Sunday, July 24, 2016


Up about usual for a non-preaching Sunday, there’s the waning moon up high. Northwest to southeast, a wide contrail stripes the sky, appears clear though’ve not yet been out. Three red lights flashing from my Bay chair, and if I lean a bit, my green light that winked at me from the house those years. And I do lean a bit to remember.

After our Saturday family supper, Seaboard Valparaiso 595 x 92, left port bound for Houston, general cargo. About a 29 to 32 foot draft, I wonder if she has to watch the tide for sailing —

Last evening the “paddlewheeler” Betsy Ann steamed by, well lighted up. We’ve generally seen her only in the north-south channel that turns right out here and heads north toward Hathaway Bridge, but this time, maybe someone’s birthday party cruise, in the east-west channel off 7H. My green light at her stern like in my own life; above her and farther away, a white light tops something at Tyndall. 

Today’s my brother’s birthday, 1939, Happy Birthday, Walt! Walter Gentry Weller. On Walt’s third birthday, July 24, 1942, we parked at the Standard Oil filling station that was where Tarpon Dock Seafood is now, and Happy came into our lives, a six or eight weeks puppy said to be mixed collie & shepherd. He was part of our family through my high school years. Walt named him Happy Birthday. 

Mind is suddenly flooded with the Happy years. Happy came into our hearts when WW2 was not quite nine months on for us, the summer before my second grade year at Cove School. Thinking back, Happy may secretly have known he was Walt’s and Walt was his, but he grew up with us and was ours. Never a house dog, Happy slept in the back yard nights, protection against my small boy trepidation about taking the garbage out evenings, to the garbage can way, way up back at the alley where woods began pitch black dark, and strange sounds. Feed Happy, mostly table scraps, and his water bowl was under the dripping faucet at the pump by the back door. 

Leaning to remember


Saturday, July 23, 2016

salvation in yahweh elohim?

… and I save them בַּיהוָה in Yahweh Elohim of them (Hosea 1:7)

We have a lovely Saturday morning, one of my favorite times of week. Come to think, it’s Sabbath, isn’t it, sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. 

Morning began not spectacular but nice. Just after seven o’clock we watched as two vehicles met and passed, tug pushing barges eastward came round the bend from Hathaway Bridge to meet barges being pushed westward, they met just off 7H porch. Standard rules of the road, I reckon, passing port to port. Think to be a tugboat captain in my next life, Linda seriously undecided whether to be ship’s cook. 

First lesson tomorrow is Hosea 1:2-10. I get it all but the phrase in verse 7, above. What means “I save them in/by Yahweh their God”? Somehow the meaning is in the context, the contrast set up in the thought “I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen — but by their Lord God.” Am I to understand that deliverance will come not by violence but by the Lord? I don’t know, I really don’t. What comes to mind is the Saturday matinee, Ritz Theatre, in the 1940s. Nine cents to get in, if I went with a quarter, I better gardenia well show up at home with a dime, a nickel and a penny or there’ll be heliotrope. In The Serial (as a small boy, never understood why cereal unless it had something to do with taking a tip from Tom, go and tell your mom, Shredded Ralston can't be beat) last week’s episode had ended horrifyingly chillingly as the little wagon train of frightened and doomed folk were suddenly attacked by hordes of Indian savages bent on massacre. This week’s episode backs up several seconds to begin, and we witness the attack, but just in time, to the sound of the bugle, down the hill ride the men in blue, U.S. cavalry, rifles firing, savages dropping like flies, riding away scared off, and we leap clapping, cheering, screaming. Saved. 

But that’s salvation by violence, isn’t it. In Hosea 1:7 violence seems ruled out. But if not violence, what? What then?

We can’t renounce violence; violence, war is our liturgy, our means of self identification, our national Being. Without violence we are not ourselves, not Americans, not American, not America. We will not really be Americans again until everybody pushes through the saloon swinging doors carrying a gun, a weapon, a firearm. We … If everybody carried a gun nobody would ever get hurt.

How to be saved if not by violent force. How, how does the Lord God save without violence? 

Friday, July 22, 2016

dream on

Cool (for July) 76F 87%, breezy, lightning off Shell Island, but iTitan shows storms far south of here and moving off and away over the Gulf. Black coffee and rationing orange dark chocolate, two chips. Good weather for walk this morning, along the Bay unless Robert wants to do Massalina Bayou. 

From his car collection, my friend Mike sold me his Model A Ford tudor sedan, black. 

With foot starter just above the accelerator, it started instantly and ran smoothly, gears shifted easily, and although I expected it to, it didn’t cut off when braked to a halt at stop signs. I kept it parked on the basketball court at Cove School. After the first tank of gasoline, I realized it needed leaded gas no longer available, so called Mike, who told me to pour a pound of lead powder into the gas tank with each refill, and I was wondering where to buy lead powder just as I woke up this morning.

Slightly waning moon is high in the sky, lovely over the Bay. Control tower at TAFB is off, so no sweeping lights white green white green white. Sounds below me, either a bird calling its mother, or a dog whimpering, or lovemaking on a balcony floors down. Or, might be people playing Pokemon, IDK.

Still lightning, too far away for thunder, beyond Shell Island directly south of 7H.


Thursday, July 21, 2016


In eighty years I never learned a damn thing by talking.

Yesterday was somehow a really bad day, comma for me comma, mind not working quite right with something in the background I couldn’t quite touch, a mood that kept coming and going before I could ID it and know what it was, repeatedly returning realization through the morning that I’d not yet written the blogpost that I count on to keep the brain working, music that once lifted happiness so stirring grief that I turned it off, at church prayers that took me where I couldn’t bear to be. Wednesday: an ineffable day, not going there again. Starting with reading several YogiBear-isms including that Yogi said he didn’t really say most of the things he said,  Thursday will be better despite the steamy day that hit me on rising at five o’clock for the second time, and stepping out onto 7H porch. 

And now this morning thinking I was being complimented by the word “literati” when in fact she said “litterotty” linking me and the areas around my chairs to the Charlie Brown character PigPen. Maybe the day won’t be that much better after all. 

But with black coffee a few flakes of chocolate with orange now doing the trick.

Up first at 0308 with Old Father Nature being ugly insistent, I stayed up and read online for an hour and a half. What I like about the internet age is that I can choose for myself what’s news instead of some television or newspaper moron deciding “here’s this morning’s news” or “here’s today’s news,” I can bloody well choose for myself what’s newsworthy. Not watching tv because the convention coverage makes me think I need an air sickness bag as the newest dynasty assumes the throne, heir presumptive and all the royals. But background articles on the Candidate are fascinating, both those against, who predictably make their point by pointing out that they are resisting using the word fascist or pointing to circumstances leading to its rise in Europe nearly a hundred years ago, and those in favor, which are more interesting. The Candidate is stirring feelings about issues that make Americans anxious about America including overzealous internationalism, jobs floating away and that not only that the person you reach on the phone with your technical question speaks indecipherable English with an Indian accent but also that everything in your house was Not Made In America anymore, that people who hate us and mean us harm are slipping in through the cracks, that we look around to see that we have lost control and that it’s unsafe to go the mall or even to the neighborhood bar and all this because those we elected and have been reelecting are not interested in us but only in staying reelected. What happened? People are angry, frustrated and bewildered, and the Candidate offers himself as the People’s retort to the Elite. As much like 1917 as 1923, it’s entirely understandable. But it won’t come off and nothing will change.

Time to take my car to the shop for its issue of the flashing light and dinging bell about the antilock brake system. Linda’s car has been to the shop several times but its air conditioning system still doesn’t cool worth a damn. 

Yogi Berra: the future ain’t what it used to be.

Sip of black and nibble of dark.

Moon again, in sky and sea. 20160721

Lightbulb: my father died 23 years ago yesterday, was/is that my problem?


Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Full moon setting before dawn

This is an incredible place to live, including at least once a week watching someone, probably tourist, who’s rented a pontoon boat run it aground in the shallows just outside my 7H window, off my porch. Yesterday one of the larger ships, Thor Fearless, 623 x 106 arriving with steel plate from Dunkirk. 

Progresso arrived this morning during my coffee time, smaller ship 326 x 55 with containers, she turn around in and out today and will be back in a few days. 

Another larger ship, Lauritzen’s LaVieEnRose 566 x 92 finishes loading wood pellets, outbound for Liverpool. 

Earlier we watched the larger Navy craft head out to sea, and as I type, a white U.S. Coast Guard cutter, white with the orange stripe forward, sailed by. Fine observation and lookout post, my 7H. 

Busy morning so far, things done and left undone, things arranged, including WOW! formerly Knology at M&K’s house to restore WiFi service, trouble may have been from the storm what, Monday. Things postponed including trip to dealer to have brake system serviced. As for the storm, I saw the term microburst, and its definition described what I watched up here and then stepped out into. Not the same as a straight-line storm of a dozen or so years ago.

Fate of the nation being sealed, perhaps in Cleveland even as my fingers dance the morning away.

Late to rise these days. Wednesday: Jewish scholarship on 1st Thessalonians, Greek, glass o’ red.

Had I known how retirement is, I’d have done it sixty years ago. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

BrainSquall - mother of all mind wandering

Monday afternoon’s sudden and extremely violent squall was the heaviest rain and wind I’ve ever experienced. It seemed instantly present following several loud thunder claps. I looked out into fiercely blowing white rain from Gulf and Bay with lightning and thunder, went on the porch to get the chair cushions then checked online iTitan for something aberrant, but only storms moving down from northwest, the wrong direction for a tornado.
Thinking to get a pic from the Beck side, I stepped out on— the bannister-railed walk overlooking the park is called a sidewalk here — into the most dangerous wind driven rain I’ve ever felt,

glad our front door opens into a closed space instead of onto the open balcony rail, but wind had burst open the door onto the open space where the air conditioning compressors are lined up, and driving rain and wind had taken over, slamming me against the opposite wall. At the end of the sidewalk looking out the east window beyond the roofline

I snapped a picture, but the weather was demonic, seemed bent on snatching my iPhone to keep its secret from being recorded. Thankful I was not against the open bannister rail, for a moment I could barely move, but managed to work myself back inside 7H, as soaked in the squall as if I’d climbed fully clothed out of the swimming pool.

My father, who was six at the time, always described to me, the wreck of the Annie & Jennie as having encountered a sudden squall with breakers that lifted her high, dropped her onto the sand bar, snapping her keel and breaking her up. January 1918, more than 98 years ago, yet comes to mind every single time without fail that I look across at Davis Point, and in yesterday’s squall I felt a sense of the total loss of control in the violence as Alfred was swept away. 

Writing yesterday’s blogpost [I never refer again to an earlier post, in particular whatever I said yesterday, because this is never a “series”] I was grieving that nothing can be done to stop the violence in the world and especially the bitter hatred that divides American from American anymore — apparently nothing can be done but president and others pontificating, “this has got to stop,” and I also have no answer except words, and feeling that anyone of age who does nothing about it is as culpable as anyone who brings a firearm to kill, and all I have is words and ungodly extreme draconian solutions, so must stick with words, thus yesterday’s nonsense. 

Mind still ranting, I see an empire beginning to crumble, paint flaking away, mortar breaking loose, chunks of concrete falling off. Of some city whose seemingly indestructible buildings did eventually crumble, I read that the concrete had been made with salt ocean water, eventually iron bars rusting to create open pores, structure weakening, in time giving way and collapsing. Where was that, I don’t remember. But I think it’s America. Racism, hatred, unreined greed, selfishness, a perverse and malignant "party loyalty" over the common good, political ineptitude and inaction, and that greatest of all sins, certainty, certitude. Thinking about the America I foresee but hope to not live into, I was reading about Edward Gibbon (History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire). Interestingly among other factors in the decline and fall, “Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for a larger purpose. He also believed that Christianity's comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers and British citizens of the age steeped in institutional anti-Catholicism, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious Dark Age.”* And the mind wandered off into soteriology, peculiar theologies of personal salvation that seem to have abducted Paul’s early apocalyptism of the dead sleeping in Jesus until the near-term eschaton, return of Christ to reign over the kingdom of God on earth. We love Paul but he was geocentric, and even his πίστις, certitude, call it faith, in the Second Coming seems eventually to have been shaken by ongoing delay and by deaths in his communities the churches. Over time, eschatological delay becomes Sleeping in Jesus which eventually gives way to the soteriological immediacy that Gibbon cynically slammed. Which is no longer pie in the sky bye and bye but showing up at St. Peter’s gate while the survivors are still gathered round the deathbed, priest intoning, may your resting place be this day in the paradise of God; may your company be His saints and angels, and may … With me, it isn’t lack of Paul’s πίστις, it’s having owned the telescope that Paul did not. 

Mind wanders, stream of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious flows unchecked and, worse, unedited, hanging out there to dry with the soaked to skin clothes I stripped off after yesterday’s squall.

looking out beyond the blue sky of +Time+

* pinched online

Monday, July 18, 2016

late -- no matter

Running through my head this morning, “Choral Fantasy on Nearer My God To Thee,” Karg-Elert, from yesterday’s worship service, calling up the Titanic orchestra playing on deck as some passengers crowd into lifeboats and untold hundreds more face freezing drowning as the ship tilts and slides under. A magnificent piece for a nation in the throes of a terrifying era in world and national experience and of a horrifying presidential election, let the reader understand.

We weren’t so noble after all, America, not as noble a nation as I grew up thinking, believing, knowing, being, all those years. I’m in the dangerous trap of despising the politician class, wanting them deposed, the lot of them; and worse than deposed, wanting to hear carpenters at work outside; but the slogan “make America great again” sickens me with dread and foreboding of what the perpetrators may have in mind. Truth, they have nothing in mind but stirring fear and hatred amongst the dull and the abysmally ignorant, if the shoe fits, …

Grow old along with me, the worst is yet to be. Every nation and empire — we have been an empire, finally hated from without, and not unjustifiably, with the most violent and consuming passions imaginable, and now fatally from within — has its time in history unto decline and fall. We could not have been brought down by external enemies, but collapse from within by insatiable greed and its fools; what great sadness, having begun when America was loved, to have lived into such an age and to fear for the young whom I love most in life and the world. They will not know, America will not be the same for them, and the make america great again slogan is the alchemy of those who know not and know not that they know not. God help us; but not helping, God has rather loosed scorpions.

UPS delivered my basket of summer fruit this morning, reading to end the summer: The Jewish Annotated New Testament. I’ve begun with According to Mark. Next, First Thessalonians

From outside: thunder claps