Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back from Springfield

We made a trip to Springfield to visit my parents this week. We drove there on Tuesday and returned to Sand Springs today.

We have Humanist Sunday coming up on May 1. This Sunday, Randy will be speaking. The title of his talk will be "Healthcare and the Moral Choice." Tomorrow I will assign the various remaining parts of the service to members of either CoR or HAT. Since Edna, our pianist, will be away, I will play the piano at the service.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The day closes

Here we are at the end of another day.

This day the highlight of my day was having a meal with my friends at The Royal Dragon, a Chinese restaurant in the Fontana Center.

Attendance was off somewhat. We had eight people there by the end of the dinner. Three was late arriving due to having been at the opera.

I have a busy day ahead of me tomorrow; I think I will turn in now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Garden pictures

This is a picture of the garden alone. The bed has been prepared and awaits planting.

This is the tomato plant that suffered trauma in my garage. I don't think it is going to survive. I will probably replace it in a day or so.

This is the same plant pre-trauma.

This is a topsy turvy plant in the back room.

Another garden picture.

Dan in the garden.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We visit the Philbrook

We visited the Philbrook Museum today along with several members of J's Sunday School class. Although the church provided transportation, we opted to drive to the museum ourselves. The traveling exhibit was on streamlined design and how it influenced commercial products of the times.

Following the visit, we all went to Luby's Cafeteria for lunch. The best deal with cafeteria food is at Furr's. It had been a while since I had eaten at Luby's. The food was good, but it was more exepensive than Furr's.

After the evening news, we drove over to the Katy Trail and walked two miles. We went in to the Drug Warehouse store and bought two cans of raisins. (Why? I will explain later.)

A couple days ago, I bought a 40 lb. sack a Miracle Grow potting soil. I finished filling up the topsy-turvy bags with potting soil. One topsy turvy is hanging in the back work room/library/computer room. The other t.t. had been hanging on a clothes line in the garage. When I put the t.t. back on the clothes line, it dropped like a rock to the floor. As you know, the plant grows upside down (out the bottom) from the container. So the first thing that hit the floor was the plant. The weight of the potting soil on top of it, didn't do it any good. I inspected the plant, thinking it might have broken. Seeing no break, I hung it from a more secure spot in the garage. Nevertheless, the plant did not look too good today. I may have to replace it with another.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

At the Episcopal Church

Today we went to St. Matthew's Episcopal Church for the final Journey to Easter service. It is in a beautiful setting overlooking Sand Springs Lake. Off in the distance one can see the tall buildings of downtown Tulsa.

The service today was entirely scripted. The vicar asked for and received volunteers to read from a booklet distributed as participants entered the building.

After the service ended, we all went to the fellowship hall for a meal.

And now for a quote from Chapter 2 of Saving Jesus From the Church by Robin Meyers.
Christianity as a belief system requires nothing but acquiescence. Christianity as a way of life, as a path to follow, requires a second birth, the conquest of ego, and new eyes with which to see the world. It is no wonder that we have preferred to be saved.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What I Did Today

Once again, it is Sunday. I got up earlier this morning and went to Restoration for a special program that starts an hour before the 11:00 am service. We are watching the video series "God in America," which can be seen for free on the Internet. Today we watched the program about the rise of individualism in the religions brought over from Europe. Anne Hutchinson was one of the key figures examined today. Did those who came over to the colonies fail to anticipate that some of their contemporaries would apply their new freedom to their religion?

We decided that next week, instead of watching an hour-long episode with only a few minutes left for discussion that we would wtch only a half hour of the next episode and have 30 minutes left for discussion. Unitarian like to discuss things. That reminds me of a cartoon I saw a few years back. The scene is near heaven and shows two sign posts. One reads "To heaven" and the other reads "To a discussion about heaven." The Unitarians opt for the second path.

Which reminds me, last night I downloaded a fairly new book to my Kindle. One written by Robin Meyers, who I have heard speak twice -- once many years ago in Tulsa and most recently back on April 4 of this year in OKC. The title of the book is Saving Jesus From the Church. Meyers is pastor of the Mayflower Congregational Church in OKC.

Writes Meyers,"Among a myriad of fictions in the land today is the one that theology doesn't matter, and that whatever people want to believe is okay. But in truth, our national nightmare is not just political. It is theological. And "As long as Christianity is the dominant belief system in America, we cannot afford to be biblically or theologically illiterate." Forgive me, but one more quote: "Yet the people in the pews are not just reading The Da Vinci Code, The Secret, or The Prayer of Jabez. They are also reading Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossen, and Karen Armstrong." Okay, no more quotes from Meyers...for today. These quotes are all from the first chapter, incidentally.

Back now to the church service. April is "National Child Abuse Prevention Month." (I sometimes wonder how they come up with all these national months for this and that, but that's another topic.) the heading on the order of service reads "Poetry Month & National Child Abuse Prevention." Mary "Dependable" Rounds led the silent meditation, candle lighting, prayer, plus sang the special musical selection, and then gave the message. A real workhorse she is.

I had with me a check for $75 from the Humanist Association which I gave to Vanessa. We humanists will be using the building for three months, as a trial period. If things go well and our membership likes the facility, we will continue to meet there. Already space in the building is being used by the Quakers, Tulsa Peace House, Secular Organization for Sobriety, Center for Racial Justice, and a Muslim group. There are several rooms in the builing making it possible for more than one group to meet at a time.

Since today was poetry day, the poem I chose to read was Langston Hughes's Harlem Sweeties. The poem begins with the words "Have you dug the thrill of Sugar Hill?" Sugar Hill is an area within NYC's Harlem area.

After the service was over, I drove to Wendy's and got a couple of chicken sandwiches, not my usual serving of chili. When 2 pm rolled around, I was at Randy's for a meeting of FFRF Tulsa. We talked about an upcoming effort using billboards featuring the faces of some of our members. Each billboard (as many as ten in all) will have the face of one of our members. "Our" being HAT, TAM, and FFRF Tulsa.

On Saturday, April 30, All Souls Unitarian Church is sponsoring an event called "Seminary for a Day." The speaker is going to be Brandon Scott, a charter member of The Jesus Seminars. There will be three sessions. Session I is titled "A Quiz: What Do You Know About Resurrection?" Session II is "An Investigation: Pauls' Letter to the Philippians." Sessions III is titled "A Discovery: The Empty Tomb." If I am here on April 30, I would like to attend this seminar.

After the FFRF meeting was over at Randy's, I came on home and moved my topsy turvy planter (I have two this year) to the front porch and watered it.

Thoughts from Brian Dunning

Skepticism is, or should be, an extraordinarily powerful and positive influence on the world. Skepticism is not simply about "debunking" as is commonly charged. Skepticism is about redirecting attention, influence, and funding away from worthless superstitions and toward projects and ideas that are evidenced to be beneficial to humanity and to the world.

The scientific method is central to skepticism. The scientific method requires evidence, preferably derived from validated testing. Anecdotal evidence and personal testimonies generally don't meet the qualifications for scientific evidence, and thus won't often be accepted by a responsible skeptic; which often explains why skeptics get such a bad rap for being negative or disbelieving people. They're simply following the scientific method.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, particularly in claims that are far fetched or that violate physical laws. Skepticism is an essential, and meaningful, component of the search for truth.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Humanism and the Arts program

We had some stormy weather yesterday. Fortunately, we suffered no damage from the winds. I can remember the weatherman on a local TV station saying the storm would arrive in Prattville at 5:38 pm. By the time the storm got here it had veered south somewhat and passed over Sapulpa. The storm never formed a funnel cloud in our neck of the woods.

We did two things today. First, we attended the sixth and final Tulsa Town Hall program at the PAC. Today's speaker was Jon Meachem, a former editor of Newsweek and presently co-host of Need to Know on PBS.

And this evening we observed a "Humanism and the Arts" program. Leading off tonight's program was Joy Avery singing and playing her guitar. She sang "Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier." Next, the church administrative secretary, Vanessa Adams-Harris, did an excerpt from another dramatic monologue she will be presenting to the public within the next year. She is perhaps best known for a rendition of Rosa Parks. She also has another show titled "Who Will Sing for Lena." Since our church is without a minister, Vanessa sometimes fills that role also. She is the backbone of our church.

Next we were treated to a dramatic enactment of a poem written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. It was followed by James Weldon Johnson's The Creation. Then Barbara Frey read "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost. "Something there is that doesn't like a wall" wrote Frost.

And then for something completely different, Larry Hochhaus (aka Larro) performed some magic tricks. He did six or eight tricks and left his audience baffled.

Next David Myers of our Poetry Group read "The Starlight of Tulsa," a piece he wrote as an entry in a writing competition. That was followed by Larry Roth reading the second part of a three part story titled "The Ghost Behind the Attic Door." I closed things out by playing "School Years" by Dmitri Kabalevskovo at the piano.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So far this week

I see that I have neglected to update my blog for a few days. Last Monday Gail come over and we played piano duets for a couple of hours. That afternoon, we went to the fitness center and walked. Likewise, we did the same on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have reached the 82-mile mark for the year. That's nothing to brag about. We have had some disruptions this year: sickness, and J's knee surgery. April so far is looking pretty good.

Tuesday we went to the Presbyterian Church for the latest pre-Easter service. After the service there is always a meal. We had chili, which seems to be a popular item to serve at these dinners. The Presbyterian Church is set on a hill overlooking the city of Sand Springs. There is one more service to go before Easter.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday activities

This being Sunday, I made my way to Church of the Restoration this morning. I had forgotten that they were starting a new series based on the "God in America" video series which ran on PBS. The series started at 10 am.

About half of the congregation was there for the series. By 11 am, a few more people had trickled in. There were 9 or 10 people in attendance today.

After the service was over, I phoned J to see if she was going to go by Brahm's to pick up some lunch. She had the two grandkids with her. She said due to Luke having a meltdown at church, she had come straight on home from the Methodist church.

So I went to Wendy's for a bowl of chili. Next I went across the street to Atwood's and bought two bags of compost for my garden. I got the wheelbarrow and loaded up the compost.

My cucumber plants were starting to look stressed. I went ahead and transplanted them into the garden. The tomato plants are still looking fine in their original containers. They are still in the kitchen window. If the cucumber plants do not survive, I will get some more.

My next-door neighbor came out to the fence and we chatted a bit. His wife has been fighting cancer for the past few months. She has undergone chemotherepy and radiation treatments while battling cancer.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Readership is down

I have noticed that readership of my blog is down considerably from a year ago. I was averaging about a dozen hits per day then. Now it runs about a half dozen. I have probably managed to offend enough people to reduce the number of readers by that much.

In other news, I mowed the front yard and the yard on the south of the house today. J mowed the back yard yesterday.

Ayla is spending the night with us tonight. With the return of mild weather, Ayla played out in the back yard for several hours this evening.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Preserving paragraphing with Blogger

A friend wrote on her blog that she would at times lose paragraphing while blogging. At the top of the form into which you type your blog's content, you will see "Edit Html" and "Compose."

To preserve paragraphing you must be using "Edit Html." This will keep your paragraphs intact.

I went walking this morning at the fitness center. I did three miles. While walking, I listened to music by Scott Joplin.

This evening, we went to Barnes & Noble Bookstore for the Poetry Group meeting. This is the first time we have met at this venue. Border's Bookstore, our traditional meeting place, is closing its store. We found a number things about B&N that we did not like. We may be meeting elsewhere next month. Today we read poems by nineteenth century German romantic poets. Next month the subject will be the poems of Sharon Olds.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Work in the garden

Today we did a lot of work in the garden. When we get things in place I will post some pictures.

We began the day by going to the fitness center and walking two miles. While walking, I listen the the eighth and final lecture by Robert Greenberg on the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. What a harrowing life he lived! He lived during the rule of Stalin and is lucky not to have "dissappeared" during the night. Next, I would like to listen to Greenberg's lectures on Brahms.

I made a trip to Riddle's Plant Farm where I bought a bag of potting soil mix. At Atwood's I bought eight concrete patio blocks, which will be placed around my garden.

Monday, April 04, 2011

To OKC and back today

Here are two pictures taken today in Oklahoma City at the state capitol building. The weather was cool, but with wind gusting to 30 MPH, it got rather cold at times. The main speaker today was Rev. Robin Meyers.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday and CoR

Today being the first Sunday of the month, it was Humanist Sunday at Church of the Restoration. This is the day when the local Humanists are in charge of the service. Gail and I played a piano duet and later I delivered the message. Following the service we had a potluck dinner. There were about 15 people there.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Inside Job

Tonight was Movie Night at the Bradleys. The movie we saw was Inside Job. Viewing this movie is enough to make one lose faith in our government officials. The sad fact is that many of these officials are still in Washington running things. This movie can make one be pessimistic about the future. On that sour note, I think I will now go to bed.

Catch up

I last posted to my blog on Tuesday, and here it is Saturday. I have a small problem with my computer -- one which Nick said he could fix in a couple of minutes. However, Jen was out in the car waiting on him, so J hurried him off. I am using the laptop computer to make this post.

Last Wednesday, I attended a meeting at the Democratic Party headquarters (downtown Tulsa) for delegates to the upcoming country convention. It lasted a couple of hours, maybe less.

The next day a service guy from Air Solutions came out for the spring tune-up of our AC.

On Friday, we had some banking to take care of. Luke and Ayla stayed overnight with us.

Today was the day of the Tulsa County Democratic Party Convention. That event lasted from 9 to 2:30. There were a couple of hundred people in attendance.