Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Surgery last week

I had surgery this past week.  It was scheduled and did not come as a surprise.  I had a rapid recovery.  It was done on an outpatient basis. 
The year is winding down to a close.  The world did not end on December 21, although for some 150,000 people on the planet it did end.  That was the day of their death.  150,000 is the approximate number of deaths that occur each day.

Looking back on 2012, I see that I met my goal of reading 15 books (from cover to cover) during  the year.  In fact, I read 17.  My favorite book was George Lakoff's The Little Blue Book.

I walked 426 miles during the year.  That is dedicated walking.  It does not include the everyday walking one does.

I lost about 15 pounds during the year.

For 2013 I will strive to read 15 books, walk 365 miles, and lose another 15 pounds.  The most difficult of these goals to achieve will be the weight loss, I suspect.  I am now at 215 pounds.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


We have come to regard ourselves — and the world has come to regard us — as a country that’s so gun happy that the right to traffic freely in the most obscene quantities of weapons is regarded as far more precious than an American’s right to health care or a good education.
                                                        --Gail Collins

Friday, December 14, 2012

A trip to Springfield

Last Tuesday we drove to Springfield to see if we could be of any help to my parents.  I drove my father around to accomplish some errands.  We went to Walgreen's and then on to Harter House.  Both are on Republic Road and are close to where my parents live.   We also picked up my sister Paula and took her to a few places she needed to go.

Driving to Springfield, I almost hit a deer.  It jumped in front of the car, but just as quickly did a 180 degree turn and got out of my way.  Looking in the rear view mirror, I saw it cross the road behind me.

On this trip I did not visit a music store.  Lately I have been printing a lot of sheet music from the website  They have quite a selection of sheet music which you can print for free.

On the way home, we stopped in Joplin at the Red Lobster for lunch.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Getting ready for Christmas

Earlier this week I took a box of Christmas gifts to the post office and mailed them to Houston for my cousin Vicki.  A few days later I went out and completed shopping for my spouse.  Tonight we attended a Christmas play at the Methodist Church in Sand Springs in which Ayla had the lead role.  Afterwards we all went downstairs for cake and punch.  Gail showed up to give her support for Ayla.

The tree is up along with all 36 ornaments.  Each year we buy a Hallmark ornament for Christmas.  The tree is now heavily laden with ornaments.

My favorite aspect of Christmas is the music.  As a subscriber to BBC Music Magazine, I receive a CD each month along with the magazine.  This month is the Christmas issue, and the accompanying CD is of Christmas choral music.  I am listening to it now as I type this posting.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Concerned about media consolidation?

More and more media are coming under the control of fewer people.  Read the information at the link below to learn what you can do about this situation.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Back to the blog

It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted anything here.  I guess we have been too busy.

We hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for family members.  We had to start several days before Thanksgiving to get everything in place for the event.

Saturday was Movie Night at the Bradleys.  We watched Zeitgeist.  It is a dense movie.  By that, I mean the claims made in this film come so thick and fast you can't evalute them on the spot.  The film is available for viewing on YouTube.  I hope to rewatch it sometime and read more about the claims made in the movie.  The film runs for two hours.  I would be interested in hearing from any of my readers as to what they think about the film.

Gail and I played duets at church last Sunday.  We played "Jingle Bells" and "Still, Still, Still."  We had to cancel our practice today.  Church activities will be at a minimum for the remainder of the year.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The last few days

In the last few days, we attended a lecture at Tulsa Town Hall on Friday morning.  We heard Dr. Andrew Weil, a popular writer and speaker, talk about health and nutrition.  I have started reading his book Healthy Aging on my Kindle.  (I downloaded the free portion -- roughly, the first chapter.) 

Saturday morning I did a volkswalk here in Sand Springs.  The start point was about a mile from the house.  I followed the course which was 3.1 miles in length.

Then that afternoon, I went to the HAT meeting.  I wrote an account of the meeting which is posted on the HAT blog.

That evening Vanessa sent me an e-mail to let me know that Edna, the church pianist, was not feeling well and that I would be needed to play piano at the Sunday service.  So I filled in for Edna this morning.  For the special music,  I played Erik Satie's Gymnopedie No. 3. There were about a dozen people at the service.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Check out this new blog

Here is the link to a new blog you might enjoy:

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Visit to Springfield

Since we were gone for several days we had our mail held at the post office.  Since today was a holiday, there was no mail delivery.  I will pick up the mail tomorrow.

Gail and I had our weekly practice today.  We mostly played Christmas music.  Next time we perform we will play "Jingle Bells" and "Still, Still, Still."  We are also working on "Give Thanks."  Some people might find it strange that two atheists would be playing Christmas-oriented music, but we do not let religion get in the way of enjoying music.  We both love to play hymns.

While in Springfield I finished reading The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  I read it as part of my participation in the Methodist Book Club.  The group meets tomorrow night, but I will have to miss that meeting.  I plan to attend the Progressive Book Group which meets at my church.  We are reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.  We take just a chapter or two per meeting.  It will take us two years to get through the book, at our current rate.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day

Election day has arrived.  If you have not already voted, I hope you will do so today.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Chris Rock on the whiteness of Obama


The following is a portion of a letter from Michael Moore:

I cannot believe it is possible that, after a group of rich plutocrats wrecked the economy, threw people out of work and stole our future, we may actually hand the keys to our country over to...a rich Republican plutocrat who made millions by throwing people out of work! This is insane, and despite all the legitimate criticisms of Obama, he is nothing like the tsunami of hate and corporate thievery that will take place if Mitt Romney is president. As bad as it feels now, it will only get worse.

I need your help to stop this. I can't promise you that your life will get better, easier under Barack Obama. I do think he cares and I know for sure that if the other guy is sitting in the Oval Office, I can guarantee you that not only will your life not get better, it will get much, much worse. Don't take my word for it. Just ask your parents what life was like before a 30-year pillage by the Republicans of the middle class. Your parents bought a house and eventually owned it outright. They weren't in debt. College was free. They bought a new car every 3 or 4 years. They took vacations and were home for dinner by 5 or 6 PM. They had a savings account in the bank. They didn't live in fear of not knowing if they'd even have a job next year.

That's all gone. I don't know if we can get it back, but I do know that Mr. Romney would love the chance to complete the final elimination of the middle class and the American Dream.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Romney's Storm Tips

Click on tips to enlarge image.

On Obama

"What can be said without equivocation is that Obama has proven himself morally, intellectually, temperamentally, and strategically. In my lifetime, or my parents,' he is easily the best president. On his own terms, and not merely as a contrast to an unacceptable alternative, he overwhelmingly deserves reelection."
                            -- Jonathan Chait, New Yorker magazine

Friday, November 02, 2012


If President Obama is re-elected, health care coverage will expand dramatically, taxes on the wealthy will go up and Wall Street will face tougher regulation. If Mitt Romney wins instead, health coverage will shrink substantially, taxes on the wealthy will fall to levels not seen in 80 years and financial regulation will be rolled back.   --Paul Krugman

Early voting in Oklahoma

Early voting in Oklahoma starts today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Monday and Tuesday

Monday morning J and I went walking at the nearby fitness center.  Normally, on a Monday morning Gail and I have piano duet practice together, but Gail had an appointment with her oncologist this morning.  As we were driving home, I got a call from Gail who had just arrived home from her appointment.  I hurried home and vacuumed the living room and mopped the kitchen and dining room.  Then I took a shower and got dressed.  Gail had received a good report from her doctor.  She has been cancer free for over a year now.

This morning, we went to the copy shop and made copies of some insurance papers.  Next we drove to the post office and mailed the papers.  Then we paid a city utilities bill.  I took a nap, and then we walked the Katy trail for two miles.  I have reached 368 miles miles walking this year, thereby reaching my goal of a average of a mile a day.  After the walk, we went in to the May's Drug Store and I got a flu shot for this season.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Election question

Given the choice of voting for a Christian or a Mormon, which candidate do you vote for?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Recent and coming events

On Thursday, Oct. 18, I met at Restoration with Larry R., Marilyn, and Gail for the first session of our study of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.  We had a good discussion, which lasted just over an hour.  Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the church.  One thing I learned from the first session was that in the 1600s some colonists got so hungry that they dug up corpses and ate them. 

Today we had the HAT meeting at the Genealogy Center on Harvard.  I read a poem by my favorite poet, Philip Appleman.  It is titled "Hymn of Praise to the Intelligent Designer." We have moved the meetings back to the Genealogy Center by popular demand.  We had about ten people there today.  HAT will continue to fill the pulpit at Restoration on the first Sunday of each month.  I will be the speaker in November.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bill Doolin, deceased

This photo was taken of the outlaw Bill Doolin following his death.

Daily activities

I gave an interview this afternoon with a reporter from Urban Tulsa Weekly.  We met at the Coffee House on Cherry St.  We talked about 25 minutes.  He is doing an article on the growth of atheism in Tulsa.  He said the article will appear either in November or December.
Gail came over for about an hour and a quarter starting at 3:00 pm.  We practiced the piece we will be playing on Humanist Sunday in November.  We also played a few other pieces.  Next Monday Gail has an appointment with her oncologist.  We plan to practice on another day.
Next, we took Ayla to her piano lesson.   We took Ayla home with us and later went to Braum’s for dinner.  Then we took her home.

Vacation, part 10

The pictures show the Ingalls Hotel in Ingalls, Oklahoma.  It is the site of the biggest shootout in the southwest.  It was here that Bill Doolin of the Dalton Gang was involved in a shootout with a law officer in 1893.  E. D. Nix, a U.S.Marshall, learned that Doolin was at this location and sent a deputy and a posse of 13 men to capture him.  As things turned out, three marshalls were killed.  Two bystanders were killed.  Three of the gang members were wounded.  Arkansas Tom Jones was wounded and captured.  Doolin was wounded but shot and killed Richard Speed, a deputy marshall.  Doolin was later shot and killed in Oklahoma.  Ingalls is about ten miles to the east of Stillwater.

Vacation, part 9

Look at the structure in the top picture.  Can you guess what the purpose of this tall building is?  Hint: It is located behind the fire station.  Firefighters would hang their hoses from this building to let them dry out before storing them on the fire trucks.  The picture below the top one shows a performer inside the Blue Belle Saloon playing and singing.  How about the third picture?  Looks like a cedar tree, right?  What you are looking at in this picture is a geocache hidden in the cedar tree.  The last picture is a close up of the tree showing two camoed containers about the size of a 35mm film canister.  The log was inside the first container.  I'm guessing trade items were in the second.  I signed the log and replaced it in the container.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A double dose of Sunday

Today I went to church twice.  My first visit was at All Souls Unitarian Church on Peoria Ave. for the 8:30 service.  They now have three services on Sunday: a Humanist, a Contemporary, and a Traditional.  The music was fantastic.  Rick Fortner played jazz piano, accompanied by a saxophonist.  Marvin’s topic this morning dealt with his recent visit to Romania, specifically Transylvania.  He was part of a group of people taking a tour of the area.  As they went by a school they noticed a sign that said something to the effect that the Unitarian church operated the school.  They decided to step inside for a visit, which resulted in the group being invited to return the next day and address the school children.
They were asked about where they would be going next.  Upon telling the group, they were warned about what to expect.  They were told the people in that country could not be trusted, to be careful and cautious.  However, once they got there, the people seemed okay.  However, before they moved on, they were once again warned about the people in the next country.  This seemed to happen repeatedly.  Each group of people was warning about the people in the next country.  But once the tour reached the next country, they found the people there just as trustworthy as people in the last country.
It seems that people are naturally suspicious of differences – all kinds of differences -- differences in race, ethnicity, and religion.  Why do we have the tendency to think the worse about people who are different from us?  Marvin then said that few people ever learn how parochial their beliefs are.  We grow up just believing the religion of our parents is the one, correct, true religion. 
Ask yourself this question: How much does my religion differ from the religion of my parents?  If it differs not very much or not at all, were you just lucky to be born into a family with correct beliefs?  Almost everyone thinks so, be they Islamic, Hindu, Jehovah Witness, Adventist, Primitive Baptist, Northern Baptist, Southern Baptist, Missionary Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian,  Lutheran, Christian Science, etc .  There are literally thousands of denominations, and each believer thinks that he or she has the truth when it comes to religion. 
Few people ever realize that they were indoctrinated with the beliefs they hold to be true from the cradle onward..
Moving along, after the service at All Souls ended, I headed north on Peoria and stopped in at Gateway Market and bought potato salad for Second Helping, an after- the- service meal at Restoration.  Today our minister spoke.  I played the piano, since the regular pianist had to be elsewhere today.  There were about 15 people there today.  During the RE period, Mary read a paragraph which resonated with me.  I asked if I could make a copy of what she just read.  She handed it to me and five other people asked if I could make them a copy also.  Here is the statement:
It is very easy to pretend to understand what one does not understand.  Often the degree to which we oppose a thing marks the degree to which we do not understand it.  Sometimes we use our opposition to an idea to cover our own ignorance.  We express our dislike for things, sometimes for people, when we do not understand the things we pretend to dislike; when we do not know the people for whom we have the antagonism.
Following the service we had our Second Helping in the Congregation Life room.

Vacation, part 7

Just outside the Blue Belle Bar we met a man giving free rides in his horse-drawn wagon.  So we hitched a ride with him.  The third picture shows the violin shop of a man who had closed up fo0r the day so he could attend the International Oklahoma Bluegrass Festival.  At bottom is a close-up of the door to his business.  The sign reads, "Gone Fiddlin.'"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Vacation, part 6

The four pictures above were taken inside the Blue Belle Bar, which is a block to the west of the Pollard.  For two years the actor Tom Mix worked as a bartender here.  Notice the stained glass above the doorway in the second picture.  Another impressive metal ceiing is shown in the third picture.  The waitresses were dressed in period costumes, as you can see in the fourth picture.

Vacation, part 5

The picture at the top shows the metal ceiling in the breakfast room at the Pollard Inn.  This kind of ceiling is found in other buildings dating back to the first decade of the twentieth century.  The next photo was taken in out room at the Pollard Inn.  The ceiling was very high.  Notice the distance from the ceiling fan up to the ceiling.  I would guess the ceilings were 16 to 20 feet above the floor.  The next photo shows our car parked in front of the Pollard Inn.  The Pollard Theater is where the green awning is.  Above the awning are the rooms of the Pollard Inn.  The three windows with the curtains open is where we stayed.  The breakfast room is to the left (on the corner).  The last photo in this series was taken inside a store that sold a hodge-podge of things, including deer heads.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mainstream Baptist: Robin Meyers on the Attempt to Repeal Affirmative Action in Oklahoma

Mainstream Baptist: Robin Meyers on the Attempt to Repeal Affirmative Action in Oklahoma

Vacation, part 4

The top picture was taken from our room at The Pollard Inn looking down on our car.  The next picture shows the view looking southwest out a window.  We were on the second floor of the inn.  The third picture shows the flowers which were in our room.  Not shown is the box of chocolate candy and the bottle of apple cider.  The last picture shows the grand piano in the breakfast room.  It actually works and was in tune.  I sat at the keyboard and played for a bit.  This building was at one time a bank.  Notice the vault behind the piano.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vacation, part 3

The two pictures above show something called Gravitram 2.  This is one exhibit that I remember from previous visits to the museum.  Two separate devices lift steel balls the size of a large marble to the top and release them.  The balls then travel to the bottom my means of gravity.  Along the way they pass through switches and gates which affect their speed and direction of travel.  It is facinating to watch the balls as they travel to the bottom.  Sometimes the balls go so fast you can barely see them.  Other times a ball may get delayed by having to wait on another ball before proceeding.

While in OKC we stayed at the Best Western on Santa Fe in north OKC.  The hotel has a restaurant inside where we enjoyed a catfish dinner that evening.  Also staying at the hotel was a black vocal group.  We caught just a bit of the group singing gospel music as they were about to go out to a concert.

The next morning we packed up and headed toward Guthrie.  Along the way I saw a music store.  I had to go inside and see what they had.  They had a good selection of sheet music.  I bought four books of music.  The store is comparble to Saied's in Tulsa. 

When we arrived in Guthrie, we noticed the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival was about to start.  We bought tickets for that day and went inside the grounds.  In the picture above, you see a group of five musicians.  It seemed as if it was about to rain, but it never did that day.

Vacation, part 2

Here are four more pictures I took during my recent trip to the Science Museum in Oklahoma City.  The top picture shows a play area for children.  This must be a tree house to top all tree houses.

There is an area in the museum dedicated to space exploration.  The next picture shows a space capsule painted orange and white.  As to the words "F 6 Adios MF,"  I don't have a clue about that.

Next picture shows a rocket engine which is used to lift rockets into space.  To get some idea of its size, look are the artwork hanging on the wall at the center left.

The last picture shows the planets Saturn and Jupiter as models.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vacation, part 1

 We got up last Wednesday morning, went to Braum's for a sausage and egg biscuit, and then got on the turnpike for Oklahoma City.  We drove directly to the Science Museum, formerly called the Omniplex.  We had visited the Omniplex several years ago.  It was completely transformed from the way it used to be.  Many of the exhibits have changed from the past.
The picture above was taken from the cafeteria inside the building looking out a window at a garden.  If you look carefully, you can see the reflection of my fingers and the camera.  The picture below, taken from the same spot, shows the back wall of the museum and a greenhouse.

 The picture above is of a railway coach.  How did they get that in the building, I wonder?  The picture below is of the rogue's gallery.  Shown are four notorious outlaws:  Pretty Boy Floyd from Sallisaw, Machine Gun Kelly from Tulsa, and Bonnie Parker and Cylde Barrow, better known as Bonnie and Clyde, who while not from Oklahoma, terrorized many Oklahomans, especially citizens of Commerce, Miami, and Joplin, Mo.  They were stopped by a hail of bullets in northern Louisiana in 1934.  They are buried in Dallas, Texas. 
I think it was last year that we went by the grave site of Ma Barker and her sons who are buried not far from Vinita, just to the east of a small community called Welsh.  Only one of the graves has a stone; the others have only paper tags.
There is a lot to see in the Science Museum in Oklahoma City.  We saw the planetarium show, a physics demonstration, and an IMAX film title "Tornado Alley."  The film was quite impressive shown on the big screen.  You get the feeling you are close to a tornado.

More to come later.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Frank Schaeffer quoted

The whole unwashed mob that is now the "Republican Party" -- a theocracy movement dedicated to imperial world domination, greed and gated communities, all in the name of a half-baked "Jesus" serving "his" masters on Wall Street who hate the rubes who vote for their bought and paid for "family values" candidates -- is struggling in the grip of their collective God-delusion. Or they are pretending to share that delusion even if they believe in none of it so they can stay in good with the mostly evangelical fact-deprived "Tea Party" crowd.
They don't want gay people to marry in case God doesn't like it. They don't want peace in the Middle East in case it screws up God's timetable for his "return." They don't want to believe our President is a "Real American" because he's black and he's the "wrong sort" of Christian. They won't believe that global warming is real because the two groups they hate and fear most -- scientists and the US government -- say it is. They believe in a vengeful retributive nasty god who will send everyone not like them to hell.

Back from vacation

We were away on vacation last week.  I took a lot of pictures and will post some as soon as I can get around to it. 

We went to Oklahoma City and then on to Guthrie.  I will go into some detail next time I post.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Oklahoma Knowledge: Science and Nature

Here is the sixth and final quiz over Oklahoma Knowledge.  I have taken the questions from the book Oklahoma Trivia by Ernie Couch.

1.  Situated near Tulsa, what was the first sizeable oil deposit discovered and developed in the state?

2.  In 1929, what oil company acquired the Marland Refining Company in Ponca City?

3.  In the south central part of the state, what mountain group covers an area approximately 20 by 60 miles?

4.  What Oklahoma town is known as "The Pipeline Crossroads fo the World"?

5.  Where was astronaut Gordon Cooper born?

6.  What lake serves as a water supply for Norman, Midwest City, and Del City?

(Scroll down for answers)

1.  Glenn Pool Field

2.  Continential Oil Company (Conoco)

3.  Arbuckle Mountains

4.  Cushing

5.  Shawnee

6.  Thunderbird

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Oklahoma Knowledge: Sports & Leisure

1.  What gaming center in Tecumseh offers-state-of-the-art bingo, simulcast horseracing, a Las Vegas roon, and even bowling?

2.  What is the name of the "biggest pep rally in Oklahoma" held each September at Oklahoma State University?

3.  What is the name of Tulsa's AA baseball team?

4.  What is the name of Tulsa's minor league hockey team?

5. In the 1912 Olympic Games, what Oklahoman became the first to win both the decathlon and the pentathlon?

6.  What Oklahoma City para-mutual facility offers almost year-round racing?

(Scroll down for answers)

1.  Fire Lake Entertainment Center

2.  Orange Peel

3. Drillers

4. Oilers

5. Jim Thorpe

6. Remington Park

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oklahoma Knowledge: Arts & Literature

1.  Where did anti-booze crusader Carrie Nation publish her prohibitionist newspaper, The Hatchet, in 1905?

2.  What Oklahoman composed the classic folk song "This Land Is Your Land"?

3.  Shawnee's first newspaper, the Shawnee Chief, was renamed and moved to what adjoining town?

4.  What nationally famous pottery works was founded in Sapulpa in 1933?

5.  Where is the State Capital Publishing Museum, which features vintage printing equipment and newspaper memorabilia?

6.  What Tulsa facility is home to the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of American western art?

Scroll down for answers.

1.  Guthrie

2.  Woody Guthrie

3.  Tecumseh

4.  Frankoma Pottery

5.  Guthrie

6.  Gilcrease Museum

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oklahoma Knowledge: History

1.  Where did William Wrigley manufacture his first package of chewing gum?

2.  In the 1920s, what Oklahoma town had more milliionaires per capita than New York City?

3.  What WWII submarine is on display in Muskogee?

4.  Consisting of 400 city blocks and some 2, 169 structures, where is the largest urban historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places?

5.  What notorious Apache chief was sent to Fort Sill in 1894, where he remained under military supervision until his death in 1909?

6.  Following statehood in 1907, what did the first law passed by the Legislature establish?

Scroll down for answers.

1.  Guthrie (113 North Division Street)

2.  Okmulgee

3.  USS Batfish

4.  Guthrie

5.  Geronimo

6.  Segregated public transportation

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Oklahoma Knowledge: Entertainment

1.  What nickname did Will Rogers receive early in his career, while working in wild west shows?

2.  Prior to pursuing an acting career, Tom Mix served as deputy town marshall in what community in 1912?

3.  What 1970 song with an Oklahoma theme was a country hit for Merle Haggard?

4.  In 1958 what western-styled theme park opened on the northeastern side of Oklahoma City?

5.  What is the hometown of country superstar Garth Brooks?

6.  Okeema is the birthplace of what activist folk singer of the Dust Bowl era?

Scroll down for answers.

1.  The Cherokee Kid

2.  Dewey

3.  "Okie From Muskogee"

4.  Frontier City

5.  Yukon

6.  Woody Guthrie

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oklahoma Knowledge: Geography

Check your knowledge of Oklahoma Geography by taking this six-question quiz:

1.  Where was the Creek (Muscogee Nation) Council House constructed in 1878?

2.  In Pontotoc County, what town is named for the daughter of the area's pioneer mail carrier and settler?

3.  Where is the Chisholm Trail Museum?

4.  What town served as the capital of the Territory of Oklahoma?

5.  The 1933 Creek settlement of Adams Springs was the precursor of what present-day town?

6.  Where is the largest Scottish rite temple in the world?

(Answers below)

1. Okmulgee

2.  Ada

3.  Kingfisher

4.  Guthrie

5.  Sand Springs

6.  Guthrie

Tomorrow's quiz will be on Oklahoma entertainment.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Lyrics from an old song:

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Not a great week for us

Monday went fine.  Gail came over for our weekly duet practice.  We went over the piece we plan to play at the next humanist Sunday service on October 7.  The piece is titled "Festival Suite."  It was written by Robert D. Vandall.

I was sick this week, but am getting better now. 

Later that evening, we noticed the freezer was not keeping the food in it frozen.  It turns out there was a build-up of ice at the bottom preventing the door from closing properly.  We defrosted the sucker, and it seems to be working well now.

John Olson on healthcare (video)

Catch this response from Jim Bridenstine on the Affordable Care Act.  He is being questioned by John Olson.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Progressive Book Club first meeting date set

The Progressive Book Club will hold its first meeting on Thursday, Sept. 20, at 7 pm. at Church of the Restoration, 1314 N. Greenwood Ave.  We will discuss the first two chapters.

Saturday activities

About 30 supporters of John Olson met this morning at the Democrat Headquarters of Tulsa County on the 10th floor of the Sun Building in downtown Tulsa.  We started at 9:00 am and finished around 2:00 pm, breaking for lunch which was catered in for us.  This was a day of training for precinct chairs.  I am the chair of precinct 855. 

John Olson is a veteran of Afghanistan who is opposed by Jim Bridenstine.  Bridenstine is supported by the Tea Party.  Bridenstine has called for the elimination of the capital gains tax and the estate tax.  Both actions would benefit primarily the extremely wealthy.  He would replace the loss of revenue by imposing a 30% national sales tax.  Such a draconian tax would likely cause the economy to come to a grinding halt.

I have been reading a fantastic book written by Thomas J. Mooney titled Live Forever or Die Trying.  As soon as I finish the book, I will have more to say about it.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Progressive Book Club

Please reserve the date September 20, a Thursday, 7:00 pm for a new venture at Church of the Restoration: a Progressive Book Club.
The first book we will read and discuss is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.  Please read the first two chapters prior to our first meeting.  They are: (1) “Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress,” and (2) “Drawing the Color Line.”  I will prepare some discussion questions prior to our first meeting and send them to you by e-mail.
We will need to talk about future meeting dates.  It may be that the third Thursday is not the best time to meet.  We are open changing our meeting date and time so as not to conflict with other obligations you may have.
I am sending this e-mail to my list of progressive friends, but after the first meeting, I will set up a list for the Progressive Book Club.  If you cannot attend the first meeting but would like to be included on the list, please send me your e-mail address.  Vanessa says that may be a useful site for our discussions.
The first meeting will be held at Church of the Restoration, 1314 N. Greenwood Ave., at 7:00 pm on Thursday, September 20.

Monday, September 03, 2012

In the news

Last week was something of a busy week for me.  I was still in bed when the phone rang last Tuesday.  I let the call go to voice mail.  It was Erin Christy from Channel 2 wanting to do a television interview.  I went walking at the fitness center.  While I was there I got calls from KWGS and KRMG radio stations, both of which interviewed me over the phone.  I got another call from KTUL (Channel 8) asking for an interview.  I agreed to let them come to my house at 11:00 am.  I walked only for 30 minutes then left for the house.
I took a shower and put on clean clothes.  Soon the cameraman and Latoya Silmon showed up.  We talked about my plan to give the invocation at the Thursday Tulsa City Council meeting.  I suppose they read the article in the Tulsa World which had a headline something like “Atheist to give prayer at city council meeting.”  Seeing the piano in the living room, the crew asked me to play.  I played piano for them.  The interview (including me playing piano) was shown on the local news at 5 pm and at 6 pm and again at 10 pm.  At the end of the interview, the reporter said there would be extra security at Thursday’s City Council meeting.  Not wanting to put my life in danger, I decided to let future calls go to voicemail.  In all, I did two radio interviews and one TV interview.
I thought there might be people at the City Council meeting to protest, but nothing happened.  The invocation went off without a hitch.  Two of my friends were there to observe the proceedings.
In reporting the story, a Christian online newspaper mistakenly reported that I was a former Baptist preacher, and that the Humanist Association of Tulsa is a chapter of the ACLU, instead of a chapter of the American Humanist Association.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Walking report

I have now reached 314 miles walking so far this year. When it gets cooler, I plan to walk the Keystone YRE a few more times before we get to the end of the year. The last of the hot days are probably behind us now.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Conservatism may be our default ideology. When detached from deep thinking, we tend to support the status quo. --from "Why You're Voting That Way," Pacific Standard, September/October 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We are seeing the conscious and deliberate creation by the corporate state of a permanent, insecure and terrified underclass within the wider society. They have had a lot of practice in refining these techniques in the sacrifice zones, such as West Virginia, we wrote about. The corporate state sees this permanent and desperate underclass as the most effective weapon to thwart rebellion and resistance as our economy is reconfigured to wipe out the middleclass and leave most of us at subsistence level. Huge pools of unemployed and underemployed effectively blunt labor organizing, since any job, no matter how menial, is zealously coveted. The beating down of workers, exacerbated by the refusal to extend unemployment benefits for hundreds of millions of Americans and the breaking of public sector unions, the last redoubt of union power, has transformed those in the working class from full members of society, able to participate in its debates, the economy and governance, into terrified people in fragmented pools preoccupied with the struggle of private existence. --Chris Hedges

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Torrential downpour

We have gone some two months with very little rain.  Wildfires destroyed some 1,600 structures in the state this summer.  Coming out of church this afternoon, it was raining so hard visibility was severely limited.  At times, I had to drive slowly.  We have been in a drought and probably still are since the rain lasted only a short period of time.

I had a full day today what with R. E. at 10, then the service at 11, lunch at church at 12:30, then the HAT meeting at 1.  At the HAT meeting I proposed we start a Progressive Book Club with Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States as the first selection.  Several members showed support for the idea.  When Vanessa returns from Europe, I will set up a time for the initial meeting.

Last Friday, J and I went to AMC20 theaters in Tulsa and saw a movie featuring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.  Hope Springs is the title.  Seeing the movie came up rather quickly.  We had not talked about it.  J just said we are going.  So we went.

After the movie we went to Red Lobster where I had the endless shrimp.  I did not go overboard with eating.  I have lost 15 pounds over the summer, and I don't want to gain it back.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Live Forever or Die Trying

Live Forever or Die Trying was published last year.  The author is Thomas J. Mooney.  I would like to quote two paragraphs from this book.

Like it or not, major Life Extension is going to occur.  The pace may be incremental, but it is inevitable.  Some will embrace living much longer, others will demonize it.  Profound religious and philosophical beliefs will be challenged; many will try to prevent it, but the dream of indefinite life extension will become a reality.

Some will be shocked, appalled, saddened, or outraged, but progress is occurring, as many brilliant scientists worldwide are increasingly undertaking life extension experiments, working tirelessly to unravel the human genome and life's many hidden secrets hidden within.  We are on the path to a longer, healthier life for those who choose it.

Recent pictures

This is a bookcase which I put together at the headquarters of John Olson, Democratic candidate for the First Congressional seat in Oklahoma.

These colorful eggs were produced on the Jim Lovelace farm in Missouri.  These eggs are not dyed.  This is their natural color.

This is the fellowship hall of the Sand Springs United Methodist Church.  People brought used colthing here in response to several families being burnt out during the wildfires which struck the area between Mannford and Luther.  I worked one afternoon sorting clothes here. 

Several bottles of water were donated to the residents whose homes were destroyed by wildfire.

The Jesus Budget


Lately, like at a recent lunch with Steve Schwarzman, who has likened Obama to Hitler, Greene’s been trying another tactic. Now I appeal to them selfishly, he says. Don’t you realize that if you don’t take care of this kid when they are 10 years old, you’ll take care of them when they are 20 and 100 instead? We just have to pay a little more taxes. It’s not going to kill us. You buy car insurance. Why not buy some democracy insurance?’ People think that Obama is this leftist, socialist guy, he says. But I don’t think they understand what people can go for when they are at the end of their line.

--Jessica Pressler, The Other Barbarians at the Gate

Friday, August 03, 2012

Hot days

We have had some hot days recently.  Coming back from Tulsa this evening we were on the Creek Turnpike.  The turnpike was closed before the Highway 97 exit.  We had to get off early due to the closure.  Earlier today the turnpike was closed between OKC and Chandler.  These closures were due to smoke from wildfires.  There have been many wildfires and several homes have burned down.

We were in Tulsa where we took Luke and Ayla (and Jennifer) to Bounce U.  It is a fun activity for kids.  I sat outside (in the foyer) while the others went back to bounce.  I read my Kindle during this time.  Afterwards, we went to a nearby Panera Bread for food.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Catching up

I just noticed I have not posted anything in more than a week.  I have been reading the blogs of others but have neglected to post anything myself.  I appreciate seeing all the pictures posted by Galen.  He is a dedicated blogger.

Last week I was getting over a cold, so my activities were limited.  I missed duet practice and didn't do a whole lot during the week. 

This past Saturday was Food & Fellowship day.   Ten of us met at Chopsticks for a noon meal.  As you might imagine, Chopsticks is a Chinese restaurant.  After that was over, we went to Braum's where I bought two 3-pint containers of ice cream for the Ice Cream Social sponsored by HAT.  We hosted a meeting for Move On and talked politics after we had our fill of ice cream.

On Sunday, during the religious education portion of the morning, we discussed ethics.  About eight people were present for that.  Following that, Debra Garfinkle, a UU minister from All Souls, preached a sermon based upon some text in the Bible about Jesus.  I have forgotten now just which story it was.

Monday, Gail and I played duets at the piano for a couple hours.  We will be doing the special music this coming Sunday at Restoration. 

I am still awaiting the arrival (by mail) of a DVD titled "The Singularity is Near."  After I receive it and view it, I will post some comments on it.

I am nearing completion of an online course on building your vocabulary offered by the Tulsa Library.  I have begun another free online course offered by Coursera titled "Listening to World Music."

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Well, it's not tomorrow.  It is now Saturday.  I have been working on an index all this week.  I missed piano practice with Gail last Monday since we did not get back until late Monday evening.  Come to think of it, she had something she had to do that day. Next Humanist Sunday we plan on playing "The Comedian's Galop" by Kabalevsky and "Boogie for Two."  A galop is a lively dance in duple meter, not to be confused with a "gallop," which is something you might do with a horse.

I just now signed up for an online course in World Music.  The course starts next Monday.  The course is free.  You, too, can sign up and take the course.  Go to the website "Coursera" and sign up.  Read about Coursera, and you may discover other courses you would like to take.  All coursera courses are FREE.  Check it out.

I am still taking the free course titled "Build Your Vocabulary" through the Tulsa Library.  I have just three lessons remaining.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back home from St. Louis

We got back home tonight from St. Louis.  We flew out of Tulsa last Friday and went to St. Louis via Dallas (Love Field).  Coming back we had a direct flight from St.Louis to Tulsa.  It was a good trip, and I will say more about it tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Baptist watching

The following is from the blog of Jacob Lupfer.  The blog is called "Saving OBU."  That's OBU as in Oklahoma Baptist University.  This is just a small portion of one post.

Anyway, I have not paid attention to SBC politics in many years, but this year's convention seemed pretty typical. It was mostly white, mostly old, and (like many denominations) mostly driven by clergy and denominational staff rather than laity.

The highlight was, of course, the historic election of Luter as the first black SBC president. The main event was the unending circle of SBC elites patting themselves on the back for finally finding a black person who will go along with their social/political agenda atoning for all the racist sins in the SBC's past. One prominent sideshow was the kerfuffle over whether or not LifeWay stores should sell a inspirational movie about race (The Blind Side). (With Luter's support, LifeWay discontinued selling the movie.)

There was also a debate over the efficacy of the sinner's prayer, whether it is an advisable evangelism tactic, and whether it is followed with sufficient discipleship. I don't want to open that can of worms here, though many Baptist blogs covered the debate.

Boards, agencies, and institutions gave their typical reports. Nothing seemed especially newsworthy (though please correct me if I'm wrong). The demographers reported continued membership decline (the SBC is below 16 million members for the first time in over a decade). White church decline continues and nonwhite congregations appear to be something of a growth industry in the SBC. I don't know how many legitimately mixed race congregations there are, but a few Latinos and a black person in the choir do not make your lily white church "mixed-race." There is definitely a trend toward acknowledging the importance of "ethnic ministry," though when white people refer to everyone else as "ethnic," you wonder how much progress will ever be made.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Hot days

We have been through some hot days recently.  Last Wednesday, the Fourth of July, J and I went to the west bank of the Arkansas River where people were assembling to watch the big fireworks display held each year on the 23rd Street bridge.  The bridge is closed off around 11 am on the 4th.  Workers set up the fireworks. 

We were there around 5 pm.  I did not see anyone I recognized.  I attempted to call another supporter, but I accidentally dialed Galen, who lives in California.  But he might have been in Shawnee, OK visiting relatives.  Anyway, when I saw his name on the display, I hung up. 

Already there were many people there who came early to claim a spot from which to watch the fireworks.  Our reason for being there was to pass out literature for John Olson, who is running for Congress.  We gathered up a handful of flyers and walked among the crowds passing out the materials.  It was around a hundred degrees, and after an hour of distributing literature, we decided to call it a day.  We returned home to our air conditioned house, not staying to watch the fireworks.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Recent events

This week we took a trip to Springfield.  We left on Thursday and returned home on Friday.

Saturday morning, I drove to Bixby, a suburb of Tulsa on the south side.  I marched in the Green Corn Festival parade.  It is an annual event.  I was with the John Olson entry in the parade.  Olson is the Democratic candidate for Congress from the First District.  The parade route was fairly short -- less than two miles, I would estimate.  The parade started about 10:00 am and was over by 11:00 am.  His Republican opponent in the contest had an entry in the parade, but was not personally at the parade.

Saturday evening, we went to the Storey residence and had dinner with Glenn and Gail.  After the dinner we all got in my car and we drove to Fellowship Congressional Church to hear the Council Oak Men's Chorale.  If you have never experienced this vocal group, check out their YouTube videos.

Today was Humanist Sunday at Restoration.  Gail and I played "Original Rags" by Scott Joplin as the special music.  Steve Nunn gave the message.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I did not get back to my blog as soon as I thought I would.  I was reminded tonight that I had not posted anything in a while.

Humanist Sunday will be coming up next Sunday.  Steve Nunn will be giving the talk.  I need to plan the remainder of the service.  I will try to do that tomorrow.

Tonight we watched a movie here at the house.  We saw "The Distinguished Gentleman" -- a comedy starring Eddie Murphy.

We have been going to the Case Community Center to do our walking this week.  Their track is elevated above the basketball court.

Today was another scorcher, with the temperature reaching above 100.  Hot weather will be around for a while, says the weatherman.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Events of the day

I am typing this blog on a laptop which we bought just this week.  It will take some getting used to.

At noon, I was at the Tulsa office of Rep. John Sullivan.  I expected a large crowd to be there as we (Tulsa Move On) presented petitions asking the Congressman to support efforts to overturn the Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United case.  However, we had a poor showing.  Only three people were there: myself and two others.  There were only 303 signatures on the petition.  That was another negative, in my opinion.  If I were running the show (which I'm not), I would insist on having at least a thousand signatures and a representative group of at least six.  As it was, we had racial diversity (one black; two white), but we were all up in years.  I was probably the oldest of the three.  We also had gender diversity (one female; two males).  I felt we made a weak showing.  I did not know what to expect, but we can call it a learning experience.

We spoke with one of Sullivan's office workers.  Sullivan was in DC.  The worker seemed a bit concerned about the Republican primary, which will be held later this month.  We chatted for about 15 minutes and then left.

I next went to Saied's Music Company.  I looked through much of the piano duet music.  They had much that was new since I had last been in the store.  I bought three books of duets: "Jazz, Rags, & Blues for Two," "American Portraits," and "Dances for Two" by Catherine Rollin.  In all -- a dozen new pieces.

There's more to tell, but it's now time for bed.  I will continue tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Movie: The Singularity is Near (trailer)

I am glad this movie has been made.  If you saw Transcendent Man, you will want to see this movie also.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Back from Bartlesville

We made a trip to Bartlesville Friday morning.  We got up early and was in Bartlesville by 10:00 am.  We took a tour of the Foster Mansion, also known as the La Quinta Mansion on the campus of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (formerly Bartlesville Wesleyan University).
The view above is of the entrance to the mansion, with the doors being behind the camera.  The ceilings are painted.  In this view you can see in the background the area where the luncheon was held.  The luncheon was called "A Symphony of Flavors" in keeping with the theme of OKMozart.  OWU is small, but they have a beautiful campus with Spanish style architecture.  Oilman H. V. Foster (1875-1939) built the La Quinta Mansion.  He was but 64 years old when he died of pneumonia in San Diego.  (Same age as I am presently.)  Were he living today, his condition could have been treated.  Despite his millions of dollars from oil revenues, science had not yet come up with penicillin.

That afternoon at the high school we heard a string quintet perform for about an hour.  After that we went to Dink's Barbeque.  That's a great place.  We spent that night in a motel.  Next morning, we heard Susan Herndon sing and play the guitar.  Then it was a jazz trio from Austin, TX.  The young woman at the piano could really improvise.  Next, we heard the Council Oak Men's Chorale (of Tulsa).  Among the songs they sang were "Stand by Me," "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"  As an encore they sang "Dancing Queen."  The group is made up of about 20 men.  Later that evening we heard Virginia Campbell sing and play the piano.  She played Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," among many other pieces.

Around noon we had lunch at "2 Sisters," and for dinner that evening we had turkey sandwiches in the concert hall.  This morning we left early, stopping for breakfast at Eggbert's in Bartlesville.

We got back to Tulsa in time for the Sunday service at Church of the Restoration.  The theme for the service this morning was Father's Day.  There were about 15 people present.  At 1 pm, the Humanist meeting started.  Today our guest was John Olson.  John is a Democrat running for Congress in the First District.

When we got back to the house, my topsy-turvy planters were full of ripe cherry tomatoes.  I picked about 60 tomatoes. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A visit with the optomitrist

Yesterday I had another practice session with Gail.  We are planning on playing "Original Rags" by Scott Joplin at the next Humanist Sunday service, which will be on July 1.

In the afternoon, I went to my optomitrist to have my vision checked.  I had noticed in the last few months that my distance vision was not as sharp as it used to be.  I have cataracts in both eyes.  It is not something that causes me any problem usually.  When Dr. Riggins told me about the cararacts back in 2010, I didn't know anything was out of the usual.  She sent me to Tulsa, but the clinic in Tulsa will not operate unless you complain.  Since I didn't complain, they didn't operate.

I learned yesterday that my vision has changed since I was in to see Dr. Riggins last November.  I got a new prescription for eyeglasses.  I went to Eye Mart that afternoon to get fitted for glasses.  I will pick up the glasses today.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

This weekend

Friday evening we went to the Flag Day gathering sponsored by the Tulsa County Democratic Party.  The event was held at the Jazz Depot.  The Jazz Depot was formerly the Union Station in Tulsa.  It's right by the main line between Springfield and OKC.  There were two speakers at the event: Eric Proctor and Michael Wallis.  Proctor represents District 77 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Wallis is a well-known writer and storyteller who has won several awards for his writing.

Hamburgers and hot dogs, along with potato salad and beans, were served at the event.  A few items were actioned off to raise money for the Party.  A female singer who played guitar entertained during the event.  We parked the car at OSU-Tulsa and walked from there.  We walked past the Oneok Field as a game was about to start and then on over to the Jazz Depot.

The next day, Saturday, I went to the headquarters of John Olson.  Olson is running for the first district Congressional seat presently held by John Sullivan.  We were given some instruction about registering people to vote, and from there were went in pairs to locations where people were gathered and asked them if they were registered to vote.  If not, we offered to sign them up to vote.  Keith McCartney was there.  Keith and I went to the Brady District where the Tulsa Tough Bicycle Race started.  We parked close to Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  From there Keith and I rode in Keith's car to the location of the race.  We noticed that it sounded as if something was dragging from Keith's car.  After we parked, we looked under the car and saw that something under the engine had come loose and was dragging on the pavement.  Keith gave me his clipboard and left shortly after we had arrived.  I spent about an hour talking to several people at the event.  Most said they were already registered to vote.  However, I was able to register five people who were not registered.  I haven't heard how the others with the campaign faired.  It was a hot day, and I was getting thirsty.  I walked back to my car and phoned the campaign manager.  She was in a restaurant on Cherry St.  I drove over and gave her the registration forms.

Today is Sunday.  I went to church this morning.  The topic of the talk this morning was "Juneteenth."  That is June 19th, 1865.  The date that slaves in Texas learned that they were now free.  The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863.  But keep in mind there was no radio or television in those days.  Few slaves could read a newspaper.  Word did not get around quickly.  The last slaves were not freed until June 19, 1865.  The date became known as Juneteenth.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Chautauqua in Tulsa

The annual Chautauqua performances are this week in Tulsa.  The venue is once again under the big tent on the campus of OSU-Tulsa.  We have been to two of the five performances so far.  On opening night we saw an actor portray Jack Warner, the movie mogul.  We went again tonight (the third night) and watched an actor portray Bob Hope.

Attendance is down this year as compared to earlier Chautauquas.  There were many empty seats. 

One note of interest to nature lovers.  On Tuesday night as the performer was speaking, a fox trotted from right to left behind the speaker as he spoke.  Several people noticed the fox, and the speaker must have wondered what was going on.  Perhaps someone told him about the fox after the performance was over.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Minister makes major transition

Here is the story of a minister who was helped by The Clergy Project.  What is The Clergy Project?  You can read (or listen) about it here:

Monday, June 04, 2012

Frog portrait

Here is a small frog.  He surfaced after I watered this topsy-turvy tomato plant.  The same thing happened last year.  What is it with topsy-turvy plants and frogs?  Let me hear from you if you have had a similar experience.

Inside a cafe in Leslie, AR

We had lunch at this small restaurant in Leslie, Arkansas, population less than 700.  At one time Leslie was much larger: around 10,000.  The railroad was key to the economic prosperity.  We stopped in Leslie to search for a cache.  The old depot is still in Leslie.

From the auditorium at OFC

 These photos were taken in the main auditorium at the Ozark Folk Center