Friday, June 30

1969 A.D.

"Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." --- from a plaque marking the spot on the moon where the historic event took place.

Sorry, but no one (or alien) is going to know what "A.D." means when they read this in the distant future. In fact, they will most likely not know English, what a 'foot' is nor be able to guess the meaning of 'peace.' Especially if they're from the far side of the moon.

Note one man's disenchantment: "Astronauts . . . submit to the severest bodily ordeals in order to satisfy the ritual demands for space travel to distant parts of the solar system. To a certain degree, vicarious participation in these rites by the earthbound inhabitants of the planet, made possible through film, television and radio, restores the waning sense of high adventure; and the ever present possiblity of death in a cosmic stting augments, as in motor racing, the daily dose of untrammeled gladiatorial violence faithfully provided by the mass media." Lewis Mumford in The Pentagon of Power: The Myth of the Machine, 1970.

The antiquated shuttle program has reached its final frontier and paid dearly for it. America doesn't need any more dead heroes at the moment.

Monday, June 26

Iron Majesty

These old and burly locomotives roamed the countryside and rumbled through cities in the 19th century. Their black smoke and piercing whistle invaded nature's peaceful home and helped supply an ever-changing landscape with everything from lumber to livestock. They transported travelers and troops. They built an expanding America.

Their massive size, ear-splitting horns and smell of burned fuel have enlisted the love of many a young boy. Commanding fear and respect, these vintage rail roadsters still roar across our fading memories --- if we're old enough to remember them. Most of us aren't. So we visit the museums where some of them have found their last resting place. Or we find them here and there, reminding us of the limits of early technology, like this one northeast of Hollister at Casa de Fruta.

It is now a work of art, a masterpiece in the book called The Way Things Used To Be, But Will Never Be Again.

Thursday, June 15

Making Memories

Life's special ramblings include indelible memories of childhood. These kids will remember our neighbor, Wendy, leading them around the cul-de-sac on her new bicycle. It was a perfect afternoon to play.

For a lot of us, the old bike memories linger. It was one of our first tastes of freedom --- riding around the neighborhood and beyond, enjoying the rush of wind in our face, racing with your buddies. But there was a price to pay --- being chased by mean dogs, getting a flat tire miles from home, crashing in front of your friends.

We have a thing about freedom and wind in our face. "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall rise up with wings as eagles." Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, June 11

Too Busy

This past week's study for teaching a class today kept me from piddling on the Internet much, but I have some 'free' time and will drop you a note.

I'm sick of thinking about politics right now, so that's out. It's good to see what God is doing in the world or presidents, monarchs and dictators, but He doesn't need my comments.

The next door neighbor is tearing out most of his backyard grass and tree roots to make way for a concrete replacement, costing him $4000. I figured, at $3.50 per square foot that they're charging him, it would cost me about $21,000 to do mine. I won't be doing it anytime soon, that's for sure.

Our friend, Tom, has been diagnosed with a type of leukemia that's eating away his spine and bones in general. He's being treated right now. He and his wife, Linda, need your prayers for strength, wisdom and courage as they face this. Thanks. His daughter created a website for them that you can visit at:

Barbara is frying hamburger and talking to Aunt Judie on the phone. No comment necessary.

The weather has been BEAUTIFUL!

Life goes on. Thanks for listening.

Oh, that's Sleeping Jack in the picture.

Tuesday, June 6

The Return Trip

Yosemite's shock value was greatest when our young hearts scanned the craggy edges above the valley for the first time. At least the first time you really SAW them. There is seeing and there is being awestruck.

We haven't visited the old place in quite awhile. Time to renew the friendship and suck in some fresh air with the nostalgia and wonder at this God-given gift called beauty.

Saturday, June 3

Garage Snailing

A most perfect morning found us prepared and willing to tackle the hoards of shoppers in our cul-de-sac. People complained that our advertised 'block sale' only amounted to two houses. I don't blame them. The third and fourth houses had their sellers working today. Bad timing, but all the more for us, I guess. Liz'z clothes were the big seller, as usual. No big items like next door.

People were VERY friendly and talkative. They liked the deals and weren't complaining. A pastor appreciated the deal I made him: Two new boxes of #10 envelopes for $2.00. And the woman who got the 4 free collectible Coca-Cola Christmas bottles from '95, '96. She said she collected them, so I pulled out another 8 or so and sold them to her for $3.00.

We are just SO glad to get rid of this stuff. A long bow. A swimming pool with pump and extras. Car seat. Stroller. Free stuff. They really liked the free stuff. A lot of buyers are low income Latinos and fixed income people. Nobody touched the 'antiques and collectible' items. I've been trying to sell these things at garage sales for about 20 years with no success. So if I ever get an eBay account, they'll find a home that way.

Unfortunately, our fallen nature is bent on filling our homes with STUFF that has a short shelf-life. It would be much better to rent than buy, then just take it back when you don't use it any more. But you can't, so there's Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores to ease our consciences and reduce the clutter.