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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mushrooms




Background Images for Everyone - 2015 - Week 23

This is for you - a free background image.  You can download it and use it where and however you like.  I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others that you found it here.

 photo Week 23_zpsnilgarfo.jpg

Saturday, May 30, 2015

We Must Remember This when We Wake Up


It has been conclusively demonstrated through repeated controlled experimentation that sleep is necessary for the formation of a perfect and happy land. (This is all but a given in our present age despite what the liberal educrats are saying on university campuses.) But researchers at the Drusba Laboratories in Dallas, Texas have discovered that we must stay vigilantly awake if we wish to receive a message-an extraordinary message-from the Lord. 

This has presented us with a great conundrum: Should we sleep and preserve the sacred land our forefathers and soldiers died for or should we remain awake for new and glorious revelation?

We have become confused. We must think further on this. 

A QUESTION: How can we describe new baby bones?
A PREDICTION: Basic plant life and animal forms will appear abruptly in the stream of consciousness without our hearing. 

Please allow us to enjoy the music of the spheres. We will listen to (but not hear) other people’s ideas. We will impugn the integrity of others–this is an important part of our predictions in these last days. Admittedly, it is not wise, but we have been hurt and it has been hard to get along without a working office and a functional zoning board. And now our heartbeats are at rest.

It is not our purpose to convince unbelievers. They are not now, and never have been, our concern. Instead, we must focus all our attention and (more importantly) all our monies on winning a coalition of 51% of the open seats in congress; it is the only way to secure more research funds.


Now rest easy and let your blood circulate freely. We expect to find a transition between the here and the now, but we need more sleep! We can’t do anything except keep awake, to take in more oxygen. We already know how to create a functioning model of circulatory system; now we must stretch our muscles. We must study and experiment on animals. We will discover and predict strange new mysteries. We will. We must! Once we discovered literally billions of dreams-amazing passages into the further on, but that was long ago…

We must remember this when we wake up! 

Saint Jude Speaks for Us


Judas (no, not that one)
had little to say through the gospels,
but when he spoke-to ask a question-
he spoke for us, the desperate and the lost.



you can see him again here and here

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Haiku – May 29


imperious pips
from a scarlet flash
within green branches


Thursday, May 28, 2015

After the Rain

After the rain, when the sun comes back through the clouds, water droplets will sparkle on the tall grass.   I used one of my homemade filters in these shots




He Felt the Glory, but Did Not Understand


He sat alone in the scrub grass and flowering weeds on the side of the hill. Further up, at the crest of the hill, was County Road 29; a metal guard-rail curved between the edge of the blacktop and gravel and the steep slope. Below him was the rocky shoreline of Cedar Lake. Men fished there sometimes, with their coolers of beer and lawn-chairs. But not today. Today a storm brewed over the waters. 

Already the wind was whipping the weedy plants around him on either side. He could smell their green and yellow scent, of pollen and spring, mixed with the ozone smell of thunderstorms. Out over the lake, heavy metal clouds hovered, silver grey-blue, like cobalt. He wondered for a moment how clouds so heavy could stay up. And then a thundercrack rocked the sky, jarring him. His teeth clamped down on his tongue and he yelped in pain and surprise. He spat and saw a bit of blood mixed with his saliva.


He’d come out on Country Road 29 on his bike, which was still where he left it-at the top of the hill, this side of the guard-rail. Now he wished he’d worn a jacket. Even if he ran up the slope and rode back towards home, he knew he couldn’t outrun the storm. And what was at home anyway? Nothing. Loss. Emptiness. He was going to be soaked and he didn’t care. At least, he told himself he didn’t care.

Thunder cracked again, not the sky-splitting, deafening, end of the world, apocalyptic boom as before, but loud and darting, seemingly without a center, without a point of origin. It came from all directions at once, from everywhere and nowhere, rumbling across the lake, echoing back and forth, up the hillside and down into the depths of his soul. A few small stones, loosened by the wind and the rumble, skittered down the hillside.

“What?” he asked, looking out over the white capped waves on the lake. “What do you want to say?”  He wasn’t sure to whom he was speaking. Was it God? Himself? The World? The great Whomever? It didn’t matter, only the wind answered him. Trees along the shore waved and shook in the gusts; leaves fluttered, battered in all directions. Some were carried up, others circled in fierce, demented eddies. And then the rain began to fall in hard stinging drops. “Tell me!” he shouted.  And the rain became a roar.

Lightning ripped through the darkened sky. And again, fiery flashing forks stabbing down from the clouds. A bolt ripped through a copse of oaks, mixing a shower of sparks and smoke with the falling rain. A thick branch fell to the ground, smoldering.

He should have been afraid. He knew that.  Somewhere deep in the primitive, limbic-system part of his brain, in the lizard-brain responsible for feeding, and fighting and fleeing, he knew that he should have been terrified. He was exposed. Vulnerable. Thunder bellowed from the sky, but he did not flinch.  Lighting struck again and again, but he didn’t even shiver. He stood up. His clothes were soaked through with rain, his hair matted down in disarray. He wiped the water from his face and raised his arms. “There is glory here!” he shouted. “Glory!” He felt it, but did not understand.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Afternoon Moon

A view of the waxing gibbous moon on a late afternoon / early evening in May.

Dr. Tarrec’s Free Weekly Horoscope #18


Aries – The Analytical Mechanics, (those of German School, anyway) have adjusted the figures and recalculated their projections. According to the new charts, NOW is the time to “come up hither.” They said that you would know what this means.

Taurus – Clever lawyers may twist things around so that the truth of my words is circumvented, but seven disarticulated human feet have washed ashore in British Columbia. The lesson of such practical political action should be obvious, even to such cretins among the legal profession.

Gemini – The magnetic housings have failed. Micro-singularities and electrostatic vibrations are seeping through the breech. An electron injection into the manifold may alter the universal mass enough to effect the Cesium Clock. If not, the guilty party will accuse someone else of it all.

Cancer – The Sea of Trees is full of ice, ice and fog, ice and fog and the bodies of those who have taken their own lives.

Leo – In 1997 the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) detected and recorded an extremely powerful sound. Though it was not reported to the press, the sound was traced to a remote location in the south Pacific, off the coast of South America, just as H.P. Lovecraft said it would be.

Virgo – If you can replace another four to five hundred of your opponents with pro-family activist clones during the next lunar cycle-and every year following-then the European-Mediterranean Empire and its supreme dictator, the AntiChrist, will come to power.

Libra – It’s true. It’s all true, and you’ve always known it. Cats DO use a form of mind control to get what they want. They are capable of sending bioelectric signals through the anarchic ether to compel you to do their bidding. You know it to be true. They know that you know it to be true, and they are unconcerned.

Scorpio – There are skeletons moving in the dark; nightmare corpses in motion, threatening our elected officials. For the life of me I cannot see this as cause for an ethical dilemma. 

Sagittarius – Few scientific reports are ever published about the slimy mass that covers the lakes and streams of West Virginia. The evidence (what little there is) is removed or destroyed before reputable scientific investigators have a chance to study the ooze. And just who is responsible for this? Who has covered up the truth, and blinded us to what is really going on? It is none other than the prime-movers behind the globalist dream, the very ones who have divided the world into ten spheres: The Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderbergers, and the Club of Rome.

Though we can only speculate about the origin of this mysterious mucus, I am convinced that it is an extra-dimensional intrusion into this world. For the love of God, man, don’t eat it!

Capricorn – In recent years our shock and horror at dry wit and ghost stories has given way to a new complacency. We read about phantom ships and lost children, and remain casually unstirred. We are not haunted as our ancestors were, but we are not safe. New spectral creatures will pierce through our incredulity.


Aquarius – Immanuel Velikovsky saw worlds in collision; he was witness to the accident. Herodotus, the 5th century B.C. Greek philosopher, too, saw the whole thing. But no one reads their works in these days.  This is the great shame of our generation. 

Pisces – You should be seeing black triangles of various shapes and sizes hovering motionlessly, noiselessly in the air above you. Consult your optometrist if you are not. 

Damndest Prayer I’ve Ever Heard



Four year old Abigail, freshly bathed, towel dried, hair and teeth brushed and now dressed in her favorite pink kitten pajamas sat bouncing on the corner of her bed.  “Are you ready to say your prayers?” her grandfather asked. 

“Yep,” Abigail giggled and bounced a little more.

“I mean it, Abby.  You say your prayers and it’s time for bed.  No more play time.” She grinned and continued to bounce on the mattress. “All right then,” said Grandfather, “let’s get to it.”

The bouncing stopped; the grin disappeared.  Abigail closed her eyes and solemnly said her prayer:  “Dear God, I love Mommy.  I love Daddy.  I love Grandpa and Mammie.  I love Buster-dog.  I love Ms. Kirk and my school.  Amen.”

Grandfather-who hadn’t closed his eyes during this brief litany- looked at her suspiciously.  “That’s nice, Abby, but say your prayers so you can go to bed.”

Abigail looked confused. “I did say prayers.”

Exasperated now, Grandfather stood up.  “Fine. Fine.  It’s time for little girls to be in bed and sleeping.”  He tucked her under the covers, retrieved her plush bird (named Dinkins) from the floor and kissed her on the forehead. “Go to sleep, little girl.”

He turned off the overhead light, turned on the small nightlight and closed the door.  In the darkness of the hallway he stood for a moment and said, “Damndest prayer I’ve ever heard…” and then went downstairs to watch the news. 

Blue Glass (Abstract Photography)



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Iris

This Iris was growing up in the back yard.



And, while we're on the subject of Iris - you should pick up a copy of my friend, Kyle's, new comic book Iris.


IRIS BRECKENRIDGE, gold medal Winter Olympic athlete, has met an early and tragic end. A science and technology firm, BIOSTRONOMY, resurrects her by filling her body with nanobots—tiny microscopic robots repairing and replacing every broken and damaged cell in her body. These nanobots also have a knack for making her stronger than ever—more powerful every day. IRIS now faces an uncertain future. Given a second chance at life she never thought she would need, IRIS faces a world convinced her body is a piece of technology BIOSTRONOMY believes they own. IRIS searches for meaning and uses for her growing physical strength, encountering difficult questions of faith along the way. She is a woman once dead, but alive again—however unnaturally. What debt does she owe and to whom? And what of her soul?

Blue Water Lily Extract (A Note from Dr. Tarrec)

My friend Dr. Tarrec left the following note for me today:

My Dear Jefry,
This came for me, but I am highly allergic to all forms of Lily extract.  Perhaps you would be interested?

P.L. Tarrec

Dear Valued Customer,

Your free shipment of liquid Blue Water Lily extract is waiting for you.  It is a bitter thought to think that you may be letting this experience pass you.  The Egyptian Lotus is more than a party flower.  It can reveal the coded messages of your subconscious mind.  It can brighten your breath. The mild psychoactive properties of this spiritual flower are especially reactive to sensitive people such as yourself. You don’t want to close your eyes to this very special offer.

Or perhaps you are waiting to hear the sophisticated call of Viper’s Bugloss – the cerulean blue song that can relieve a variety of human health problems.  Discriminating customers know that this flower is highly praised by the  Asû. This evening primrose is swell, but you must call. And call soon, before the blood thins and ambitious dreams are lost in the ticking clock.

Are you really willing to risk the horrors that follow driving on a toll road?  Are you wearing a green dress? Are you still hunched over the counter? 

This invoice has been sent repeatedly. But you still have not responded. Please service your debt in the shortest possible time. Time is acute.


God’s will is in your life. The invoice can be downloaded here.

The Rain Has Stopped



Monday, May 25, 2015

Hover Fly (Allograpta)

It is, I believe, a Hover Fly and not a bee or a wasp.  Hover Flies take on the appearance of bees and wasp to avoid predation.  They are beneficial in two ways:  as pollinators and they eat aphids (which damage other flowers and crops).

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Background Images for Everyone - 2015 - Week 22

Here it is, just for you, another free background image.  It's yours to download and to use in whatever way you like.  Use it at home, work, school, church, on the International Space Station, wherever. I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others that you found it here.

 photo Week 22_zpslu2rhqlt.jpg

Cornflower

"It must have been Tuesday. He was wearing his corn-flower blue tie..." - Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk

Memorial Day Parade


If we must have a Memorial Day parade, as it seems we must, then let us do it right.

There should be no marching bands in this parade; we will not play boisterous Sousa marches. Play only dirges on wailing bagpipes and somber, heavy drums. And no cheerleaders or baton twirling drum majors. This is not a day for flash and dazzle. This is not a day for cheers. If there must be flags, then let there be only one-at the head of the procession.  Everyone else will hang plain black bunting.  Have no floats, no fire trucks, no waving beauty pageant queens smiling from the back of red convertibles.  Do not throw candy, confetti, or ticker tape. 

Let the parade be a solemn procession of those who called for war, those politicians who sent our boys and girls to fight and die.  Let those leaders walk down Main Street with their heads uncovered.  Let them parade through town dragging the boots and helmets of those who died.

And let them ask for our forgiveness.

A Blessing for Pentecost Sunday


Come vociferous wind,
come rushing into us;
bring burning tongues
of sacred flame
that we might speak
the holy name.

May we burn-and burn bright.May we speak-and speak true.

May God’s spirit, holy and just

fill you, fill me, fill us
with the power to do what is right,
move us to motion,
and carry us up in the divine wind
that makes all things new.

And, as we have gathered here,
united in one Lord and one Savior,
may we go out now, scattered to our separate ways,
let us go in one Spirit,
united in the language of love.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

More Cardinals

These cardinals hung out in my backyard all this afternoon - along with a couple of robins, but I don't like robins; I think they're ugly birds.  I shared another photograph of a cardinal earlier this morning.  It was probably the same male - but there are at least two others that I can see further down in my neighbor's yards.  I don't know how territorial they are...





Cardinal in the Yard



Friday, May 22, 2015

Glassware Columns

I arranged several rows of glasses with a mirror behind them, and another above them, then lit them with an ordinary light bulb and a hand held flashlight.




Biblical Haiku: Acts 2: 1 – 4


what howling wind
could fan such flames as these
we burn and speak

Saint Francis Under the Leaves



From the Desert Unexpected


From the desert unexpected
came a Knight disarmed,
not unarmed, but one armed.

Said the Knight, “I’ve crossed the expanse
and now I’m asking
to serve this country’s king.”

The King with scepter and with crown
remained unimpressed,
and two questions pressed:

“What service could you offer me?
How could you be armed
when you have but one arm?”

And the court began to laugh,
they were held in thrall
as their jeers filled the hall.

Said the Knight, “Still I’d make my pledge.”
Said the Knight, “Right words
can wound as much as swords.”

Just then the Queen Mother spoke up,
“let us have temperance
and patient remembrance,

for our religion and our faith
is in charity,
kindness and clarity.”

Eight soldiers of the King did spurn
her words and did plan
to kill the one-armed man.

“He must not be allowed to live;
we will have revenge,
against him be avenged.”

The aged Hermit came inside
to give his counsel
to the royal council:

“This brave Paladin comes from God,
and what is missing
is not cause for your dismissing.”

Then one of the rebellious knights,
moved in his heart,
repented of his part

in the murderous plan to kill
the courageous Knight
in the dark, placid night.

The Bishop lifted up his arms
to speak a benison
upon this denizen:

“May the Lord of our bright heaven,
give this knight the words
to obviate our swords.”

The errant knights did seethe and burn
in anger and ire
to set their hate afire.

“Rejoin us,” they urged the Soldier
who’d repented of
his evil, turned to love.

But he refused to join their band.
They killed him outright,
the Queen, too, that same night.

And the one-armed Knight they murdered,
stabbed him while he slept.
For these deaths no one wept.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Flatulence is Funny 2


Pentecost day came with flames and noise;
if you’d like a display ask young boys -
but you might be chagrined,
they’re likely to break wind
and light their farts on fire. Stupid boys.

Acts 2: 1 - 4

Flatulence is Funny 1

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Hate Jr. High Band Concert Audiences



My 8th grade son had a band and choir concert this evening. In attendance (and sitting directly behind me) was Gabby, who talked through every piece, and her husband Snot, who gurgled his sinuses along with the band. Also in attendance were the Giggle Twins (sitting a couple rows forward from us, but we could hear them through the entire program) Mr. I-Can’t-Find-My Loudly-Ringing-Cell-Phone, and the Elephant Children who tromped up and down the gymnasium bleacher steps. 

I like Jr. High Band concerts. I hate Jr. High Band concert audiences.

Biblical Limericks – Revelation 12


I saw a woman above the earth
clothed with sun, moon, and a crown of worth,
pregnant and crying out,
for there could be no doubt,
she was in agony giving birth.

And, behold, there came a dragon red
who spoiled to see that newborn dead,
but the child was taken
to heaven unshaken,
and the dragon tossed down on his head.

Then I heard a loud voice speaking true,
“Pardon and power have come to you,
for the adversary
can no longer harry
those who have, by Lamb’s blood, been made new.”


Dr. Tarrec’s Free Weekly Horoscope #17


Aries – Now is the time to publish that article, the one in which you claim that the Roman Empire is coming soon.  Publish or perish.  Publish and perish… it may turn out to be the same thing if you do not hurry.

Taurus – Your search for darkness may soon be at an end; you will find what you seek beyond the seven hills of the universe.  There the King has concluded his work.  Darkness and transparency are there.

Gemini – Should you ignore the sad French skeptics and social communists?  Should you appropriate the common market for your private use?  Should you turn your back on eloquence and stay in the drift?  You are a fool.

Cancer – A mind clouded with passion is prepared for religious breakthroughs, and for disaster through scripture.

Leo – The beast is stealing names -450,000 so far – and winning elections in New York.  It’s a grass roots uprising in the wilderness.  Here is a movement far more ominous than the things you complain about.

Virgo – I see a woman, a liberal woman, sitting on the memory of Ronald Reagan – but I don’t know what to make of it.  What do you think it means?

Libra – Peter the Hermit abandoned the army of God, deserted the soldiers of Christ when the famine grew severe. Perhaps he should not have raised this army in the first place.  Disaster comes through certainty.

Scorpio – Everything bold is blue again. Everything told is true again.  Aggressive consumers are a plague upon the planet and in all 50 states.

Sagittarius – I am not me when I’m sleeping.  You are not you when your dreams have been stolen.  If we feel weak, if we feel numb it is because we are overworked under ill lights, ill-luminated by false visions of glory.

Capricorn – The threats have fragmented-split and fractured along theological fault lines. It is a plague of churches.  Amen.


Aquarius – Shall I silent be? Shall the God of heaven be destroyed?

Pisces – All the urban legends have fled, a massive white flight from the city, a migration of middle-class fears from racially diverse downtowns to the far-west suburbs.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Say Selah in Praise of the Bomb


It was all well and good until the Turks started buzzin’ the airbase with their drones.  We launched a thousand strategic reconnaissance missions and ten thousand planes from Incirlik Air Base; we spied on the Soviets, spied on the Pakis, spied on everyone from there. But then we caught them doin’ us… Course we figured they had been, must have been; it’s what we done. When we netted one of their store bought, off the shelf, Chinese made drones rigged up with a cheap digital camera ordered through Amazon – well by Bomb!- it was all over then. All over but the shootin’, and the bombs.

The Bombs would fall, and did fall, and the Bombs will fall again. Praise Bomb!
Say Selah in praise of the Bomb.

Praise the fins that guide them true.
Praise the chemical reactions too.
Praise the spent-Uranium shell
that will surely blast our enemies to hell.
(Praise Bomb!)

A blaze of glory is a blaze of light and fire. Let the worlds burn and the holy Bombs fall. 
Hallelujah, drop the Bomb!

And Jin did use the Bomb against Song. Chinese alchemists could read the future in saltpeter’s purple flame. Genghis Kahn flung his Bombs into Iran, and the Arabs threw many iron balls, launched with thunder and with fire, the Christians were very afraid of them, as any member of the body that was hit was severed as with a knife, and the wounded man died afterwards because no chirurgeon could save him. But the Christians too, learned the secret of the Bomb. Now they have become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.

Praise the Dirty Bomb!
Praise the Bunker Buster!
Praise the holy Cluster Bomb!

Hail the Pipe and Stink Bomb!
Hail the Landmine and Bouncing Betty!
Hail the Molotov-Cocktail and the IED!

Praise Atomic and Neutron Bombs!
Praise Cobalt Bombs;

praise Cobalt Thorium G into the heavens!
Praise, ye saints and angels,
the Thermonuclear Blast Almighty,
now and forever,
worlds end – Amen.



Moonlight Lilacs

Proud Titania may be ill met by moonlight, but these lilacs look lovely.





Background Images for Everyone - 2015 - Week 21

Here is this week's free background image. It's yours.  Go on; take it.  Take it home and use it in any of your projects.  Use it where and how you will. I only ask that you share it freely and that you tell others that you found it here.

For those who may be interested in such details - this picture is the result of photographing a floral patterned, plastic tablecloth through the lens of an old dismantled slide projector.

 photo Week 21_zpscl6rogal.jpg

Ascension (Irregular, with Refrain)


This, the day when Christ ascends,
space and time around him bends;
through the clouds he’s lifted up.

Down from heaven condescends,
the grave and death, now transcends;
hymns of praise be lifted up.

And if we falter here
in our weakness and our sorrow,
still he will receive us.

All our error he amends,
lonely people he befriends;
let his name be lifted up.

And if we falter here
in our weakness and our sorrow,
still he will receive us.



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Beyond Our Apprehension


Still it’s beyond our apprehension
just how Jesus made his ascension -
without saying goodbye
he rose up through the sky,
carried to another dimension.

Acts 1: 9

No- The President Did not Condemn the Words of Jesus


It’s just a little word, just three letters, but it really means something when you see it sitting there in the middle of a sentence.  Ignore it, and you’ll misunderstand what’s being said. 

And.

A handy conjunction – it combines two separate things into one whole thing.  That’s a big responsibility for such a little word.

For example:  Earlier this week (May 12, 2015) President Barak Obama spoke about poverty at Georgetown University.  During his remarks he said,

“And so one of the things I’m always concerned about is cynicism.  My Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough -- we take walks around the South Lawn, usually when the weather is good, and a lot of it is policy talk, sometimes it’s just talk about values. And one of our favorite sayings is, our job is to guard against cynicism, particularly in this town.  And I think it’s important when it comes to dealing with issues of poverty for us to guard against cynicism, and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us and there’s nothing we can do -- because there’s a lot we can do.  The question is do we have the political will, the communal will to do something about it.”

Good stuff there, I think.  But the good folks at the Conservative Tribune are disgusted; they’re just sickened by what the president said.  In their self-righteous fury they claim,

“This latest statement both insults Christians everywhere — the largest group of charitable givers in the world — and exposes Obama’s abject ignorance of biblical teaching.”

When the writers at the Conservative Tribune quoted the president’s words, they emboldened the first part of the president’s phrase, ‘And I think it’s important when it comes to dealing with issues of poverty for us to guard against cynicism, and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us’ but not what followed, ‘and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us and there’s nothing we can do -- because there’s a lot we can do.’

They missed that little word “and” that joins those two bits together. 

President Obama did not “Openly and Proudly Condemn the Words of Jesus Christ Himself.”  He did not try to “correct Jesus on the issue of poverty.”  What the president did is condemn the cynical attitude would refuse to act against poverty because the poor will always be with us.  Which is exactly what the folks at the Conservative Tribune say this verse from Matthew 26:11 means.  

That little word “and” is small-just three little letters.  Maybe it’s easily overlooked.

Or maybe the good folks at the Conservative Tribune are just so committed to their rage, and to their perpetual disgust, and their contempt for the president that they can’t see when he gets it right.





Motion Blurs

I went out last night, before the rain, out to the side of the highway and took some pictures.  I let set the exposure time at 4 seconds and moved the camera around.  Usually you don't want to do this.  But when you do it on purpose... everything -the cars and restaurants, the storm clouds and gas stations - everything become a beautiful blur.




Photograph Motion Blur (panoramic) by Jeff Carter on 500px

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dandelion Root (not quite) Coffee

Photograph A Yard Full of Lion's Teeth by Jeff Carter on 500px
Dandelions are really quite versatile; the leaves can be eaten in salads, the plant can be brewed into dandelion wine, the stalks can be used to make rubber. And, as I've recently learned, a sort of coffee substitute can be made from Dandelion roots - rather like chicory, but with that weed that grows in everyone's yard.

I went out in the yard (and it should be noted, by the way, that the yard in this photo is not my yard...) and dug up the roots of what dandelions I found there.  I washed, chopped, roasted and ground them, and prepared to try something new.

The results are mixed.  I'm not entirely pleased. There is an interesting flavor here, but it's lost under a layer of bitterness. I'd add sugar, but I'm not sure that would be able to mask it.  I'm going to dig around a bit and see if I can't find out how to improve, and perhaps I'll try again.

My Gear (Photography)


Here is the photographic gear that I have.  It's not much.  Some of it I bought used.  Some of them were gifts from my wife or my brother.  Some of the filters I made myself.

Back Row - Super Albinar 80 - 205mm
-Promaster 100mm with 3x teleconverter
-Canon EF 75 - 300mm
-Wiko 100 -150mm (disassembled slide projector lens)
-Canon EFS 18-55mm
-Canon 28mm

2nd Row- Canon Rebel T4i
-Lens Baby Spark (selective focus lens)
-Super Takumar 50mm (this is my favorite lens)
-DIY Macro lens (made from a broken zoom lens)
-Macro attachment
-Small tripod


3rd Row -Lens Hood x2
-Neutral Density filters 2, 4, 8
-Intervalometer

4th Row- Diffusion filter
-UV filter (pretty much useless these days)
-Starburst filter
-Polarizing filter
-Spot filter
-USB cables

5th Row -Cleaning kit
-Multivision filter 
-DIY Bokeh filter (made from a sink drain trap)
-DIY Blur filter (made with shredded bubble wrap)

Not pictured - Large Tripod


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Recognition of Palestine Is not Antisemitism


It was only yesterday (May 13, 2015) the Vatican announced an official recognition of “the state of Palestine,”and already there are some calling this an act of Antisemitism.

Former Republican Congressman Allen West said:

“This is horrific. At a time when Islamic terrorists are slaughtering Christians — Catholics — all over the Middle East, for the Pontiff to recognize a terrorist organization — which is really, either Hamas or Fatah, they’re both terrorists organizations, it’s just the degree of the actions that they’re taking. This is unconscionable that he is doing that. And it just goes to show the level of propaganda success that the Palestinians have, and the level of disdain and antisemitism that there is out there; it is even coming from the Vatican.



But recognition of the State of Palestine is not Antisemitism. It’s not. This is not an opinion. This is not a value judgement. It's just a simple matter of using words properly.

The Arab people of Palestine are themselves Semites.

The words Semite and Semitic derive from the Biblical name Shem – one of the sons of Noah (Genesis 10:21) and describe any of various ancient and modern Semitic-speaking peoples, mostly originating in the Near East, including: Akkadians (Assyrians and Babylonians), Ammonites, Amorites, Arameans, Chaldeans, Canaanites (including Hebrews/Israelites/Jews/Samaritans and Phoenicians/Carthaginians), Eblaites, Dilmunites, Edomites, Amalekites, Turukku, Ethiopian Semites, Hyksos, Arabs, Nabateans, Maltese, Mandaeans, Mhallami, Moabites, Shebans, Meluhhans, Maganites, Ubarites, Sabians and Ugarites.

Notice that: Arabs are Semites. Recognition of the State of Palestine is not Antisemitism.

West (and others like him) may want to say that recognition of the state of Palestine hurts Israel, or hurts the Jewish people (both claims that can be, and should be challenged) but it is not–by definition–Antisemitism.

And, if I may go further, it’s not a bad thing for Christians, either, especially the 50,000 Christians in the Palestinian territories, 44,000 of whom are Catholic.  (Those numbers are from 2009)






Still Our Mother Breathes


Long, long ago, long before your father was born, before his father, and his grandfather’s grandfather, well before the clatter and clash of man’s clamoring and the noise of his wars, our Great Mother breathed. 

In one great breath she blew out the stars and suns that burn and shine across the boundless distance.  Then she inhaled and she was pleased. She exhaled again, and there came the earth, green and wet and full of life, birds in the trees and fish in the sea, cows in the field and beetles in the earth. Our Mother inhaled and she was pleased.

She blew out her breath a third time, long and slow, blowing over the surface of the earth, and there came men, and there came women, and laughing children, dancing and singing beneath the sun. She inhaled again and was pleased.

Then our Great Mother whispered one single word, and that is all.

Now there are some who say that the word was LIVE and they would have us understand the Mother’s blessing of life and health, heartbeats and respiration, and many pleasant days. And others say the word is LOVE. Them that say so teach that we should love one and all with our every breathing breath. And mayhap they’re right, both them that say LOVE and those who would say LIVE.

But when I am still and listen for that whisper on the wind, the word I hear is LONG for life is long and love is long and we long for both. Deep longings and deep breaths, and still our Mother breathes.


Wiko Blurs (Abstract Photography)

I made these photographs by shooting glassware inside a mirrored cabinet through a dismantled Wiko brand slide projector lens.



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How Did We Go from This, to Being Afraid of Offending Christians?

I saw this meme being shared by some of my friends on the Facebook.  


















And it bugged me.  So I created a couple of pics to share along with it. 


On July 27, 1996, Eric Rudolf set off a bomb at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta during the Summer Games, killing two people and injuring more than 100.  










Anders Behring Breivik – Norway’s Christian Terrorist killed 8 people by setting off a bomb in a van, and then killed 69 people at a summer camp.











On July 27, 2008, Jim David Adkisson walked into the Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee and began shooting people; two were killed, six others were injured







Dr. Tarrec Addresses the Jade Helm 15 Theories



Regular readers of this blog will know that I have a penchant for the conspiracy theory and the kook.  Give me Atlantis, give me the lost continent of Mu, give me energy pyramids and the Knights Templar. In the words of the blessed saint Zeddemore, "If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say."

So after hearing about the Jade Helm 15 military training exercises and the outrageous fear-mongering floating around Faux News and the paranoid Tea-Party corners of the interwebs, I decided to ask my friend, Dr. Tarrec, about it all.  Dr. Tarrec is my prime source of information in this sort of thing. He sent me the following response:

“Dear Jefrey,

In regard to your recent inquiry, I have to say that, for the most part, those who are spreading these stories about the Jade Helm 15 exercises are moonstruck and quite nonsensical.

However, one small part of their lunacy is grounded in reality: the tunnels under various Walmart stores are quite real.  I have even travelled through them, myself.  Gunsels paid by the Brotherhood of Games use them to smuggle large quantities of Aqua Vitae and Colcothar through hostile states.  But these tunnels are not new.  The Brotherhood of Games built them long ago, in the early years of the 19th century. 

Of course, with all the heightened scrutiny in the area, the Brotherhood of Games has, to use a phrase, gone underground, somewhat. 

By the way, did you receive the coded documents that I sent you?  I have been experimenting with a new hexafluorine based encryption device. 

Warmest regards to you and yours,
Dr. P. L. Tarrec

Biblical Limericks: In or Out, Jesus?


Which is it, Jesus? Help me, I’m vexed
by things that are written in John’s text -
first you’re not in this world,
then you’re not yet unfurled -
are you here or gone? I’m quite perplexed.



I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, even as I’m coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them in your name, the name you gave me, that they will be one just as we are one. When I was with them, I watched over them in your name, the name you gave to me, and I kept them safe. None of them were lost, except the one who was destined for destruction, so that scripture would be fulfilled.  Now I’m coming to you and I say these things while I’m in the world so that they can share completely in my joy.  – John 17: 11 – 13 CEB

Dr. Tarrec’s Free Weekly Horoscope #16


Aries – The ancient prophecies describe hastily made decisions within the halls of military power as well as disagreements and fist fights on the Senate floor. How will you get involved?

Taurus – The Knight will demonstrate his strength. He impresses the people, but remains unaware, oblivious of the infection that he carries. Follow the standard procedures for blood and body fluid clean up, but do not be overawed by the prestigious adventurer.

Gemini – A war is coming. Gogmagog! brings good omens but unsatisfactory returns. More than seven months wasted.

Cancer – The Queen is illuminated, her swords gleam, sharp and keen-witted. Is she an angel? Is she ill tempered? Approach with caution.

Leo – There is poison in the water. One cup brings love and friendship; the second brings 42 months, 1260 days of mystery.

Virgo – The wheel will turn, spinning fortune will be obeyed. Destiny will never be satisfied.

Libra – The soldiers of the Hierophant rattle their sabers. Five swords of destiny and six swords bring the stalemate of anxiety.

Scorpio – A friend is seduced and then buried in rapid succession, buried near a body of water.  Always near a body of water. This is how these things happen. 

Sagittarius – The Victorious Magician (you know who he is) will ride out of the enemy’s camp, leaving their tents in flames. 

Capricorn – Swear the oath of authority quickly, before the Emperor decides that he can find no discernible logic in your proposal. Swear, before it is too late! Swear!


Aquarius – The Gates of Thunder are open and Death clears away the old. Death makes way for the new. Soldiers attack their comrades; the bodies are left upon the mountain.

Pisces – The Nine Miseries of Carl von Clausewitz have emerged within the European Union. We are unstrung. This great shaking of blood makes new martyrs of bad men.

Background Images for Everyone - 2015 - Week 20

I failed to post this on Sunday afternoon, as I usually do.  So accept my apologies.  Here it is: your weekly (though somewhat delayed), free background image.  It's yours to download and use in any of your projects at home, work, school, church, or wherever. Use it where and how you will.  I only ask that you share it freely with others and that you tell them you found it here.

For those who may be interested, I found these plastic columns in a thrift store.  I assume that they're from a wedding cake. But what do I know?

 photo Week 20_zpsvvucdnux.jpg

Monday, May 11, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Dispensationalists Like To Say


Dispensationalists like to say
that Christians will be raptured someday-
but I think they’ve ignored
the last prayer of our Lord:
“I don’t ask you to take them away…”

John 17: 15

Punitive Insulting


Punitive damages and insulting words-
these are heralds of the destruction that is coming.

She thinks evil thoughts as time elapses,
will carry away silver and gold,
take great spoil,
just as the prophet declared.

She has no love for the logically or morally feasible,
and her lawyers corrupt the sacred benches of Texan courts.

Open wide the jaw and turn
as she drives an eight inch pipe down your throat.
Oil drilling is the inviolable standard of her court.

More is coming.
This is very clear;
you can be certain.

Punitive words and damaging insults
are symbolic of the deeper economic marvels that drive us.
We attach no moral significance
to the Three Trillion Dollars
spent on arrogant missiles.

So how will we deal with the problems upon us? 
The manufacturers will not help-
their products are sacrosanct;
the Market is our Goddess;
Democracy is her consort.


GOP Hopefuls Vie To See Who Will Lead Us to War the Soonest



Republican hopefuls spent the weekend trying to outdo one another in a bid to secure the GOP nomination for presidential candidate. 

“We know that America is strong” said Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.  “We know that we are the world’s single remaining superpower-but how can we prove it unless we have American soldiers involved in active military conflict?  I pledge to you that if I am elected president of these United States I will have American boots on the ground in Iran, or some other country in no less than six months after taking the oath of office.”

Not to be outdone, Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum chimed in to say, “Yeah, but I think we can do better.  The United States is strong and fast.  We act quickly and decisively.  As president I won’t dilly-dally.  I’ll see that we’re invading somewhere within three months after I set foot in the Oval Office.”

Former Texas governor Rick Perry jumped up to the podium and interjected, “Terrorist armies must be defeated with strength not words.  Elect me and we’ll be at DEF CON ONE within six weeks!”




A Backyard Offering


I come with milkweed
for the monarch of the moon
and golden sun flowers
for the king of heaven-
a backyard offering

oil for healing
and bitter boiled water
for the reduction of fevers,
true symbols of good luck
and nuclear disarmament

it is not much,
I know

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Jaguar (Wild Country Aftershave)

It's a vintage Avon aftershave bottle (Wild Country Aftershave) shaped like a Jaguar car - from the 1960s.  I lit it from below with the flashlight on my cellphone and from above with a handheld flashlight.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

I’ve Been Having that Dream Again


I’ve been having that dream again, the Benzene Ouroboros dream.  I am a snake head eating my own tail.  I wind round and round, racing forward faster, going nowhere.  And only now do I realize that the vibrations of Atlantis were a mistake; we were too eager, too confident.  We should have taken more time.  Now I have plenty of time for dreaming.  The killer was a civil servant before his motorcycle accident.  He cracked his skull on the pavement and the world went dark and cold. When he awoke, near a still unidentified body of water, he had visions of dancing atoms.  He saw the building blocks of the universe in a frenetic tarantella, lurching in 18/8 time toward the infinite.  He saw rings and circles and the crowns of kings.  And I’ve been having that dream again, the Benzene Ouroboros dream.

A Four Mile Walk and a Yard Full of Lion's Teeth

I went for a walk with my wife this afternoon.  I needed to return a few books to the public library, and I wanted to pop into the bike shop that's downtown.  But rather than drive and further exacerbate the problem of excessive CO2 emissions, we decided to walk.

I loaded my books - and the books my wife needed to return into my satchel, grabbed my camera and we set off.  The sun was out, the breeze was cool. Birds were singing. Rabbits were nibbling.

We forgot that the library closes early on Saturday afternoons.  But no worries.  We dropped the books into the night deposit slot and continued on our way.  But the bicycle shop here in Newton, Iowa closes early on Saturday afternoons.  In fact, pretty much the entire downtown area is closed by 2:00 Saturday afternoon.

So we walked home.  And it didn't feel (too much) like a wasted trip.

As we returned home, we passed this yard full of lion's teeth.  It was beautiful.  (Though the lady living in the house next to this yard did not agree...)  Did you know that rubber can be made from dandelions?


Friday, May 8, 2015

Buckeye Blossoms

My neighbor has this buckeye tree that blooms every spring.  The branches of the tree hang over the fence into our yard.

Lazy Cat


...because the internets is all about cats...




Thursday, May 7, 2015

Biblical Limericks: Ignore that One


If a man has a rebellious son,
here’s what the scriptures say should be done:
he should be stoned to death,
till he has no more breath…
so glad my father ignored that one.

Deuteronomy 21: 18 - 21

156 / 517




Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Maple Leaves (Slight Blur)






Biblical Limericks: The Naked Fugitive


One disciple managed to elude
the guards taking Jesus to the rood -
they grabbed at his linen,
he twisted, went spinnin’,
slipped from his clothes and ran away nude.

Mark 14: 51 - 52

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Milkweed, Sunflowers, and Compost

I'm trying something new.

I'm not much of an agriculturalist. I have a terrible track record with plants; I kill most of them. But I think that I'd like to do more. I think that I'd like to try growing things. This year I've planted some sunflowers and some milkweed in the backyard. The milkweed is for the Monarch butterflies, the sunflowers are for me. Now I'm waiting to see if they'll sprout. Based on my previous experiences, I'm not exactly hopeful, but ... we'll see what happens.

And I've also made a composting crate; going to try my hand at making some humus (don't confuse that with hummus...)







Dr. Tarrec’s Free Weekly Horoscope #15


Aries – All Evolutionary circles are moving toward armadillos and anteaters.  What are you waiting for? 

Taurus – Gravitational members of the Nuclear family have initiated volcanic activity in the dark.  Eruptions like this can be very dangerous if not properly ventilated. 

Gemini – Nebaddon the Irritating, Nebaddon the King of Crickets is sitting at the center of the Universe, where energy meets mass in a wild dance.  The Local Universe waits for him to come; it will hail him as the Planetary Prince – but only until his older brother arrives in a cloud of smoke.

Cancer –   Agabus has been killed, shot during field work in Prague.  Melchizedek is your new handler. Follow his instructions to complete your mission.  Do not deviate from them. Gabriel will monitor the transfer of funds and equipment.

Leo - I don’t have a horse, and my lantern is broken.  I cannot explain why you are hearing hoof-beats in the heavens and seeing strange lights in the sky.  Can you tell me more about the situation?  Describe the atmospheric conditions and your proximity to any ley lines.

Virgo – We have a number, but not a location, a symbol, but not a message.  We have heard gunshots in the night, but we have not been wounded.  Still, we must be careful.  Maintain your sensitivity.

Libra – The sun in a lightweight dealer in death rays, but we must show him respect.  He is the leader.  But the moon, the moon – she runs things.

Scorpio – Please refrain from gyrating in the nether regions; Hades is a family place.

Sagittarius – We are almost in the Valley of the Shadows as Dark as Death, a solitary, lonely place where no man dwells.  We proceed in dreams and in doubt, but still we proceed.  What wonders! What worrisome wonders!

Capricorn – The Reptilian Age, with full military honors, is preternaturally silent.  Everyone watches in horror, but no one speaks out.


Aquarius – The Age of Birds and Wires will come with fragility.  It will be fragile, but it will fly.

Pisces  – Compost and loam, worms and fungus.  These are blessings.  See them, find them, keep them, grow them.

Biblical Limericks: Unclean


A man lies with his woman, and then
he has an emission of semen-
now they are both unclean,
if you know what I mean-
that’s the word; can I get an amen?

Leviticus 15: 18

Outdoor Light Blur



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