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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sweeping leaves with Thor

Thor has been sitting on the tree stump, watching me sweep up leaves in the driveway, but then he got bored, I guess :) All the leaves make me think of an old song ...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pro-life violence

Reading about the latest pro-life violence against Planned Parenthood ... Suspect in deadly Planned Parenthood attack said 'no more baby parts,' official says. For more ... Why the history of anti-abortion violence cannot be ignored and Anti-Abortion Terrorism

Violent anti-choice rhetoric must end, or anti-abortion violence never will ...

Words matter. When we dehumanize people – when we call them demons, monsters, and murderers – we make it easier for others to do them harm. Let’s not pretend that we don’t know that. How we talk about abortion matters. We know it, and anti-choice extremists and politicians know it. Anti-abortion activists are not making WANTED posters or revealing doctor’s addresses for fun. They’re doing it to harass and intimidate, and they’re doing it knowing the long history of violent fanatics using their rhetoric to justify crimes against providers and clinics .... Do we really think that there are no consequences to claiming that abortion is murder, or that Planned Parenthood is an organization of money-hungry monsters selling baby parts? ......

Mission accomplished

I've been assembling a little house for the cats. It was actually pretty easy - just needed a screwdriver and some gravel to weigh the bottom down - and I was able to do it all myself :) ...

Thursday, November 26, 2015


- Pope Francis is visiting Kenya, then Uganda, and then the Central African Republic. The African Catholic Church is the fastest growing, but it's also the most conservative. Kaya Oakes at Religion Dispatches addresses this: Will Pope’s African Tour Change Attitudes on Divorce and LGBTQ Among African Catholics?. More: Pope Francis in Africa: Pontiff urged to confront homophobia on visit to Uganda

- The Vatican is charging with crimes two journalists who wrote books based on material that was leaked to them (Journalists to face Vatican judge in 'Vatileaks' case). So what was it all about? One of the books is in English and can be found at, where much of it can be perused with the "look inside" feature, and here's a review of that book: Bugged Priests and Sainthood For Sale

- Finally, :) ...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mission Improbable

Brrrr! It's cold, rainy, and gloomy. My mission, and I've warily chosen to accept it, involves assembling a plastic dog kitty house so some of the cats who won't go in the garage when it rains will be able to find some shelter other than under the big dead tree which looks like it's about to collapse. Unfortunately, all the instructions are in Japanese ;) Oh well, here I go ....

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Man in the High Castle

Amazon's tv series, The Man in the High Castle, has resumed and I'm finding it to be pretty good. Here's the beginning of a recent article about it at The Atlantic ...

The premise of The Man in the High Castle is undeniably fascinating. What if Hitler had won the second world war? What if America had been conquered by the Axis powers, and partitioned into a German-occupied east and Japan-controlled west? Amazon Studios’s newest show, based on Philip K. Dick’s 1962 virtual-history novel of the same name, is just as strange and horrifying as the dystopian classic, vividly realizing the what-if world Dick created.

Developed by Frank Spotnitz (best known for his many years of work on The X-Files), The Man in the High Castle is a fairly loose adaptation of Dick’s novel, taking in the entire scope of the Americas rather than just focusing on Japanese-controlled San Francisco and the “neutral zone” in the Rocky Mountains, as Dick did. Set in the 1960s, this is a world with swastika marquees in Times Square and a discomfiting (though obliquely remarked-upon) amount of racial harmony. It’s a world where a graying Hitler, now in his 70s, helps maintain a fragile peace with Japan that many think will expire upon his death. On a macro-scale, the series is absorbing, but it takes a few episodes to settle into the smaller stories that are unfolding ....

Some of the really awful stuff about living in the show's Nazi world is obvious, like the scenes of the torture of a resistance leader, but others are in some ways even creepier in their offhandedness ....

Also interesting - the music from an alternate 60s in which Japan and Germany have won WWII. This old song from last night's episode was playing in one of the scenes in Japanese occupied San Francisco ...

Here's a trailer for the show ...

Sadly, only 10 episodes in all but I'm looking forward to the rest of them.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hey, Robert Redford emailed me ;)

And sent this ... Demand Climate Action at the Paris Climate Summit ...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Walking in the yard

Hansel's keeping me company ...

The walnut tree still has its leaves ...

Mouse and Hansel by a hollow plane tree ...

An oak tree - you can see one of its oak balls up there ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


- From Notre Dame's Candida Moss: Why Vatican arrests will backfire ... The speed with which whistleblowers were investigated and arrested contrasts with the glacial pace at which Vatican reforms take place and the mild punishments meted out to those accused of economic irresponsibility. The incident seems to suggest a pattern in which the church is more interested in punishing those who breach confidentiality than those who are financially corrupt.

- The Flourishing Black Market in Syrian Passports ... Two men—a dead suicide bomber and a man in a Serbian migrant center—carried the same Syrian passport with the same details.

- At Least 100,000 Women Have Attempted Self-Induced Abortions in Texas ... Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to review HB2’s constitutionality, and its decision could determine the future efficacy of Roe v. Wade. In the short term, if the court upholds the law, at least eight more Texas clinics stand to close, which will make matters much worse for women’s health in the state.

- Dalai Lama: Humans Created Terrorism, So Stop Praying To God For A Solution ... "I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it," the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. "It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place." Other religious leaders, like Pope Francis, have encouraged followers to join him in prayer after Friday's series of shootings and bombings that killed at least 129 people and injured more than 300.

- :) ...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


I get a lot of emails from different groups - action alerts from environmental and animal orgs asking me to write to my elected representatives about bills or to sign petitions. Sometimes they send happy things too, like this story and video ...

This week Animal Place shared the story of one heartbroken little goat named Mr. G who had seemingly given up on life when his rescuers realized the problem was that he was overcome with grief over the loss of his best friend, a burro named Jellybean.

The two had lived together for years but were split up and taken in by two different sanctuaries after being confiscated from a neglectful situation. Mr. G was taken in by Animal Place’s Rescue Ranch in Grass Valley, Calif.

According to Animal Place, Mr. G was inconsolable, refusing to eat and spending his days lying in the corner of his stall with his head down. No treats were enough to entice him to eat or move. After health problems were ruled out, it became obvious to his rescuers that he was mourning the loss of his best friend. They decided a reunion was in order and a volunteer took a 14 hour roundtrip to get Jellybean ....

Monday, November 16, 2015


Singing this song to the cats tonight. I heard a lot of Johnny Mathis songs when I was a kid because my mom was a big fan. I just change one of the words when I sing it to the kitties ;) ...


Look at me
I'm as helpless as a kitten up a tree
And I feel like I'm clinging to a cloud
I can't understand
I get misty, just holding your hand
Walk my way
And a thousand violins begin to play
Or it might be the sound of your hello meow
That music I hear
I get misty the moment you're near
You can say that you're leading me on
But it's just what I want you to do
Don't you notice how hopelessly I'm lost
That's why I'm following you
On my own
Would I wander through this wonderland alone
Never knowing my right foot from my left
My hat from my glove
I'm too misty and too much in love
[repeat after music interlude]
Look at me

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Paris attacks

I've been reading about the terrorist attacks in Paris ... French officials: Manhunt in Europe for at least 1 suspect ‘directly involved’ in Paris attacks and The Confused Person's Guide to the Syrian Civil War and What ISIS Really Wants

Friday, November 13, 2015


- Looking st Google Maps. My street, oak trees of my yard on the R :) ...

- From the Pew Forum: Most Americans believe in heaven … and hell

- From Thomas Reese SJ: Three ways to improve the synod of bishops

- The Republicans ;) ... Why do some people [including Ben Carson] think the pyramids were grain stores? and In Photos: Inside Egypt’s Great Pyramids

- Middle-Aged White Americans Are Dying of Despair

- Circus lion who was kept in a cage for 13 years finally gets out in the grass :) ...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Peggy, rest in peace

Today I learned that my neighbor, Peggy, has died. She had been riding her bike and was hit by a car. I knew her for 20+ years and we had some things in common - we went to the same church and she and I both liked cats. My most recent talk with her had been about Vicky the cat, who we've both been feeding. It's so strange to think of her as not being here anymore. Very sad.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cowboys & Aliens

- cowboy Daniel Craig

This week's movie rental was Cowboys & Aliens ...

a 2011 American-Canadian science fiction Western film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde. The film is based on the 2006 graphic novel of the same name created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. The main plot revolves around an amnesiac outlaw (Craig), a wealthy cattleman (Ford), and a mysterious traveler (Wilde) who must ally to save a group of townspeople abducted by aliens.

As well as Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, there are a couple of other actors I like in the film ... Clancy Brown plays a preacher and doctor, he of Sleepy Hollow and Earth 2 and Highlander fame :) ... and Keith Carradine plays the town sherrif, he of I'm Easy ...

The film was ok, I guess, a kind of a novelty genre mashup. I probably didn't like it as much as the average person would have - there was a little too much of 'guys having fun being manly' for me to really appreciate it ;) but Richard Roeper really liked it and gave it a B+ in his video review ...

And a trailer ...

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Downbelow Station

My latest kindle check-out from the library is Downbelow Station: The Company Wars by C. J. Cherryh. I had read it long ago and always wanted to try it again. Here's a bit about it from Wikipedia ...

Downbelow Station is a science fiction novel written by C. J. Cherryh and published in 1981 by DAW Books. It won the Hugo Award in 1982, was shortlisted for a Locus Award that same year, and was named by Locus magazine as one of the top 50 science fiction novels of all time in 1987.

The book is set in Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe during the Company Wars period, specifically late 2352 and early 2353. The book details events centering on a space station in orbit around Pell's World (also known as "Downbelow") in the Tau Ceti star system. The station serves as the transit point for ships moving between the Earth and Union sectors of the galaxy.

And here's a short article about the book from Tor - “Earth is one world”: C.J. Cherryh’s Downbelow Station

Gretel in the bushes

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Be Fruitful and Multiply - Not

From Interfaith Voices, a podcast - Getting Over 'Be Fruitful and Multiply' - with Candida Moss, NT professor at Notre Dame, and Joel Baden, professor of the Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School. This subject is relevant to some, given that Pope Francis has said that having large families is a "gift from God" and that the church disallows IVF for infertile couples, and of course there's the overpopulation problem the church never wants to address. Here's the blurb for the podcast ...

One in eight American couples struggle with infertility. If they turn to the Bible for guidance—as 20 percent of Americans say they regularly do—they may be disheartened by passages that paint child-bearing as a sign of blessedness and moral goodness. Two scholars of the Bible, who have faced infertility in their own families, offer new interpretations. Can we view Mary as a surrogate mother for Jesus? And what does it mean that all of the Bible's matriarchs had trouble conceiving children?

Visit the link above to hear the podcast.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Reminded of this song tonight by a post from a friend visiting a Franciscan house in Austria ...


Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Thanks you, courageous Irish priests

From National Catholic Reporter: Irish priests' statement calls for free, open discussion of church's exclusion of women. Here's the beginning of it ...

Anger at the "systemic oppression of women within the Catholic church" has prompted a group of 12 Irish priests to issue a statement of protest calling for a free and open discussion of the exclusion of women from decision-making and the priesthood in the church.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Nov. 1, the 12, who include diocesan clergy as well as religious priests, warned that the current "strict prohibition" on discussing the question of women's ordination has failed to silence the majority of the Catholic faithful.

They underlined that it has, however, silenced priests and bishops because the sanctions imposed on those who dare to raise the question are "swift and severe."

The group, which includes some members of the reformist Association of Catholic Priests, said it believes the example given by the church in discriminating against women "encourages and reinforces abuse and violence against women in many cultures and societies."

They highlighted that surveys have shown that a great many people are in favor of full equality for women in the church and all aspects of ministry. They also warned that the current situation is very damaging, and alienates both women and men from the church because they are scandalized by the unwillingness of church leaders to open the debate ....

The recent synod was another example of women being excluded in the church. It's shameful.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Justin Trudeau

I'm reading about the new Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau - a feminist, pro-choice Catholic :)

From The Atlantic - A Canadian Cabinet for 2015 ... Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named the most diverse government in his county’s history on Wednesday, the first to feature an equal number of men and women, saying he wanted to “present to Canada a cabinet that looks like Canada.” ... maybe he could have a word with the Pope about treating women equally ;)

Though he's a liberal, he supports Keystone - worrisome - but I did see this ... Justin Trudeau Supports Keystone XL, But Climate Activists Aren't Worried

Learn more about Trudeau and Canadian politics ...

And here's an interview with Trudeau ...

Monday, November 02, 2015

"There are no strings on me."

This week's movie rental was Avengers: Age of Ultron ...

a 2015 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers .... The film was written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Hayley Atwell, Idris Elba, Stellan Skarsgård, James Spader, and Samuel L. Jackson. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers must work together to defeat Ultron, a mechanical artificial intelligence bent on human extinction.

Richard Roeper gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars in his review. Here's just the beginning of it ...

“The city is flying, we’re fighting robots — and I’ve got a bow and arrow.” – Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye giving a recruitment talk of sorts to Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Any time a giant superhero movie makes time for self-referential humor, not to mention nods to “A Long Day’s Journey Into Night” AND the graffiti artist known as Banksy, count me in.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a sometimes daffy, occasionally baffling, surprisingly touching and even romantic adventure with one kinetic thrill after another. It earns a place of high ranking in the Marvel Universe.

Rarely has a comic book movie struck such a precise balance between legitimate character development, crackling good humor, genuine peril and good old-fashioned big-screen entertainment.

The thing about these all-star Marvel superhero movies is they’re incredibly complicated and often convoluted — but exceedingly simple at the same time.

Somewhere along the way, one is almost certain to get dizzy from all the talk about Loki’s scepter and infinity stones and artificial intelligence and the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the grand scheme of things — but you know it’s all going to come down to a mega-battle in which the forces of good go up against the forces of evil, who always seem intent on blowing up the whole darn planet ....

I liked it, of course, but I've been a fan since reading the comics as a kid. One of the interesting things for me was the difference between this movie's Quicksilver character and the same character in the X-Men movie X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the X-Men, Quicksilver is an American, a probable son of Magneto, lives to an old age, and will show up again in the coming X-Men film X-Men: Apocalypse. Here he is in the most famous scene of the film ...

But in this Avengers film, Quicksilver is Eastern European, and ends up dead (though that may not preclude him from being in future movies ;) ....

Another interesting thing about the movie was that James Spader was the voice of the A.I./robot viillain, Ultron ....

Here's the trailer for the film ...

And finally, a bit of Ultron humor ;) ...


Sent to me by my sister today ...