Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Post

Click above or on the picture to go there.

Mary Jane Sent me this.

The pictures didn't come through on the e-mail so I had to go find them on the Internets. I love them (especially the Bear Hugs one.) Enjoy from jaybear.

Wishing you, in your busy life. . .
Time for relaxation. . .

Good sleep. . .

Good health with exercise. . .

Someone to dance with. . .

A bit of adventure. . .

Good looks. . .

But most of all. . .
I wish you lots of bear hugs. . .

And the comforts of real love. .

So There! God Bless and Bear Hugs. jcs


On Friday I gave you a word to look for. Those of you who found it raise your hands. Not very many. I would say I was disappointed but really I didn't expect much. I've been doing this sort of thing for years and there aren't very many out there who bother to look things up. Now that we have the Internets it is much easier and faster. Of course you have to be able to spell. (See Bob, I know it is important!) I originally spelled it incorrectly and all I got was a bunch of Dungeons and Dragons "stuff." I didn't like any of the pictures.

I used the word in a conversation the other day and my friend did not know what it was. I believe I was using it in regard to the Jurisprudence Committee report of Grand Lodge. You see, they go through all of the legislation and discuss it and then they vote on it as a committee. Then they report the recommendation out to Grand Lodge and the Myrmadons who are sitting there usually (but not always) accept their recommendation and vote the way they want.

I would much prefer it if they simply reported on whether or not the legislation was in proper form and help get it in proper form and not tell us their judgement on the value of the proposed legislation. Then allow for substantive discussion on the Grand Lodge floor.

Did I mention that the Jurisprudence Committee is made up of the Past Grand Masters? The same ones who meet in April (along with the past elective officers of Grand Lodge) to nominate the next year's elected Grand Officers and approve the new Chairman of Division and Reference (Who will in his time become Grand Master). It is an interesting system. These elected officers will (when elected) become the permanent members members of the Grand Lodge. Theoretically the Craft could out number them and vote in someone other than those nominated but I have never seen it happen. It really is a self-perpetuating system and almost always guarantees that the only Grand Lodge Officers that Iowa has are ritualists. Nothing wrong with that, you say. Well tat leaves out a lot of very talented people who just aren't "into" ritual but who could offer a lot to the fraternity.

I remember one Grand Lodge when there was a move to put the Past Masters into the mix by giving them a vote in Grand Lodge (As it is done in the Grand York Rite Bodies) and the Jurisprudence Committee came out against it. The Grand Secretary came out against it (too much work to keep track of all the past masters, I guess) and once again the Myrmidons followed blindly and voted it down. Thus disenfranchising themselves as they moved out of active office in the Lodge.

So by now you have figured out the meaning: myr·mi·don
Pronunciation: 'm&r-m&-"dän, -d&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English Mirmydon, Latin Myrmidon-, Myrmido, from Greek MyrmidOn
1 capitalized : a member of a legendary Thessalian people who accompanied their king Achilles in the Trojan War
2 : a loyal follower; especially : a subordinate who executes orders unquestioningly or unscrupulously

So a myrmidon is not "something devoutly to be desired" unless you are one of those in control. Of course, good leaders really prefer subordinates who question them and challenge them and think outside the box and aren't content to think only what the "boss" thinks. But then, how many "good" leaders do you know?

One I think is a good leader (judgement is still out on that but he shows a lot of promise) is this year's Grand Master. He has made some changes in the way we do business. The Grand Officers, this year, are not going to be a "traveling degree team." They have assignments and are expected to get out among the rest of us and help us, thereby helping Iowa Masonry to improve and grow. It is going to be interesting to see how it works.

In the past, I have seen Grand Masters with good ideas who got "shot down" by the PGM's when they wanted to try something. It takes intestinal fortitude to stand up to that powerful force. Somehow I don't think this one will be (shot down). He is knowledgeable, intelligent, forward thinking and he thinks outside the box. I wish him luck! The fact is that I generally like most of the Grand Masters Iowa has had. They are good men and true who operate on the level and by the square. I am just not sure that the "system" is all it could be. I saw an awful lot of talent at Grand Lodge. Young men with young ideas. But I don't think the forum was there for them to be full participants or for us "older" guys to really listen to them. Not sure how to do it but there must be a way.

If not at Grand Lodge, then perhaps at a Warden's Retreat as is done in Texas. Maybe we should rent the 4-H camp at Luther, Iowa and bring the Warden's together for leadership meetings. To actively develop leadership and give them the tools to be full participants in running the business of their Lodge when it is their year. Come to think of it what about a Wardens and Deacons retreat. Bring them in for three days and make it fun, exciting and meaningful. Hands on participation. You could even do some degree practice there. All kinds of possibilities.

Well I have said enough for now. I'm off to find another word to post on here to challenge you. I am glad September ends today. October should be fun. Bear Hugs, jcs

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A beautiful Fall Afternoon

I decided to go for a drive this afternoon. No particular place. Just wondered if I could get out of Ames. I headed west and then south. Just south of Madrid I saw a road marked Dragoon Trail so I turned around and spotted this pumpkin patch. There were several people out picking the pumpkins. It was serendipitous to find. I pulled over and took the picture.
The road led to Big Creek State Park. You can not see much turning of leaves yet but there are a few touches here and there. I thought this was a nice scene.

Again there were several patches of theses growing around. I thought I was lucky to have found this one. Enjoy!

Another view of Big Creek. This time from the south end.

My friend and Brother Tim Bonney is the pastor at First Baptist Church in Johnston. They have been having a contemporary service on Saturdays at 5:00. My watch and the dashboard clock (in agreement) notified me that I just had time to get there. This is their rose window. It is beautiful. The church is large and spacious. Someday I am going to get up early on a Sunday and drive down to attend the regular service. Tim gives a good Sermon. Today he preached on Psalms 146 and it was an inspiring 20 minutes. He and I have similar opinions. Most of the time. At one point he was talking about Jesus not being political. I asked him afterwards if he was so sure that Jesus was not a political. Tim said, "At least he wasn't a Democrat or a Republican."
These little purple flowers in the garden out front reminded me that we can find beauty everywhere we look.
Another view of their flower garden.
Larry had mentioned the Texas Road House in his Blog and I decided to eat there as it was supper time when the service was over. There was a mob scene at the Restaurant but I checked and I could eat at the bar. Several years ago Jonathan and I were in Nashville and I had a steak dinner with a sweet potato with brown sugar on it. They had the sweet potato n the menu as a side so that was what I got. That and a rib eye. I brought half of the rib eye home with me. It was so large and so delicious. This was the sculpture outside.

All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon even if I did spend it mostly alone. I am sure that I would have enjoyed eating out with friends but this was spur of the moment. Just where the spirit moved me and it moved me well. And I didn't have to wait an hour and a half for a table.

When I came home the garage door broke. Fortunately I was still outside and so the car is parked in the drive way. I had a sticker with the number to call on the wall in the garage. I looked for it and could not find it. (Ginny got cussed for moving it.) - Eventually I did find it down behind a very heavy shelf which I had to move (still cussing) but I did finally get the shelf moved and got the number and they are coming to fix it on Monday.

Watching Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday" on Turner Classic Movies. She was absolutely the most beautiful actress ever. Huge Hugs. jcs

Halloween and a Groaner from Butch

When I taught school the kids were thinking about what they would wear for Halloween by now. In that spirit Bailey is begining to think about what he should wear. Any suggestions?

A Woman that lives in Galesburg was weed-eating her lawn. She accidentally cut off the tail of her favorite Cat.

She rushed her Cat along with the tail over to the new Super Wal-Mart! You might ask, why Wal-Mart ?

Wal-Mart is the largest RETAILER in town !!!

Huge Hugs! jcs

Friday, September 28, 2007

An Evening at StageWest

The Mission Statement of the StageWest Theater Company says:

StageWest seeks to increase the understanding and enjoyment of life, society, and the world through the presentation of contemporary theatre. We strive to cultivate new opportunities for artists and audiences in Central Iowa to experience the diverse world of American and World Theatre. StageWest aspires to a continuing pursuit of artistic excellence and seeks to make the story of the play become the experience of the audience.

They certainly have met their mission with this production. I attended the Friday Evening performance. Their web site describes the production thus:

"South Park meets Desperate Housewives!"
New York Sun

There's a new tenant in Armadillo Acres, and she's wreaking havoc all over Florida's most exclusive trailer park!

The doublewide divas of this fine housing establishment have survived everything from kidnapping to no-good men to (the horror!) bad perms.

But when Pippi, a "stripper on the run," comes between agoraphobic housewife Jeannie and her tollbooth collector husband, a storm begins to brew that will shake these manufactured homes right down to their mobile foundations. All this and there's SINGIN' too!

WARNING: This musical contains tacky outfits, bad wigs, crude language, adultery, road kill, electrocution and spray cheese, everything a musical should be!

I will not attempt to review the musical. You can read the Des Moines Register review by clicking here.

Instead I will tell you about my experience tonight. First of all I did go to Chef's Inn for Steak DeBurgo and a Chocolate Cookie, then down to the theater to pick up tickets. I sat in the car for awhile and then went inside to watch the people. The Civic Center had Tyler Perry performing and so there were a lot of people to watch. One woman sitting near me knew everyone who walked by. Her infectious laughter and warm greeting was fun to watch.

I began to notice that there were a number of teachers from the Ames Middle School there. One of the teacher's daughter (Brianne Magel) was in the show. It was fun to see her and to catch up. She warned me that her daughter's first line was "It's so hot, I'd give my left tit for a pool." (or close to that). I began to get ready for a fun evening. I was not disappointed. (P.S. Her daughter is very good.)

Because I am a season ticket holder I was able to go in early to be seated. The set was not elaborate. It was set in a trailer park in Florida after all. Two trailers, a trash can. bushes (with the band behind it) and some folding chairs. Simple but adequate.

The lights went down and the actors came out and took their places. (No curtain, stage or proscenium). I wish I could remember the first line, it was hilarious, raunchy and funny. The actors were all talented. I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the entire evening. I could not be more pleased. The list of songs will give you an idea about the show:

  • This Side of the Tracks
  • One Step Closer
  • The Buck Stops Here
  • It Doesn't Take a Genius
  • Owner of My Heart
  • Flushed Down the Pipes
  • But He's Mine/It's Never Easy
  • That's Why I Love My Man
  • Panic
All of them were fun and kept my toes tapping.

The show was originally scheduled through October 7 but the following announcement is on the Web Site. PERFORMANCES ADDED FOR "TRAILER PARK" OCT. 12 & 13

The best deal is the Season Ticket but you can also get tickets for single shows by going to the StageWest Web site.

I may go again. If anybody wants to go, I'll go with you.

Huge Hugs, jcs

Word of the Day/ Bush Quote

resipiscent (re-si-PIS-uhnt) adjective

Having returned to a saner mind.

I posted this word in July. At that time I stated you need to find out the meaning. Assuming that most of you didn't the definition is now posted.

The next word to look for is Myrmadon. Good hunting.
George Bush is challenged when he gives a speech. His latest quote found on all of the comic's lips is:
Childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.
George W. Bush
at least he didn't say results is measured. It would be funny if it weren't in defense of such a travesty as the No Child Left Behind Act - Which leaves all of them behind.

Have a good Friday! Huge Hugs, jcs

Thursday, September 27, 2007


What a day! Started out by getting up to go to the Clinic to give blood for tests from Dr. Crano. Then I had to have appointments made for two other Doctors. (We made one yesterday) One was for a small ulcer on my large toe which is almost healed but he wanted Dr. Sarentino to look at it. I was able to get into that one today and I really like him, not like the other one who I won't name but he is obnoxious and is the cause of my having to have ankle surgery.

The other appointment is for something which will require me to drink a bunch of crap and then go in at 7:15 AM and have someone take me and pick me up to bring me back. I hate that because I really don't have anyone I want to ask to do it. I like being independent and don't like being dependent. I guess as I get older I will have to put up with it. Anybody want to volunteer?

Then I was home and did the blog entry. It took a couple of half hours to get the stuff ready for Lodge tonight. Ben G is my candidate. I was getting my car serviced at Brother Jeff's En Tire Car Care and this young man came over and asked me about joining the Masons. He had seen the emblem on my car.We had a good visit and because of the Pocket Petition I was able to pull out a petition from my wallet and start him on his Masonic journey.

I have had the honor of serving as his mentor and he will be a good addition to the Lodge. He also had the (dubious) honor of being the first Brother in Arcadia Lodge to do the "new" proficency that was passed in Grand Lodge last Saturday. He did a good job. We aren't exactly sure we did everything according to Hoyle but then "Hoyle" hasn't given us the rule book yet. Anyway we did it and it was a good evening. Here are some pictures:

We had a couple of helpers in the degree tonight. Loren and Bryce. The picture is kind of "fuzzy" but we really appreciated their help. I got to do my favorite part and we had a couple of guys who were new to the degree "team" They did great work. I am so proud of them.
I am looking forward to going to Des Moines tomorrow night to eat at Chef's Kitchen around 5:00. and then go to the Civic Center Stage West production of Trailer Park Musical. Any one who wants to join me is welcome. I have to pick up my tickets because they didn't mail them to me. i will let you know how it goes. Have a good Friday. It is P.O.E.T.S day tomorrow. Hugh Hugs, jcs.

Vocabulary Lesson

I've mentioned before on this Blog that I love words. I've given some examples of words I like and I may wind up repeating some of them here. Some of the words I use because they are obscure and it gives me a false sense of being an intellectual when I use them. Others I like just because of the way they sound.

One of these words comes from our Masonic Ritual. It sounds like hail but it is really hele. The word is used in our ritual. One Brother says, "I hele." and the other Brother answers, "I conceal." Both words mean the same thing. It is a really old word. The Oxford English Dictionary says that it comes from around 825 A.D. It means to, hide, conceal, to keep secret. So we are not saying "Hail fellow, well met." We are talking about keeping our Masonic secrets.

I have asked Past Grand Masters and District Lecturers what the word means and you might be surprised how many are not aware of the masonic meaning of the word. Let alone what the word really is.

Another word I like is palliate. In one of the charges the new brother is told not to aggravate or palliate the offenses of their brothers. I think everyone knows what aggrivate means but palliate? I heard that word for years before I looked it up. It means:

1. to relieve or lessen without curing; mitigate; alleviate.
2. to try to mitigate or conceal the gravity of (an offense) by excuses, apologies, etc.; extenuate.
[Origin: 1540–50;
So, I am being told not to make the offense worse but also not to cover it up. I wonder how many of us know that.

I like the word affluvia and disagreeable affluvia is obviously an obnoxious smell.

Another phrase in Masonry that I like comes from Shakespeare;
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others we know not of.

Hamlet is contemplating suicide and the undiscovered country is death. Bourn is
an archaic term for a boundary
boundary, bounds, bound - the line or plane indicating the limit or extent of something
See how Masonry can increase our knowledge.

There are many other words which may be found in Masonry which are peculiar to us in this day and age. We use them but almost no one else does. Cowans and evesdroppers, due guard, libertine and even token (as we use it). They creep into our day to day language and we can sometimes recognize one another just by our use of language. There is a web site, Curious Masonic Words, if you want to find more.

Now on to some other favorites of mine.

- A lady we knew had a sister in law who had a cabin at Leech Lake, Minnesota. We used to take Marge up when we went so she could visit them. They were from Huston, Texas and her husband (Marge's brother) worked in the space program. I liked her but the thing I remember most about her was the use of the word dearth. It means "shortage" or "lack" and she used it correctly when she said "There is such a dearth of cultural events up here." There certainly were. The only "cultural event" we went there for was the card playing at the Lodge. But then we were only there for a couple-three weeks during the year. To give her credit she did organize some events during her tenure up there. My dog demonstrated her feelings by "pooping" on her astroturf. She was very nice about it. We were embarrassed.

I used to tell my students "For your information, elucidation and edification ..." and then go on to teach them something (yeah right) and that was fun to say. Probably more for me than for them.

Another word that I like comes from a prayer Deign - it means
deign - do something that one considers to be below one's dignity
I think what I like about it is that it is so often mispronounced. The free on-line dictionary will actually pronounce it for you at this page.

I find that a wonderful service because I am always mispronouncing words.

Penultimate is a fun word. My friend Ferne knows what it means. (She reads New Yorker, also)
1. next to the last: the penultimate scene of the play.

No direct English translation but basically it means that you get pleasure from others misfortunes. In the prayer on the left of the blog it says "May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me. " I really try to do that and sometimes it is difficult. But then I read Eucebius' prayer and it covers a lot for me to strive for.

That is it for now. Hope you enjoyed the vocabulary lesson. If not, that is just the way it is. Huge Hugs! jcs

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mozart the Freemason

Brother Bill Y's son sent him the following e-mail

The library just got a book you might be interested in called:
"Mozart the Freemason" by Jacques Henry (artistic director of the
annual Mozart festival in France)

Here's what it says about the book:

Thanks to recently discovered documents, we now have a fuller picture of the profound influence that Freemasonry had on the life and work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Musicologist Jacques Henry shows that the Masonic influence on Mozart's work goes beyond pieces, such as The Magic Flute, that were overtly Masonic or fulfilled a ritual purpose for the composer. His works actually provide a complete musical lexicon of Masonic symbols inspired by the principles of the craft and the spirit of the Masonic quest. Mozart constructed his Masonic compositions by creating auditory correspondences to the symbols present in the rituals, choosing keys and tempos that transpose their content into harmony. His understanding of the use of symbol allowed him to create music that would lead the listener into a harmony that transcended earthly

A number of musicologists believe that the place of the Masonic
spiritual vision in Mozart’s work is comparable to that held by
Lutheran Christianity in the work of Johann Sebastian Bach. Mozart wed his deep understanding of music to the esoteric wisdom he gained as a Freemason. He shows that when we lose ourselves in the expression of pure harmony, it is the same as the symbol being lost in what it symbolizes. Jacques Henry provides a rigorous and original analysis of Mozart’s works that reveals their inner meaning as shaped by the composer’s profound embrace of the spiritual principles of Freemasonry.
So I went to Amazon and ordered the book and a CD of Mozarts Masonic Music. I am looking forward to reading and listening to them.

New Restaurant/ Pizza Ranch

I had a Dr.'s appointment today and got weighed. I have now lost 72.5 pounds since last year. Five bounds since my Dr.'s visit in August. So tonight after I went out to meet Ben and go over his proficiency I went to the restaurant to celebrate.

I probably gained back the last five pounds that I had lost but it was worth it. I enjoyed the chicken and ribs as well as the salad bar which was very well done with a good selection of fresh veggies and of course, cottage cheese (my favorite on it).

There was a girl there who was very busy picking up dirty plates and working. I was (as usual) reading a book and first time by she just made eye contact and said hello. Second time she asked me what I was reading, told me it was a good book and we had a short visit. I went to find the manager and found out that the owners were former parents of mine (I had their daughter at Edwards) She was pleased that I had told her about the worker and said she (the girl) had earned a pickle. That is evidently an incentive program.

One thing I was pleased about was that she noticed that I had lost a lot of weight. I was amazed at the number of morbidly obese people eating there. I won't eat there much but it was very good. Huge Hugs, jcs

Masonic Funnies

Nelson King posted these to the Philalethes list. Hope he doesn't mind if I share them also. j

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tuesday Funnies

New roadway

Due to rerouting St Rt 24 an Ohio Department of Highways employee stopped at a farm in Paulding County and talked with an old farmer.

He told the farmer, "I need to inspect your farm for a possible
new road." The old farmer said, "OK, but don't go in that field."

The Highways employee said, "I have the authority of the State
of Ohio to go where I want. See this card, I am allowed to go wherever I wish on farm land."

So the old farmer went about his farm chores.

Later, he heard loud screams and saw the Department of
Highways employee running for the fence and close behind was the
farmer's prize bull. The bull was madder than a nest full of hornets
and the bull was gaining on the employee at every step.

The old farmer called out, "Show him your card, Smart Ass!!"


Two nuns, Sister Catherine and Sister Helen, are traveling through Europe in their car. They get to Transylvania and are stopped at a traffic light.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a tiny little Dracula jumps onto the hood of the car and hisses through the windshield.

"Quick, quick!" shouts Sister Catherine. "What shall we do?"

"Turn the windshield wipers on. That will get rid of the abomination, "says Sister Helen.

Sister Catherine switches them on, knocking Dracula about, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.

"What shall I do now?" she shouts.

"Switch on the windshield washer. I filled it up with Holy Water at the Vatican ," says Sister Helen.

Sister Catherine turns on the windshield washer. Dracula screams as the water burns his skin, but he clings on and continues hissing at the nuns.

"Now what?" shouts Sister Catherine.

"Show him your cross," says Sister Helen.

"Now you're talking," says Sister Catherine.

She opens the window and shouts,

"Get the f**k off the car!"

Thanks toButch and Don for the above. j

TV So Far

Last night while I was in Des Moines my VCR's were taping TV shows. I was up early this morning and I watched some of the shows that I taped last night. Some of my impressions follow:

I watched the NBC shows first only because they were on the living room set. Chuck was OK, but just OK. Not sure yet but I will probably watch it again to be sure. The premise is rather stupid.

I skipped Heroes after the first ten minutes. I got "off" from this show last year. It just didn't keep me. I find it jerky and trying to jump back and forth from scene to scene doesn't do it for me.

Journeyman was a little hard to follow but it may turn out to be interesting. The concept of time travel intrigues me.

Then I went to the bedroom to watch the CBS shows. Two hours of sitcoms followed by CSI:Miami. The only sitcom that I really liked was Two and a Half Men. I find it hilarious. CSI Miami has always been one of my favorites. Someday I would like to visit Miami.

I didn't watch Dancing with the Stars as I got turned off by it the first season when Kelly Monaco won the competition and then they brought it back to "correct" it with another competition. I liked Kelly and she was good. She won and that should have been it. "Nuff said.
As far as The Bachelor those types of shows just turn me off and who cares.

So that is my take on Monday of the New Season. So far this year I think I will be doing a lot of reading. Thank heaven for the VCR so I can fast forward through most of it. I'd rather be with my Brothers any day. Tonight I am looking forward to Boston Legal, probably my favorite show, returning. Big Hugs, jcs

Monday, September 24, 2007

Good News from Jon

This is a picture of my nephew Jon and his dog on my back porch. While I was at Acanthus eating dinner my cell phone rang. (No one ever calls me). It was Jon telling me that he had passed his GRE exams.

Now he can get into Graduate school. I am very proud of him. Even more proud because he is not satisfied with his scores and wants to take them over again. He knows with more effort (He did not study all that long) he can do a better job. He has never been one to be satisfied without doing the best he can do.
Uncle Jay offered to pay 1/2 of the fee for the retest.

Way to Go Jon!
Hugs from a proud Uncle.

Monday Diary

I went to Acanthus tonight. The degree was the Fellow Craft and the candidate was one I had helped investigate. I had not realized how long it had been since I had been able to go down there. Life and other things got in the way and I did miss a DeMolay Board meeting here tonight. It is unfortunate that they both meet on the same night.

One of my friends from there (an officer) had moved so there had been some shifting in the officers and that seemed different.

For the first time since Grand Lodge the "new" proficiency was used. Funny sometime before Grand Lodge I blogged about proficiency and they moved part way there. It was a little different and threw things off somewhat but it is better than just the test by itself.

One thing good about the trip down was that I could buy my gas there. Gas in Des Moines is 12 cents a gallon cheaper than in Ames. I was told by someone that they jack the prices in Ames up when we have football games in town. Just another reason why I don't like football.

I came home early because I had not put the damn drops in my eyes and needed to take care of it and I was a little weary. A good trip down (except for the traffic) and good to see my friends at Acanthus. I think it would be neat to invite them to come up to Ames to visit and for us to go down there. I think it would be a good mix.

Have a good Tuesday. Big Hugs, jcs

P.S. Bob, you gave me grief because you said I couldn't spell
Hey, come on, what the Hell.
The things you pointed out, about which you gripe
Aren't spelling mistakes -- they are wrong because I just can't type.
So there!

Fall is Here - New TV

This beautiful picture was taken by my friend Bob Kelly at the Ledges State park. I love it and it comes up periodically on my desktop. He has given me permission to use any of his pictures I want. He is a gifted photographer and has a photo blog (linked at left) which I urge you to take a look at. I put it up in celebration of the end of summer and the beginning of Fall. In case you hadn't noticed.

With Fall comes the new TV season (at least on the major networks) and I am going to give you my impressions of the things which I watch. Not that any of you care.
Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters on ABC were what I call "cop-outs" They get us all hyped up for the show we love to return and then spend the entire hour re-capping last season. Phooey. People who have not been watching can catch up on their own. Lets get on with the stories. I also watched Cold Case and Shark (taped them) on CBS. Much better fare. I love both of these shows. The stars are stellar. Kathryn Morris and James Wood
are excellent and Jeri Ryan has been a favorite of mine since she played Seven of Nine on Star Trek, Voyager. Just excellent.

Shark was a story themed around the Russian Mafia in this country which was interesting to me because I went to see Eastern Promises this week-end. It is rated R for violence but if you can take it I found that it was compelling and a good story. I wonder if this (Russian criminals) is the new "theme" we will find on a lot of the shows. Did you ever notice how that happens? Many times (independently) the shows will have similar stories or themes running through them. I wonder if our minds are interconnected someway. Oh well, Hugs again. jcs

"With a View of a Sky that Stops"

In his book/short story "A Christmas Memory" Truman Capote used the line quoted above. He and his elderly cousin live together with relatives (who generally ignore them) and the story is a beautiful tale of their life just around Christmas and how they prepare/celebrate it. I am not sure when I first read the story but it touched several things in me and for years I took about 45 minutes to read it to my class each year. There is not much religion in it so I could get away with it. The line that It connected them with a world that was larger than their window "with a view of a sky that stops" always touched me and I usually stopped, paused to let it sink in and read the line again. It put a beautiful image in my mind.

I have been more fortunate than Capote's cousin in that I have traveled and I love to do so. I especially like driving places. But that is not what this is about. This is about the Internets (Yeah, I know there is no "s" on the end. I just like to put one there.) The Internets connect me to that world with the larger view of the sky. I discovered Google Reader (thanks Ken) and it means that now I can check the blogs with much more speed. One of them I read is the Chicagoist.

It tells about happenings in Chicago where I used to love to go but haven't been for years. One of the posts told about a man and his dog. The dog was named Reba and it was lost/stolen or strayed. The man was not homeless but he didn't have much. Just the dog and the love between them. Their picture is above. Well he was devastated and he did not have the resources to do much about it. The love between this man and his dog was very important. People became aware of what had happened. Denise Coping set up a blog to chronicle the events of the missing dog. I stole the picture from there.

Anyway Reba was returned to him this week-end. Because of the Internets I knew about it. I doubt it was covered here in Ames, Iowa in any of the Media. I also found this poster on the internet.
It doesn't necessarily apply to this story but it kind of relates. All of the people who helped (gave their love) to them can be content that Love grew in their hearts.

I love searching the Internet for things that interest me. I steal shamelessly from there to build this Blog. I don't apologize. If I put something up here that someone wants off I will take it down. I can always use Google Image to find another. So, that's it for this post. The internet connects me to things in the world that I would never have known about and also allows me to keep my mind active and hopefully entertain my readers. Do you know I actually had 75 hits in one day. The counter says that I have 7463 hits since February. That is incredible. Thanks for reading. Big Hugs, jcs

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Iowa Grand Lodge - II

Grand Master Mosier's Musings on Grand Lodge.

Grand Master's Program and Grand Officers.

Grand Master's Web Site

Word Cloud

Remember the Bailey's Buddy Word Cloud?

My computer takes a picture so here is a picture of my T-shirt with the word cloud on it.

You can make your own at this site:

You don't have to purchase the shirt but it is fun to have. Have a great week. Hugs, jcs

P.S. I added comments to my poems. Nothing profound just notes on what I wrote and why.

A friend sent me this.

Mixed Nuts

I've got several things on my mind this morning so rather than saying "I opine" which I think is rather a pretentious word I will just give you my opinions. :~) (by the way I read that it was about 25 years ago when that little symbol was used for a grin . My how time flies. You can also use this for a rose @------ but then I guess I can't use it all because part of my "rose" translate to Html code so you will just have to imagine the leaves.

Telling people what they mean to you.

I had a really nice thing happen at Grand Lodge.  While I was having lunch on Friday one of our Past Grand High Priest's came over and sat down with me.  We had a nice chat and during that chat he reminded me of an incident which happened when he was Grand High Priest.  There was a York Rite Center that was having a dispute between some of its members.  doesn't matter what about but he had to go to mediate.  He asked me as the "then" chairman of Jurisprudence for advice and I asked him if he wanted me to attend the meeting.  He said yes and so I went with him. I got out the regalia (which usually remains in the closet) and took the Code book with me and went along.  There was one member there who you could tell wanted to have a big fight and he kept walking up and down.  (Called me Dr. which I am NOT and besides we don't use those titles in Masonry, of which fact I kindly informed him) and yet he was unable to convince the majority that what he wanted was the course of action to take.  

I really didn't do much but sit there but the GHP appreciated having me there.  I got a kick out of it Friday when he expressed his appreciation and then he stated "someone told me that I should 'tell' Jay Cole Simser to do something". 

 He said, "I told them that you don't 'tell' Jay Cole Simser to do anything.  You have to ask him."

I didn't know he knew me that well.  I've never thought about it before but I am like that.  If you ask me.  I will bend over backwards to do everything I can do for you but if you get "in my face" my hubris gets up and gets in my way.  Not always a good thing but that is the way it is.  

Anyway I appreciated him telling me that.  Sometimes we need to hear what we did is appreciated.  Thank you my Brother. 


I really wish my camera had not "died on me" (See DUH below) at Grand Lodge because I would have loved to have gotten the picture of our Arcadia delegation at Grand Lodge. We not only send the Master and Wardens (and pay their expenses) but we also send the Senior Deacon and we had a Past Master who is a Grand Lodge Committeeman in attendance. Bryce Hildreth dressed them all in bow ties and they were all at the Saturday morning session wearing his bow ties with great big grins on their faces.

Much of the time at State Meetings people get bored or "tired butt syndrome" and kind of doze off. Not so these guys. They were attentive and listening and participating. Paul even went to the mike to ask a question. Of course his question did not get answered but no matter he asked it.

After I got home two of the guys contacted me and both of them told me about some of the plans they had made in the car on the way home. It looks to be an exciting four years ahead for Arcadia Lodge if things go as planned. Way to go guys!

"Grand Meetings"
I tell you these can just be awful. So many times they spend so much time just dragging in lines of people to be introduced and reading off long lists of titles, then standing people up to give grand honors etc. that they just wear a person out. When I still smoked I used to go out for a cigarette when this activity was going on. I remember one Past Grand High Priest, who when it came time for his Jurisprudence committee report, they would have to send some one to the "coffee" shop to drag him into the meeting. Many of us will find a spot to sit and visit with our friends.

I was coming into the meeting on Saturday and went over to buy a couple of the Masonic Cookbooks they have for sale and I got three great big "hugs" from three of the ladies. (You know how I feel about those). As I rode up the escalator I could look down at the women sitting around visiting and waiting for the men to finish their business I thought that just perhaps they were the best part of Grand Lodge. I have made so many friends in Masonry and the Brothers and their wives and being able to see them is an important part of the activity.

I am not fond of the Banquets, however. Feeding large amounts of people is not something that most places do well. I guess that they had a great meal on Thursday night bur Friday the pork chop was "tough as whang leather" (whatever that is). But the company at the table was good and I even found a Blog reader at the table.

I didn't even know if that was really a word when I typed it and I guess it isn't because Blogger underlined it. Oh well, you can figure out what it means. They are the people who disagree with everything. They don't have an original idea in their own heads and so when someone suggests something, a group activity or project, They disagree and they proclaim so loudly. Brother Dunn over at A Beacon or Masonic Light has a posting on this. Here. Obviously I agree with him and so I linked to it.

When I taught school I had the students write a Constitution for their class. We used a book provided by the Scottish Rite which had "Freedom Documents" including the Constitution which we just celebrated on Constitution Day (A little known holiday but which fell at just the right time for me to begin the class constitution project. So nice of them to schedule it that way). I figured that I was preparing them to live in a democracy so we should practice democracy. So, under my loose guidance, they dividend into committees and wrote their constitutions. They had to operate under it for the rest of the year. They had meetings, elected officers, appointed committees and planned things - especially their parties. They still got their parents involved in some ways but not much and it was theirs. Then when it was all over they had a "post-mortem" and discussed what went right and what they had difficulties with and what they would do differently the next time.

What all this is leading to is the person who would put every idea that anyone had and disagree with it. They would say things like "that dumb" or " I don't wan to do that" (In Lodge they say "We've never done it that way before." When that happened, I got wrathy. I would put on my "teacher had" and give a little lecture about how one negative person could keep a larger group of people from doing something that just might turn out to be fun." I think you all know the type. Good thing they weren't setting up the good old US of A or we'd still be trying to adopt a Constitution.


I think one of the reasons I started this Blog was because I was always reading editorials in the paper and thinking of a response to what the person was saying. Some of them I agreed with others just "ticked" me off. I had written letters to the editor before and some of them had even gotten published. I didn't like it when they didn't get published, however, and I kind of had the feeling that, perhaps, just perhaps I had gone on rather too long in my writing. It probably always a frustration so now I can put things on here and people (all 30 or so of you - although I did get to 75 readers once) can read them or not. They (you) can always post responses to this also but either no one is interested enough in what I write or I am not controversial enough, for that to have happened so far.

So I am going to give you my thoughts on some things I read in the editorials this morning.
The letters on gay marriage just tick me off. They seem to think that marriage should only be about procreation and that marriage has been between a man and a woman since time immemorial (remember that phrase signifies a lie) - Well I will give you my "take" on that. Marriage was originally about "property." A woman was considered a man's property. This was necessary because they figured out what caused babies and so the man (in order to know that a baby was actually his) had to make sure that the woman did not have intercourse with anyone other than him. Marriage was not one man and one woman then nor is it now. King Solomon had many wives. He also had concubines and his love for Jonathan "was greater than the love for women" They found a tomb in ancient Egypt of two men who had lived together as a couple. Today we practice serial pologamy. A man (or a woman) can have many partners just one at a time. Not too long ago and indeed in some parts of the US today Mormons could have more than one wife.

Marriage is (should be) about commitment, caring, love and providing a safe place for children. Anybody can do that! Not just one man and one woman. (My uncle once stated that the ONLY reason to get married was to have and raise children -  That is just BS. Why do couples in their 70' s and 80"s get married?)   People who get upset because other combinations want to do those things should go live in the come to think of it I like the woods. How about the desert? Then perhaps, the rest of the world can settle down and become rational. They are already dried up in their thinking anyway. 

The idea of women as property is antiquated. We really need to pass the equal rights amendment. Women are treated even worse in other countries. And the punishments for women is usually harsher than those for men.

People who use the Bible as the "word of God" are also just wrong. God did not write the Bible. Men did. Some of them were good men and were probably divinely inspired. But then there are good people in the world today and I think some of them are divinely inspired also. There are also evil men who masquerade at good men who lead thousands of people down the wrong path. These myrmidons (The Myrmidons of Greek myth were known for their loyalty to their leaders, so that in pre-industrial Europe the word "myrmidon" carried many of the same connotations that "robot" does today.) hold up their Bibles and proclaim them the word of God and promise to follow them (blindly) - In the church I used to belong to we say "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." I take that to mean that error has crept into scripture over the years since it was originally written. I must be a thinker and not allow that error to guide me. I don't think all the football players are "unclean" because they touch pigskin. Leviticus 11:6-8 - " Exodus 35:2 prohibits working on the Sabbath and clearly states offenders should be put to death. I'll see you and your sack of stones at the local convenience store next Sunday! Or is that Saturday." Don't give me grief about this there are people "out there" who are leading others to believe these things. I really do shudder to think about what life would be like if they ruled our country.

Along those lines there is a letter to the editor today about how there is a movement afoot to impeach the judge who ruled that gay marriage was unconstitutional because it was unfair. They are calling him (as I predicted) an "activist" judge. I don't think so! His job is to interpret the law in light of the Constitution to see if it is in accord with the principles stated therein. If you read his ruling (and I have) you will see that he did nothing for which he cold be impeached. He followed the rule of law and struck it down because it did not fit those principle. I applaud him and all others who are willing to stand up for what is right. After all that is why we have three branches of government.

Well I have probably rambled on long enough. If you read this and you agree you can put in a comment. If you don't agree you can also put in a comment. It, of course, will be up to me to decide whether or not your comment will stay on the blog. If you don't like that start your own blog.  It's free and fairly easy.  I might even link to it if you ask nicely.    HUGS, jcs

Saturday, September 22, 2007

One More Picture from Grand Lodge

Grand Marshal, Jimmie Arnold and his wife, Cindy.   Jimmie is also a Past Grand Master of the Grand Council, Royal and Select Masters of Iowa. Lookin' great kids.

Hugs, jcs


I am going to tell a story on myself. On July 20 I bought a new camera. It takes great pictures. It uses batteries. It had a double battery in it and it lasted until just before Grand Lodge (Thursday) - So I went down and got some new batteries. They seemed to work. Then for some reason they wore down and I replaced them. I figured that they might have been old ones.

So I came home and hunted for the receipt and the paperwork and was going to return the camera.

The camera has a small diagram inside the battery case to show you which way the batteries should go. That is the way I put them in. it stopped working and would not come on. I tried other batteries, licked the batteries, took them out and put them in again, all the while getting more and more frustrated. The one thing I was consistent in was following the digram for inserting the batteries.

After waiting for a clerk he finally came and I explained the problem. He asked me if I had called Kodak. I told him no I planned on returning the camera. He then handed me the camera, working. He had simply reversed the batteries so that they were no longer following the diagram. So I had a DUH moment and the camera is working and I have a large supply of AA batteries.

The only problem is that I missed taking pictures of the second day of Grand Lodge. We had 34 Knights Companions at the Red Cross Breakfast this morning. It was a nice meal and the only problem was that it was at 6:30 AM. Since I am the Recorder I had to get there by 6:00, that meant getting up at 5:15 and I am falling asleep while writing this.

The session went well. The Jurisprudence committee report went smoothly and I think the Brethren made good decisions. I was very encouraged by the quality and youth of the people I saw in attendance.
The guys from Acanthus were there and I got to visit with them. I also got told that I was elected to membership in the Downtown York Rite Bodies. Arcadia Lodge and Acanthus Lodge both won Lodge of the Year and Plus 1 awards. I was proud to be a member of both of these fine lodges.

Somebody told me I looked good. Happy! With all the good things going on no wonder. I am going to have to have my sport coat taken in. I am looking forward to participating in their work. Nap time. Big Hugs, jcs

Friday, September 21, 2007

T. S. Parvin Award given at Grand Lodge

Tonight at Grand Lodge an unprecedented event occurred. The T.S. Parvin Award was given to two men. I wrote about this award in February and that entry is below.

Last Year marked the twenty-fifth year that the T.S. Parvin Award has been given. The award originated because I read a book while I was Sentinel at an Eastern Star meeting. In that book I learned about the remarkable man who was T. S. Parvin. The germ of an idea was born and I mulled it over and came up with a way to honor not only T. S. Parvin, but also an Iowa Mason. I took the idea to the Iowa Conference for Masonic Cooperation as the vice-president and it was accepted. Brother Jerry Marsengill came up with the idea that the award should not go to those who had been previously honored with a Grand Office and that was accepted as a part of the motion. Thus the award was established. It was my honor to help present the very first award to J. Kent Zickefoose.

The spirit of the award is described in the following paragraphs written by John Harris Watts, Grand Secretary Recorder of the Grand Chapter and Grand Council.

T. S. Parvin came to Iowa as a handicapped young man, and became one of the best-known Masons in the world. He was the first Mason in Iowa to hold the office of Grand Secretary, Grand High Priest, Grand Master of the Council, Grand Commander, and Grand Recorder of the Grand Encampment (National). As founder of the Iowa Masonic Library and the State Library of Iowa, he left his mark on both Freemasonry and his adopted state. He was one of the founders of the Iowa State Education Association and served as its president.

The T. S. Parvin Award, established in 1982 by the Iowa Conference for Masonic Cooperation is presented annually to an Iowa Mason, who has not previously been honored by having been elected or appointed to a Grand office in any Masonic body. (Nor higher than the 32 degree in the Scottish Rite), and who best exemplifies the spirit of Masonry which was lived by our distinguished Brother who said, “I want to be remembered among Masons as one who gave the Fraternity the very best there was in him, not thinking of reward in dollars and cents.”

A committee composed of the Grand Master of Masons, Grand High Priest; Grand Master of the Council, Grand Commander, Sovereign Grand Inspector General 33o and Chairman of the Iowa Conference chose the recipient from nominations submitted from all parts of the state.

The recipients of the Award are listed below.

1982 - J Kent Zickefoose, Capital Lodge No 110
1983 - Carl J Van Sickle, Otley Lodge No. 299
1984 - Stanley G Schreiber, Hiram of Tyre Lodge No. 203
1985 - C Warren Delk, Auburn Lodge No. 592
1986 - Donald R Hankens, Speculative Lodge No. 307
1987 - J Neil Chicken, Faith Lodge No. 179
1988 - Arthur D Alber, Southgate Lodge No. 657
1989 - Charles L Jones , Northern Light Lodge No. 266
1990 - Laurence E Kynett, Emulation Lodge No. 255
1991 - John W Mathes, Waveland Park Lodge No. 654
1992 - Delman L Bowers, Waterloo Lodge No. 105
1993 - Aaron L Lake, Davenport Lodge No. 37
1994 - Rex L Brammer , Mosaic Lodge No. 125
1995 - Paul K Mc Crea , Montague Lodge No. 117
1996 - Jerry F Monroe, Adel Lodge No. 80
1997 - George S Eichhorn, Acorn Lodge No. 601
1998 - Robert Lee Goeken, Grove Lodge No. 492
1999 -Howard H Geddes, Adel Lodge No. 80
2000 - Frank C Osdoba, Twilight Lodge No. 329
2001 - Orrin J Oliver, Charity Lodge No. 197
2002 - Henry N Wallace, Mt. Olive Lodge No. 79
2003 - Melvin C Price, Kingston Lodge No. 676
2004 - Madison M Tomfeld, Herman Lodge No. 273
2005 - R. Wayne Stanfley, Dubuque Lodge No. 3,
Tri-State Morning Lodge No. 673,
Julien Lodge No. 551
2006 - Don Davis, Great Lights Lodge No. 181
This year for the first time the award was presented by David M. Dryer, Chairman of the Iowa Conference for Masonic Cooperation to two recipients. The committee felt that both of them were worthy. They are:
2007 -
Floyd W. Nesbit, Crest City Lodge #522
Vernon J. Van Sickle - Montague Lodge # 117 - Eldora

Many years ago it way my honor to have a part in establishing this award. I am very proud to have done so. Not because of anything I did in starting the award but because of twenty-seven Masons who have been honored. Without the award they would still have been recognized by their Lodges but because of it they have been honored by all of the Masonic Bodies in Iowa and we can be proud of each of them and what they have accomplished for Masonry.

Both of the brothers received the award from the hands of Grand Master Dennis M. Zahrt and 2004 recipient Madison M Tomfeld who seranaded the Brethren with a harmonica solo "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow. It was a teriffic moment in Grand Lodge for these Brothers and for me to watch it happen.

Hugs, jcs

Iowa Grand Lodge

Grand Master Mosier's (2007-2008)

Masonic Motorcycle

Grand Master Dennis M. Zahrt opens the afternoon session

Report of the Credentials Committee

Our "color-coded" heads of the Grand York Rite Bodies

Arcadia Lodge #249, Ames, Iowa Delegation

Don Stamy, P. G. M.

Tom Eggleston, P.G.M

My batteries died so I had to go find some others. I am going to the Installation tonight and will also take some more tomorrow. Big Hugs, jcs