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Diary of a Worm’s Life in a Home “Growing Power” Box and Garden

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All American - Saturday, February 28, 2009

Paul Robeson 1898–1976

We were blessed to close out Black History Month by attending a theater performance called “Paul Robeson in Concert.” Paul Robeson was one of the great men of the 20th century who was blacklisted from history due to his race and his convictions. He was was an “American actor of film and stage, All-American and professional athlete, writer, multi-lingual orator, lawyer, and basso profondo concert singer who was also noted for his wide-ranging social justice activism.” He has been forgotten in our history books since he was a man of principals and convictions who said what he believed and practiced what he said. These are still the qualities of someone we would marginalize in this day and age.

The actor, tonight, had a beautiful deep baritone voice. Most of the songs he sang were spirituals, songs that have a natural appeal worldwide. Robeson was a worldwide figure who, like many African-Americans of his day, found more acceptance of who he was and his music outside of the USA. So to keep him away from the rest of the world, while he was blacklisted, the USA government took away his passport. His honesty was a “threat” to the USA government just like, in a very small way, our silent prayer vigil for an hour on Wednesday was considered a threat to Marquette University, a Catholic University.


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Flower Or Machine? - Friday, February 27, 2009

Flower in the ‘Domes’

This was the last day of the Graf Kids now annual school break to visit grandparents in Milwaukee. Today we visited two places, the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory (The Domes) suggested by my wife, Grandma Pat, and Chucky Cheese, suggested by my three grandchildren. Anyone who knows me or reads this post regularly knows what one I enjoyed, and one that I bore and survived.

With talk of a rain forest, unique plant life and other exotic things we had the grandchildren primed to enjoy the botanical gardens. The Domes did not disappoint. Add a model railroad display and elaborate Lego constructions in one of the domes, and the children enjoyed this visit. Of the three domes I think the one we most enjoyed was the dome with the rain forest. There was something in there for everyone, beautiful orchids growing everywhere for my wife, plants like cacao trees and plants similar to ones that I grow in the house that I could recognize, and fun plants like a banana tree for the kids to enjoy. We all had something to learn, like how the banana trees are no longer self-planting and completely dependent on humans to plant their seeds for new trees.


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Favorite Things - Thursday, February 26, 2009

Frozen Custard, A Favorite Thing

Today my wife and I, with our three grandchildren, did three of our grandchildren’s favorite things to do in Milwaukee, go the Science Store in Milwaukee, have frozen custard and visit the Urban Ecology Center. Now enjoying frozen custard came naturally to the Graf Kids after they were introduced to it on visits to Milwaukee. They now know the difference between frozen custard and ice cream and can tell you their favorite ‘custard stands’ and ‘favorite flavors of the day’.

The other two favorite things took a little more direction by Papa Bob to be favorite things. In my search to do things creative with them I remembered the Science store that I so enjoyed as a child. They were reluctant at first but once we visited it and they got to purchase a few small unique items they were sold. My oldest grandson, now 11, goes straight for the small plastic soldiers and always purchases them with the few dollars I give him. He keeps them here, not because his parents do not like the fact they are tiny soldiers but they just do not think a talented and creative 11 year old should be spending time in the imaginary world of toy soldiers. (See the story War of Toys by Carson on Graf Kids web page.) Believe me small toy plastic soldiers represent much less violence than the video games and TV he can find at home or even here.

My other grandson, 8, always has a hard time deciding on what he wants because he cannot choose from so many things. The limits of the money I give him make him feel like he has to spend every penny. Today we got him over that hurdle and he quickly found a few items he would enjoy within the limits.


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Permit To Pray? - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Today, Ash Wednesday, a baker’s dozen of Marquette University (MU) students, staff, alumni, donors, a Jesuit and others silently fasted and prayed in the MU Raynor Library behind a sign calling for “MU To Teach War No More. Marquette Security and Milwaukee Police asked them to leave and saying they did not have a “permit to pray” in the lobby of the library. When they refused to leave the police and security checked with ‘higher authorities’ at Marquette who decided not to give them a ticket for trespassing and to allow them to pray the rest of the hour. One of the security guards said Marquette did not teach war. The silent witnesses remain silent but we could hear some of the other security guards telling the person off to the side that MU did teach war in the ROTC classes. In fact one of the basic courses in ROTC taught at Marquette to students from 14 local colleges and universities is called “The Principals of War.”

A Marquette professor who is active in a local peace group came by, and when offered a flyer said he had already read it, which was impossible since the flyers had just been printed. Rather than join us or respect our silence he tried talking to participants who silently listened to him. Another Marquette staff person came out of the library and joined us in silent prayer.

Some will continue to pray each week for Marquette to stop teaching war to students from 14 local colleges and universities in the region, with or without a “Permit to Pray”.


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Fat Tuesday - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Apricot Paczki

Today after driving my granddaughter to pre–school at the local Catholic school in Pulaski, WI I went over to the local bakery in town to pick up a cruller or doughnut. I was surprised to find the parking lot of the bakery full, including two TV news trucks from Green Bay. Inside I found persons picking up boxes of a Polish sweet called Paczki. When I asked the person at the counter what it was all about she said it was ‘Fat Tuesday’.

‘Fat Tuesday’ is the final day of Mardi Gras, and the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a time of fasting till Easter. In this Polish Catholic Town of Pulaski it is only normal that you can pre-order and pick up all the Paczkis you want on ‘Fat Tuesday’. However, since Paczki is an ordinary item in this Polish bakery, you need not pre-order to enjoy a Paczki or two. So I purchased two, with apricot stuffing, for my son and me.

They were good, and maybe after school when I pick up my grandchildren to take them to Milwaukee for the rest of the week I might pick up some more for grandchildren, my wife and son in Milwaukee and of course myself to enjoy. For after all, it is ‘Fat Tuesday’ and I am fat.


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Civil Conversations - Monday, February 23, 2009

Civil Conversations on Conflicts
Lincoln-Douglas Debates

On the way to my son’s home today I was listening to Public Radio and heard a discussion about how difficult it is in this country to speak about race. Even with an African-American president we still are uncomfortable talking about racism in our society. I would say the same is true for violence. We can superficially talk about too much violence on TV and movies or about gun violence, but when it comes right down to seeing how violence is so embedded in our society from wars we conduct to the overwhelming availability of hand guns, we get uncomfortable and find it hard, like with racism, to have a civil and in-depth conversation.

About a week ago I was working on a list of the ‘top ten things persons do not want to hear about’. I put it aside since it had something controversial for everyone on it, liberals and conservatives, Christians and Atheists, war and peace advocates and pro-choice and pro-life proponents. Except for young children or persons child-like, we all seem to have some subjects we avoid or have a difficult time having a healthy conversation about.

After I was interviewed last Saturday about the sixties I thought how in 1968 we could say something about “institutional racism” at Marquette University, have a conversation about it and it led to a change in the policies of the administrations. It was an uncomfortable conversation, but it did happen. Now if we say something about the “institutional violence” practiced at Marquette with hosting major departments of military training, we are ignored and “no dialog is possible” and change is difficult to achieve. Almost no one wants to hear about it, even the so call ‘peace’ leaders at Marquette.


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Mardi Gras Returns - Sunday, February 22, 2009

Middle Eastern Cajun Mardi Gras Feast

Today starts Mardi Gras, three days of celebrating and feasting before the rigors of Lent, a traditional time of penance, prayer and fasting that starts this Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, and lasts through Easter. This six week time span of Lent incorporates the ending of winter and the beginning of spring. I am not sure how many persons practice penance in Lent may celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus at Easter, but many enjoy Mardi Gras and we all look forward to the new life of spring.

As winter dies, spring rises. It is a time to order seeds for DMZ and my garden. It is time to repent and renew. It is time to remember friends who have passed, like Nancy Graf and Jim Harney, and to renew present friendships and seek new ones. Lent is a time for penance, to detach ourselves from something good so we can enjoy it more. The end of winter is a tough time. We are tired of snow and cold. Here it is a time of hope as we see more of the sun and what is to come with spring.

The lesson of the Garden that I need to repeat and remember are that in dying there is new life, in sacrifice there is abundance, in being childlike we grow, in forgiveness we are saved, in solidarity with poor we are blessed and in the castings of a worm or the dung of a cow new life grows.

In this time of Winter dying and Spring rising, this time of Lent, it is a good time to quietly be present to the busy world, take a step back from it and get ready to spring into a new world of peace and life. What goes around, comes around. Mardi Gras returns.


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Teach War No More - Saturday, February 21, 2009

Besides digging out of the snow today, I spent some time in conversation with a young man from Ireland who is doing research on the draft resistance movement in this country in the late sixties and early seventies. He is earning his PhD in history from Cambridge in England but is in Milwaukee doing research. Since I was part of the Milwaukee 14 burning of draft records in 1968, he asked for an interview.

Talking about those days and modern times I became aware again of how violence and war is so embedded in our present society. We needed the forced draft in 60’s and 70’s because war was repulsive and killing someone was not natural. Today violence is so ingrained in our society, guns, video games, TV, movies, high school and university education that a volunteer military is all we need to carry on two wars and have a military presence all over the world.

Our present campaign to stop Marquette University from hosting military training programs for 14 area colleges and universities seems odd and unusual. Teaching war and violence is just expected, even in a Catholic Jesuit University.


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Kale To The Sun - Friday, February 20, 2009

Kale to the Sun Today

Usually I write my Diary of the Worm postings late at night. However, since tonight, out of love for my wife, I am going to a David Cook concert, yes the Idol winner from last season, I am writing this posting in the morning.

Looking around at what to write early in the day I noticed through the glass doors to the sun room that my kale in the planter stand was bright in the sunlight. This present kale brings back many memories and offers a lot for the future of our eating.

Kale was brought to my attention by Harvey Taylor, word/song poet. He told me how hearty a plant it was and how it lived through the coldest winter months only to flourish again in another year. He was right, and for a few years we enjoyed bountiful kale, in salads and cooked as greens. Kale is in the collard/spinach family, but in this household tastes better.

Then last spring tragedy struck. The kale did not come back. I checked with Harvey and the same was true for him. Even Growing Power was not offering kale starter plants last spring. I ran out to the store and purchased some kale seeds, regular and Russian. It grew but was not plentiful like in years past.


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In God We Trust? - Thursday, February 19, 2009

Green Money

Tough times for many Americans make good times for military recruiting. As military recruiting increases we escalate our military presence in Afghanistan. As we escalate the violence in this country we make new enemies. As we make new enemies the threat of terror increases in the USA. As the threat increase more Americans fear.

One distraction from this fear is the worsening economy of the USA. As our economy worsens unemployment increases. As unemployment increases people have less money and buy less. As we buy less the economic crisis deepens. As the economic crisis deepens more people go hungry, homeless and without health care. As all this happens, fear in Americans increases.

Also as fear increases we feel more helpless in working for peace or justice. We can talk more, buy a gun, be more frustrated, but none of these things really make much change. Finally we realize that all we can really do is talk less, listen more, let go and trust. If we are religious we say, “Be Not Afraid, Be Still and Trust in God.”


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Gardens Do Not Speak! - Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Silent Garden

Gardens do not talk. However, a beautiful garden speaks about the beauty of nature; a bountiful garden speaks about the fruit of the earth; a good garden speaks about the effort of the gardener. Gardens are silent. however, a garden speaks volumes about life and death.

A email conversation tonight got me thinking about how worried and upset the people of Israel were with Moses when they were facing the Red Sea in front of them and the armies of Pharaoh behind them. They yelled at him and told him that he had led them out of Egypt only to face death. They regretted their decision to follow him out of slavery. Moses just told them to “Be Still” and let God do the work. Moses prayed over the sea and it parted for the Israelites to cross, but not for the armies of the Pharaoh. However, not learning their lesson, at the next crisis the Israelites still complained and did not trust God. That is why it took them over 40 years to go a short distance to the Promised Land.

Being still like a garden is very difficult, as I certainly know having the reputation of a person “who talks too much.” Yet as I age the lesson of silence comes home to me. People who I admire, like Gandhi, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day, were persons of great silence. They all were prolific writers but spent many hours in silence and prayer.


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Duty and Delight - Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Duty and Delight
Dorothy Day’s Last Arrest

While waiting for someone today I had a chance to read more of the Diaries of Dorothy Day, “The Duty of Delight”. Much of what I read today covered a time she spent taking care of her grandchildren while her daughter was having another baby. Actually, large hunks of her time were spent caring for her daughter, her husband and grandchildren and anyone else who happened to be around. In fact it was after a long day of business, housework, caring for children and getting some sorrowful news that Dorothy wrote in her diary: “The duty of delight—as Ruskin says.” (163). In a footnote on the page the editor, Robert Ellsberg, explains how “The Duty of delight,” a phrase from John Ruskin, came to serve for Dorothy as a call to mindfulness in the face of drudgery and sorrow.”

In this Diary of a Worm I have been talking a lot about ‘mindfulness’ and keeping perspective, balance and meditating during the busy days of life. So maybe the phrase “The duty of delight” from Ruskin via Dorothy Day would be a good one for me to keep in mind. As Dorothy wrote somewhere else: “It is not easy always to be joyful, to keep in mind the duty of delight.”


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Five In One Observation? - Monday, February 16, 2009

Dali Lama, All In One Person

As I was going to visit someone at the House of Corrections tonight I stopped to get some gas at my local CITGO gas station. As I was pumping my gas I observed a man leaving the food store at the station saying something out loud about people having a problem because they pray to God for the nation. What struck me first was that it looked like he was talking out loud to himself, and then I realized that he was talking on the phone with a Bluetooth ear piece. Second I noticed his words sounding negative about prayer and thought of my post on Law of Nature and Prayer last night.

I was also reminded of last night’s Diary of the Worm post and the web site by two public radio talk shows I heard parts of while riding around in the car this morning. One was on research on the value of meditation for good health and reducing stress, by a UW-Madison professor Richard Davidson. As I have said many times in this journal, this is something I know but often do not practice. Maybe now days when you can keep busy, even while walking to your car, by cell phones and other devices, time for meditation and quiet is not very popular. I think meditation, mindfulness, prayer or whatever you call it is essential to nonviolence.


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Law of Nature and Prayer - Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mahatma Ghandi

Today at our Faith In Recovery meeting at Church, we used for reflection a Gandhi quote on prayer that I found in the Gandhi Diary 2009 that we were each given during the Pilgrimage of Peace to India. I have been thinking a lot about the “Law of Nature” and Darwin recently, and reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses. This quote on Prayer by Gandhi puts a lot of my thoughts together. If you think of “law” as of nature it puts together the main purpose of this web page, growing power and power of nonviolence. It is a good quote for the beginning of new week, Sunday. Here it is:

Man’s need for prayer is as great as his need for bread. As food is necessary for the body, prayer is necessary for the soul. I have not the shadow of doubt that the striving and quarrels with which our atmosphere is full today are due to the absence of the spirit of true prayer. True prayer never goes unanswered.

This universe of sentient beings is governed by a Law. When we pray for the Law, we simply yearn after knowing the Law and obeying it, and become what we yearn after.


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Green and Growing - Saturday, February 14, 2009

GP Box 02/14/09

The old salad greens in the GP box, although picked many times, still grow, but my hope is in the newly planted ones that are starting to grow. The old greens will, after a few more pickings, start to taste bitter while the new ones will grow and be ready to be picked over and over again.

My original camera lens that has served me well no longer works on automatic focus. My new used camera lens works just fine and hopefully will last me as long as the old one.

All life is constantly changing and needs to be renewed, be it with new salad seeds or camera lens.

This week and this anniversary year we celebrate the work and life of Charles Darwin, who was one of the first to develop the theory of evolution. Darwin’s “natural selection” is often interpreted as “survival of the fittest”, where it really is creatures that adapt and change with the times and conditions that evolve.


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Valentine Blessings! - Friday, February 13, 2009

I can feel the hard edge of my personality starting to return and I do not like it. An example of this is that this week I saw an article and an email by two friends that, in my opinion, were revising history. I wrote both of them saying so. The first one refused to get into a discussion but the second one thanked me for my input and had some wise words of advice: “But you may be right, we often get from our reading and listening whatever details we would like and take those that fit our predetermined ideas. I am no exception.” I wrote back that I also was no exception and he might be right.

His words reminded me of one my flaws that violate the spirit of nonviolence that I so desire: fighting for my vision of the truth.

Judith Brown in her book on Gandhi defines his ‘Satyagraha’ or creative nonviolence as “striving nonviolently to the point of sacrifice rather than fighting to attain one’s vision of truth.” I am weak at accepting sacrifice and often fight for my vision of truth. St. Ignatius of Loyola says something similar in his book on the ‘Spiritual Exercise’ when he prays to God for the “desire to be with you in accepting all wrongs and all rejections.”


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Pita Bread, Lincoln and Darwin - Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ordinary Pita Bread
Is Extraordinary

Today, as we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s and Charles Darwin’s birthdays, it is only right that we talk about bread. Not just any bread but fresh Pita Bread made daily by a local Middle Eastern grocery store.

Lincoln is known for being a person of substance. In a few words he could eloquently state a thought simply. Bread is the substance of life for most humans and Pita bread is an early form as well as present form of bread.

Bread has evolved since the first Pita bread but still Pita bread remains delicious, especially when it is made fresh at my friend’s Attari’s Supermarket. It is one of the small wonders of the world, like the ones in nature that Darwin saw deeply into.


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Creative Cooking and Conflict - Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Frederick Douglas, Promoter of
Creative Conflict

The last two nights I have used Indian spices and methods of cooking to create dishes with food, including meat, that we have on hand. Last night when my wife, who does not like hot spicy food, was not home for dinner I cooked a hot and spicy Chorizo sausage and potato meal using Indian spices and methods of cooking. Tonight when my wife was at dinner I cooked a broccoli and bratwurst stir fry with Indian spices and some rice in the rice cooker using lime juice. My wife said it was very good and asked me if this was my own creative recipe. When I said yes, she jokingly said to me: “Well I guess we will never have that again.” This line comes from the days when my wife did most of the cooking and after a particularly creative and delicious dish I used to jokingly say the same line. There is some truth to it since in creative cooking, when you use what you have on hand, seldom do you create the same dish the same way again. This new wave of creative cooking I owe to my visit to India on the Pilgrimage of Peace and my friend there Dr. Kranthi.

Feeling creative today I shopped at the Middle Eastern store in town and picked up some of my regular items, like freshly baked pita bread and feta cheese, and a few new ones to use in creating a new dish. Look for this store on the Just Trade.


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Like a Mustard Seed - Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mustard Seeds

In the Indian cooking, which has fascinated me as of late, tiny mustard seeds are an essential spice to many dishes. With that in the back of my mind, I decided to write, new and bring back some old, of my Easy Essays written in the style of Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement. To start things off here is a new one written tonight.

Bury my soul in the soil, like a mustard seed, not so deep.
Water it and give it light so that it can take root and grow.

Please keep away the noise and other distractions.
Just let me rest in peace.

In the silent soil I will find life from within.
This life will grow deeper and out.

My soul, like a small mustard seed, will grow and grow.
No need to do anything but let it happen.

Just let it be.


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The Right Mix - Monday, February 09, 2009

Salad Bowl Friends
The Right Mix

Watching parts of the Grammy Awards last night on TV I noticed they tried to pair singers of different genres, like rock and rap, together. Sometimes it worked well and other times it did not.

Tonight for dinner I took some commercial ground chorizo I had received from a friend and mixed it with Basmati rice and some Indian spices. This mix also worked well and was enjoyed by the three of us. Often my mix of foods does not work out as well. We also had a salad mix of salad greens arugula, tomatoes, feta cheese, spices and oils that worked well. A salad mix is something I am usually good at. (The mixed salad greens and arugula were freshly picked from my sunroom growing area today.)

Is there not some saying about a “mix” being the spice of life? The secret of a good mix I am finding out in growing, cooking and life is finding diverse plants, food, experiences and persons that complement each other, not compete with each other.

As I said in last night’s Diary post, Diversity can lead to Unity or to differences and division. Actually this is not a bad prism to look at life and to discern what is good for you. As St. Ignatius of Loyola points out in his discernment of spirits, if something leaves you feeling whole and good about yourself and others it is from the good spirits. If it leaves you upset and troubled it is from the bad spirits. Life is not that simple, but still this is a good rule and something I believe in and try to use, although I am not always successful.


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Diversity Seeking Unity - Sunday, February 08, 2009

Diversity in planting in
Nava Danya, India

Today I took time to write a personal response to a young friend’s pubic article on “Black Catholic History”. I disagreed with his understanding of some historical facts, particularly ones that I had lived through and that happened before he was born. My friend wrote back thanking me for my comments, admitting we disagreed on some points and said he would talk with me personally about them but he did not want to start an “email debate.” I can understand his comment but question why he thought I wanted to start a “debate” by my private email response any more than he wanted to start a “debate” with his public article. Personally I have experienced email debates and they do lead, as he said, to misunderstanding. However, I do not understand why my disagreement with his historical comments would lead to a divisive debate, in any form, written in an article or email or in person. I did a little research on the Internet before making my comments and gave him a few historical references to check out.

I mentioned the above to point out a major difference between my generation and my young friend’s generation. We would have teach-ins, discussion, debates on all sort of issues when I was in college or graduate school, as my friend is, and not take things personally or have misunderstandings. We did not have email or would have used it. The ability to civilly disagree seems much easier then than now.


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Opportunity To Be - Saturday, February 07, 2009

Dustin playing basketball

During my “time out” yesterday afternoon and today I had a chance to watch my grandson play in a basketball tournament. It reminded me about my youth playing basketball. In these BEPT (Before Equal Playing Times) only the good basketball players got to play. Now days the coach tries to give each child equal playing time and an opportunity to improve their game. I like that.

Although I never thought of myself as a great basketball player at my grandson’s age, I did feel that being categorized as not a good player at such a young age really deprived me of any chance of developing into a good basketball player. Maybe I would have, maybe not, but at least there would have been the opportunity.

The irony of the situation is that while I played for a Catholic School team coached by one of the associate pastors of the church, grandson goes to a public school and plays with a team from a small town that travels the area playing other teams in tournaments.

The same situation for basketball applies to my grandchildren’s other teams, soccer, baseball and football. Although the teams try to win, more emphasis is placed on developing children’s skill and potential in the sports at such a young age, over winning at any cost.
The story goes that the great Michael Jordan was cut from a basketball team in grade or high school. Obviously he was given another opportunity and went on to be one of the greatest NBA basketball players of all time.

So while in some vital areas, like employment in good jobs, opportunity may have become more limited, at least in the area of children’s sports there is more opportunity. We all need opportunity, a good and healthy environment and some good luck to be all we can be.


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Time Out! - Friday, February 06, 2009

The Diary of the Worm is taking a ‘Time Out’ tonight. The reason is that this afternoon I was watching (or he was watching me) a three year old friend. After I returned him home to his grandma it was time to head of north to my son and his family, today on my son’s 39th birthday. Tomorrow we will go to some basketball tournament games of one of my grandsons who is eight. So sometimes adults give kids ‘Time Outs’ and sometimes children give adults ‘Time Outs.’ I think both children and adults like the children giving adults ‘time outs’ best. At least I do. An adult ‘time out’ means I can play with a three year old all afternoon and think and feel that I am being helpful. An adult ‘time out’ means I can wish my son Happy Birthday in person and enjoy watching a couple of third grade basketball games tomorrow.

The Diary of the Worm will be back tomorrow night unless I get another ‘time out’.


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Catching Up - Thursday, February 05, 2009

Catching Up by Leung

I am slowly realizing that I will never catch up with all I want to do. So the best thing, it seems to me, is to do what I can do to the best of my ability and not to forget to allow time for just being.

However, I did a little catching up today. Here is an update:

I got the article on Money or Morals out to some people today and invited them to participate with us at our next nonviolent action at Marquette in Lent to stop military training for war at this Catholic, Jesuit campus. If people check out this article they might also see the featured article on on Making War by war hero and cleric Dr. Bowman.

Now that the cold days of winter seem to be fading I planted some more salad seeds in the GP box in the sunroom and in containers below it. Salad is something we keep planting and eating all year around inside and outside.


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Art of Indian Cooking - Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Vegetable Curry

While I was on the Pilgrimage of Peace to India I met Dr. Kranthi who is the wife of Sri Prasad, the main organizer of the pilgrimage. Dr. Kranthi is the granddaughter of one of the followers of Gandhi. She works full time as a dentist so her husband, Sri Prasad, can work full time, without pay, as General Secretary for the Andhre Pradesh Sarvodaya Mandel, the Gandhian organization in their state of India. She joined us for about five days of the pilgrimage. She is one of those persons that one feels like they already know. Learning of my interest in cooking and eating Indian food one day while traveling to one of the pilgrimage sites, she gave me a recipe for Lime Rice. I made it and wrote to her about it. She then sent me a better recipe for lime rice and told me what ingredients to purchase at the local Indian store. I had already been there but went back the other day to get the rest of the ingredients.

This morning I took some boneless pork chops out of the freezer and was thinking of interesting ways to use the cauliflower in the refrigerator. When I went to check my emails I found a recipe from Dr. Kranthi for vegetable curry. Since I had a number of the vegetables suggested, including a cauliflower, and all the right Indian spices, I decided to make it for dinner tonight. I cut up the boneless pork chops and cooked them separately in an electric frying pan with a little curry spice I had purchased.


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Choose Life - Tuesday, February 03, 2009

One Tree of Life

Here is a Pro-Life Litany that, I think, many on both sides of the abortion issue can agree on. It appeared in our Sunday Church bulletin and is based on the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Litany of Pro-life

I am more than pro-birth. I am pro-life.
I do not believe in unprovoked wars which kill innocent people. I am pro-life.
I condemn torture. I am pro-life.
I do not believe in the death penalty. I am pro-life.
I believe those we incarcerate must be taught skills so they can re-enter society. I am pro-life.
I work to eliminate racism. I am pro-life.
I do not believe that we should give money to oppressive governments. I am pro-life.
I do not believe our government should train other governments to produce death squads. I am pro-life.
I believe it is wrong to manipulate the voting process. I am pro-life.
I believe that everyone in the world should be able to live in safe and healthy conditions. I am pro-life.
I believe that the social teachings of the Church provide a strong foundation beyond being just pro-birth. I am pro-life.
I am more than pro-birth. I am pro-life.

Written by John and Lois Ahlhauser

On many issues we are more alike than different. “Powers that be” like to stress our differences but, as the ways of the Garden and Gandhi teach us, we are interdependent on each other and we are one.

As Gandhi said, we are all part of the tree of life and the means by which we choose life will determine how we grow together. “The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree……..We reap exactly what we sow.” (Hind Swarj or Indian Home Rule by M.K. Gandhi, First Edition 1938.)


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Last Interview With A Worm - Monday, February 02, 2009

nonviolent worms?

nonviolent cows?

Now that I am in the process of changing the name of this web domain from nonviolent worm to nonviolent cow I thought I should do one last interview with a worm. So I dug up a worm in the growing box in my sunroom and here is how the conversation went.

Bob: As you know I am changing the name of my web site from nonviolent worm to nonviolent cow. What do you think about that?

Worm: First, I did not know until just now, and second I do not think.

Bob: Okay, but now that you know do you have something to say?

Worm: Personally I do not care. As I told you before, Bob, we worms work as a united species, although we are very diverse, and some name change on the web does not affect us as a whole or as an individual. So we do not care.

Bob: Is that all you have to say?


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New Sunday Sun - Sunday, February 01, 2009

New Sunday Sun 2/1/09

This is a new month and a new time. The sun is out during the day, heating the sunroom so plants can grow. The nights are not so very cold that all the heat escapes the sunroom. This is the month to grow inside and outside, in the AIR insulated small greenhouse, which I gave up during the long cold nights of January.

This is a new month with a new name for the web page, from Nonviolent Worm to Nonviolent Cow. I should do one last ‘interview with a worm’ before changing the name of the actual site.

The time of the cow has come. Nothing can match the castings of the worm for output of enzyme rich organic fertilizer. A worm casts off its own weight each day. A cow does not do that, but casts off a large quantity of organic fertilizer each day. Also cow dung, because of its quantity, can used for bio-fuels, medicines, building materials as well as organic fertilizer. And when worms eat and cast off cow dung you have the best of both worlds — large quantities of enriched organic fertilizer with super growing power.

I need to explore the use of worms to feed and cast off directly on cow dung. I need to explore this with persons in India who are doing it and with farmers in Wisconsin.


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