Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Not Just Another Tuesday


What a great world to live in where big and ongoing news is the awards announcement envelope mixup at the Oscars. These things happen, I suppose, it’s just that the odds finally caught up with them. Will the same PriceWaterhouse team be managing the envelopes next year. The film to appeal to me might be Hacksaw Ridge except that I’ve read the entirety of it online. I wish I liked movies more, but there was never a time. Well, yes, Harry Potter, Tolkien, Narnia, and that I was doing it with my middle school students at HNES. I probably wasn’t a good teacher, I loved the kids too much, all of them together and each of them personally, to be a disciplined and demanding teacher. It was that way as a naval officer too, it’s just me.

Hot honey lemon water this morning, and now the black and dark. Last week’s barbershop adventure to Tyndall included a tour by the chocolates counters at both the exchange and the commissary to renew the little stash of heart healthy dark chocolate. At one square a day, we brought home enough for a couple months, but this morning I had two, which seldom happens, and not squares but truffles. 

What, grits for breakfast. That day in August that we dropped Kristen off for her freshman year at Oxford-Emory, we stopped on the way home at Callaway Gardens to sort of recuperate. There’s this thing with me that won’t let go of my girls, and leaving them at college has been among life’s most searing episodes. I’ll not go back forty years to Malinda, or to watching Joe drive off knowing it was forever, or to Nick moving away; but leaving Tass in Virginia was so traumatizing for me that we drove on up “home” to Pennsylvania and that groundhog morning that escapes its crevice in my cranium and comes to mind all too frequently to recover. It was August 1990 and I’m not there yet, but eventually, even soon. So, I was on grits, eh. August 2011 it was, we left Kris at OxfordEmory and drove down to Callaway Gardens. See, I’m from the Florida Gulf Coast, a StAndrewsBay native, and everything falls short of being home, even a DisneyCruise, even a train ride to Arizona, but I needed an interruption, just as in 1990. So a couple nights at Callaway Gardens. Nice, good, distracting. It’s no secret, I can look in the mirror and tell that my favorite thing about any adventure is breakfast, dinner, and supper, and just so there. The grits, the collards, the muscadine preserves. We came home with a couple jars of muscadine preserves, one for a friend, and a sack of their old-fashioned speckled white grits. 



Though growing up we had grits about every morning, seldom cooked this past near three-score years. But Callaway Gardens grits are addicting. When the sack was empty, we ordered two more sacks, 2-lb cloth bags. Proper southern grits are thick NOT SOUPY, and Linda adds cheddar cheese and this current pot, which I’m having another bowl for breakfast today, was cooked using half water and half chicken broth. I’m thinking that’s how Colonel Sanders made grits, they’re that scrumptious. 

The down side is that they nevertheless stir to mind and memories,watching my girls grow up and leave. Plus Joe and Nick. It’s been almost the hardest part of life. But am I down this morning? No, I’m going to have two fried eggs with my grits this morning. After my walk.

Bubba/Carroll/Tom/Dad/Papa

Supper: shriving the cupboard of fat and sweets: pancakes, butter, maple syrup

Monday, February 27, 2017

sabbatical end

We have interesting hopes and sometimes unreal expectations of life and others. Day after tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Around the church, nation and world, folks will — it won’t be flock but maybe a few will trickle in — to church, to line up, queue down the center aisle, and each person hear the warning from Genesis 3:19, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” as the forehead is smudged with ashes (I smudge with my thumb and make a cross). It’s the notice of mortality that the Lord God spoke to Adam as we were ejected from the Garden. It’s what I expect, and to be returned- and scattered-dust, yea until Sol expands to consume “this fragile Earth, our island home,” and her planets. 

Life is short, and we haven’t much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us - - so be quick to love, and make haste to be kind …
That was a wandering, again off into the brambles, the mental habit that marks my being. Where I began was the Ash Wednesday some thirty or thirty-five, years ago as the day ended and I put away my little pyx of ashes that I had, maybe uncreated is the word, from palm crosses. In those days I would early in the evening excuse myself from the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, go next door to the church sacristy, grab the bunch of palm crosses from Palm Sunday last year, go outside, burn them to crisps, and crush the chars into ashes, to be ready for Ash Wednesday services the next day, beginning just after dawn, ending just after sunset. 

It’s almost time to go Walk, so I’ll wrap up this memory. On the next day, the Thursday after that particular Ash Wednesday, a parishioner phoned me sobbing. Oh my goodness, JaneDoe, I remember exclaiming, what’s wrong, what happened? I’m sick at home, she said, and you didn’t bring ashes to my home yesterday. 

!!!I thought!!! JaneDoe, I sez to her, I sez, sezz-I, imposition of ashes is not a sacrament, we don’t carry ashes to homes and hospitals like Holy Communion, it's not a sacrament. But I would have for you if you had asked, if you had told me. Why didn’t you tell me you wanted me to bring ashes out to your house?

Father Weller, you should have known, says she, hanging up the phone.



DThos+ at sabbatical end

Sunday, February 26, 2017

bon apetit

Port of Panama City is busier than most peoples’ lives these days, ships coming and going, bringing and taking all hours, including one entering the Pass at 5:30 this morning while still dark. Fun to watch them sail by, though often a ship seen before, as Progreso and Guadalupe 326x55 container vessels two ships making a weekly run between PC and Progreso, Yucatán. The pier at Progreso juts four miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. 

Departing on Saturday, I was reading and almost missed it, Intermarine vessel Industrial Grace 554x83 



leaving with reels for Takoradi, Ghana, West Africa, which I explored a bit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takoradi_Harbour From the harbor I explored and found out that a highway between Takoradi and a near town is a long drive among plantations, sugar cane and other, and that one can stop and buy lunch, cooked bushmeat of grasscutters, a large cane rat resembling a huge guinea pig, which as well as hunted wild for bushmeat is also domestically raised for its delicate flesh Once started I branched out exploring various bushmeats, chimpanzee and gorilla, the Australian witchety grub (raw taste like almond, cooked like chicken) and various other, including tarantula spiders in Cambodia, Thailand and Venezuela http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/human-planet/videos/children-eat-tarantulas-deleted/ which enjoy, recommended. Children teasing giant goliath tarantula spiders out of their lair, catching them, roasting and eating, a treat.

Arriving last evening at dusk, Lauritzen line St Andrew 590x93



to load wood pellets for the power plant at Studstrup, Denmark. Speaking of Denmark, I read that a man was sentenced to prison for burning a Koran, against the new blasphemy law for Danes. God forbid we should have blasphemy laws.

Finally, arriving this morning in the dark and as day dawned on Sunday morning, CFC’s Forest Panama 442x69 to load kraft liner for Colon. 



My plan for this morning, CardioPills, walk, protein breakfast small strip of sirloin steak and eggs.



DThos+ golden days at 7H where "life has nothing sweeter than its springtime" and thank you, Mario Lanza, Student Prince 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday sunrise


Our gospel readings for the First and the Last Sundays of the Epiphany Season are grand epiphanies, even theophanies (God showing himself), in which God himself speaks and is heard, not just sensed as in “surely the presence of the Lord is in this place, I can feel his mighty power and his grace,” but God speaking and being heard, First Mt 3:17 at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, and Last Mt 17:5 at Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountaintop, sound waves of God's voice, The Word piercing the silence like thunder, and people witnessing, hearing as their eardrums vibrate, 

Mt 17:5 Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός  

Mt 3:17 Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός

literally, out of proper English syntax,
“this is the son my the beloved”
“this is the son my the beloved”

most correctly, “this is my Son, the beloved.”
most memorable, “this is my beloved Son.”

The theological implications can be interesting, especially when slightly expanded on by wandering off into the synoptics. In Matthew the Voice speaking to everyone present. In Mark (the supposed earliest of the three) and Luke 3:22, the Voice speaking only to Jesus, “Σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός” “You are my beloved Son,” which, at least for Mark, but not for Luke with his added nativity narrative and his Luke-only story of Jesus in the Jerusalem temple at age twelve, plays into the question “when did Jesus become the Son of God?” Plus for Mark the progression of the so-called “markan secret” or “messianic secret” agenda (who knew, when? first God, then Mark, then you the reader, then Jesus, then the demons, finally the centurion, but frustratingly apparently never the disciples). But becomes contradictory over against Luke’s nativity narrative with the ancient textual variation (Luke’s original?) in which Luke has God quoting from Psalm 2:7, “Thou art my beloved Son; this day have I begotten thee” at Jesus’s baptism in Luke. 

See, this is the, current slang is “rabbit hole” but I prefer the brambles, where my brain twists off down into, such that I come out of it having been intrigued but having completely forgot that the original task I had set for myself was to write a sermon. If I were doing that for tomorrow (which I’m not, I’m on sabbatical, don’t look for me), I would have a decent Sunday School lesson to discuss, but nothing homiletical.

Anyway. Regardless. The four lessons for tomorrow, Last Epiphany, Year A, fit together beautifully, have a look: 



Exodus 24:12-18
The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.”
Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.

Psalm  2  Quare fremuerunt gentes?

1 Why are the nations in an uproar? *
    Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?

2 Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt, and the princes plot together, *
    against the LORD and against his Anointed?

3 "Let us break their yoke," they say; *
    "let us cast off their bonds from us."

4 He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; *
    the Lord has them in derision.

5 Then he speaks to them in his wrath, *
    and his rage fills them with terror.

6 "I myself have set my king *
   upon my holy hill of Zion."

7 Let me announce the decree of the LORD: *
    he said to me, "You are my Son;
    this day have I begotten you.

8 Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for
                             your inheritance *
    and the ends of the earth for your possession.

9 You shall crush them with an iron rod *
   and shatter them like a piece of pottery."

10 And now, you kings, be wise; *
    be warned, you rulers of the earth.

11 Submit to the LORD with fear, *
    and with trembling bow before him;

12 Lest he be angry and you perish; *
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.

13      Happy are they all *

    who take refuge in him!

2 Peter 1:16-21
We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Matthew 17:1-9
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”



Not to mention that calling The Voice from heaven "The Word" brings into the theological discussion the prologue to the Gospel according to John, how can The Word simultaneously speak from heaven as God and stand there in the river being baptized as Man? 

Pics from 7H: Saturday sunrise, Saturday sunrise a few minutes later, black cat (he/she is a skittish resident of Harbour Village) tail twitchingly eyeing ducks diving for breakfast just offshore.

DThos+

Friday, February 24, 2017

of the Heart


Writing late: yesterday was for me an overwhelmingly exhausting day, watched Bay traffic last evening



slept until nearly six o’clock this morning, up, HotHLWater, black and dark, and off to walk. Parked by Holy Pavilion, looking fantastic, wow! 
Gate opening right there on Linda Avenue beside, with newly marked off diagonal parking, Sundays it could be Holy Pavilion Episcopal Church. 

Yesterday in Apalachicola 



Places of the Heart


Sitting on a park bench on the river while Linda shopped in Grady’s Market, 



I couldn’t help noticing the lawn in the riverfront park was correctly Apalachicola GOBoy Mowed



but the church was locked. It wasn't always so.



My last sabbatical week. I’ll go to Staff Meeting on Monday, then back for real Ash Wednesday.

Sometime before life starts downhill, one way or another, train, plane, car, bus, I’m going back to Maine to visit the little town Andreas Wäller made home on arriving in the Promised Land in the seventeen-hundreds. Broad Bay, Massachusetts at the time, today it’s Waldoboro, Maine. 

Where am I? What am I doing? Whatever am I thinking?

DThos+

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Oysters dear


Yesterday we watched and heard the USAF Singing Sergeants, our own Stacey Holliday on stage, concert in The Villages, Florida, two concerts streamed live at three pm and again at seven. A selective, exclusively small group of marvelous talent. They have a busy tour schedule, a bus or their own 747 like Air Force One? The practical side of me wonders what the Air Force does to keep them from catching colds and spreading the infection among each other. 



Clear sky this morning, no clouds, that’s smoke from the paper-mill, breaking up into cloudish puffs as it drifts south and west and dissipates.



From a young man whose wedding I’m to officiate in a couple months, a gift of tuna, so this morning’s breakfast will be tuna seared crisp on both sides and red center. ETD, our underway time is nine o’clock for Apalachicola. Lunch probably upstairs at the Owl Cafe. Of restaurants I’ve found there, they have the best fried oysters. 

Now if you're ready, Oysters dear, 
      We can begin to feed.' 

But not on us!' the Oysters cried, 
      Turning a little blue. 

To get enough, I order the oyster appetizer and the oyster green salad and dump it all together. Ranch dressing because to me the creamy horseradish dressing robs the oyster flavor. While the menu lists “Fried 13 Mile Apalachicola Oysters” that’s wie es heißt and with due credit to the solemn assurance at the menu’s bottom border, unless they’re harvesting their own, most “Apalachicola” oysters may be from Alabama, Louisiana or Texas anymore. Regardless, while I’m waiting, a draft from Oyster City Brewing Company across the street. At the Owl they generally have two or three of the OCBC beers on draft. 

On a Wednesday once years ago, when we lived in Apalachicola and Linda and I were on staff for a Cursillo weekend, we stopped at 13 Mile on the way to Beckwith and picked up a gallon of for real 13 Mile Apalachicola oysters for the staff, who gathered Wednesday before the pilgrims arrived Thursday evening. We were on staff many times over those years and I don’t remember the date even by the car we were driving at the time as is my usual method; but I do remember that even though I was driving, about a quarter of the gallon of oysters were slurped down by me by the time we arrived at Weeks Bay. 

O Oysters,' said the Carpenter, 
      You've had a pleasant run! 
Shall we be trotting home again?' 
      But answer came there none — 
And this was scarcely odd, because 
      They'd eaten every one."

Once again with thanks, Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter.”



DThos+ 

Ship: BBC Steinhoeft, 453x70 arriving, meeting her tug just to west of 7H



Tug just pulled two barges in from the Gulf of Mexico. Here, because pulled barges are not manageable in closer quarters, the tug master will do his "dance" arranging the tugs so he can push them in the narrow channel. He may take them to the terminal just down the beach from us, or into the inland waterway east or west.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It's only an Owl

Rain, 60°F 98%, weather flummoxes me, now it’s moving from east to west instead of west to east, why? IDK, maybe because what I see locally is part of a larger circling low pressure system. If this were June, that would worry me. Or May. Hurricane season, when the tv weatherman circles his finger counterclockwise he’s stirring up trouble.

We may go to Apalachicola tomorrow, why? I meant to go twice during my sabbatical, and here’s it’s all used up but one week and we’ve not been once. Why? It was home for fourteen years summer 1984 through summer 1998, and there I ate oysters and mullet, though not to my heart’s content. And there found out that church management as vicar and rector was not all that different to independent duty on a warship. Both fit my personality: I don’t like nobody telling me nothin’. My brother Walt would understand. My life’s goal: as much space as possible between me and bishops or admirals.

This morning I wandered into the brambles. How the jumpin’ BJeez did I get off distracted reading an essay about hapax legomenon (look it up yourself)? Oh, yes. My desktop link to George MacDonald’s fantasy fiction novel Lilith, which I read part of, several chapters, enough to see where Lewis got started. Lilith. לִילִית. lilit. Isaiah 34:14. A hapax for Isaiah and a hapax for the Hebrew Bible. Who, what is lilit, a lilit? Not for absolute certain. That a word is a hapax may render its translation problematic, so, in the context maybe a night hag, night demon, she-devil of the night. Or as, the first night of the Pevensies’ stay at the professor’s home, a scary sound from the darkness outside, “hooooooo,” and Lucy, startled, shaken, frightened, “What’s that?” Peter, the rock of a brother in the story, assuring her, “Only an owl.” 



Wandering alone among scorpions, viperous snakes and giant spiders in the pitch black desolation of Edom’s darkness, the screech of “only an owl” could be demonic, terrifying enough for one to collapse into a pile of dust. Lilith, the night hag, Adam’s first wife who, deserting him because he insisted on being head of household and then, after committing adultery with the archangel Samael would not return to the Garden of Eden. [I mean, not to wander even farther into the brambles, but WTH, it's a no-brainer, right, choose: mistress of an angel, or wife of a simpleton peasant tenant farmer who's field is so unplowed that he hasn’t even tasted the apple yet]. Anyway, לִילִית lilit a figure of legend more ancient than the Hebrew campfire stories. Isaiah 34:14.

DThos+ still playing




1935 Horch

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Life: still good

This morning already I have had my walk, down below outside and inside, hot HoneyLemon water and a cuppa black with a square of dark. Sent Madge a short piece for the March newsletter, piece and a pic though I expect her to toss the pic. Opened and read my email, answered one or two. Fiddled a bit, fiddle and fuss with the beginning draft of a theologically shaky Lenten sermon. Once long ago in a clergy conference a visiting English bishop told us, the priests present and attentive, that if we weren’t preaching at least forty-five minutes we have no business wearing the collar. My metaphor is that judging preaching by it's length is like evaluating a carpenter's work by his pile of scrap lumber. That's a simile actually, not a metaphor, but no wonder the English churches are empty. 

Anyway, so now here I am back from walk without panting for breath, second cuppa, wondering what to write for this Tuesday blogpost, and tippy typing away as though I have somewhere to go intellectually or a point to make. I don’t. Except for this morning’s scheduled trip to Tyndall for a haircut: short on the sides, thin out that place at the right rear corner that looks ridiculous, and leave the top alone so I can continue to fool myself. Also, I don’t think Linda has yet noticed that my hair is starting to get thin.

All through Joe’s week visit with us we watched for a ship, a larger ship, to pass by 7H. Nothing came or went. Yesterday after he left, minutes after he left, long before he hit the Alabama border or even the Bay County line,


went sailing by, and I texted it to him. Soon after, during my morning nap actually and Linda snapped it, another ship. Sorry, Joe, vagaries of 7H.


Looks to be a grim, grey day, long thin red streak of weather stretching from down in the Gulf of Mexico to somewhere up north, passing Destin and heading for south Walton. Maybe I can skip the haircut after all and not look in the mirror. 

Fish hawk in a stationary hover, 


Fog clearing Sunday afternoon, that's not Shell Island, it's a retreating fog bank.



See, there was nothing to blog about. Today: read (A Gentleman In Moscow). FuroForty. Breakfast about nine o’clock. Either a morning nap or Tyndall and a noon nap. Supper about three. Life Is Good.


DThos+ Wäller 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Life: loving it


Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Presidents’ Day. Not that I believe it ought to be changed back, I do not; but in our 1940s days at Cove School, the semester from after New Years Day forward was a long deep and glum slope into darkness: no holidays on the horizon. February was the one bright spot until spring and then summer vacation and mama’s permission to go barefoot until school started. February gave us Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Washington’s Birthday, each of which brought major classroom activity and decorating with craft paper making tall black hats, valentines, the classroom valentine box and designated postman handing out valentines, finally craft paper hatchets and green branches with red cherries to honor Honest George Cutting Down the Cherry Tree. "I cannot tell a lie."

Then the long Night of the rest of February, March, April, and May until the only days that outshone Christmas: last day of school and first day of summer vacation. I do not remember anything so glorious as today’s spring break.

Life moves on, and we had our turn! Joe left a few minutes ago, heading home to Winston-Salem in his new red Volvo. Remembering that Patty loved that route, he always arrives and leaves by way of West Beach Drive, what may be a mile along StAndrewsBay. This morning while it was still dark outside, as we sipped coffee and he munched a banana and had a carton of yogurt, he recalled our family Navy days when, moving between duty stations or headed home to PC for leave, he lay in motel room beds half awake as Linda got us up and his mom and dad whispered conversation preparing to leave for the next day’s drive. Except the correct older was “fixin’ to leave,” although “fixin’” didn’t get said until about ready to walk out the door. As in “we’re fixin’ to leave, come hug us goodbye.” I remember that too, all that. Life Is Good says my orange cap, and life is good for most of us Americans, most of the time. This morning my mind is skipping along from happiness to happiness. And my beloveds here this past weekend.

As for President’s Day, I’m remembering celebrating Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. I remember President Roosevelt and Harry Truman. Ike I remember as a war hero, then I saw him once as he arrived at the Newport Naval Base, me watching from our crowd of officer candidates in our white sailor uniforms, Ike in a dark brown suit standing up in the presidential car, a Lincoln convertible, and waving our way. I remember the day JFK was shot, we were stationed in Japan at the time, and the long weekend of funeral dirges on the military radio. I remember the chanted taunts, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today,” as the conscience of a nation drove him from office. I remember President Nixon flying away to California as at exactly noon President Ford took the oath of office and announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, our constitution works.” Once flying south out of Washington National Airport, Jimmy Carter worked his way down the aisle shaking hands, and when he got to me I said, “Good morning, Mr. President, how is your mother?” He looked surprised but delighted and said, “Why thank you for asking, she’s doing very well.” “Miss Lillian” was a character and popular woman his years in the White House. I remember the November 2000 Florida ballot debacle, I remember watching GWB’s stunned face on television the morning of 9/11, I remember Shock and Awe, I remember eight years of thinly veiled but nevertheless fierce racist hatred, I remember waking up believing I had died and gone to Hell.

Inside, my orange cap with the sunshine and ocean waves it recommends, “Do what you love, Love what you do.” So okay, I loved this:

http://www.clotureclub.com/2017/02/tiny-trump-takes-the-internet-by-storm/

DThos+ Wäller
  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Finishing a Book this Morning

"Have you read Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil?" 



Just now finished it. Published 1963, eighteen years after the 1945 end of both WW2 and the Thousand Year Reich that lasted 1933-1945, throughout which the German people perpetrated the most horrendous, unspeakable documented crimes in recorded history, crimes theretofore so inconceivably evil that in judging Germany the civilized world established a new legal concept beyond war crimes, of crimes against humanity 

Working through Eichmann’s trial, Arendt’s book is a taxonomy of German wholesale atrocities against primarily Jews, and of neighboring countries' participation, Croatia, Romania cruelest and most inhumane, not just Germany but nearly every European country entered by the Reich willing to cooperate in antiSemitic genocide.



Eichmann himself, a banal, self-important, conscienceless, perfect dutiful, zealously loyal evil German creature of medium intellect, career ambition, limited potential, an ordinary human being archetypical of the saying "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". 

How did supposedly so advanced a national society and culture sink so far into boundless corporate immorality of evil. And showing what any nation is capable of, perhaps even America as we settle into an era of religious hatred goaded on by fear and slogans.

I read but little interested in Arendt’s Epilogue extensively discussing legalities, international legal intricacies of Israel’s kidnapping Eichmann from postwar refuge in Argentina and bringing him to justice in Israel. Have not yet read her Postscript, which, thumbing through, I see theological discussion of guilt and forgiveness, which I'll read before passing the book along to someone else. 

Fifteen chapters, some 280 pages, well organized trial-wise, geographically and historically. 

I learned a lot. I did not realize the extent of antiSemitism across Europe, hatred of Jews, unforgivably exacerbated by Christianity; that for centuries the presence of Jewish populations had been officially called “the Jewish problem” not only in Germany but across Europe. I should have known but did not realize that Hitler personally ordered the Final Solution. That among his priorities was judenrein ridding all Europe of Jews, that his extermination pogrom was obsessively pursued employing crucial resources even to the detriment of German prosecution of the war right to the end, that with few exceptions the European nations he entered shared his aim; that also among Hitler’s priorities was not simply conquering but creating “empty space” by depopulating vanquished territory for lebensraum, which also involved export, liquidation of nonGerman, nonJewish nationals in occupied areas such as Poland. That the church in Europe was for the most part silent, little help against the evil. The book has left me feeling that God's Creation the Earth is too perfect, lovely and temporary to be fouled by human habitation, in particular white people of European extraction with our absurd sense of superiority. I know more than ever, mindful of religious hatred in our our country today, that silence in the face of evil is equally evil complicity in evil. 

I know that instead of caving to Zionism, instead of robbing Palestinians of their land and heritage by rounding up and concentrating them, Palestine ought have been international, intercultural; but with Germany eliminated forever from the world map as a nation, rezoned to irreconcilable, unreunifiable independent nation states but with choicest regions of the former Reich depopulated, cleared to “empty space” and re-created as a Jewish nation of New Israel. This would have been justice against primary perpetrators of the German Holocaust, over against punishing innocent non-Jews of Palestine and creating the foreseeable but now unsolvable problems of the Middle East today. 

I learned many things. I had no idea of Eichmann’s modus operandi of organizing, in the countries, cities, regions he went to “cleanse,” councils of the respected local Jewish elders who were enlisted to cooperate with Eichmann, provide censuses of Jews, inventories of Jewish property and assets, handling administrative work of having trusting Jews sign papers required by German authority, finally ordering Jews to report to railway stations for transport to resettlement; with the ultimate comedic irony that when their work for Eichmann was done, members of the Jewish councils were seized and shipped off for resettlement. In a very few places where locals and government absolutely refused to cooperate with Eichmann’s program, Germans were confounded because they hadn't organized to work without local cooperation, and backed down. What might be the implications of this sort of Nonviolent Resistance in an era of American sanctuary cities? 

The level of inhuman German atrocity was massively incredible, but I was appalled at meek Jewish submission and marching to their own slaughter in obedience to Germans and to their local Jewish councils of elders. Like silence, submission becomes complicit, a lesson for the ages. 

Arendt’s book was a revelation to me. When published, it was controversial, reviled around the world, especially by Jewish groups and by many others, academics and others who today might be called political liberals. The book was, in today's term, politically incorrect. I think this was because Arendt showed, again, the complicity of silence, cooperation, and submission by victims. Instead of eighteen years, we now are more than seventy years on, and I’ll not bother taking a side in that exhausted argument for or against Arendt, but accept her book as history, history fully as valid as that of any other fair historian. History is as seen, recorded, documented, reported by the writer, the author, and no historical record is totally objective fact, all writing is shaded by events, viewpoint, distance, agenda. Many people, especially Jews, were offended by Arendt's book, but I’ve no negative judgement of Arendt or the book, an extremely powerful historical account. Her report of Eichmann’s trial is thorough enough for her purposes of reporting and documentation. 

I found out that while senior war criminals were tried “internationally” at Nuremberg by the victors and sentenced, junior operatives such as Eichmann were more likely sent to the nations where their crimes had been committed to face justice. Apparently in most countries, justice was harsh and execution was not uncommon; whereas war crime cases handled by German courts after the War were reluctantly, timidly prosecuted, unconscionably light, self-excusing, and "understanding." Horrified though not surprised by the German way and psyche of ducking behind the autocracy of the times, this ratifies my conviction that despite pious show then and to this day, German guilt and shame was, is, nonexistent behind the outrageous immorality of, Eichmanns all, having escaped relatively free, and after to put the past away and move happily on in the pretense of innocence. The disclaimer, "We didn't know" is the damnable lie, the disgusting escape that is the German national character. This is not some trivial notion of "collective guilt" per se, but the soul of a nation that should no longer exist and even where today shudders again to life the antiSemitic ghost of 666 נרון קסר NRON QSR.

As a result of reading the book, my antagonism toward the policies and ethnic, racist practices of Israel has shifted. After WW2 the Jews were settled in the midst of new enemies whose ancient goal is their annihilation. Driven by conscience for the Jews, the Allied powers perpetuated the old evil by following the German model of cleansing and concentration, punishing Arab and other Palestinian peoples who had no responsibility in the Shoah, when Germans and other Europeans should have been cleansed, deported, cleared and resettled by all means necessary to establish a New Israel in Northern Europe instead of bowing to white European political, economic, racial prejudice against a third party. Just my view. Israel scripturally claiming Palestine and the Holy Land lays false claim, backed up by piously ignorant foreign powers, whereas scripturally the God of Israel turned them out ages ago. Nevertheless, after reading Arendt, I know that Jewish real estate for the Jews is essential, and now what’s done is done; although Israeli politics and sociological policies are increasingly selfish, bullying, brutalizing, hateful, self-righteous, power corrupting as though they themselves had never been there. While faulting them, I cannot and do not blame them, but might have hoped that, contrary to human nature, they would have been an example for the rest of the world. They are not. And the world is full of fools who regard any criticism of Israeli government excesses as antiSemitic. But I am pro-Jewish and would have preferred to be born a Jew instead of abiding in shame as I try to come to terms with my own German ancestry. 

DThos+ Wäller

Disorganized, repetitive in places, inappropriate blogpost for Sunday morning, but I just now finished the book and want to clear my mind and move on.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fifteen

Lord of rising sun and gentle rain,
whose gifts are uncounted
whose care is uncaged:
free us from measured love
which keeps a record of wrong
and fails before our violence;
take us outside the limits
where we speak only with those
who reflect ourselves;
recall us to your image
shining and alive
in many-coloured eyes;
through Jesus Christ, the peacemaker. Amen


We are but a step from Lent, step and a Sunday. Jumping the gun as always, last evening and today St. Andrews is celebrating Mardi Gras, three blocks each of Bayview Avenue and Beck Avenue closed off for the festivities, view it all from our Beck side. Bay side is dark and drizzly, chilly rainy but I am having breakfast on 7H porch. Annual bead tossing parade at two o’clock this afternoon. We have family, Joe, TJCC, RayBritLil for breakfast &c. M&K invited. Rain, rain, go away, Come again next Wed-nes-day.

First thing I see opening my lectionary site this morning, ad for a stations of the cross coloring book, black and white, colorless as the ashes we begin with, first station grounding the bitterness of the wilderness ahead: sorrow



Life goes up and down and down and up and sideways, doesn’t it. As for me, mia terra, I am at the top best place in the universe for myself at this station, but have been there done that for much that life has to giveth and to taketh away. 



Among many and various other things, Lent is season for contemplating that life always doesn’t turn out as we want and hope on our schedule and agenda. Some hopes and dreams never happen, some come along in kairos instead of chronos, some come on Time, some on Time are terrible disappointments, some are all we ever dreamed of. But it’s all stations, the Way of the Cross. Today it looks like rain on my parade, but tomorrow may clear. Wait and see. If your stations only go to fourteen, mine always go to fifteen. Wait and see. Wait, hope, see.





Friday, February 17, 2017

united


In the face of outrage immediately after the November election, folks began pointing out that The People Had Spoken and it was time to unite, come back together as a nation, to get on with life and the business of being America. Even the psychiatric association reminded that remote diagnosis on mental illness and emotional instability was unethical and irresponsible under the profession's rules codified more than forty years ago. Yet division and criticism, seemingly based in hatred of the political, social and religious Other, continue and even have become institutionalized as part of some new America. When did this start? At least as far back as during the Vietnam War perhaps, which we came out of vowing never to repeat. In a later generation with the war on Iraq. Most recent, viciously concentrated with thinly shaded racism throughout the Obama years of bitter division and obstinate resistance to anything, everything. We are politically, socially polarized, evidently more definably and acceptably so than ever before. And set in concrete. We do not want to unite, and calls to come together, to unite are foolish, not realistic. It isn’t going to happen. We are on one side or the other.

There is a factor that the psychiatric association and those calling for unity and come togetherness seem to miss. Free speech, freedom of speech and assembly, free press. An intended government system of checks and balances. All characteristics of this particular democracy that keep us from slipping into repressive autocracy. And at the institutional and personal, individual level, responsibility to speak out. In history, silence, and silent submission, are judged fully complicit with all that happens. I do “silence” the wing nut fringes on my social connections, and I do not read far down into Comments on various websites before encountering, and cutting off at, vicious personal attacks that, like road-rage, come from the darkness of anonymity. But in democracy that is so fragile, it is crucial, even vital, which means essential to the life of, to speak out, not to be silenced by naivete that calls for unity and come togetherness.

We are not united. In our own Time, at least in my own Time, national unity has come at the cost of conscience and morality, humanity, and innocent life in incredible numbers. Who is silent in the face of evil is part of the problem. Opposition, whether the loyal opposition or the outraged opposition, is of the essence. Do not be silent. Silence, the enabler, may be an even greater sin, greater evil, than certainty. Do not be silent. Do not be silenced. Do not unite. Do not be united. Do not come together. I pledge allegiance to the flag, but ain't nobody gonna unite me.



IDK.


DThos+  

pic: top 20170216 sunset from 7H
bottom 20170217 sunrise from 7H

Thursday, February 16, 2017

birds of a feather


Thursday, 16 Feb cool out, cool walk, chili for breakfast, chili with shrimp on top and shredded cheddar, large mug of black ice coffee. Two ships departed so far this morning, one from each terminal. Below Griegstar vessel 670x106 from East Terminal, and her tug returning to base at Port PC.



Rough Bay yesterday afternoon, white caps with wind throwing salt spray on Joe’s new car, nice ride, I drove it a ways. Iridescent color that varies depending on the sun. 



Another interesting car that caught my eye in email exchange yesterday, 1937 Opel Olympia, a GM car. 


With my 1937 Bayern plates, four years into the inhuman German Shoah. Why I got so caught up in it IDK, but it magnified for me several years ago upon seeing my German ancestry, visualizing distant blood kin cousins perpetrating the Night. I’ve owned several German cars. Opel, M-B, several VW cars. Likely no more, settled into GM cars made in Mexico, as in Mexico will pay for The Wall in the form of Bubba paying a 35% tariff on any future GM cars I buy that were hauled across the border from Mexico? How to avoid? Buy used. But then who’s going to pay for The Wall? I’m missing something, nicht?   

Today: continue reading, alternating books one situated in Jerusalem, one in Moscow. Ray, Britany, Lillie coming for lunch with Joe today: shrimp etoufee made with Louisiana mix, mushroom soup, four pounds shrimp. Green beans, yellow crookneck squash casserole. Glass of red Malbec from South Africa.

Gone now, and stopped brawling amongst themselves just as I got out there with camera: white diving birds fighting to snatch fish away from the one who caught it, their nature, nasty, selfish, greedy little beasts, we’ve DNA in common obviously, as birds and homo sapiens evolved from dinosaurs, crocodilians all.



Yesterday. Background at West Terminal, ship that departed this morning, Seaboard Pacific V45 with general cargo, for New Orleans. 

DThos+

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Just remembering


The nicest, kindest and most loving obituary I’ve ever read is in this morning’s PCNH, for June Rowell, June Rowell Harrison. I was in the Bay High band with June and Jerry in the early 1950s, both of them a year ahead of my class of 1953. They were a couple then and what a great life story a family member wrote about June from birth to death, and them together, and a family that obviously was loving and close lifelong. I had my own tiny circle of friends in the band, was never close with June and Jerry in the high school band days, but I was there with them and I remember the sparkle of the two of them livening and brightening the already exuberant musical institution that Mr. Whitley’s band always was. 

Of it all, being in the band the highlight of my high school years — remembering it all! — what do I especially remember from those days. The football games in Tommy Oliver Stadium and out of town especially to Pensacola and Tallahassee, both places I had dear and special friends from Camp Weed in the PHS and Leon bands, the parades, the band festival trips where we always got Superior ratings in everything, train rides on the BayLine with windows open in the coaches, the Peanut Festival Parade in Dothan, seems to me the band may have ridden the BayLine to Columbus, Georgia for football games but not sure. My special friends in the band were always Parker Reynolds and Sherry Whitley. Jerry’s father was the Oldsmobile dealer, Harrison Olds and I think also GMC trucks. In our band years, Mr. Whitley bought a new Olds 88, I reckon he bought it from Jerry’s father. It was one hot car. My favorite high school teacher along with Bill Weeks, Mr. Whitley died August 1955, just before I started my junior year at UFla in Gainesville. More than three decades later, a few years after Linda, Tass and I moved to Apalachicola from Pennsylvania, we bought a pink brick house on Bunkers Cove Road from Jerry’s mother, Ruth Harrison, who by then was a realtor, and I remember Ruth’s excitement about the triple wedding that was about to happen at First Baptist Church with her grandchildren, Jerry and June’s daughter and two sons. It’s mentioned in June’s obit this morning.


Why the cars - - because an obituary calls up all kinds of memories, and this morning I’m remembering the throaty sound of the V8 engine in Mr. Whitley’s Oldsmobile. Was it a 1951 or a 1952? It was silver or gray, BSW, it did not have the rear fender skirts. 


DThos+ still chugging along

top pic: 201702150615 but completely cleared over and sunny at the moment, 0710.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BTDT and this ain't it


Tuesday 201702140447 CST Seaboard Pacific V45 525x91 arriving with general cargo from Kingston. In the dark while sitting in my chair-by-sea taking a tentative sip of hot black, I noticed early Bay action, tug slowly gliding out to stand by. So looked out toward the Pass to see ship lights just moving in to StAndrewsBay, grabbed camera, donned light jacket, out to 7H porch rail to wait. 

Pic from left. Green channel navigation light beyond which Χάρων the ferryman of Hades heads ever for me. Seaboard Pacific V45. Red nav light. Another green. Red lighted tower beyond Courtney Point, one of these days I’ll bother to locate it on NOAA chart 11391. Lights of an industrial facility along Magnolia Beach. Lights of cute tug Little Toot, and behind her, condo lights along Thomas Drive.

Today. It’s past 6:30 in Winston-Salem, so Joe may already have left — or not, it’s still dark, but he’s a little east of us so may be light there now. Early morning driving away always reminds me. In our Navy days, when we were stationed miles north, Newport, Norfolk, WashDC, Columbus, Harrisburg — not Ann Arbor we never drove home on leave from AA we rode the train once at Christmas — we always stopped for one overnight driving home to PC. Toward dusk, we kept an eye out for Motel Six trying to avoid the $20 tariff at Holiday Inn but sometimes anyway, Linda would have us up at four o’clock, first one child, then two, then three, immediately on the road headed south before dawn. We no longer drive much in the dark, never early morning and seldom after sunset even locally. Something in the paper recently, or in a magazine Linda was reading, maybe Consumer Reports Health, said "eighty is the new forty": trust me, that’s b.s., a crock of it,  to be scriptural it's σκύβαλον, just trust me; I remember forty, BTDT and this ain’t it. Except in the mind, and even that’s slipping away.

Best early memories of predawn up and on the road. First 1957 in our green 1948 Dodge. In our new 1958 Ford. In our orange Opel. Mid sixties in our Dodge station wagon. Ford Thunderbird in the 1970s and that enormous yellow Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon I ordered from Key Olds in Columbus, Ohio just before Tass was born. Late 1950s through the 1970s. My friends, life is short, and we haven’t much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us; so be quick to love, and make haste to be kind …

With two weeks sabbatical to go, ’ve started two new books. For fiction, A Gentleman in Moscow which loving. And to agonize my mentals, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil which learned about from a FB friend, wasn’t aware of it or the raging controversy of its day and for decades after. In the 2017 lies-are-truth-if-told-repeatedly, or- with-executive-authority, or-with-passing-fervent-conviction-before-moving-on-to-the-next-lies, or-to-fools-NewSpeak, the book will be a case, at the very least, of alternative facts - differing points of view, where, early on, political correctness is all that counts and stirred vicious hatred of Arendt. I read the Intro last evening. Not to be moved, I enter Arendt’s book with my own preconceived convictions set in concrete from having begun life on the edge of the German Holocaust, ocean distant, but newsreel close as the Ritz Theatre on Harrison Avenue downtown. It’s a topic of ongoing, unending, lifelong terrible fascination of horror to me. I saw and know what happened and continues today as Germany and the Germans slipped away scot and conscience free while innocent Palestinians pay for the atrocities of once supposedly civilized Northern Europe. But we are not civilized. My Lai. Shock and Awe. Never certain, I am nevertheless certain what should have been done when Germany surrendered unconditionally, but that was not done, and now is too late forever. But not to play my hand before the book is read and the game played. 

From 7H, Tuesday sunrise across mia terra



DThos+ in the Not New Forty