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

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Manchurian Candidate

Somehow this movie slipped through the cracks for me until now. I remember seeing the previews last year but couldn't recall what it was about. I was at the video store looking for a movie to watch tonight and found this on clearance for $3.00 - couldn't pass it up. It was one of those, "I wonder if I've already seen this movie. I should have." So I bought it and just finished watching it.
I would have remembered if I'd seen it before. It is a very intense movie, especially for a paranoid, conspiracy theory, abstract thinker like me. I'm sure this movie isn't for everyone, but I'll watch it again someday when my memory of it has dulled a bit.
Very intense...

April Fool

I've been trying for days to remember the significance of April 1st. I remembered May Day, the idea that a guy like me was supposed to be able to get a girl to kiss him if he snuck up to her front door and dropped off a basket of goodies and then went and hid somewhere nearby. That never did work for me, but then again, I never tried it. May First is also the celebration day for the world's labor class, red independence day, I suppose you might say.
I suppose today isn't a good day to post anything I might want taken seriously by my readers. It's a great day, though, to ponder the near-meaningless, like maybe the Pope's health or the notion that Terri Shiavo was an inspiration to the world, a brilliant woman.
Here in the highlands of Maine, we started out the day with a short snowstorm. This weekend is supposed to bring potential floods from two days of heavy rain. I'll be spending as much of the weekend as possible indoors!
This morning I began reading a book I found in the town library, Party of the People: A History of the Democrats, by Jules Witcover. At 732 pages this book should take me awhile, but I am already enjoying the author's style of writing and am finding it very pertinent to present-day politics. It is easy to relate to the common man's plight in US politics. But there is an undertow in modern US politics of a larger force, a force that I think is represented by what this book is describing as the Federalist aristocratic position in the drafting of the Constitution, represented in the early US government under Washington by Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury. Hamilton represented the banking elite, a group which felt deeply threatened by the notion of democracy. Hamilton was pro-British. His chief foe, Thomas Jefferson, who became the founder of the "republican party" which then evolved to become the Democratic Party, was claimed by Hamilton to be pro-French. Ring any bells, anyone?
It seems like ever since I signed up for Verizon DSL, my computer has been wracked by demons and daemons, blue screen lockups, background dribbling of the hard drive, adware and spyware, and now a dramatic slowing down of the Internet during the daytime, and nothing I do will stop it including twice starting all over again with a freshly formatted hard drive. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? Is it just me? Is it my old version of Windows Me? What is it? Is it MSN Messenger which today is inoperative? Grrrrrrr.......
Anyway, off to my weekend of hibernation. April Fools!!!

Mud Puddles and Kids

http://members.shaw.ca/mcinnes-hume/mud_puddles__dandelions.htm

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Abstract Thinking

I was talking with an old friend on Easter morning, a friend from the church that I used to attend. I can't remember exactly what we were talking about. Maybe computers. He said he had never been able to grasp computers. He doesn't have the knack for abstract thinking. I asked him what the alternative is to abstract thinking and we concluded it must be concrete thinking.
While concrete thinking generally expresses itself in absolutes, black and white, right and wrong, good and evil, heaven and hell, God and Satan, abstract thinking doesn't require absolutes. Abstract thinking lies somewhere between the lines. Abstract thinking finds the color that lies between black and white. Abstract thinking finds the love that exists somewhere between right and wrong, between good and evil. In the words of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, "If you wanna get to Heaven you gotta raise a little hell."
My mind is lodged like a beached log in a river drive somewhere between abstract and concrete thinking. I don't know how it got that way, but I think I grew up primarily in a world of concrete thinking, in a world of absolutes. I broke from that mold in my mid-teens when I realized how dumb the early 1960s version of "The Creation" was as compared with the obvious alternative, evolution. At that time, the Biblical creation was presumed to have taken place about ten thousand years ago. Things have changed since then. I think now it's up to around forty thousand years ago. The dinosaurs were either in a previous creation, or never existed and God created the fossil record just to test our faith in the Bible, or all measures of time are in error and they actually did live and die within the past 40,000 or so years. The convenient answer is that all lost species and the fossil record happened at the time of "the flood."
As dumb as that whole debate seems, for me the acid test was that if life had to have a beginning, so did God, and if God didn't have a beginning, well He must not have lived. I abstracted my own little absolute, I suppose. But in doing so, I guess I opened up a door to the possibility of allowing myself to have more abstract thoughts. One of those thoughts was that I should try drugs. I tend to sense that most people haven't really tried drugs, at least not to the extent that I did, but many people have and have discovered abstract thoughts beyond the imagination of any concrete thinker. I sometimes wonder if abstract thinking may have originated eons ago when humans discovered such things as hallucinogenic mushrooms or the effects of burning hemp or who knows what else. I think the main reason society fears mind-altering drugs is because society fears abstract thinking. Society is built on absolutes. Society frames reality in absolutes. So drugs that shatter absolute concepts are threatening to the shepherds of society as well as to the sheep.
Love is an abstract. Beauty is an abstract. Forgiveness is an abstract. Truth is an abstract, and God is truth.
I wonder, though. Could it be that hate finds its base in absolutes? Could it be that there would be no way for one man to pass judgment against another if it weren't for the absolutes of concrete reasoning? Is "the deceiver" in fact concrete thought? Mind you I'm not saying it is, but I'm pondering the possibility.
This friend, by the way, flew Hueys in Vietnam and later fought forest fires with them. Hats off to him... a man of precision with nerves of steel.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

63 Million Pounds

I wonder how much the human population of Maine weighs. I'd guess that 63 million pounds would be somewhere around a third to a half of that amount. I just heard on local TV news that the Maine lobster catch for last year was 63 million pounds. Can you imagine that much Maine lobster? $254 million worth of lobster in just one year!

A Rare Orwellian Clarification
I was reading a March 30, 2005 article in the Asia Times titled "US scatters bases to control Eurasia":
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/GC30Ag01.html
The article quotes Senator John McCain on a recent trip to Kabul that America needs "permanent bases" in Afghanistan. Later, Senator McCain's office clarified his remarks. From the article:
"The US will need to remain in Afghanistan to help the country rid itself of the last vestiges of Taliban and al-Qaeda." His office also indicated that what McCain meant was that the US needs to make a long-term commitment, not necessarily "permanent" bases.

Does anybody recognize this wording? It would appear to me that in Bush's Orwellian Washington, the term "permanent military bases" is synonymous with making a long term commitment to stabilize a new government and rid the country of terrorists. Iraq, anyone? There's a word game in Washington to avoid using sensitive words such as "permanent" or, in the case of Social Security, "privatize."
Isn't it nice to finally know what one of these words mean? Just like Bill Clinton once said, it depends on what your definition of "is" is.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Easter

For the first time in my life, I'm beginning to have some serious doubts about Christianity, about what I always assumed to be a religion of truth. Blame Dan Brown for that. Ever since I read The DaVinci Code I've been realizing that the underlying truth of much of modern religious symbolism is hidden from us, masked to suppress the actual meaning.
Take Easter, for instance. This year Easter is in late March and Passover in late April. Yet Jesus was executed on the first day of Passover. For Christians, his blood represented the blood of the lamb which marked the doors of the enslaved Hebrews in Egypt when God exempted families in homes so marked from the execution of the first born males of Egypt. Jesus death was the ultimate sacrifice. Yet instead of celebrating the death of Jesus on the first day of Passover, Christians celebrate it in conjunction with "Easter" named for Pagan goddesses. The pagan holiday celebrates the fertility of springtime, as in "estrogen," the fertility hormone. Easter is officially on the first Sunday on or after the first full moon following the spring equinox. Nine months after the spring equinox is the winter solstice, the natural event associated with the celebration of Christmas, another Pagan holiday.
Jesus was a Jew and his sacrifice is said to have been on the first day of Passover, so if "Easter" is about Jesus, why is it celebrated on a Pagan holiday rather than on Passover? And why is the last place anyone would find the truth about this inside a Christian church? What, is God not truth?