Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Trebor here, I heard that some local boys are trying to cook up some big adventure stuff so as to get their pictures in those outdoor magazines. Well just wanted them all to know that I beat them to the punch. With the approach of hurricane Irene I called my buddy Buckaroo Bonzai and asked if he thought that with the right preparation and planning I could launch myself into Irene with a para-sail and ride it all the way to the top of Old Rag Mountain. Well Doctor Bonzai was intrigued with the problem. He called me back saying that he had jumped on one of the NOAA super computers and figured that if I took off down by Norfolk at the right time I would be swept around counter clockwise in the storm. I would initially travel up over Washington DC then out over West Virginia and back to Old Rag mountain. Well I only had a couple days to prepare and I wanted to have the best GPS, altimeters, radio, portable oxygen and appropriate attire ready. Loving a short fused impossible logistics challenge I was in seventh heaven scrambling to get all my gear ready. I was glad to know that all the commercial jets would be grounded during my attempt. It would not be much fun to run into a Seven Forty Seven!
I slipped the surly bonds of earth with all my great gear, consummate flying skills and God as my co-pilot. It was a massively cool flight!! I just missed running into the Washington Monument and it was a good thing I had no radar signature because I would not have wanted Homeland Security trying to shoot me down.
Buckaroo needs to tweak his simulation model a little because I ended up landing on Hawksbill not Old Rag. Oh well since Hawksbill is taller it makes for an even taller tale than had I managed to land on Old Rag.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Paul has truly been on the most of quixotic of quests. Like all of those who follow the Don-Quixote-Way he remains forever optimistic and good natured about his quest.
Check out his blog.
For all the Paul's of the world who unsuccessfully seek to fulfill that very powerful basic need of loving and being loved by a special someone. Here is a big virtual hug and some luv sent your way.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Secondly do not take me too seriously, this all done in mirthful fun.
Lets look at the life of the poor Sandwort on Old Rag's Summit that I had the honor to spend some time with recently. This Sandwort and the Sandwort species have real problems!
The written history of the human race is most likely no more significant than the unwritten but hundreds of centuries of Sandwort history. Yet to humans Sandwort history is:
This Sandwort may have been descended from a long line of very important Sandworts. Sandworts do not have Heralds like the Queen of England but if they did there is a good chance that this Sandwort would have a lineage and Coat of Arms that would rival England's Best of The Best.
Despite the Sandworts' long and noble history, for the thousands of hikers that make it to the summit of Old Rag it is:
SO INVISIBLE THEY WALK RIGHT THRU IT
If Old Rag summit Sandworts become yet one more species of the many that have totally disappeared into the dustbin of extinct species, it is my belief that the Sandworts would probably still forgive humans for their transgressions. If for no other reason than the fact that humans are currently the ultimate known earth bound representatives of all the complicated layers of:
All that said, the Sandwort interviewed seemed especially appreciative to have been able to overhear my alter ego's headphones play Ashlee Simpson's Invisible song. Finally a human songstress who not only spoke to the Sandworts' cause but even sang a beautiful; ballad to the Sandworts' cause.
Note: In the following video the interviewed Sandwort wore his Mt Laurel ghilley suit disguise and was interviewed at a location far from his normally non-disclosed residence.
If you like any of the lyrics or low quality sound bytes of artist's work mentioned in this blog please support them by buying their music.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Christmas Spirit Shake It Up
Do spiritual entities we believe in need corporeal presences?
Maybe ... then again, maybe not.
Over the years the Coke company has managed to come up with some excellent marketing campaigns. Recently they commissioned Train for a Christmas song to be used in some of their Christmas advertisements called Shake Up Christmas. You can purchase the whole song on I Tunes. I have featured a sound byte of some of the songs lyrics above with a little holiday ornament eye candy. I am doing this because I found this song plucked a huge chord within me.
"I know your out there. I hear your reindeer. I see the snow where your boots have been."
-Train Shake Up Christmas 2010
YES VIRGINIA THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS
It awakened my thoughts about a non-religious but spiritual figure, Santa Claus. Of course the modern Santa Claus is based on Sinterklaase who was created to honor Saint Nicholas. This means that Santa Claus is not entirely devoid of any religious significance. That said, the lyrics in the sound byte reflect on the fact that something can be quite real with or without clear physical proof.
The most read editorial in the world is the famous "Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus" see:
a brief excerpt from this stunning piece of writing:
"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy" - Francis Pharcellus Church The Sun 1897
It is worth reading the whole editorial every once in awhile.
Whatever spiritual figure or figures you believe in, does it really matter if they actually had a physical presence?
Of course it matters. ... But ... then again, maybe not.
My young niece recently participated for the first time in her church's annual Children's Christmas Pageant by singing in her Junior Choir. Parents and relatives of the the young children participating in the Pageant are allowed to come to the dress rehearsal just before the service and therefore obtain front row seats in a church that will have standing room only by the time the actual pageant and service begin. Sitting through the dress rehearsal and than the actual Christmas Pageant and mass means you will be in church for about three hours. This gives you a lot of time to reflect on inspirational and spiritual things.
Just before the beginning of the service the ushers asked if all sitting but fit gentleman could give up their seats and stand along the walls of the church so that those who were older or infirm could be seated. Obviously this was a request that I could not resist but it turned out to have its own reward...
This is a very modern church which has dimensions side to side that are three times that of the distance from the front to back. It can hold at least five to six hundred people when not crowded. By standing up in the back I could see and marvel at the whole tightly packed assemblage of folks who had come out on a cold winter night to join together and practice their spiritual beliefs, confess their sins, and for at least an hour or two honor and share in the highest ideals of mankind.
THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE
Many modern Christian churches have included the practice of having members of the congregation shake hands and wish each other peace. On this Christmas eve the handshakes and greetings of peace from strangers reminded me of the story of the spontaneous Christmas truces that occurred along World War I trenches in 1914. Right in the middle of one of the most violent of modern wars the Christmas Spirit shone through and for one evening enemy combatants spontaneously sang carols to each other, exchanged gifts in no-man's land, played games of soccer, and and held joint memorial services for their recently dead.
Does it really matter if our spiritual entities ever had a corporeal presence?
Maybe ... but maybe not.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I have recently challenged myself to try and more systematically sort out my feelings about things more spiritual. HMMMM....... Let me see how many lifetimes do I have? If I had more than one I am sure it would not be enough so the whole task seems a little empty and pointless if you insist on finding The Answer. I have decided that I do not need to find The Answer but just enjoy the journey.
While I am going to try and stay playful, lighthearted, and mirthful I am also going to try and stay very respectful. If I cross the line and seem disrespectful I apologize it was not my intent.
I have an insatiable curiosity about everything. Deciding to examine spirituality is like being a kid in a candy store for someone with an insatiable curiosity. Every time you run into something that can serve as a source of new information you suddenly come across several others. If all you did was study just the Bible you could devout every waking moment of the rest of your life and still not grok it. And then there is the matter of needing time to learn celestial navigation, quantum mechanics, all the sports teams statistics, world history.............
I have only just started this journey but already I find that yesterday's awesome revelations often look simple-minded and naive. I think it may be fun to look back at some of these posts in the future and chuckle at how silly they seem. In the meantime I will just try to describe my gestalt of the moment.
Today's gestalt of the moment has to do with very specific Christian beliefs. For whatever reason I have no problem in believing in a creator that is an ultimate force for good. This makes it easy to believe in the Christian concept of God. Since the Holy Spirit is kind of ethereal, I can buy into believing in it as well. It is the Christian concept of Christ being both mortal and Divine that I am having trouble with. Of course this is a pretty central theme to being a Christian.
At the moment I am perfectly willing to believe that there was a man who lived around two thousand years ago who was as close to being divine as a man can get. Someday I might be willing to believe that a divine entity came and took the form of a man (while still being divine). I am just not sure I will ever be able to believe there was an entity who was both mortal and divine. It would be hugely cool and blissful to be able to join the club of believers. There are very few devout Christians I would not be proud to count as a friend. Maybe someday I will share in their beliefs, maybe not?
In the meantime my journey has re-introduced me to a Biblical figure that I can fully identify with and embrace, Arc Angel Michael. Arc Angel Michael is my kind of divine being. While he is both tolerant and just, he also relishes getting into a good righteous tussle. So for at least the immediate future I am going to embrace Saint Michael. I am going to try in my own humble way to join Saint Michael's army.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Double Click Pictures For Higher Resolution
Sorry folks this post is mostly for my daughters and myself. It will not be of much interest to most readers. My girls did not get to visit or know this side of their heritage as they were growing up. I have shared lots of verbal history with them but with the exception of when they were very young they have not had a chance to visit these places.
Below are pictures of the house that I grew up in from age 13. Not only did I grow up in it, but I invested between five hundred and one thousand hours a year in labor to help build it. As a related aside, Miranda Lambert's The House That Built Me can get me choked up.
All the stone in the house and in the landscaping was harvested by myself or my dad from old local farm foundations built out of the limestone readily available in the area.
REMODELING AN OLD FARMHOUSEMy folks started with an old farm house which they completely gutted and rebuilt. After stripping off all the walls, floors, ceilings and windows we redid all the electric wiring, windows, insulation, floors and walls. In addition to gutting and rebuilding the portion of the house that was originally built in the early 1900's, major additions and build-outs like dormers and bay-windows doubled the total square footage of the house. Everything was rebuilt to extremely high quality standards. The new windows were all top of the line Andersons. The sub-floors are all double half inch plywood with direction of the two layers rotated ninety degrees. The vertical walls and interior ceilings are all insulated to at least R20-R30 and the ceilings facing the outside elements are insulated to R30-R40. Instead of drywall the whole house was redone with rock lathe and then sand plaster. All new electric, heat detectors, intercoms, smoke detectors and centralized vacuum cleaning ports were installed.
All the major addition construction was done by contractors but all the demolishing and rebuilding of the old house was done one or two rooms at a time by family labor while we were living in the house. For approximately a year we had to have a mobile home set up next to the house so that we would always be guaranteed availability of heat, indoor plumbing and a working kitchen. I am sure that as a grown up I would have found all this very uncomfortable but as a kid it was like a year long camping trip right at home.
My folks started out with about forty acres and then purchased neighboring land until they owned around two hundred acres. This is the view from the fence line behind the house. The house sits at 2,200 feet on top of a ridge line halfway between Cazenovia and Hamilton (home of Colgate college) New York. Even enlarged it is hard to get an appreciation for the view but the distant horizon is about 30 miles away and in the winter the night lights of two local ski slopes can be seen about 20 miles away. This is looking west and there are pretty good sunsets. Nothing compared to those from the summit of Old Rag but probably better than 95% of the world gets to see on a daily basis.
Here you get a little bit of a glimpse of old barn which was converted to a three bay car garage.
Yee HAH. First snow for me this fall. Just a dusting but definitely first snow. While I was home a local news station had a contest going on for people to send in films of their best snow dances. This is skiing and snowmobiling country and while snow brings its share of misery it also brings lots of fun recreation and first snow is joyously welcomed by all those anxious to dust off their skis and tune up their snowmobiles. At some point over the next five months the snow banks in front of my parents home will reach a minimum of eight feet and if it is a record winter they might get to fifteen feet. Of course the snow depth in the fields never exceeds around three feet but because of blowing winds the plows have to plow back snow almost every day and the banks just build up bigger and bigger until a big thaw comes along.
The next picture is a look up the road in front of my folks home. Our nearest neighbor lives in this direction. They are about twice the distance away as you can see in this shot. Too the right is the house and the thirty mile view. In my youth the left side of the road had five hundred acres of commercial Christmas tree farm which in turn bordered on five square miles of State Forest. I was able to get a lot of winter work cutting and dragging hundreds of Christmas trees out to large flat bed trucks in the fall. For about three years I spent about six hundred to one thousand hours a year earning around $2.85 per hour trimming these same Christmas trees.
I include the next picture as an example of the size of the hundreds of trees I planted as eighteen inch saplings in my early teens.
Good old Cazenovia High School. It does not show up well in this picture but what is now Cazenovia Middle School is attached in the back right of the picture. In my youth what is now a Middle School was the Elementary and had grades K-6 and the high school building contained 7-12. The two buildings are attached by a common kitchen facility. Despite its small town status it was a special institution. My graduating high school class of 130 plus had seven National Merit semi-finalists (including me). I was told by my local representative that through his office I had a guaranteed entrance to West Point if I wanted it. I often wonder how my life would have gone if I had chosen the military academy route. At the time I had no idea about how special either of these two things were. In my mind they were just things that normally happened to high school kids that did well in school. It was not until I was raising two high school children of my own that the light bulb went on.
The next picture is of Tuscarora Reservoir AKA Erieville Lake. My parents home sits on top of the hills on the right hand horizon.
This is a picture of the community pier on Cazenovia Lake. During the summer months this park serves the role of a pool and I took swimming lessons all the way up through Senior Life Saving. I am not sure if they still do it but a popular activity/test for the advanced swim class was to swim from the pier to the other side of the lake and back. This is about a total distance of two miles. Not in this picture but just up the lake shore to the right is Willow Bank Yacht club. This is where I learned to sail, Swordfish, Sunfish, Comets, Lightnings and Flying Dutchman.