This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form without prior authorization. Flovent for cats Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as lung function tests, eye exams, bone density tests, cortisol levels) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reaction(including very rare anaphylactic reaction). Advair instructions This website is funded and developed by GSK.

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.

Sharing in God’s Graces and Blessings - Friday, November 30, 2012

A Haitian child after Mass

A veteran who is struggling came by after a two months absence seeking again a little yard work for money. Before he left town, without notice and unexpectedly for few months, he had offered to do some garden work twice, twice had been payed in advance for the work and twice had not shown up to do the work. For some reason I was thinking of him and how I could not get mad at him if he ever showed up at my door when he did. Since he was not in the military during war time he does not qualify for any financial aid. He has a residence at a veterans place and with food stamps, medical care from VA and doing odd jobs he survives. I said I forgave him all his debts to me and he did some yard work around the house today for which he was paid.

This morning another veteran friend and I made six home visits to persons in need with our St. Vincent De Paul conferences. My veteran friend is poor and suffers from an illness but was glad to be helping others in need for no compensation except sharing in the God given graces to the poor.

Today I find out an elderly 92 year priest friend of mine lost his faculties to say Mass in the Catholic Milwaukee Archdiocese for a stand he took in conscience for standing in solidarity with women priest.

My list of persons I encountered today could go on and on, like the woman I met with five children, 3 of her own and two she took in, that was surviving without a refrigerator or stove, and still felt blessed by God; or the woman who lost her adult son was taking care of his children talking about how she survived by prayer. If we all look around us there are wonderful and courageous persons all around us, be they veterans or like the five single moms and their 18 children who we encountered in the homeless shelter tonight.

The persons most blessed are those who are aged, ill, poor or suffering. An Indian priest friend who came from very lowest caste and as adult priest worked with the poor and outcast once told me he prayed to God for the blessings and grace he found in the poor and outcast. Finally God answered his prayer one day by telling him that God had given all his graces and blessings to the poor, rejected, marginalized and suffering and that he would need to go them to share in God’s blessings and graces.


back to top

Free Palestine Moves On - Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Palestinian girl waves a flag
during a rally supporting the
Palestinian U.N. bid for observer
state status, in the West bank city
of Ramallah, Thursday, Nov.
29, 2012.

The United Nations vote today to recognize a Palestine state, was real though symbolic victory toward a Free Palestine, not under the occupation of Israel and its US partner. More than two-thirds of the world body’s 193 member states approved the resolution upgrading the Palestinians to a nonmember observer state. It passed 138–9, with 41 abstentions.

As expected the United States, Israel and a few allies condemned the vote. Liberal and conservative politicians in the United States are against this move and vote. However, to the people of Palestine who are resisting Israeli’s occupation of their country this is a great victory and a reason to rejoice.
Although Israel with US money will continue to occupy and control Palestine it is a great symbolic victory for the overwhelming majority of countries in the world vote for this move to freedom for Palestine.

I found myself today in the Middle Eastern store run by Palestinian brothers. Although we say nothing about this historic vote the greeting I received by the brothers rang with more warmth and joy than normal. I was in the store to purchase some products for a meal I was cooking tonight for friends in our Breaking the Silence group. A middle eastern dinner with friends was a good compliment for this day that the cause of Free Palestine moves on.


back to top

Art of Dying - Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Being arrested for resisting war

On public radio today I heard someone say that “Hope is a function of struggle.” I was reading today, while waiting for a friend at the doctor’s office, a book by James Douglas called “Gandhi and the Unspeakable, His Final Experiment with Truth”. It is about Gandhi’s assassination. He tells how Gandhi was preparing all his life for death. Gandhi said: “Just as we must learn the art of killing in the training for violence, we must learn the art of dying in the training for nonviolence.”

Both these quotes remind me of something that has been going around and around in my mind these days. We honor soldiers who learn how to kill and who make great sacrifices in war but are we willing to make the same sacrifices, even death, in our efforts toward peace and nonviolence. Yet as Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and others show us, until we are willing to sacrifice in our training for nonviolence we cannot hope to achieve peace and a nonviolent way of life.

Reflecting on my life and others I have met I find that those who struggle and suffered the most often have the most hope. I said to a reporter when I was struggling with my ill parents and a sick adult son that “my curses are my blessings”. I remember that thought was in the headline of a local Catholic newspaper right after I learned that I was being fired from my job at a Catholic Church for my advocacy for the rights of those with mental illnesses.

Also when I fell in love with the people of Haiti who struggled just to survive and when my son died I learned the ‘art of dying”.


back to top

Change Happens With Action Not Words - Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Action not words are needed
to change Israel’s behaviour

Today I read an email on a list server from one peace person to another who was full of all the sad news of violence and killing each day. She told him to hang it there that she said: “I’m putting the final pieces of my book together now … to show folks what is in place and how we can mold it together more tightly to solve our world problems together with other countries.”

After smiling I recalled Howard Zinn historian and author writings on how change really happens. He said: “The really critical thing isn’t who’s sitting in he White House, but who is sitting in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating ? - those are the things that determine what happens….”

Howard was a expert defense witness in the Milwaukee 14 trial back in 1969. He justified our burning of 1 A draft records as a valid and legal as necessary civil disobedience. Howard did not think civil disobedience was a problem. He said: “Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war.

Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem. We recognize this for Nazi Germany. We know that the problem there was obedience, that the people obeyed Hitler. People obeyed; that was wrong.”

In some ways this is what our Breaking the Silence group tries to do, use actions not words to speak “truth to power”. However in this day and age the “powers that be” are willing to allow us protest, sign petitions, make phone calls, speak out as long as we do not comit civil disobedience of any significance. Sadly we are satisfied to talk, write letters, articles, speak out, sign petition, elect politicians but relunct to break the law with acts of civil disobedience.

I get one or two electronic petitions a day to sign. They are for good things but I believe they make no change and are just a distraction for the real way of change, refusal to obey unjust laws, acts of civil disobedience.

There is an old saying that actions speak louder than words. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the religious order the Society of Jesus said in his writings in the Spiritual Exercise, “ Love ought to show itself in deeds over and above words.” Change happens with action not words.


back to top

Consumerism and Individualism - Monday, November 26, 2012

“In almost every fight we are
involved in here, on Capitol Hill,
whether it’s an amendment vote
that I’ll take later on this
afternoon, or a big piece of policy
we’re putting through our Ways and
Means Committee, it is a fight that
usually comes down to one conflict:
individualism vs. collectivism.”

Rep. Paul Ryan

Last Friday was called Black Friday for being one of the biggest shopping days of the year; Saturday was small business Saturday to encourage people to shop locally; I am not sure what Sunday was except Next to Normal Sunday, today, Monday, was the day for online shopping and the news reported that tomorrow Tuesday is Giving Tuesday, for giving money to charities.

When will this buying and giving frenzy end? Perhaps it will end sometime after Christmas when stuff is returned and after Christmas sales end. We live in a time of rampant individualism and consumerism, two isms that together when taken to extreme are toxic. The air we breathe, the horror of paying for someone else’s welfare, the war driven economy, the crushing of human rights, the abuse of power can all be traced to overreach of these two isms, consumerism and individualism.

At least that is how I see it. As someone would say that is ‘my opinion’ and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It is like wrong or right, common values, ethics have been overridden by individualism and consumerism.

We have four prayer vigils for homicide victims scheduled this week and there are more that happened over the weekend that we will probably not get to. One youth was shot allegedly performing a robbery when one of the customers in the store pulled out his concealed gun and shot him. One young man was shot by a police officer when the officer was chasing him as a suspect and fearing for his life, he claimed, shot the young man. There was no gun from the suspect found at the scene.

Carrying a concealed gun, killing people in foreign countries by remote control with Killer Drones, the growth of war business with the decline of jobs and many of our ills can be traced back to extreme consumerism and individualism.

This is not a political ‘Democrat or Republican” issue but a human issue. History has taught us, as we ignore the lessons of history that an ‘empire’ built on isms like militarism, consumerism, and individualism will eventually fall.

The empire is falling but we are too busy, buying, killing and avoiding sacrifice that we do not even notice. God Bless America this Christmas seasoning and help us to wake up to slow down our consumerism and individualism.


back to top

Next To Normal Sunday - Sunday, November 25, 2012

Next to Normal Bowling Team

In the Catholic Church calendar this is the last Sunday in ordinary time and next Sunday is the first week in Lent. It is a weird time. Today’s gospel talked about Jesus being a King when he was being condemned to death by the Romans. The first two readings are from the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelations which are quoted a lot but no one seems to understand what they mean. During the homily our pastor read us a poem called Kidney Stone he wrote while recovering from a kidney stone operation (See below).

This afternoon our “Next to Normal Bowling” team gathered at a bowling lane to practice although we have no upcoming bowling events. We formed last year when a local food pantry was having a fund raiser by having a bowling tournament. At the time some of us had seen the rock opera Next to Normal and since we all considered ourselves next to normal decided to call our bowling team by that name.

I read tonight on a news update that the new Obama administration, who many voted for peace and justice, was drafting a ‘drone-warfare rulebook’ that already was being condemned by human rights groups.

Jesus being called a ‘king’ while he was being condemned to death, a Catholic priest writing a poem inspired by a kidney stone, a ‘near normal bowling team’ practicing for nothing, our reelected peace and justice president drafting a new rule book for drone assassination can only happen on a Next to Normal Sunday. Or maybe next to normal is the new normal.


back to top

Children of Gaza Need Our Voices Now! - Saturday, November 24, 2012

UN Committee on the Rights of
the Child said that recent fighting
will result in “deep trauma” for
Gaza’s youth [Reuters]

When I wrote in this Diary of the Worm on Nov. 6th Why I did not vote I mentioned by words and pictures it was in solidarity with of the children of Palestine, Pakistan and Haiti. Today a friend sent me an article about the The voices of Gaza’s children. In the article the children in Gaza, part of Palestine, describe living under Israeli siege and attacks as worse than being in prison.

The seven children of the Awajaa family, who live only a few hundred meters from the border with Israel, have as their only protection against the Israeli rockets a thin tarpaulin, stretched out over a small plot of land. This has been their home since Israel destroyed their home in the attacks on Gaza four years ago after that November election in the USA. Gaza is a prison for a million and half people and now with this war and destruction by Israel it is a horrific place for children.

Where are the voices of our President, our US Congressional representatives, our US Senators when these children suffer so much from the 8 million dollars a day we give Israel for their military? Are these the same persons we voted for on Nov. 6th to be our voice in D.C? I did not vote for any of them and they do not represent my voice.

When will the violence against the children of Palestine, Pakistan and Haiti stop? I believe it will stop when we stop supporting the persons in our government who support out rightly, if not by silence this killing and suffering of children. We must start with ourselves and our support if the USA will stop. The children of Gaza need our voices now.


back to top

Overcoming Wal-Mart - Friday, November 23, 2012

I work up this morning, Black Friday in the consumer world, to find my granddaughter, grandson and daughter-in-law sitting around the kitchen table circling ads for stuff from yesterday’s abundant advertising sections. I am not sure what they were doing since no one was going shopping today. Perhaps my wife had asked them to circle possible gifts. My eight year granddaughter took the exercise to new heights by circling almost everything in the ad section she was using.

I took my cup of coffee and breakfast food into the dining room to eat. I read the newspaper often at breakfast this was a little too much for me early in the morning. This was the first Black Friday with my daughter-in- law I can remember when she did not go shopping on Black Friday. She wrote in her Facebook page that this was one of her best Thanksgivings.

I try not to be critical to consumerism but when I see low income people rushing the thru the doors of Wal-Mart to get some early shopping specials I cannot help but feel a little sadness and of the documentary about Wal-Mart, The High Cost of Low Price.

Some employees of Wal-Mart picketed the stores today and were supported by other people. Wal-Mart sent out PR downplaying the pickets but by now most people know about out the poor treatment of Wal-Mart by its employees and the extraordinary effort they have taken to keep employees from forming a Union. Wal-Mart has jobs and money so will continue to do what they do as long as they can.

Tonight watching a “Person to Person” TV show tonight interviewing doctors and scientist who study the behavior of very young babies my belief that we are born hard wired for fairness and altruism was deepen. So I believe that sharing and fairness will overcome Wal-Mart and greed. It is just a matter of time.


back to top

Thanks for Right to Change - Thursday, November 22, 2012

Marching to Close the School
of Americas and for ordained
women Catholic priest

Today, a day of giving thanks, we celebrated with my son and his family and a friend from Chicago. It was a low key celebration but with lots of good food.

Today, when it was near 60 degrees, will probably be the last fall day. Tomorrow the high is around 35 degrees and the future forecast is for more cold. I was able to do a little bit of insulating windows on the outside today with Air insulation system. From now on it will need to be insulation from the inside with the window inserts for sun room and other air methods.

Between eating, watching football on TV and talking I did not do much else after our friend and family came over. I realized that the attitude of gratitude that I often talk about is much harder to achieve when one is full than when one is hungry.

My friend wanted to volunteer in one of the many meal programs today for those who are poor and hungry. He did get the opportunity. There also are lots of food drives for those in need during the holiday season. Sometimes I feel like crying out to people that poor people go hungry more than 2 days, Thanksgiving and Christmas, a year but I do not do it. People mean well and they get a lot out of the annual giving of thanks by helping those in need during these holiday days. In fact when I was a youth minister at a church I used to take advantage of these giving days around Thanksgiving and Christmas to collect money, food and gifts for those in need.

The poor and hungry are appreciative of the food and gifts during these holiday season but are used to being neglected and do not expect much during the rest of the year.

In Milwaukee the poorest and most segregated area is the North Central side of town. This area is the most segregated, over 85% African American in the most segregated city in the USA and the poorest area of the city in the 4 poorest cities in the USA. People in this area take what they can get in terms of food, jobs and housing, which is not much. The great American dream our politicians talk about, that in the USA you can successful and what you want to be with hard work does not really apply to them. They are becoming systematically and institutionally being denied of their rights to health, opportunities, shelter, work and food that we all talk about and many just do during this time of year. (See The Church in North Central Milwaukee.

Feeding the poor is good and praised, trying to change the system that represses the poor makes you an outcast, just like those in need. However, without a basic change in our economic and justice system the poor will become poorer and the rich will become richer. For this we cannot give thanks to but are thankful of our rights to struggle to change the system and create a new one in the shell of the old one.


back to top

Practicing Priority of Conscience - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Father Roy Bourgeois

Monday upon returning from SOAWatch march to close the School of Americas, (SOA) I learned that my friend Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch, “received notice that the Vatican has dismissed him from the priesthood and from his order, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, because of his stands for gender equality in the Catholic Church.” There is an petition from SOAWatch. The petition states:

I support and honor Roy’s decision to follow his conscience. I support the right of individuals to choose to speak truth to power and stand by them when power chooses to punish rather than listen. I support the struggles of people everywhere to change oppressive systems and challenge inequities.
Father Roy has made the extraordinary choice to risk all that he loves in pursuit of what he believes is morally right. His courage and conviction is an inspiration and a challenge to each of us to hear anew the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…”’‘


The Catholic Church as more religions talks about the Priority of Conscience over Church authorities but when he comes to follow one’s conscience with regards to women’s ordination or gay marriage they condemn those who follow their conscience. I have a collection of quotes on conscience ranging from Father Roy, Dorothy Day to the Pope of the Catholic Church before he was Pope. Believing in Priority of Conscience is one thing; practicing priority of conscience is something else.


back to top

Children Die and the Conflict Goes On? - Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The children of Palestine die
and the conflict goes on!

The conflict between the people of Palestine which were on the land before the time of Jesus and the modern day state of Israel which was created in 1948 has gone on since 1948. The conflict has not been fair since the state of Israel has been backed by the USA up to 8 million dollars a day of military spending.
With superior weapons Israel has prevailed yet the Palestinian people with nonviolent and violent tactics have survived.

Before the move of European Jews, some Zionist into the territory in the 20th century Jews and Palestinians live side by side in peace and fellowship. Now we have a million and half people imprisoned in the Gaza strip of Palestine. Like all people imprisoned in terrible conditions they resist and rebel. However, as we have learned from history violence only begets more violence.

The roots of Israeli present attack on Gaza is the same as the past: when peace and negotiations get close Israel provokes an attack by something like a targeted assassination and war breaks out. Without an end to the occupation of Palestine there seems to be no end to division and violence in the Middle East.

Once we realize that the children of Palestine are just valuable as children of Israel or USA, that violence begets violence, that occupied people will resist till they die or find freedom the conflict will not end.


back to top

Persistant Resistance Works - Monday, November 19, 2012

Nashua Chantal of Americus,
Georgia crossed the line onto the
military base

Over the weekend I attended the annual gathering to close the School of Americas (SOA), now called The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) by US military and School of Assassins by those in Latin America targeted by graduates of the school. Since 1990 SOA Watch has had an annual vigil around the anniversary of the killing of Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter at the University of Central America in San Salvador in 1989 by graduates of the SOA. Thousands of deaths, the many who have disappeared and tortured in Latin America have been attributed to graduates of the School of Americas.

After 22 years of resistance the SOA still exists and teaches military leaders from many countries in Latin America. In recent years the number of resisters has decreased but many still increase. Each year one or more persons ‘cross the line’, enter the base and thus are arrested’. This year one person, Nashua Chantal, who crossed the line was a man who annually appeared on the march as death with a sign all over his body saying Teach War No More.

This year I heard how, while the numbers of protesters has decreased, persistence resistance” has gone on. The Gospel at the all inclusive Catholic liturgy, concelebrated by two friends, one man and one woman, was about how a woman gets her way simply by persistently making a plea to a judge for her son till he finally gives in to her plea to rid himself of her. Persistence resistance works!


back to top

Gathering of Friends - Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crosses with names of the victims
of SOA are placed on the fence of
Fort Benning

A good friend brought over a polish dish, a unique soup, to our house tonight for dinner. He also brought a delicious salad and some dark German bread to break up and put in the soup. Talking about gratitude yesterday this dinner reminded me of what I am so thankful for, good friends.

In a Diary of the Worm posting for 2007 I wrote about the Salad Bowl of Friends I spoke of the “nonviolent revolution of salad green friends!]]. My friend brought over a salad tonight with lettuce, tomatoes, nuts, olives, mushrooms, peppers and all kinds of good stuff. It was a good analogy to the “Salad Bowl of Friends”.
The next few days I will be at the School of Americas (SOA) Watch at Fort Benning, GA. For many years we gather to close the School of the Americas, a training base for soldiers of Latin America who commit human rights abuses, including murders, rapes and torture . It now is a gathering of friends from all over the USA and Latin America who are believe in the same values and are joined in solidarity with people of Latin America to close this School of Assassins (SOA).

Off to a gathering of friends, will be home Sunday.


back to top

Attitude of Gratitude - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It was cold today but the sun was out and that is all that matters to me on these end of fall days. I worked outside today for awhile in the gardens and it felt good. I even picked a rose and some fall vines for the perpetual flower vase.

In our faith sharing group today we talked about what we are thankful for, especially the persons we do not express our thanks for. I mentioned the “attitude of gratitude” that I try to view life with. When I have this attitude, even something or a person I do not like can be a blessing.

I mentioned that some years ago I was in the Holy Land making a retreat with a small group. It was my turn to give the homily on a day we were having liturgy at the Mount of the Beatitudes, where Jesus taught us what it means to be a his follower. I said that in the beatitudes, the blessings of poor, those who mourn, peacemakers, there was one beatitude missing. It was something like blessed are the ugly and the difficult for they are beautiful and easy going in the eyes of God. I was thinking about a few family and friends at the time that I cared about but who were hard to get along with. They too I thought could be a blessing if I had an “attitude of gratitude”.

The question is how to get and keep an “attitude of gratitude”. Appreciating love expressed to us in words and deeds is the only way I can think of. For example, the more we can grasp the unconditional love of God for each one of us, no matter what we do, it is one good way to develop an “attitude of gratitude”.


back to top

The Presence - Monday, November 12, 2012

In last’s night’s posting, History Speaks of Present I spoke of an old friend that brought me a letter that she had written to her mom shortly after the Milwaukee 14 action of destroying 1A draft records in 1968. She also brought me a copy of a poem I wrote for the local Catholic Worker paper of the time from the county jail three days after the Milwaukee 14 action. It is below, and although primitive, expressing feelings of being over doing that stay with me today.

the presence

bent by fear into what
no one feels to be
the moment now
in presence of someone
speaks a joy
not said by any doings

the action of being with someone
to identify by presence
at least in some equivalent way
means more than anything you can do
for anyone
to identify is more than to be involved
it is to say yes in the most radical way –
by being where the one you love is-
hungry, homeless, in jail, the classroom,
assembly line, walking on the beach.

Milwaukee Country Jail Annex
September 27, 2012


back to top

History Speaks of Present - Sunday, November 11, 2012

view from the window of our room
as we woke this morning

This weekend we visit some friends who live in southwestern Wisconsin near Gay Mills. Our friends live a simple and sustainable life. This means no TV, no cell phone access, purchasing organic foods and making homemade bread, cakes and pasta noodles and solar panels for electricity. It also means less information but an opportunity to deepen knowledge of the information.

Saturday was Pat’s 65th birthday and our friends invited over other common friends in the area for a grand birthday dinner. There was lots of good food, wine and conversation. I tried, to abide by my wife’s wishes not to talk politics during the dinner but just had to get a few words in.

One of the couples at the dinner we had not seen for over 35 years. They have some land and house near Gay Mills but have lived in Iowa City where the man is a history of labor professor at the University of Iowa. I was impressed with his long career teaching labor history and the enthusiasm his students expressed in learning history. Recently I have been reflecting how history and facts do not seem to matter much these days. Local elections show us we can have all the fact checkers in the world and speak to all the issues but money and negative advertising with half truths or just plain lies still takes the day. Author David McCullough was on the “60 minutes” tonight and spoke how many Americans are historically literate. Facts and lessons from history do not seem to matter much these days.

The woman brought along a copy of a letter she had written to her mom after moving to Milwaukee the day of the Milwaukee 14 action. The next day when they saw the newspaper they surprised. They were impressed by the action and discovered that had met one young man a week earlier when they came to town to look for an apartment. She describes this young man in glowing terms and I am the only person to fit the description.

She also brought me a copy of a poem from our Catholic Worker paper of the time, Catholic Radical, in which I had written in the country jail. The poem speaks of being present with the moment and people in it. This is something I now struggle with, to reclaim living in solidarity with “hungry, homeless, in jail, the classroom, assembly line, walking on the beach.” I write about being as more important than doing.

Living in the present, if just for a few days, and being with friends who you live history with reminds us how if we dig deep into the moment we can find the wealth of being. History speaks of the present.


back to top

Another Break - Friday, November 09, 2012

There will be another break in the “Diary of the Worm.” The Diary will resume Sunday or Monday. As you might know worms have the smallest brains of all animals so need lots of breaks.


back to top

Words Without Actions Makes Us Weak - Thursday, November 08, 2012

7 days without exercise makes 1 weak!

Down deep inside myself there is the peace of silence. But going there and coming back is painful. Having persons(s) to share the journey into peace and the way back is a way to ease the pain.

Tonight at the Islamic Center I heard a Catholic Jesuit priest speak of the world of Muslim faith and his over 40 years of experience with Muslims. To hear once more how much we Christian share with Muslim was inspiring. But I felt he was talking to a group of Muslims and Christians that were open to his message.

I got an email from an activist friend saying how now that the Democratic candidates he was working for won it was time for action. I agree and looked forward to taking actions on peace and justice issues. But his email went on to talk about rallies, more talks and petitions but nothing I could identify as ‘action.’

I find articles about peace and justice issues, talks like tonight encouraging but unless he takes a form of action in our daily lives how valuable it was.
The speaker tonight reminded us how the core motivation of a Muslims life was to serve God. Hospitality to a guest, as he experienced it in Muslims countries, is nothing exceptional but just a way to worship and serve God.

In Christianity we have the same belief of doing everything for the love of God and expressing that love by loving our neighbors. But we, like some in the Muslim world, often fall short on doing what we believe.

People sometimes question why I am so persistence on certain justice and faith issues. At times I respond that I have no choice but to work for justice and peace by taking concrete actions. Practicing what we preach was drilled into me in all my years of Catholic education. I do not always live up to doing it but hearing more and more talk and words of what we believe and what we should be doing can help but also can be an excuse for inaction.

In the school at the Islamic center there was a banner on the wall saying: “Seven days without exercise makes one weak.” Too much talk and words without exercise or action, can make us weak.


back to top

To Vote or Not to Vote? - Wednesday, November 07, 2012

To Vote or Not to Vote,
That is the Question. Isn’t it?

Yesterday I went to one of my favorite stores, a small Middle Eastern grocery store on the south side, for some fresh homemade pita bread. The pita bread is made fresh daily at the store and is delicious.

The store is run by a couple of Palestinian brothers who employ family and friends. Due to having its own meat market, bakery and all the ingredients need for Middle Eastern or Indian cooking has become popular. The brothers greet me as “my friend” and are willing to share Middle Eastern food tips.

When I was checking out yesterday one of the brothers behind the counter asked me a friendly tone where was my sticker on my coat saying: “I voted.” I looked at him seriously and said: “Where is yours?” He said it was on his coat. Then I smiled and said I did not vote in solidarity with the children of Palestine. After a few more words he got what I was talking about and said how he felt similar.

Like many I got caught up in the hype of the election and played the electoral games. But I knew, as my friend knew, if I voted or not voted it did not make much of a difference.

On TV tonight there was a woman who had survived the hurricane Sandy in her fourth generation home and now was preparing for the Northeaster and cold and snow. She had no heat and electricity. She was just trying to survive. She made a comment that she went to bed Tuesday night not knowing who won the election and work up this way still not know and then she added “I really do not care.”

When you are a poor family in Pakistan with a killer drone sitting over your village you really do not care who won an election. When you are a family in Haiti in refugee camp with no clear water and food survival becomes you prime directive and voting means nothing.

When you are in solidarity with the poor, distressed, marginalized, people suffering and dying, to vote or not to vote really is not the question.


back to top

Why I Did Not Vote - Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Many friends and family gave me the message today they were voting for President Obama, the “lesser of two evils.” I understand this message and I thanked them for their honesty. However, when it came down to it, in conscience, I could not vote the “lesser of two evils.” One of my friends send me an article US Elections: From the “Lesser to the Greater Evil” The Demise of Critical Liberalism that expresses some of my concerns about voting. However, I can best express why I did not vote by the pictures below of the children of Haiti, Pakistan, Palestine and the USA. “Lesser of two evils” does not sound bad but when I pictured the lesser evil in the faces of these children I knew in conscience of what I had to do. It was for the children why I did not vote.


back to top

Vote or do not Vote - Monday, November 05, 2012

Vote or Do Not Vote
Does it matter to dead children in Pakistan

Some college researchers recently discovered the most accurate survey question for an election was not “who are you voting for?” but “who do you think will win.” The first question was right about 51% of the time while the other question was right about 85% of the time.

My formula for predicting who would win an election was to find out who had the most money and say that person would win. This system is about 97% accurate but with the changes in campaign finances, amounts of money and sources can be kept secret until after the election, it has become more difficult to say who has the most money.

Another way of predicting a presidential race when the incumbent is running is to look at how the 1%, the rich and powerful, are doing and if things are going their way the incumbent will be reelected, if not the challenger with the right about of money and media will win.

Using any of the three methods above President Obama, despite all the talk of a tight race, will win the election for president tomorrow night. Three years ago I could see that country was moving toward the rich become richer, more militarization of USA, privatizing health insurance rather than a form of universal health care, failure to prosecute for major crimes leading to the recession and knew that President Obama, unless he changed course would win.

If one looks on politics as entertainment I guess this presidential candidate would rate high with a lot of ads and hype, not much content but lots of created excitement. Fear reigns high on both sides with more fear than information of position on issues. Fact checkers cannot keep up with the distortion of facts we call ads these days.

Vote or do not vote is not the question tomorrow. Choices are limited and whoever wins there will not be much change. The question is will we continue to plan the reality game or finally stop and say No and Resist.


back to top

Clog in the Wheels - Sunday, November 04, 2012

Gandhi and followers used
nonviolent resistance to clog
the wheels of the British empire.

Amidst the election excitement created by the media and Electoral Game makers I was reminded today that Chris Hedges, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist whose opinion I respect, was endorsing Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. I email this endorsement to a Peace list server of nearly all Obama supporters. However one person responded by sending us another article from Chris Hedges, this one about his and five others legal challenge to NDAA section 1021, an Obama supported bill that authorizes the executive branch to order the military to seize U.S. citizens deemed to be terrorists or associated with terrorists. The editorial by Chris Hedges points out how the name of the bill the “Homeland Battlefield Bill” reflects how this bill “obliterates some of our most important constitutional protections.”

In this Electoral Game there seems to be little or no room for logic, values or ethics on either side. I am glad that Obama will be winning but wonder if we would accept such lost of rights or such great violence by a Republican candidate.

The argument or spin about the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, is that by voting on integrity or principle would be ‘wasting a vote’ and help Romney. I doubt if that is true but media and game makers want us to believe it to be true.

The storm out East seems to be taking a back place in media as election and sports entertainment take prominence once again.

What will the “powers that be” offer us after Tuesday’s election, another storm or scandal?

When I heard Chris Hedges speak in person a few years ago at a Catholic Worker resistance retreat he said we could not stop the destructive forces in the US but we could throw ‘clogs in the wheels’ with our resistance and thus slow the process down. This will give us time to build a new society within the shell of the old and be ready when the fall of USA Empire comes.

Resistance seems to be throwing ‘clogs in the wheels.”


back to top

Bird At Breakfast - Saturday, November 03, 2012

Bird at Breakfast

Last week we were having breakfast restaurant in Costa Rica, like most with open sides, when a bird flew in and just sat on the top of chair at our table. Seeing birds fly into the restaurant checking our food is ordinary. But for one to sit at the table just watching us watch him is special. When I pulled out my camera to take his picture he just poised for the shot.

Also one of the benefits of last week was that we did not have watch any TV political commercials. I rather watch birds at breakfast table then the endless TV commercials for political candidates. The bird brings something fresh to breakfast while the commercial brings something stale to TV.

I saw a red cardinal in the backyard last week sitting on the rail of the deck. I was surprised since I have not seen one all summer and this fall. Now that the weather was cold I thought all cardinals have gone south. Maybe all the bird food in backyard garden was the attraction. But this Cardinal unlike the bird in the restaurant did not stay and wait around for me to get my camera.

Lesson learned: a bird at breakfast is less afraid than bird on deck.


back to top

Day of the Dead - Friday, November 02, 2012

Families tidying and decorating
graves at a cemetery in Almoloya
del Río in the State of Mexico

Today is the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world focusing on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. A friend invited me to a local celebration but I did not go. I do remember how important the day was in Latin American cultures I have visited. Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. There is something attractive about this holiday and relates to people throughout the world.

In a culture, like the USA, that fears death and tries in many ways to escape from the reality of death I can understand why, except for Mexican and other cultures, it is not a day of celebration. For most of my life I was one of those persons refused to face up to death. As many of you know, the death of my son Peter forced me to face the reality of death. Living in the shadow of death has some benefits. Although living with death makes feeling sorrow and sadness more intense, it also increases the joy and peace felt in life.

So the choice is escaping from death which is inevitable or facing death and finding either darkness or light or both. The Day of the Dead is a celebration of life while honoring the dead. The belief that life follows death and that by honoring the dead we can experience life more fully propels the celebration of the Day of the Dead.


back to top

Nature Does Not Play Games - Thursday, November 01, 2012

Rain Garden Perennial
Vase Nov. 1, 2012

Tonight I posted on Flicker pictures from our time last week in Costa Rica. These pictures of nature’s beauty are quite the opposite of the nature’s destruction from the storm on the East Coast that flashes before our eyes day and night.

Today I remembered to take a picture (on side) of the rain garden perennial vase in my living room. I am happy to say that I was able to keep fresh flowers in the vase from March 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2012. From daffodils in March to roses still blooming in November the rain garden has added a dash of natural beauty to our home.

Yesterday I finished listening to the last book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy. In these apoplectic books the ugly nature of human beings is shown in its full strength. The story is set in the future, when deadly reality and deadly games become one, but it is really about our lives right now. Bits of beauty pop up and seem to outlast all the destructive forces of human nature.

This view of nature, natural and human, as both beautiful and ugly can apply to our perspective of everyday life. Some looked at reality with colored glasses. For example, I got an email to protest a Romney visit tomorrow since he is talking about an increased military budget. Yet the same peace group has no plans to protest President Obama who has increased the military budget and established killer drone warfare when he visits here on Saturday. Talk of money to kill for some seems more meaningful than actual killing of people. The result, no matter, who wins it will mean more money for the military, despite the USA military budget is larger than the ten other major military budgets in the world. Nature does not play games.


back to top

back to top


Page last modified on December 07, 2012

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Wiki Gnome  | Hosted by Fluid Hosting  | Icons courtesy of famfamfam