58/365 – My Cosmos and Me

Imagine the lamp is the sun, the orange is the earth, and the red football is the eclipsed moon.  Or just eat the orange.
Imagine the lamp is the sun, the orange is the earth, and the red football is the eclipsed moon. Or just eat the orange.


I believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and the Moon orbits the Earth. You can make observations that prove both beliefs. 

>>This begins a process that seems to make the Earth an unsteady and isolated place, so most people probably quit here, but not me.<<

I believe the stars are actually like our Sun, and some are way bigger, but they are so far away they all appear as twinkling points of light no matter how strong your telescope. (As Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy wrote: “Each star is a setting sun” in the song, “Jesus, Etc.” from the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot CD)

 >>Now the cosmos is getting very large, indeed, and even our blazing Sun is reduced to a point of light from the perspective of any other star. I’ve lost just about everyone at this stage.<<

So far as can be observed, there are collections of stars (galaxies) everywhere out there, and the distances between then are unimaginably vast, as is the age of the whole cosmos (about 15 billion years).

>>How my head spins with these immensities! I am reminded of the witticism by the 18th century writer, Thomas Carlyle, who said of the stars above: “If they be inhabited, what a scope for misery and folly. If they be not inhabited, what a waste of space.”<<

None of these scientific facts shake my faith in the Creator of all this, nor in the notion that our souls were saved by the sacrifice of Christ.  The only questions to ponder then become, “Was this sacrifice for the whole universe?” And if so, “Is there anyone out there we should be evangelizing?”

57/365 – Big Love’s Baggage

Sort of looks like a multicolored meteor strike.
Sort of looks like a multicolored meteor strike.

(shot last year)

Somewhere, over the rainbow, there’s a place where we always make good decisions and never have to root around in our past to make certain adjustments.

But here on Earth, I’m recontacting ex-wives to get their help in nullifying our marriages.  There were three.  They took place in Mequon, Phoenix, and Madison, which could also be my ex-spouses’ names. 

So far, Madison wants nothing to do with me (this was a surprise).  It’s been, what, six years and she’s still bitter? Phoenix, on the other hand, is being friendly and helpful, saying she has all the paperwork I need at hand because many of the same things were required when she and her husband adopted recently.  Lord knows what Mequon will say.

This all relates to me becoming a Catholic and wanting to marry Jane in the church.  Divorces must be cleared up, either because the marriages did not observe proper form (a Catholic not getting married in the church, for instance) or for some other reason (which I’ll find out when I deal with the first one, Mequon).

The ironic thing is that Jane and I have been watching the first two seasons of Big Love, the HBO series about polygamy.  The infighting, jealousy, and game playing make having multiple wives unattractive.  So did a documentary we saw a while ago about a polygamous family in rural Iran.  And here I am, a miserable almost-polygamist, although the technical term is “serial monogamist.”

I guess where I want to come out on all this is the same place 12-steppers do — make amends, own up to my faults, and maybe have a couple of renewed friendships.  It certainly is doing no harm for me to face up to things and unpack some of my baggage.

56/365 – Greed and stupidity

Time to get our federal duck in a row. (These are actually Peeps in a planter here at work.)

Time to get our federal ducks in a row. (These are actually Peeps in a planter here at work.)

I’m disappointed. I expected a little more truth out of Obama.

There he was – addressing the very spend-thrifts and regulation-removers who caused the present situation, and all he could muster was a wimpy “Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that for too long, we have not always met these responsibilities [to not spend more than we have] – as a government or as a people.” (Reminder, the government is of the people, for the people and by the people.)

Humans are weak when faced by temptations, such as a whole boatload of money.  When we hear the magic words, “Federal funds,” we don’t ask questions about where the money is actually coming from or how it will ever in a million years be repaid, we just start making our greedy plans about what we’re going to do with and who is charge of doling it out.  As if it were money from heaven and not a loan from the Chinese and the oil sheiks

The ultimate irony for me was a former member of Congress telling Congress that things are going to be different from now on.  I’m sorry, but that’s impossible.  All the same people who forced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy questionable home loans (stupid buyers) so more low-income housing could be created are still chairmen of those committees.  The same representatives who voted to loosen regulations are still collecting campaign funds from the industries they served.

The very idea that Obama could get anything out of Congress other than what Congress (meaning the new Democratic majority running things) has always delivered — pork-barrel spending, massive Federal debt, wasteful weapons systems, unfair agricultural subsidies — is both saddening and maddening.

I just pity the people who expect to live off their savings when the dollar becomes worth a tenth or a hundredth of what it is now, when we don’t have enough of our inflated dollars to buy any oil, and when nobody comes to the weekly Treasury auctions to buy our worthless debt.  Then we might get the truth out of Congress, that passing the buck is the only game they know, and taxing the rich is their only solution.

55/365 – Stalker-proofing the Net

I choose to block conversations and other noise in the workplace with noise-reduction headphones and a pocket FM radio.
I choose to block conversations and other noise in the workplace with noise-reduction headphones and a pocket FM radio.

Some attention can be unwanted, yet the Internet exposes us to an entire world of wackos. So I have been finding ways to block access, label as spam, or otherwise prevent someone from messaging me or seeing my stuff – well, what can you really do if you’ve got a public blog? But still, there could be very good reasons, such as an ex that won’t give up, an admirer with bad karma, or whatever — you just don’t like their hair. It should be your choice as to who can get through to you.

An enterprising programmer may have already come up with Universal Blocker software that takes care of this on all your sites, forums, and blogs.  If not, you can have the idea for free. I just want to use the application.

A bit of background on stalking behavior: I’m an old guy now, but when I was just getting out of high school at 17, an older woman (by two important years) took an unhealthy interest in me, sent me tickets to a Beatles concert, including a train ticket, and then ambushed me on the train.  I managed to lose her at the concert.  Later she showed up at my college and enrolled in a couple of my classes.  It still creeps me out to think about how uncomfortable that was. My roommates gave her a nickname with “nut” in it and screened calls from her, but I was too embarrassed to ask the school to do anything. For sophomore year I changed schools, not because of her, and she showed up again. Somehow it ended, I think by me not responding, not answering, acting like I didn’t see this dumpy little woman tagging along after me like a sick puppy.  And a female friend confronted her and set her straight.

Unfortunately, it’s happening again with an ex.  But today I know about restraining orders.  Hope it doesn’t come to that. I’m simply not responding and having someone else screen the messages for threats.  Eventually you’d think she’d get the message — it’s over, move on please.  Thank you.

54/365 – The urban nomad

The ancient Lands' End bag on the left has my tax stuff, the newer one in the middle is my day job stuff, and the "Kiss in the Village" bag on the right is for overnight.

The ancient Lands' End bag on the left has my tax stuff, the newer one in the middle is my day job stuff, and the "Kiss in the Village" bag (my translation of an obscene French slang term) on the right is for overnight.

I ran from the car to the elevator, the minutes ticking away until midnight, but loading Vista is so frigging slow that by the time I launched this post, it was three minutes past. Then I remembered my “day rule” – it’s still Monday to me until I go to sleep.

I had left Jane’s thinking,”I have no picture and nothing to write,” but as I put my bags in the trunk of my car, I saw that that would be my shot for the day. This also gave me something to write about, my baggage. Well, not that kind of baggage, although I do have things I carry around from my past. More on the order of doing three or four things with my time, and having a bag for each: my tax job, my day job, my Catholic class (the God bag), and for overnights. There’s still one more, for freelance assignments, but that one is temporarily on the shelf – the proof for the book I’m copyediting is too large for a bag. Hey, why not throw in a recyclable grocery bag or two?

My nomadic existence in the urban village will not continue for long. Soon I will live in a home instead of an apartment, and the overnight bag will be for trips. Tax season will end April 15, followed by the culmination of Catholic classes. I will have one bag come June, and be a nomad no more, but rather a curator of antiques and art and books, a settled-down man who can then let his mind roam while his body remains at peace.

As Lewis Carrol put it, “Oh frabjous day!  Callooh! Callay!/He chortled in his joy.”