Sunday, February 27, 2011

Candles in the Rain by Melanie Safka






Candles in the Rain is singer Melanie's third album, released in 1970. The album produced Melanie's first Top Ten single in North America, "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)", which was inspired by the crowd's reaction to her performance at Woodstock.Rips my heart out thinking here we are in hopeless wars again.

For the best version copy and paste this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_61K0m95oI

Daily Readings for Sunday February 27, 2011


Reading 1, Is 49:14-15

14 Zion was saying, 'Yahweh has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me.'

15 Can a woman forget her baby at the breast, feel no pity for the child she has borne? Even if these were to forget, I shall not forget you.




Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 62:2-3, 6-7, 8-
9


2 he alone is my rock, my safety, my stronghold so that I stand unshaken.

3 How much longer will you set on a victim, all together, intent on murder, like a rampart already leaning over, a wall already damaged?

6 He alone is my rock, my safety, my stronghold, so that I stand unwavering.

7 In God is my safety and my glory, the rock of my strength. In God is my refuge;

8 trust in him, you people, at all times. Pour out your hearts to him, God is a refuge for us.Pause

9 Ordinary people are a mere puff of wind, important people a delusion; set both on the scales together, and they are lighter than a puff of wind.


Gospel, Mt 6:24-34


24 'No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.

25 'That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and what you are to wear. Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing!

26 Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are?

27 Can any of you, however much you worry, add one single cubit to your span of life?

28 And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin;

29 yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these.

30 Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field which are there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you who have so little faith?

31 So do not worry; do not say, "What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?"

32 It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all.

33 Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God's saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well.

34 So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.'




*Reading 2, 1 Cor 4:1-5

1 People should think of us as Christ's servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God.

2 In such a matter, what is expected of stewards is that each one should be found trustworthy.

3 It is of no importance to me how you or any other human court may judge me: I will not even be the judge of my own self.

4 It is true that my conscience does not reproach me, but that is not enough to justify me: it is the Lord who is my judge.

5 For that reason, do not judge anything before the due time, until the Lord comes; he will bring to light everything that is hidden in darkness and reveal the designs of all hearts. Then everyone will receive from God the appropriate commendation.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow flakes.


by Emily Dickinson

I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town,
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down.
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig,
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!

Emily Dickinson Poem


It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain, --
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.

It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem, --
The summer's empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.

It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen, --
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.

February snow poem



Before It's Over
by libramoon C.


They say in dreams a house is a metaphor for a life
Windows open to the world, mysterious eyes seeking snowfall,
slush debris, snarls of auto travelers rushing through

Hidden inner rooms may appear, unsought buried treasure
Deep within decorated walls, a smiling child painting with excrement
Dimpling, she offers scented flowers never known to earth's earnest soil

Silly dreams, silly living, skillfully denying,
making much of
a molehill here or there

Mountains are metaphors for achievement
Struggling like Sisyphus, discovering like Pythagoras
basic relationships on which to build

Empires, like species of mystic birds
emerge from glowing flame, flogging slaves to
roll those rocks from imperial graves up the peaks of glory
Like family, and its social cognates, enslave to stories:
"This is who we are."

February snowing through conflated years
Fear was my ally, hailing me on, hugging
with glorious laughter, carrying my steps through
onerous trails -- and those ebullient ecstasies of survival
Drunk on the gold that surpasseth science or light
Touching the cold sting, letting the song sing through me
Do you?
Feel the music? Abandon your amygdala to dance free
awhirl in a swirl of laughing snow?
In dreams, inchoate, unremembered, do we relive those
moments of bliss to keep us balanced, to give courage in a life
less lived, less honored?

Old, glazed-over eyes seek momentary solace, look long,
longingly, into a silly mist of snow beyond windows closed
securely against the cold. A dreamworld revealed,
in the interplay of eyes and mind

Snowing once more



We have picked up about 12 new inches since last night.



After a day of mild weather its snowing again like crazy

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Early Morning at -3F



We’ve had the most days in which the temp didn't exceed 32F since 1905. 65 such days, so far according to meteorologist, Don Paul.


Surfing Sheep!!



http://www.finisterreuk.com/


Copyright © 2002 - 2011 Finisterre

Ice Fishing on Lake Chautauqua




After a brief thaw the cold has returned and the ice is really solid on the lake. I took these pictures on Feb. 21, 2011.








Tuesday, February 22, 2011

JOHN TAMS & BARRY COOPE - SNOW FALLS



Snow Falls

Cruel winter cuts through like the reaper
The old year lies withered and slain
Like Barleycorn who arose from the grave
The new year will rise up again

And the snow falls
And the wind calls
And the year turns round again

And I'll wager a hat full of guineas
Against all of the songs you can sing
Some day you'll love and the next day you'll lose
And winter will turn into spring

And the snow falls
And the wind calls
And the year turns round again

There will come a time of great plenty
A time of good harvest and song
Til then put your trust in tomorrow my friend
For yesterday's over and done

And the snow falls
And the wind calls
And the year turns round again

Monday, February 21, 2011

Taken this morning 2/21/11








The Snow Storm


by Edna St. Vincent Millay

No hawk hangs over in this air:
The urgent snow is everywhere.
The wing adroiter than a sail
Must lean away from such a gale,
Abandoning its straight intent,
Or else expose tough ligament
And tender flesh to what before
Meant dampened feathers, nothing more.
Forceless upon our backs there fall
Infrequent flakes hexagonal,
Devised in many a curious style
To charm our safety for a while,
Where close to earth like mice we go
Under the horizontal snow

Libya


Wow things are getting crazy in Libya now. BP is now going to be in one tight spot. This all fascinates me as Tony Blair was courting Libya big time. This revolution may be a bigger game changer than Egypt because Libya has the most oil in the Middle East. The USA and the UK are both going to have to abandon all former plans concerning oil from Libya.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8337546/Libya-protests-gather-pace-as-Gaddafis-son-vows-to-fight-to-the-end.html

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jack has a new station in life.



Jack just discovered how grand it is to sit on the back of the couch.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Belief in God



The tantalising proof that belief in God makes you happier and healthier

By Tom Knox



God has had a tough time over the past few years. On TV, in newspapers and on the internet, the debate as to whether faith has any relevance in a sceptical modern world has been as ubiquitous as it has been vigorous.

And it has been pretty clear which side is the most splenetic.

From Richard Dawkins’ powerful atheist polemics to Christopher Hitchens’ public derision of the Roman Catholic Tony Blair and Stephen Hawking’s proclamation that the universe ‘has no need for God’, it seems that unbelievers have had the dwindling faithful on the run.

Or have they?


Proof? Research has found that religious believers have a healthy and happier life, but what is the secret and how does religion work its magic?

As research for my latest novel, Bible Of The Dead, I have spent months investigating the science of faith versus atheism, and discovered startling and unexpected evidence. It might just change the way you think about the whole debate, as it has changed my view.

I am not a religious zealot. On the contrary, I was a teenage atheist. And although in adulthood I have had a vague and fuzzy feeling that ‘there must be something out there’, I was never a regular church-goer. But what I have discovered, on my voyage through the science of faith, has astonished me.

My journey began a couple of years ago when I was travelling in Utah, the home of Mormonism. During my first week there, I approached this eccentric American religion with a typically European cynicism. I teased Mormons about their taste in ‘spiritual undergarments’; I despaired at being unable to find a decent cappuccino (Mormons are forbidden coffee, as well as alcohol, smoking, tea and premarital sex).

But then I had something of an epiphany. One night, after a long dinner, I was walking back to my hotel in downtown Salt Lake City at 2am and I suddenly realised: I felt safe. As any transatlantic traveller knows, this is a pretty unusual experience in an American city after midnight.

Why did I feel safe? Because I was in a largely Mormon city, and Mormons are never going to mug you. They might bore or annoy you when they come knocking on your door, touting their faith, but they are not going to attack you.

The Mormons’ wholesome religiousness, their endless and charitable kindliness, made their city a better place. And that made me think: Why was I so supercilious about such happy, hospitable people? What gave me the right to sneer at their religion?

From that moment I took a deeper, more rigorous interest in the possible benefits of religious faith. Not one particular creed, but all creeds. And I was startled by what I found.

For a growing yet largely unnoticed body of scientific work, amassed over the past 30 years, shows religious belief is medically, socially and psychologically beneficial.

In 2006, the American Society of Hypertension established that church-goers have lower blood pressure than the non-faithful.

Likewise, in 2004, scholars at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggested that college students involved in religious activities are more likely to have better mental and emotional health than those who do not.

Meanwhile, in 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live.



Attack: Christopher Hitchens made a public derision of Tony Blair's decision to becoming a Roman Catholic

As they put it: ‘Religious attendance is associated with adult mortality in a graded fashion: there is a seven-year difference in life expectancy between those who never attend church and those who attend weekly.’

Exactly the same outcome was recently reported in the American Journal of Public Health, which studied nearly 2,000 older Californians for five years. Those who attended religious services were 36 per cent less likely to die during this half-decade than those who didn’t.

Even those who attended a place of worship irregularly — implying a less than ardent faith — did better than those who never attended.

Pretty impressive. But there’s more; so much more that it’s positively surreal.

In 1990, the American Journal of Psychiatry discovered believers with broken hips were less depressed, had shorter hospital stays and could even walk further when they were discharged compared to their similarly broken-hipped and hospitalised, but comparatively heathen peers.

It’s not just hips. Scientists have revealed that believers recover from breast cancer quicker than non-believers; have better outcomes from coronary disease and rheumatoid arthritis; and are less likely to have children with meningitis.

Intriguing research in 2002 showed that believers have more success with IVF than non-believers.

A 1999 study found that going to a religious service or saying a few prayers actively strengthened your immune system.

These medical benefits accrue even if you adjust for the fact that believers are less likely to smoke, drink or take drugs.

And faith doesn’t just heal the body; it salves the mind, too. In 1998, the American Journal of Public Health found that depressed patients with a strong ‘intrinsic faith’ (a deep personal belief, not just a social inclination to go to a place of worship) recovered 70 per cent faster than those who did not have strong faith.

Another study, in 2002, showed that prayer reduced ‘adverse outcomes in heart patients’.

But perhaps this is just an American thing? After all, those Bible-bashing Yanks are a bit credulous compared to us more sceptical Europeans, aren’t they?


Proclamation: Professor Stephen Hawking has said that the 'universe has no need for God'

Not so. In 2008, Professor Andrew Clark of the Paris School of Economics and Doctor Orsolya Lelkes of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research conducted a vast survey of Europeans. They found that religious believers, compared to non-believers, record less stress, are better able to cope with losing jobs and divorce, are less prone to suicide, report higher levels of self-esteem, enjoy greater ‘life purpose’ and report being more happy overall.

What is stunning about this research is that the team didn’t go looking for this effect — it came to them unexpectedly. ‘We originally started the research to work out why some European countries had more generous unemployment benefits than others,’ says Professor Clark.

But as they went on, the pattern of beneficial faith presented itself. ‘Our analysis suggested religious people suffered less psychological harm from unemployment than the non-religious. Believers had higher levels of life satisfaction.’

So what’s going on? How does religion work this apparent magic?

One of the latest surveys to suggest that religious people are happier than the non-religious was conducted by Professors Chaeyoon Lim and Robert Putnam, from Harvard, and published last year.

They discovered that many of the health benefits of religion materialise only if you go to church regularly and have good friends there. In other words, it’s the ‘organised’ part of organised religion that does a lot of the good stuff.

Going to a friendly church, temple or mosque gives you a strong social network and a ready-made support group, which in turn gives you a more positive outlook on life — and offers vital help in times of need. The Harvard scientists were so startled by their findings that they considered altering their own religious behaviour.

As Professor Lim said: ‘I am not a religious person, but . . . I personally began to think about whether I should go to church. It would make my mum happy.’

But if the ‘congregation’ effect is one explanation for the good health of churchgoers, it’s not the only one. Other surveys have found that intrinsic faith is also important.

For instance, a study of nearly 4,000 older adults for the U.S. Journal of Gerontology revealed that atheists had a notably increased chance of dying over a six-year period than the faithful.

Crucially, religious people lived longer than atheists even if they didn’t go regularly to a place of worship. This study clearly suggests there is a benefit in pure faith alone — perhaps this religiousness works by affording a greater sense of inner purpose and solace in grief.

This begs the question: Given all this vast evidence that religion is good for you, how come the atheists seem so set against it?

They pride themselves on their rationality, yet so much of the empirical evidence indicates that God is good for you. Surely, then, it is the atheists, not the devout, who are acting irrationally?

All this will come as no surprise to many students of genetics and evolution, who have long speculated that religious faith might be hard- wired into the human mind.

For instance, twin studies (research on identical siblings who are separated at birth) show that religion is a heritable characteristic: if one twin is religious, the other is likely to be a believer as well, even when raised by different parents.


Prayer: Studys have found that even those with a small connection to religion can feel the benefits of it

Neurologists are making exciting progress in locating the areas of the brain, primarily the frontal cortex, ‘responsible’ for religious belief — parts of the brain that seem designed to accommodate faith. This research even has its own name: neurotheology.

Why might we be hard-wired to be religious? Precisely because religion makes us happier and healthier, and thus makes us have more children.

In the purest of Darwinian terms, God isn’t just good for you, He’s good for your genes, too.

All of which means that, contrary to expectation, it is the atheists who are eccentric, flawed and maladaptive, and it’s the devout who are healthy, well-adjusted and normal.

Certainly, in purely evolutionary terms, atheism is a blind alley. Across the world, religious people have more children than non-religious (go forth and multiply!), while atheist societies are the ones with the lowest birth rates.

The Czech Republic is a classic example. It proclaims itself the most atheist country in Europe, if not the world; it also has a puny birthrate of 1.28 per woman, one of the lowest on the planet (so soon there won’t be any godless Czechs to proclaim their atheism).

The existence of atheism is therefore something of an anomaly. But then again, anomalies are not unknown in evolution.

Think of the dodo or the flightless parrot, doomed to extinction. Are atheists similarly blighted? Are Richard Dawkins and his type destined to vanish off the face of the Earth — the victims of their own intellectual arrogance?

That’s not for me to say; it’s for you to ponder. All I do know is that reassessing the research has changed the way I think about faith. These days I go to church quite a lot, especially when I am travelling and researching my books.

For instance, the other day I found myself in Cambridge — the home of Stephen Hawking — and took the opportunity to do some sightseeing of the city’s intellectual landmarks.

I strolled by the labs where Hawking does his brilliant work, popped into the pub where they announced the discovery of DNA and admired the library where Charles Darwin studied. As I did, I was in awe at the greatness of Man’s achievements.

And then I went to Evensong at King’s College Chapel, and it was beautiful, sublime and uplifting. And I felt a very different kind of awe.



http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1358421/The-tantalising-proof-belief-God-makes-happier-healthier.html

Forbidden Rice



I love this black Rice, its so delicious. It has almost a mild fruity after taste. This is a pork and lime pickle plate I cooked with "Forbidden Rice" and steamed string-beans. The best thing is not only do I love this rice but its really good for me! The chops are lean young pork fried in olive oil and a touch of Pataks lime pickle. Jim loved this meal. I have made something a bit like it with chicken breast and lime pickle (relish) by Pataks that is also very good.

Below is the product info for this rice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

The Emperor's Exclusive Grain, Imported from China


For increased health and longevity. Legend tells us that this ancient grain was once eaten exclusively by the Emperors of China. Our most popular rice is fabled to enrich health and ensure longevity. This medium-size heirloom rice is treasured for its delicious roasted nutty taste, soft texture and beautiful deep purple color. Extremely high in a class of flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins, Forbidden Rice® is also rich in iron and, according to Chinese herbal medicine, considered to be a blood tonifier. A striking presence on any plate, this once forbidden indulgence is now a wholesome everyday rice. It pairs beautifully with all cuisines – use it steamed plain, in a pilaf, stir-fry, salad or pudding.

As many antioxidants as blueberries? A new study shows that a spoonful of black rice bran or 10 spoonfuls of cooked black rice contains the same amount of antioxidants as a spoonful of fresh blueberries.

This rice provides the richest nutritional value, providing a higher level of vitamins, minerals and fiber of any bran rice, as well as a comprehensive range of amino acids, proteins, vegetable fats and essential trace elements needed by the body.

Fifteen years ago, we took a research and development trip to China. We were greeted by our hosts with steaming bowls of black rice at the end of the day. The rice captivated our senses and the next day at the local market we were told that during the Ming Dynasty the rice was called "tribute rice" or "longevity rice," exclusively reserved for the Emperors to ensure their good health and long life. It quickly became one of our most popular rices.

Cooks in only 30 minutes
Whole grain and heart healthy
High in anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants reputed to prevent cancer and many other diseases
High in iron
Gluten and wheat free

Thursday, February 17, 2011

There is a difference between Churches in the USA


One really has to discern between Christian groups when it comes to beliefs and attitudes towards the Bible. There are also many many differences in attitude toward minorities and Gay and Lesbian people. Mainline or mainline Protestant (also sometimes called mainstream) denominations are those that comprised the vast majority of American Christianity from the colonial era until the early 1900s. Most of these denominations were brought to America by their respective historic immigrant groups denominations. Today, most mainline protestants remain rooted in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. As a group they have maintained theologies that stress social justice concerns together with personal salvation and evangelism. They have been credited with leading the fight for social causes such as racial justice and civil rights, equality for women, rights for the disabled and other key issues. Many of the issues that such groups have advocated for have been embraced by American law and society, but at the same time mainline denominations have been somewhat marginalized. In addition, mainline churches and laity founded most of the leading educational institutes in the US. In typical usage, the term mainline is contrasted with evangelical. Mainline churches tend to be more liberal in terms of theology and political issues. This places them to the ideological left of the evangelical and fundamentalist churches.

Burning Wood for Home Heating


Wood burning does not release any more carbon dioxide than the eventual biodegradation of the wood if it was not burned. Wood burning can therefore be considered "carbon neutral" - the CO2 released to the atmosphere by combustion is recycled continuously into new plant growth as part of the carbon cycle, while the energy released during combustion is simply a form of stored solar energy. However, wood harvesting and transport operations do produce varying degrees of greenhouse gas pollution. Inefficient and incomplete combustion of wood can result in elevated levels of greenhouse gases other than CO2, which may result in positive emissions where the biproducts have greater Carbon dioxide equivalent values.

The intentional and controlled charring of wood and its incorporation into the soil is an effective method for carbon sequestration as well as an important technique to improve soil conditions for agriculture, particularly in heavily forested regions. It forms the basis of the rich soils known as Terra preta.



In the United States, firewood is usually sold by the cord, 128 ft³ (3.62 m³), corresponding to a woodpile 8 ft wide × 4 ft high of 4 ft-long logs. The cord is legally defined by statute in most states. A "thrown cord" is firewood that has not been stacked and is defined as 4 ft wide x 4 ft tall x 10 ft long. The additional volume is to make it equivalent to a standard stacked cord, where there is less void space. It is also common to see wood sold by the "face cord", which is usually not legally defined, and varies from one area to another. For example, in one state a pile of wood 8 feet wide × 4 feet high of 16"-long logs will often be sold as a "face cord", though its volume is only one-third of a cord. In another state, or even another area of the same state, the volume of a face cord may be considerably different.



Wood fuel


Wood fuel is wood used as fuel. The burning of wood is currently the largest use of energy derived from a solid fuel biomass. Wood fuel can be used for cooking and heating, and occasionally for fueling steam engines and steam turbines that generate electricity. Wood fuel may be available as firewood (e.g. logs, bolts, blocks), charcoal, chips, sheets, pellets and sawdust. The particular form used depends upon factors such as source, quantity, quality and application. Sawmill waste and construction industry by-products also include various forms of lumber tailings. Some consider wood fuel bad for the environment, however this is not the case if proper techinques are used. Carbon dioxide released from burning wood is equal to the carbon wood releases as it rots. One might increase carbon emissions using gas powered saws and spliters in the production of firewood, but when wood heat replaces carbon-producing fuels such as propane, heating oil or electricity from a coal-burning plant, then wood burning has a positive impact on the carbon footprint.

Wood may be sent into a furnace to be burned, stove, fireplace, or in a campfire, or used for a bonfire. Wood is the most easily available form of fuel, requiring no tools in the case of picking up dead wood, or little tools, although as in any industry, specialized tools, such as skidders and hydraulic wood splitters, have evolved to mechanize production


Wood fuel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Local Snowfall for this winter


The county seat of Mayville, NY's total snowfall as of 2/14/11 is 174 Inches. Sherman, New York's total 226 inches.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dust of Snow


by Robert Frost

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.


.

The Snow-Storm



by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

Winter Memories


Within the circuit of this plodding life
There enter moments of an azure hue,
Untarnished fair as is the violet
Or anemone, when the spring stew them
By some meandering rivulet, which make
The best philosophy untrue that aims
But to console man for his grievences.
I have remembered when the winter came,
High in my chamber in the frosty nights,
When in the still light of the cheerful moon,
On the every twig and rail and jutting spout,
The icy spears were adding to their length
Against the arrows of the coming sun,
How in the shimmering noon of winter past
Some unrecorded beam slanted across
The upland pastures where the Johnwort grew;
Or heard, amid the verdure of my mind,
The bee's long smothered hum, on the blue flag
Loitering amidst the mead; or busy rill,
Which now through all its course stands still and dumb
Its own memorial, - purling at its play
Along the slopes, and through the meadows next,
Until its youthful sound was hushed at last
In the staid current of the lowland stream;
Or seen the furrows shine but late upturned,
And where the fieldfare followed in the rear,
When all the fields around lay bound and hoar
Beneath a thick integument of snow.
So by God's cheap economy made rich
To go upon my winter's task again.

Henry David Thoreau

Monday, February 14, 2011

February



by Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
a black fur sausage with yellow
Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
to get onto my head. It’s his
way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
He’ll think of something. He settles
on my chest, breathing his breath
of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
which are what will finish us off
in the long run. Some cat owners around here
should snip a few testicles. If we wise
hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
or eat our young, like sharks.
But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
thirty below, and pollution pours
out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
February, month of despair,
with a skewered heart in the centre.
I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
with a splash of vinegar.
Cat, enough of your greedy whining
and your small pink bumhole.
Off my face! You’re the life principle,
more or less, so get going
on a little optimism around here.
Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The origins of Irish Dance



Chris Hedges - Death of the Liberal Class



What the press does not want you to know or think about.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Egyptians Celebrating



Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end.
Lord Acton

Mubarak has gone at last



Hosni Mubarak Resigns as President. Egyptian president stands down and hands over power to the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces. Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, announced in a televised address that the president was "waiving" his office, and had handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the armed forces.

Mull Of Kintyre




Mull Of Kintyre

Mull of Kintyre, oh mist rolling in from the sea
my desire is always to be here
Oh, Mull of Kintyre

Far have I travelled and much have I seen
Darkest of mountains with valleys of green
Past painted deserts the sun sets on fire
as he carries me home to the Mull of Kintyre

Mull of Kintyre, oh mist rolling in from the sea
my desire is always to be here
Oh, Mull of Kintyre

Sweep through the heather like deer in the glen
Carry me back to the days I knew then
Nights when we sang like a heavenly choir
of the life and the times of the Mull of Kintyre

Mull of Kintyre, oh mist rolling in from the sea
my desire is always to be here
Oh, Mull of Kintyre

Smiles in the sunshine and tears in the rain
Still take me back where my memories remain
Flickering embers go higher and higher
as they carry me back to the Mull of Kintyre

Mull of Kintyre, oh mist rolling in from the sea
my desire is always to be here
Oh, Mull of Kintyre

Mull of Kintyre, oh mist rolling in from the sea
my desire is always to be here
Oh, Mull of Kintyre

Paul McCartney wrote this with Denny Laine, his band mate in Wings. The song is a tribute an island in Scotland where Paul and his wife Linda had a farm. The Mull of Kintyre island is known for its beautiful scenery and tranquil atmosphere. After a difficult breakup with The Beatles, McCartney went there to avoid a nervous breakdown.


In Britain it was the best-selling single of the '70s, selling in excess of 2 million copies, which was more than any Beatles record.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



This is dedicated to Donna Naylor who shared it with me tonight. May God's love carry her.


.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Silence is Pure.


It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox.

NICHOLAS SPARKS, The Notebook

Winter Night




Winter Night


It snowed and snowed ,the whole world over,
Snow swept the world from end to end.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

As during summer midges swarm
To beat their wings against a flame
Out in the yard the snowflakes swarmed
To beat against the window pane

The blizzard sculptured on the glass
Designs of arrows and of whorls.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

Distorted shadows fell
Upon the lighted ceiling:
Shadows of crossed arms,of crossed legs-
Of crossed destiny.

Two tiny shoes fell to the floor
And thudded.
A candle on a nightstand shed wax tears
Upon a dress.

All things vanished within
The snowy murk-white,hoary.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

A corner draft fluttered the flame
And the white fever of temptation
Upswept its angel wings that cast
A cruciform shadow

It snowed hard throughout the month
Of February, and almost constantly
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

Boris Pasternak

HENRY W. LONGFELLOW – AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY POEM


The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o’er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sheena and company Feb 7, 2001

The old Stedman Corners Store 7 Feb. 2011

UK Government Did 'All It Could' To Facilitate Release Of Lockerbie Bomber



ROBERT BARR

LONDON — Britain's previous government did "all it could" to help Libya win the release of the only man convicted of the Pan Am bombing in Scotland in 1988, though it insisted the decision was made entirely by Scottish officials, Britain's senior civil servant said Monday.

However, Sir Gus O'Donnell, the head of the Cabinet Office, also said he found no evidence that the central government had put any pressure on Scottish authorities to grant the release.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the terrorist attack, was granted a compassionate release from a Scottish prison in August 2009 on the ground that he was suffering from prostate cancer and would die soon.

He is still alive.

The bombing of the U.S.-bound Pan Am jumbo jet killed 270 people, most of them Americans, and al-Megrahi's release has been criticized by members of the U.S. Congress.

Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the British coalition government that took power in May, asked O'Donnell to conduct the review. Cameron has strongly criticized al-Megrahi's release in the past.

Cameron's office said he discussed the issue with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday at a security conference in Munich and that they had "strongly agreed" the prisoner release was a mistake.

"He was convicted of the biggest mass murder in British history, and in my view he should have died in jail," Cameron told the House of Commons.

O'Donnell said British policy regarding al-Megrahi developed after former Prime Minister Tony Blair negotiated a prisoner transfer agreement with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2007.
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Policy then developed that the government should "do all it could" to facilitate an appeal by the Libyans to the Scottish government for Megrahi's transfer to be released under the prisoner transfer agreement or on compassionate grounds, O'Donnell said.

"Nonetheless, once Mr. Megrahi had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2008, (government) policy was based upon an assessment that U.K. interests would be damaged if Mr. Megrahi were to die in a U.K. jail," O'Donnell said.

"The development of this view was prompted, following Mr. Megrahi's diagnosis of terminal illness, by the extremely high priority attached to Mr. Megrahi's return by the Libyans, who had made clear that they would regard his death in Scottish custody as a death sentence and by actual and implicit threats made of severe ramifications for U.K. interests if Mr. Megrahi were to die in prison in Scotland."

Blair's successor, Gordon Brown, met Gadhafi in July 2009, a month before the release, and had said he could not interfere in the Scottish decision, O'Donnell said.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings last year on whether the British-based oil company BP had sought al-Megrahi's release to help get a $900 million exploration agreement with Libya moving. Former BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward refused to testify before the committee last year.

BP has acknowledged that it had urged the British government to sign a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya, but stressed it didn't specify al-Megrahi's case. O'Donnell said he found no evidence that BP pressured the Scottish government to release al-Megrahi.

"It's clear to me, those who think there was some sort of conspiracy cooked up between BP, the British government and the Scots ... that's not right," Cameron said.

The bombing aboard the Pan Am 747 jumbo jet on Dec. 22, 1988 killed all 259 people aboard the aircraft and 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie town, where much of the wreckage fell.

Al-Megrahi was convicted by a Scottish court in 2001 and sentenced to 27 years in jail.

O'Donnell said Blair's and Brown's governments had been "primarily motivated by a desire to build on previous success in normalizing relations with Libya and to safeguard the substantial gains made in recent years, and specifically to avoid harm to U.K. nationals, to British commercial interests and to cooperation on security issues."

"The desire to see such a result developed and intensified over time as Mr. Megrahi's health declined and the imminence of his death appeared greater," O'Donnell said.

___

AP writer David Stringer contributed to this report

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Be Thou My Vision, a favorite of mine



Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me save that thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word
I ever with thee, thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I thy true Son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Be thou my battleshield, sword for the fight
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight
Thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower
Raise thou me heavenward, O power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and thou only, first in my heart
High King of heavem, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, after victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The original Old Irish text, Rop tú mo Baile is often attributed to Dallan Forgaill in the 6th century. The text had been a part of Irish monastic tradition for centuries before its setting to the tune, therefore, before it became an actual hymn[citation needed]. It was translated from Old Irish into English by Mary E. Byrne, M.A., in Ériu (the journal of the School of Irish Learning), in 1905. The English text was first versified by Eleanor H. Hull, in 1912, and is now the most common
Original Text "Rop Tú mo Baile"



The original texts of the now-called Be Thou My Vision are in Old Irish, similar still in style to modern Irish.

Rop tú mo baile, a Choimdiu cride:
ní ní nech aile acht Rí secht nime.
Rop tú mo scrútain i l-ló 's i n-aidche;
rop tú ad-chëar im chotlud caidche.
Rop tú mo labra, rop tú mo thuicsiu;
rop tussu dam-sa, rob misse duit-siu.
Rop tussu m'athair, rob mé do mac-su;
rop tussu lem-sa, rob misse lat-su.
Rop tú mo chathscíath, rop tú mo chlaideb;
rop tussu m'ordan, rop tussu m'airer.
Rop tú mo dítiu, rop tú mo daingen;
rop tú nom-thocba i n-áentaid n-aingel.
Rop tú cech maithius dom churp, dom anmain;
rop tú mo flaithius i n-nim 's i talmain.
Rop tussu t' áenur sainserc mo chride;
ní rop nech aile acht Airdrí nime.
Co talla forum, ré n-dul it láma,
mo chuit, mo chotlud, ar méit do gráda.
Rop tussu t' áenur m' urrann úais amra:
ní chuinngim daíne ná maíne marba.
Rop amlaid dínsiur cech sel, cech sáegul,
mar marb oc brénad, ar t' fégad t' áenur.
Do serc im anmain, do grád im chride,
tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime.
Tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime,
do serc im anmain, do grád im chride.
Go Ríg na n-uile rís íar m-búaid léire;
ro béo i flaith nime i n-gile gréine
A Athair inmain, cluinte mo núall-sa:
mithig (mo-núarán!) lasin trúagán trúag-sa.
A Chríst mo chride, cip ed dom-aire,
a Flaith na n-uile, rop tú mo baile.

English Translation

by Mary Byrne, 1905
Be thou my vision O Lord of my heart
None other is aught but the King of the seven heavens.
Be thou my meditation by day and night.
May it be thou that I behold even in my sleep.
Be thou my speech, be thou my understanding.
Be thou with me, be I with thee
Be thou my father, be I thy son.
Mayst thou be mine, may I be thine.
Be thou my battle-shield, be thou my sword.
Be thou my dignity, be thou my delight.
Be thou my shelter, be thou my stronghold.
Mayst thou raise me up to the company of the angels.
Be thou every good to my body and soul.
Be thou my kingdom in heaven and on earth.
Be thou solely chief love of my heart.
Let there be none other, O high King of Heaven.
Till I am able to pass into thy hands,
My treasure, my beloved through the greatness of thy love
Be thou alone my noble and wondrous estate.
I seek not men nor lifeless wealth.
Be thou the constant guardian of every possession and every life.
For our corrupt desires are dead at the mere sight of thee.
Thy love in my soul and in my heart --
Grant this to me, O King of the seven heavens.
O King of the seven heavens grant me this --
Thy love to be in my heart and in my soul.
With the King of all, with him after victory won by piety,
May I be in the kingdom of heaven O brightness of the son.
Beloved Father, hear, hear my lamentations.
Timely is the cry of woe of this miserable wretch.
O heart of my heart, whatever befall me,
O ruler of all, be thou my vision.

English Versification

by Eleanor Hull, 1912
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word,
I ever with thee and thou with me Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my battle shield, sword for the fight;
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight;
Thou my soul's shelter, thou my high tower:
Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
Thou mine inheritance now and always;
Thou and thou only first in my heart;
High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O Bright Heaven's sun!;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Modern Irish Translations

The hymn has been translated into Irish many times. The most popular of that by Aodh Ó Dúgain of Gaoth Dobhair, County Donegal. Two verses of his translation were recorded by his grand-daughter Moya Brennan; the first time any part of his text has been publicly available. Since then, those two verses have been recorded by dozens of artists including Roma Downey & Aoife and Iona.

These verses are very close translations to the first two of the Old Irish text above.

Bí Thusa ’mo shúile a Rí mhór na ndúil
Líon thusa mo bheatha mo chéadfaí ’s mo stuaim
Bí thusa i m'aigne gach oíche ’s gach lá
Im chodladh no im dhúiseacht, líon mé le do ghrá.
Bí thusa ’mo threorú i mbriathar ’s i mbeart
Fan thusa go deo liom is coinnigh mé ceart
Glac cúram mar Athair, is éist le mo ghuí
Is tabhair domsa áit cónaí istigh i do chroí.

Modern Scottish Gaelic Translation

With Old Irish being an ancestor language of Modern Scottish Gaelic, the song was translated by Céitidh Mhoireasdan and publish by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Soills’ Air Mo Smuain
Dèan dhòmh-sa tuigse,
Cuir soils’ air mo smuain;
Dh’iarrainn gur Tu
Bhiodh ’gam stiùreadh gach uair;
Làmh rium ’s an oidhche
Is romhan ’s an tràth,
Réidh rium ’sa mhadainn
Agus glèidh mi tro’n latha.
Ceartas do m’ bhriathran
Agus fìrinn do m’ bheul,
Thusa toirt iùil dhomh
’S mi dlùth riut, a Dhè.
Athair, thoir gràdh dhomh,
Gabh mis’ thugad fhéin;
Cum mi ri d’ thaobh
Is bi daonnan ’nam chrè.
Dìon mi, a Thighearna,
Ri mo chliathaich ’s gach feachd;
Cum mi fo d’ sgiath
’S thoir dhomh misneachd is neart,
Fasgadh do m’ anam
Is mi ri d’uchd dlùth;
Treòraich mi dhachaigh,
Dhè chumhachdaich Thu.
Beartas cha’n fhiach leam;
No miann chlann ’nan daoin’,
Thusa na m’ fhianais
Fad làithean mo shaogh’il
Thusa, Dhè ghràsmhoir,
A-mhain na mo chrìdh’,
Le blaths is gràdh sìorraidh,
Mo thighearna ’s mo Rìgh.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Will the protests in Egypt end like Hungary 1956?



Hungarian Revolution of 1956

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (Hungarian: 1956-os forradalom) was a spontaneous nationwide revolt against the government of the People's Republic of Hungary and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956.

The revolt began as a student demonstration which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the Parliament building. A student delegation entering the radio building in an attempt to broadcast its demands was detained. When the delegation's release was demanded by the demonstrators outside, they were fired upon by the State Security Police (ÁVH) from within the building. The news spread quickly and disorder and violence erupted throughout the capital.

The revolt spread quickly across Hungary, and the government fell. Thousands organized into militias, battling the State Security Police (ÁVH) and Soviet troops. Pro-Soviet communists and ÁVH members were often executed or imprisoned, as former prisoners were released and armed. Impromptu councils wrested municipal control from the ruling Hungarian Working People's Party and demanded political changes. The new government formally disbanded the ÁVH, declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and pledged to re-establish free elections. By the end of October, fighting had almost stopped and a sense of normality began to return.

After announcing a willingness to negotiate a withdrawal of Soviet forces, the Politburo changed its mind and moved to crush the revolution. On 4 November, a large Soviet force invaded Budapest and other regions of the country. Hungarian resistance continued until 10 November. Over 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops were killed in the conflict, and 200,000 Hungarians fled as refugees. Mass arrests and denunciations continued for months thereafter. By January 1957, the new Soviet-installed government had suppressed all public opposition. These Soviet actions alienated many Western Marxists, yet strengthened Soviet control over Central Europe.

Public discussion about this revolution was suppressed in Hungary for over 30 years, but since the thaw of the 1980s it has been a subject of intense study and debate. At the inauguration of the Third Hungarian Republic in 1989, October 23 was declared a national holiday.

February


"February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer."

- Shirley Jackson, Raising Demons

In winter's cold and sparkling snow

,


In winter's cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.

On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision's clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.

In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows.






Cheryl Magic-Lady, Winter Garden

Downy Woodpecker


I have three seed feeders that hang and also feed the birds in a gold mining pan on the ground. I also have a large suet feeder I fill with big chunks of suet that come from Coffaro's Custom Butchering in Sugar Grove, PA. It is raw in hug chunks when I get it. This female Downy woodpecker was enjoying the sunny day and eating fresh suet I put out in the suet cage on Friday.



female Downy Woodpecker- Picoides pubescens 4 Feb 2011

The Rams Horn

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