Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Masked and Anonymous

Today I should be out in my driveway fixing my wife's Caravan but I am procrastinating. It's sunny out but not very warm and extremely windy. I'm replacing the water pump which has been leaking for awhile. Friday I spent $350.00 on parts, making this by far the most expensive water pump repair I have ever done. It's expensive because it involves the camshaft timing belt and accessories.
So instead of working out in the cold, I stayed in this afternoon and watched a movie. Last night I went to the video store and found that they had a box of used DVDs for $3 apiece, "All sales are final." Looking through the box, I found three that looked pretty good. I bought Wedding for Bella which we watched last night. That was a very touching movie, extremely so. My wife cried a flood, I think, because it dealt with an issue that she is involved in frequently with her work. I also bought State and Main which I haven't watched yet. I don't think I even saw it when it was first out. My daughter did and recommended it, but I don't remember seeing it.
The third movie I bought was Masked and Anonymous, a 2003 movie featuring Bob Dylan as the star along with a bunch of his music and a bunch of familiar Hollywood faces. That's what I did this afternoon instead of working out in the cold. I watched that movie. It was an interesting movie too, but after seeing it, I came to the conclusion that the point of the movie must have been to prove what people have claimed for decades, that we only use 10% or less of our brain! I was so lost trying to make any sense out of it! But it's Bob Dylan and it's all about political power and war so it must mean something, anything! I'll just have to watch it again sometime when I'm more awake. But I do recommend this movie to anyone who has seen it all.

Friday, February 25, 2005

More GannonGuckertGate

An article in WorldNetDaily by Bill Press, author of the book Spin This
Dated today, Friday February 25
"Sex to go: Call White House press office"

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ann Took the Bait

It was brought to my attention that right-wing political author Ann Coulter has written an op/ed commentary in defense of the Internet reporter/Republican gay hooker Jeff Gannon/James Guckert.
Ann asks, "Are we supposed to like gay people now, or hate them? Is there a Web site where I can go to and find out how the Democrats want me to feel about gay people on a moment-to-moment basis?"
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"
Jerry Falwell referring to 9/11
Source: http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/14/Falwell.apology/
The question no longer is what do the Democrats want the Republicans to believe, now the question is what do the Republicans actually believe. Ann's article defending Guckert proves this point. The Guckert scandal isn't about left-wing gay-bashing. It is about right-wing hypocrisy. Ann took the bait and has made a real fool of herself as a result.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It's all about ass Posted by Hello

Religion Part 2

On Wednesday last week, I began what I hope will be a series explaining my personal religious views. If all goes well, I'll write from time to time about religion and God, two separate topics in my view, and about my speculations, hopes, and experiences. Heck, maybe I'll even write about the drugs sometime.
Today, I want to follow up on the Daniel Quinn thing that I brought up last time. I have read two Quinn novels, Ishmael and The Story of B, both about a big old talking gorilla by the name of Ishmael who has a novel view of mankind's roll in the world. While we all know that we are just as much animals as are any of the world's other animals, we also know that we are somehow different and we spend countless hours pondering that difference, trying to figure out what it is that places us above our animal ancestry.
The Judeo-Christian religions generally use denial. Man isn't an animal. But common sense, DNA research, and archeology are slowly breaking down those defenses for anybody who doesn't have his head completely buried in the sand.
Ishmael approaches his theology from the Judeo-Christian perspective starting with the story of Adam and Eve. When I read about this, it blew me completely away. I had the sensation that the shroud of mystery about the story of the fall of man into sin, a mystery that the church could never explain to me, had suddenly been torn down and I was looking at the truth for the very first time.
Well, anyone who reads Daniel Quinn books is going to have a different opinion on what they say, so let's get one thing straight right away. This is my opinion. OK?
The Bible story about the fall of man comes in the first book of the Bible, Genesis chapter 3. God wasted no time here introducing sin. Create light. Create the world. Create plants and animals. Create man and woman. Bring on the sin. But sin was brought on when Eve, at the advice of the serpent, tasted the apple, the fruit of the forbidden "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" which is introduced in Genesis 2, verse 17.
What has always been a puzzle to me is why it would be sinful to have knowledge of what is good and what is evil. Isn't that the basis of self-preservation? Aren't we supposed to do what is good and avoid what is evil?
What Ishmael tries to say, and what is followed up on in The Story of B, is that about 10,000 years ago, mankind went through a transformation in how he thought and how he lived. He chose to part ways with the natural way of living, the way that had evolved through the ages, the way that was in touch with all of the rest of the creatures on earth. Mankind parted company with sustainable living and entered on the path of civilization and domination that has brought us to where we are today. We are set on consuming the very world which sustains us. In the process, we have virtually destroyed any sustainable lifestyles.
While Ishmael's message is fascinating, what struck me the most was that for the first time in my life, I felt I had a handle on the story of "original sin." For the longest time, I wondered what the sin was. Was it that Adam and Eve disobeyed God? If so, then why did God put that tree there in the first place? To tempt mankind into sin? Does that make sense? Why would God create the perfect world and then tempt man to make the whole world fall into sin? I could never buy this argument.
But reading Ishmael, it dawned on me that it was the fruit itself that was the sin. Think about it. What is the fruit of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" if not that knowledge itself? But what is that knowledge? What does that term refer to? I have finally concluded that it refers to morality. What is morality if not the knowledge of good and evil? But to understand why it is a sin, I think the definition here needs a little twist. I don't think this refers to knowing what is good in God's eyes and what is Evil in them. I think this refers to humans defining what is good and what is evil. I see a huge difference here.
I don't think there is sin in knowing what God's plan is, why creation exists and what the future offers. Nor do I think there is sin in identifying God's truth from the false truths of deception. But as soon as sin was introduced into the world, what was the first thing Adam and Eve did? They made clothes. Right? And we all know the connection between clothes and morality. So the original sin was that they established human morality. The freedom God allowed them wasn't enough. Perfection of nature wasn't enough. They needed morality and rules to live by. And that was a sin! The sin!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Chalabi? Again?

When you read political news about Iraq, it gets hard to figure out just who our enemies are and who are our allies. In this weekend's edition of the Bangor Daily News there was an article on page A5 written by AP writer Maggie Michael titled "Controversial Chalabi could be Iraq's first PM" and yes, PM means Prime Minister.
Like what!!?
I thought the CIA outed Chalabi last year or something, accused him of slipping classified information to Iran or something, raided his place and dragged off his computers and all that. Shortly after that, though, I did read that Rumsfeld and the Neo-Cons were at Condi Rice's door asking for her to do something to help out the Pentagon's choice, Chalabi, and restore him to influence. A little while later, George Tennet resigned as head of the CIA.
I guess that now with Bush's fellow Skull and Bones man as head of the CIA, things got turned around and now Chalabi has been forgiven and slipped back into Iraq's government as part of the January 30 election's winning party.
The strange thing to me is that other than one sighting of him on a talk show on Public Television the night after the election, the only mention I had heard of Chalabi was when Juan Cole recently wrote that he was a distant and unlikely prospect for the Prime Minister slot. Now he's the number 2 choice in a two-way secret ballot vote to be held by the United Iraqi Alliance. (http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/newssentinel/10907734.htm)
How can all of this take place beneath the radar of mainstream US media?
My impression of Chalabi ever since I first began noticing him during the 2003 war was that he sure seems like slime. He reminds me of the Mafia. Word has it that he is wanted in Jordan for embezzling $300 million from his own bank before slipping out of the country. It is reported that much of the false information about Iraq's weapons production and stockpiles came to the Pentagon from Chalabi's group. Since the war in 2003, there have been reports of corruption involving family members of Chalabi. In my mind, there's no doubt about it. If Bush wants a corrupt leader in Iraq, Chalabi is the man for the job. But hey, that's just my impression of the man.

Hot Potatoe

Does anyone remember Dan Quayle?
Potatoe, anyone?
There seems to be another hot potatoe in another Bush White House now, the Jeff Gannon thing. It almost looks like it is so hot it is being pretty much avoided by the mainstream media (MSM). But if you've been reading any of the less-than-conservative bloggers regarding this guy, this little issue seems to be just about to blow some serious steam. Maybe not, though. The Bush people seem to have a way of quieting stormy waters. But according to what I have read this weekend, it appears that there may be one or more White House guys who have somewhat less than a right-wing take on "family values" and "Moral Majority" - shall we say - "orientation"?
The real fun is happening here:
I'm no prude. A guy can sell his body to the gay community if he wants. I have no beef with that. Sure, it's against the law, but so are a lot of things. But when a guy's day job is gay-bashing while his night job is gay prostitution? Or maybe when his day job is defending the Bush morality agenda while at night he seems otherwise oriented? What can I say?
This should help a struggling America to learn something. Anything. OK, maybe not Quayle, but at least somebody might learn something!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

All This Talk of Religion

Dacia's recent post on religion:
which was a follow-up to Piojo's post:
have me thinking that maybe it's time I tried to express myself here, to explain some of my own views on religion. But first, I have a little something to share with you.
A couple of years ago I read the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and was amazed by it, actually blown away by his take on the Bible and religion. Since then I have read two more of his books, The Story of B and Providence: The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest. Ishmael and The Story of B are both novels that present and begin to explain Quinn's views on religion and more specifically on how mankind is on a track towards disaster. But Providence is portrayed as the story of how Quinn came to have these views.
One passage in Providence stayed with me much more so than the rest of the book, and someone has taken the effort to post it on the web. I recommend you read the entirety of this page:
More later...

Friday, February 11, 2005

White Retirement

Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to retirement. Not mine, of course, since I'll never be able to actually retire. I can't afford it. But the topic seems to be in the air these days with all the Social Security reform talk.
But something else has been in the air recently too, more or less under the radar screen. I've been thinking a lot in recent years about racism and the US policies on immigration. There's frequent mention on Conservative talk radio (whenever I can stomach listening to it) about the need for much stronger immigration controls. The argument is that immigrants tax the welfare system, tax our economy. I don't exactly buy that, because immigrants usually work hard. The US benefits from having them work. A more trendy argument is that terrorists are free to slip in with the illegal immigrants.
I tend to think that the paranoia over immigration has more to do with the American notion of Anglo-Saxon white supremacy, in other words, with racism. Somewhere just under the radar screen, white Americans tend to be racist. Despite good effort, I have not been able to completely escape this.
Just a few days ago I remembered something that had been drilled into my mind almost subliminally practically from the day I was born, or at the very least, since I became an adult. We English Americans have a strong, unconfessed fear of some day having to live as a minority in our own country. I can recall many times thinking about this with a sense of fear and dread. And this is from a person who, to the best of his ability, has for his whole life avoided being racist. Growing up in a part of the country where I almost never saw a person of another race till I joined the military, it was easy to avoid racism, but it wasn't so easy to socialize with people of other races when I finally did get out in the world. I do remember, though, despising true white racism when I did encounter it in the military. But I still had this deep fear of being in the minority racially in my own country.
Strangely enough, I came across something today that actually combined those two fears, the fear of old age and retirement, and the fear of being in the racial minority in America. It's a liberal/conservative issue, in fact, and here is a good little example of the debate: