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

Rain Garden
August 2010

Tomatoes & Basil
from Front Lawn
Garden 2010

Back Yard
Garden 08/02/09

Click below to read any post in full, and to post your comments on it.

New Year Hope - Friday, December 31, 2010

I wrote a friend today about working together on a particular peace issue. He wrote back that he would be glad to attend our events and we would be welcome at his. I guess he missed my point.

In 2010 I tried to pull peace and justice groups together to work on one specific local issue at a time. Actually I should say I talked about doing it. It seems like my efforts lead to more division and competition.

Failing in 2010 in my vision of unity in community I think my 2011 resolution should be to first be true to myself and conscience and, second, seek community with those who share these values and also seek community.

Also in 2010 I found the information revolution overwhelming. The more news and information I received by radio, TV, phone or internet the less I did about it. There were so many causes, petitions to sign, stories to watch, talks to attend, things to read that there was little time for action. I believe that the information overload is on purpose to keep us distracted and from focusing the things that really matter. My 2011 resolution should be less information and more reflection. This will be a hard one to keep since besides an overwhelming amount of information there is an overwhelming amount of distracting entertainment to deal with.

Usually I make the standard New Year’s Resolution, lose weight, be nicer to family and friends, read more etc. Maybe this year, if I can truly be myself and do more with less it will be good New Year full of hope.


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Hard To Be Awake - Thursday, December 30, 2010

“Spirituality means waking
up”. (Anthony De Mello)

With its dark and dreary days winter is a good time to sleep. However, it also is a good time to wake up. Sleeping is easier than waking up but waking up is more rewarding.

When you are asleep in daily life not much makes you feel. You just go through the routine of living, eating, talking, sleeping, watching TV and keep busy. When you are awake in daily life everything makes you feel. You feel great sadness and great joy, despair and hope, alive and dead. When you are alive you seek information but there is always too much.

For example, a good friend send me a multi-part YouTube videos today on the lies and misrepresentations that led to the war in Iraq. There was no new information on the video but just being reminded of the damage, suffering and death greed and lies brought down was hard to hear. Although the video was well done, the truth was too much and after awhile I had to give up watching the videos.

As I look back on last year and look ahead to the New Year I think of all the experiences that shaped 2010. On the dark side there is death of my son, rejection in the battle to have Marquette University stop teach war, seeing an increase in war spending, the silence or just too much talk of many to violence in our society. On the light side there is all the wonderful friends and families that were there for us when we needed them; there was the encouragement and signs of hope that came to be.

It is hard to be awake but once awake in life it is impossible to stay asleep.


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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year - Friday, December 24, 2010

The Diary of the Worm will resume December 30, 2010


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Another Parable? - Thursday, December 23, 2010

St. John the Baptist

On this posting for Dec. 19th I wrote a parable called The Empire and A Child. Today while commenting on a Catholic Worker scripture reflection site, The Daily Dynamite, I wrote a reflection on today’s Gospel, the story of birth of John the Baptism. I think it has the makings for another parable. Parables, as my son Peter taught me, are sometimes good ways to speak our deeper feelings. I wrote:

I think of John or Jesus being born today. Again I believe it would be Palestine, or what we call today “the occupied territory”. I believe John, the forerunner, and Jesus, the Christ, would grow as ordinary persons in a land occupied by a military force. As young adults they would begin their ministry and deliver their message by word and action to the local people. Again they would be praised but ultimately rejected and killed. John, not by a sword but by a bullet, Jesus, not by a cross but by a bomb. The instruments of death would be from the American Empire not the Roman Empire.

Does anyone want to write this parable?


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The Bridge of Imagination - Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Carson at 1st Birthday

Today is the birthday of my first and oldest grandson, Carson. Today he is thirteen, a teenager. I am proud of all three of my grandchildren, Grafkids, but most proud of Carson for his great imagination. Since he was a baby he has been exercising it. He is a constant reader, always with a book nearby. I pray that he keep his great imagination throughout his teen years and beyond.

Carson’s father, my son, was very serious as a child. His younger brother, my deceased son, Peter, until he got ill in his early 20’s was just the opposite, a happy go lucky child. As children they were so different but always got along. One took everything seriously and the other took life humorously. Having a conscientious son and fun loving child made for good balance.

We all need that balance in life, being serious and humorous. Imagination, perhaps, is the way to bridge the gap between the two.


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Kill or Be Killed - Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tonight I went with a friend to the Veterans hospital, to visit veterans from the various wars, World War II to our present wars. Veterans are real heroes to me for all the different reasons that most people honor. Veterans know the hell of war and some bear great suffering for all their lives. My friend regularly goes with a group to visit veterans’ particular those in the mental health ward.

I felt like the men and women who suffered injury to brain, usually called post traumatic stress syndrome, are persons I can relate to. Since my son committed suicide last summer I felt even more related to veterans who have suffered an experience they cannot fathom.

Veterans have faced situations of unspeakable suffering, often when they had to kill or be killed.

A young man with a history of mental illnesses but with no help is now standing accused of killing a young woman in a meaningless shooting. This young veteran of the central city committed an unspeakable crime and will suffer from it the rest of his life. In this killing, like those in war, there are two victims, the person killed and the person that did the killing.

Those who train, teach and send young men and women for war, like the politicians and the universities like Marquette, are the guilty ones. The soldiers who kill or be killed are the victims as are those who are killed or kill.


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What are Friends Good For? - Monday, December 20, 2010

Tonight, or early morning tomorrow , they say will be the darkest day in over 300 years. This is true since it is not only the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, but it is also Lunar Eclipse, the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon.

It sounds exciting but unless you were up from midnight to 5 am, you missed it. I rather find my excitement in friends.

There is an old saying: “What are friend good for?” Now let me tell you some of the ways.

When your wife wants a kitchen cabinet made over with two sliding drawers and you hire someone to do it, he does, but it does not work properly. The person disappears and your wife says all she really wants for Christmas is the cabinet made right. A friend comes over and after many hours of labor makes it the way you wife wants it.

When your opposition to unjust and immoral wars gets misunderstood as being against soldiers and veterans, a friends calls you and asks you if want to join him in visiting veterans in the locked unit at the local veterans hospital. These are the very persons suffering from terrible illness from war that you are struggling to help with your opposition to wars.

When you are feeling down and out and a friend says you a really funny joke by email.

When people are ignoring your research and a friend, who knows what he is talking about, sends you an email and says: “Great Research.”

These are few of the joy and excitement I have found from friends the last few days. How about you? What are friends good for?


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The Empire and Child: A ParableForOurTimes - Sunday, December 19, 2010

“A child will lead you.”

Once in a time close to this moment, there was empire that was very powerful and rich. It was so rich that even its ‘poor’ persons in the empire were considered rich by many in the world. The empire kept its power by military might. Its military spending budget was larger than the budgets of all the major countries in the world combined. The empire said it was ‘democratic’ but it was controlled by a large military/industrial/educational complex controlled by a small group of very rich persons. This group was sometimes called ‘unspeakable powers’ since the people of the empire lived in fear of these powers.

Fear was used to control the empire. The empire preached a gospel of hate your enemy, do bad to them. In the empire the word justice came to mean ‘punishment’, revenge and persecuting persons. Persons were encouraged to compete and be in conflict with each other by the ‘powers that be’. There were many distractions to keep them from seeking the truth.

A young child born outside the empire was brought to it by its parents. The parents never told the young child that they all were ‘illegal aliens’. As the child grew up the child sensed something was wrong. He saw the fear in the eyes of his parents whenever there was talk of ‘illegal aliens’.

As the child grew in age and wisdom the child saw there was something terribly wrong in the empire. The empire was conducting wars to prevent wars and terror on it but it was only causing more wars and terrors. The child saw killing and violence everywhere in the Empire, on T.V., in the video games, on the streets of his city and in the wars the empire was constantly carrying on.


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Joy from Sadness - Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tonight my wife and I watched the movie, “The Wrestler”. The movie was good but had a sad ending. Today I received an email that Pfc. Bradley Manning’s, the 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst, in prison for allegedly leaking a video of a US helicopter attack that killed at least eleven Iraqi civilians to the website Wikileaks, health was deteriorating. The report says: “His prolonged confinement in a solitary holding cell is unquestionably taking its toll on his intellect; his inability to exercise due to [prison] regulations has affected his physical appearance in a manner that suggests physical weakness.”

There is more sad news today but that is enough for now. I have always been an optimistic person looking for the “good news” in everyday life. Many of the quotes on the have to do with suffering and the paradox of joy it brings. Here are some new quotes:

Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.
Meister Eckhart

The deeper the sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
Kahlil Gibran

I live by this credo: Have a little laugh and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations. Even in your darkest moment, you usually can find something to laugh about if you try hard enough.
Red Skelton

Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.
Oscar Wilde

There are moments when i wish i could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but i have a feeling that if i did, the joy would be gone as well. So i take the memories as they come, accepting them all, letting them guide me whenever I can.
Nicholas Sparks

I got to believe that joy comes from sadness.


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Veterans Making Peace - Friday, December 17, 2010

Veterans Making Peace

In the major wars since I was a teen, soldiers have taken the lead in making war and making peace. I remember in the 60’s the inspiring leadership of the Vietnam Veterans for Peace in the resistance to the war and the same has holds true for the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yesterday it happened again as military veterans join by other resisters lined up along the fence in front of the White House, some chaining themselves to the fence, and said Stop These Wars Now. 131 were arrested. The action was simple but the message was profound. Pictures of this act of resistance can be found at Civil Resistance at the White House. As Chris Hedges,particpant and war correspondent, said Real Hope is about Doing Something and that these veterans did.

Most of the media, as did the President, ignored this resistance. I did hear a little about it on Public Radio. But as Thomas Merton said to peace activist in the 60’s: ”Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no worth at all, if not perhaps, results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you will start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.”

In making war the results, the victory, the killing is everything. In making peace the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself is everything. Just ask the veterans making peace.


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The Joy of Research - Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dorothy Day

Today I had an opportunity to go to the Marquette University archives to do some research on Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker. The results of my research can be found below and eventually on the Catholic Worker and Military Training on Catholic Campuses page. I have not done any research for awhile but when it was done, as before, it felt good.

Also while researching this question I discovered information on what Dorothy Day thought about the principle of subsidiarity , the principle that political power should be exercised by the smallest or least central government. A similar principle comes out in the writings of Mahatma Gandhi and I had been seeking Dorothy Day’s view on the subject for awhile.

Research gets you close to the ‘truth’, at least, what Gandhi called, your ‘opinion of the truth.’ There is something special about that as there is watching a plant grow from seed. It is the joy of research. Here are the tentative results of today’s research:


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Double Dip Of Soil and Light - Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Growing Lettuce Tonight

Today I finally cleaned up the sun room which has it the Growing Power box that we built many years ago. This year I just planted lettuce in the box and tonight for dinner we enjoyed the first fruits of our labor. With my new fluorescent green lights and a little help from the sun, water, good soil and the worms in the compost in the box I hope to have enough lettuce for a few dinners a week.

A key ingredient to good growing inside is light. For some of us, light is a good ingredient for feeling good in winter times. I seem to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression, as my father did and my eldest son seems to be.

A friend told me about Full spectrum lights. When I researched it I discovered that studies have shown that lighting called full spectrum lighting cost more but is about as effective on this disorder as ordinary fluorescent lighting. So I changed to a higher wattage the energy saving bulbs in my office and behind my chair in the living room. I think it is working and even if it is not, thinking it is working helps make me feel less down.

Now if I can only find something natural like light to counteract the tiredness that I feel this winter season. Once I published on the Featured Article page an scientific study called Nature’s Bounty: Soil Salvation. The article explains how working with soil improves our physical and mental well being. At the time I proposed taking a bowl of good soil to tense meetings (which I avoid anyway) and putting your hands in the soil during the meeting. I never tried it but believe it will work since I know how good I feel after I work with the soil in the garden.

There is soil in the Growing Power box below the lights and the lettuce. Also I have buckets of good soil for growing in the basement. Maybe I should try a double dip of soil and light.


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Franz Speaks Today - Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today I took a friend to the Social Security office to pick up a check. What seem liked a simple task turned into a bureaucratic nightmare for my friend, and we walked out of the waiting room 2 ½ hours later with no check in hand.

I have commented before how we can turn waiting into something positive, and today I had a chance to practice it. This waiting gave me a chance to read more in my book Franz Jägerstätter, Letters and Writings from Prison. Franz Jägerstätter was an Austrian conscientious objector who was beheaded by the German military for his refusal to cooperate with the Nazi war effort.

Our renewed resistance for Marquette University to Close the Military Schools on campus have invoked Franz as our patron saint. Some of his words I read today, while waiting, seem relevant for our times.

For example, in 1942, a year before he was killed, he wrote: “It is of course very sad today that so many people do not recognize, or do not want to recognize, the dangerous situation in which we find ourselves. Many people claim to be blameless.” He was, of course, talking about the German wars, but the statement could be applied today to the American wars.

A question Franz asked (we can change the name of the country from Germany to USA): “What kind of Catholic would venture to declare that those military campaigns of plundering, which Germany has undertaken in many lands and is still leading, constitute a just and holy war?”

Another statement he makes that rings true today is: “Doesn’t it seem laughable when people say that no one can truly decide whether the war, which Germany initiated against so many countries, is just or unjust.”

Here is another description of his time and our time: “Today we hear words of consolation, such as ‘Be at peace, and wait patiently.’ People who want to do otherwise are told: ‘Nothing needs to be done.’ Today’s situation and these words of advice are comparable to this imaginary scene. People find themselves in a house that is engulfed by flames, and they hear someone outside the house call to them: ‘Be at peace. The fire will not continue much longer. Soon the entire house will fall down.’ Can someone guarantee the people that they will not suffocate in the smoke before the house collapses and that they will not be struck by the debris as the house falls in?“

The quotes from Franz could go on, but I think you get the point: Reading while waiting in the present can remind us how we fail to learn from the past. “The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.” Franz speaks to us today if we can listen.


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Rebel With A Cause - Monday, December 13, 2010

Catholic Worker Rebels
in 50′s with a cause

At the the Harley Davidson Museum we visited last Saturday there was a film featuring movies that focused on motorcycles, like “The Wild One”, “Rebel Without a Cause” or “Easy Rider”. The rebels in the movies, James Dean, Marlo Brando or Peter Fonda, just were rebels for no reason in particular.

Today a friend sent me an email of quotes about rebels, but these are rebels with a cause. Here are some: “What is a rebel? A man who says no” — Albert Camus “Men seldom, or rather never for a length of time and deliberately, rebel against anything that does not deserve rebelling against.” — Thomas Carlyle (Source: Essays-Goethe’s Works) “As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” — Clarence Darrow

He follows the quotes with an article by Chris Hedges called No Act of Rebellion is Wasted. Chris Hedges is a well known war correspondant and author who will join group war veterans who will gather in front of the White House this Thursday to commit an act of rebellion against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Chris says: “Hope and justice live when people, even in tiny numbers, stand up and fight for them.” These are rebels with a cause.


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Graphic Words - Sunday, December 12, 2010

War Games

In a world claimed by the demons of violence, messages of peace are ignored. They are not exciting enough to grab our attention. In such a world, brothers, sisters, family and friends are held together by loose superficial ties of sports, hobbies and entertainment. Prosperity matters and poverty is a curse. Words do not mean what they signify and are often just empty gestures. Pictures speak louder than words in such a world.

This posting will try to match a few quotes with pictures. Call it a ‘graphic word’ posting if you so desire.

“War! that mad game the world so loves to play.” (Jonathan Swift)

“If we are to reach peace in this world and if we are to carry on a war against war, we shall have to begin with the children” (Mahatma Gandhi)


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Coming Home - Saturday, December 11, 2010

Harley Davidson’s Home

My two brothers, one from Iowa and one from Colorado, are in town this weekend. Today we went to visit the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Museum here in Milwaukee. We visited the museum not because we are motorcycle enthusiast but because we grew up in a house in the shadow of the Harley Davidson Company. Our house was next to the alley that led to the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company parking lot. At 3:30pm we had to stop playing basketball in the alley and clear the way for the cars that left the parking lot.

One of my first jobs in High School was at Harley Davidson Company in the office. Before the day of modern copy machines, computers and electronic filing we made copies of blue prints on some large copy machines and filed them in cabinets for the engineers. I had left a job in a nearby Tire/Car Services business for this better and cleaner job but felt bored at this job. But the work did have its fringe benefits. At lunch hour during the summer months the executives and engineers would go to a nearby area to race their motorcycles up a hill. I was allowed to ride in a sidecar of one of the motorcycles.

Gradually the parking lot at the end of the alley expanded and quite a time after my parents sold the house and moved out, our house was one of the last to be demolished as the parking lot took over the whole block.

At the museum was a picture of the original shed where the first motorcycle was built by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson in 1903. The spot was next to our home but was later moved next to the building that was down the block. At the museum it said the original shed was there until a construction accident in the early 70’s. It must have been well hidden, since my brothers and I do not remember seeing it in the 50’s and 60’s when we grew up in the neighborhood.

But coming home usually means old and new memories and information.


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Code Words - Friday, December 10, 2010

Mr. Burns

Last night some of us, part of Breaking the Silence, met for dinner and to discuss how we can Blow the Dynamite on the message of No More Teaching War and Killing at Marquette University and No More War Spending by our elected representatives.

It has been increasingly hard to get the attention of the public on social justice and war and peace issues. I read today an article by Kathy Kelly on the Hunger and Anger in Afghanistan. She tells us how in “Afghanistan, a nation where 850 children die every day, about a quarter of the population goes hungry.” No wonder there is so much anger of the people of Afghanistan toward the USA. War training at Marquette and War spending by our congresspersons are responsible for this horror of war. Kathy Kelly’s articles are graphic reports of the death and destruction that we train for and spend our money to do.

Part of the problem is that those who promote social injustice and war use ‘code words’. For example, when they say ‘tax cuts’ they are really saying take away from the poor and ill. My friends that are poor and ill are finding it harder and harder to survive and be healthy as tax cuts hurt them. Yet the rich, especially those who profit from war and destruction, face no cuts but are given more money.

On this day when I read this article by Kathy Kelly of the suffering we are causing in Afghanistan I saw on the “Nightline” TV show how women are having cosmetic surgery of their feet to look good and allow them to wear certain shoes, like high heels, more easily. The pictures of this foot surgery were very graphic. But where on TV do you see the graphics of the horror of the US war in Afghanistan?

How to make the message of peace and justice clear and keep a sense of humor? Perhaps we need use some code words. Any suggestions?


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Dark Side of Life - Thursday, December 09, 2010

Jim Morrison

Today, One year and one day after his birthday, Dec. 8, 1943 Jim Morrison, the lead singer and lyricist of the band The Doors, was given a posthumous pardon by the Governor of Florida for a conviction of ‘indecent exposure’ for an act he allegedly committed in 1969.

I mentioned this news story today because it struck me that Morrison was born the same year I was, 1943, and convicted of a crime the same year I as convicted of a crime,Milwaukee 14.

I have always felt a dark attraction to the music of The Doors and maybe having these two years in common is part of the reason why.

Morrison died a year after his conviction while he was out an appeal. If he had lived we would now be the same age. But the despite these common links our lives before 1969 took radically different paths. While Morrison life was full of music, popularity, sex, alcohol and drugs, my life till that time had been very conservative and quiet.

I remember hearing The Doors at the time but my interest was not really awakened until my deceased son, Peter, reintroduced me to the music of The Doors in his adult life. The dark poetic sound of the music reminds me of how I feel these days with the loss of my son.

Peter, like Jim Morrison, was an aspiring film maker, musician and artist. He never had the fame of Jim Morrison, but liked to think of himself living on the wild side.

However, the other side of my son was more like me, serious, compassion and concerned. He struggled with living with both sides of himself until the day he died. He and Jim Morrison are now together somewhere enjoying their music while I am here on earth struggling with the dark side of life.


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Imagine Care for the Poor and Resistance - Wednesday, December 08, 2010

John Lennon

The Republicans want to cut the deficit so they increase it by giving tax cuts to the very rich. The Democrats want to cut the deficit so they by propose a record high Department of Defense budget.

The Republicans like military spending so they like more money for war as do the Democrats. Whenever the Republicans say they want to cut spending what they are really saying is we want to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The Democrats say they fight for the ‘middle class’ but the middle class gets poorer.

No one, Republicans or Democrats in government seems to care for poor. Helping the poor is left to volunteers and non-profits but non-profits often duplicate and fight for services to the poor.

How about we minimize government like the Republicans always say but do not do and we form small communicates of concern, they care for the least with us, not as a volunteer but as a family member.

Caring for the poor is the only way to care for the poor. By voting, signing petitions, writing letters and even protesting we seem to support the establishment and the powers to be where the rich get richer and the all the rest of us get poorer. So why do it. The only way we can fight the system is by resistance, non-violent resistance that exposes the evil of the system and demands real change. Care for the poor and resist and the rest will fall in place.

Or to use the words of John Lennon, who died thirty years ago today, Imagine:


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Music Not Military - Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Middle School Band

Today I remember being at Pearl Harbor, the base in Hawaii that is remembered on Dec. 7th by the invasion of the Japanese. We fought back in the war and retook the Hawaiian Islands and soon made them a state. However, Japan after the war recovered economically and in time took over Hawaii by purchasing land and using it as a vacation spot. Part of Japanese success was the fact that after the war they no longer had to spend money building and maintaining a military force.

Japanese tourists are all over Hawaii and are easily recognizable since all the men wear khaki pants and white shirts with cameras strung around their necks. The day I was at Pearl Harbor a bus load of Japanese tourists arrived and they all made a beeline to the rail overlooking the harbor for a picture-taking session.

America remains the number one power in the world but is now dependent on its military might. The US Department of Defense budget is nearly 800 billion dollars, more than all the military budgets of the rest of the world’s major countries combined. China, a much larger and rapidly developing country, is in second place with a military budget about 1/10 of our budget. Empires based on military might — Rome, Russia, England, Germany — in the past have all ultimately declined. China seems to have learned from history, as Japan did after World War II, and is putting its main resources into development, education, clean energy, manufacturing and other sustainable resources. Military might is a non-sustainable resource.

Tonight I went to my oldest grandson’s winter band concert in his middle school up north. It is a large middle school blessed with a wonderful music department and three bands, 6th, 7th and 8th grade, each band with about 100 youth in it. While Milwaukee public schools deprive more and more children of music in school this middle school thrives.

From my limited experience a country rich in cultural arts, like music, is a rich country. I felt this while in India, Venezuela, and Guatemala. Long before Venezuela became an economic power from oil it was rich in music education for all, even the poorest of the poor. I understand that China, despite the Cultural Revolution, is thriving with culture.

As someone who cannot sing or play an instrument I still can appreciate music. Music, not military, is a universal language we can all share and grow in.


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Spirituality and Humor - Monday, December 06, 2010

Phil Berrigan

I remember that today is the day of remembering good old St. Nick, the forerunner of our Santa Claus. Also someone reminded me that today is the eighth anniversary of the death of Philip Berrigan, a great Catholic Worker and resister that had a great influence on many lives. The last time I saw Phil he encouraged me to work on the resistance to the military presence at Marquette, something I am trying to do. (See Marquette, Be Faithful to the Gospel, Close the base School of Army on campus.

Putting these two commemorations together and looking at my recent postings I think it is time to put more humor and spirituality into the Nonviolent Cow web page. The postings have become dark and tired.

Looking for humor and spirituality reminds me of one of the great spiritual writers of our time Father Anthony De Mello S.J., an Indian Jesuit priest who spoke spiritual truths by stories, parables and anecdotes, always with a sense of humor.

Here is one of my favorite stories:


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Pain Over Tired - Sunday, December 05, 2010

Tired Cow

Frequently, recently I find myself too tired to read or reflect. This comes at a time I am trying to increase my reading and reflection time. I find myself turning on the TV to watch the “least objectionable” show.

I think my mind, and thus my body, is adjusting to winter, the lack of sun and being outside and a new awareness that has come with the dark shadows of my son’s death. I do not know what to do except drink more coffee, sleep more and wait it out. I want to be more awake but not numb myself from feelings.

However, my writing has stay with me, albeit slower and perhaps less creative. This ‘Diary of a Worm’ started off as an ‘observation diary’, one that notices a small thing in daily life and sees deeply into it. Some postings I can do that, and others I cannot.

One observation I made today was that my cell phone was strangely quiet, sort of like I am these days. Tonight after dinner I took a look at the phone and saw why. I had put it in vibrate mode for Church this morning and had forgot to turn it back on to sound. Actually I had only received one call today, from a very sick friend who has been in pain for many years. She left a message this morning saying how bad she felt today and that she was waiting for a return call from her doctor. When I called her back this evening she did not answer and so I left a message. She is either sleeping or in the hospital, since she rarely gets out of her apartment except for doctor appointments.

Observing her, living in pain for all these years, makes it easier for me to bear this tiredness. Hopefully her pain will pass, as will my tiredness. I choose being tired over pain any day.


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Open Letter From Afghan Youth To Our World Leaders - Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Afghan Youth Peace

This open letter from the Afghan Youth to our world leaders was sent to me with the request to past it on. The letter speaks for itself.

Dear Mr Obama, Mrs Clinton, Mr Petraeus, Mr Rasmussen, and all our world leaders,

We are Afghans and we ask the world to listen. Like yourselves, we couldn’t live without the love of our family and friends. We were hurt by your criticism of Mr Karzai for voicing the people’s anguished pleas, “Stop your night raids.” Please, stop your night raids.

If you could listen, you would have heard 29 NGOs in Afghanistan describe how we now have “Nowhere to Turn”. Nowhere to Turn: The failure to protect civilians in Afghanistan

If you could listen, you would also have heard Mr Karzai and the 29 NGOs express concern over your Afghan Local Police plan; the world will henceforth watch our militia killing the people, your people and our people, with your weapons and your money.

If you could listen, you would have heard the sound of your drones crystallizing the nights of hatred among the Afghan, Pakistani and global masses.
Instead, we hear your determination to ‘awe, shock and firepower’ us with Abrams tanks. We hear distant excitement over your new smart XM25 toy, a weapon you proudly proclaim will leave us with ‘nowhere to hide’.


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Ruined For Life - Friday, December 03, 2010

‘a little less ruined than’
by Peter Graf

The Jesuit Volunteer Corp (JVC) informal credo is ruined for life. JVC volunteers work with the poor for one or two years and live in community, frequently soon after college graduation. The story goes that a parent who saw her son return from the JVC experience aware of the poor and changed, coined the phrase “ruined for life”.

Sometimes I and a few friends educated by the Jesuits and experienced with the poor feel like we too have been “ruined for life.” My Jesuit education and work with the poor motivates me, but often puts me at odds with Jesuit institutions. When I was a student at Marquette in the 60’s I fought for opening the school to minorities. Now I struggle to stop Marquette from teaching war.

My ruined fate started at a Jesuit high school in Milwaukee, Marquette University High School. I so believed in the mission of the Jesuits to put living the “way of Jesus” into everyday life that after high school I entered the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. After the successful struggle against “institutional racism” at Marquette I left the Jesuit order, but still kept the spirit of the Society of Jesus.

Being “ruined for life” gives me cover for my persistent advocating for peace and justice and the poor. It might mean giving a child and her mother a ride to the dentist, or it might mean writing a letter to the Marquette Tribune about how Marquette is the Only Jesuit Catholic University in the country that hosts base schools of the Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force that train military officers for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I did both today since I am “ruined for life”.


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Picture of Contradicton - Thursday, December 02, 2010

Dorothy Day

The contradiction of the picture in the posting last night made me think about another contradiction and how to show it in a picture. The contradiction I choose is the fact that Marquette is the only Jesuit Catholic University in the country to host base schools of the Army, Navy/Marines and Air Force. Yet Marquette also hosts the archives of the Catholic Worker and Dorothy Day. The challenge was to put together a picture of Dorothy Day, a pacifist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, with a picture that symbolizes the military training for war taught at Marquette University. You can see the results in this picture and answer the question yourself “What would Dorothy Do?” (WWDD). Contradictions are probably best expressed in pictures.


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A Thousand Word Picture For Christmas - Wednesday, December 01, 2010

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case it is more than true. This picture was sent by Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, a Melkite priest with Center for Christian Nonviolence. The picture comes with a lot of words about purchasing it as a “Christmas gift to send to your bishop, priest, minister, pastor, military chaplain or any non-ordained Christian for whom you think that it might help clarify Jesus’ teaching and hence Christian behavior.” But words are not needed. The picture says it all.


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