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(Things Catholic...and otherwise)



Updated: 2017-10-21T07:17:01.933-04:00

 



Update on Presley

2017-10-21T07:17:01.941-04:00

My daughter’s daughter, my granddaughter. She’s now one year old, and when she looks at me, I’m like a dead man come to life again.

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Abortion- by- bomb

2017-08-23T05:07:50.814-04:00

In case you didn't get your fill of the atom bomb debate when the Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversaries rolled around, I'm posting a comment exchange between my friend Zippy and the author of an article at Crisis called "Combatants, Non-Combatants, and Double Effect." I may not have captured all of the back and forth because I haven't been back in a couple of days. But this should give a glimpse of what a genuine massacre looks like.Intentional murder of the innocent is about the worst thing one can be guilty of. But my impression of the author's main point is that Catholic unity is paramount, that in this case it is permissible to believe that the bombings were murderous, and likewise permissible to believe the opposite. It's okay if you do and okay if you don't. Amazing.I also note that early in the exchange, it becomes clear that 'rhetoric' in the Deacon's opinion is a dirty word, so I doubt he knows what it really means. Perhaps he was looking for something like the more commonly maligned 'sophistry,' but that's not a dirty word either.Herewith:Zippy •I guess abortion is OK as long as it is done with bombs rather than suction aspiration.Deacon Jim Russell •I've got an idea--would you like to read the article and then offer a comment? Thanks.Zippy •I did.Deacon Jim Russell •Oh, Okay.In that case, let's call things by their proper names.Direct abortion is deliberately and directly acting upon a child in the womb to kill it.Therefore, bombs don't cause direct abortions because they don't deliberately and directly target unborn children.And unborn child who dies as a result of an exploding bomb is killed but not via direct abortion..But tell me again--what does any of this have to do with the article I wrote?Zippy •If you aren't directly and deliberately killing people when you directly and deliberately drop bombs on them and incinerate their living bodies then it isn't even possible to discuss morality, let alone practice it.Deacon Jim Russell •I'm just inviting you to deal with reality, not rhetoric.It's mere rhetoric to invoke abortion when discussing bombing.It's not morality to invoke it--it's rhetoric.If you want to discuss abortion, fine--but that's not what this article was about.If you want to discuss bombing, then let's discuss that.Zippy •And I'm just inviting you to deal with the reality of deliberately and directly incinerating living unborn children, as opposed to making them disappear from consideration by labeling them "combatants".Deacon Jim Russell •I wasn't labeling them "combatants." Never did.If you have any evidence that the atomic bombs were dropped to deliberately and directly incinerate living unborn children, I'd like to see that evidence.Zippy •Deliberately and directly exploding a bomb is always the deliberate and direct killing of everyone known to be in the fatal blast radius. The only "evidence" required here is that, among all the other people deliberately and directly killed, there were living unborn children.Deacon Jim Russell •You're saying the US military leaders *knew* the precise number and location of *every* unborn child in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and deliberately and directly wanted to incinerate them?I find that hard to believe. I thought there was a difference between deliberate/direct and "indiscriminate."Zippy •That kind of precise knowledge isn't necessary. If I toss a canister of Zyklon B into a chamber full of innocent Jews, moral evaluation of my act doesn't require me to possess a precise headcount or manifest.Deacon Jim Russell •That's not an apt comparison--how about this one instead:Let's say that I'm defending myself from an attacker on a crowded street--I pull out my loaded weapon and fire at the assailant as the assailant raises his loaded gun and aims at me. In that split second, I know that there is a good possibility that if I fire, I might hit someone in the crowd as well as the assailant, but if I don't fire I will surely be shot and killed. One of my shots ricochets and strikes a bystander, killing him.Am I[...]



The World is Something Else

2017-06-22T06:26:13.707-04:00

Got married straight out of high school. To a guy I knew since fifth grade summer camp. Summer wedding. Guests were mostly mosquitos. We had a baby boy, then a toddler, now a teen. Last year my husband phones me at work, says he's got a boyfriend named Dale, says they're movin' in together. Says he's sorry, says he loves me, but not like that.
"What else is there?" I say. You think the world is somethin' and it turns out to be somethin' else.
Sheriff's deputy Gloria Burgle (played by Carrie Coon), from the TV series Fargo.

What else is there? Exactly.




The Body of Christ

2017-06-20T17:09:56.648-04:00

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The Book on Usury

2017-05-09T16:40:25.150-04:00

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Back in February 2015 I put up a post called The End of Usury. The post's title reflected wishful thinking, prompted by Zippy's Usury FAQ at his website. That FAQ has been updated at least three times and, at the urging of readers, at last been put into hard copy and is now available at Amazon. I'll say again what I said at the time: "...if you’re open to the possibility that certain transactions can still be described in our own time as usurious, that its practice is in fact very real, a very venal and grave iniquity..," then this is the book for you. I promote it because I have become convinced of its moral urgency. The sin of usury derives, after all, from one man's use of another human being, from his treating that being as an object. That its connection with other depredations of our time is an intimate one ought therefore to be rather obvious.

Buy as many copies as you can afford. Give them to every priest and religious of your acquaintance, to all your friends, and even send one to the Vatican. The Man Upstairs just might see that it finds its target.



Zippy zings

2017-04-25T17:43:22.035-04:00

Liberalism attempts to make a unifying principle out of ruthlessly enforced disunity. If you won’t agree to be my brother, I will crack your skull.

Whole thing here.



From the Pope, another guide to clear thinking and moral perspicacity

2017-04-22T06:30:26.944-04:00

A few highlights from the MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS ON THE OCCASION OF THE WORLD MEETINGS OF POPULAR MOVEMENTS IN MODESTO (CALIFORNIA) [16-18 FEBRUARY 2017] (10 FEBRUARY 2017):I would also like to highlight the work done by the PICO National Network and the organizations promoting this meeting. I learned that PICO stands for “People Improving Communities through Organizing”. What a great synthesis of the mission of popular movements: to work locally, side by side with your neighbors, organizing among yourselves, to make your communities thrive.Okay, so Obama was on the right track after all.We know that none of these ills began yesterday. For some time, the crisis of the prevailing paradigm has confronted us. I am speaking of a system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few. “In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history.”[2]Questions: [1.] What "ills"? [2.] What is the "prevailing paradigm"? [3.] What "system" are you speaking of? [4.] Is our "Common Home" the planet earth? [5.] Where, exactly, in our Common Home has the "invisible tyranny of money" set up shop? [6.] How does money - a species of unthinking material stuff - know how to do this? [7.] If the tyranny is invisible, how do you, the Pope, know that it exists? [8.] Does the "turning-point" mean that Christ is coming? Again?As Christians and all people of good will, it is for us to live and act at this moment. It is “a grave responsibility, since certain present realities, unless effectively dealt with, are capable of setting off processes of dehumanization which would then be hard to reverse.”[3] These are signs of the times that we need to recognize in order to act. We have lost valuable time: time when we did not pay enough attention to these processes, time when we did not resolve these destructive realities.Similar questions: 1. What are the "certain present realities"? 2. What "signs of the times" do you see? 3. What are "these processes" to which we have not been paying attention? 4. Are the "destructive realities" the same as the "certain present" ones?The economic system that has the god of money at its center, and that sometimes acts with the brutality of the robbers in the parable, inflicts injuries that to a criminal degree have remained neglected.Which economic system is this? The one in Cuba? North Korea?I know that you have committed yourselves to fight for social justice, to defend our Sister Mother Earth and to stand alongside migrants. I want to reaffirm your choice and share two reflections in this regard...You are fond of cramming two unrelated subjects into a single sentence....First, the ecological crisis is real. “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system.”[6]Why would anyone question this? ...and I feel is important to say it again: no people is criminal and no religion is terrorist. Christian terrorism does not exist, Jewish terrorism does not exist, and Muslim terrorism does not exist. They do not exist. No people is criminal or drug-trafficking or violent. “The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence yet, without equal opportunities, the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and will eventually explode.”[7]Yes, you have said this before. On the religion stuff, especially as regards terrorism, we will just have to agree to disagree, especially disagree, since, as I have pointed out in previous posts, you seem not to have read one word of any history explicating the confrontations of Islam with other cultures. But I think I get the poverty stuff. Poor people are not inherently criminal or violent, except when they[...]



These women need your support

2017-04-22T19:53:34.231-04:00

Explore their website.

The heart of their mission. Yes, it's 50 minutes long, but...

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...there's evidence that it works.



Post-election Christmas reflection

2017-04-22T19:56:00.124-04:00

Yes, that's a human baby. I'll explain in a moment why she's there. Lest I be accused of misdirection, let me say something about the election: Trump, the latest incarnation (sorry) of conservative liberalism, won. He's bad, but She- the "Grandma Abortion Witch" (all credit to Zippy Catholic) - was far worse. Better him than her. And that's the end of my analysis. Maybe at a later time.The baby above was born in mid-October, my elder daughter's firstborn. She was about two weeks old when her mother pressed the camera's shutter button. With Christmas upon us, it's remarkable to ponder that, a mere two weeks earlier, Hillary Clinton would have supported the murder of this child, had its mother felt so inclined, and by means most gruesome, so gruesome it beggars the imagination. We kill babies in a spectacular variety of ways undreamed of by previous societies. We live in advanced times.When Christmas rolls around, it's an unpleasant but necessary exercise to recall what a friend describes as "the horror of horrors" - that in the land of liberty somewhere north of 3,500 babies are murdered daily in utero and some partially ex. If one should survive the assassination attempt (there are a few) it will likely be left alone, gasping and twitching till it can't no more.Worldwide, there have been over one and a half billion abortions since 1980.A little over two thousand years ago, a young woman gave birth to a child who was reputedly a merger of the human and divine, without our taking "merger" too seriously. It easily confuses when there was no confusion, or co-mingling of the two natures in Christ. They remained distinct yet united in the one Person. As the old encyclopedia has it: "We speak here of no moral union, no union in a figurative sense of the word; but a union that is physical, a union of two substances or natures so as to make One Person, a union which means that God is Man and Man is God in the Person of Jesus Christ."Of course, some people don't buy this story, but if it is true, then God commended Himself to the care of the human race. Lying in Mary's arms, he says (without uttering a word) to her and to all of us, "Take care of me." It's what every baby says by virtue of its mere existence. If you've ever held a newborn and were not at once stricken by a tender obligation to guard and protect this helpless innocent, then something's wrong with you. If this sense of obligation does not extend backward in time to this creature's beginning, and forward to its end, then something is equally wrong with you. With us. A lot of people these days are not much moved by the sight of babies, especially if they encounter more than two in one family. And what is wrong with us probably cannot be fixed without our taking rather seriously the claim made upon us by that baby who was a God-man.Leaving aside the Incarnation's larger soteriological purpose, this mystery reveals to mankind something new about itself. Tending as I do toward misanthropy, it is sometimes hard even for me to believe, but I do try to put the truth before my own inclinations, most of which are probably due to sinful habit in any case. That new thing told us by the birth of the Bethlehem baby is that mankind is made of such stuff, created in such a way, as to render this inexplicable union called hypostatic metaphysically possible. We were made in His image. The Incarnation proves it.If it is true. Until a sufficient number of us believe that it is, and behave as though we believe that it is, we'll remain lost, the remnant waiting upon the day of judgement. I note that our local chapter of the 40 Days for Life movement has about 400 likes on Facebook. Kim Kardashian has about 40 million. To end on an uplifting note, here's a picture of that same baby at two months. Let the love begin: [...]



Non-starter

2017-04-22T20:02:42.457-04:00

We will not, this time anyway, have our first woman president. On a list of a hundred reasons why I might support someone for president, this one wouldn't even make the list.



The Great Egret ...

2017-04-22T20:05:15.121-04:00

..pays a visit. Click (maybe twice, to get to full size) so that he can look you in the eye.

He and the Great Blue are sharing space, sort of.



The Religions of Peace

2017-04-24T03:17:21.745-04:00

Speaking of that terror attack on the French Catholic priest (notice how quickly it's disappeared from the news), the leader of the world's largest religion shared his thoughts:Speaking on the papal plane en route to Krakow, Poland, for World Youth Day celebrations, Francis said the world had been in "a piecemeal war" for some time. He said Tuesday's killing of the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 86, in St.-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, was one casualty in this conflict. "The world is at war because it has lost peace," he said. "There is a war of interest, there is a war for money, a war for natural resources, a war to dominate people," he continued. "Some might think it is war of religion. It is not. All religions want peace. Others want war."And thus does the martyrdom of Rev. Hamel get dissolved by his own Pope into the general array of conflicts that beset mankind - the 'fog of war,' so to speak - and the Reverend's Catholic faith melted into the pre-biotic soup of religious relativism.I almost can't take any more intellectually decrepit speech farts delivered at 30,000 feet.Does anyone know what a "war of interest" is? A "war to dominate people"? Aren't all wars like that?Who are these "others" that "want war"? What evidence does he have that "all religions want peace"? And how does a religion want anything? It's a body of doctrine, a set of teachings that may recommend this and condemn that, but as a bunch of words on paper, I doubt that it wants anything. He's either historically illiterate or Barack Obama's secret pen pal. His words sound just like Loretta Lynch's FBI spokesman in the wake of the Orlando massacre. To give the common man his due, a citizen of a town close by St.-Etienne-du-Rouvray agrees: ""We must fight the terrorists. These people are crazy -- they justify their actions with religion, but religion has nothing to do with it."The sickness, apparently, distinguishes not between king and commoner.I was wondering if the Pope thought that the Wars of Religion had nothing to do with religion. All the historical references I can find seem to think they did. Or that the Crusaders had no legitimate religious purpose, were utterly lacking in piety and true devotion when they journeyed a thousand miles by horse and foot to close with a ruthless enemy in a desert waste because they so much preferred war to peace. They wouldn't rather have stayed home with their families? Throw them under the bus, Pope.Can a man go to war and still justly serve the truth of his religion? Some Popes thought so: Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war. Why did they do it? ...Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt. They were keenly aware of their sinfulness and eager to undertake the hardships of the Crusade as a penitential act of charity and love. Europe is littered with thousands of medieval charters attesting to these sentiments, charters in which these men still speak to us today if we will listen. Of course, they were not opposed to capturing booty if it could be had. But the truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.It gets better: U[...]



The Republicrats affirm the sexual flexicrats in their...whatever

2017-04-24T06:43:37.817-04:00

[update at the end]Peter Thiel ( I think his name was), founder of PayPal, gave a speech last night during which he announced how "proud" he was of being gay. (That means 'homosexual' for you linguistic revanchists). I am heterosexual, but have never been proud of it. I was glad of it, once I figured out what it was good for, but never proud, since I was in no way responsible for possessing it. When I say "I am heterosexual," I mean that it is intrinsic to my very being. When a man says he is homosexual, isn't he saying the same thing? So why then is he proud of it, as though it were some sort of accomplishment, when in fact it can only be a gift from God? If it is a gift from God, why do I never hear homosexuals thanking Him for it?Later, Donald Trump reached out enthusiastically to the "LGBTQ community." He was very pleased with the crowd's approval of Thiel's speech. Now, I don't think that Mr. Trump, prior to the speech, would have known to put the 'Q' into the community without proper instructions from a speechwriter. I don't think he knew what it stands for. Just guessing, of course. It's kind of funny, too, since during the campaign Mr. Trump found occasion to roundly denounce Mr. Romney as a loser, but in their attempts to suck up to that 'community', they sound a whole lot alike .Owing to some urgency, I had to leave the room a couple times during the speech, but in what I did hear the word 'unborn' never made a sound. Other matters interest me as well, such as forcing women to register for the draft and compelling combat units to admit them to their ranks. Some still think that allowing openly declared homosexuals and the ostensibly transgendered to serve remains problematic, but I doubt - should Mr. Trump denounce this ongoing attempt to transform the military into a Disney Park for sexual utopians - that it would go over very well with Mr. Thiel. So I don't expect that he will. He did make some noise about replacing Antonin Scalia with another one. You know, the Scalia who hated abortion and the same-sex mimickry of marriage. Suppose he got his Scalia 2.0. He might even get 2.1. And what if this new and wondrously conservative court overturned Obergefell vs. Hodges? What's he going to say to the 'LGBTQ community' then? Or will he litmus-test his Scalia clones to make sure they're only Scalia-lite? Another topic that interests me is the conscience rights of people who don't want to facilitate the moral mayhem: photographers, bakers and candlestick makers, for example, who refuse to cater to the marriage mimics. Mr. Trump did thank the evangelicals for their support, but I didn't hear any promises to actually do anything. Well, as I said, I had to leave the room so I might have missed something. But I doubt it.By the way, what self-respecting evangelical Christian would support this man? Who are these people? What creed do they hold that allows them to imagine they also heard echoes of it in last night's speech?There was a movie once called Left Behind. If I recall, what happens in that story is that a thing called the Rapture descends upon mankind and all the good Christians get spirited off to be with Jesus, while those of whom He says "I never knew you" get...left behind. I'm not sure what their ultimate fate was since I never read the book or saw the movie. But after watching the euphoria of last night's proceedings, that's how I feel, like one of those left behinders. All the good Republicans have gone to join the new savior, while I got left behind. It's not Trump's fault, though. The process began a long time ago and last night was nothing more than (to descend to cliché) a nail in my coffin. [of interest: at NR, Maggie Gallagher gives a broader overview of the problem, and an unf[...]



New Toy (the Canon Rebel T5)

2017-05-23T02:02:25.785-04:00

[Update: Addendum below the post]

Wife got me a new camera for my birthday, a Canon Rebel T5. Here's what it looks like:

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Yeah, big lenses. When I press the shutter button halfway, the lenses rotate back and forth accompanied by a robotic whirring noise. Sometimes they elongate without being instructed. I am neither deserving of it nor competent to use it. I don't know how much it cost and she won't tell me. (I know, I could google it, but would that please her? A woman's mind is unknowable.) In addition to pictures like the one below, it shoots 1920x1080 high definition movies. It's not the most expensive camera out there (I saw one for 28,000 dollars online somewhere), but I'll never need another. I've gotten far enough to take the following picture (of a flower in my yard). Click to enlarge. And that's still two sizes smaller than I could have linked to. But computer screens are only so big. Anyway, my old Canon Power Shot could not do this. Not even close.

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Someone who can really do flowers is Don at Shuffly.net. Take a look at these. Todd McKimmey, facilitator of two web presences, The Christendom Review and What's Wrong with the World, ain't bad neither. I think these guys spent more money on their stuff than my wife did.



More Photo Fun

2017-05-23T01:45:47.897-04:00

I promise to return to blogging about serious things real soon, if I can figure out what those things are. In the meantime, a few shots I took with my new camera. Inspired by my friend Zippy, who knows about cameras (apertures, f/stops, depth of field, ISO, etc.) I've been trying different things, much of it unsuccessful. You won't see those here. The learning curve is pretty steep. Believe it or not, there is actually a Dummies book for my camera (or rather for people who use my camera), and probably for yours too.

Anyway, forthwith: the pics of the two houses were shot across a lake with a 300mm zoom lens. One house was about a half mile away and the other a few hundred yards. The ibis was taken with a 55mm lens, and I've linked to the full size version so's you can see the detail from about 25 feet away. The water scenes are from the shore of Lake Conway. All can be enlarged by clicking.

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From Dad's backyard

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house on water

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another house


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storm clouds brewing

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9th hole at Dubsdread




Some recent camera sightings

2017-04-27T06:23:44.599-04:00



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sandhill crane


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great blue heron


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not sure what this is

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evening thunderhead

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sunset on Lake Conway

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evening storm







Hiatus from "the healing"

2017-04-28T06:07:55.470-04:00

[There's an update below the fold]A few people show up here looking for something to read, something of at least minor substance. However, there won't be much of that for the near future. Most of my time these days is occupied caring for elderly parents who need protecting from themselves and the outside world. So that's that. The commandment to honor thy father and mother puts most of the pleasures of life - reading, writing, painting - the life of the mind, in other words, out of reach. And as I said to Paul Cella via email, the commandment comes from God, while God himself seems far away. Because I live in Orlando, I've received inquiries about my reaction to the local massacre at the Pulse nightclub. But I don't really have much to say. My reaction is pretty much what it was to San Bernardino, Ft. Hood, Boston, Brussels, Paris, et al: murder of the innocent is a terrible thing; I feel bad for the victims; and the West is under attack but doesn't have the cajones to do what must be done. This latest attack differs somewhat in that most of the victims were homosexual. That most were also Hispanic doesn't get as much play. There are rumors that the killer was a self-hating homosexual. Thus, this could have been prevented if we were a more accepting society. There's a lot of sloganeering in the air. A voice on WDBO FM keeps telling us that we have discovered that our greatness is in our diversity. I don't know what the hell this means. There's a sign downtown by the interstate that reads: ONE LOVE: Orlando Strong. So they've ripped off the Boston slogan and, again, I don't know what the hell 'one love' is supposed to mean. There's also a lot of "healing" in the air. I don't what that means either. There's also a lot of narcissism in the air (Google 'Anderson Cooper interview with Pam Bondi'). Cooper's insinuation is that you can't really sympathize with the victims unless you also celebrate their lifestyle, which is like saying you can't really sympathize with beheaded Christians in the Middle East unless you celebrate their religion. Bondi should have had the wherewithal to ask Cooper what kind of human being he was and walked away. But she's third rate and I've sometimes found need to question the depth of her convictions.An email thread at a local educational institution (generated by a homosexual professor, and which I can't reproduce for privacy reasons) decries all the hatred in the world that results in people being targeted for their skin color, their religion, their sexuality, etc. In other words, the cause of the crime is some rabidly intolerant but annoyingly undefined, knuckle-dragging entity, but I have a pretty good idea whom the writer has in mind. (Look in the mirror, Christian). Amid the slush of clichéd liberalism there's not a mention of the fact that the perpetrator was an Islamic fanatic acting upon the Sharia edict that homosexuals should be killed. Andy McCarthy notes that WaPo once published a list of ten Muslim countries where homosexuals can be punished by death. All the replies to the original email, btw, were entirely supportive. I don't recall any such threads, though, when those Christians were being beheaded.The important thing to remember is this: Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. When the killer announces on the phone, while he's killing people, that he's doing it in the name of Allah and ISIS, pay no attention. It's too bad we can't agree on one thing which is also the most important thing: the slaughter at the Pulse was evil because human beings were murdered. It doesn't become extra special evil when the victims are homosexual (or, as the loc[...]



More photo fun-2

2017-04-28T06:10:12.691-04:00

[Update: I've added one more pic of a bird I believe is called a limpkin. Took some searching to hunt him down.]
The Easter lilies did not live up to their name this year. They bloomed in the middle of May. Then we have a Sandhill crane strolling through my dad's driveway as if he owns it. (The whole series of Sandhill photos is on this page). If, btw, you kill one, you can be arrested, fined, and thrown in jail. Next is the giant oak tree (3 of them, actually) beside the Tap Room at Dubsdread golf course, and finally a great blue heron behind my dad's house. It is the largest heron in North America, with a wingspan up to six feet. All shot with the Canon Rebel T5, except for the Sandhill photos (Canon Power Shot). Oh yes, click to enlarge.

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Easter Lily

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Sandhill Crane

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oak trees

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Great Blue Heron

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Limpkin




From W3c: jscript can change images

2017-05-23T02:17:32.325-04:00


[Updated]
Here's a better way. Click through until you return to the original image.

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