Tuesday, April 24, 2007

End this War

I got a bumper sticker from Move On in the mail yesterday. It says "ENDLESS WAR" except the LESS is crossed out and replaced by "THIS" so that it reads END This WAR. I'm not usually one to put bumper stickers on my vehicles because I feel that it contributes to the 15 second sound bite mentality. Anything worth saying is worth saying well and we should forget about the sound bite thing, but I liked this one, so it went on the bumper of my pickup. So, on one side of the rear bumper of my pickup reads "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" and the other side reads " End this War". I'll probably get it ripped off by some young conservative, at least that's what happened to my John Kerry sticker. It's becoming more and more obvious that the war in Iraq is just going to get worse and I'm sure that there is no military solution. I'm just as sure that if we just pull out we will further destabilize the area. I suspect that Iran would take a big chunk out of Iraq and that the Kurds will declare their independence. I think GW should have listened to his daddy and left Saddam alone, because we now have a helluva mess in the Middle East with no good solution in sight.

It amazes me that we hear the same stuff now that we used to hear about Vietnam. The only good thing about this time is that we don't have a draft so that we aren't screwing up the lives of a whole generation of young people. One of the really bad things this time is the use of National Guard troops. This is one of the first times that I can remember where 50 year old guys are being deployed and killed. The National Guard troops leave their families in a real bind, since a Sgt's active duty pay isn't enough to pay for home mortgages, car payments, college tuition and the myriad other things that an established family has. For those folks who rant about supporting the troops, maybe they should get the government to pay their troops better. I can see a lot of bankruptcies as an unintended side effect of invading Iraq.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Making Sawdust

Lately I have been working on a graduation gift for my Granddaughter. She graduates from Northampton Mass. High School in June. Jean and I are looking forward to flying out for the ceremony. In my 34 years of teaching I never missed a graduation, I think that this milestone is an important one for the grads and I think it's important to show your support. Well, anyway I have been building this piece of furniture for her and I have been trying to figure out how to get it from Vale, Oregon to Northampton, Massachusetts. I have this fear that the shipping costs may be more than the value of the piece. It is a puzzler. But, I'm having so much fun building it. I spend hours working the design over in my mind and deciding how to do the next step it's unbelievable. I haven't made any stupid mistakes in the construction except for a few wayward nailgun nails that can be fixed. I love the smell of the Oak and Cedar when I step into the shop, and I sometimes go out just to look at the piece and smell the sawdust. It makes working out on the exercise machine in the shop a lot easier too. I hope she likes it. I'm going to inscribe our names on the bottom when I'm done. Maybe it will show up on Antiques Roadshow 2107 as an example of early 21st century folk art.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

George W. Bush

I have been having a good time following Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" comic strip over the past few weeks. Unlike the Idaho Statesman, which carries it on the editorial page with "Mallard Filmore", The Oregonian carries it on the comics page. He has been raking first, Mitt Romney, and lately, GW over the coals. My wife asked me if Romney has flip-flopped on all the issues that Trudeau has shown and if indeed, some town hall meetings in Vermont had really voted to impeach W. I told her that I wasn't sure about Romney but that I thought I had heard about the Vermont impeachment votes on NPR. If only half of the flips that Mitt is accused of are true, he is a really good choice for President which seem to require the office holder to be the biggest boldest liar in America. The Republicans filed impeachment charges on Clinton for lying about his affair with Monica, but I haven't heard much about getting GW on the block for lying about all the Iraq crap. That's the trouble with the Dems, they lack the killer instinct, if it had been Bill lying about going to war you can be that the Reps would be out for blood with Rush Limbaugh leading the pack. Poor ol' John Kerry was naive enough to believe that the Swift Boat thing woulld just die a natural death because it was patently a lie, but he didn't know the Republican mantra, "a good lie well told and stuck to is better than the truth any day". I just hope that the Dems don't blow it and let Mitt into the White House because what I've heard about him is even scarier than GW and that's going some.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


It's two days after Easter and I am still reveling in the great time we had. Good Friday was Good Friday, but then we had a joint celebration of the Easter Vigil at St. Paul's, Nyssa with parts read by folks from St. Matthew's, Ontario and Holy Trinity, Vale. I got to give the Homily and it was well received by those in attendance, (about 30) Nice to see for us tiny congregations hanging on by the skin of our teeth. We had 15 in attendance at Holy Trinity on Easter morning, a good turnout for us.

After church we went to Char's place for a non-traditional dinner. Libby and Martin came from Boise and prepared a Dutch Oven meatloaf that was to die for. The cooking was done outside using briquettes placed under and upon the Dutch Oven. Took about an hour and it was ready, about a 5 pound meatloaf. Of course, we had all the trimmings too, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower au gratin, deviled eggs, a fresh fruit salad, and two kinds of pie. I ate too much, but it all tasted so good. It was fun for us who have no close relatives nearby to get together and enjoy each other's company.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Big Brother Is Watching You

I was reading in the paper this evening that the governor and legislature are working on our state driver's licenses so that they will be in compliance with the National ID set up by the Dept. of Homeland Security. The National ID plan is supposed to keep out the ubiquitous terrorist that is threatening our lives. Gee, isn't that great?! One more infringement on our civil rights by the "less government" Republicans. What's next? Infringements on our civil rights mostly affecting minority groups. Before you know it we will be required to have our ID cards with us at all times and only those with special cards will be allowed to travel out of our area. Maybe a special card to be able to vote, you know, haven't checked any Muslim books out of the library. It is getting pretty spooky out there and no one seems to care. Come on Congress, repeal the so called Patriot Act, because if you don't, 50 years from now we'll be paying reparations to all those who were wronged through the stupid thing.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Palm Sunday

Today was Palm Sunday and the entire congregation went to St. Paul's, Nyssa for a joint service with Bishop Gregg. Bill has resigned as Bishop of Eastern Oregon and leaves April 30 to be an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of North Carolina. We wish him Godspeed. Today was Bill's farewell to Southeastern Oregon and folks from Canyon City, Parma, ID and Ontario were there as well as us. It was a nice service and it was great seeing many of the St. Paul's people who are old friends from the Seven Rivers Cluster Days. It's amazing to think that we began our bold experiment in Mutual Ministry with 7 congregations from two dioceses clustering together to uphold one another in Mutual Ministry twenty years ago. It was a grand experiment ending finally with a turf battle with a Bishop and priestly indiscretion. Both St. Paul's and Holy Trinity continue to work in ministry for all the baptized and fondly remember those halcyon days when each day was a new beginning and a new awakening. We had a lot of people excited about doing ministry. Perhaps it's not possible to keep such excitement alive for 20 years, but we gave it a heckofa shot. Today was like old home week seeing the remnant (at least the Eastern Oregon side) get together. Many are gone, and they are missed. I remember one Easter Vigil at Holy Trinity with 70 people in the church, probably the only time that HT has seen so many worshippers. Well, it doesn't do any good to pine for lost times, we must move forward, we have other souls to win and other hearts to mend.