Airstream creativity

Art streamThis is the interior of an Airstream trailer; more specifically, a 30-foot 1967 Airstream Sovereign land yacht which a very creative group of artists had transformed into a ceramics gallery. They call it Art-stream. No need to sit around and wait for buyers to walk into your studio when you can take several studios on the road. See more Art-Stream here. This is not a Scamp, but wow, what a very beautiful presentation. Oh, and the art is pretty nice too!

[tags]airstream trailer,ceramics,art,creativity[/tags]

Brilliant

chestnut

We have had a beautiful Fall with plenty of sunny days swimming in yellows, golds, and the reds of dogwood. Never mind that we have enough leaves on the ground now to smother the house. The leaves make good mulch which I can always use somewhere, mixed with lawn clippings, to protect the vines and roses which need a blanket through the colder months. Just getting them in place is a huge task, however. Covering things up and putting the garden to bed is comforting in that I know before I realize it, I will be staring at the buds (and weeds) of Spring. There is a certain vulnerability to Fall which is inherent to the season. Winter is coming. The ancient voices deep in our collective past are calling to us — make haste – get ready, cover up, find shelter.

Get a move on and store the silly hoses which are totally buried in drying leaves. All that aside, I do consider Autumn to be one of those pointing-out-the obvious seasons. Everything around us changes – dramatically. You cannot not notice it, from the abundant variety of colors, the dimming light, frosty mornings, to the cold wind which scatters all these crazy colors in your face the minute you go outside. I guess the operative phrase here is “going outside”. I hope you all have the opportunity to do so and enjoy the brilliance of it all, before we are all forced to go…. inside.

More thoughts on idolatry

Here is an essay authored by Toby over at Tanalore who has been working on a set of electronic history text books (he works for a software company) from the genre of which I discussed last week in this post. Check out his thoughts while working on the project.

The interesting thing about Toby’s perspective is that he views this work assignment through a window of faith and not liking at all what he sees. His is a strong witness: “It’s an ignorance of history and Christianity born out of abject fear, and its logical conclusion is hopelessness. The recent trend towards erecting monuments to the Ten Commandments is part of the same fear.”

For many, many years evangelical Christianity and the politics associated with it, has been on the offensive while feigning a defensive position. They have been taking a mock stance of being under assault, by advancing an aura of fear, and it works well for them. One of their big obsessions is in the public school where they claim real prayer is not allowed, or those houses of government where they have been pushed off the courthouse lawn – forbidden to erect a sign of the Ten Commandments. And I will add, they have a method of turning every important conversation into a tirade over the gay agenda.

A culture of victimization has been carefully erected, but paradoxically, they have enough power to wage a war consuming unfathomable resources in lives and money impacting generations to come. This Christian nation has also written a sanction to torture via Presidential signing statements. Incidentally, Bush has used signing statements more than Clinton and more than any other administration ever in US history. The only point where I would disagree with Toby in his post is that most Americans recognize this hypocrisy. I’m not sure they do. This government has been supported by “the Values party” for a very long time – either in the Congress or in the White House. When will others of faith, especially the younger Christians such as Toby, stand up and be heard?

Sunday night heart throb

nine weeks

I’ve heard from a reliable source that this little girl’s parents already have 11 MBs of pictures in just nine weeks. Okay Ian, who is the math expert in our family, how many pictures per day is that? My niece and her husband surely have very serious (and sore) shutter fingers. And I can see why. This next picture totally counts as smile of the week; possibly of the month unless she comes up with something more astounding soon.

Allison 9wks

Hunter’s Moon

Hunter’s moon

Tonight will be the Full Moon so get out and view it those of you with clear skies. The Moon will reach its full phase within a few hours of perigee, the closest point in its elliptical orbit.  Read about it and the elliptical orbit here.  In other words it looks really big.

I had to show you Matthew’s photo which was given Editor’s Pick today at WeatherUnderground.   I was sitting at the table and suddenly exclaimed: “Oh, oh!”  I could see a tiny, shining silver sliver glinting off the Garden Wall and I didn’t tumble onto what it was right away.  The next instant there was the moon.  That sent Matthew scrambling for his tripod.

Forest Service Blues

I posted an article some days ago about a pending regulation within the Forest Service to ban off-road vehicles on the Continental Divide Trail. Here is a news brief concerning access to information the Forest Service has compiled regarding forest and wild lands damage due to use by ATV’s and other such vehicles. It seems the former Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth, before his departure from the agency, cited off-road vehicles as one of the major threats to forest lands today.

“A conservation group won its two-year battle to get information without charge on the damage caused by off-road vehicles and unmaintained roads on national forests around the West. The U.S. Forest Service had refused to waive fees for providing the information, so Wildlands CPR sued under the Freedom of Information Act. The Forest Service relented in a consent decree filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Missoula.”

It is pretty strange that the legal battle went this far over whether or not to charge an access fee for studied information which is public information, after all. That seems like a no-brainer. However, multi-use of public lands is a very contentious topic and the agency probably doesn’t need any extra hassle right now. Like legal battles are not expensive and time-consuming. Don’t you just adore bureaucracy? Right now it’s a bureau under assault.

The Forest Service has way too much on its plate and is in serious financial difficulty after the last few summers of fire. It has been suggested that construction and development in or near the forest interface is most probably the greatest threat to wild lands. Five former Forest Service Chiefs testified before Congress recently that if we don’t figure this out most of the FS budget will eventually be eaten up by fighting fire in this interface region. Last year it cost around 45% of their budget to fight fires and most of it was fought in an urban-forest zone to protect homes and other structures built there in the last few years. I have not yet seen a percentage taken from this last summer’s fire season.

Dan Black, who is the Northern Region assistant director said: “Twenty years ago, the wildland-urban interface challenges were generally found in California,” Black said. “Anymore it’s right here in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. It’s very unusual any more to have a wildfire without having some roofs on the skyline that will be in harm’s way if someone doesn’t stop the fire sooner.” Witness now the million people displaced this week in California because of fires.

Yet fire is a natural presence in the wild lands. How are we going to figure this one out? If someone wisely or unwisely builds a mini-mansion (or just a small cabin) next to or in the woods are we, the taxpayers, responsible for protecting that structure?

A Quaker’s take on the 10 Commandments

10rulesWe have seen a sharp increase in the number of large signs bearing the Ten Commandments outside Bible churches the last few months. Or even more visible, church organizations purchasing billboard space to display the ten commandments along the roadways. We’ve counted many which have gone up recently. Has anyone else noticed this trend in your state? Some guy who moved here from Las Vegas a couple years ago has started this campaign. This is one of several “projects” I know of to evangelize western Montana. We are a spiritual backwater, you know. (Or maybe these projects are a clever guise for funding so the heads get to move to Montana. I am sort of kidding. Sort of.) Ah, but I digress.

Online you can buy commandment ‘fridge magnets and bumper stickers of various designs. Mostly the designs are overlaid on a flag image. The tablet merchandise available is astounding – just Google it. Or, visit here but make sure your audio is turned down on the thunder. They claim it as America’s moral foundation. (I wonder if it is made in China?) I wouldn’t want to argue with the churches’ right to put up billboards per se except I am not sure they really have read and digested the ten commandments. Sort of like most of us don’t digest all the dietary laws that go along with them. Now, it feels as though these signs are being used as weapons, or more like idols, in some moral battle which overrides the voice of other Christians. What is the point of this campaign if one chooses to ignore one basic commandment in “Thou shalt not kill” and continue to support a war which has caused thousands upon thousands of Iraqis to die violently and several thousand US servicemen and women to lose their lives? 4.5 million Iraqis have been left homeless. And, the President has just requested yet another 46 billion dollars to finance the wars where recently he vetoed a bill to help US children with health insurance. Where is their moral outrage at these statistics?

I know a certain flavor of outrage is there somewhere. I have heard it on talk shows in passing as I search the car radio. They don’t seem to mind turning events to suit their own agenda. For instance since I home school I know there are certain Home School curricula being distributed which basically rewrite history so that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are depicted as evangelical Christians instead of the deists they were. We wouldn’t want our kids to grow up with the idea that the old Founding Father George had the habit of leaving church services before Communion was celebrated, and that he might have had a different take on the concept of God. Jefferson was more outspoken about his deist beliefs, wrote much on the subject – especially in matters of separation of church and state, and was even labeled an infidel during the presidential campaign of 1800. Of course there is the well-known Jefferson bible. I don’t know how these folks responsible for their version of American history can ignore such things, but there lie dragons. I suppose they reason if you control the past you control the present.

The fundamentalist mind can rewrite history without qualms and their theology easily alters the translations from the Old Testament. You shall not kill translates into the commandment “you should not murder“.  The latter makes more sense to the bible-centered if you want to wage war on someone, especially if you believe that the war is just. Indeed there are many Christians who feel very uneasy about this war and question whether or not it is just. Friends (Quakers) do not believe there is a difference. We feel there is no just war because it is all involves the taking of life. There is that of God in each person. Indeed, all of life and creation could be viewed as sacred. Even the lives of our enemies are valued in God’s sight. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” I detest billboards but what a sign that would make in this fifth year of war.

[tags]ten commandments,Thomas Jefferson,quakers,peace testimony,thou shalt not kill[/tags]