Archive for April, 2009

Notes From My Desk 04/27/09

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

A rival should be created to compete with ‘Twitter’; I suggest the new company be called ‘Flutter’. 

It is particularly annoying to hear these Right Wing-Nuts refuse to listen to their President, Barack Obama, when he addresses their concerns, and then complain to high heaven about what Fox News tells them, what Fox thinks that President Obama said; it is all there in black and white.

 

Prevent Swine Flu, avoid the sty guy!

 

The good news is that the Pope made six new Saints; the bad news is that I was not one of them.

 

Arizona State University has refused to confer a traditionally honorary doctorate on President Obama, when he gives the university commencement address; the university president said there was no intent to slight President Obama, it was just that no one at ASU could spell ‘Barack’.

 

If America really wants to fight ignorance, it should consider banning Fox News before spending a lot of money improving public schools.

What I Wonder? 04/25/09

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

I wonder what the top of my dining room table looks like? 

I wonder what President Bush is going to tell God about torture, on Judgment Day?

 

I wonder what Saints and Prophets say when they hit their finger with a hammer?

 

I wonder if Jesus every missed and hit is finger with a hammer when he was learning carpentry?

 

I wonder if attractive female strangers ever have the same thoughts about male strangers that male strangers have about them?

 

I wonder why single women go to bars alone in the evening?  (Not really!)

 

I wonder why politicians never seem to be talking to me?

 

I wonder why preachers always seem to be talking about me?

Notes From My Desk 04/24/09

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Parents should be forewarned not to allow their children to watch television when former Vice President Cheney is defending America’s use of torture on its prisoners-of-war; children could be encouraged to become sadistic maniacs.

 

Gee, I wonder why the people, who complain about taxes and want to eliminate all taxes, are the same people who complain loudest and longest about potholes in the streets and bad schools; America without taxes would return to the ‘Stone Age’.

 

The one good thing that came out of President George W. Bush’s Presidency was that Bush supporters had to endure 8 horrible catastrophic years of America’s only sadistic fascist Presidential Administration in its history; the bad news was that a majority of Americans, who opposed Bush sadistic policy, had to suffer through it, as well.

 

It is refreshing to learn that my previous generation had a healthier lifestyle than today’s Americans; Mom and Dad rode electric streetcars and horse drawn buggies but my health is threatened by carbon polluting automobile fumes; isn’t modern technology grand?

 

Why is it that media critique and solutions to problems of American public education appear to be dominated by and limited to ‘opinions’ of politicians, political commentators, and opponents of public schools, without ever questioning their experience, knowledge of the subject, or where they, themselves were educated; the media is simply devoid of commentary by those public servants who have devoted their lives and career to educating the nation’s youth, the future generation; American school teachers get no respect! 

For Pete’s Sake, Surfing The Net In The Golden Years

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

     Retirement has always been an interesting phenomenon.  Young people seem to feel compelled to inquire, “What do you old, decrepit people do all day?”

     “It is none of your damned business” is my preferred reply, adding, “but for your information I do whatever I damned please!”

     In reality I often can’t remember what I did, however, the other day I did remember what it was that I did all day, without having to think about it. 

     While reading the newspaper first thing in the morning, I came across one of the comic strips that had a joke involving St. Peter at the Golden Gate to Heaven; seeing St. Peter triggered my memory and reminded me that someone many years ago told me that St. Peter had more than one wife. 

     Since then however, someone else corrected me and told me that Peter was never married.  For whatever reason this bit of ignorant uncertainty on my part, regarding Simon Peter’s marital status, troubled me and I dropped the paper and hurried to the source of eternal truth, internet banking, and a sea of garbage, deceit, and lies, my dearly beloved computer and the internet.

     The invention of the computer and internet ended the reign of the wheel as the greatest invention of all time; however, like the wheel, the car, and electricity a computer can be deadly as well as a panacea.  The computer has changed all of the values of civilization and humanity and begat an entirely different means of the salvation of mankind; the answer to the unknown is the trinity of the motherboard, the delete key, and Google.

     With this in mind, I can attest to the fact that when a person sits at a computer for just a moment to determine Peter’s marital status, time begins to evaporate like alcohol applied to arthritic knees.  One web site leads to another and the user is suddenly engulfed in a cerebral and cybernetic frenzy to solve the mystery of the Theory of Relativity and how it affects St. Peter’s matrimonial exploits.  The cornucopia of information materializing on the monitor screen is orgasmic, and it never seems to stop!

     It dawned on me suddenly that many of my days and night into the next day are spent exercising my fingers and ample posterior while sitting at the computer, enlightening myself.  It appeared to me that a great number of America’s senior population, also spends their retirement years, much as I do, on their computer; the computer has replaced the rocking chair and whittling as the prime retirement pastime.   It is not as stimulating to the body as cardio vascular exercises but computers can be quite stimulating to the cerebrum when putting all of your energy behind striking very hard at something, like the delete button of your computer.  Ah, the finality of it all!

     In my own case, I started innocently enough to find out simply whether or not Saint Peter was married and whether or not he had more then one wife; I had intended to finish my inquiry in five minutes.  Instead, I became intrigued with the character of Saint Peter and learned much more than I really wanted to know about him, spent many hours instead of minutes doing research, and I burned considerable resources and energy in the process.  Conversely, I found much more of what was not known about St. Peter that what was known. 

     My reward could be considered negligible but I didn’t think it was.  I did conclude however that surfing the web appeared to be less profitable as a pastime and more of an addiction; however, the internet and computer is less harmful than drugs or alcohol, I think!

     Actually, my inquisitiveness about Peter’s marital status was more or less satisfied in just a few minutes.  All that is known about it, is that Peter had a mother-in-law and she lived with him (Mark 1:30); bummer!  Like all other Biblical scholars, if Saint Peter had a mother-in-law, I concluded that he was married; there is not mention of Peter’s wife, her name, or whether he had more than one wife, however. 

     The Bible does say that when Peter first met Jesus, he had a party at his house for Jesus and his mother-in-law was ill; that sounds typical.  She felt better though, after she met Jesus, what mother-in-law wouldn’t, and she then served some refreshments.

     There is much other speculation about Peter’s wife, but it is only unverified speculation.

     Of course to find out this simple answer, I came across some other issues that raised questions in my inquisitive mind, leading me further down the path of unending inquiry.  Peter’s surname ‘Peter’, was a nickname that Jesus gave him (John 1:42); his real name was Simon Barjona.  Technically, he should be Saint Simon.  But, the first time Jesus saw Simon, He said, “From now on, you are ‘Rocky’!”  Not really. 

     The present-day English translation Bible does not say that Jesus nicknamed Simon, ‘Rocky’; that is just my own private interpretation of what the Bible should say based on my research.  In reality, the English Bible says that Jesus said, “From now on, you are ‘Peter’!” 

     The explanation is that in the first known and original Greek Bible, Jesus called Simon, ‘Petros’, which was Greek for rock or stone; English translators translated the Greek word ‘Petros’ to ‘Peter’.

     But there is more to Simon being called Peter, by Jesus.  Neither Simon nor Jesus spoke Greek; they spoke Aramaic.  The Aramaic word for rock is Cephas.  Jesus would actually said, “From now on you are ‘Cephas’!” and Saint Peter would be Saint Cephas!  But then of course, the Bible was never written in the native language of Jesus or Simon.  Personally, after reading Saint Peter’s biography, I think the English name ‘Rocky’ would be better suited for him.

      Certainly, a lot is lost in translation.  Most probably Jesus did not say to Simon, “From now on you are stoned!”  But interpreters of the Bible conclude that Jesus was implying that Simon was going to be his ‘rock’ or foundation for Christianity.  Later in the Bible, Jesus actually said “And I say unto thee that Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).  Jesus really liked Simon Peter.

     The Catholic Church interprets this to mean that Peter was to be the church’s first leader, or Pope.  Protestant reformers say Jesus simply meant that Peter’s faith was the rock upon which Christianity was formulated.  I found it to be a metaphor that Simon was stubborn and hard like a rock and that is what made his character fascinating.  I can identify with him as ‘Saint Rocky’.

     At one point Peter is described as ‘bold’ and perceived as a yokel, ‘unlearned and ignorant’ (Acts 4:13).  That is a person that I recognize and feel comfortable being around them, more like a ‘beer and pretzel redneck’ than a rocket scientist. 

     Also, Simon Peter at times argued with Jesus (Mathew 16:21-23).  I can certainly identify with that.

     Another thing that caught my interest in researching Saint Peter, was a conference held in Jerusalem in the early days of Christianity (Acts 15).  The elders of the church, including both Saint Peter and Saint Paul, gathered to decide whether or not Gentiles needed to be circumcised before they could become Christian.  It suddenly struck me funny to hear that Christians would have a conference about ‘The Genitals of the Gentiles’.  Saint Peter declared the Mosaic Law including the requirement of circumcision, to be null and void for Christendom; everyone at the conference agreed to it and there was a sigh of relief from the Gentiles in the hall.

     It has been pointed out to me many times that my take on religion is perhaps not the same as a ‘normal’ person; it is always rewarding to know that as an individual you are exceptional in at least something.  But what is normal; there is not even agreement among Christians about the role in Christianity of Saint Peter. 

      All religions are of interest to me because of how they affect the lives of people; more importantly for me is how religion provides both excuses for human failing and inspiration for human accomplishment.  In this respect, St. Peter is an intriguing character in Christianity, his matrimonial situation notwithstanding; Peter raised a few eyebrows in his time and that makes an interesting story to read.  Googling Saint Peter can fill a lot of time in an old man’s day.

Notes From My Desk

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Do Americans who are anti-union, only go to a doctor that has not graduated from a medical school?

 

Does Jesus love conservatives who hate liberals?

 

Does Jesus hate liberals, too?

 

If American soldiers are not trained to be professional killers, why aren’t they?

 

If the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is good for American workers, why are American employers moving their factories to Mexico?

 

What is the reason that American consumers are not buying American produced products; is it because they are unemployed?

What I Wonder?

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Was torture was used by President Bush to learn that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction?

 

Is Jesus a liberal or a conservative?

 

Was Jesus being unpatriotic when he said, “Love your enemies”?

 

Would people who believe that abortion is murder of a human being, invite me over for chicken dinner and serve me scrambled eggs?

 

Are people who call President Obama a socialist, antisocial?

 

Why do people opposed to universal health care believe that all of their neighbors should not have health care too?

Arizona Mentality Versus Democracy

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

     Arizona State University has invited America’s new President Barack Obama to be the speaker of their commencement, however, the University determined that they would not confer the customary honorary doctorate on President Obama because of ‘his lack of experience’; it is an obvious affront to the President and humiliating.

     I am not an alumnus of Arizona State University but I am an alumnus of ASU’s rival school, the University of Arizona, earned Ed. D. 1966.  When I read of ASU belittling the Democratic President of the United States, Barack Obama, by inviting him to commencement but denying him a customary honorary doctorate for ‘lack of experience’, I was hardly surprised because of a traumatic experience I had at U of A. 

     On November 22, 1963, I was attending the U of A and  ironically I was in a Constitutional Law class when President John Kennedy was assassinated.  Not being aware of the situation, when I left the class and found Law School students in the hall cheering and laughing; I was dumbfounded and asked what had happened.  “Kennedy has been assassinated!” was the gleeful answer.

     It was a shocking, disgusting, and frightening experience.  At the time it was too scary to be embarrassed for the students and the University.  My reaction was to race to my car, drive to my daughter’s first grade class to make sure she was safe.  That was my first experience at what I believed to be a bloody revolution.  I never forgot it.  The experience is set in my mind as the ‘Arizona mentality’.

     The President of the U of A respectfully called an assembly the next day to memorialize the memory of the slain President Kennedy; I was one of the few attending and there was an abundance of empty seats.

     Since then I have experienced the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy, and lived through the Administration of George W. Bush and I have become calloused to the behavior, violence, and hate of the forces of fascism in the United States.  However, I still find it a threat and offensive when I hear of the abusive and hateful remarks about President Obama by Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh; to me, it is a real and continuing threat to my American democratic Republic.

     The episode of the Arizona State University insult to President Obama, is just another example of the Arizona mentality and a tiny part of the larger and serious fascist threat to American democracy. 

The Danger of America’s Homophobic U.S. Army

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

     It is interesting to note that of the many, many soldiers receiving dishonorable discharges from the military, solely because they were gay, I have never heard of any of those soldiers being a ‘bad’ soldier; in my own experience, in the military, I served with some ‘good’ soldiers that were presumed to be gay and I also served with some really ‘bad’ soldiers that were not given dishonorable discharges.

     The big question in my mind is this, what is the purpose of a soldier, is it fighting or engaging in sex?  If the purpose of my comrade in arms is to back me up and to possibly save my life, I honestly have no interest at all in his sex life; I prefer to judge him strictly on his soldiering.

     To me, having homophobic leadership in charge of American military service is not only a mistake but it is dangerous in regard to the lives of American troops.  America is entitled to have its finest, most talented and patriotic citizens serve their democratic Republic, whether the individual is heterosexual, bisexual, hermaphrodite, androgynous, asexual, or homosexual.

     Of course, my humble opinion is of little significance; rather I would refer the people of America to the story of a gay American military hero, Alan Rogers, The New Yorker, Aug. 4, 2008, p.  43. 

     Of course, there is nothing, apparently, that will stir the conscience of homophobic Americans; they are obsessed and without conscience!  It is unfortunate, that some of them hold powerful positions in the U.S. Army and Congress!