November 20, 2017

Open Mic, Summer Edition

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Open Mic, Summer Edition

Today we offer you the chance to participate in an Open Mic. And since we’re in the midst of the summer season, I thought maybe I’d prime the pump a little bit by asking a few questions.

Before I do, let me say that I want this to be a truly Open Mic, so you don’t have to answer any of these questions, but in case they might spark someone’s interest and move them to get involved, I’ll just throw them out there.

  • What interesting things are you reading this summer?
  • Are you traveling to any interesting places this summer?
  • Are you participating in any special and meaningful events this summer?
  • Is your church or ministry going to be involved in any special service projects this summer that you think will benefit others?
  • What music are you listening to this summer?
  • What special needs can we pray for this summer, as we think of you?

Wherever the discussion leads, the day is yours. Enjoy.

Comments

  1. In Mike the Geologist’s Lesson 9, I made a post wondering about animal suffering, evolution, and God. I recalled reading how Charles Darwin felt doubtful about God after thinking about parasitic wasps eating caterpillars from the inside or cats torturing mice. Recently I found a book called Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering by Ronald E. Osborn, an evolutionary creationist who looks at animal suffering and theodicy. The book didn’t completely satisfy me, but Osborn helps the readers gain more insights about God’s creation and the universe (it would take a while for me to summarize a bunch of things I learned). This book also offers the strongest arguments against YEC I encountered so far (Osborne was once a YEC). One thing I remembered is how Osborne summarizes Imre Lakatos’s ideas about progressive research programs and degenerative research programs (the latter reveals the fatal weakness of YEC).

    • Heather Angus says:

      Nice to know Charles Darwin and I are on the same page here. Not that I ever even considered YEC.

    • StuartB says:

      Do you ever wonder how many of Jesus’ statements were worded a specific way because he was primarily talking with children physically present?

  2. I’ve got a summer reading list…

    The Crusades, by Thomas Asbridge
    The Great War, by Peter Hart
    The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, by Piers Brendon
    and The Atrocity Archives, by Charles Stross

  3. br.thomas says:

    I’ve begun reading the following:

    “The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss” by David Bentley Hart, and
    “How Big Is Your God?” by Paul Coutinho

    I would welcome prayers for my wife and I as we process the death of 3 close friends over the past two years, all of them under age 55, and the most recent passes away yesterday at age 48.

    Thank you.

  4. Christiane says:

    I’m not going anywhere interesting . . . well the hospital for surgery, and home to rehab . . . but my SON is traveling to Finland and Latvia and on to Italy . . . he will be meeting and vacationing with his girlfriend’s family who live near Riga.

    Happy for him, sure.
    Worried about the flight, the airports, the terrorists . . . oh yeah. ( My six foot three baby may be in his thirties but we moms are moms until the day we die.)

    • Rick Ro. says:

      My daughter participated in an Extreme Camp a couple weeks back (white water rafting, cliff jumping, camping in the boonies). My oh my…I was never so nervous about her safety!!! I really had to pray for God over and over and over for release of my anxiety and a sense of peace.

      Hope your surgery goes well!

    • Dana Ames says:

      Do keep us posted re surgery. Prayers.

      Dana

    • Danielle says:

      Just have to say …. that is a wonderful itinerary!

  5. Interesting places? I’m in Alaska for the past week and a half, flying back to Maine tomorrow. Unbelievable, big place, mountains, glaciers, animals, and not many people outside of Anchorage. Been visiting oldest daughter and son-in-law, also youngest daughter who flew up from Portland Oregon. Saw 4th of July fireworks in Valdez—a good display and would have been really great if it had been dark. Not much of that here this time of year.

    Re-reading some Chaim Potok novels (and just heard that Elie Wiesel died). Also reading Millard Erickson’s Who’s Tampering with the Trinity? Don’t get me started.

    • Christiane says:

      I am a fan of Chaim Potok’s writing.

      If you are reading Erickson’s book, come on over to TWW and share your thoughts. I probably won’t read it for a while, as I have to keep my blood pressure under control. 🙂

      • Christiane, I picked up on that from TWW’s discussion, probably Lydia’s mention of Erickson. I used his Christian Theology in a course and it’s very good. His book on the Trinity is 2009, but seems to be more relevant now. I’m not too far into it.

        It wouldn’t be Erickson who would raise your blood pressure; he’s pretty moderate. But he includes text from Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem and others. Be warned.

        Still trying to put the pieces of the new-calvinist puzzle together, and this Eternal Subordination of the Son thing is nuts.

        Just got back from Alaska, about 27 hours of traveling. Read a hundred pages in Potok’s In The Beginning on planes and in airports. Great. Nearly finished The Book of Lights before I left home 10 days ago, and that’s here waiting. It’s been so long since I’ve read them it’s almost all new. But my favorite is still the Asher Lev pair. I’ve read them several times.

  6. Robert F says:

    A slug crawls across
    the dirty sidewalk, faster
    than the speed of life.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moLNLC008QY

  7. Is summer your favorite season? If not, what is, and in what part of the country (or world) do you live?

    • Dan from Georgia says:

      I am living in Georgia. Autumn is my favorite season. Warm days. Cool nights. NO HUMIDITY!!!

      • StuartB says:

        I hear Athens is a great place to move to. Any thoughts on it?

        • Dan from Georgia says:

          I have yet to visit Athens, GA. I hear it’s wonderful. And, if you are an SEC College Football Georgia Bulldogs fan, it is THE place to be.

      • Christiane says:

        The ONLY time I ever loved summer was when we were kids and vacationed with the aunts up in Western Massachusetts. Cool nights, cold lakes, masses of blueberries, fresh ice-cold mountain spring water, BEAUTIFUL scenery. Loved the mountains up there in summertime. I still dream of it. 🙂

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Summer is the best, hands down. I live in urban West Michigan – ~40 minutes from the lake shore – and summers here are the very image of perfection. Perfect temperatures, a reliable breeze, few insects, and the occasional thunderstorm rolling through – doing its thing and then promptly departing – keeping everything radiantly green for the whole season.

      Autumn is also very nice; a solid second place, Spring is hit-n-miss as often time it can’t make up its mind. As I grow older I am liking Winter more and more; we are just north of the Great Lakes Snow Belt, so real winter is only 6-8 weeks generally. My wife who has to commute by automobile does not share my growing fondness for winter. The snow gives the mornings an almost eerie hush; it changes the grinding of the truck brakes as they descend into the valley and the blasting of the train horns into a softer almost melancholy kind of song. [possibly the knowledge that my hearing is declining has made me more attentive to the sound of things].

      • Dan from Georgia says:

        I am originally from Minnesota, and summer’s there (minus the mosquitoes) are gorgeous! Similar to autumn in Georgia, so I guess that’s why autumn here in Georgia appeals to me so much.

        BTW, I have been to the UP back in 2008 or so-abouts, and it is REALLY beautiful up there!

        • StuartB says:

          This is the first summer in a long time that’s been pretty mild and enjoyable.

    • Lexiann G. says:

      Winter! Mystical, beautiful, fun. Summer has too many nasty insects and people stink. Lol.

    • Heather Angus says:

      Spring for sure. All that hope and energy and green stuff! Here in Ohio it’s on and off, one day in the 80s, the next in the 40s, but that’s why we love it!

  8. Just back from Thompson Falls Montana. I’m from (at birth at least) Bozeman, but first time that far west. BEAUTIFUL. Eat at Minnie’s if you go: but the portions are for grizzly bears. Survived my oldest brothers driving thru the Rockies, so consider myself alive and blessed.

    Need to get started painting my duplex in the 90plus heat….could use some help, who’s up for that ???

    • Dana Ames says:

      Not up for anything when it gets over 90, but wanted to tell you I was born in Helena, lived my first months in Missoula and then in Butte until I was 7. Still have family in Montana.

      Dana

      • LOTS of family in Butte: the uncle/aunt who had/have 16 kids still have the main house in Butte. Uncle and one of his daughters have died: Aunt Kathy just enjoyed a 90th bash in Thompson Falls. Love the state, need to accumulate some flier miles. If any of your relatives ever bought a Rambler or a Willys-Jeep, it might have been from my granpa rice…..

        • Danielle says:

          Yay Montana!

          OK, truth: I’m not from Montana (New England kid here, which is the rough opposite of being from Montana). But all my husband’s family is. It’s grand to have ample reason to visit. I love it.

          Three weeks ago my husband and our small boy were in Missoula, with Grandma and Grandpa and my husband’s brother’s family. We had been planning to do a big summer trip, but a job change for my other half necessitated a last minute, short trip for just him and the boy. I couldn’t go.

          Got back pictures of our boy fishing for the first time! Sigh.

          This is an extra special year, because my brother-in-law and his wife just adopted a baby girl after many years of trying to have kids. We’ve just got child one, too, thanks our own difficulties. So we’ve decided that is now double important spend time there.

          For the kids. And grandma.

          There would, of course, be no self-interest whatsoever in my plans to sneak back out there. 😉

        • Dana Ames says:

          Entirely possible, greg r. I think my uncle had a Jeep back in the ’60s. His business was Dom’s Wrecking Yard & Welding, south of town on Centennial Ave. Fun to wander around amidst the car bodies and sagebrush, and to visit the horse that lived two doors east. Had some very good times with my aunt & uncle and cousins when I was a kid. If any of your relatives bought furniture at Ossello’s, they were supporting my other cousins, somewhat farther-removed 🙂 Dad used to fish the Big Fork.

          Wish I could afford to get up there more often.

          Dana

    • Dan from Georgia says:

      Aaahh, Montana! Haven’t been there since 1985. REALLY want to go back someday! Visited Glacier Park back then.

  9. Just finished reading Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. A beautiful book. Highly recommend!

  10. Traveling to Assateague later this summer – my place of refuge. Prayer is appreciated – this year, I’ve started providing music therapy for hospice patients. This is a new world for me and I’m learning as I go.

  11. Lexiann G. says:

    “Father Melancholy’s Daughter” by Gail Godwin. Story of 6 yr old girl as she grows, whose mother leaves her and father is an Episcopal priest with depression. Literature, well written, engrossing, thought provoking.

  12. Randy Thompson says:

    We went to Nova Scotia, taking the new CAT ferry from Portland Maine. (Only a 5 1/2 hour trip.) What a beautiful place, especially Cape Bretton island (which is also a great place for fiddling). If you should ever find yourself there, don’t miss the Cabot Trail. Major culinary discovery while there: Fish Cakes.

    As to reading:

    Neil Gaiman’s “The Nancy Boys.” I read his (excellent) “American Gods” a couple years ago. This is a follow up to that one.

    And, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.” This is probably more diplomatic history than most people would be interested in, but I have learned a few things I didn’t know before. A good book to either skim or to read just before going to bed. After a few pages, it serves as a good soporiic.

  13. Dana Ames says:

    No travels; went to Hawaii to visit daughter & son-in-law last November. My book group is reading “The Lemon Tree” – story of a Palestinian family and an Israeli family who lived in the same house at different times, and how they came to know one another. Interesting if you want lots of detail, but too much for me. I need to find another to read alongside.

    I broke my left humerus in April; some pain, but it is mending, but Dr won’t let me drive yet, and that’s frustrating. Friends & family are helping. Hard to be weak.

    Dana

  14. My contemplation companion book this summer is Encounters with Silence, by Karl Rahner. Rahner was a master of the short form contemplative essay. In it, for those struggling with losses of loved ones or friends, I commend the essay “God of the Living.” I found it restorative.

    As part of course correction efforts marking my 60th year, I am reaching out (or back) to those — friends and the strained ones — I’ve not been in touch with for decades to tell them how much they meant along life’s journey.

    Have good summers all.

  15. Rick Ro. says:

    Reading…
    -“Sin of Certainty” by Peter Enns. Picked this up after reading iMonk’s blurb about it earlier this year. Great book. Dead-on in the idea that seeking knowledge about God in order to be certain about what we believe, then kinda becoming obsessed with that certainty, is actually counter to “faith” and “trust”.
    -“The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly. Picked this up on a whim at a used bookstore. VERY disturbing at times (loaded with horrific twists to common fairy tails), but wonderfully written, with an amazing ending in terms of growth in the main character, a boy who loses his mother to cancer at the beginning of the novel and becomes jealous of his father’s new wife and then an infant half-brother.

    Listening…
    -After re-watching the excellent Tom Petty documentary by Peter Bogdanovich (“Runnin’ Down a Dream”), I’ve been cycling through some of Tom Petty’s works (“Into the Great Wide Open,” “Full Moon Fever,” et al). It’s reminded me of what a great songwriter he is, and also reminded me the great musicianship of the members of the Heartbreakers.

    Watching…
    -If you like your humor “dry and British”, I HIGHLY recommend both seasons of Mackenzie Crook’s “Detectorists,” about a metal detecting club in a small town in England. Great characters, great dialog, GREAT acting. Six episodes each season, so easy and quick to “binge” watch.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > “Detectorists,” about a metal detecting club

      That sounds awesome!

      Thanks for the recommendations.

      • Rick Ro. says:

        You’ll love it!

        Hopefully this isn’t a spoiler….

        …but I could watch the final 5 minutes of the last episode of Season 2 over and over and over again. It’s a great moment in the show, with absolutely WONDERFUL acting by the three actors in the scene. Each person’s reaction is just so gosh-darn REAL!

    • Christiane says:

      I’m in.
      I’ve located it on ‘youtube’ and am well into the first episode of Season One. Thanks, RICK.

      As for my recommendations, they range from tawdry to well-done historical drama. I adored ‘The White Queen’ series on amazon prime video, and of course it’s the ‘tawdry’ but oh so well acted. Quite a romp and, heads up, violence is graphic.
      And for the ‘well done’ I can recommend ‘Wolf Hall’ also on amazon prime video. Very powerful acting. And the producers worked to get it as authenticly styled as they possibly could, right down to the costumes, the lighting, and the settings. It’s brilliant.

      If you can handle it, netflix ‘The Peaky Blinders’ turns out to be an extremely well-done series, but VERY violent.

      For just plain fun, netflix has ‘Doc Martin’, the series. The characters!!!! Even the town is one of the characters.

  16. Listening to an Audiobook version of “Foolishness To The Greeks” by Lesslie Newbiggin. It’s based on a series of lectures he gave at Princeton back in the 80s. A really great perspective on Christian engagement with our pluralistic western culture. He was both Oxford-trained but lived as an anglican bishop/missionary in India for 40 years, so he’s an insider with an outsider’s perspective.

  17. StuartB says:

    Are conservative positions, for lack of a better word, “natural”? Would someone naturally arrive to most conservative positions without an outside influence guiding them to it, or a pressing need to retain something as is?

    • Rick Ro. says:

      I think conservative positions can happen organically aka “naturally”. I consider myself fairly conservative, and I don’t think I’ve been brainswashed by outside influences.

      And I guess a counter thought to your supposition would be: are liberal positions any less influenced by outside guidance…?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Is it possible for a human being to be devoid of outside influence?

      • Christiane says:

        I have learned to watch FOX’s Megyn Kelly, and also to watch MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow.

        Influences? Not to worry. Here’s some helpful advice:

        ” To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius. Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the universal sense; for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost,—— and our first thought is rendered back to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment. Familiar as the voice of the mind is to each, the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is, that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men but what they thought.

        A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another. ”

        (from Emerson’s essay, ‘Self Reliance’)

    • Good question. If you think of “natural law” as “the rules an constraints placed upon me if I were living alone as a hermit”, then the libertarian position is most natural version of this, and the hermit or “mountain man” is the most extreme manifestation.

      As you come into contact with others, the next logical step in law is the compromises necessary to optimize individual liberty. These are often referred to as “negative rights”: keep your hands off my property, don’t tell me how to live my life. Much of the american founding documents were based on these concepts.

      Over time, there has been an evolving concept of “positive” rights, the things that we as a society might owe to each other: clean drinking water, universal education through the 12th grade, health care, etc. there is s sliding scale with socialism/communism at a far end.

      Conservativism, in a philosophical sense, is not naturally/rationally deduced from either libertarianism or socialism. It occupies an uneasy middle ground, looking back towards tradition and history for additional guidance. “History is thee democracy of the dead” is a philosophically conservative statement. Based on history, conservatives believe in slippery slopes and unintended consequences. Sometimes this makes us out of step with times or on the “wrong side of history”. On the plus side, it prompts more self-reflection and than the kind of progressivism that only asks, “OK, what’s next?” without observing consequences of previous actions.

      As someone who is generally conservative, I wish I could say my position was “natural” in an enlightenment rationalist sense; but I’m afraid it is more of a pre-modernist approach.

  18. David Cornwell says:

    At the present time I’m reading two books, one nonfiction; the other fiction.

    The first is America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, by Andrew J Bacevich, who was a commissioned officer in the US Army for twenty-three years, and has a Ph.D in Diplomatic History from Princeton. His thesis follows basically the following, found in A Note to Readers at the beginning of the book:

    I should state plainly my own assessment of this ongoing war, now well into its fourth decade. We have not won it. We are not winning it. Simply trying harder is unlikely to produce a different outcome. … Yet only by remembering and confronting what we have largely chosen to disregard will Americans be able to choose a different course.

    My question is this: will we? From the election choices before the United States, I doubt it. We will continue to do more of the same, regardless of the continued failure.

    The fiction is a Scandinavian thriller entitled The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis (and translated into English of course). I’ve learned to love the Scandinavian style crime story.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > My question is this: will we?

      No. I don’t see anyway that will happen in the short term.

      in ~20+ years? I am more hopeful. Infrastructure decay in the USA will become a undeniably critical issue and Millennials will solidly be in mid-life – they won’t be willing to pay for it anymore. Then it will stop.

      The only way to shutdown our military policy [which borders on hooliganism, IMO] is to defund it. I am confident that will happen in the long term.

      • David Cornwell says:

        The root cause in the beginning was oil. We are becoming less dependent on it over time. However there are two intermingling causes of continuing war. One is the recruiting to radical Islamic causes (such as ISIS) of young people by our occupation/acts of war. Whole generations are growing up into this anti-American radicalism that feeds on hatred of Americans. Drone warfare is a great enemy recruiter.

        The other is the same old military-industrial complex that employs so many in our country, and makes so many others rich. The armed forces are told they need the latest and best, and we give it to them. This is popular politically in both parties and is part of “support the troops,” at least until the get home and become depressed, sick, and suicidal.

        • Robert F says:

          Sadly, one of the items I read in the news tonight was about the skyrocketing suicide rate among American vets since the turn of the millennium. Perpetual war: the dream of militarists, the nightmare of soldiers.

          • David Cornwell says:

            Very sad indeed. I have a grandson, very intelligent, who is in the Marines. He has about a year left until he’s discharged. He can’t wait. He joined mainly because he can receive educational financing for college after getting out. He’s a good student, already accepted in U of Indiana, but will also apply to Notre Dame and maybe another one. He wants to go into law enforcement. Right now his unit is sea based and probably moving into some very dangerous areas before the tour is over. He is very sensitive, and I’m not sure he can handle what modern war entails.

            It grieves me that young people need to go this route to get an education. It’s not that I’d be against him fighting for our country in a war that is truly justified. However I’m personally right on the line between a Mennonite kind of pacifism and being for just war, understood in a theological sense. Being old, this is physically safe for me. Spiritually it leaves me unsettled.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      My question is this: will we? From the election choices before the United States, I doubt it. We will continue to do more of the same, regardless of the continued failure.

      And it goes on in blood and treasure until the resentment builds to “I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!” and we solve the problem permanently with tritium-boosted plutonium and lithium deuteride.

  19. I will have to read, Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering by Ronald E. Osborn, as this has been one of those questions that I hope to ask God directly some day. Just sorting things out. Maybe it will not resolve those questions for me and leave me wanting. However, this is the first book that I have heard of that even attempted to address the questions.

    As far as travels, I spent the month of January in Malta as a kind of mental rehab. I closed a medical practice for good (to avoid bankruptcy) after five years the day before and used the business frequent flyer miles. I was exhausted after working seven days a week, about 12 hours a day most days being overwhelmed with patients (it is nuts trying to start a small medical practice under the Affordable Care Act — Days as no one will pay you for your work). In Malta I lived in a poor, run-down, but ancient stone flat on the sea (air B&B). It was a glorious time of sipping coffee among fishermen working on their boats, reading and writing.

    When I go to a country like that, I totally immerse myself in books of their fascinating history. I relived the battle for Malta 1565 (my flat was part of the old wall of the castle where the battle was fought). Ironically it was the time and place that many thought the great war between Islam and Christianity had been settled. I returned to the states to be flooded by hate-Muslim talk by my evangelical friends who were saying, as they did in 1565, “the Muslims are coming to take our babies!”

    • I just checked out your new site and new blog, Mike. Glad you’re writing. I’ve missed you at your Christian Monist blog.

  20. Christiane says:

    some thoughts about summer reading:

    I keep it light for the most part: summertime is re-reading John Updike novels (my favorite is ‘Marry Me’), wintertime is reserved for re-reading all of Jane Austen while wrapped up in blankets, drinking tea or cocoa, or my beloved coffee;

    found an old copy of ‘The Greenlanders’ by Jane Smiley. Loved it!

    and of course, anything by Rumer Godden will always have my heart

    • Robert F says:

      That’s the first time I’ve ever heard Updike referred to as light summer reading! He does have a wicked sense of humor and a finely tuned feel for farce. I especially like the by turns bawdy and theological A Month of Sundays, though Roger’s Version has some of the same virtues, and vices.

      • Christiane says:

        John Updike is VERY naughty. And I heard that ‘Marry Me’ is part autobiographical.

        but he is a master of the turn of phrase that catches you unawares and leaves you quietly amazed, so I count him for a literary person, even though he is ever so elegantly ‘naughty’

        it’s like Updike set out to SELL his naughty books to make money, but his literary talent just kept showing up, and showing up . . . . and something about that fascinates me

        he had the ability to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse, just with the grace of his wording and his imagery

        • Robert F says:

          He definitely believed in the Incarnation, and incarnation. He refused to turn his authorial gaze away from the erotic; for him to do so would have been to falsify the embodied reality of human experience. But he treated the erotic, along with politics, religion and everything else, with winking humor; that was his way of making sure we all knew that he wasn’t taking any of it too seriously. That was why, as graphic as he could be, he never veered over into the pornographic.

  21. Worked my woodpile up to roughly three cords today in 90 degree heat, which I’m hoping will be enough to get thru a normal winter. The game plan is to get another two cords cut, split, and stacked this summer, or three more if I can do it, this as a reserve if it’s a hard winter or as money in the bank for next year if I don’t need it this winter. Last winter I didn’t start cutting wood until fall and I was out working the wood in the snow all winter. Don’t try this at home.

    I read about all of your extended traveling from armchair perspective. Today I traveled to Evart, about twenty miles away, where they sell real gasoline for my chainsaws. When I have to make a food run, it’s 25 or 30 miles. That’s about as far away as I want to go these days, tho recently I did manage a 70 mile trip up north to see an old friend from high school, and an 80 mile trip to Grand Rapids to cut up a big fallen branch for a friend.

    I don’t envy you folks at all out there in the supposed real world. I remember it well but am glad to be removed from it, and more and more glad as time goes on. Cutting wood takes half my time and energy these days, the other half too much taken up with taking care of an 18 year old cat and 16 year old dog who both seem determined to live forever, or at least until I learn to stop complaining about it. This weekend I will put in time with the local historical society museum during the annual festival in this village of 250. My memories of Missoula are of being invited as a stranger to a wedding celebration in the city park back in the 70’s , and scoring an ounce of weed in the process. As usual, I don’t seem to be in the same box as most.

  22. Robert F says:

    I’m rereading Georges Bernanos’ Monsieur Ouine, a tale about the decay of Europe as played out in the possession of a mid twentieth century rural French parish by demonic forces embodied in the eponymous anti-hero, “a retired professor of languages”, a figure at once pathetic and chilling, a collector of human specimens.

  23. Shameless self promotion alert: If you need something to listen to, I have released a CD of mostly original songs done acoustic/bluegrass style. It’s called “The Eyes of Yesteryear” by Debbie Durant, and it’s available on CDBaby.

    Half the originals are ‘gospel’ or would pass for that on a gospel radio show. The others deal with real stuff I or someone I know have been through. I hope they can make you think while not wanting to turn the music off.

    I have set the online player to play the full versions of all the original songs, so you don’t even have to buy it – but I won’t dissuade you if you want to help cover the costs. I have the lyrics on my website, if you are interested. Thanks for letting me post this.

  24. Robert F says:

    I’m revisiting Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps. American history and biographical confession all rolled up together; I listen to it, and I think it could’ve been made in this grotesque and absurd election cycle as easily as the mid-70s.

    They were hiding behind hay bales
    They were planting in the full moon
    They had given all they had
    For something new

    But the light of day was on them
    They could see the thrashers coming
    And the water shone
    Like diamonds in the dew…
    Neil Young, “Thrasher”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t00MXZKbW0M

  25. Dan from Georgia says:

    Listening to? Well, I have to warn you all, my playlist is not everyone’s cup o’ tea. You have been warned.

    Also, absolutely NO attempt is being made to impress anyone with a list of esoteric, under-the-radar bands/musicians in an attempt to prove how “hip” I am. I am not hip. I just like what I like.

    Tiesto
    Solarstone
    Aly & Fila
    Blue Murder
    Iron Maiden

    The first three are dance/trance music acts, and the last two are hard rock. OK, so a few of those are kind of under-the-radar, but I still claim that I am not trying to be hip or cool.

  26. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    I’m posting this from my writing partner’s church office in rural Pennsylvania.

    Near the end of my annual East Coast jaunt; first AnthroCon in Pittsburgh, then the week after visiting my East Coast contacts. (Including consultation re some online gamezine articles & SF writing.) Was going to try to see Dee of Wartburg Watch and Eagle, but Dee’s MIL has bad cancer and the only day Eagle could get up to PA to see me is the day I’m flying home.

    • It’s a shame that didn’t work out, but probably safer for the rest of us. Getting you three together would have caused a seismic shift.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Still a possibility next year; I’ll make sure to spend a Saturday over there so at least Eagle can come up from D.C.

        And I discovered halfway through the week that BronyCon in Jersey was the weekend after AnthroCon in Pittsburgh. If I’d known that in advance, I’d have been tempted to attend both, but I don’t think I’m that crazy. Yet. (At 60, you start looking over your shoulders for the Langoliers and want to take in as much as you can.)