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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

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enseless Violence Made Easy - Wednesday, December 31, 1969

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Wiser or Older - Thursday, January 31, 2013

Family Birthday Party

A friend sent me a quote from one of my favorite writers, Thomas Merton. He said that Thomas Merton was born 98 years ago today” and gave this quote from him:

“If for some reason it were necessary for you to drink a pint of water taken out of the Mississippi River and you could choose where it was to be drawn out of the river — would you take a pint from the source of the river in Minnesota or from the estuary in New Orleans?”

I had to think awhile about the meeting of this quote for awhile. But realizing it was about birthdays I knew it was about the freshness and innocence of a baby over the age of death.

I was driving my friend Ella Brooks, patch quilt and corn muffin maker, somewhere today when she told me her birthday was today. She was 67, just three years younger than me.

I was reminded by one of my youngest adult friends today that tomorrow is his birthday and he will turn 50. I am not sure what other friends have birthday coming up soon but I know next week is the 43rd birthday of my son, David.

I guess everyday there are thousands and thousands of birthday in the USA and many more around the world. All of us loose a bit of our innocence as we grow older. It is the wise man, as Thomas Merton and many of my friends that substitute wisdom for innocence year after year.

My oldest friend is 92 and my youngest, in the adult world, around 18. We all have birthdays were we can be wiser or just older.


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Uncomfortable with the Games - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Backyard Garden Today

Tonight I went to a Milwaukee Bucks basketball game with Pat and a good friend. My friend sharea similar concerns about peace and justice that we do. He too, like me, went to Marquette University High School, a local Catholic Jesuit school, and was “ruin by the Jesuits” believing he was to practice what was preached and taught to him as Catholic social values. He is not a sports fan, not even watching it on TV which I do. But we got some free tickets to the game tonight. He was shocked by the high price of parking, $25, and found a place nearby for free. The game the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Chicago Bulls was one sided, favoring the Bulls, and for parts of the game he fell asleep. So did I wink out for awhile leaving only Pat, my wife, really into the game.

Watching the game on TV is one thing, since I can be doing something else the same time and have a better view, but watching the seats from way up in the top rows was something else. We were surrounded by Chicago Bulls fans that cheered and yelled loudly whenever something good happened for the Bulls in the game.

I told my friend afterwards that this was a reverse Inculturation experience for him. “Inculturation is a term used in Christianity, especially in the Roman Catholic Church, referring to the adaptation of the way Church teachings are presented to non-Christian cultures, and to the influence of those cultures on the evolution of these teachings. For my friend and for me it was an experience of how many have adapted or ignored the teachings and way of the Church to modern culture. The people at the basketball game live in another world segregated from the poor and those who struggle for peace and social justice. Learning about their world is useful for those of us who were crazy enough to believe the Jesuits that we should live our faith and values in our daily lives. What changed since the 60’s and early 70’s when students cheered for their basketball game but also were out there on the streets demanding social justice and peace?

I guess my friend and I never go the memo saying how volunteering time or donating money to help the poor and outcast not demanding social change was the way to be. But some of us cannot change or ignore our conscience so we will always stay feeling uncomfortable paying a lot of money and time watching grown men play a game in an arena. I wonder if there were any Romans in the coliseum watching the games of throwing Christian to lions that felt uncomfortable with the games.


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Stop The Senseless Killing - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Prayer Vigil for Anita Brooks

Today I was at a Prayer Vigil for a homicide victim a few blocks from where I grew up. When we arrived from another prayer vigil for another homicide victim, an up and coming rapper, there was very large crowd of people in front of the apartment building where she lived. Many were crying and you could feel the grief for this 27 year women, Anita Brooks, who had been shot. When we asked families and friends to share some happy memories about her so we could get to know her a bit, people poured out love for her and how she was, as one woman said, “an old wise soul in a young body”.

After the prayer service I learned she had a husband and young daughter and how very spiritual a person she is. One of her sisters showed me a book of poetry she had published. When I got home I went to the web to look for Poetic Justice to purchase her poetry book. I could not find the book but found a blog she started in May of 2010. There is a description of her and two postings from May 25th, 2010. At top of the blog is this quote from her: “I write & recite to paint pictures for those without sight so they too can see the light!” The two postings were on Perfection, striving for it. She has a real way with words and I was still hunting for her book of poetry.

On the way back to the car the death of my son, Peter, also an artist, struck me hard. One young girl was crying out at the prayer vigil today: “I cannot accept it” and “It makes no sense”.

Tonight on the news I heard that a 28 year old man was being held on suspicion of domestic violence in her death. Also in my searching for her book of poetry during this writing I read a Milwaukee Journal Opinion piece that will probably appear in tomorrow’s paper about her life and death. It is by James E. Causey and is called Slain poet touched many lives. The journalist gives a different web site, Poetic Justice where you can order her book of poetry and has YouTube videos of her and some of her poems. He says that her husband, Keith J. Brooks, 28, who had just returned in December from serving in the military in Afghanistan, has been arrested on suspicion of homicide. If he is charged with homicide he will be the second returning soldier this year in Milwaukee who is being held for trial on killing his wife. If convicted he could face life in prison.

Tonight I received an email from someone on a peace list server called The Children Killed by America’s Drones. “Crimes Against Humanity” committed by Barack H. Obama’’ The article list the number of Killer Drone attacks, where they were, Yemen, Pakistan and Somali, number of children and civilians killed and a partial list of names of children killed in Pakistan and Yemen.

We train our young adults to be soldiers in schools like Marquette University, by teaching them how to kill reflexively killing without conscience and yet expect them to return and pick up their conscience again. Yet we elect as our nation’s leader, our President, commits, in our name, “Crimes against Humanity”. He will never be held accountable for these homicides of children, in our name. Life in prison or a life of fame depends who you kill and how you kill them. May the spirit of Anita Brooks live with us, her husband her 2 year daughter, family, friends our leaders and help all of us to stop the senseless killing


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Persons With No Civil Rights - Monday, January 28, 2013

“Since 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in … all the wars of this country’s history.” Mark Shields on Friday, December 21st, 2012 in the PBS News Hour. See numbers and statistics below.

Proponents of no gun control are quick to blame these high numbers of gun violence on persons with mental health diseases rather than the number and easy availability of guns in our society. Our local Milwaukee County sheriff has gone as far as calling all citizens to arm themselves with guns over calling 911.

However, the facts are that persons with mental illness have a lower rate of committing violence crimes than the population of people without mental illness. They are frequently the victims of violent crimes. Dr. Michael B. Friedman, L.M.S.W states in article on Jan. 18th called Mass Murder: Is There A Mental Health Issue? states: “Unfortunately, there is a dearth of research about multiple or single murders of strangers by people with psychotic conditions in the United States, but research elsewhere suggests that such events take place at a rate of 1 per 14 million population. In contrast, stranger homicide in the United States takes place at a rate of 140 per 14 million populations. Obviously, stranger homicide by people with psychotic conditions is both rare and a small proportion of all such murders.”

If there is evidence facts that indicate that people with mental illnesses or brain diseases like autism, Schizophrenia, Post traumatic stress disorder, depression, Alzheimer, Bi Polar diseases are less likely than normal persons to commit violence crime why do we often look to blame mental illnesses? I believe that people with mental illness are one of the last groups in our society to get civil rights. This group is plagued by stigma so many persons who have a mental illness and blending into society hide their illnesses. Once a psychiatrist, responding to discrimination of persons with mental illness wrote that biggest factor holding people back from treatment of this illness is stigma. So people blending into society with a mental illness that is treated fear to come out and organize for civil rights and human treatment of these brain diseases.

When a person has a cancer we do not call the person cancerous. We separate the illness from who the person is. However, persons with mental illness are often called ‘mentally ill’ associating their illness with who they are. If we called persons with cancer cancerous we would be held accountable for this stigma.

Also part of these terrible illnesses is that when person is seriously ill with mental illness they often lack insight of the need for treatment. Their mind says they are well. So this group of severely ill is hard to organize for civil rights.

People with mental illness fill our jails and prisons. They have a double stigma, convict and mental illness. Illness usually get worst in prison and jail and are not respected when they come back into society, usually sicker than when they entered. Our same country sheriff that is calling for citizens to arm themselves has a notorious reputation for lack of treatment for persons with mental health illness in his custody.

So who will speak for the civil and human rights of persons with mental illness? In a few cases where an advocate has money there is a victory in court, since the law says we cannot discriminate based on an illness? But most of the time no one speaks out for those who suffer these terrible diseases.

How do we achieve civil right to this large segment of our population, affecting one of four persons in our society?


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Next to Normal Bowling - Sunday, January 27, 2013

Next to Normal Bowling Team
l-r Don (retired), Brian, youngest
member, Joe Rad. (Boo), Bob G.,
Tom, President

Today four of us on our Next to Normal Bowling team had a 3 game practice session. The team was formed last year when a local food pantry was having a bowling competition as a fundraiser. The name Next to Normal comes from a rock musical. It’s a story about a mother who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effect that her illness has on her family. When the mother finally gets treatment she apologized to her daughter for all her past behavior and says she is getting better but will probably never be normal. The daughter responds saying: “I will be happy with Next to Normal.

Four members of our team consider themselves Next to Normal. A fifth person joined our team for our first practice session, after the tournament, but he was too normal and retired after one session. Today was only the third time the four of us went bowling. One of our members, who goes by the nickname Boo, had been struggling with me for last place in the game scores. Today he had his best day yet; he was on a roll and had high score in two of our three games. He was so excited he tried to purchase the house bowling bowl he was using, kids size. The manager did not know what to say since he was the first person in history of the bowling alley ever to ask to purchase a house bowling ball.

One of our top two players from previous games had a bad day with gutter bowl after gutter bowl. He was the only one of us to bring his own ball and it was heavy. After he abandoned it and used one of the lighter house balls his game improved.

I was clearly in the lead in the second game with a few strikes and spares. But in the 10th frame my game fell apart and our consistent second place bowler took the lead for good.

It was birthday party time at the bowling lanes so we fit right in with the children bowling around us. However, the children used bumper guards preventing the ball from going into the gutter and we, adults 50 to 70 years old, did not.

Our big bowler of the day was kind of loud today, cheering us on and making loud noises when his main opponent was about to throw the ball. As secretary of the team I threatened to fine him 10 points every time he yelled when his opponent was bowling. But I did not do it, partially because none of us knew how to work the bowling scoring machine and partially because he fit right in with the kids all around us.

The birthday kids’ names were announcement over the loudspeaker for all to cheer. We had our youngest member name, who is turning 50 this week, announced. We cheered for him, probably just as loud as the five year old received.

One of our members, the guy with his own bowl, took the game seriously when he was doing lousy. He was going to stop bowling but with a lighter bowl, weight the kids and the rest of us where using, lighten up and kept on bowling.

The highest score of the four us was our top bowler of the day, Boo, with a game 150 plus. In the three games only a few persons even got over 100. But so what? Bowling without bumper guides is a real man’s (or woman’s) sport. When you are on a Next to Normal Bowling team it is even more fun.


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Award or No Award - Saturday, January 26, 2013

Father Bill at Voces de la Frontera
March for Immigrant Rights

Today I went to an award ceremony for my 92 year Jesuit friend, Father Bill Brennan S.J. The award was given to him by Voces de la Frontera a leading immigrant rights group in Milwaukee. Bill certainly deserved it for his lifetime struggle for rights of immigrants, woman in the Church, the poor, the marginalized and for his efforts to close down the School of Americas in Fort Benning, GA.

A few weeks ago my friend Ella received an award from the City of Milwaukee for an outstanding achievement and as a patch quit maker. Next week I am driving her to the Yacht club for a special lunch with Governor Walker. I do not know if she is getting an award or not.

Thinking back in time I realized that I have been to many award ceremonies, for achievement in sports, academics and citizenship. I must go an award myself sometime, although I cannot remember doing so. I was not much of athlete, although I loved playing sports like basketball; my academic achievement was okay but not outstanding and no one ever accused me of being a good citizen.

Not caring or seeking awards could be a negative thing, explaining why some consider me ‘arrogant’ and seeking attention and it could be a good thing meaning I am humble and do not seek attention. No matter what it means I do not miss having awards. Also I do not consider myself particularly arrogant or humble. Award or no award, what does it matter?


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What is the Way? - Friday, January 25, 2013

Order of Military vs. Order of Priest

Early disciples of Jesus considered call themselves followers of “The Way”. The way was the way of Jesus, the heir of God who by words and actions showed us The Way of God.

The way became known as Christianity and people of the Way have come a long ways since the days when Jesus walked the earth, as fully human and fully God. The Way had its up and downs, twists and turns and splinter into many pieces. A major group of the Way is the Roman Catholic Church which has developed a hierarchical structure with only males, from priest to Pope.

This hierarchical Catholic Church in the USA seems to be falling apart. For example the headlines of today’s papers reads Milwaukee Archdiocese says it’s going broke, The headline refers to the 9 million dollars the Archdiocese has spent in a bankruptcy hearing fighting the victims of sexual abuse lawsuits against the Archdiocese. Some would say that the Archdiocese is going broke because of the aggressive ways its lawyers have has fought victims seeking names of priest abusers and disposing of their claims. Others would say it is the victims fault and their lawyers who are seeking compensation. While other archdiocese has made settlements with victims the Milwaukee Archdiocese has tried to transfers funds and property out of the legal entity of archdiocese. Is this the Church Jesus built? I am afraid not. Poor people in need and the victims of sexual abuse could have done more good with these nine million dollars than the lawyers are doing.

The cartoon of Military orders and Church orders I referred to in last night’s posting Common Sense Makes No Sense, about how a woman can fight in the front lines of military as a man but cannot be a priest in the Catholic church as a man is now on the web at Woman’s Ordination or down below after continue. It shows the humor of how a woman can fight in the front lines with orders from the military but cannot lead the Catholic community with orders of the priesthood.

This morning my wife and I encountered on a home visit a woman with no beds for her children or to sleep on get off the floor and with no stove or refrigerator. We could only afford to give her vouchers for beds for her two children and for a refrigerator. Yet our Catholic Church parish sits on 1.1 million dollars it reaped most form the sale of a nearby Church.

I am afraid the followers of the Way of Jesus in the Catholic Church in Milwaukee have lost their way. Do we follow the Way of the Catholic Archdiocese or Way of Jesus? What is the “The Way”?


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Common Sense Makes No Sense - Thursday, January 24, 2013

At a Sundance Film Festival discussion on Hollywood’s role in violence director Roger Corman was quoted as saying: “Canada sees the same motion pictures as do. They play the same video games that we do. They see the same television that we do. Their crime rate—and specifically their murder rate –is a tiny fraction of ours. The only difference is they have strong gun control laws and we (don’t). I wish somebody would ask the head of the NRA how he explains that.”

He could add to his list the other industrialized nations of the world and say the same thing, the difference is ‘gun control.’ However, this a too common sense answer to the question of why USA has so much gun violence and many people do not want to hear common sense answers.

In a letter to the editor ( see continue below) my friend wrote how “most things are not made to cause injury or death to people….but a “gun is made solely to do violence to others by intimidating or scaring others, maiming others or killing others.” This statement makes sense but that is the problem it makes too much common sense.

I, with help of others, wrote three essays The Catholic Church in North Central Milwaukee which went unchallenged by Archdiocese. However when we asked the Archdiocese Corporation Board to use the 1.1 million dollars they received from sale of three Church properties in North Central Milwaukee for spiritual and corporal works of mercy, we, especially me were attacked.

Instead of looking at our common sense argument for use of the money they choose to attack one of the messengers and ignore the common sense argument.
A Catholic University, Marquette University in Milwaukee, teaches killing, killing without conscience in its military departments on campus. Although we documented this fact with all types of research, essays and quotes from the military itself Marquette ignores this issue. ( See See Letter to the Provost of Marquette University) Research and Common Sense arguments like this military violates Christian values of priority of conscience do not make sense.

So what to do when common sense does not make sense any longer? One thing I am trying is to use stories, parables and pictures to make a point rather than common sense. Tonight I made up a cartoon about how a woman can now serve in the front lines of war just like a man but cannot be a priest in the Roman Catholic Church just like a man. (Cartoon to come to web soon once I figure a way to put it on a web page.) It is said a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe a picture it can make more sense than common sense.


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Seeing with the Imaginaiton of Our Eyes - Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tonight when I went outside to shovel a light snow cover I noticed the moon was nearly round and had a blue and red/orange circle around it. I tried to take a picture of the moon and circles but just got what you see here. In the tradition of the Imagination and Science and the posting on the Diary of the Worm Flying Light Over the Worm Depository I decided to use my imagination first and then maybe some science.

I saw in the bright star of the moon the light of lights, something we, like the Three Kings, seek to lead us on our way. The blue circle seems like the blues of life that naturally come with the light. The red/orange circle around the moon blues circle was the fire that consumers us when we set our on our journey to the light.

For example, today I heard a friend talk about the civil rights movement in the 60’s when we were stoned when we crossed the bridge between the north and south sides of Milwaukee. She talked about how we must cross the bridge of where we are and where we want to be even when we get discouraged and want to give up. When our fire goes dim we may become blue and give up. However, at that moment we might be close to the light and just need to keep on marching to it.

I remember a motivation speaker saying a long time ago that “we become what we think”. I know positive thinking is important, but sometimes positive thinking fails to mention that we need to suffer, be blue and down before we get to the light.

Maybe in this case the scientific explanation might make more sense. However, seeing with the imagination of our eyes brings new light on life.


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Contradictions, Parodoxes and Killer Drones - Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Killed by US Drones for Peace?

Today I went to hear a speaker at a local university talk about Martin Luther’s King Jr. “Letter from the Birmingham Jail. As usual this person gave an excellent lecture and provided true insight into the life and words of King. But as usual when asked about ways to fight segregation in Milwaukee, now the most segregated city in the USA surpassing Birmingham and how to struggle against the teaching of, reflexive killing at his university he was vague and smooth retreating to his ivory tower.

On news tonight there was a story about a police officer in Milwaukee who in December answering a call from a store owner about a robbery stole $200 on camera from the store owner. At first he admitted stealing the money to pay his rent but the case still is in the legal process. At the end of the story, the news reporter said that he had been suspended from the police force with full pay. Only in Milwaukee can police commit a crime and get still get pay from the city.

One of my good friends, and I am blessed with many, told me that a number of mutual friends and acquaintances had told him they could not work with me due to my many faults. He told me how he defended me in this conversation but could not reveal any names. I told him that next time this happens to tell our mutual friend or acquaintances to bring his complaints to me directly and not to defend me. I said if they are really sincere they will tell me to my face what they tell him and we can dialog and, if there is any truth to their observations, I can learn from them. Also from the same conversation I learned the hard way again that what you say to a person(s) in an email can be misrepresented and sent, out of context, to a third party. Email, is not for personal remarks. We still have phones and person to person communication?
I got three CLG links to news stories about Killer Drones: US military wants to hide drones under the sea, CIA drone strikes will get pass in counterterrorism ‘playbook,’ officials say and US drone strike in Yemen kills 3 suspected al-Qaida militants. “How many people must die before we finally say No to Killer Drones?”

Life is full of paradoxes, contradictions and misrepresentation. However, as our excellent speaker said today, learning from Martin Luther King, we must keep hope alive and like King keep on marching on.


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Where is the Civil Rights Movment when We Need It? - Monday, January 21, 2013

Open Housing Marches of 60′s
in Milwaukee

President Obama gave an excellent speech today about American’s “unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” It was right that our first African American president give his second inauguration speech on the day we honor civil rights leader Martin Luther King. However, the only civil rights he mentioned today were the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

What about the civil rights of African Americans that Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others fought for in the 50’s and 60’s, even to point of sacrifice and death? As I grew up in the civil rights struggle of the 50’s and 60’s in Milwaukee we fought for equal rights of African Americans for jobs, housing and education. In the 60’s we fought against “institution racism” of Marquette University, where the there were few African American students besides basketball players. We marched from the north side to south side for open housing rights, so African American can live where they wanted to live in the city. There was a strong movement for integration of schools. There were victories on many of these fronts.

Yet today the North Central area of Milwaukee where we march from is the most segregated area in the city of Milwaukee, the most segregated city in the USA according to the US census. Milwaukee is more segregated than Birmingham which Dr. King thought was the most segregated city in the USA when he wrote letter from the Birmingham jail in 1963. The same area is now the poorest area of the fourth poorest city in the USA. The public school system is this area is now in shambles, underfunded and ignored. Good people now stigmatize this area as crime ridden, not recognizing the roots of crime are in poverty, racism, poor school and health care.

Who is fighting racism, segregation, poverty in North Central Milwaukee today? Where is the struggle for civil rights here and many other areas of this country similar to it? Who is fighting for civil rights today?

At times I have been involved with North Central Milwaukee for most of my life. The poverty, racism, discrimination, homelessness, violence I find in this area has increased since the 50’s and 60’s of my youth. Unemployment in this area is now ever 50% since the manufacturing base as moved out of the area. As I discovered when they closed our Church in this area in 2011 the Catholic Church have moved out of the area with the whites. See Catholic Church in North Central Milwaukee. People I visit these days with home visits from the St. Vincent De Paul lack the basic necessaries of a home, beds, refrigerators and stoves. And these are the fortunate ones that have a shelter. The newspaper reported today that this is the first winter in recent times that there are no additional shelter beds for people truing to get out of the freezing cold.

Civil rights of African Americans are more ignored now that we have an African American president. Yes we can be proud of an African American president but if it means more poverty, discrimination and unemployment for African Americans then shame on us, our President and me. Where is the civil rights movement when we need it?


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Easier for People to Be Good - Sunday, January 20, 2013

Peter Maurin

“We need the kind of society where it is easier for people to be good.” Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker.

While today there is a lot of talk in the Catholic Church about making Dorothy Day the co-founder of the Catholic Worker a saint there is a little or no talk about the other co-founder of the Catholic Worker. Peter Maurin. Peter was an interment preacher and worker who help Dorothy Day find her true calling in life. Peter lived amidst the poor and promoted the ancient Christian principle of hospitality. He wrote:

“People who are in need and are not afraid to beg give to people not in need the occasion to do good for goodness’ sake. Modern society calls the beggar bum and panhandler and gives him the bum’s rush. But the Greeks used to say that people in need are ambassadors of the gods. Although you may be called bums and panhandlers you are in fact the ambassadors of God. As God’s ambassadors you should be given food, clothing and shelter by those who are able to give it.”

Peter wanted every home to have a “Christ Room” and every parish a house of hospitality ready to receive the “ambassadors of God.” God’s ambassadors were the poor, ill and marginalized.

I am reminded these days of Peter Maurin and his radical, getting to the roots, philopshy of life. There is much talk about change but little changes except the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. A parish in town is talking and talking about use of 1 million dollars of Church funds which came from a neighborhood where children sleep on the food and families have no refrigerators or stoves to store food.

Peter was a strong believer in education that comes from round table discussion with there is a clarification of thought. Not the local Catholic University calls talks to people while eating soup at lunch ‘round table discussions’.

Peter believes in “agronomic universities” where scholars, workers and farmers live together and work together. He talked of the ‘green revolution’ which now sounds like the “Good Food Revolution” of Will Allen and Growing Power.

You can find some of Peter Maurin’s “Easy Essays” on this web page. He died quietly and humbly in a Catholic Worker farm in 1949 after suffering a five year lost of memory. His death was noted in The New York Times and the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. Time magazine noted that Maurin was buried in a “castoff suit and consigned to a donated grave,” He died poor and marginalized but was a true prophet of how to change the world by making it “easier for people to be good.”


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Imagination and Science - Saturday, January 19, 2013

Last Monday I wrote a posting about a flying light over the worm depository, a compost pile in the back of the yard were worms can winter. The view was from the symbolic meaning of seeing the light flying over the worm depository. It was an interesting way of looking at this phenomenon.

Yesterday I took a scientific look at this phenomenon. I noticed there was a crack in the wood fence on the Southside of the yard and when the sun was in the south the light through the crack was reflecting on the bird feeder in the middle of the garden and as the wind moved the bird feeder the light reflected back to the worm depository produced the flying light.

The symbolic meaning was much more fun than the scientific explanation. It made use of the imagination while the scientific one just took keen observation.

Sometimes imagination and science come together as in a ‘miracle’, an unexplainable phenomenon attributed to divine intervention, that we can explain. It is with imagination that we discover scientific explanation but sadly a scientific explanation does not always lead to imagination.

Albert Einstein, someone with a great scientific mind had a deep appreciation of imagination. He is quoted as saying “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”


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We are the Ones We have been Waiting For! - Friday, January 18, 2013


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Tired Messenger - Thursday, January 17, 2013

“Old and Tired Messenger”

God, mother and father, I am sick and tired of being a messenger. I am not even sure if the message I deliver is your message or the Way shown us by Jesus. You put me in a position of having 21 years of Catholic education. 13 of those were a Jesuit education, where I was taught to practice what I preach, to bridge the gap between your Word and everyday life. Ask my teachers to keep your word.

I used to be praised, “Look how compassionate he is for the poor” or “how hard he works for peace”. This seldom happens now but when it does, except from good friends, it is just a way to marginalize me. I now understand what Dorothy Day meant when she said: “Don’t call me a saint.” Sometimes people get angry at me; blame me for the problem I am trying to solve or place names or stigmas on me. However, most people nowadays just ignore me and dismiss the message while dismissing the messenger. One person had the courage to say to me: “I do not want to hear it”, my message, “anymore.”

In the 60’s when I was young and a follower people used to respond to persons with a message, either disagree or agree with them. We could even have Teach- Ins on issues like the war in Vietnam. Nowadays people say “everyone has a right to their own opinion” and refuse dialog.

Yes I know I am to blame for some of the stigmas put on me. I know that every stigma contains some truth. I even wrote about it in Stigma stains the soul. But I am old and tired and just want to retire. But every day you send me troubled messages and hope and courage to try to speak truth to power, at least my “opinion of truth.”

I read today how In 1968, when Catholic sociologist and peace activist, Gordon Zahn, my friend late in his life, was having a serious crisis of faith over the institutional church, Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, reassured him that “as a convert, I never expected much of the bishops. In all history, popes and bishops and father abbots seem to have been blind and power-;oving and greedy. I never expected leadership from them. It is the saints who keep appearing throughout history who keep things going.“

God I am not a saint and not a convert. My grammar is not good in my writing and I need someone to edit my work.

Are you listening God? If you are busy put Dorothy on the line. Meeting her in 1968 was a moment of change for me. Maybe through her intersection I can now rest and you will choose another messenger to deliver the hard truth. I am tired of the job and I allow myself, the weak messenger, to get in the way of your message.


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From Dream To Drone - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A picture send me today by a group called Roots Action says a lot about our times compared to the 60’s when I became an adult. The picture, on side and below larger, symbolizes the major switch our country has gone through the last four decades from dreaming to conquering, from one war to ‘endless wars’. There was a sense of hope that we can change the world in the 60’s. The one war we were fighting was, in all his ugliness, was on our TV screen tonight and we were paying for the war. Today we have declared and undeclared endless wars and we are not, except our veterans and military people, paying for it.

In 2012 more active military died from suicides (343) than from our war in Afghanistan. Including suicides of veterans the number is earthshaking. Violence in our society has become endless with over 500 homicides last year in Chicago.

Going from the Dream of Martin Luther King Jr. to the Killer Drones of President Obama is a major change from a USA being seen as a nation of good will and good people to being viewed as an empire with military might.

The USA is responding to suicides of soldiers and veterans with more money for treatment rather than deal with its cause, the types of wars we fight today. Even operators of drones thousands of miles away from the battlefield are suffering the effects of killing by remote control. So rather than ban drones the USA is creating drones that will not need humans at the computer screen but kill by face recognition.

Martin Luther King Jr. sought to end segregation by bringing people together while now politicians set out to “divide and conquer” people from each other.
Johnson the president during the Vietnam War made great strides in civil and human rights in our society. Obama ignores the issues of racism and segregation while working on a “kill list” in the White House for countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, countries we are not officially at war with. The new nominee for CIA director is the person who draws up the “kill list” for the President each week.

I have a dream that each person in need of bed, refrigerator and stove in Milwaukee will get one. This dream is considered foolish and not systematic. However, I considered this dream more effective and ending or slowing down the violence on our streets than the drones of law enforcement, jails and prisons.

We had a dream but now we have a drone.


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Worth Dying For? - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today is the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., although next Monday is the legal holiday. Before he was assassinated in 1968 Martin Luther King Jr. was organizing an occupation of the nation’s capitol called “Resurrection City.”

After King was killed “Resurrection City” went on as planned but as many similar events when it was over it was over. It was supposed to be the beginning of movement to organize poor people of all races into a united body, a movement for social change. Resurrection City, as the Occupy Movement last year or the movement in the Wisconsin Capital was slowly marginalized by the ‘unspeakable powers that be”. The next step for these movements would have meant more sacrifices, strikes, boycotts, jail and lost of jobs. When it comes to personal sacrifice most movements of people fade away.

This is not true for all movements. The Plowshare and other movements against nuclear bomb sites, Killer Drones and military training continue since jail and persecution does not seem to stop the people of these movements. So they are ignored.

All movement for real change, like improved labor conditions, child labor laws, civil rights for African-Americans, have come with sacrifice of time, often behind bars, money, poor people losing what little they have and talents, throwing oneself into the movement.

Some, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have even given their lives. We all need meaning in our lives. Dr. King said “If you haven’t found something worth dying for, you aren’t fit to be living.” What do we have in our lives worth dying for?


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Flying Light Over Worm Depository - Monday, January 14, 2013

Flying Light Over Worm Depository

I was sitting in my office this cold winter day when I looked through the windows of my sun room to see a light flying across my worm depository, a compost pile covered with wood chips and leaves to keep the worms below warm and fed during the winter. I took a closer look at this light which mostly started on left side of the compost and moved to the middle to come back again.

At first I thought it was some swinging reflection from some object but could not find any to explain this optical illusion. So I started to think what this spot of light flying back and forth over the compost pile could mean.

I had been in the process of writing a thank you email to all those who remembered my birthday when I noticed this phenomenon. A light flying could symbolize life that goes back and forth. The compost pile, worm depository, could represent the death, like the leaves and wood chips frozen on top of the hill so the worms below can be warm for the winter months.

A small bit of light or life flies over the large hill of compost that has life moving slowing under the dead leaves and wood chips. Is this is not what life is all about, keeping the light of hope alive that flies over the death of composing waste. The worms and compost will be removed next spring to create castings and compost that will be used to grow flowers and food.

The light is alive and moving to remind us of the eternal truth that life comes from the deaths in our daily life. If I discover the scientific explanation of the light flying over the worm depository I will let you know. However, for now, it is enough to know that the flying light over the worm depository says life lives in this hill of compost and will rise next spring to bring new life.


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Day of Death and Life - Sunday, January 13, 2013

My first and last painting

My seventh decade in life ended today as I became 70 and my eight decade began. My wife, Pat, put on an open house with a few friends invited to celebrate my birthday. The diversity of my friends old and young, women and men, black and white, poor and middle class, a friend I knew since grade school, my brother and friends I made the last few years. My best friend, my wife, Pat who is 100% Italian in heritage put on an Italian buffet for all.

After the party now that all is quiet and my 70 has come and gone I remember my good friend, my son Peter, who died a few years ago. My son Peter and I did not view life the same way but we could talk about it and have creative disagreements and discussions without any bitter arguing. Pat, my wife, would often take on conversations has arguments and fights and both Peter and I would insure her was not the case.
Peter was an artist and after his death I decided to take one course in art and paint a picture. After we were taught a few ways of using the brush and paint we were told to focus on a person, place or idea and paint it. All I could see was an abstract image of Peter and painted it. This was my first and probably last painting.

Peter was someone who understood the paradoxes of life, especially how death could bring life. He was haunted by demons since he was a young adult and the more we tried to fix him the worst it seemed he got. His last years were living with us and just as he was getting better he took his own life. Our therapist told us that frequently when a person gets better and sees his life that he lived with the terrible illness of brain disease, be it Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or schizo-affective disorder as Peter was diagnosed, he or she takes their own life.

As my birthday came closer I thought of my younger sister by two years who lost her battle with cancer in 1995. Her birth was the same week as of mine. We were close as children and remained that way until we grew up and I left the house when I was 18 years old. When she was dying we became close again and her lost left with a lost.

The death of my son and sister and other family and friends leave me with me as a shadow of death but my new family of friends has come in my life with new blessings and hope. This eighth decade might be my last and will be full of deaths and new life. But as a friend mentioned today a birthday is day of death and a day of new life.


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Letter to Editor on Mission of a Church Community - Saturday, January 12, 2013

Guests attending service at The
Bowery Mission Chapel in Lower

A few days ago an article appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentential about the debate of how to use the over one million dollars assigned a Church from sales of three Church properties in North Central Milwaukee. At first I did not like the article but after reading it over again, I thought that perhaps it started a good discussion of how a Catholic parish should use money given it from neighborhood parishes in areas of need. Below is a rough draft on a letter to the editor about the article and the questions it raises. This is just a draft so let us know if you have suggested changes. You can find the Cry of the Poor Petition here.

Dear Editor,
In the (MJS 12/10/2013) raised the issue of use of the million plus dollars the Archdiocese realized from the sales of three Catholic Churches in North Central Milwaukee, not Northwest as mentioned in the article. Over the years


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Learn from the Past, Live In the Present, Seek the Future - Friday, January 11, 2013

Salmon Fishing with fly rods

It is time to move on in life, not by forgetting the past but bringing it with us in the present and seeking the future.

Being involved in the Cry of the Poor Petition, the movement for Marquette University to stop teaching war and reflextive killing, killing without conscience on campus and finally understanding the inequality of some human beings, like woman in the Catholic Church, has been an humbly experience. I do not ever claim to have the truth but my ‘opinion of the truth’ is based on research, listening and reflection.

It seems many today subscribe to you have your opinion and I have my opinion and they are both equal and there is no need for dialog. I call it the “do your own thing” philosophy of life which seems to run rampart. Everything is relative.

We can learn much from the past, bring into the present and have hope in the future. But it takes faith and trust in God or a greater being than ourselves to live this way. Without faith and trust and love of a being greater than us there can be no hope for that someday “all will be well” in the future.

The past is something I can learn from with study of history, learning from mistakes and successes and bring that past to bear on the present. The present is all there is at this moment but we can seek in the present to live according to our values and beliefs.

Tonight we watched the movie Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a film “about a fisheries expert who is recruited by a consultant to help realize a sheikh’s vision of bringing the sport of fly fishing to the Yemen desert, initiating an upstream journey of faith to make the impossible possible.” It is the story about taking what we know, living life in the present and seeking an impossible dream for the future.

Learn from the past, live in the present, and seek the future.


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Reverse Option for the Poor - Thursday, January 10, 2013

There is an old saying “No Such Thing As Bad Publicity.” I hope it is true as an article came out in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today about the Cry of the Poor Petition. However, it was not about this plea to use the funds from sales of property of Catholic Churches in North Center Milwaukee for the needs of the people in this poverty and segregated area of Milwaukee. Rather the article was called “Northwest side Catholic parish ponders use of merger money” and written as conflict about use of the monies. For a real conflict it takes two parties and so far our efforts to use the money for spiritual and corporal works of mercy have been ignored.

But the publicity is good in the sense that it gives attention to real concern: the Catholic Church closing churches and withdrawing resources in the poorest and the poorest and most segregated areas of Milwaukee. The Catholic Archdiocese behavior is what we may call the Catholic Preferential Option for the Poor in reverse. As the neighborhood in North Central Milwaukee became poorer and more segregated instead of increasing Church, resources and outreach the Catholic Church has done the referees of Jesus called for in the Gospel. As white people and those who could afford to moved out of the neighborhood so did the Catholic Church. Where once there was 17 Catholic Churches now there are three to serve the spiritual and corporal works of mercy of persons in North Central Milwaukee, the poorest area of the fourth poorest city in the USA and the most segregated in the most segregated area in the most segregated city in the USA.

At the end of the Judgment of Nations parable in Matthew 25 in the Gospel the nations and organizations that are been condemned ask. “Lord, when did we fail to help you when you were hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in jail”? The king will say to them, “Whenever you failed to help any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do it for me.” (Matthew 25:45,46)

Maybe the publicity of the article will not be so bad if it points out the ‘Reverse Option for the Poor” in North Central Milwaukee.


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Run Around of the Poor - Wednesday, January 09, 2013

This is a true story still unfolding. The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. The St. Vincent De Paul Society is an international society of the Catholic Church whose main mission is to make home visits to people in need and offer them vouchers for essential items like beds.

Day One: Earnest, a 40 year old man living in North Central Milwaukee, calls the central office of the St. Vincent De Paul Society in the afternoon seeking a bed. He has been sleeping on the floor since moving into his apartment. Sheri at the central office of St. Vincent De Paul says he needs to call back at 9am the next morning with his request for a bed.

Day two: Earnest does call back at 9am to be told by Sharon that he lives in an area not served by a St. Vincent De Paul conferences and thus cannot be served with a home visit.

A neighbor and friends gives Earnest the number of Fred, a St. Vincent De Paul member that served her. Earnest calls Fred asking about a bed. Fred asks Earnest where he lives and Fred gives him an address within the boundaries of Fred’s St. Vincent De Paul conference at St. Gaul’s. Fred asks Earnest to call back to Central office and ask again for a home visit. Earnest does that and speaks to Susan who tells him that that he must call back at 9am the next day. Earnest calls Fred says to try calling back the next day at 9am and if he gets no satisfaction to call him back.

Day three: Earnest calls at 9am to the St. Vincent De Paul central office only to hear the same runaround, that he does not live in a an area served by a conference. Earnest call Fred and tells him the results. Fred calls the central office. Frieda answers and he asks to speak to the director, Alice. Frieda says Alice is not in. So Fred asks to speak to Julie who works with volunteers like himself. Frieda transfer the call and Fred is put on hold for a very long time and Fred eventually hangs up and calls back. This time he asks for whoever takes incoming calls from people in need. He is transferred to Veronica. He gives Veronica the address of Earnest and asks if he lives in an area served by a conference of St. Vincent De Paul. Veronica says yes. Fred asks what conference it is and she says it is St. Gaul’s, the conference that Fred belongs too.

Fred quickly calls Earnest back and tells him to call the St. Vincent Central office which just had confirmed he lives in the area service by St. Gaul’s. Earnest calls the office right away and then calls Fred back to say that they asked him to call back at 9am the next day. Fred calls the office again and is referred to Julie who he understands from Frieda is in her office. Frieda asked for his name, Fred gives it and then Fred is transferred to Julie’s answering machine.

That night Fred writes an email to three members of St. Vincent De Paul, Carol, the president of his conference, Bob, the Vice President of the central council of St. Vincent De Paul and Julie, who is in charge of volunteers in the Central office telling them of this runaround. Carol, the president of Fred’s conference writes back saying he should not being blaming persons all the time. Fred writes back and says it is shame not blame he is talking about in Earnest’s pursuit of bed to sleep on.

Day four: The next morning Julie from the Central Office returns Fred call. She asks him why he called her and he explains the runaround Earnest is getting trying to get a bed. Julie says Earnest had called that morning and his request was accepted and would be sent to St. Gaul’s. She explained the operator had mistaken Earnest’s street for a boulevard rather than a street using the system they used to determine who gets served. Fred thought this is the same outdated software system he had offered to replace some months ago but his offer was rejected. Fred asked if she could put a note on the request for home visit to St. Gaul to direct the request to him as soon as it came in. Julie says she would try to do that.

Fred called Earnest and Earnest confirmed that this time when he called at 9am he was told he would receive a home visit from someone at St. Gaul’s. However, he was told it would be another two or more weeks before someone at St. Gaul’s would answer his request.

Fred plans to contact Joe who handles the paper work for the St. Gall’s conference and ask him to give him the request form as soon as it comes in.
Earnest continues to sleep on the floor and Fred wonders about all the people who get the message from the central office “We do not serve your area” and know no one like himself to call. Earnest and Fred both wait and wonder why such a simple request for a home visit for a bed gets such a runaround.


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Life after Death Each Day - Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Today would have been the 68th birthday my sister Carol if she had not died from cancer in 1995. Today, a good friend, told me his mother, who he was very close to and his best friend, had died in hospice center.

Today a man who has been sleeping on the floor for two weeks after he had been given the run around by the Central Office called me. He remains sleeping on a floor although he lives in an area served by the St.Vincent De Paul conference I serve. The story of his search for a bed continues and after tomorrow I will write it on a posting.

Tonight the Jimmy Kimmel TV talk show, appealing to brash humor of young adults switch time slots with the show that preceded the award winning popular news show, Nightline. Although Nightline had won its time slot four years in row ABC executives they need to take on the other TV talk shows on NBC and CBS on this time slot. This should be the beginning of the end of Nightline. Silly humor trumps human interest news.

Today I got notice of our first Prayer Vigil for a homicide victim, a 15 year girl, killed by her brother with a gun at 4am Tuesday morning.

I read in the newspaper today that a lawyer convicted of stealing $773, 000 from his law office got no prison time I hear about poor African American males getting years of prison time for very minor offenses, like possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Today I received the awaited copy of excommunications order from the Vatican of our friend Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch and Maryknoll religious for 45 years. If it was not so sadly outdated in language and thought it would be humorous. By the way, Roy’s sin, not mentioned in excommunication order was his supporting woman ordination to priesthood.

I could go on with bits and pieces of my daily life but this is enough to say life is full of death of people, church, TV shows and neglect, pain and suffering of the poor but this is enough to say: We need to believe in life after death each day to live


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Back to the Future - Monday, January 07, 2013

Taking Time to Fish

Today I was reflecting on my 70th birthday coming up and mentioned to a friend that I was entering into my seventh decade on earth. He corrected me and said I was ending my seventh decade and beginning my eight decade. After quickly counting on my fingers I realized he was right.

My eighth decade might be my last so I need to get it right. As I get older I find myself turning back to my younger life. In my 20’s I was fascinated with history as I am now but also quick tempered when I sensed hypocrisies as I had been twice the last few weeks. The history part is fine but I need control my emotional passions, something difficult to do since my life as a child and teen when I was an introvert.

When I retired at age 63 or so I set I would read more, enjoy silence and nature more. I have enjoyed nature more though the gardens I have been part of at Gingerbread House block, DMZ gardens and my own gardens around the house. The reading and silence are part of every New Year’s resolution but quickly fade away with busyness.

Now I need to retire again but this time I need to be realistic, say No to busyness and Yes to silence. I am too old for things like defending myself from personal attacks and thus letting the message be ignored. I need to once more limit meetings that are lot of talk and lead to not much action. I need to be a more effective and diplomatic messenger, although I think I am too old to change much.

Where all the energy and passion I feel for people, poor, rich, woman, men, accepted or rejected and for justice and peace issues comes from I do not know. But it is there and has been building up for 70 years.

Hopefully soon I can move beyond my 20 years in the 60’s and return to quiet, reflective world. In this world of 50’s and 60’s I was much thinner so maybe that is a clue how to move on back to the future.


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Herods of Today - Sunday, January 06, 2013

Victim of U.S. Drone attack
in Pakistan

Today, Jan. 6th, is the Feast of the Epiphany, the coming out event of the baby Jesus as represented in the story of three kings. When Harold, the Rome appointed King of the Jews got wind that the Messiah or Savior was born he put word out to kill all male children under the age of two. Mary and Joseph had an early warning system, an angel, and were able to escape with the baby Jesus to Egypt. However all boys under the age of two were killed and after Christmas we have a day to remember the ‘Holy Innocents’.

This year, on this feast day of the Holy Innocents, a number of followers of the way of Jesus, conducted nonviolent actions at three US sites responsible for killing of innocent children, the Killer Drone base near Tucson, Ax, at the STRATCOM military base in Omaha and at the defense department in Washington D.C. The Holy Innocents in this case were the thousands of children killed in US wars, like the 168 plus children who have died by Killer Drones in Pakistan, a county we are not at war with.

The Herods of today are the political, military and corporate leaders who profit from the killing of the innocent. .


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Paradoxes, Parables and Pictures - Saturday, January 05, 2013

I like history and research on a project and issue. However, today we seem to diminish history and research or the facts. To most Americans, especially in political life, I think “perception of reality” is more important than the truth of the reality as much as we can know it. I heard Americans called “historically illiterate” and I have a hard time arguing against this assessment.

Hopefully many Americans have some imagination left and so appeal to five sense of the imagination might work. So for now I am trying to use my stories, especially ones with a paradox, parables or pictures.

I have a page called “Killer Drones” which has some interesting articles but perhaps does not grab any people. Last night I made a collage about Killer Drones, on side and below in larger version, that might get some attention. The last few weeks I tried some stories and parables. Paradoxes are all around us but they are hard to see. There a few paradoxes in pictures on the but I need more. After all life and death is a paradox we all must live with.

So look for more of the three P’s, Paradoxes, Parables and Pictures.


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Worms are Gold - Friday, January 04, 2013

Worms, Makes of Black Gold

This web site, Nonviolent Cow, starting off being called Nonviolent Worm. It was my interest in worm power that stimulated these web pages. An old friend had introduced me to Growing Power and the magic of using worms to produce castings. At the time I did not realize the value of |castings in growing had been realized in countries all over the world, from India to Guatemala, for hundreds of years to enrich growing.

During my early years doing this web page and the Diary of the Worm I spend a lots of time on the worm side of the page, the nature and growing. More recently I have spent more time on the nonviolent side. When I am really good in the Diary I have been able to combine the garden growing side with the nonviolent way of life.

Will Allen of Growing Power used to say that castings are black gold. So when a friend in Holland sent me this article from the New York Times: Worms Produce Another Kind of Gold. I knew that the lowly worm had finally made it. You can also find this article on the Featured Article on this web site.

I have been meaning to do an interview with a worm again. One interview I did in 2009 I called Last Interview with a Worm but it was not and there will be more. Worms have been with us since the age of Dinosaurs and have taught us a lot. Worms are gold.


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Antidote to Bullying - Thursday, January 03, 2013

Workers DMZ One 05/31/08

Today my friend Dawn, asked me to go to meeting with her and Marna, all co-founders of the DMZ community gardens. I had not be involved with the DMZ gardens the last year or two and in the meanwhile Dawn and Marna had started a second site, called DMZ two. With the aid of a neighbor DMZ Two got a small grant from the city which was used to hire Growing Power to make a nice garden area on this lot leased by the city to Dawn. Now this neighbor who is not a gardener but a self acclaimed event organizer wants to take over DMZ Garden Two.

From the beginning of the meeting it was clear that this new person was very aggressive and negative toward the three of us and Growing Power. He was it and wanted complete control of the garden and would not listen to anyone’s ideas or comprise on the future of the garden. DMZ II was not so much a community garden for him but a platform, a way to promote his political and public relationships activities.

We never talked about compost or worms but only of the great thing he had done for the community. He did most of the talking and was very hostile to Marna and myself. At first I made the mistake of trying to reason with him and get to the point of our discussion, the future of DMZ Two. But as I learned before there was no way to dialog with people like this. Being somewhat aggressive myself I got into the trap of arguing with him. Soon I realized my mistake, got quiet like Dawn and Marna and let him go on and on glorifying himself. After two hours I tried to say something and he interrupted the meeting, started to leave and try to pick a fight with me.

Dawn, Marna and I do not need this kind of aggressiveness in our lives. We have so many other good and positive things to do with our lives. I was not involved in DMZ Two and I think Dawn will just walk away.

Thinking about the meeting tonight I think I encountered a real life bully. Fighting, even verbally, with a bully is useless. It is just best to walk away. Bullies spit out poison and the antidote is kindness and respect, not bullying back.


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Parable of Unrequited Forgiveness - Wednesday, January 02, 2013

“Strive to close the eyes of the
body and open those of the soul
and look into your own heart.”

- Teresa of Avila

The week before New Year’s an elderly man felt a need to ask for forgiveness from those he had offended over the years. He was a passionate person who always spoke what he thought and in doing so endeared himself to some and alienated others. So he made a list of thirteen persons he thought that he offended over the last years and sent them each an email asking for forgiveness and, in case it might be useful, reconciliation. Right after Christmas he wrote to each person: “In the spirit of the new born Jesus and the new year I feel compelled to ask your forgiveness for any action, word or omission that I have hurt you and our relationship last year or before. Hopefully with forgiveness comes reconciliation.” He then offered to meet with each person personally.

He waited and waited. After the New Year came he realized that his email had been ignored and failed as other efforts for reconciliation, by phone, in person and email with some of these persons. What to do with unrequited pleas for forgiveness?

Now this man had many good friends, mostly made since he had retired about 7 years earlier. He wondered why he had such good friends now and why he felt alienated from these 13 persons. Then he remembered what a wise woman had told him a few years ago when he had made, with her intercession, attempts to reconcile with a few of their mutual friends who were on the list of 13. After attempts at reconciliation with her aide she had told him not to make any other attempts with these two friends. She told him that forgiveness and reconciliation took both parties and if one party was not interested just to move on in life. He realized that making this recent attempt he was not letting it go as he had been advised. He then realized that the answer to unrequited pleas for forgiveness was unconditional forgiveness and reconciliation on his part. He could let it go, accept it, suffer with it and rejoice in the love and forgiveness he felt for these good people.

He thought, like nonviolent direct action, the first attempt is to try dialog. But if that fails what we have is unrequited and unconditional forgiveness.

Thirteen has always been an important number in this person’s life. He had been thirteen on Friday the 13th many years ago and as a result had his picture in the local newspaper. So now he blessed the thirteen, forgave them for ignoring him and his efforts and went on with the New Year cleansed of his sins to these thirteen. He had a little more sadness in his heart but knew it could result in more joy and love in his life.


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We are all Political In Nature - Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I heard today that congress has avoided, or at least delayed, the “fiscal cliff” it created. From what I can understand the taxes of the ‘working poor’ will go up, middle class stay about the same, and the very rich will continue getting government welfare. On TV tonight the president said how we must cut expenses in almost every category except the 50% of the budget which goes for military spending, nuclear bomb building, defense department and CIA budget and more. He made no mention of cutting the large ‘killing’ budget which has brought so much bloodshed on us.

My hope is now that poor, middle class and rich, conservatives and liberals, right and left can come together and see what the real issue is: we do not live in a democracy but have a government controlled by what some call the “powers that be” or Merton the “unspeakable powers” or the “1%” of the Occupy Movement.
No matter what you call it, the denial of its existence is destroying our nation and hurting peoples all over the world.

The other night I mentioned by Political New Year Resolutions. If we look at politics in the original sense of the word, from the Greek politikos (“of, for, or relating to citizens”) it is the “art or science of influencing people’s beliefs on a civic, or individual level, when there are more than 2 people involved.” In this meaning “politics” goes to the heart and soul of all our relationships, to the spiritual and physical well being of all human beings.

Thus if we fight to eliminate the teaching of war and killing at Marquette or direct the 1.1 million dollars from the closing three Catholic Churches in North Central Milwaukee to the people in need in this area we are fighting a battle in the larger war of peace and injustice. As Gandhi and many of our mothers taught us “Charity starts at home.”

So I pray that I and my family and friends can stay positive and pick and fight, nonviolent, the battles locally, that will bring a true change of heart and change in our society. I pray we not get distracted by attacks on us or all the many distractions brought to bear on us.

Before died Jesus prayed that the will of God be done. We know the will of God from our conscience, our actions, reflections and mistakes. All we can do is to speak our “opinion of truth” to the “powers that be” and endure the suffering and sacrifice this good fight may bring. We are all political in nature.


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