...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


Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert Kennedy, South Africa 1966.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Venus, Jupiter and the Moon


Click on the picture to go and read about what is happening in the sky these days. Incredible.

Advent






My Advent




Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming") is a season of the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, in other words, the period immediately before Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western Christian year and commences on Advent Sunday.

Advent Sunday is the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. This is equivalent to the Sunday nearest to St Andrew's Day, 30 November,

Wikipedia
John Shuck has his sermon for the First Sunday in Advent up over at Shuck and Jive. He calls it a "season of waiting" and it is important to religious Christians. I don't remember ever worrying much about Advent. (I do remember an Advent Calendar with candy in it - but Jay being Jay it didn't last until Christmas) Advent was on the peripheral of my consciousness as a child. But then really so was church. Oh I went to Sunday School and to Church and I participated in MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) and I even gave a talk once to the Church on Youth Sunday (Wonder what happened to that talk.) But Advent, didn't mean much

Later as a Christian Scientist nothing was ever said about Advent. I likened it to the place of Christmas as I grew older and studied the Bible and read about how the early Catholic church "borrowed" pagan worship ceremonies and times in order to make the people more comfortable with Christianity. Much like the Romans did when they conquered the known world. They just co-opted the religions of the places they conquered and brought them to Rome. Made the people feel good

Advent and Chanukkah are both at this time of year. Chanukkah is not an important Jewish holiday. Christians have made it so because of its proximity to Christmas. Both are at the time of year when the dark is prevalent (It is dark at 5:00 these days) and we are waiting for the "Light" (sun) to return and we celebrate that return with joy and holidays.

I imagine that if any of you have read this far you think you know where I am going with this. You think I am going to repudiate Christmas and the Advent season. Well I am not. As I said I had never given much thought to this but John's sermon made me think. And probably not the way he anticipated.

I think the whole season of this time of year is a wonderful renewal of hope for all of us. I keep two kinds of Christmas. One is the secular Christmas with decorations, Christmas carols, cards. and presents and the other is my spiritual Christmas. In one (which I love) I get to give things to people and they have to accept them (most of the time) and like it. In giving I receive. I show people that I love them and want good things for them and their families. Last year I found out that I did not have to give presents. I could give my time and energy to help out on Christmas Day. I had a friend for whom a Christmas Dinner is named. The Jerry Marsengill Christmas Dinner takes place every year in Des Moines and it feeds people who would be alone on Christmas Day. Anyone can come. They also take Christmas Dinner out to people who can't make it down to the Scottish Rite Temple to eat. It is a wonderful way to give.

The other Christmas is the one I keep in my heart. (and I love it more) That is the one that I really keep all year long. When I think of the incredible gift which God gave to the world of the great teachers which he sent to us to teach us how to live and care and give to one another. The gift of His Sons and His Love. That is the Christmas I can keep all year long. Christ has come again, and again and again - in every act of love and kindness to a friend or to a stranger.

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Matthew 25:40

That is the one I want to share. I have read that Jesus was probably born sometime in April. That is when the shepherds were out in the fields "keeping their flocks." It doesn't matter that we celebrate it on December 25. What matters is that we keep the spirit of Advent (coming) in our hearts and ponder it. So go ahead and prepare for Christmas, get ready for the celebration. Plan to have fun. But keep the true meaning as well - all year long.

When I used to go home after the big Christmas Eve family party and orgy of gift giving and receiving I would stop and look up at the sky - looking for a Star perhaps - and wonder about Jesus and say a prayer of gratitude in my heart. Really just a momentary thing. A feeling of goodness. It helps get through the other times. The tough time when you think nobody loves you (even when they do) and the time when you wish things were different in the world and mankind could Love One Another in truth and not in lip service. The times when you are waiting for something and you know not what. That moment of acknowledging God's presence with us through the gift of his children can lift you up from the dark places and into the Light.

Thanks for stopping by and listening to my ramblings. Always Remember That You Are Loved. Hugs, J-bear

St. Andrew's Day - November 30th




I received the following from my friends at Laphroaig

Our country's great national holiday is upon us. It's St. Andrew's Day, celebrating the patron saint of Scotland.

Though St. Andrew never made it to Scotland while he was alive, he holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Scottish people. Legend states his relics were secretly transported to Scotland during the Middle Ages. And during the late 8th century, King Ungus reportedly saw a cloud in the shape of a Saltire (the St. Andrew's Cross on the Scottish flag) before battle. He pledged that if victory came to his forces, St. Andrew would become the patron saint of Scotland.

Now, festivities, feasts and events mark the November 30 celebration of St. Andrew's Day in Scotland and around the globe.

Old Scottish Blessing - If There is Righteousness in the Heart:

If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be.

One of the customs I read about was a man who painted his sheep blue for St. Andrew's Day.


Slàinthe,







Sunday Wisdom


From One Mountain, Many Paths
An American Freemason Speaks Out for Peace
by Dr. Patrick Swift
Click book or here to go to the page and buy it for yourself,

As men approach me, so I receive them. All paths, Arjuna, lead to me.

Bhagavad Gita 4:11
Hinduism

We shall worship thy God, the God of thy fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Issac, One God, and unto Him we have surrendered.

The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an 2:133
Islam

In the beginning of his book Patrick quotes Mahatma Gandhi as saying
" Religions are different roads converging upon the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goal."

Many years ago I copied this sentence into my book of things I wanted to save.
There are many paths to the top of the mountain but the view is always the same.
When I went to College I expanded my church experience. I went to Catholic Mass with my Catholic friends and to the United Church of Christ with friends from that church. I went with friends. When I came home I would go to the church of my childhood - First United Methodist here in Ames. It really didn't matter to me. Church was church. Later I began to learn about and study different religions. I had studied Judaism when I taught Sunday school. The lessons for the Sunday School class I taught were about things such as "It is the Christian thing to do to take a cake over to someone who has lost a family member." Come on! Do we really need to study that in Sunday School.

I found that there seems to be (in most people - yes even in some atheists) a yearning for something beyond themselves. I call that a desire for God. That desire is expressed culturally. I find that the only time we get into trouble is when we think we have the only truth, the only way and everyone must think and believe the same way we do. Then we go out and try to force people to be what they are not.

Let each believe according to his own needs and desires. Let each believe and worship in his own way. My grandparents seldom went to church and yet they were more Christian than many so-called Christians of today. There are countless examples of people they helped. They lived their religion and I never heard them say anything bad about anyone. That is much better (in my opinion) that looking around the room as I heard the younger Baldwin Brother did one time and say "all these people are going to Hell." Sorry guy, I still don't think that a God who is Love would send anyone to a place of eternal torment. That is something an evil person would do.

I am reminded of the story of the blind men and the elephant.

In various versions of the tale, a group of blind men (or men in the dark) touch an elephant to learn what it is like. Each one touches a different part, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then compare notes on what they felt, and learn they are in complete disagreement. The story is used to indicate that reality may be viewed differently depending upon one's perspective, suggesting that what seems an absolute truth may be relative due to the deceptive nature of half-truths.
We are like those blind men. We should allow each to have his own path in peace and we should have ours. It is all right to share and discuss for that is the way we grow but never condemn or put some one's religion down. You can't pull yourself up by putting others down. God Bless and I hope your path is a smooth one.

Update on Charles Martin/Beachobatics

Charles Martin, who is living and working in Afghanistan tells about some of his experiences in Freemasonry here. I hope someday when he returns to the United States he can visit Iowa.

Over at Madpriest's blog he linked to this wonderful collection of photographs from the late 30's of something called Beacobatics They are a facinating glimpse of the late 30's and early 40's beach life in Sidney.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sister Kate

I LOVE this.


More Ditty Bop videos here.

Word Cloud

You can make your own at this link
I did nothing worth writing about today. Went to see the new 007 movie last night. I loved it. In my opinion Daniel Craig is an excellent Bond and I like the "action" Bond better than the "gadget" bond. Will probably see Australia tomorrow if I am not snowed in. It is snowing here.
Thanks for stopping by. ARTYAL. Hugs, J-bear

Modern Math


Thanks to Grandmère Mimi who thanks Doug

I think this is what George Bush meant with No Child Left Behind.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wordzzle

As always click on the button to see the guidelines.
And don't forget to go to Raven's Nest to see all the others.

This Week's Ten Word Challenge : posthumous, flagrant, seven days a week, cheese and crackers, pyramid, civil war, clarinet, microwave, absent without leave, blue jeans

Mini Challenge: sugar-coated, thermometer, tractor pull, evangelical, masquerade

LaGi looked at the sisters and suggested something rude. “Perhaps a
posthumous award would be appropriate for your flagrant violation of good taste” he said.. “I suggest you both take classes in kindness. I can’t help it if I thought I was eating cinnamon and discovered, too late that it was something else. Say, is this place open seven days a week?”

Sallyie said that it was. “The Lodge of the Order of the Salamanders is always open and there is always
cheese and crackers available back there between the model of the pyramid and the civil war photograph. Say LaGi, would you play your clarinet for us at the town Crazy Walk if we microwave some cinnamon buns for you to turn you back to red?”

“I will be happy to,” said the monster. “By the way where is Phrog, He seems to have gone
absent without leave.”

“Oh I sent him out to purchase some new
blue jeans,” replied Saydie. “He should be back soon. Would you like some sugar-coated cinnamon candy while you wait?”

“Delighted,” replied the monster removing the
thermometer from his mouth. – “Well, I see I am back to normal after catching that cold at the indoor tractor pull over at the evangelical church. I wonder if they got all the dirt off the floor in time for the masquerade ball?”


Next Week's Ten Word Challenge will be: think the rain’ll hurt the rhubarb?, B Vitamins, credit card, jolly, angels, mouse, three ring circus, haiku, sponge, copper

Mini Challenge: compulsive, trunk, African violets, curiosity, UFO


Thanks Fran

This just points up another of the reasons I am glad we elected this man as our president.




More here
h/t FranIAm

Found For Friday

Not much this week - But here goes.


Received a letter from my grandmother last week. She is
eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes:

Dear Grandson,

The other day I went up to our local Christian bookstore and saw a "honk if you love Jesus" bumper sticker. I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by thunderous prayer meeting. So I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

Boy, I'm glad I did, what an uplifting experience that followed. I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn't notice that the light had changed. It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn't honked, I'd never have noticed. I found that lots of people love Jesus!

Why, while I was sitting there, the guy behind started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed,
"For the love of God! Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ Go!"
What an exuberant Cheerleader he was for Jesus! Everyone started honking!
I just leaned out my window and I started waving and smiling at all those loving people. I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a "sunny beach".

I saw another guy waving in a funny way.. with only his middle finger stuck up in the air. I asked your cousin George in the back seat what that meant. He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

Well, I've never met anyone from Hawaii, so I leaned out the window
and gave him the good luck sign back.

George burst out laughing... why, even he was enjoying this religious experience! A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed. So, I waved at all my brothers and sisters grinning, and drove on through the intersection.

I noticed I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them.

After all the love we had shared. So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away. Praise the Lord for such wonders

Love,
Grandma

WARNING
This is the worst joke ever.
DANGER OF INTERNAL BLEEDING

Not many people know it, but Satan actually wears a wig. You'd never know if you weren't told: It's a perfect fit.

Anyway, down in the world of fire and brimstone one guy did find out, and he decided to have a little practical joke. So one night, he sneaks past the guardian demons and manages to get all the way into Satan's bedchamber. He makes off with the hair-piece and makes good his escape.

Well, of course, the Prince of Darkness was most displeased by this, and so he rounds up his demons and demands to know which of them had been so lazy as to let someone sneak past them. Naturally, none of them owns up, which makes him even madder. So he calls a general meeting of everyone the underworld: everyone has to attend. The meeting is held in a huge cavern, and it's absolutely packed (except for the odd gap in the crowd, where there's a lava-pit or bottomless fissure in the floor). As Satan steps up to speak, everyone sees that he's got no hair, and peals of laughter start echoing out around the hall. The Devil bellows at them to be quiet, and a deadly hush falls.

"Whoever stole it," he shouts, "had better return it immediately!"

"Or else there'll be Hell Toupee!"

stolen from Madpriest




Proof That Men Have Better Friends
by Grandmère Mimi

Friendship among Women:

A woman didn't come home one night. The next morning she told her husband that she had slept over at a friend's house. The man called his wife's 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about it.

Friendship among Men:

A man didn't come home one night. The next morning he told his wife that he had slept over at a friend's house. The woman called her husband's 10 best friends. Eight confirmed that he had slept over, and two said he was still there.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Just had to share


As I left Jo's at about 5:15 the sky like like this.  There are two bright spots to the right of the tree.  I just heard on the TV that the lower one is Venus and the upper one is Jupiter. You can see them better if you click on the pictures and embiggen them.  

Speaking of photos.  Mr resident photographer Bob is recovering from his surgery.  He is sleeping in a recliner.  He warns us all not to fall and injure our rotator cuff. -  One of these days I am going to take him and his wife out to dinner.  In the meantime I miss his photos as I am sure you all do also.

Thanks again for stopping by.  I do it for me but I am glad you come along. j-bear

Turkey Day

THANKSGIVING DINNER AT AUNT JO'S


Michael (just turned thirty) was carving the turkey and his dog, Kaylee, was really wanting to sample.

Absotively a beautiful, well mannered, individual and Michael was well behaved also. Videos below.


This is Michael (#39) You won't ever meet a nicer guy. He lives in Minnesota and it was really good to see him. The #39 was his number when he played that game for the Iowa Parrots (OK I mean Hawkeyes) - The game was football.



Aunt Jo the author of the feast.



Georgia made the yummy green-bean casserole. Wouldn't be official without it.




Marty and his mom, Marcia. Marty lives in Chicago and works in Pittsburg. Marcia is a retired educator (We both love being retired). She made the scalloped (?) corn - delicious and introduced me to a new wine. The best I have ever had 14 hands. Must Google it. Vicki is on the right.



Cousin Andy and his lady. Came over after their dinner at his dad's. They were on their way to Tama where they were going to eat again. (Going to have some fry-bread...to die for




Michael playing rough-house with their son Waylon. They had a ball. Michael really needs to get some kids of his own. He would make a great dad.













Marty works hard. He dozed off.



Have you ever seen as lovely a lady as my Aunt?






Sorry this is a little blurry but it is still a good picture.









This dog is good. That is turkey on her nose. As I said - video below.








The shirt says "If you think I am cute you should see my mommie."


It was a wonderful day and a great reminder of what Thanksgiving was all about. I also called my sister in Missouri and had a great visit with her. Enjoy the movies. Thanks for stopping by. ARTYAL. Hugs, j
Click on the arrow to play the movies.



And finally this from West Wing. - God I miss that show.

Addendum



Wednesday, November 26, 2008



Oh my goodness, It is Thanksgiving Eve. My blogfriend Raven has been writing post after post of Gratitude leading up to this date. She is a prolific writer.
Diane at Forks off the Moment has a very clever post of Gratitude up.

A friend from of 40 years ago who I have not seen for about 35 years ago and I hooked up through the Internets. She sent me this today.

None of that Sissy Crap

Are you tired of those sissy 'friendship' poems that always sound good, But never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship. You will see no cutesy little smiley faces on this card - Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.
1. When you are sad -
I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.
2. When you are blue -
I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile -
I will know you are plotting something that I just have to be involved with.
4. When you are scared -
I will rag your sorry ass about it every chance I get.
5. When you are worried -
I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.
6. When you are confused -
I will use little words.
7. When you are sick -
Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall -
I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.
9. This is my oath....
I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask;
'because you are my friend'.

I am so grateful for the Internet and this Blog and the connections I have made from this wonderful tool. I have connected with old friends and students and made new connections. Helped a man become a Mason and hopefully continued to be an educator. (It also gives me a place to gripe about things but we won't go there.) This will be the 1735th post on this blog. I print them off and have filled 7 big three ring binders and am working on the next one.

I have gotten several notes from folks thanking me for being their friend and brother and I am thankful for that. My "sis" from Minnesota sent me a note reminding me of the great Thanksgivings that my mother and sister and I spent with her and her family in Minnesota. It was there that we heard the news that Cousin Michael (#39) had been born on a Thanksgiving. I will see him tomorrow at my Aunt's home.

I am thankful that my aunt thought enough of me to make sure that I felt loved. I have had a wonderful family all my life and when it seemed that it was disappearing and I was feeling very sorry for myself she came down and we had a long talk. We have grown much closer. She is the last of my mother's sisters and she ties me to all of the wonderful family that I grew up with. I miss them all but I miss them less because I can share with her some of the memories. She was the aunt who was there the night my grandmother died and I can still hear her telling me never to forget my grandmother. I haven't and I can't express the love I feel for her. (She reads this thing)

I am so very grateful for all of my friends and (most of) my brothers. Especially for Kurt and Craig each of whom helped to found (with me) new organizations this year. Both of them have been there for me and supported me through some tough times and I hope I have been there for them also. Even if we had not started these groups these guys have proven that they are very special brothers and I love both of them and their families. I especially love it when "The Princess" sees me and says "Jay" and reaches out to touch my cheek. Then she is off and running again.

Tom and Jimmie both are special guys also and there are lots of others. I won't list more because I am already leaving people out. I have to also say that I am so grateful for Matt and Dan and Jack - acquaintances who have become great friends.

Of course I am very grateful for those special friendships of longstanding that I have made through my career in education. Dallas, and Bob and Suzanne, Nathan and Neta are just five who come to mind. The students have been wonderful also. I have had so very many great people who have touched me through the years and I love it that I have made a contribution.

Now I am going to express gratitude for Barak Obama and Michelle. I am watching the Barbara Walters Special as I type this and it brings the joy back all over again. They showed just a little of the crowd at Grant Park the night he was elected. I saw the expressions on the faces of so many people that night and it brought tears to my eyes all over again. I am so proud that he won this election by over 8 million votes. It shows that America was ready for a compassionate, articulate (he talks in complete sentences) and intelligent president who will restore our place in the world. He has a huge job and I hate it that the pundants are second-guessing him already. We have to give him a chance. I can see the way he is with his wife and the way he has set himself to the gigantic task ahead of him I am grateful that he is my president and I hope people will give him a chance.

I get "down" on myself because I want things I can't have. I seldom give myself credit for things. I feel sorry for myself at times (and I shouldn't) - I was feeling down on myself because I put a lot of work into relearning the part for Saturday's York Rite Festival and not one word about whether or not I had done a good job. Then I went to York Rite tonight and the guys all told me what a good job I had done. I did "goof" a little but overall I got through it and we did it without a practice. That was the hard part.

Finally I am grateful for my 13 year old Bailey (He for whom this blog is named) and the love he shows me every time I return home. My mother died in January and I lived alone for most of the year. When Bailey came to live with me he filled a void in my life and I am so grateful for the nasty little bundle of love. I am also grateful that Nephew Jon comes over to visit his animals (Max and Cassie) who live with me.

%^ (that is in code) years ago my mother had a baby girl. Ginny was (and is) so very special to me. We have gone through a lot over the years. Laughed a lot and cried some. I can never ever put into the right words the way I feel about her and Jon. This bolg is really for her and I only wish the very best for both of them. We shared the most fun and wonderful mother who was always there for both of us and who "gave us the best years of her life" as she would always remind us when we were being naughty. We had fun and I guess I am most grateful that she allowed me to become her son. I hope I have made her proud.

God Bless each and every one of you on this Thanksgiving. With a heart full of love. Always Remember That You Are Loved (sometimes I forget) Hugs, j




Click on the picture.


Stolen from Ruth.

This is just Awesome



I shall watch it many times. Thank you Mark.

Lost and Found

I see they found the piano I lost.

Addendum.  Be sure to read Don's story in the comments.

Quote for Today

Maybe this Thanksgiving, it's all we can do to be grateful for, well, for change itself. Any kind of change. Because change is still required. Change is still the universal law. Without it, everything stops. Without it, we die. Change is the only thing we really know for sure. It's the only thing that actually makes any sense, even when it doesn't.


Happy 69th Birthday - Tina



And she is happy "We Got A New President"



If she can keep going at 69 - I can at 67. Right!

Here is my favorite - Proud Mary!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Update


Today is one month away from Christmas. What do you want Santa to bring?

I got my new glasses today. I can now see the TV screen much more clearly. I can also use the tri-focal for the computer and the bottom for reading but I don't really need them so they are in their usual place.

I also got the crock pot out this morning. Chopped up an onion, two potatoes (unpeeled) and some carrots and threw in a nice chunk of meat and a bullion packet and filled it up with water. I needed to add more salt but that was OK because I could add it later. So that was a first for me and I enjoyed it and there is enough left over to last a couple of days.

Found this on another blog. Looks like fun
Other Names Meme:
1. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names): Cole Nicholas
2. NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad): Clarence Jay
3. STAR WARS NAME: (the first 2 letters of your last name, first 4 letters of your first name): SiJay (I only have three letters in my first name)
4. DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal): Red Lion
5. SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you live): Cole Ames
6. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite alcoholic drink, optionally add “THE” to the beginning): Blue Irish Mist
7. FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name): Jaer
8. GANGSTA NAME: (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite cookie): Mint Chocolate Oatmeal Rasin
9. ROCK STAR NAME: (current pet’s name, current street name): Bailey Glendale
10. PORN NAME: (1st pet, street you grew up on): Lucky Sixth
I think I need to go to a movie. Sometimes when I get to feeling this way I find that going to a movie helps. There was a line in a play once (I think it was The Skin of Our Teeth) where a character says - "You know how it is ... sometimes you just have to go out to a movie."

I haven't seen the new James Bond movie yet and am looking forward to seeing Australia. It is at the Varsity Theater in Des Moines and I would drive down there to see it if anyone wants to go.

Ann Coulter broke her jaw and had to have it wired shut. I am not going to chortle. I am going to feel sorry for her pain. . . Oh the hell with it. I don't like her or her politics and having her silenced is probably a good thing. My question (which is nasty) is how did she break it?

I just got reminded that there is York Rite tomorrow so I guess I will have to put the movies off.  Darn.

Thanks for stopping by. ARTYAL, Hugs, j

Family Portrait

Jay            Cassie            Bailey                 Max
The "kids" and I. They decided to all crawl up on me for some lovin' at once.
But guys, I only have two hands!

What do Grand Officers Do?


It is about time for a Masonic Post. So here goes.

First of all what is a "grand" officer? Well substitute the word "state" for "grand" and you will have it. They have the same title as a local officer but the word grand is added to designate a greater responsibility. For purposes of this article I am not talking about the Grand Master, or similar heads of the Grand Body. They have different expectations. Whether or not they live up to their own particular expectations is not relevant here.

What do they do?

Many of them just go around being "grand." Some of them actually take the charge to be "of service" to the fraternity seriously and you will find them traveling around the state participating in degree work and attending meetings. Some of them just hold the title and show up at the Grand Body Meeting and fill their place and then disappear into the woodwork not to be seen until the next year.

In the Grand Chapter of Eastern Star the Grand Officers are sometimes used to support the Worthy Grand Matron as she travels the state visiting Chapters. Later in the year they become a travelling degree team and go from place to place exemplifying the degrees.

Grand Lodge does that also. They do a lot of "group travel" and put on degrees. I suppose it gives them something to do. Another thing that both groups do is go to receptions. Local bodies put on these to honor the Officer and let them know how proud they are of them. The Grand Chapter OES has "seasons" where they do these things together. First comes the season of Receptions or parties for the new Grand Officers. The next "season" is the school season. District Instructors (the hardest workers) put on schools in all of the Chapters in the state to help people put the degrees on correctly. Grand Officers are expected to attend a majority of these schools. Then the parties and Grand Officer Degree Exemplification season is on the agenda and finally they hold Grand Chapter where new Grand Officers take over and the whole thing starts all over again. Grand Officers are chosen with an idea that they will do good work and will participate in most of these activities.

Grand Lodge does not really have "seasons" but their activities are similar in nature. They travel the state (most years) as a travelling "degree team" and attend receptions and parties designed to make the honoree feel as if he were the most important person on the planet. - Well, not really and I am being a little cynical here. But you will (mostly) find a lot of Grand Officers in the same place. Sometimes these fellows and their ladies become very cliquish and will sit together and not intermingle very much with the Craft. Some Grand Masters give them instructions that they are to "mix it up" with the "regular" Masons.

In the York Rite (unfortunately) not much has been expected of Grand Officers. You see them around sometimes but many of them do not do much. (Note: this is not always the case - some of them get out and visit and DO but many don't) - Grand York Rite Officers are not a Travelling Degree Team. (although 30 years ago then Grand High Priest Dwane Shalla made us all learn our parts and we did put the Royal Arch Degree on as a Team. That is where I learned the Captain of the Host.) They don't have receptions for Grand Officers except for the Head of the Body. One reason for that is that they "recycle" the Grand Officers and many Companions serve multiple years as a grand officer and it would be cost prohibitive for this to happen over and over for the same guy.

One thing they could do but do not do is become "eyes and ears" out in the subordinate bodies for the Grand Heads and those who will be the head in the future. They can visit and meet the members of local Bodies and then report on them. They could recommend future Grand Officers from among the Companions they observed and they could watch for "trouble" spots around the state. Hopefully heading off potential problems before the escalate out of control.
Grand Officers are (or could be) assigned a district of the state. They could organize district activities and coordinate them with other districts so that activity (the life blood of any organization) would increase.

There is a valuable place for Grand Officers in our Bodies for them and I have just "scratched" the surface. Many Grand Officers do these types of things and are a real asset to our organizations. Many do not. Perhaps they should be retired.

Thanks for stopping by, Hugs, j

Tuesday Funnies


I have gotten this three times this year. I love it.

The Parrot


A young man named John received a parrot as a gift.

The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot.

The parrot yelled back.

John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder.

John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly open the door to the freezer, the parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bush Pardon


In Thanksgiving Tradition, Bush Pardons Scooter Libby In Giant Turkey Costume

Quote for Today

Brother Bill Yungclas sent me the following quote. It seems appropriate for today's world.

An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.


- Plato

To early for a Quiz

Click take a test. I got this from Happy To Be From Iowa. We both got the same score. 84.85%
Post your score in the comments.
She says:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US elected officials scored abysmally on a test measuring their civic knowledge, with an average grade of just 44 percent, the group that organized the exam said Thursday.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 percent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Awesome Hairscut

Brother Trevor sent pictures of his awesome new hairscut. I wrot to ask him what it said but haven't gotten a response yet. (And yes, Hairs cut is correct. Gwen taught me that you always have more than one hair cut - so you should say hairscut.) Addendum: Tervor says it is his girlfriend's name.








He also sent a picture of him and his girlfriend after attending the BlueMan Group in NYC. Trevor lives in New York City now. His girlfriend lives in Ames and is in the city for a Thanksgiving Break visit. Have fun kids!

Thanks for stopping by. ARTYAL. Hugs, j

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Mix

Bailey was being a turd last night. He was jealous of Jon spending time with Cassie Cat. So he jumped at the cat. Jon decided to "punish" him. I don't think Bailey thought it was punishment.














I didn't really accomplish a thing today. The "boys" woke me up to go outside a little before 7 and I let them out and went back to bed for a couple of more hours. Yesterday took a lot out of me. I had cramps in both legs this morning. Not sure I really helped that much. Don't think they really needed me. I am sure they could have gotten along without me. I have been tired all day. Maybe I am too old. - The snow accomplished more than I did today. It at least melted. Enjoy the videos. I did.
Dorothy Louden - Vodka



Can You Hear?


The Greatest!