May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving from President Obama

I just got an email from the president of the USA. Here's a copy:

Joel --

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, Americans across the country will sit down together, count our blessings, and give thanks for our families and our loved ones.

American families reflect the diversity of this great nation. No two are exactly alike, but there is a common thread they each share.

Our families are bound together through times of joy and times of grief. They shape us, support us, instill the values that guide us as individuals, and make possible all that we achieve.

So tomorrow, I'll be giving thanks for my family -- for all the wisdom, support, and love they have brought into my life.

But tomorrow is also a day to remember those who cannot sit down to break bread with those they love.

The soldier overseas holding down a lonely post and missing his kids. The sailor who left her home to serve a higher calling. The folks who must spend tomorrow apart from their families to work a second job, so they can keep food on the table or send a child to school.

We are grateful beyond words for the service and hard work of so many Americans who make our country great through their sacrifice. And this year, we know that far too many face a daily struggle that puts the comfort and security we all deserve painfully out of reach.

So when we gather tomorrow, let us also use the occasion to renew our commitment to building a more peaceful and prosperous future that every American family can enjoy.

It seems like a lifetime ago that a crowd met on a frigid February morning in Springfield, Illinois to set out on an improbable course to change our nation.

In the years since, Michelle and I have been blessed with the support and friendship of the millions of Americans who have come together to form this ongoing movement for change.

You have been there through victories and setbacks. You have given of yourselves beyond measure. You have enabled all that we have accomplished -- and you have had the courage to dream yet bigger dreams for what we can still achieve.

So in this season of thanks giving, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to you, and my anticipation of the brighter future we are creating together.

With warmest wishes for a happy holiday season from my family to yours,

President Barack Obama

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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Sunday, November 22, 2009


Book list 4 (post library)

I don't work at the library any more, but I have a few notecards with book titles on them that my sweetie wants me to throw out so I'm going to digitize them.

  1. God's Beauty Parlour, by Stephen Moore
  2. Eat, Drink and Be Merry, for Tomorrow we Live, by Michael Taylor
  3. Brave New World Order, by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer
  4. Conscience vs. Law, by Jeremiah Newman (special note: p.19 is interesting)
  5. Faith and Choice in the Works of Joss Whedon, by K. Dale Koontz
  6. Lesbian Nuns, by Rosemary Curb
  7. Jesus' Strategy for Social Transformation, by Emerito P. Nacpil
  8. Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others, by Sara Ahmed
  9. The Artifice of Love: Grotesque Bodies and Song of Songs, by Fiona C. Black
  10. Charts of Cults, Sects and Religious Movements, by H. Wayne House
  11. An Army with Banners: The Real Face of Orangeism, by William Brown
  12. Moral Problems, by James Rachels
  13. A Manual for Writers, by Kate L. Turabian

pax hominibus,
agape to all,


Friday, November 20, 2009


TBLG Rights, and Transgender Remembrance Day

.Must... remember... to pound... through.... thick.... skull...

Nov. 20 every year is the annual
Transgender Day of Remembrance

(I suppose I could also get it into my PDA calendar, if I ever get one again that doesn't get crushed, lost, or stolen.)

And also, here's an interesting image (at right) showing different LGBT rights in different parts of the world at present. The link just above is to the current state of affairs. The picture below is a snapshot (seems to be fair use, and covered under Creative Commons licensing--owners are listed at the link above) of what it looks like on this day, Nov. 20, 2009. We'll see how it changes over the years. It's interesting to note that Iowa is the only dark blue in the middle of the country, amid a sea of other colors.

lyrics: "There's more to love than boy meets girl."
From There's More to Love than Boy Meets Girl, by the Communards

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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Thursday, November 19, 2009


My question on Digg to FCC Chairman

Dear FCC Chairman Genachowski,

With the advent of digital broadcast television, and its capacity to greatly increase the number of channels, why are the airwaves still being leased to so few entities, mostly with commercial interests in mind? It seems that the FCC has been allowing for greater corporate media consolidation and the switch to DTV would be an opportunity to change course. Why has this not been done?

We could use those extra channels to allow for a much more diversity in terms of who gets to voice their opinions publicly via mass media, which would allow for greater democracy. The cynic in me wonders if that last statement doesn't actually answer my questions. Please tell me that is not the case, and how you intend to open the airwaves to the public.

Thank you,

[edit] well, i got 6 diggs only. either others aren't interested in it, or it was a case of bad timing. the results of their Q and A session will be posted on Digg on Dec 2.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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A new look at the Solar System

Including this link as a personal bookmark because, "Wow, come to think of it, I haven't really gotten to look closely at the solar system planets since junior high. Not really..."

lyrics: "Power of the Holy Ghost. Woof, woof, woof!"
From Burning Beard, by Clutch.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Amazing Mediterranean Salsa Recipe

This is more of a Mediterranean salsa/spread than I'd put on burritos, but I can imagine it being good on most anything savory.

6 oz. marinated artichoke hearts
2 roasted red peppers
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c. capers
4 garlic cloves
1/2 c. minced parsley
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1/3 c. olive oil

1. Chop peppers
2. Mince garlic
3. Add capers, artichokes, parsley and peppers
4. Blend to a coarse puree
5. Add lemon juice, Parmesan, and olive oil

For best results, serve with toasted pita bread.

YUM! Special thanks to Liz for this!

pax hominibus,
agape to all,



Rough Draft for a Future Sermon: Unreckonable Gratitude

Thank you!

For reasons that I am not even fully aware of, and from the bottom of my heart, I am compelled to repeat, "Thank you!"

To each of you here sitting in this space, most of whom I have yet to fully meet and get to know, to an indefinite number of people who have come before and left traces of beauty in this life for me to enjoy, and to all of the plants and animals, this Earth, the Sun, Moon and stars, and to all of the energy and matter in the universe that has come together to make this moment and every other moment, I just want to say, "Thank you!"

My list of blessings in this life has been long. The gift of life from our parents is something each of us were granted through no doing of our own, as far as we know or could attempt to prove. We just arrived here into life. I don't even know who all to be grateful to for this life. My parents were most directly responsible, but for all I know I might want to thank my father's employers for giving him a raise, or my older sisters for both being girls, or perhaps the quality control person at the condom factory for being lax in their duties because it was a Friday.

It's not just the simple gift of life to be grateful for, but to be born into this time and this place. To have the privileges of a family with enough money, that values education; to be born into this world by chance male and white and "straight" in a time and place where those attributes often carry benefits.

And I'm grateful not just for the gift of life, but the gifts that have sustained life. To be born on a planet with the right molecular mix in the air, soil and water--where plants grow easily from seeds, with water and a little care, and to be born into a time with domesticated livestock and to be raised to find them tasty.

I'm grateful to those who have created social systems and technologies that have helped to boost up the quality of life for me, even when those social systems and technologies have caused harm to our environment and to the quality of life of others. And I am grateful to the environment and to those people who have been oppressed for suffering through the damage caused by the inherent evils (or evil byproducts) of those same social systems and technologies.

So many blessings have come to me, and to many of us here, and I think it's of utmost importance that we acknowledge those blessings in all their fullness, even if that stings sometimes. Because by being in life, whatever lot we've received, we are each blessed in fundamental ways just to be alive and aware in the universe--as the universe experiencing itself!

That acknowledgment is critical. The gratitude that we can put forth is critical, because it changes our state of being. The existence of gratitude changes our attitude.

In Boy Scouts, in order to use a knife or saw or axe--anything with a blade, it was important to have your "Totin' Chip" card, which meant you'd passed basic safety training. One of the critical piece of knowledge I recall learning was how to safely pass a sharp item from one person to another. When the person receiving the bladed tool had safely gotten a grip on the item, they said "Thank you," as a sign to the giver that the transaction had taken place.

The person who does not say "thank you" in this case is dangerous, because the acknowledgement of an exchange is rather unclear. In a similar way, when we fail to acknowledge the benefits we have (or the detriments we avoid), our danger becomes one of ingratitude, of entitlement. Without changing our attitude to one of gratitude, we may continue to expect that more benefits should be heaped upon us.

Incidentally, how many over the course of the last decade have noticed the patriotic phrase "God Bless America" in speeches or on bumper stickers? Has America not already been richly blessed in so many ways? "Astoundingly so!" a reflective person might say. And yet the prevailing attitude of our country has been one of expectations of greater wealth and economic growth, with little acknowledgment of the blessings thus far received.

As a nation--and equally as important, as individuals--our change to a state of gratitude has the potential to work miracles. When we realize what we have been given, our modus operandi changes. The recognition of our wealth turns us away from habits of acquiring and consuming, and away from resistive re-gifting, and toward generosity. The fundamental gift of life calls us to give and to pass it on. Not simply by giving life to new human babies, but by spreading greater life, energy, and love to all the people and beings with which we come into contact.

By acknowledging the privileges obtained by virtue of having a certain gender, race, class, sexual orientation, ability, or nationality, we become aware of clear paths for re-gifting gifts that never ought to have been bestowed unjustly in the first place. Our privileges can be powerful tools for creating equality. Whenever greater equality is achieved and recognized, the gratitude becomes a chain and the world becomes richer.

We each are given the gift of one life, and we each have whatever time, ability, and energy left to do what we will in the world. Some people have become great leaders and turned their lives into amazing works of justice--people like Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, MLK, Cesar Chavez, and Dorothy Day. But for every one of those well-known saints, there are thousands of people playing supporting roles in those movements. And for every preeminent social movement, there are thousands of unrecognized or anonymous movements that support the lives of smaller communities, families and individuals. may be blessed with the skills and opportunities to be a great leader. Or you may be blessed with money, energy or time to re-gift toward important projects. Or you may be blessed with a mind, a heart, a voice, hands, and a body, each of which you can create new gifts.

Whatever gifts you have been given, receive them and acknowledge them.

And then let your life be a Thank You!

lyrics: "If the Sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you."
from Thank You, by Led Zeppelin

colors: Green and gold. (A lush grass-green, and real gold, not Green Bay Packer green-and-gold.)

mood: grateful

chant/prayer/mantra: thanks.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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Monday, November 9, 2009


Economics of Trust

I didn't quite get a chance to read this yet, but I intend to. Seems like a promising model of how post-gold-standard economics works.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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Saturday, November 7, 2009


A couple busted plastic fork heads

A few months back, I found these two fork heads at separate times in our neighborhood.

Do you prefer the one on the left (Nosferatu), or the one on the right (Just enough metal for one hand)?

pic #1: doctored for appropriate lightness and contrast

pic #2: background made red, to look extra evil, but also a makes the forks look green, for a christmasy effect

pic #3: the original, as taken by my cameraphone

lyrics: "Too much metal for one hand?"

chant/prayer/mantra: Take time out to appreciate the simple things.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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