July 6, 2007

Celebration and Civility

Category: News — Ira @ 7:16 pm

Ira looking wise and thoughtful. I like this picture so much that
I’m considering it as a permenant heading for each blog.
As a child growing up in southern Ontario, I remember watching fireworks every year on Victoria Day, which is on a Monday, prior to May 25th. Of course, “watching fireworks” is a relative term. We watched from our house roof as the celebration unfolded in the town of Aylmer, 6 miles directly to the west. Usually right after the sun had set, while the horizon of the sky was still dull with its glow, the first little orange ball would pop up and explode. Followed by the spectrum of greens, reds and every imaginable shade in between.

It was a memorable, not like Christmas or your birthday, but memorable, event. A day or two before, one of us boys would happen to see on the calendar that Victoria Day was coming up. Oh, yeah, fire works. As the day ended, we would drag blankets out an upstairs window onto the east porch roof, then hop up to the low-pitched roof of the new section of the house that my father built after the family arrived in Canada in 1953. We’d lie there with our heads propped on our elbows in anticipation. From our vantage point, the little fireballs we cheered and “awwwed” at were about the size of a man’s fist. But it was all we had and it was fun.

Years later, in the late 80s, I saw my first real fire works up close. My brother Nate and I were traveling, through Missouri somewhere, as I recall. I was in one of my last “Amish” stages, so Nate, poor guy, was doing all the driving. We were passing some small town around sunset, when we heard thunder. Which was strange, because the skies were clear. The highway curved around and suddenly before us erupted a massive explosion of fiery splendor. Fireworks. We gasped. Nate stopped and parked the car beside the highway. Other drivers did the same. And we sat on the car hood and watched the show. I was awestruck. These things were massive and LOUD. In a Eureka moment, it clicked in my mind for the first time that the tiny fireworks we had always watched in Aylmer so many years ago were actually similar in size to those exploding before us.

Since then, I have watched fireworks up close a number of times, but don’t usually go to such events because of the crowds. It’s always a mess getting out. But for those of you who did, I hope you enjoyed them this year.

For the first time ever this Independence Day, I watched the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest in New York City. It was a midday ESPN event. (Yeah, yeah, I was bored and the weather wasn’t very nice, so save it.) Japanese champion Takeru Kobayoshi, who had won the contest for the last six years straight, was defeated by American Joey Chestnut. Mr. Chestnut ate a new world record 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes and brought the championship belt home to the cheers of the roaring crowd. Mr. Kobayoshi ate only 63. Why those guys didn’t explode on the spot is beyond me. The whole thing was surreal and simply unfathomable. And pretty silly, actually.

And now, as Paul Harvey says, Page Two. A few words about this site. First, I apologize to all readers for the deterioration of civility and respect in some comments posted during the last two weeks. In the heat of the moment, things were said that should not have been. Including some comments from me. They remain posted. To date, I have been very hesitant to interfere with a blog’s natural flow. However, as the editor, it is my responsibility to lay out some clear ground rules. I have not done that, so the blame for any confusion is mine.

The (new) rules are as follows: Anyone is welcome to comment. Anyone can disagree (and is encouraged to do so, if legit. But don’t disagree just to be contrary.) with anything I write or with anything anyone else posts. But one rule will be stringently enforced in the future. You MUST remain courteous. Write what you want, but write it like you have debated before. Be a gentleman. Or a lady. You can attack IDEAS and trash them all you want. Or a sports team. Or the kind of truck I drive (Personally, I think Fords suck). And so forth. Of course, all politicians, past and present, are fair game for your best shots.

But if you trash the one you are addressing, what kind of response are you realistically expecting? Consider that for a moment. (Oh, yes. Sorry. I am dumb, stupid, and can’t think through or process anything for myself. Thanks for pointing that out to me on this public forum. I now see it your way.) Come on. We’re all intelligent adults here. If you are serious about getting your point across, act like it. Personal, demeaning attacks (as defined by me) will be deleted from now on. And if anyone persists in such behavior, that person will be asked to cease participating in the conversation (On this site, consider me a Benevolent Dictator). Finally, the person you are addressing or challenging has no obligation whatsoever to respond.

The issue of race triggered the decline of civility. About that I have a few words as well. I know what prejudice is. I grew up in an Amish family during the 60s and 70s (before the Amish became media darlings). Because we dressed so differently, we were stared at in almost every public place we went. Some of those stares were hostile. At the local sale barn one night, when I was about 12, a young townie tough guy kicked me right in my you-know-whats for no reason, other than I was a little Amish kid. Right in front of his giggling girlfriend. I never told a soul. As a teenager and later as an adult, I was cursed publicly because my people don’t fight in wars. And more than once, while driving my horse and buggy along the highway after dark, redneck thugs hollered and cursed as they roared by in their pickups. Once, they threw a glass beer bottle, which shattered right under my horse’s hooves (fortunately, he was not injured). There were many other instances; these are only some that quickly come to mind. Granted, it was cultural, not racial prejudice/intimidation. But it was real enough, and I accepted it as just a part of life. And life is not fair. (As a side note, years ago I did try to use my status as a minority of one to get into Harvard and Yale. They didn’t bite. Their loss.)

In the current atmosphere surrounding racial dialogue, I particularly despise “shibboleth” tests of any kind. I will not engage in such. Because it is never enough. Not for those demanding proof. And certainly not for those who desperately try to prove they are not racist. You can’t disprove a negative (When did you stop beating your wife?). So I just won’t go there. If that’s a problem, that’s too bad. I also believe that anyone who claims to be totally prejudice-free is either sadly misguided or a blatant liar. We all have it somewhere, deep down or not so deep, against something, somebody or some group, because that is the natural condition of the human heart.

In my opinion (and it’s just my opinion, so restrain yourselves before attacking), Christians and Rednecks bear the brunt of more prejudice than any other two groups in America right now. Once the suicide bombs start in this country (and they will), it will be Muslims, and naturally so. In some circles, the fact that I am white makes me de facto prejudiced. And racist. That’s where we are, and that’s the way it is, as I see it. Of course, I would give up my viewpoint for a better one convincingly presented (as the Amish preachers always said when closing their sermons, but didn’t mean).

I try to respect every person until or unless that person shows he doesn’t deserve it. That’s pretty basic, but it works for me. True respect takes care of every other issue, including the current much-hyped sensitivity we are all supposed to have. For the more detailed debates, I defer to Fred the Curmudgeon. He has a lot of columns archived on his site. Some of them address race and racial issues. I haven’t read a single one that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

This has been a strange week. Melancholy is the best word to describe it. Not overly depressing, not deeply sad, just melancholy.

“All changes……have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
—Anatole France

And how was your week?



(No Comments)

  1. Surely we jest, about the picture, or etching at the top..Seems to me, the good photo is the one with Janice. The other appears as if you are in front of a prison door, or a gallows or something of that nature…shudder…Hadn’t kept up with the comments for some days, but yes indeed, after checking them, there’s been some discussion, though am not sure who’s where on what. On the race thing, if you remember how it was in Canada, if you wanted fighing words, you called someone a Newfie or a Frenchie. Both were put down words referring to one’s background [from Newfoundland or Quebec]. Having lived in the very deep south now for a generation, I claim a better understanding now than before. Many of my clients I also consider as friends. We may not go to the same church, or be the same skin color, but we can set at table together & enjoy it. In public or private settings. [That’s one definition of a friend.] Am sure there are plenty others.

    Comment by jess from S.C. — July 6, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  2. Archeologists were digging at an ancient site in Norway. They found a statue of the Norse thunder god. The statue had two huge rubies for eyes. When the two leading archeologists saw the statue, they began to squabble. Each wanted to claim the discovery as his own. The arguing went on for hours, with the rest of the team watching. Finally, they gave up and decided to share the credit for the discovery. As the crowd dispersed, one of the archeology assistants said to another, “Boy, was that a fight for Thor eyes.”

    Now admit it, that was funny!

    Ira’s response: Indeed it was.

    Comment by Thorne — July 7, 2007 @ 10:15 am

  3. happy 7-7-7 everybody! have a lucky day

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — July 7, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

  4. Amen to saying that rednecks and christians bear the brunt of prejudice more than any other group in America. It’s the Islamo-fashists as Rushbo says that are behind most of the prejudice. An unknown fact in America is that the Muslims have thier fingers deep in the ACLU, that’s according to my latest research. I agree 100% about the suicide bombings. I’m not a doom-sayer but if red blooded Americans do not wake up and realize what these muslims have in mind for our country, the face of America will forever be changed in a very violent and unpleasant way. So stand up for what you believe and get to know your politicians on a first name basis.

    Ira, on a lighter note I almost got tears in my eyes when I read the incident of when you were 12. Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Andrew — July 8, 2007 @ 10:33 pm

  5. Looks like the state of Pa. is shutting down this morning for lack of funds. What’s wrong, are your taxes too low? Here in S.C., a normal owner occupied house is taxed $500.00 per yr. or less. Outbuildings not taxed at all,and ag. land and woods at $1.00 per acre [per yr]. Of course most of the area here is not on the fast track. We have an awful lot of Pa. folk moving in here lately, seems like. Come on, join in. Our state’s still working.

    Comment by jess from S.C. — July 9, 2007 @ 7:43 am

  6. A question for Andrew; Why do you suppose it is that “rednecks and christians” bear the brunt of so much prejudice?

    Comment by Thorne — July 9, 2007 @ 10:18 am

  7. Please do not use that new photo. It does not look thoughtful. It looks like you are ill. Did you just want to get a rise? (Ha)

    Ira’s response: I actually like it. Maybe I’ll put the issue up to a vote. In the meantime, get used to it. You’ll see it some more.

    Comment by Frieda — July 9, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

  8. First: Ira, you said: “The issue of race triggered the decline of civility.” But I looked back at the last couple blogs’ comments, and fail to find any such reference. (All the same, I appreciate the foil it gave for your insight in mistreatment of Amish.)

    From personal communication, I understand you mean that the John Birch Society, which I referenced, was considered by at least one person to be a racist organization. This is not true. It is an Americanist organization. It stands for historical Constitutional principles in government. For this reason, it is hated by every and any type of statist, whether socialist, communist, fascist, or those who think that advocating the government do good deeds is their part of doing good deeds.

    It is especially Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center who has furthered the notion that the JBS is racist. I stayed away from JBS materials for a long time because I thought the notion was true. He may have invented that way of keeping people from hearing what groups have to say by slandering them, I don’t know. It has been an effective strategy, but has not helped the cause of truth and dialogue.

    I will recant if anyone can show me the JBS is racist. But for those who want to know their true purpose and stand, you can see that here: http://www.jbs.org/node/389

    Having said that, I will answer the 3 questions put to me in the former blog in separate posts.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — July 9, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

  9. Answer to Thorne’s questions.

    I did not necessarily “support” the JBS by quoting an article that has pertinent facts about Neo-conservatism. My point was about Neo-conservatism’s baneful influence in the Republican National Committee, so that that supposedly “conservative” party is actually forwarding “leftist” (Statist) goals.

    Nevertheless I do support the JBS, for the stated purposes for which they exist (upholding the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, as my link above shows). That is not because I’m a patriotic nut. I like America, but believe she is headed for judgment, and no matter to me for I prefer to stand for the Kingdom of God, with countries as but dust on the scales.

    But still it does matter to me, yes, as a Christian, because in the march of Christian history in the West, the opportunity of a non-European country allowed some new Christian principles to flourish in the “New World.” First, largely because of the Anabaptists’ suffering persecution at the hands of both Romanists and Protestants (but also because people in those groups suffered at each others’ hands as well), the easily-expandable-by migration countryside kept the State-Church Puritans from making everyone conform to all of their doctrines and conduct. People could move to another territory. (This is not slam on the Puritans’ great Christian faith, just the State Church aspect.) People did grasp the idea that to allow freedom of conscience within church bodies was better than the Hundred Years’ War and so on, and thus colonies eventually had more religious toleration than was ever permissible in European states, which were usually beholden to the kings or nobles who happened to be in power.

    Secondly, the principles in the Declaration and Constitution were derived from centuries of thought and experience about the advantages of limiting the civil powers. We can begin with Magna Carta and go on from there. Government is not a Caesar, cannot dictate, but “derives its just powers from the CONSENT of the governed.” It was assumed that in a basically Christian society that this would mean laws be passed in conformity with Biblical law principles, which is to say, principles of true civility, principles of freedom, principles which would also allow people to prosper.

    Now to my personal journey (I’ll be brief) to explain why the JBS. I have been distressed for some time at the growing Caesarism in our country (which inevitably is a growing Beast who devours her young in service to the State and in conquests abroad, and just as inevitably results in the persectution of true believers in Jesus, the Light of the world).

    As a young believer, I saw the evil of abortion. It not only kills babies (seeing one such mangled body changed my life), but oppresses women. It has put our society on the footing of blood as the price of “prosperity,” thereby also twisting our societal values. (It is very much the same as Molech worship among the apostate Israelites of old.) So I set to work against it.

    That lead to clashes between stated law and actual mis-enforcement of it. I saw police “just doing their job,” some violently happy to hurt people, and some who stood for principle. I saw judges and lawyers use their courtrooms for their pre-conceived ideas of right, irrespective of law (law on the books and law of the Bible, from which the law on American books derives).

    From that crisis, I saw that the civil government sphere also is a very real arena of spiritual battle. Through prayer over many years, which lead to studious investigation of law and history. To keep it short, within that context two books in particular showed me the present day conflict with the main political force(s) that are seeking to subvert the Christian law basis that has given freedom in America. “Witness” by Whittaker Chambers is a great piece of writing in its own right, by a man who had been in the communist underground and converted. It also happened to show the reality of the perniciousness and pervasiveness of an anti-Christian movement (whatever those involved think of their motives and goals).

    The second book is “Red Cocaine” by Joseph Douglass. It is material put together on the subject of the actual genesis of drugs as a weapon against the West, from the highest-level official of the Communist Party ever to defect. It brought the reality of things going on the the State and Justice Departments into the 1980s.

    Which brings us back to the present. Many of those interested in this blog know Democrats are typically (not uniformly) Leftist/Statists (what I called Caesarism, or “the government is the answer to social problems.”) What I have become aware of is that self-named neo-conservatives are also of the same persuasion, though their strategy for getting to worldwide central planning is different. They fancy they will be “benevolent” in their exercise of power, but their quest for a statist solution is the same.

    In finding these facts, I eventually found that the JBS has been holding forth on this perspective for some time. Specifically, The New American news magazine is excellent in not being distracted from the real issues. (Their campaigns have also been effective at times, something many fund-raising Christian and conservative groups have not been.) So, it is not that the JBS has made me think a certain way, but that my own journey in this area has led me to them.

    If you don’t like my links about neocons from JBS or Patrick Buchanan, this interview of Ron Paul is another one that brings out some of these facts. And he is there in Washington to know. http://www.rutherford.org/oldspeak/articles/politics/oldspeak-Ronpaul2.asp

    I’ll answer your second and third Qs another time.

    “Confirm thy soul in self-control, the liberty in law.” A note to listeners-in: My interest in not in “politics” but in the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who alone can make us free indeed. Preventing my grandchildren from living under a persecuting state is not a side issue for me. And if some read history from a different perspective, that does not stop me.

    I trust the participants will make this a site about which Jesus would say “nice!” as He looks on our lives and honest communication.

    Apologies, Ira, for the soapbox, but I was invited to defend myself.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — July 9, 2007 @ 8:03 pm

  10. I must agree with Frieda’s nurse perspective:) you do appear slightly ill..uncle Jess’ suggestion of photo choice was a good one.

    On a slightly different note..one hopefully not out of order for such a place..I’d like to ask all bloggers out there to remember my daughter Kali, who is scheduled for an MRI (not a fun procedure for an active 16 month old) tomorrow due to some unexplainable periods of temporary paralysis. Thanks much! Dot

    Ira’s response: Not out of place at all. And thanks for the goodies; the package arrived today. I had some, but felt guilty and will probably share with friends.

    Comment by Dorothy — July 9, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

  11. I also agree that the new picture is not a flattering one… sorry!

    Comment by jason yutzy — July 10, 2007 @ 7:35 am

  12. Kali update..

    Lots of you are wondering about our darling 16 month old, Kali, thanks to the word spreading thru this site. She was to have an MRI today, but was postponed till Thursday at 7 am, due to a gliche in the sedation schedule.

    She seems very normal and is her jolly active self, climbing everywhere including the recliner back, table top, hanging over her crib rails etc :), but just has short (less then 3 minutes) spells where she is unable to control her left side. Her left side of her face droops and her leg and arm just dangle, making her unable to walk and she does not talk. She remains alert and is always fine and very active after.

    In her preliminary activities yesterday, they discussed her heart murmer, which is being checked, but all her other vitals and checks are perfect. The nurses were amazed at how tall she is as she is literally off the charts length wise, I just told them I am from a tall! family :) Thanks for your thoughts and prayers..

    Love to all!

    Comment by Dorothy — July 10, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  13. Answers to Thorne’s questions.

    The 2nd of 3 was what has you believe Pat Buchanan and disparage [FDR]? This was in reference to Buchanan’s article on the Communist International roots of the current self-named Neo-conservatives.

    Thorne, by the way you referred to FDR, you find reasons to like him. No doubt he had many things going for him, and it is rare to find someone in leadership with all evil decisions. I find that, overall, as I look at the history, he was a kind of facist, having overridden our Constitutional checks and balances to a degree not done previously, and from which we have not looked back. (Wilson was personally a Christian, but his policies in implanting the privately-owned Fed over government-issued currency was a disaster that even he regretted later; this was a seismic shift, but FDR took it further with seizure of gold, etc., not to mention the “government by declared Emergency” from which we increasingly suffer.)

    I at first questioned whether you were referring to or current President simply because Buchanan does not refer to FDR in his article. He does mention Eleanor R., as helping set up a budding neo-con type organization that it still in existence. So, maybe we can take the Roosevelt policy roots as socialist or communist (government-owned means of production) rather than fascist (public-private partnerships). Either one is Statist, in contrast to a law-limited, representative Republic with free (unregulated) enteprise.

    Why not Buchanan? He was a White House speech-writer for awhile, and he has a good handle on the political landscape and its players. He also uses words well. The question is whether what he says in the article is true, and I have no reason to doubt it.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — July 10, 2007 @ 5:36 pm

  14. Answers to Thorne’s questions.

    3rd and last. I need to copy the question here from the Sidling Hill posts: “Which ‘Gospel’ do you do you (sic) consider the truth? Guttenburg? King James? Tyndal’s (sic)? Wycliffe’s, Greek, The Torah? Gnostic, The Koran, Luther, Upanishads, etc., etc., etc., etc.?”

    The Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, into whatever language they are translated. I used small “g” gospel to mean the “good news” those Gospels and the rest of the New Testament contain about Jesus of Nazareth (born in the small Bethlehem of the time, Bethelehem Ephratha). The good news (per Mark 1:1, as I understand the genitive in Greek) is that the Messiah, long-awaited by God’s people, has come, and it is Jesus. Matthew’s historical record indicates the primary reason of many, many reasons this is “good news,” and that is because Jesus meant “Savior from sin.” In other words (as is explained in Romans, especially Romans 6), Jesus has the authority and power to not only forgive our sins, but through bestowing the Holy Spirit to those who trust in Jesus Christ [Messiah] with all their hearts, He enables us to begin to live above the sins “that so easily entangle us” (per Hebrews 12).

    I think most of us who are the least bit honest with ourselves recognize, at least in some fleeting moments, that we do things that we do not want to do, wish we had not done, wish we would find power not to do again … and yet do at least one thing, or hold at least one attitude which we recognize as harmful to ourselves, WRONG (because we say it is wrong when we see the same thing in others), and which we yet recognize we do not know how to change. The Bible presents Jesus as the answer to this, and more, plainly presents faith (real wholehearted trust) as the answer (Jesus being the only valid object of “saving faith,” as the Bible presents it).

    Your list has the inventor of the printing press (Guttenburg), several Bible translators (Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, all of whom were Greek or Hebrew scholars or both), a language from which the Aramaic-speaking Jews wrote the NT they translated from (Greek; Paul was also well-versed in Hebrew, which is clear from his sometimes using Hebrew to correct of the Greek LXX translations of the Jewish Scriptures); it has the “Law” portion of the Hebrew Scriptures (Torah, though this is sometimes used for the whole of the OT); and then you mention sacred writings from some other religious traditions. The Upanishads are distinct from the Abrahamic Scriptures (if we may call the Bible that), and no doubt, like most religious writings, have some grains of thought that “ring true” and help people. But the Vedic (“Hindu”) writings do not have historical evidence of a leader who died, rose from the dead bodily, and still lives, testifying that He is the very and only Savior, and therefore individuals must trust Him with their whole heart to virtually receive a new life in order to live forever with God. The Gnostics teachings and Muhammed’s Koran recognize the OT and NT as sacred writings, but, like Upanishads I suppose (I’ve never read them), exhort people to enter into an esoteric knowledge, and thereby do one thing or another to find a path of wisdom, a way to get to heaven, or a way to be transformed. But they did not– nor could they–save me from a life of drunkeness, drugs, and considered suicide, which Jesus did, as I read the New Testament and eventually asked Him to forgive me for the mess I made of my life, to forgive me of my sins, to take my life entirely and show me how to live–which He did, and is doing!

    The New Testament, like the “Old,” is historical (I did not say “undisputed,” but what’s new?). It claims to be the truth, and “all that we need for life and godliness,” and “the Scriptures [sacred writings] which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.” I am not sure any of the other religious writings–the few you mentioned, or others– make such claims (though many make broad claims). And I do not think there is any issue of such fundamental importance to every one of us. Whether you look at it from the angle of “how to get to heaven,” or how to get to know God, or Who is God if there is One (and surely there is a Creator!), or how do we solve personal, family, and social problems … in all of these the Bible claims to have the answer, and in fact it does have some very reasonable answers, which even people of other religions will admit when they examine it dispassionately. The basic problem of sin is there, and there are hypocrites everywhere (which itself confirms our pervasive sin problem). The Bible claims God has given us a solution to this problem in Christ, that it begins in an individual’s heart and works outward from the life (or virtual death) that is at that center of our being, and that the Jesus–Messiah to not only the Jews but the whole world–is the one in whom we must trust to receive this new life.

    It is an exclusive message; but what else would we expect a true God to be or do, especially if He would be just? More amazingly, this God has given His own life for us, when we had not only not asked for it, but already had rejected Him. Thereby, Jesus is the one who brought real love into the world, like no one else before or since. It is unfortunate that many do not recognize this (or, in Church language “give Him glory”).

    There is so much to say! The best I can do is to commend to you to read the New Testament (or read it again, perhaps reading the Old Testament to understand the historical flow into which the announcement of Messiah comes). Surely no one wants to remain like cynical Pilate, who could only spout, when brought face to face with Jesus, “What is Truth?”

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — July 10, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

  15. LeRoy:
    Thank you for your responses. You’ve made some excellent points, and to do them the justice of a similarly well thought out response will take me a few days to prepare (them). I very much appreciate the scholarship and linear construction of your answers and hope that I will, in probably some poor measure, provide responses that will do justice to the conversation,


    Comment by Thorne — July 11, 2007 @ 8:43 am

  16. ok- here is the “for the picture” vote!
    I love it:)

    Comment by janice — July 11, 2007 @ 8:46 pm

  17. Kali report…
    Kali’s MRI came back fine! Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers!
    We are not sure where we go from here, but we may just wait and see if these symptoms happen again?!

    Mother and daughter. Dorothy and Kali

    Comment by Dorothy — July 12, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

  18. Hurray for Kali, Praise the Lord. And the whole picture voting thing. The pic has quality all of its own, so I would say its a very good pic in that type of pics. Most people will not appreciate that pic, because it kinda has the sci-fi effects. AY

    Comment by Andrew — July 12, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

  19. Dorothy, we’re hoping little Kali will be fine!!
    I would like to see some other choices before we hold the picture voting thing!!
    I was intrigued how John kept mentioning my sis when he attended the Henry H. funeral….
    Does anyone read all of these looong comments posted recently? No offense. W.W.

    Ira’s response: Now, now, let the guys debate. You don’t have to read it. Cyberspace is unlimited.

    Comment by wilma wagler — July 12, 2007 @ 6:12 pm

  20. I think the picture works, but to someone who doesn’t know better it might look like you got into some THC or maybe even some MDMA.

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — July 12, 2007 @ 8:09 pm

  21. Sorry, not so wild about the pic either … but bring on the debate! I read it.

    Comment by Glo — July 13, 2007 @ 8:37 am

  22. I like the picture. But since it is your site, Ira, we should remember it is entirely your choice, and that you can choose whether or not to put it to a vote. Or even choose for the minority, or simply because it’s against everyone’s first reaction and challenges them.

    Glad Kali is doing well.

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — July 13, 2007 @ 11:35 am

  23. Back to the pic, is there some significance in the door behind you? Such as, here I am, ruminating on what’s past? I suppose it could also be, here I am, contemplating what is before me- both of those could have their place.

    Ira’s response: I’d like to say that it has lots of significance with the door behind, etc. Truth is, I was fiddling around with the laptop camera before I knew what I was doing and snapped it. And liked it.

    Comment by jason yutzy — July 13, 2007 @ 11:40 am

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