Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mark Twain

Mark Twain is the most famous citizen of Hannibal, Missouri. He absorbed the language and customs of this area of the country and wove them into tales of life along the Mississippi River. In fact, for a short period of time he worked as a riverboat pilot.

One of my favorite quotes from Twain is "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."

His greatest novel was The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. My favorite scene from the novel is Huck and the runaway slave Jim out on the raft on the Mississippi River. Here Huck has to come face to face with the evil of slavery, the peculiar institution defended by the Christianity of his time and place. Huck decides he will not expose Jim's whereabouts to those out looking for him, although he believes such an action might well cost him his soul. Huck is willing to "go to Hell" for the sake of Jim. Huck's plight is the crux of the novel. He comes down on the right side, although he feels like he has done the wrong thing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ma Barker

Depression-era outlaw Ma Barker was born near Springfield, Missouri (in Ash Grove) around 1873, as best anyone can figure. Her name at birth was Arizona Donnie Clark. In 1892 she married George Barker. She had four sons: Herman, Lloyd, Arthur, and Fred. They were all involved in a life of crime.

The first to die was Herman. He was wanted in a murder involving a policeman earlier. He was stopped by a police roadblock in Wichita, Kansas. He shot himself on the spot. He is now buried in Welsh, OK. His mother, "Ma Barker," was killed in shootout in Ocala, Florida, along with two of her sons. There are all buried in Welsh (about 15 miles west of Miami).

Ma was killed in January 1935. Her abandoned body was finally buried in September of that year.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

HAT meeting 9.20.09

There were 14 of us at today's HAT meeting. I took the picture and two others were out of view.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Volkswalking at Wah-Sha-She

Last night Nick indicated he would like to ride with us to the volkswalk at Wah-Sha-She this morning. At 8:00 AM we were at Nick's and picked him up for a trip up to the northern part of the state at Lake Hulah. Wah-Sha-She is a state park on the shore of Lake Hulah, north of Bartlesville, close to the Kansas state line.

Let me back up a few hours and tell you that for lunch yesterday we ate at On The Border, a Mexican restaurant, and then for dinner I ate at Bill Dusenberry's house. (See photo below.) We had Cajun food prepared by Kenny Nipp. So by the time I got back home, I was "spiced out." The spicey food got the better of me for I had to make two trips to the bathroom during the night plus one more as soon as I got up this morning. I was unsure about whether to make the trip, but I apparently had purged myself of the distressing contents I had consumed hours earlier. I made the trip to Lake Hulah all right.

We had been to Lake Hulah some years earlier for a volkswalk. At that time the lake level was quite low. It looked like a different lake today. After the three of us finished the walk we went searching for a geocache. We had to do a bit of climbing to get to it, but it was not hard to spot once we reached the location. We signed the log and headed back to the car. We left the area and drove to Dewey, a town just north of Bartlesville. Arriving in Dewey, we noticed a festival was going on. One cache was located inside the Tom Mix Museum. We found a total of five caches today: four in Dewey and one at Wah-Sha-She.

I had my new camera with me and took several pictures. I may revise this post later to include a picture from the walk. This was walk number 230 for me.

With friends

This picture was taken Friday evening at the home of William Dusenberry in Broken Arrow. Sitting directly across from me is Kenny Nipp. I am on the right in the white shirt; Kenny is in the dark shirt directly across from me. I will be resigning as organizer of Tulsa Atheist Meetup, and Kenny will be taking over as organizer (in November).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Music at the Mansion

Today we went to a concert at the Tulsa Historical Society. I think it was the first time for me to be in the building. The concert was free and I expected for there to be a large crowd, but there were not quite a hundred people there. As we entered the room, we saw a grand piano and a table with various sized flutes and other wind instruments on it. We sat down on the second row. There was an oriental lady next to me reading a paperback copy of The Shack by William P. Young.

Soon the room started filling up. We saw Joy, a member of Church of the Restoration, who sat next to Jan. Right beside her was Gail, my piano duet partner. She sat to Joy’s left.

The music was American from the time of the American Revolution up through the Civil War and later. The flute player also played a fife and piccolo. Also of interest was a display in the mansion concerning the history of the governors of the state of Oklahoma. Also included was information on the first ladies of the state. After we left the mansion, J remarked that the lady playing piano reminded her of Marti.

Coming home we stopped at Wal-Mart where I bought a digital camera. It is a Fujifilm A100 camera. It cost only around $90. I also bought an SD card and some batteries. I plan to use the camera a lot in the future. I will have to shoot some pictures tomorrow to get familiar with the camera.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ted's Cafe Escondito

We attended two events today. At 12;45 pm we went to the White River Fish Market for the monthly luncheon for September. Afterwards we went to Target. They had a sale on The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Jan bought a copy to read on the trip. Next we went to Saied's Music Store and I bought two pieces of piano duet music: "Yankee Doodle Variations" by Robert D. Vandall and "Tone Row Twist" by Don Hurless.

We drove back to Sand Springs, but left again around 6:30 for Broken Arrow. There a group of my friends gathered at Ted's Cafe Escondito at 7:00 pm for a meal together. Ted's serves Mexican food. Traveling over to Broken Arrow via the Creek Turnpike is a breeze. If I had to drive through Tulsa to get there, it would take 45 minutes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Events of the day

I will be brief for there is not a lot to report on today.

This morning I took the Saturn over to the Saturn dealership for an Auto Butler treatment. We ate at the nearby McDonald's. In the afternoon I went walking at TCC. This evening the Liberal Action Network met at the Zarrow Library.

Tomorrow I will call the editor at Dumbarton Oaks and talk about what I might be working on in October.

That's all folks.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Methodist Church and Drumming

This morning I went to the Methodist Church with J and Ayla. Alya spent the night at our house, as is often the case on Saturday nights. The Sunday School class this morning was on homosexuality. The class began with a 30-minute video on the subject. The speaker in the video expressed views which were tolerant and enlightened. Likewise, the minister’s wife also expressed progressive views. In fact, the ideas this morning were a lot like I have heard in discussions at humanist meetings.

Afterwards, we went downstairs for a meal. Nick, and Jen, Luke and Ayla were all there. Following the meal was a short competition (based on the Bible) between four adults and four children. The children won 5 to 4. Are you smarter than a fifth grader? On the children’s team was Ayla, a first-grader.

In the afternoon, I went to drumming at the Price house. We reviewed rhythms we have been playing for quite some time. There were only four of us there: Joe and Lou, Joel, and myself. I think I will look into the drum circle at Living Arts near downtown Tulsa. I wish there were more people in the drum circle. I think you need to have at least six drummers to get a good vibration going. It also helps to have hard surfaces from which the sound can reflect. At the Price house the carpeting and drapes absorb much of the sound.

After watching the news, we went out to China Star for our evening meal. All-you-can-eat buffets are a weakness I have. I overate tonight. It was all so good.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The small poetry group

Today was the day when we were to hold a practice session of Secular Singers. The session was set to take place at Gail’s house, but something came up and I had to switch the location to my house. I notified the other members about a week prior to the practice session. During the week I got a call from Bea who is about to leave on another vacation to Italy. A couple days ago I got a call from Randy, and he said he would be at a funeral in Moore on Saturday.

I guess you could say I saw the handwriting on the wall. With three of the four regulars (I being the fourth) away for other activities, I decided to cancel the practice.

I got in nine miles of walking this past week: three miles each on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I walked at TCC, which is about three miles from my house.

Last evening, I went to a meeting of the small poetry group which meets at Border’s Bookstore. There were eight people for the meeting. We read and talked about some poems written by William Butler Yeats. There were six poems by Yeats in the book we are using. I made some copies of another of my favorite Yeats poem, “Crazy Jane Talk with the Bishop.” I passed copies of the poem around and then read it, and we talked about it. Our leader was absent last night. She had just returned from a long trip to Russia. She had planned on being there, but was undergoing a series of allergy shots. She had to get a shot every fifteen minutes for a few hours. It was something like a dozen or two dozen shots in all that she had to get.

Before leaving we decided that next time we met we would talk about the poetry of Robert Frost. Frost is one of my favorite poets, along with Philip Appleman, Vachel Lindsey, and Langston Hughes. The latter three are not found in the book we are using, “The Best Poems of the English Language,” edited by Harold Bloom.

Tomorrow there is no service at Church of the Restoration. Tomorrow is something called "Homecoming" at All Souls. However, I will not be going. I have told Jan that I will go with her to the Methodist church.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's getting ugly out there

Yesterday, during Obama's address to Congress, we witnessed the depths to which the Republican party is willing to go to destroy the Obama Presidency. While Obama was speaking, a representative from South Carolina stood up and shouted "You lie!" This only adds more fuel to the fire seeking to destroy President Obama.

The representative later issued an apology of sorts, saying that the leadership of his party had spoken to him, and therefore he was apologizing for his outburst.

Watch this story from CNN about a preacher wishing for Obama's death:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Silent Movies

The highlight of my day today came around noon when J and I went to the Central Library and watched two 20-minute silent films while a pianist played the piano. The first one starred Buster Keaton, the second one Laurel and Hardy. The program was part of the Music Sandwiched In series. It started at 12:10 and targeted workers on their noon lunch hour. Sandwiches were available for purchase at the door of the auditorium. From the looks of the crowd, I don't think many of the downtown workers availed themselves of the opportunity to take in the program. Most people there were of retirement age, I would guess.

On the way home, we stopped at Subway and got a five-dollar footlong (Black Forest Ham) and brought it home and ate it.

After lunch, I went to the TCC Fitness Center where I walked three miles.

At 7 pm we listened to the President speak to Congress and the nation. I thought he was persuasive, but I know there are many people who will oppose anything he says.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Obama and Kennedy

Something about the political atmosphere today reminds me of the early 1960s, when the president at the time was John Kennedy. Kennedy was the subject of groundless complaints, such as the recent complaint about President Obama speaking to school children. Never mind that other Presidents have also addressed school children. It appears that anything that our current President does is criticized. Nothing is too minor to be overlooked.

What is going on here? Here is one possibility.

Do you remember when Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in his church? Following that event, it was suggested that when anyone is the target of repeated verbal attacks, it makes it increasingly likely that the target will be physically attacked by someone who feels emboldened enough to attack the target. Just as O’Reilly’s repeating the phrase “Tiller the baby killer” eased the way for Tiller’s assassin to stalk and assassinate Tiller, so too does it ease the way for a potential assassin of President Obama to harm the President.

I believe that at least some of the criticism of President Obama comes from those who hope to encourage an assassin to step forward and end the Obama Presidency.

A quiet day in the life of Dan Nerren

I have had a good day today. J fixed blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Blueberries are suppposed to be good for cancer prevention.

Gail came over for a couple of hours and we played duets. Some of the pieces we played are: "Cleopha March" by Scott Joplin, a new piece by Melody Bober titled "Rhapsody Grandioso", "Broadway Lights" by Robert D. Vandall, "Moonlit Evening" by Robert D. Vandall, "Birch Tree Rag" and "Irish Air," both by Vandall, and "Oklahoma" by Richard Rodgers. Most of these pieces we played two or three times.

I took an hour nap while J fixed supper. We had a nice supper. We had chicken and dressing, with peas, rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. For desert we had apple fahitas. I watched a little bit of "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann. I also saw some of Rachel Maddow following Olbermann.

I did a little yard work tonight, trimming the grass growing over the driveway.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Drumming resumes

I went to church this morning. The service was a bit late starting. There was no program printed up for the service, but we looked at an old program for the order of service. Attendance was low. Only the usual suspects were there. Bill, Joy, Mary, Patrick, Edna (the pianist), Rosemary, and myself made up the congregation. Bill was the speaker today. He spoke on reconciliation.

During the candle lighting portion of the service, the congregation is invited to step forward and light a candle and voice a concern or a joy. I think everyone in the congregation today made their way to the candle and spoke a few words.

At 3:30 this afternoon I was at Joe Price’s house for a session of drumming. Drumming resumed today after a hiatus of about of three months. There were three new people there today. I had sent them an e-mail telling them about the drum circle. I was surprised to see all three came. Joe spent most of the time talking about the basics of drumming and answering questions from the newcomers. Marva was there to pick up a book, but she had to leave due to some emergency at home. Joel and Craig had other obligations.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Volkswalking and Movie Night

When we got up this morning I walked outside and got the newspaper. I noticed it was a bit foggy. I later learned that due to the fog, a small plane carrying five people clipped a guide wire for a tower at Chandler Park and crashed, killing all five aboard.

We were thinking about doing the volkswalk at Keystone Park, but since it looked like rain was a possibility, we opted for the inside walk at Promenade Mall. Three circuits on the ground floor and three circuits on the upper floor. While there we got a call from Nick who said he and his family were planning on going to the zoo. He asked if we would like to go with them. We told him we were already in Tulsa and would meet them there. On our last lap on the upper floor, we stopped and ate at the food court. I had bourbon chicken with rice; J had stuffed pita bread. After we finished the walk, we headed toward the zoo, stopping long enough at a ATM to get some more cash.

At the zoo we met up with Nick and his family. We boarded the train and rode to the far side of the zoo. Then we disembarked and started walking toward the entrance. We saw many animals, including a show featuring a couple of seals. The seals performed some tricks, and were rewarded by their trainer in the form of herring or some other small fish. We also saw the meerkat, rhino, elephants, monkeys, alligator, etc. By the time we got back to the car, having walked over the zoo grounds after having done a 5K walk, we were tired.

We came home and showered, and I took a nap. We watched the 5:30 NBC Nightly News, and then left for Randy's. There were nine people at Movie Night tonight. Gail and I played a duet, "The Water is Wide." Sabri H., a native of Syria, told us about his experience of going from being a Muslin to being an atheist -- a brave move for a young man from that part of the world. We watched a DVD on the Koran which said that any position can be justified by the Koran, much as any position on any issue in this country can be justified by the Bible. I thought of the days just prior to the Civil War in this country, where both sides quoted the Bible to justify their position on the slavery issue. I have noticed people will have their mind made up on an issue, and then go to some authoratative source seeking to justify their position.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Indexing and more

The index I have been working on the last few weeks is now done. It is always a relief to complete an indexing job. This week I went to the fitness center only once. I am going to try to go tomorrow and walk.

Tomorrow evening is Movie Night at the Bradleys. Gail and I are going to play a piano duet: "The Water Is Wide." Then we are going to watch a DVD on Islam. A young man from Syria will be attending. He became an atheist at some point in his life. I don't know his story, but I hoping he will tell us about life in his native country.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

At the rally

I worked on an index all day and then in the evening we took dinner over to Nick's house. J had fixed tacos here and packed everything up and took it with us. When we got to Nick's, we learned that Jennifer was feeling so bad that she had gone to bed. Ayla was sick also, and was throwing up while we were there. Luke was the only one well. Due to Jen and Ayla being sick, we ate and then left.

We returned home. I worked a bit on the index, and then we left for Utica Square. It was rally night for healthcare reform, sponsored by the local Move On group. I saw a few of my friends there. We arrived around 7:30. We had parked in the large parking lot down from Petty's Fine Foods. As we were walking to the rally, a policeman asked if we were going to the rally. We answered in the affirmative. The cop then told us that the management asked that we not park at Utica Square. We simply got into our car and drove to another area of Utica Square and parked there. It was a little further away from the rally site, and no one hassled us.

We walked down to where the rally was. It was already going on as we arrived. When it got dark candles were passed out to the hundred or so people there. The wind was blowing just strong enough to keep extinguishing our candles.

Across the street from us was a smaller group of people supporting the status quo. Actually one of our group (Bill D.) was over there engaging the people in "dialogue." He held up a sign that read "WWJD." My sign read the same. (WWJD means What Would Jesus Do?) I could tell that Bill's "dialogue" with the opposition got heated at times, but Bill always kept his cool.

We sang songs and shouted slogans, and then about a quarter until nine we walked down to Wendy's and got a bite to eat. I ate a small serving of chili, and J ate chicken nuggets.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

At the Saturn dealership

Today we had to go to the Saturn dealership due to our remote control devices not working properly. That took about an hour. The dealership ended up replacing the remotes. We stopped at Wendy's on the way home and ate lunch.

When we got back, we went to TCC for our walk.

I returned to working on my index. Joel wants me to consolidate some of the subentries on some of the main headings. We also pondered over how to insert the Unicodes (for Arabic characters) into some of the words in the index. After wrestling with that problem for a while, I think I have it figured out. We will find out later.