Archive for March, 2011

We are all convinced that we desire the truth above all. Nothing strange about this. It is natural to man, an intelligent being, to desire the truth. (I still dare to speak of man as ‘an intelligent being’!’) But actually, what we desire is not ‘the truth’ so much as ‘to be in the right.’ To seek the pure truth for its own sake may be natural to us, but we are not able to act always in this respect according to our nature. What we seek is not the pure truth, but the partial truth that justifies our prejudices, our limitations, our selfishness. This is not ‘the truth.’ It is only an argument strong enough to prove us ‘right.’ And usually our desire to be right is correlative to our conviction that somebody else (perhaps everybody else) is wrong.

‘Why do we want to prove them wrong? Because we need them to be wrong. For if they are wrong, and we are right, then our untruth becomes truth: our selfishness becomes justice and virtue: our cruelty and lust cannot be fairly condemned. We can rest secure in the fiction we have determined to embrace as ‘truth.’ What we desire is not the truth, but rather that our lie should be proved ‘right,’ and our iniquity be vindicated as ‘just.’ This is what we have done to pervert our natural, instinctive appetite for truth.

‘No wonder we hate. No wonder we are violent. No wonder we exhaust ourselves in preparing for war! And in doing so, of course, we offer the enemy another reason to believe that he is right, that he must arm, that he must get ready to destroy us. Our own lie provides the foundation of truth on which he erects his own lie, and the two lies together react to produce hatred, murder, disaster.’

~ Thomas Merton
from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Read Full Post »

If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

— Harry Truman


One of the way too many blawgs I subscribe to is one called Find Fulfill Flourish that is the work and thought of Steve Weitzenkorn and Robin Dansky. He’s the author of a book of the same name as the blawg, and Robin is a rabbi.

Their posting today, a take on dawg love, is quite incisive. Click here to check it out.

Read Full Post »

Just to be is a blessing.

Just to live is holy.”

— Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Second Song of Isaiah (Isa. 55:6-11)

Seek the Lord while he wills to be found;
call upon him when he draws near.

Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the evil ones their thoughts;

And let them turn to the Lord, and he will have compassion,
and to our God, for he will richly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as rain and snow fall from the heavens
and return not again, but water the earth,
Bringing forth life and giving growth,
seed for sowing and bread for eating,

So is my word that goes forth from my mouth;
it will not return to me empty;
But it will accomplish that which I have purposed,
and prosper in that for which I sent it.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever will be.

(photo, via “Living Bulwark,” by Polish photographer and medical student Wojtek Solecki)

Read Full Post »

A couple of my Elton John, Bernie Taupin faves . . .

But I love Lucy–and Elton’s version of it and his version with the rock’s other great John . . .

Read Full Post »

“Bright Light at Russell’s Corners,” George Ault, 1944

Read Full Post »

I’ve never been a huge Jazz fan, even though longtimers here at the Cult of the Jitterbugger know that I have a lot of Louie Armstrong and all kinds of New Orleans jazz on my playlist–and a good bit of Ella Fitzgerald, and I love Duke Ellington, and–to borrow a line from a Donald Fagen song (“New Frontier”), I’m mad about Brubeck.***

Come to think of it, I’m probably more of a big jazz fan than most people.

Click here for more on His Greatness.


***Longtimers here also know that I’m a co-founder and the chaplain of the All Night Steely Dan Land Fan Club, a cult of insomniacs and night owls bonded not only by their common insomnia but also by their love of the great Steely Dan and especially His Greatness Donald Fagen.

Read Full Post »


One of my faith heroes, Oscar Romero, was assassinated on this day 31 years ago–while speaking at Mass, no less.

The killing was the work of Salvadoran, military death squads — trained by the U.S. Army.

(Between 1980 and 1992, the United States sent more than $6 billion to the government of El Salvador, most of which was spent on direct military aid or economic support funds to bolster the war economy. More than 75,000 people were killed during the war, the great majority attributed to actions by the military. Four U.S. churchwomen, six Jesuit priests, and Archbishop Romero were killed by soldiers and officers trained by the U.S. School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia.)

Click here for more on the fascinating life of this holy man.

And here’s a link to the fine movie about him.

Read Full Post »


There is yet hope for a world so lost when you have the President of Russia hosting the Deep Purplers for tea.

(Hat tip to our main man and longtime cultist here at the Jitterbug cult Louis (Louie Louie) Ogden, who loves him some Deep Purple; but then, don’t we all of the sixties era love us some Deep Purple?)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Ardent British rock fan Dmitry Medvedev got his wish on Tuesday night when the Russian president hosted Deep Purple at his luxurious residence near Moscow, the Kremlin said.

Medvedev, 45, dressed in jeans and a black jacket, drank tea with the rock idols he has followed since he was a young boy, when he listened to the band in his tiny flat in Saint Petersburg, locked behind the iron curtain of the Soviet Union.

“Of course when I started listening to Deep Purple I could not imagine that I would be sitting here with you at this table like this,” Interfax news agency quoted him as telling the band.

The veteran musicians, some sporting sunglasses and long hair, gave the Kremlin chief a pair of drumsticks as a gift before heading off to play a concert in the capital.

Medvedev first met Deep Purple in 2008, weeks before he was steered into the Kremlin by his mentor, then president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, at a gig marking 15 years of Russian gas giant Gazprom.

When Medvedev arrived to greet his guests, he blasted one of their songs from an old tape player, winning applause from the band. Vocalist Ian Gillan then joked that he always thought presidents were old men, though not in Medvedev’s case.

As the party gained momentum, Medvedev’s son Ilya, 15, played the guitar with the band, state-run RIA news agency reported.

Unlike Putin, who has said he prefers patriotic Russian songs, Medvedev — who has styled himself as a reformer — is a dedicated rocker. Last year he met U2 frontman Bono in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Steve Addison)

Read Full Post »

“Do not put your trust in princes [or princesses], in mortal men [and women] who cannot save.”
—- From Ps. 146

Let’s not ever forget that Saddam Hussein was famously our good friend and that we were plenty willing to tolerate him in spite of his gassing his own people until George Bush the Elder made Saddam out to be Hitler all over again so as to turn him back from Kuwait and protect our oil interests.

And down below is a reminder that the evil leader of Libya was such a good American friend and ally as recently as August 2009 that Senators McCain and his shadow Joe Liebermann were singing the Libyan tyrant’s hosannas. . . .

We’re a nation–God help us–led by fickle warmongers and powermongers (owned by unscrupulous corporate behemoths) who will turn on a dime (Nobel Peace Winner Obama, Miss Hillary and all the rest of the so-called “liberals” and “socialists” included) and deny the realities of their own past promises and pledges and quotes.

And Tweets.

I know–it’s not exactly a revelation that power corrupts and that all politics, as H.L. Mencken said, is Tweedlee Dee and Tweedledee Dumb.

But political discourse has reached an all-time low for modern times while hypocrisy is so far up on the up and up that one of the Wiki Leaks guys is being tortured while Obama willfully turns a blind eye to the fact of this (very un-Christian) torture, not to mention the continuing torture of our enemies in other countries with our complicity. (ALL torture is evil and un-Christian and wrong whether it’s Obama or a W. Bush who is complicit in it.)

No wonder they want the Wiki Leaks people executed. The Wiki Leaks people keep exposing them all as the frauds and liars that they are. And what the Wiki Leaks don’t expose, the Tweets of powerful people themselves expose their incredible chutzpah.

with no further of that old ado . . . your quotable quote of the day:

One has to wonder if McCain and Lieberman were thinking about “what is best for the world as a whole” when they were patting Gadhafi on the back.”

— Sally Kohn, American Prospect

Read Full Post »

Much Madness is divinest Sense–
To a discerning Eye–
Much Sense –the starkest Madness–

— Emily Dickinson

Poetry from Her Greatness the Mystic Emily Dickinson:

“Some keep the Sabbath going to Church —
I keep it, staying at Home —
With a Bobolink for a Chorister —
And an Orchard, for a Dome —

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice —
I just wear my Wings —
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton — sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman —
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last —
I’m going, all along.”


Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, —
Done with the compass —
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!


THE BRAIN is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include
With ease, and you beside.

The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets do.

The brain is just the weight of God,
For, lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »