Tuesday, August 22, 2017

eclipse & war

Monday morning: visited HNES including first grade class of all girls whose classroom was my own first grade classroom over seventy-five years ago, OMG the love and joy. Monday afternoon: solar eclipse. Tuesday morning: clear and salty with a constellation in the eastern sky: Orion and Sirius over downtown Panama City.

Monday evening 9/8C. On constitutional grounds, every American citizen is as qualified as the next to agree or not, approve or not, every decision and action, thought, word and deed of our presidents, who despite their exalted office are neither more nor less human and/or qualified than the rest of us. One does not have to be - - fit  - - in order to approve or disapprove; even the lunatic fringes qualify. Qualifications don’t count, there’s no qualifying, no poll-taxische qualifying tax, no literacy-testische qualifying test, no drivers-licenseische qualified license. Fitness is not a factor. Nor need one be a television talking head on one politically biased channel or another. 

Watching, one couldn’t tell who wrote the Afghanistan strategy speech, couldn’t tell whether the speaker used teleprompters, but organized, collectedly, and sans wandering to exalt self, appeared not to use. 

What I approved. a. Apparently the Secretary of Defense was told early on that he has authority to increase troop strength, but told the president that he would not commit more troops until and unless and except it was in accordance with the president’s policy and strategy. Clearly, General Mattis is a professional who understands that defense forces are not the source of but an instrument of foreign policy. Knowing that one, singular, prime principle is basic to understanding the purpose of military strength, forces and power. Foreign policy is not made by military authorities or the Department of Defense but by the president. b. The president condemned micromanaging military operations from Washington and the White House as was done in the past, and pledged to leave management to military commanders on the ground. I know for fact from one who was there and had to suffer it, that any number of times, military operations were carefully scouted out, surveilled, planned, prepared, positioned and ready to strike decisively only to have to request White House permission to proceed and the president either forbade, or procrastinated until it was too late. As a person with somewhat of a military education and orientation, though I totally mistrust the present, I contemned that about the previous administration. c. There will be no more safe haven of fleeing across the Afghan border into Pakistan; this was clear and there were no waffle words about it. So enough; if hot pursuit policy and authority strains relationships with Pakistan, tough &c.

If there is going to be war, I want that foreign policy clear but its war prosecution commanded not by bashful, hesitant, waffling, reluctant civilians but by trained, experienced and qualified generals whose military objective is victory and who know how to achieve it. This in mind, perhaps in another seventeen years young Americans will not still be rotating into and out of and into and out of and into Afghanistan until they die there.

We loved yesterday’s solar eclipse, a success for us solely because of Holy Nativity Episcopal School! On the way home from staff meeting at the church office Monday morning, I stopped by HNES to check the status of a ceiling project, and while there was given two pairs of eyeglasses for watching the eclipse. They made all the difference: without them, Linda and I would not have been able to see a thing, but we stretched out on park benches in the green zone here at Harbour Village and took in the whole once in a lifetime event! Thank you!!!

My first solar eclipse, it would have been 1979, I had a window seat on the left side of an airliner going gokw. Before I started theological seminary, it was the first year of my Navy retirement phase of life and I was chasing American defense business for Australian or Canadian clients under what was known as “Offset Agreements.” With no eclipse eyeglasses, I punched a tiny hole in a card and held it over a sheet of white paper so the sun shone through the hole, and watched the image of the eclipse phases of the crescent sun on the sheet of paper. Not as wonderful as HNES students lying on Williams Field witnessing the eclipse through qualified sunglasses, but then nothing in life matches that, or being with them.

Top: eclipsing crescent sun reflecting in solar eclipse eyeglass frame
Next: looking eastward down W.Beach.Drive into predawn sky with Sirius and Orion
Middle: Linda ready to watch eclipse 2017 from park bench in Harbour Village green zone
Bottom: DThos+ holding camera down pointing selfie over shoulder at eclipsing sun, with sun's crescent showing in my HNES eclipse eyeglasses

One more:


Monday, August 21, 2017


Solar Eclipse Day, seems to be clouding over as promised, can’t be helped. I stopped praying about the weather in October 1995 after being present at a Pensacola meeting that Bishop Duvall convened with prayer that Hurricane Opal, circling far south of us in the Gulf of Mexico, would go ashore in Mexico. The next day it rolled furiously ashore in my front yard. Knowing it was coming, we had boarded up and fled for Tallahassee, a thirteen hour drive in the traffic jam. No motels, we slept that night in the garage at Tallahassee Medical Center, made calls the next morning, and headed back home.

If every story has a gospel, that one’s was don’t pray your troubles off on somebody else. Eclipse Day come what may.

Below, scroll down, our gospel for next Sunday, the emblem above gives a revealing hint, keys of the kingdom. I like to play with the Son of Man symbol: Jesus uses it in three ways. One is referring to the cosmic figure in Daniel 7. A second is referring to human beings in general (some English translations render it “human being” or "mortal man" in other places where Jesus is not talking). A third is Jesus speaking obliquely, even modestly, of himself. Each time he uses the term Son of Man, it’s fun and appropriate to pause and ask oneself what he means in this particular instance. In this case the gospel writer may have Jesus tantalizingly mixing himself with Daniel 7. 

With this text I also like to compare it, and this is always a Sunday School idea, with the same saying in Mark, and see what Matthew has added to enhance Peter's confession. 

Matthew 16:13-20 (NRSV)
When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

I'm entitle'

Saturday evening of a day with a busy but enjoyable morning, priest ordination at StAndrew’s Episcopal Church while gazing out across StAndrewsBay beyond Davis Point to Shell Island. Reception afterward visiting with friend from earliest childhood who remembers and is one person outside family who knows me long enough and well enough to call me Bubba. In human Time eight decades counts.

Home, lunch half an avocado, last 30% of breakfast oyster sandwich, glass of merlot. Yes, afternoon nap, I’m entitle'. Mug of African red tea, iced. Watched snippets of several Russian movies online, I've seen some good ones, but holy alphabet smoke the tedium and cliche. Supper on 7H porch with life partner, half egg salad sandwich and ice water, watching action below and on the Bay. Headache hot when we first went out, but by the porch rail a gentle breeze at this level. Who could tell that, reaching out from Courtney Point, there's a place in mid-Bay less than five feet deep

Below a wedding, she in traditional white bridal gown, wedding dress with long train, he in white shirt, turquoise shorts, flipflops. Weddings frequently here during season: we are their wedding angels watching from on high. Nevertheless, where two gather, one always loves the most, I loved you more than you loved me: what's their probability of five to seven years, 45 to 50%? God bless their years. 

Finally dark on the Bay. Lights moving, something went out to sea, something else, maybe a shrimp boat working over near the Pass. Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Location of USS Indianapolis (CA-35)

Lightning to the south, off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

oyster loaf

Gggg one of my favorites is American Typewriter, but it has no slant, no italics that are often wanted. One of these mornings I’ll return to the search for the perfect combo with a magical lc g.

Quiet, still morning. Three boys or young men, so youths, below, two with cast nets throwing, maybe for mullet, third somewhat reluctantly trailing along dragging a red bucket. They’ve attracted a following of gulls circling for whatever might be tossed.

Oysters. Lately returned from Walmart with a container of their Willamette oysters. Good. Not perfect to my taste as my lifelong Apalachicola, Gulf Coast or Chesapeake Bay oysters, but half the price, I try to find my right use for them. Yesterday close. Mama used to make an oyster loaf, which she remembered from her childhood, Daddy Walt cycling home from work on his bicycle, this was before 1924 when he bought his first automobile, a blue 1924 Maxwell touring car, 

having stopped at a local delicatessen, bought, and heading home with a huge oyster loaf as a treat for family supper. When he’d stopped for ice cream he’d pedal extra fast, mama told me, lest it melt; not quite so fast with the oyster loafs. Besides, if the loafs cooled, they could be warmed in the oven of the gas range. In those days, mama said, there was a gas meter on the side of the house, by the kitchen, serving not only the gas range but all those gas heaters that provided winter heat in those days. When the gas ran out, they went out and inserted another quarter in the meter. I well remember when those heaters were in 1317 E. Strong Street, one per room including bathrooms, before the floor furnace was installed between living room and dining room. 

But the oyster loaf. A large loaf of French bread, top sliced off and loaf hollowed out. Spread catsup on the bread so it soaks in. Fill the loaf with layers of fried oysters, dill pickle, fried oyster, dill pickle, fried oysters, maybe lettuce and tomatoes, and press down, packed tight. 

Put the top back on and place in oven to heat. Pull down all window shades, turn out all lights, lock all doors in case anyone hears about it. Don’t answer the phone. When loaf is toasted and warm throughout, remove from oven, slice and eat. Best if wife does not like oysters.

Yesterday’s breakfast, and again this morning, I had all the ingredients but the French bread, so I use thin ww bread. I don’t fry either, so shake and bake oysters. By no means the oyster loaf mama made that I grew up loving, not even close, but taste hints for memories. 

Late morning: ordination celebration at StAndrew’s Episcopal Church just down the Bay shoreline, where I grew up.

somewhere downstream in +Time+     

Friday, August 18, 2017

dream on

Some mornings, and this was one, take one’s breath away, usually, and this was one, before the camera can be grabbed and a shot snapped.

Some August mornings, today again, are so stiflingly humid as also to take the breath. But

the walk was good anyway. 

For the first time in thirty-five or more years, this morning I parked my car, dropped keys in lap instead of pocket, locked car door, got out, and realized what I’d done just as the lock clicked. So

rode to Big Mama’s on the Bayou in Robert’s truck, ordered an extra breakfast, for Linda, phoned her with the bad news she must come get me and bring extra keys. She laughed before I got to a punch line.

No matter. Panama City is accommodatingly small and convenient. Not so much as Apalachicola our years there, but still as&c. This was basically from one end of Beach Drive to the other. 

Best recent dream. Reporting aboard a cruiser as a commander. Alles ist gut until I realize I'm in a lieutenant commander billet. Explaining that my last two commander assignments were captain billets, to no avail, I relax and enjoy the cruiser. What brought this to dream? USS Fitzgerald news. I love cruisers, destroyers and battleships. Keep the rest unless I'm 23 and this is me.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

mousey dung v the TiC

A problem with legalizing merciful euthanasia (Greek for good death) is the potential for its abuse as a cover for murder, for getting rid of undesirables, and for hastening one’s inheritance. In like manner, while the time has come for doing away with freedom of speech in the United States, similar to what has been done in post-WW2 Germany and in England, for peace and public safety and to reduce violence, I wouldn’t want anyone but myself deciding what is acceptable speech or defining undesirables. Certainly not some Tweeter in Chief.

Nevertheless - with what is arising in America, far right fringe purposefully getting their parade permits and legally abusing freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to attract and incite violence, and now the stirring, waking, and uprising to power of the violent left who are far more than a fringe element and whom politicians dare not oppose because currently the left are politically correct, where the prospect is more and more Charlottesvilles, increasingly deadly - the time has come either for legal and possibly constitutional muzzles on speech, display and parade or for accepting our slide into a violent, armed society inching into civil war.

Between the First and Second Amendments, the United States is a steaming caldron of catastrophe in which the nasty foam is boiling over. Watching and thinking and writing, I am but a deranged old man helplessly and uselessly trying to figure out whether we are late 1920s and early 1930s Germany being lead by white identity politics into incomprehensibly evil Third Reich Redivivus or are re-living into the successively disastrous political and cultural reforms* of Mousey Dung. If the former, violence may be the only way to prevent what happened in Germany from happening in America; more likely the latter and our own Great Cultural Revolution is currently underway to obliterate, correct and rewrite. 

What can an old man do but watch and wish this Time-Turner worked and I could flee into the age of my grandfathers.


Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 


Sole purpose of the Tug at Dawn picture, taken just now, is to prevent the flag of Nazi Germany from showing up on my FB page, and because mixing these two flags is but a hint of how ugly Amerika can sink into ultimate evil.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

outa here

Three evenings, two hours, 8/7c Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, History Channel. But that a friend told me, I’d have missed my only kind of program. As well as fascinating car pictures, highway and street scenes from early 1900s right on through the 20th century, interesting observations of typical History Channel that remind me of things I learned in seminary about OT Bible stories: don’t let it bother me if plausibility, details, chronology and historicity are overshadowed by enthusiasm, fascination and imagination, because such didn’t in the least bother those who first told, heard, and later wrote it down. The story was the thing, not its minutiae.

The program I loved, all three evenings. What did I notice. Not only evening to evening, but clip to break to clip to break to clip there was an enormous amount of backing up and coming forward, like dancing the two-step in grade school, two steps forward, one step back. So many scenes played numerous times. No matter, I loved them all. Poor old Louis Chevrolet the Francophone Swiss race car driver, totally missed out. I enjoyed the story of Henry Ford cheating the Dodge Brothers. They covered the Edsel car but no mention of Ford bringing in Lincoln and Edsel creating Mercury. Hank Ford’s first act upon taking over from his grandfather was to fire Harry Bennett the hoodlum, but Hank didn’t boldly fire Bennett to his face as shown in the program, rather, Hank (Henry Ford II) had John Dugas hand Bennett his walking papers. 

About 1952, Ed Cole persuades Al Sloan of the necessity to overtake Ford’s obsolete flat-head V8 by moving Chevrolet from the straight six engine to an OHV V8 — Ed does this on History Channel by taking Al for a ride in a sleek, hot 1955 Mercury two door hardtop with continental kit. 

Using a 1955 car in a 1952 scene, History Channel doesn’t mean one to notice the out-of-chronos, but it did answer my earlier question of how History Channel thought a 1955 Mercury Montclair changed America. 

Anyway, the scrumptious 1955 Chevy with small block V8 was the result, Chevy’s first V8 since 1918: I saw my first one parked on a street in Gainesville the fall of 1954, my sophomore year at UFlorida, basically the car that moved America into the magical V8 age. 

And History Channel overdid the alcoholism of HFordII by showing him pouring himself a new glass of whisky to open every scene in his office where, unlike his artistic father and his mechanical grandfather, he did nothing but give orders and take another gulp of gold. 

Where might I this moment go back to in my lifetime if I could? Maybe to that crisp 1954 fall morning in Gainesville when I admire that brand new turquoise and white 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air with the V8 emblem beneath each taillight, and marvel that anyone would pay $4000 for a Chevrolet. Nineteen years old, I'll take life from there. 

What car had I completely forgotten? Plymouth Cricket, that was to compete with Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto. I no thank you.