Thursday, October 30, 2008

Open Letter to the Red States

This letter apparently began circulating in 2004, and has seen a rebirth in the blogosphere in the last few days. I do hope and pray that Obama will win the election, so we can get back to the business of rebuilding this one, now fragile nation. But if the unthinkable should occur … this letter is ready to go. Enjoy! (And thanks, Michael, for sending it to me.)

And, yes, I recognize that Missouri, the state in which I currently reside, is likely to go for McCain. If so, Missouri deserves to be left in the dust of history.

Early on in this election cycle, I tried to be open-minded. I was wary of Obama. But with all that has happened in the past two months, I cannot -- cannot for the life of me -- understand why any thinking person in America would vote for McCain and that national embarrasment, Sarah Palin.

Dear Red States:

If you manage to steal this election, we've decided we're leaving.

We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us. In case you aren't aware, that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole Miss. We get 85% of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue; you get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22% lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq, and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines, 90% of all cheese, 90% of the high tech industry, 95% of the corn and soybeans (thanks Iowa!), most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias, and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92% of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia. We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38% of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the war, the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11, and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

Peace out,
Blue States

But for a reality check, here's the current electoral map from It is a thing of beauty.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yes We Can

I've held off on hope. This nation has fallen into such a miserable pit after eight years of "Dubya" and his cronies that I dared not hope for a Democratic win. And I was a Hillary supporter. I knew I'd vote for Obama, but I wasn't one of his enthusiastic followers.

All that's changed somehow over the past couple of weeks, and I have become one of the true believers. This video speaks to my hope. Give it a look when you have about 4.5 minutes.

H/t to AmericaBlog. Apparently, the video has been around for a while, but I just saw it today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sydney and the Anglican Covenant

Much has been said about whether or not our General Convention will act on the "Anglican Covenant."

Some folks are ticked that Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori has urged the General Convention not to act on the supposed Anglican Covenant. A month ago, I might have agreed with them.

But it seems to me that things have changed significantly since Lambeth, now that Sydney has voted in synod to authorize diaconal/lay presidency at the Eucharist. Now it's not just about TEC's "innovation" about having one gay male bishop, but about the very validity of the Eucharist in one of the dioceses of the Anglican Communion. To me, it seems the former represents a minor issue compared to what Sydney has authorized.

Think back to 2003. When our General Convention consented to Gene Robinson's consecration – but before he was consecrated a bishop – many voices in the Anglican Communion screamed in hysterical crisis! They demanded an Emergency Meeting of the Anglican primates, and the Archbishop of Canterbury concurred. He held that meeting – when a vote had been held, but before the action had been done. The primates warned that TEC would "tear the fabric of the Communion" if we proceeded to consecrate Gene Robinson. Presiding Bishop Griswold acknowledged that might be the result. He didn't promise to stop his action [no matter what the wingnuts say].

A whole schism has been launched from those actions by the GAFCon/FOCA/CCP/CANA/AMiA/AAC/IRD cabal.

Now the Diocese of Sydney (in Australia) has voted to let deacons and lay people preside at the Eucharist. I expected to hear the same screams and shrieks calling for another Emergency Meeting of the primates. But not a whisper has come from the primates. For the conservatives, unless you are a Donatist, the worst you could believe about Bishop Robinson is that his acts are valid, if flawed. But what Sydney proposes to do flies in the face of the entire Anglican/Catholic understanding of our sacraments. What they propose will invalidate all the sacraments they purport to exercise under this new diaconal/lay administration.

Where are the hysterical screams from the GAFCon/FOCA/ CCP/CANA/AMiA/AAC/IRD crowd for an Emergency Meeting of the Primates? It has been several days. They are still silent. What Sydney proposes is far more radical than what TEC did in its consent to Gene Robinson's consecration. If they remain silent, it will be clear that they really don't care about catholic faith and order, nor about the "faith once delivered to the saints." It will be clear that they don't care about ecclesiology or tradition. If they don't demand another Emergency Meeting of the Primates, it will abundantly clear they are only driven by homophobia, the fear of one honest gay bishop.

Let the march of the hypocrites begin. I'm already hearing it, through the silence of the primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Addendum: Thanks to Caminante, who is talking about this, and from whom I "borrowed" the lovely photo.

My Day Job

A recent note from Kirkepiscatoid moves me to post a little about what my day job entails. Of course, like any middle manager, my job entails meetings and reports and seriously boring stuff. I serve as the preservation administrator for the Archives. That entails everything from training folks about to handle our documents, to monitoring temperature/humidity and bugs, to answering queries from the public and local government, to prioritizing things that will come into our conservation lab.

And sometimes it includes way cool stuff, as it did when we did this conservation job in St. Louis on a fine 19th-century architectural drawing. Generally, we bring items into our conservation lab. But this one was just too big and fragile, so we did the conservation work in situ.

Here's where we were working, in a marvelous 1885 conservatory.

First, we had to analyze the drawing and determine an approach to its treatment.

Then we set to work. There were actually three of us working on the drawing, but my two colleagues are profoundly camera-shy, so I'll only post photos of my work.

We were working in a lovely space with lovely natural lighting. This building had originally been a conservatory, so it had a lot of natural lighting. In the room where we worked, the windows were particularly lovely.

It's not often that we get fun jobs like this!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Huffington Post Seeks to Boost Readership

In what is obviously an attempt to boost its readership among the intelligent and charming folks in the U.S., the Huffington Post has published a delightful interview/story with our own beloved Grandmère Mimi. It's a fine interview and an honest and hope-filled story.

See Grandmère Mimi's note, then go read the Huffington Post story. Our Mimi comes off as the beloved woman we know. Wise. Incisive. Charming. Occasionally wily.

As I posted at Mimi's site, the only major point the Huffington Post reporter neglected was how beloved Grandmère Mimi is by so many of us. But that's probably just because Mimi was too modest to have mentioned it. Well, the throngs who will discover Chez Mimi via the HuffPo will soon discover it.

Bonus: There's a lovely photo of our Grandmère Mimi, and a shot of her prodigious bookshelf.

Hie thee hence!

There's only one more question to ask: How many minutes do you think it will be before Stephen Colbert calls and asks her to come on camera for an interview?

Saturday, October 25, 2008


[Note: After posting this last night, I've made some significant additions and done some minor edits. Apologies to those of you who may see this as a "new" posting on your RSS feeds.]

Despite all my anxieties about travel logistics and about the content of the trip, I had a marvelous time in New York.

My arrival was not fortuitous. I arrived at LaGuardia about 11:15p.m. Tuesday. Because I wanted to be as economical as possible, I opted for the "cattle car" [aka "supershuttle"] for $16 instead of a cab into midtown Manhattan. The dang driver didn't know where my hotel was ... so instead of dropping me off first (as had been the plan), he drove all over lower Manhattan and midtown, dropping off the other 8 occupants ... while I was on my cell phone trying to roust somebody who might still be awake and able to Google the hotel to get me an address. Sheesh!! I finally got to the hotel sometime after 1:00am. Thank God for the all-night markets in the neighborhood! I was able to walk a couple of blocks and find some food and a 6-pack.

I spent Wednesday in a strategic planning session about how TEC dioceses and the whole church can support the Episcopal Church of Sudan. The meeting was held at the Episcopal Church Center (a.k.a. "815"). This was my first time to be there. I'll admit: I felt a bit of a thrill to visit the "nerve center" of our church. Compared to the glitzy buildings nearby, it's not very impressive. Our meeting room was pleasant, but modest. After the meeting, I visited a staff member in one of the divisions, and found that office space similarly pleasant but modest. I certainly saw no evidence of the excesses with which some of our Worthy Opponents like to paint the Church Center.

As I've mentioned before, my bishop asked me to be his representative in this meeting. About half the participants were folks like me: representatives of dioceses in relationship with Sudanese dioceses, parishes, and schools (including the dioceses of Bethlehem, Chicago, Southwest Virginia, Virginia) and Duke/VTS . The other half were national representatives: UTO, ERD, TEC's governmental affairs office, Trinity Wall Street, and AFRECS. Bishop Frank Gray (recently appointed commissary of the Sudanese Archbishop to TEC) served as chair/facilitator in the meeting. (By the bye, AFRECS has a fine profile of Bishop Gray and his role here, in their current magazine. Bandwidth alert: It's on page 11 of a 6MB PDF file.)

I didn't know how much to expect of that meeting, but I was very pleased with it. I don't know that we exactly "accomplished" much, but I believe we laid some building blocks to accomplish things in the future. I was happy to learn what other dioceses are doing in their companion relationships, as I think it can help inform ours in Missouri. And I was astonished to hear about some things happening at the national and international levels, in which I think we can connect.

I was gratified that many folks around that table were impressed at what we in Missouri are doing. Several said they had no idea we were engaged in so many ventures in Lui. Some remarked that we seem to have one of the more well-organized, focused companion diocese relationships they've heard of. It was gratifying to hear that.

Here's a strictly personal observation: In my professional career, I used to be "at the table" when important, national, strategic discussions were occurring in the field of library/archives preservation. But, since coming to my position in Missouri, I've not been allowed to be involved at the national level in my profession. It was very fun to help advance this group's agenda and to think globally in my church role. That wide thinking and strategizing is something I have missed. I hope I was helpful.

This is rather funny: I spent Monday-Tuesday in a strategic planning meeting with the State Archives [my day job]. Then Wednesday was spent in strategic planning about how the Episcopal Church can relate to the Episcopal Church in Sudan. I can assure you that Wednesday's meeting was more delightful than the earlier one. It almost makes me believe I haven't really lost the gifts I once believed I had.

Wednesday evening was reserved for dinner with a couple of people with whom I had e-corresponded since 2003 but had never met in person. You know how it is? You e-mail with folks, but you don't know what it will be like to meet them In Real Life. My IRL dinner with J&S was beyond my hopes! We had a marvelous evening of much laughter and much intense conversation. I could not have hoped for more!

I was able to spend a bit of time in Manhattan on Thursday before my flight home. I walked and walked and walked – just taking in the sights and sounds of the city. I had breakfast in a delightful (and delightfully inexpensive!) diner near Church Center. I wanted to make it down to Trinity Wall Street, but realized I didn't have time or navigational skills to do so. So I just walked the streets of midtown Manhattan. I walked to crazy Times Square, down 42nd Street, which I had seen aglow on the cab ride the night before. En route, I paused a while in Bryant Park (adjacent to the NY Public Library) to take in the sights and sounds of the city, absorb the sun on a chilly day, and read a book for a while. I had a funny moment walking up 5th Avenue, where I was on a bit of a rise, and realized what a horde of humanity was on the street in front of me. I'd venture to guess there were more people on 5th Avenue at that moment than live in my town.

I stumbled upon Rockefeller Plaza, where I was finally motivated to grab my digital camera, and shot this photo before the batteries in the camera and my back-up batteries failed me. (It was early afternoon, but I suppose the failing batteries make it look like evening.)

With my time running out, I headed south on Madison Avenue, where I was able to fulfill my sister's wish that I find a particular gift for her husband. … Then back to the hotel, where I reclaimed my bag, then headed to LaGuardia and flew home again.

When I arrived home, it kinda blew my mind that 7 hours earlier I had been walking the streets of Manhattan … and now here I was back in this small town. The mind boggles!

Monday, October 13, 2008

An Attempt at an Update

I don't know why I've been in such a funk lately. But several of you have inquired and expressed support, so I'll try to do a bit of a "heart-dump" here.

I had a full day off today. We got the federal holiday, and I was looking forward to it. I had all manner of ideas about what I might accomplish over this three-day weekend. But I didn't do any of them.

Late in the last afternoon at the end of this three-day weekend, with me having accomplished nothing useful, and Scotty and Jamocha hiding out of sight, a phrase came into my mind: "a household of depressives."

I know part of it.

There is an important document I need to write: the Discernment Committee report for a friend and fellow parishioner whom I believe is called to the priesthood. I am completely psyched-out by it. I fear I won't do justice to his ministry and calling. And the paper is already about 10 days overdue. With every passing day, I am more overwhelmed by my inadequacy. ... I didn't feel this much pressure about my Master's thesis ... which was also late. :(

Our diocese's relationship to Lui: A lot of the planning is on my shoulders for the December mission trip, and these issues seem way too big for my shoulders. People are asking me questions that I just cannot answer. I feel completely inadequate to the task. Other stuff is happening in the diocese in the run-up to Diocesan Convention, about which I feel the need to speak, but I don't think I speak as cogently as I should.

Dreary anniversaries: One day this week, something tweaked in the back of my head, and I consulted my calendar. Indeed, it was one year ago (Oct. 9) that my mother died. My sister [God bless her!] and I continue to talk. I think we're still both processing that. We're now at the tail-end of the logistics: Closing my mother's small bank account. For some reason, my sister and I both seem loathe to do it. Like it's the last small link we have. Stupid, I know.

And then there's all the crap happening on the U.S. political stage and the Anglican Communion, both of which increasingly look like farce. And in the global economy. I am in awe of the bloggers who can keep up with it all and make cogent comments. Me, I just feel a paralysis settling in.

Here's one that should feel exciting (and did for a while): A meeting is being held in New York next week with TEC groups and dioceses that have relationships in Sudan. My bishop has asked me to attend as his representative (because he cannot attend). I am deeply honored, and I will attend. But this arose with very little advance notice, and I find myself strangely anxious ... particularly about the travel logistics. In my previous job, I used to travel all over the country at the drop of a hat. My wings have been clipped since I've been here in Missouri, and now I'm amazed at how intimidated I feel about this forthcoming trip. Weird. Me, the fearless one?

It feels like I've lost my nerve about everything. And I don't know how to recover it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Counting Votes ... One Death at at Time

I love The Onion. Of course, they are known for satire. This piece qualifies as biting satire, I think, with the media as the object.

Watch it if you dare. It runs about 3 minutes.

Gunman Kills 15 Potential Voters In Crucial Swing State

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Bush Apology Tour

Isn't it time for a little humor? I think you're going to enjoy this one.

Thank God for The Onion!

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

With all the terrible news, at least there's the sweet thought that our eight-year-long national nightmare is almost over.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I still don't think I have much to say creatively, in my own voice.

But I don't like having that last blog-entry on the top of my page. So I'll replace it with this one, thanks to my friend Karen. It points out the hypocrisy of the Mc-Palin message.

Remember to click on it twice to make it play. Or just go here to view it on YouTube.