...the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. Geo. Washington Feb. 22, 1732



Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Culture


Boston Legal is the best show on television. Tonight's show was exceptional. Also exceptional was World Without End by Ken Follett. All 1014 pages. Reading is my favorite activity. And when I finish one book I get to start another. It awaits. Sleep well. j

Almost Wordless Wednesday

The first picture is of Max taking a nap in the entryway. He just lets it all hang out.

The second picture is of the program at the Ames City Auditorium that was put on by the Ames Historical Society. I sat for about 10 minutes of it and decided that it was not going to be something I wanted to sit through. So I left and went for a drive on the River Road. I took a lot of pictures and I love most of them. I love the branches and the green which is just now coming out and I want to share the pictures with you. Click on the picture to see it larger.

I have been hibernating and reading. I told someone that the fun seems to have gone out of Masonry right now. I will have to fulfill some obligations but there are probably going to be fewer and fewer things where I will be in attendance. I just don't seem to be able to continue to take the rejection. So why put myself through it?

I heard from the Dr. that there is too much protein in my urine. I am wondering if the Kidneys will fail and that is on my mind a lot. I do not like having things go wrong with me and about feel like Max Ellis once told me that if he were diagnosed with cancer he would probably refuse treatment. I go see Dallas' nephew in a week or so. We will have to see what he says. I don't really want to take a bunch of pills. Hopefully there is something they will be able to do.

I hope things are better for you than they seem to be for me right now. Enjoy the pictures. It was certainly more fun taking them than it would have been sitting in a dark auditorium listening to a lecture.




I love the way the tree branches stand out and the pile of cut lumber adds a lot to the picture.
I used the telephoto to get the picture of the electric plant across "Grandpa's Bottom as my great- aunts used to call this bottom land which once belonged to my great-grandfather.















ARTYAL, Hugs, j

Ginny's Writing

Since I don't feel like writing right now and anything I might write would either piss Someone off or just be a downer I am sharing one of Ginny's writings. The picture is not the one she used because it would not come off from the paper she sent but it is similar. She got an A on her paper. As always I am very proud of her. She writes

I am attaching a writing assignment I did for American Indian Literature. The assignment was: Find a legend, story from your "tribe" ( in my case I used Gordon clan) and rewrite it. Then interview an elder and finally write your connection. It had to be written in the manner of M. Scott Momaday's book The Way to Rainy Mountain. Extra points for illustrations and I did get an A on it. The photo I took somewhere in Carr Woods on a day I literally got lost in the fog and had to aim towards the sound of the trains to get out of the woods. While I found some stories about woods elves/spirits; I made the story up. I didn't interview and elder but I wrote it using what family stories I had heard all my life with embellishments. It was fun to write.


Ginny Jackson Jackson 1
American Indian Literature
Essay Number III.



Long ago in Scotland a lass finished her chores and complained that she didn’t have anything to do. Her mother told her to go outside and play and reminded her to never go into the woods by herself. She was tired of being treated like a child and decided to go into the woods anyway. She thought she heard voices and caught fleeting glimpses of something or someone ahead of her on the path. She walked faster, determined to find out who or what it was. She walked deeper and deeper into the forest and before long she became lost. The voices had faded and the only sound was eerie, like a different language being spoken. It was foggy and she was cold, tired and hungry. She sat down and leaned against a large tree. She tried to remember what her brother had told her about finding her way in the woods. She fell asleep and when she woke up she heard the voices again only this time she understood them. They said, “She wasn’t to be afraid and to go where the trees told her to.” She saw a tree with a branch that looked like an arm pointing to a path she hadn’t noticed before. She soon found herself leaving the woods. Her mother gave her a strange look when she saw her as if she “Knew” where she had been and she was never told to stay out of the woods again.

Jackson 2
Gordon Badge

The roots of the Gordon Cole family run deep in America. The first Cole arrived in Massachusets in 1609 and seven generations ago your ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. In 1865 your great-grandfather John Cole and his wife Ellen Gordon Cole moved to Ames, Iowa. They raised nine children where 13th Street and Burnett is now. The first thing they were told when they got off the train and were loading their wagon was “not to get sloughed”. They were quite offended because in Ohio where they had come from “sloughed” meant to get drunk; in Ames that meant not to have the wagon get stuck in the mud; Ames being between two rivers. I remember my grandmother acting as if she didn’t like to be around kids, and speaking with a Scottish accent with an occasional Scottish word I didn’t understand. She loved to garden and was happier outside than inside. You get that from her. Think of what it would have been like to have lived in Scotland in the days of the clans. I come from a long line of “tree huggers”.

I remember the house my grandfather Clarence Gordon Cole grew up in. One of the first stories I heard from him was about the maple trees his mother had planted in the front yard. The Ames city planner wanted to extend 13th Street and wanted to cut the trees down. John Cole refused to let them and 13th Street is crooked because of our family. My son, Jonathan Cole Jackson graduated from Iowa State University 100 years after my grandfather. Clarence Gordon Cole. I look at family photos in the books that the Ames Historical Organization has published and my son has the same spark in his eyes as my great-grandfather. He graduated with a double major in Psychology and Environmental Science. I would love him to carry on the “tree hugging” legacy and become and Environmental Psychologist or maybe I will.



Gordon Tartan

A Sphinx


A Sphinx

Close-mouthed you sat five thousand years and never let out a whisper.
Processions came by, marchers, asking questions you answered with grey eyes never blinking, shut lips never talking.
Not one croak of anything you know has come from your cat crouch of ages.
I am one of those who know all you know and I keep my questions: I know the answers you hold.

Carl Sandburg

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Canadian Wood Spider

A couple of people I sent this to could not open it so I put it on here for them. Enjoy. j

The Papers of Robert G. Davis


As always Robert G. Davis has written a thought provoking paper which he has published on his Blog. It is called Two Models of Success in Craft Masonry. Click on the picture at the right to be taken to it as if by magic. (Highly recommended)

Announcement


Friend and Brother Kurt Hoffmann has developed a Masonic Timeline that puts the degrees and orders in chronological order. It may be viewed here.
Kurt would be happy if you find errors for you to contact him at: kurt@explodinglightbulb.com
You may also see it at the bottom of this blog. Just scroll down.  Thanks, Kurt

Bible Quiz

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes


All those years in church paid off.

Tina on Tuesday

Death, Be Not Proud


Death, Be Not Proud

John Donne

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Movie Night/Update/Rant


Monday is "Old Fart's Night at the theater. Since I no longer go down to Des Moines for Acanthus meetings I need something to do so I take advantage of the movie special ($4.50) for those of us now designated as Seniors. (Who ever thought I would be a senior?)

Well I went to see The Forbidden Kingdom with Jackie Chan and Jet Li. A typical Kung Fu action flick with lots of well choreographed action. You can read the story at Wikipedia.

I did enjoy the movie although I thought some of the action sequences were a bit long but over all I would recommend that you go see it if you like the genre.

In Other News.
Jimmy Carter is on The Daily Show right now. He has written a book about his mother. You know he gets a lot of criticism for his presidency but I will tell you this. Our country/society/world would be a lot better off if he were still president. He is still trying to do what he can to promote peace in our world and I probably admire him more than any other person on the world stage today.

Now I am going to make a few Comments about Saturday Night. I thought that Craig Ferguson was mostly masterful at the big Washington Dinner. Not as good as Stephen Colbert a couple of years ago but he had just enough balance in his act to make me feel like he had done his job and not abrogated his responsibility to Zing it to those who were supposed to be Zinged.

I thought Bushie came across as a real jerk. How did this man get to be our president? I can remember in my previous studies that George Washington had such a presence about him and a dignity that people respected him and I believe it was Abigail Adam who made some remark such as "Mark the perfect man." I may be misremembering this but I do know that he maintained and established the dignity of the office of President. When Bush was elected he made some remark about bringing dignity back to the White House. I don't see how climbing up on a chair to make himself higher than the young man standing next to him or rubbing the bald head of one of the men seated at the head table is bringing dignity to the White House. Not only has he run our economy into the ground (our dollar is worth little) and caused the price of gas to climb higher and higher (so I couldn't make as many trips to Des Moines even if I did feel wanted) he has ruined our reputation around the world so that, as an American, I would hesitate to travel overseas. It is just sad.

The press has abrogated its responsibility. They are supposed to be impartial and to report on news. Instead they cater to the White House, spend way too much time worrying about celebrities and kowtowing to big business. They are more of a problem than part of the solution. Whatever happened to the Fourth Estate?

Novelist Jeffrey Archer in his work The Fourth Estate made the observation: "In May 1789, Louis XVI summoned to Versailles a full meeting of the 'Estate General'. The First Estate consisted of three hundred clergy. The Second Estate, three hundred nobles. The Third Estate, six hundred commoners. Some years later, after the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, looking up at the Press Gallery of the House of Commons, said, 'Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.'"
Yeah Right! They should be more important. They should be the watchdogs and they should be digging out the outrageous things that are being done to erode our freedoms and diminish the promise of America. Instead they think they are the celebrities and indeed they are very much impressed with themselves. Instead of working behind the scene to improve things they are partisan and continue to cover up things for the administration. In fact many of them are on the Bush payroll. I feel I get more real news from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report than I do from the news. Plus I feel that they are more truthful and they are more willing to ask tough questions.

For that matter watching Boston Legal I learned more about the Supreme Court (which has also abrogated their responsibilities) and its partisan members and the way they have turned things back in this country. 5 to 4 decisions are the norm and they are along party lines. David Kelly's commentaries on our society (couched as entertainment) in his shows have done more to open my eyes than the news shows. The Supreme Court is supposed to be fair and impartial (No wait that is Fox News - Yeah Right!) - I don't think so. Have you heard the term Unitary Government? That is what we have right now. Bush thinks he is the only Branch of government that counts. He ignores the Constitution (" a Goddamn piece of paper") and regularly voids parts of legislation which he doesn't like through the use of "signing Statements." I shudder to think what will happen if we have another Republican Supreme Court appointment.

I wish the Democrats would get over this haggling and get behind a candidate and start showing McSame for what he is.. A Bush clone. (Oh this is going to get some people upset with me.) I could go on but I think I should quit. This is probably better that the pity parties I have been having. I am still having "sad attacks" but I guess that goes with being me. Perhaps tonight I can get a good nights sleep and not wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 fussing about Sombody. Get over it Jay! ARTYAL, Love someone and give them a HUG. j

All Too True - (too often)

Contributed
The Lodge Meeting Agenda

Setting- A small lodge room. Chairs for the Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon, Secretary, and One Past Master on the Sidelines. An altar is in the center. The officers are in their places and the Junior Warden is asleep.

Prelude:

Narrator- Gentlemen, it has come to the attention of the Grand Lodge Officers that many lodges are now conducting meetings which are interesting and exciting and are well attended by the brethren. As you know, this is contrary to Masonic Tradition. We have always prided ourselves on being able to hold meetings which are dull and repetitive, last too long, and have nothing of interest to the brethren. We have, therefore, created a lodge agenda that is more in keeping with the traditions of Minnesota lodges. And we encourage all lodges to return to the "good old days" when we did things the "good old way". Otherwise our lodges could become crowded and then how will the Junior Warden know how many cookies to buy.

Master: Brother Senior Warden- proceed to satisfy yourself that all present are sufficiently sedated for a lodge meeting.

Senior Warden: (after observing the lodge members) All are sufficiently sedated Worshipful Master.

Master: Brother Senior Warden, are you bored?

Senior Warden: Not at this time Worshipful Master- but I hope soon to be.

Master: Where were you first taught to be bored?

Senior Warden: In a just and lawfully constituted lodge of Masons.

Master: How did they bore you Brother Senior Warden?

Senior Warden: With long tedious meetings Worshipful Master.

Master: How many usually compose a boring meeting, Brother Senior Warden?

Senior Warden: Usually not very many.

Master: When composed of not very many, who are they?

Senior Warden: The Master, Senior Warden, and Junior Warden.

Master: What is the Junior Warden's place in the lodge?

Senior Warden: In the South Worshipful Master.

Master: ** Why are you in the South Brother Junior Warden? what are your duties there?

Junior Warden :( No response--still asleep)

Master: (loudly) Hey, Fred!

Junior Warden: (arouses abruptly) Yes.. huh.. what is it?

Master: Why are you in the south and what are your duties?

Junior Warden: As the sun in the south at its meridian height is the glory and beauty of the day, so am I in the south to awaken sleeping brethren and to make sure the meeting does not end too soon or become too interesting.

Master: What is the Senior Warden's station in the lodge?

Junior Warden: In the West Worshipful Master

Master: Brother Senior Warden, why are you in the west and what are your duties there.

Senior Warden: As the sun is in the west at the close of the day, so am I in the west to make sure the brethren do not leave before the meeting is over, to guard against the entrance of anyone with a new idea, and to assist the Master in prolonging the meeting.

Master: What is the Masters station in the lodge?

Senior Warden: In the east Worshipful Master.

Master: Why is he in the east, Brother Senior Warden, what are his duties there.?

Senior Warden: To call the craft to laborious meetings, to introduce dull topics of discussion, to enlist the aid of dullards and obfuscates, to provide a worn out agenda and see that all are sorry that they came.

Master: *** Brother Senior Warden, it is my will and pleasure that Geezer Lodge # 100 be now opened so that I can perform my duties. Advise the brethren and the tyler.

Senior Warden: Brethren, the lodge is open. Brother Tyler, please try to stay awake.

Junior Deacon: What about the pancake breakfast?

Master: Not now Brother Junior Deacon. Brethren- I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that our program for tonight had to be cancelled. We were supposed to have a presentation by the Grand Procrastinator, but he called and requested that we postpone that indefinitely. Consequently, immediately after lodge closing, the secretary will read the minutes from the meetings from the last three years.

Master: Brother Secretary, are there any bills?

Secretary: Yes Worshipful Master

· $ 3.98- Oreo Cookies
· $ 6.99- Instant Coffee
· $ 3.84- Postage to send newsletter to all 12 brethren
· $12.66- Electric Bill
· $ 8.37- Water Bill
· $19.51- Gas Bill
· $ 58.00- Toilet Paper for Ladies Room
· $ 10.00- Purchase Used Manual Typewriter for Secretary
· $ 8.00- Rusteoleum Spray paint and Saran Wrap for repairs to the sign.
· Total Bills- $73.35

Master: Is there anything else Brother Secretary?

Secretary: Yes Worshipful Master, this month's Excellency in Invoicing Award goes to the gas company for their conversion to window envelops.

Junior Deacon: What about the Pancake Breakfast?

Master: Not now, we are paying bills.

Junior Deacon: But we just paid them last month!

Master: Somebody will move, second, and vote for paying the bills so go ahead and pay them.

Master: I am also pleased to announce that the Grand Chairman of the Redundancy Committee Grand Chairman will be here next month to read the same speech he gave last month. Please mark your calendars. It should be even more boring than usual.

Junior Deacon: What about the Pancake breakfast??

Master: Not now George! Brother Secretary is there any correspondence?

Secretary: Yes Worshipful. I have letters from Jobs Daughters, DeMolay, the city building inspector, four neighboring lodges, the health department and it looks kinda important, the Eastern Star, your ex wife's lawyer, our district rep who could not be here because this is his bowling night, and sixteen official notices from the Grand Lodge, all of which will be read in their entirety.

Master: Brother Secretary we already have enough routine, boring stuff for tonight. Let's save the correspondence in case we need some boring stuff next month.

Junior Deacon: What about the Pancake Breakfast???

Master: Not now George! Please sit down.

Master: Brother Secretary, are there any petitions?

Secretary: Are you kidding- who would want to join this lodge?

Past Master (Sideliner): Worshipful Master, I feel compelled to object. These meetings have become far too brief. Why, I remember the night I got my 150 year pin good old Worshipful Lars Larson was able to drag it out until well past midnight. Sven Olson even got dehydrated and passed out. Most of these brethren don't even have to go to the bathroom yet and here you are nearly done with the meeting. The other past masters are all so upset they don't even come any more. And we ought to form another committee for something.

Master: Thank you Worshipful Brother for your input. Your ideas are as sharp as ever.

Past Master: And I had another idea too but I forget what it was. But it was a good one and you should act on it right away.

Master: And we will too... at the next meeting.

Junior Deacon: What about the Pancake Breakfast?

Master: George, we just had one two weeks ago. The next one is next year.

Senior Warden: Next month I think we should have the meeting at the home.

Junior Warden: Might as well get used to it. By next year we will all be living there anyway.

Master: Don't forget, there are still Oreo's left over from last month and a half a gallon of milk. So let's adjourn and go downstairs to listen to the minutes from the last three years.

Narrator: My Brethren, with just a little bit of effort, your meeting can be as boring as this one. Rest assured, you will not be bothered with any excess attendance, there will be no controversy, you will not be bothered with petitions or degree work cause you will have no new members, and as the old timers die off you can gradually move your meeting into the "home" and close the doors to your lodge forever. The alternative is to consider a new agenda. You might find yourself attending interesting meetings. You might have some petitions and some degree work. You might even start getting some of the old timers to start coming back to lodge meetings. Who knows, the membership might even start to increase again. And I am quite sure that most of you can find an alternative time for your weekly nap- cause there will be no more sleeping in lodge. Good Luck. Give it a try. The only thing that will be in jeopardy
is the rapidly approaching demise of your lodge.
Addendum:  Evidently this came from Ed Halpus of Minnesota. don't know if he wrote it himself or found it somewhere.  In any case it is good.  Thanks to my contributor (Auntie E. Nonomous) 

: ROTFLMAO



Here is one of the better ideas. Let's all get behind this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


There are less than eight months until the election, an election that will decide the next President of the United States. The person elected will be the president of all Americans, not just the Democrats or the Republicans. To show our solidarity as Americans, let's all get together and show each other our support for the candidate of our choice. It's time that we all came together, Democrats and Republicans alike.

If you support the policies and character of Obama or Hillary, please drive with your headlights on during the day.

If you support McCain, please drive with your headlights off at night.

The Anactoria Poem

"Anactoria," perhaps Sappho's most famous poem, which describes the psychosomatic effects that love has on a person. It reads like a highly poeticized list of side effects to some heavy-duty medicine: dry mouth, chest pains, wandering thoughts — you get the picture. It's been 2,600 hundred years since Sappho wrote this poem to one of her students, and I'm not sure anyone has done a better job describing the physical herk and jerk of a massive crush.

"Anactoria" by Sappho
Adapted by Jack Murnighan from a ninteenth-century translation by Henry Wharton

He who sits in your presence,
Listening close to your sweet speech and laughter,
Is, in my esteem, yet luckier than the gods.
The thought makes my heart aflutter in my breast.
For even seeing you but briefly,
I lose what words I had;
My tongue finds not a sound;
My eyes fail to see, my ears set to ring;
A fire runs beneath my skin;
Sweat pours from me and a trembling takes my body whole.
I am paler than summer-burned grass, and, in my madness
I fear that I too may die.
And yet, I'll dare it. Just a little more!


Now this stolen from the Poem of the Week Site

Jim Powell’s beautiful translation of Sappho’s Anactoria poem. Her passion, as always, shines through.

The Anactoria Poem

Some say thronging cavalry, some say foot soldiers,
others call a fleet the most beautiful of
sights the dark earth offers, but I say it's what-
ever you love best.

And it's easy to make this understood by
everyone, for she who surpassed all human
kind in beauty, Helen, abandoning her
husband--that best of

men--went sailing off to the shores of Troy and
never spent a thought on her child or loving
parents: when the goddess seduced her wits and
left her to wander,

she forgot them all, she could not remember
anything but longing, and lightly straying
aside, lost her way. But that reminds me
now: Anactória,

she's not here, and I'd rather see her lovely
step, her sparkling glance and her face than gaze on
all the troops in Lydia in their chariots and
glittering armor.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday April 27, 2008

Miss Cassie has taken to sitting on the water dispenser in the kitchen. Bailey (as usual) is more interested in eating than anything else. Cassie is a climber. She likes to be "up" on top of things and because of her climbing propensity she is barred from my bed-room. I really do love her. Jon was over and he picked her up and pretty soon she was growling. I told him to put himself in her place. Some big guy picks you up and holds on to you so all you can move is your head and eyes you are you can move you would growl also. She comes up to me when I am computing or sitting and watching TV and will purr and be absolutely the sweetest cat ever. She tolerated the dogs all the time and is just plain sweet.
The hyacinths were up at McFarland Clinic when I dropped off the specimen and had my blood drawn. A couple of people have asked about the "tests" and when I will get the results. I don't see Dr. Alexander until May 12 so I won't know anything until then. I have hopes that the results will be satisfactory.

I have been thinking about the last couple of days. I get a deep sadness when I let a certain person creep into my thoughts. (And it happens all the time) I suppose because I wanted so much to be friends with this person. I really liked him and his family but it seems that he does not like me. It is probably my fault. (I always put the blame on me - I never think that I am worth much. and situations such as this just ratify that assumption.) I don't know if he will ever read this but if he does he won't do anything about it. I have probably ruined any chance for a friendship with him and I need to cut my losses and get on with life. I do appreciate people who tell me that I should just ignore it and not worry about it but I am not built that way. My mother just "wanted everybody to get along with each other." I just want everyone to like me and I know that is not going to happen. In fact I always suspect that I am not liked.

There are a lot of people that I really do love and a lot of them are Masons. I hate like hell that I am not going to be around a lot of them but that also is the way I am built. I give other people too much power over me. If I work it out - I will work it out. If not, I am the only one affected. There was a woman with whom I taught and she talked about me behind my back and bad-mouthed me to parents, students and administrators and other teachers. Because of her I did not have a retirement party. I would not have believed any of the things they were saying about me. Another co-worker whom I really loved working with told me that I was the "most creative teacher in Ames." I didn't really believe her but I loved that she said it and I treasure that remark. (I actually think she was the greatest teacher I ever worked with.)

I have never had a high self esteem (unlike some people) and that is also part of the way I am built. I am not worth much. Sorry folks, that is the way I feel inside. This person had made me feel like I was valued and I felt important for awhile. I actually believed that I was a person who could be liked for a change. But, I evidently drove him away and turned him into a person who doesn't want to be my friend or to have me around. When he sees me he avoids me. (Sort of like spot Jay and turn away and go somewhere else.) My fault not his. Most of you won't understand this and that is all right. Some of you will understand why I am this way. None of you can really do anything about it. I think that the only way I can deal with it is to stay out of situations where I get hurt. So I blog about it and that helps me deal with it. Just know that I do not dislike this person at all. I would wish that I had never thought I could be close to him or his family nor invested so much in wanting them as friends. But it is my problem and not theirs. I wish them well. I just will stop trying to impose myself on them or "intrude" on them and stay away. I guess I should finally learn that I am not wanted and just give up no matter how much I want it to be different.  I thought I had done something really nice for him and it was thrown in my face. That is when the hurt really started.  Oh well.  As for the rest of you. Thanks for being you and for reading this. ARTYAL. Hug someone - j

La Fille du Régiment (new production) – Donizetti

I was not able to go see this production live yesterday and I heard part of it on the radio and it sounded really fun so I went this afternoon. The Met web site has this to say about the production.

Experience the “exceedingly yummy operatic cake” that was called “the operatic show of the season” by The Times of London when it opened at Covent Garden this past winter. Audiences were dazzled by Natalie Dessay’s fearless coloratura and impeccable comic timing and by Juan Diego Flórez’s remarkable musicality — complete with the famous high Cs. Dessay and Flórez are an “operatic coupling made in heaven” raved the Financial Times. Directed by Laurent Pelly, the production also boasts stage legend and Tony Award® winner Marian Seldes as the Duchess of Krakenthorp.
From the first notes of the French Horn until the last beat by the marvelous conductor I was entertained masterfully. Natalie Dessay was perfect as the orphan girl raised by a French Regiment. Her vocals were stunning and her comedic talents were perfection personified. Juan Diego Flórez as the young Swiss native who falls in love with the Daughter of the Regiment sang the role that cataputled Pavarati to stardom also to perfection.

This is comic opera at its best and I am so glad I went. I think that I was the only person in the theater who was laughing out loud at times but it tickled me so much and took me out of my "down feelings" (at least for the three hours of the performance) that I am very grateful. One of the funniest scenes (to me) was the ballet of the four maids cleaning.

Next season there will be eleven opera's in the theater. Check out the season here. As soon as I post this I am putting them on my calendar. See you at the Met.

The Little Boy and the Old Man


by Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that too."
The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Last York Rite Festival

Pictures from the York Rite Festival in downtown Des Moines. April 26, 2008
James Nagel, PGHP
Frank Osdoba (the bane of my existance - He with the ever present camera - He is as bad or worse as I am. ) in the purple coat.
You can see that he was as thrilled to have his picture taken as I was when he took one of me earlier. That is Rick Butler, Grand High Priest on the left.
Les and Rusty in the robing room. Less is a Past Grand Master and Rusty is the current head of the downtown York Rite.
Ames York Rite Head, David Baker and two of our candidates.
Randy Wilkerson and Mike Loftin.
The picture just below them is our other candidate from Ames. Trevor Owens. Trevor had changed his hair style and I didn't recognize him. Oh to be young and have hair. Sigh.
The class of 18 new Companions and Sir Knights
The Principal Sojourner dressed for his part. He has a mammoth part in the Royal Arch Degree and does a super job.


Above is my friend Kurt eating lunch.
Some of the "brass" visiting. Nice Bling guys.

This is probably going to be the last Festival for me. I went today because I had promised David Dryer that I would do a part. Last week Someone hurt my feelings - again. He probably doesn't even know that he did but you know over the past year that person has hurt me more than any other person has ever hurt me in my life. I invested so much in what I thought was a friendship that I made myself very vulnerable and once again last week I was made to feel like shit. I left and did not even attend the meeting. I thought I was over it but it was obvious that night that I wasn't and it still hurts. I am not going to be able to completely stay away from this individual but why beat myself up. I have always found the following scripture helpful.

8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
Some people are upset with me because they think I should not let one person keep me away from something I enjoy. Unfortunately the straw seems to have broken this camel's back. I am so tired of being the one in the wrong and suffering rejection and having someone I cared about treat me like a persona not gratis that I have decided to withdraw from most activities where he is going to be. I cannot withdraw completely but at least I can stay away from most of them. To that end I doubt that I will be around the York Rite much or Acanthus. And besides I am not enjoying being there and being treated that way. He once said to me that the "bottom line was that we would be friends." Well, that just isn't going to happen. I refuse to open myself up to disappointment and hurt when there are so many other people who do like me and care about me.

I really don't think this person knows how to be a friend. If he did we would not have gotten to this place in our "relationship" -- if we ever really had a relationship. So they will get along without me and if some people want to see me I will be glad to have lunch or dinner or coffee. I am tired of being hurt and upset and frankly I have nothing to offer this person anyway. His "star" is on the way up and mine has obviously burnt out.

After I left the meeting I went out to Costco and got some gas and a few staples (steaks butter, some dip and a book. Then I stopped at Toys R Us to pick up a birthday present for a special little girl and met Tim Bonney to give him the Jewel and Apron for the Allied Masonic Degrees. I had joined the Knight Masons and the AMD in Washington DC at Masonic Week in the early 90's I got a life membership in the Knight Masons and when they organized the two groups here in Des Moines I was asked to join and to be the Ex. Chief of the Knight masons. I was honored but again this led to strife with a couple of individuals and it became obvious that I was not going to be able to motivate these gentlemen so that the Council would be viable and a Charter would be obtained. I withdrew.

Later I regretted that but was told I would not be allowed to rescind my leaving because it was my fault that they would not get their charter. My fault, I don't think so. I tried to get them to organize and do by-laws and then to find a time for a meeting and was told "why do we have to meet" - So I felt that leaving was my best option as I did not want to be the one to be blamed when they did not get their charter in February. I guess I still get the blame because they did not get the Charter. I guess it is for the best because that is all a part of the hurt I still feel from last summer.

Anyway I got rid of the Apron and Jewel. One person (who remains a friend) said at least I hadn't thrown it out along side of the road. I will still wear my Knight Mason's lapel pin on occasion because I am a life member and they can't take that away from me.

Iowa Research Lodge is meeting as I type this. I am very disappointed in that organization. I did not attend that meeting because I am feeling so down about things that I have lost most of my enthusiasm for things Masonic. Perhaps it will come back. No matter how much this person has hurt me I still care for him and wish him well. I found this poem when I was in college - I loved it then and I try to live by it now.

I cultivate a White Rose.
In July as in January.
For the sincere friend,
who gives me his hand frankly.

And for the cruel person,
who tears out the heart which I live.
I cultivate neither nettles nor thorns:
I cultivate a White Rose.
Jose Marti, Cuban Poet and Patriot

As long as I am writing this I have only one more thing to say - something I heard a long time ago.

"Remember it is nice to be important, but it is so much more important to be nice."

I am going to watch Craig Ferguson tonight and read and lick my hurt feelings and try to keep my spirits up. However many days I have left on this earth I want them to be happier than they have been this past year. Always Remember That You Are Loved, Hugs, j

THE SKIES can’t keep their secret!


THE SKIES can’t keep their secret!
They tell it to the hills—
The hills just tell the orchards—
And they the daffodils!

A bird, by chance, that goes that way 5
Soft overheard the whole.
If I should bribe the little bird,
Who knows but she would tell?

I think I won’t, however,
It’s finer not to know; 10
If summer were an axiom,
What sorcery had snow?

So keep your secret, Father!
I would not, if I could,
Know what the sapphire fellows do, 15
In your new-fashioned world!

Emily Dickinson (1830–86)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wordzzle -


My offering this week for Raven's Wordzzle:
Ten Word Challenge will be: pleasant, fluky, desperation, penumbra, hoarsely, triumph, burden, colandar, Kermit the Frog, lavender
And for the Mini Challenge: avalanche, masterpiece, yellow, alligator, thieving


The thieving alligator had stolen the yellow masterpiece after the avalanche deposited the snow thus blocking access to the Lavender Museum where Kermit the Frog was the curator of the antique colander room which was a burden and a triumph as well as being a home for the pet salamanders who hoarsely told the story of the penumbra which surrounded them and caused them to quake in desperation as the fluky (but pleasant) writer decided things were all turned around this week.