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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Reading

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.....


The Feast-time of the Year

This is the feast-time of the year,
When plenty pours her wine of cheer,
And even humble boards may spare
To poorer poor a kindly share.

While bursting barns and granaries know
A richer, fuller overflow.
And they who dwell in golden ease
Blest without toil, yet toil to please.


Dora Read Goodale (1866 - 1915)



[The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.]

- Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation- 1863

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Post-Halloween Film Recommendation

Mix dramatic monologues with keen theatrical production and what do you get? Tales from the Madhouse.

Netflix describes it simply : "Inside a run-down Victorian sanatorium, eight peculiar individuals share their confidential stories of encounters with Jesus of Nazareth, an incident that's had a lasting effect on them. It soon appears that each of these odd characters bears a contemporary resemblance to characters found in the Gospels. "

Pilate’s Wife [Mat 27: 19]
The Rich Man* [Mat 19: 16-22]
The Best Friend [Mat 27: 3-5]
The Mourner [Luk 7: 11-15]
The Servant Girl [Luk 22: 56-62]
Barrabas [Luk 23: 18-25]
The Centurion [Mat 8: 5-13, Mat 27:54]
The Thief [Luk 23: 33-43]

For a glimpse check out this trailer.

Additional Links:

Catholic Video
The Bible Society

Originally released by the BBC as a Lenten and Holy Week reflection, Tales from the Madhouse seems appropriate for the Advent season as well… a time of poignant anticipation and quiet hope. The genius behind Tales comes from the quality presentation of the actors including heavyweights like Claire Bloom and Jonathan Pryce. Although the overall presentation leans toward the halloween thriller genre, a closer examination reveals significant insights into the Gospel characters and our response to them. Keep in mind these presentations are not Bible expositions, nor am I advocating this as authentic Christian interpretation.

If you rent this film, it’s best to watch one or two segments at a time. Attempting to watch the whole thing through may spoil the reflection. Even if you know nothing about the Bible, an engaged viewing will give you a deeper appreciation for Jesus Christ.

Some say Tales from the Madhouse is hopeless? I ask the curious...What do you say?

It’s kind of like TV on the Radio vs Cat Stevens:



Friday, November 7, 2008

Asking You, Asking Me

Have you ever been asked that get to know you question, "what do you do"? I hear it all the time and I continue to be amazed by the response I get to my answers. Here’s the scenario.

Q: Joe Plumber- What do you do for a living?

A: I’m a forester.

Q: Joe Plumber- Oh. What’s a forester do?

A: A forester is a person who is engaged in forest management or conservation. I’ve been called a tree hugger, a timber beast, and everything in between.

Q: Joe Plumber- Oh.

A: Let me explain. As a state forester our mission is to "provide a long-term, sustainable yield of forest resources from state forest lands; improve the health and productivity of other public and private forest lands and community forest lands; and protect life, property, and natural resources from wildfires." The Minnesota Conservation Volunteer actually included an article about what state foresters do. Read more – Tree Guardians

Q: Joe Plumber- Oh, you mean a forester doesn’t just walk in the woods all day and count trees?

A: Well, yes we do…. but I see your still confused. Let’s dig a little deeper. It’s easy to imagine what a wildlife biologist or a naturalist does, right?. They study and describe all the neat, cute little animals and plants of the world. Birds, flowers, deer, fish…. these are often strikingly beautiful and easily observable to most backyard aficionado’s. But wait a minute. Let’s not forget the trees!

Foresters love working with trees and learning everything about them. In fact, we love them so much that we are pleased to announce a brand new re-publication of Minnesota's Forests and Trees: A Primer. This is FREE and available just for you Joe! After reading and studying, you just might know what a forester does. You’ll certainly be able to impress and educate your family, friends, and scenesters with things like:

  • Tell a story by studying a tree’s growth rings.
  • Have comfort that you can still love the Earth and cut trees.
  • Know the location of Minnesota’s first sawmill and when it opened.
  • Be able to explain what happens with fall colors and the weather.


    • "This book is written for those of us who care about trees and forests and who want to share our knowledge with others. With a little motivation, each one of us can teach about trees, care for trees, and establish a legacy of trees around our schools, homes, and communities. Please share what you learn with students, neighbors, community leaders, and others who care for trees and forests.”

      Joe, you should also check out this new video on the one-billionth tree awaiting next year’s planting!

      And remember Joe- A happy white pine is a protected white pine!


      ... from seedling to maturity...

      The timber program forester:









      Now I’m going to ask you what everyone’s asking me…. What do YOU do?






      The Owls "Channel" from Magic Marker on Vimeo.

      Monday, November 3, 2008

      Vibraphone Your Vote

      Ace Records
      Voter indecision got you blue? Let the vibes help with the circle or the square, or rectangle (musical selections on Playlist above).

      If all else fails, you're encouraged to pray... always.