Archive for May, 2010

Memorial Day Update

May 31, 2010

Just a brief update on my garden.  Its been in for about a month now —- still has a long way to go.

I have never been enamored of Andy Rooney’s commentary on “Sixty Minutes”, but last night he was right on in his tribute to our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen.  Believe me, I am grateful for the bravery and dedication of those serving in our armed forces.  We would not be who and what we are today without their sacrifices.  But the question is always in the forefront of my mind: what if we didn’t have any more wars?  Why aren’t peace efforts just as valuable as war efforts?  Please read this short piece, and join me in hoping for a time when our servicepeople  will not have to die for our country.  Can you imagine a year when none of our armed forces have given their lives in service to our nation?  That would be a true celebration:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/05/25/60minutes/rooney/main619533.shtml

We Are The Problem

May 28, 2010

Okay.  Here it is: David Brooks of the New York times has said what I have tried to say, in my own muddled manner.  Read this article.  Our shortfalls, lack of foresight and dedication to the bottom line over the human condition is a plague not only of a dearth of government regulation, but also a vacuum in human thought.  How dare we use new technology without the reason and logic to back it up?

Furthermore, Bob Herbert of the New York Times wrote a piece on the same sort of  “convenient trust” we have in our corporate sector.  This symbiosis of narcissistic public servants with profiteering business entities is our potential Waterloo.  Certainly this partnership, not for the betterment of our nation’s justice, environment or people, is just as destructive as the most violent war we have ever fought. It might not be a direct, immediate hit as was, say, the bomb at Hiroshima, but its effects are just as insidious.

The combination of lack of adequate thought towards policies on the public side coupled with an eye to maximize bottom-line dollars on the private side has muddied the waters of our Constitutional goals.  Acknowledging this unholy union is the first step in changing our system.  What comes after that remains to be seen.  Do we dismantle our government and business models and if we do, what do we replace them with?  Are we really able to legislate that elected officials keep the welfare of their constituents in the forefront of their minds?  Will that separation process of government and business mimic the break-up of Ma Bell, which eventually evolved into an even larger corporate structure than was the initial company?  Do we continue to say to our financial institutions , act morally, stop deceiving your customers, while at the same time do nothing to break up their hold on our nation?  Moreover, when these banks get themselves in dire trouble, do we bail them out in order to bolster the nation at large?  Do we activate laws that will not tolerate the abuse of our citizens having to buy life-saving prescription drugs?  Do we take a watered-down health care bill and actually tweak it to provide decent medical care?  Or do we continue to kowtow to political interests playing to the benefits of corporate rewards?

President Obama is on to this.  Yes, we got a new health care bill.  Yes, we will have financial reform legislation.  Yes, I believe that DADT will be repealed.  Yes, immigration reform is also on the horizon.  The problem is that no matter how badly we need change, our governmental process cannot deliver the valid, effective votes for what we need.  Thus, we compromise.  We have a new health care bill that will not provide the necessary competition to bring rates and costs down.  The financial reform omitted such heinous corporate practices and products as derivatives, and such corrupt instruments are still allowed to be bought and sold.  In the arena of immigration, we allow thousands of illegals to enter our country to occupy jobs that our own citizens wouldn’t take if their lives depended on it and yet we bitch and moan at having to provide education and health care for their (often legal) children.  We speak of green technology grounded in government regulations, but when a disaster occurs, we find that the regulations have been so bastardized that they might as well have been thrown out the window.

President Obama is on to this dichotomy, this destructive partnership between government and industry.  The best he can do is get much watered-down legislation to alleviate what ails us.  Baby steps that, quite frankly, will probably not morph into anything different from what we have already.  It is not his fault.  We need a sea change of reform to alter our federal and basic economic structure.  This overhaul will be fought against, tooth and nail, by our selfish elected officials and our astute business people, who are clearly in bed with each other.

These questions have been with us for way too long.  I remember a major part of the protests in the 1960’s concerned the corrupt corporations.  The war protests took precedence over our business complaints, which seemed to have lost steam over the following decades.  However, the greedy affair between government and business has never been dealt with.  So read these two articles that I have linked.  You could do a lot worse this weekend.

Patches and Packs

May 28, 2010

Really.  Come on now.  Did you truly think that “top kill” was going to work anyway?  To all of those detractors who must place the blame for this on President Obama, ask yourselves these questions: For you right-wing nuts, how can you condemn big government and uncontrolled spending in one breath, and then in the next breath demand that our government is not doing enough to stem the flow of oil?  For you lefties and Progressives, are you really that naive to assume that government has a fix for everything, even a catastrophe as large as this spill?  And since the answer is clearly “No”, why is your next step to lower yourselves and criticize the man who is trying his darndest to rectify matters?  The disaster happened.  The best we can do now is to make sure a similar one will never happen again.  But no matter how big and powerful our government is, and despite the fact that our government can print as much money as it wants, it cannot prevent these major catastrophes from ever occurring again.  Bad things happen.  It is high time to throw away our naivete and penchant for blame.  Unless, of course, our sole purpose is for the political assassination of one party or another.  How old is this practice?  Can’t these idiots get a life, tend to their own little existences, pull themselves out of their own helplessness without burying others?

Instead of taking on the “pack mentality”, perhaps we should tend to our own patches and clean up our own environs.  Was it Howard Zinn who said “Everything is local”?  Enjoy your own little patch this weekend.  May you find yourself walking on sunshine.  Perhaps the person who coined the phrase “going to the dogs” was really on to something, in a completely opposite way than originally intended.

DOG PACK ATTACKS GATOR IN FLORIDA

At times
nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty, and even a
certain justice manifested within that cruelty.

The
alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally
considered the “apex predator”,
can still fall victim to implemented ‘team work’ strategy, made
possible due to the tight knit social structure and “survival of
the pack mentality” bred into the canines.

See
the remarkable photograph below courtesy of Nature Magazine.

Note
that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the
gator preventing it from breathing, while another dog has a hold
on the tail to keep it from thrashing. The third dog attacks the
soft underbelly of the gator.

Not for the
squeamish

Laughter
is good for the soul.

As per the regular drill, thanks to my funny people, Miss Seven Striper and Lillyhope, for their humorous contributions.

Peddling Drama

May 26, 2010

The world is too much with us.  The global and national problems that beset us are overwhelming to those of us who care.  Even though these issues of personal well-being and planet survival have been with us since the beginning of time, the fear that irrevocable damage will occur is already within us and is always in the forefront of our thoughts.  Thus, another phenomenon on which to capitalize: selling drama.

The media and pundits love the drama.  The status quo does not sell papers.  After all, their paychecks are dependent on inciting and maintaining all the upheavals of our lives.  The ups, and especially the downs, are manna from Heaven for the press.  Maybe I take things too seriously, but I have had to cut back my reading of current events because unlike the media, I cannot tolerate the extremes while trying to function in my daily life.

So I present to you some absurdities, magnified by our all-too-willing press and advertising industry, that will make you laugh, although be it in desperation.  These issues are hardly as important as the big problems we face, but serve as a temporary escape from our major hurdles.  When impotence is clearly the lesson of the day, shit on it.

Gwyneth Paltrow is an accomplished actress.  Given.  However, in the last number of years, her roles have been few and far between.  Instead of going to see her in theaters, we are subjected to the media’s reports of her various body cleansing routines.  In great detail.  Dear, sweet Gwynnie: clean your colon as often as you like, work those butt muscles so that they will not sag and by all means, purify all of your other body parts.  Have a blast!  But can’t you keep those processes private?  What would ever make you think that anyone else is interested?

I, for one, am sick and tired of all the drug commercials.  My fave currently is the one hawking a pill for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  A woman’s voice is heard: “Mom was diagnosed with moderate Alzheimer’s.”  The voice is obviously distressed, cracking and miserable.  This commercial is clearly aimed at the caretaker’s worries more than the patient’s status, for which there is no miracle cure yet.  The voiceover is the daughter speaking, begging for something that will help her mother.  Thus, the response is that this pill will give some hope to the daughter.  The actual restorative effects for Alzheimer’s are very tenuous.  Besides, all of the side affects of the drug will probably kill the patient anyway.  So now we are directing a commercial’s message to the indirect victims of disease.  Hey: the market just quadrupled!  Stand and applaud for Big Pharma.

Likewise, I am now hearing radio commercials sponsored by our defense industry.  GE is especially hitting the airwaves pretty hard.  They have an ad peddling their jet engine (in a partnership with Rolls-Royce) as the favored war machine over that of Pratt & Whitney.  The ad further offers a telephone number that we citizens should call to let our Congressmen know just how vital it is to award this defense contract to GE/Rolls-Royce.  Taking it directly to the people!  In addition, GE must really be on a public relations tear, as they have another ad pushing the effectiveness of their anti-IED devices.  Another hot-button issue we all should be placing on our to-do lists immediately.  Ain’t war grand?

And pray tell, does the NBA and NHL season ever end?  For how long do these playoffs continue?  Certainly the playoff season is as long as the regular season.  Too much of a good thing renders that good thing worthless.  Basketball and hockey in the summer?  No thanks.  End the season and get a day job.

And the oil spill.  Besides the facts that our regulatory agencies were bought off by Big Oil and the reality that no technology existed to stem the flow of oil a mile down in the ocean before the well was drilled, is there much sympathy for such players as Mary Landrieu and Bobby Jindal when they bemoan the state of their state?  Not from me.  I feel for the unfortunate animal life that is being unmercifully damaged and the resulting loss of livelihood and health of the state’s residents.  But I feel nothing for the players.  Tell me this: if they are so truly disturbed by this catastrophe, how come they have not turned off the spigots on the other oil wells that are 5000 feet down in the waters off of their shores?  Why haven’t our regulatory entities, state officials and federal leaders demanded that the technology be in place before these deep water wells are put into operation?  These captains of industry and titans of government are no better than the industries that promote useless drugs and destructive weapons of war.

Wait.  Hold on.  I have a great idea.  How about we get on the horn to Gwyneth Paltrow and pick her mind for a purification method for the Gulf of Mexico?  Seems to me a Gulf full of oil can’t be too far worse off than a clogged colon.  Stranger things have happened, and in this crazy world, Gwynnie just might have a viable suggestion, no?  In the meantime, I will continue to irreverently sublimate my frustrations and anger to the ironies and absurdities of my day-to-day existence.  While the media is selling constant drama, I will respond by huckstering humor.  What other choice do I have?

Follow-Up to a “Happy Medium”

May 25, 2010

Lo and behold!  Today in the New York Times, David Brooks addresses exactly the dilemma of governing that I wrote about yesterday.  Of course he was so much more erudite and elegant than I was.  He examines the French and British Enlightenment and their lasting effects on government and society.

It is nice to know that a germ of thought one has is valid, even though other people explain it and develop it so much better.  Read the article.  It certainly will offer clarity to the seedlings of ideas that I tried to present.  Here is the link to Brooks’s piece:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/opinion/25brooks.html

In the very wide scope of things past and present, I do acknowledge that these shenanigans in governments, politics and personal existence were always with us.  Everything we see today is old stuff.  Just because my interest in current affairs is in the here and now, my tiny moment in time, doesn’t mean that these power corruptions, social inequalities and general ugliness of humanity never happened before.  I just worry (being the typical humanoid who thinks that my time on this earth is the definitive time!) that the “final straw”, the nail in the coffin that will change life as we know it, is on the horizon.  Given that all that is new is really old, will we be able to once again scale the abyss?

Effective Governing: Finding That Happy Medium

May 24, 2010

Adam Gopnik, a writer for New Yorker Magazine, wrote an article that you all should read.  It goes way back to 9/28/09 and is actually a review of the Dreyfus Affair.  Its pertinence to today’s issues and problems is uncanny.  The specifics of the Dreyfus Affair as applied to our general political mood today is telling.  Besides, have I ever steered you wrong on suggested reading?

In a nutshell, the premise of the Dreyfus affair, as well as the platform of all of our “isms” today, is that ethno-religious hatred and prejudice overwhelms reason and justice.  Not a surprise at all.  Whenever there has been deep economic turmoil, so too has there been social/cultural upheaval.  But friends, can’t we learn from our previous mistakes, separate government from cultural mores and personal religious convictions?  To top it off, we now have an African-American President, whom many unhappy people are holding singularly responsible for our troubles.  Imagine that: a face of color in our very highest chair of government.  Could this be the perfect storm, the ultimate magnet, for attaching all that went before and all that is inundating us now to this dark-skinned man?  Talk about displacement behavior being used to air our prejudices and injustice.

My favorite words of Gopnik’s article comes at the end:

The urge to protect the nation from its enemies by going around the corner to get them is natural, but what you get is usually not the enemies, and, going around the corner, you bump into something worse.  Breaking the law to defend the nation ends up breaking the nation.

Read the article and make your own comparisons and conclusions. Our principles of government, politics, ethics, accepted behavior, justice, religion, socialization, financial gain and power have been so intertwined that the resulting mish-mash of legislative policies are neither here nor there, and certainly not effective in solving our problems.  To break a law, whether formalized in our legal code or simply a principle that we all know is just plain wrong, with the intention of saving our own selves is equally horrendous as the initial crime.  That is why, for example, cover-ups never work.

Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, the Tea Party, the NRA, the vacuum of financial regulations, a total lack of safety features and foresight built in to our corporate structure resulting in an eye solely to the bottom line, the dangerous amalgamation of religion and public education (not to mention overall public policy) —- all of these brazen chances just might, in the end, break our nation.

America is truly a melting pot not only of people and culture, but, as dictated by our Constitution, also an olio of many ideologies.  This is all well and good for our freedoms.  In terms of policies though, we must sift through all the different forces at work for all the various interests and try to institute clean, specific solutions to each situation in need of legislation.  Certainly, defensive, preventive measures to any problem area should be considered based on previous events.  Isn’t that what history is all about?  To embrace answers in terms of disobeying laws and ignoring ethical concerns is not the solution for beneficial long-term results.

Our country is huge.  With all due respect to our wonderful freedoms, we need to address each issue individually, without muddying up the playing field with band aids to make all ideologies happy.  

Focus and consistency can work wonders is dealing with every problem as it arises. Democracy is a messy process and governing is partly a response to immediate issues.  Life is messy too, and perhaps government is just reflecting the disorder that naturally exists all around us.  Can America pull off this attention to emergencies as well as design and implement longer-term strategies?  Or will America break under the stress of being pulled in a million different directions?

Certainly justice and honesty should have precedence over prejudice and personal cultural choices.  The greater, more widespread principles of ruling and living can co-exist with each of our personal freedoms.  Finding the proper mix is the experimental, tricky part.

The remaining question is this: can America retain its cohesiveness, by making relevant legislative reforms, and yet, at the same time, not take away its citizens’ personal identities?  This was the crux of the Dreyfus Affair and this dilemma still faces us today.  The United States needs to unite for the sake of effective government yet also respect all the diverse opinions inherent in our society.  Can there be a happy medium?  We need to find it.

Please read Gopnik’s article.  The parallels between what happened over a hundred years ago and what is affecting all of us today will amaze you.

Second Coming: Maine Mulligan

May 21, 2010

It is not often that one gets a second chance, a Mulligan, a do-over.  The growing season in Maine is six to eight weeks behind that of Virginia, so for the last week, I have been lucky enough to experience a second spring.  Enjoy.

Caterpillar Hill

New moss

Clear water

Beginning growth

Seagull sentries

New moss

Early lupine

Making Miss Rumphius proud

Poof: second spring will become summer.

Don’t Piss Off The Fairies

May 20, 2010

The Tinkerbells of our world are getting pissed.  That is not a good thing.   The forces of good, our fairies and sprites, are at best, currently dormant.  Will we have the sense to waken them and heed their sage advice?

Time and time again, we rationalize bad decisions into spin, thinly disguised as political correctness, to justify our mistakes.  A few weeks ago, the Senate was considering gun rights for those people on the “no fly” list.  Senator Susan Collins, in her blatant efforts to support one of the major platforms of the GOP, the right to own guns, said that those on the “no fly” list should absolutely have the freedom to bear arms.  She added that many on that list were there in error.  Is her stupidity really as obvious as I believe it is?  If people are erroneously on the “no fly” list, perhaps we should do our homework and remove them from that list.  However, her logic was not to correct that list, but rather to extend gun rights to everyone on that list.  Instead of addressing the original problem of having innocent flyers on a restrictive list, Collins favored carte blanche gun rights to all on that list.  My question is this: if most of the people on the “no fly” list are potential threats to our national security, why in all tarnation are we giving them the right to bear arms?  Collins lack of logic has only one purpose: to fulfill the GOP’s glorification of owning and using guns.  The fairies are not so happy.

Similarly, Richard Blumenthal, who was considered a shoo-in for Senator Chris Dodd’s Senate seat, held a press conference this past week to announce that he “misspoke” about his service in Viet Nam.  Surprise of all surprises: the man never participated in that war in the way that he had previously touted.  He wasn’t a warrior; he was a member of the Marine Reserves and organized such activities such as Toys For Tots here in our homeland.  Definitely laudable work, but not the type of military role in which he had reported participating.  Blumenthal stood at that podium and said over and over again how proud he was, despite having mislead the public on his military service, of the work he did.  He did not misspeak; he downright lied.  Whether or not he will succeed in the election is up to the people.  At any rate, the fairies are getting angrier.

Personal ethics have lost all of their cache.  Now it is all about raising the campaign funds, securing the office and then using that office to repay the interests that put them there.  Between our public figures screwing around with staffers, courting prostitutes, condemning such social practices as homosexuality all the while as they clandestinely participate in that life choice and making babies outside of their publicly sworn devotion to family values, the need for honesty in their public lives has been thrown out the window.  It makes sense: if these seekers of public office have no regard for limits and morals in their personal lives, how could they possibly have any values in their professional lives?

The most offensive part is that they are getting away with this tacky behavior because they can.  First they lie, then admit their sins and finally, after a weak, implied apology, expect to move on with their campaigns, term of office and generally, their lives.  Often though, the confessions never turn into apologies.  Saving face is still the overriding factor.  Man alive: are the fairies ever pissed.

Thus, this disregard for standards has spilled over from the personal arena to the public one.  Just have a look at BP, Transocean and Halliburton.  With the explicit as well as implicit  consent of our regulatory bodies, these companies have evaded and ignored established principles of safety and quality control.  It is a moot point whether or not these rules and regulations were formal requirements or legal.  Common decency would dictate that common sense should rule the exploration, operation and disaster management of the energy industry.  However, the financial bottom line took precedence over any form of moral, civic or environmental duty.  After acknowledging the vacuum of individual values, this turn of events is totally expected.  The fairies are erupting with anger!

In early spring, patches of whitish violet “grass” appear amongst the leas of green grass.  More often than not, these tiny flower sprays take the form of a circle.  Thus, I call them “fairy circles”.  Here are a couple of photos showing evidence that the fairies are still among us:

Proof positive that the fairies exist.

The fairies are with us. Will we be with them?

Foresight and preparation have less and less place within our world today.  After the fact is no time for apologies, as the violations should have not occurred in the first place.  Supporting illogical and dangerous political policies for the sake of winning office, tolerating convenient sins of omission in public leaders’ lives, and succumbing to net profits over safety for our planet and its inhabitants is destructive. Period.  Legal, political and social incursions do have consequences and should not be glossed over, lest the aftereffects of the initial  act become even more consequential than the act itself.

Are we ready to summon the forces of good?  The fairies are just so pissed off.

Incumbents Heads Roll

May 19, 2010

Well: what did you expect?  Whether Democratic of Republican, Americans have a very short attention span.  Yesterday’s primaries were further indication, as were the elections of 2008, that they want change and they WANT IT NOW!

More conservative Democrats were thrown out (Arlen Specter) or now required to face a primary run-off (Blanche Lincoln) in favor of the progressive candidates.  In Kentucky, Tea Party fave Rand Paul won the GOP  Senate primary.  Nonetheless, come November, watch as the Tea Party chews him up and spits him out.  After all, they are not for anyone really and just serve to criticize and condemn everything.  How productive.

Voting for change is one thing and actualizing that change is completely another task.  Even if we had every single public office filled with the candidates of our choice, the structure, mechanisms and constitutional nature of our government would not allow that change to happen quickly.  So while it is all well and good that new people get elected, they, too, are up against that wall once they are sworn into office.  The change needs to come from the very foundation that our country is built upon.  Until the fundamental processes of government are altered, no politician can affect real change.  Do we continue to work within a flawed system and place our faith in new politicians,  or do we first need to change the system?  Will fresh new faces in public office be enough, or do we first need to undergo substantial reconstructive surgery to our current form of government?

Our country was founded on principles of democracy, providing a supposed voice for the people.  With our enormous size today, it rather seems that we use those founding principles to avoid change all together.  Something’s way out of kilter.  But any way you look at it, change can never happen fast enough, and that is precisely what the American people are responding to in making their votes count: anything but what we have now.  That strategy, although repeated quite often in our history, will not be effective either in forcing change.  As if our current politicians aren’t base enough, we have to deal with a system that is out of whack with reality.

Our problems are so diverse and complicated, that it is almost ludicrous to expect our lawmakers to have the smarts to fix them.  First of all, most politicians are not rocket scientists, not to mention paragons of critical and foresightful thinking.  To imagine these usual, run-of-the mill, average elected officials to be “experts” on such policies as oil technology, health care planning, economics and financial strategies is absurd.  Why do you think they call for commissions and such as the first step in responding to some disaster?

What we need is a permanent pool of  government employees, appointed and not elected, experts in their various fields of endeavor, to be in place on a continuous basis.  And we need to pay them well.  I think Britain has that kind of permanent, civil service in place.  How we roll in the U.S. when an emergency occurs, is that a “commission” is set up.  Weeks and months may pass before any results are suggested, and an even longer period passes before action may be taken.

So who are these people we elect to office?  Why, of course, they are the glitterati, the money raisers, the public relations specialists.  There are no connections with the abilities and skills of our elected and and their talents for governing.  Could that be the underlying problem?

So of course incumbents heads will roll.  I do think Americans are on to this now.  Unfortunately, they also do not have the patience required to change the system, a task that must be tackled before we can expect results from our public leaders.

It would surely be a miracle if change was the primary objective in reality as well as in fantasy.

Que Milagro!!!!!!!

Just To Keep You Posted

May 17, 2010

I am regaining my bliss this week.  However, just in case we forget the crazymakers are still circling, read this:

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox  Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.  The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet.  It’s funny, as well as informative: 
 

  Dear Dr. Laura: 


  Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law.  I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.  When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. 

  I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them. 

  1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations.  A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians.  Can you clarify?  Why can’t I own Canadians? 
  
 2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.  In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? 
  
 3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24.  The problem is how do I tell?  I have tried asking, but most women take offense. 
  
 4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9.  The problem is my neighbors.  They claim the odor is not pleasing to them.  Should I smite them?
  
 5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.  Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.  Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? 
  
 6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.  I don’t agree.  Can you settle this?  Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination? 
  
 7. Lev.
21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight.  I have to admit that I wear reading glasses.  Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here? 
  
 8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27.  How should they die? 
  
 9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? 
  
 10. My uncle has a farm.  He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend).  He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot.  Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16.  Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) 
  
 I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help. 
  
 Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging. 
  
Your adoring fan. 

  
 James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and
Special Education University of Virginia
 
 
(It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian)