relief and joy the new citizens expressed as they came out of the meeting where they swore their allegiance to the United States of America.  In this country there is no religious obligation whatsoever.

When I got home this afternoon I slipped quietly into a hidden position near the hummingbird nest to watch.  The little guys weren’t disturbed, so with my longest lens on the camera I got another picture. A couple of hours later they were sitting on the edge of the nest... practicing, I guess, for the moment when they will launch into flight for the first time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

You know how it is… You find something you did a long time ago, what seems like a lifetime ago, and you try to fill in the details around what you find so you can remember exactly why you made whatever it is you’ve come across in this new time, this new place.  That happened to me a couple of weeks ago when I was thumbing through a notebook of scribblings from that earlier time.  It was 1985 and I was in New York City… Manhattan… Midtown… I had left the University Club and was on my way to catch a train, which I climbed aboard a little later; and on the two-hour ride I wrote a poem about what I had seen and what I had heard.  A dozen times I’ve reread the lines written in long-hand script that I recognize as mine, and I remember the afternoon and wonder if the words I wrote are letting me see and hear again what actually happened, or have the thirty intervening years of experience between then and now and the impulse to create something as I passed the time on the train that Thursday afternoon changed the experience into something else.  Now...reading what I wrote then, I can see and smell New York on a late spring mid-afternoon… a pretzel vender… holding a knife… another man afraid to slip beyond the implied boundary the man with a knife had established… people gathered around… one policeman on foot joined by six others getting out of two squad cars.  

I’ll never know what really happened before I got to that street corner or what happened to any of the people after I left it… but I find myself wishing I knew.

unless it get use for hotdogs or pretzels
the knife mighty real all right
catchin the sun  
an finally catching attention of a foot cop
the crowd an all attractin attention
so he run like hell
talkin all the time into his walkie talkie
by the time he get there the siren sound
an the crowd take one step back
but only one step
nobody leave the scene
not wantin to miss it if somebody get cut
the guy with the knife circling now
like in the movies holding his left han up
knife held steady in the right han
and he say who you gonna kill bastard
and the cop he get there an break the circle
stand back hisself near the crowd
tryin to stay cool
breath coming quick
wonderin I think if he want to draw his gun
but he just place his han on it
and raise the other han up
and the pretzel guy
from India maybe
wide moustache on a brown face
ain’t black
standin there with the knife and raised han
and the guy with killin on his mind having second thoughts
backin up but there ain’t no opening in the crowd
the squad car squeal to a stop
an two other cops jump out drawing guns
and now the first cop jerk his gun out
and they stand there trying to figure out who all to aim at
so they turn to the guy with the knife
and he say whoa I’m innocent here
I’m just keepin this guy in line til you come
and the guy who was yelling about killin turn his palms up
and shrug his shoulders and raise his eye brows
like to say what the hell
this guy just go crazy an draw the knife
the cops put the handcuffs on the pretzel guy
after he drop the knife and see the situation
an start tryin to explain
but there ain’t nobody else threatenin
so the cops take him away
his pretzel cart just standin there smokin.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Today's Post: from finding the eggs in the nest to today.  So you'll know I'm being careful not to disturb the babies or their mother, for the last picture in the series and my photo du jour, I set up the Nikon D7000 camera with 200 mm lens on a tripod about fifteen feet from the nest. 
I found eggs in the nest on January 12.

January 20: The mother was sitting on the eggs. They hadn't hatched.

January 31:  The chicks had hatched and were hungry.

February 8: Feathers are growing fast and the chicks have filled the nest.

February 9:  A noticeable difference in just 24 hours.

Today, February 16:  They are outgrowing the nest.  I'm being careful not to get too close.  If I try to get pictures again before they fly, I'll set up the tripod so far back from the nest that they definitely won't be disturbed.