Sunday, July 01, 2012


                                                                                                                               JULY 1, 2012

Robert Lewis Stevenson was famous because he lived in a small cabin on Mt. Helena in Calistoga. But I bet you didn’t know he was part of a famous engineering-contracting family in Scotland. The Lighthouse Stevenson’s designed & built the earliest lighthouse around the incredible Scottish coat, which harbors the most inhospitable waters in any coast, bar none. They began in the early 1700's to build these 100 foot stone towers on little spits of stone that were barely above water at high tide way out on the high seas. These early ones were lit by candles! But they did work with Fresnel later on when he was experimenting with glass lenses. How would you like to be a light keeper on one of these, when storms would send solid water (not just spume) over the top of these, sometimes breaking the heavy glass. Written very ably by Bella Bathurst.

The Hunger Games. Forget it.

Since we sold our cabin on Donner Summit, I had some ready cash to invest so I chose to help out a young carpenter in Mariakani, Kenya, near Mombasa. Stanley asked for a loan of $1,000 in order to buy lumber, nails & tools. I’m not going to hold my breath for a repayment of my $25 but glad to help a fellow builder. It’s through a non-profit called Kiva and they contract with substantial local groups throughout the world to monitor the money, somehow.

I just came across some BBC videos called “Shakespeare Retold” and they are a hoot. Once you get through the English accent and can understand what they’re saying, it is better than Elizabethian. They took some real liberties re-telling, However, as “Much Ado about Nothing” takes place in a British TV station where anchors are the main characters. Not to be outdone, “Macbeth” is set in a three star Michelin restaurant kitchen. “Taming of The Shrew” is on the way. That could be set in my kitchen, come to think about it.

Has anybody mentioned the really weird thing that almost all polititians wear a tiny American Flag on their lapel these days? When did that start and what does it signify? Is the implication that you are not a patriot if you haven’t got your pin on? SOMETHING IS SICK ABOUT THIS. Didn’t the Germans all have a little Lightning zig zag on their collars to signify their duty to der Fatherland? Are we all sheep & cattle?

Reasons to Kill (Why Americans Choose War) by Richard Rubinstein. You probably haven’t thought much about it, but do you know it’s a Federal Law that each major sports event is preceded by the mass singing of our National Anthem? We must face the flag, take off all hats, right hands over the heart, robustly sing out with the black fat lady, while military jets fly overhead (Well, maybe not at basketball games). People of other nations have a strong affection for their nations, but few experience the quasi-religios nationalism that makes supporting wars a patriotic duty. Looking at our list of wars - Mexico, Spain (Remember the Maine!”), Germany ‘17, Germany ‘41, Vietnam, North Korea, Grenada, (Grenada?), Iraq, Afganistan, etc., And why we took up the gauntlet is enlightening, as the author is a “Conflict Resolution” person who has sat on boards where nations try to find other ways than war to solve their differences. U.S presidents elected as peace candidates have led the nation into bloody overseas conflicts. Repeatedly, wars deemed necessary and prudent have been shown in retrospect to be avoidable. Yet, all the while, we profess to be a peace loving country.

Jesus saves!

A British insurance company has designed a stair lift for dogs that are too fat to climb the stairs.

Is the current Japanese bible (King James) still translated into a pre-victorian language?

How do you say thou in Nipponese?


Here was the emperor of the Roman Empire at it’s height, b. 161 - d. 180 AD.

How many kings, presidents, premiers do you know of who gave thoughts to the following ideas. Are we making any progress 2,000 years later? From his writings; Meditations.

“ Regard the universe as one living being, have one substance and one soul, and observe how all things act with one movement; and how all things co-operate as the causes of all that exists; observe, too, the continuous spinning of the thread and the single texture of the web.

Time is like a river made up of events that happen, and a violent stream; for as soon as a thing has appeared it is carried away, and another comes in its place; and this will be carried away too.

Consider yourself to be dead, and to have completed your life up to the present time, then live out according to nature the remainder which is allowed you.

Love only that which happens to you and is woven with the thread of your destiny. For what is more suited to your needs?

That which has died does not drop out of the universe. If it stays here, it also changes here, and is dissolved into its proper parts, which are elements of the universe and of your self. And these too change, and murmur not.

Clear from your mind the many useless things which disturb you, for they lie entirely in your opinion, and you will then gain for yourself ample space by comprehending the whole universe in your mind, and by contemplating the eternity of time, and observing the rapid change of each thing, how short is the time from birth to its dissolution, and the illimitable time before its birth as well as the equally boundless time after its dissolution.

Consider that before long you will be nobody and nowhere, nor will any of the things exist which you now see, nor any of those who are now living. For all things are formed by nature to change and to be turned and to perish in order that other things in continuous succession may exist.

And when Socrates (480 BC) endeavored to bring these facts to light and deliver men from the rule of demons, the demons compassed his death as an athiest and profane person, on the charge that “he was introducing new divinities”.

Hence we are called atheists.(180 AD) And we confess we are atheists so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with regard to the most true God, the Father of righteousness and temperance and other virtues”.
(He was not a Christian but didn’t hassle them much).