Blessed Are They….

Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.
—Camille Pissaro

That quote warms my heart. One of my versions would be,

Blessed are those who treasure the little joys of everyday life.

And since I’m having technical problems as I write this, another might be,

Blessed are those who can cheerfully deal with things that don’t work.

What would your version be?


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The Great American Eclipse of 2017

It was cloudy here so we couldn’t see the eclipse, but it didn’t matter. It would have been only partial and I’ve seen those before. It was still an exciting event because it was the first total eclipse to cross the whole United States since 1918. tammy had sent me a link to an NPR map that followed the eclipse in real time:

I used the map as I watched the TV coverage. One commentator said it was a nationwide block party, and that’s what it felt like. It was heartwarming to see so many people coming together to share the experience. A welcome respite from all of our political polarization.

Yes, the Great American Eclipse of 2017 was a great success!


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Big Excitement

The big excitement here in the U.S. is today’s solar eclipse. Small towns in the path of the total eclipse are going to be swarmed with tourists, and while some people are going to profit the huge numbers present a lot of challenges. I wish them luck and am glad we will only have a partial eclipse — about 76% coverage of the sun.

I do wish them luck with the weather. Yesterday was overcast here, so if it’s the same today we might not see much of the sun, but presumably it will get darker for a bit.

It is refreshing that it has nothing to do with politics and Washington!


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Keeping Protests Peaceful

The cartoon says “the left”, but in fact not everyone on the left agrees with those tactics. In Boston yesterday tens of thousands of people came to protest against a free speech rally to protest for the right to hold and spread even the most extreme views about subjects like race, religion, and feminism, and the police did a great mob of keeping the protesters from the rally goers. There were a few protesters ready to do battle with the police:

But on the whole the rest were allowed to protest peacefully. That’s encouraging.

We will have to see if the police in Phoenix do as well at the political rally scheduled by Trump for next Tuesday:

President Trump is pressing forward with plans for a large-scale political rally in Phoenix next week, despite pleadings from the city’s mayor and other elected officials not to hold a polarizing event while feelings remain so raw over the hate-fueled violence in Charlottesville.
The Washington Post

Fingers crossed.


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Changing the Subject

Not to worry. The speech on Charlottesville didn’t work so Trump moved on to Confederate monuments.

Trump’s sudden decision to become the leading cheerleader for preserving Confederate memorials is a strategic political maneuver designed to change the terms of the post-Charlottesville conversation. There’s vastly more public support, especially among Republicans, for preserving monuments than for the false moral equivalencies Trump espoused earlier in the week. It’s also a distraction from the failure to follow through on his biggest promises and the mounting Russia investigations.
The Washington Post

It’s not over by a longshot, but the liberals can pray. Thanks, Audra, for this!



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Finding the Right Tools

I had a hard time finding out exactly what happened in Charlottesville, so bless BBC for these articles:

What Trump Said Versus What I Saw

A Day of Reckoning in Charlottesville

Here is another one from the Washington Post:

Recounting a day of rage, hate, violence and death

Why do I care? Because I kept hearing the argument that yes, the people opposing the march used violence too, but they were on the right side, they were against hate, not for it. I can’t see how fighting hate by swinging sticks, punching, spraying chemicals, and throwing balloons filled with paint or ink lessens the hate in the world.

My hero there is Tyler Lloyd:

A lone figure stood inside Emancipation Park, offering water and holding a sign that said, “Free Hugs.” Tyler Lloyd said he came hoping for a peaceful solution. The rallygoers accepted his water but declined the hugs.
—-Washington Post

A bit naive? Maybe. So how about Ben Carson, the only African-American member of Trump’s cabinet, whose house was the target of anti-Trump vandals earlier this summer. He didn’t call the police —- he believes in taking the high road and focusing on dialog and education. He says it’s important to fight hatred, but we need to find the right tools. Is that naive too?


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Authentic Trump

No wooden reading of a script here:

Unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement I like to know the facts.
—Donald J. Trump

How many people do you think believe that? I think Trump does, and I think he is being sincere in this press conference. He’s trying to say what he believes rather than playing to his base. The Wall Street Journal once argued Trump doesn’t lie because at any given moment he believes what he says and lying implies an intent to deceive. I think his saying he likes to know the facts is an example of that.

That said, do you think he has a good point? That there were good people on both sides at Charlottesville? If not there, what do we do when some people want to protest peacefully and others turn the protest violent?


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A recent post at Hattie’s Web quotes Anne Lamott:

But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.

That doesn’t resonate with me because I try to be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. That’s why Item 4 in the Traits of Stress-Hardy, Resilient People is

They are able to tolerate ambiguity, uncertainty, and imperfection. They have a long-range perspective, so they give themselves and others room to grow. They can afford to be resilient, flexible, and creative because they are centered in their values.

I do think the concept of grace is useful, and I like Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s discussion of it:

Vague as this definition may be, I believe most people are aware of periods in their lives when they seem to be “in grace” and other periods when they feel “out of grace,” even though they may use different words to describe these states. In the first happy condition, one seems to carry all one’s tasks before one lightly, as if borne along on a great tide, and in the opposite state one can hardly tie a shoe-string. It is true that a large part of life consists in learning a technique of tying the shoe-string, whether one is in grace or not. But there are techniques of living too, there are even techniques in the search for grace.

What works for me is to get centered, be patient, and remember my motto:

Stay curious and open to life. No matter what happens keep learning and growing. Find what you love to do and find a way to share it with others.

What works for you?


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Poor Trump

Trump was widely criticized for his reaction to the violence in Charlottesville. At first he said he was against the violence by many sides, not mentioning the role of the neo-Nazis/white supremacists. Presumably he didn’t want to alienate some of his supporters?

One of my senators sent an email about it. It included:

The President of the United States should serve as an example for the rest of the country, but it appears that the rest of us have to serve as an example for him.

The country did and Trump relented:

But a lot of people say that was too little, too late. And Andy Borowitz doesn’t even give him credit for changing his mind:

A disturbing hostage video surfaced on Monday showing an American man woodenly reciting words that were not his own.

The video, which was broadcast on all the major news networks, raised concerns for the man, whose robotic performance indicated that he was reading a prepared statement under duress.

While the man appeared well fed and, to a certain extent, healthy, his facial expressions and body language convinced experts that the act of reciting the prepared text was an extraordinary ordeal for him….

Do you think Borowitz is being unfair? Do you think Trump was being sincere?


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My Hero

Poor old Sammy is still hanging in there. He’s my hero.


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