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Top of Tram, present conditionsNovember 4, 2016
The Sherman Whether Report:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?


Good news is no news, right?  So except for the statistics, there is nothing to say about October, nor about second half of the summer, which was just nice. The heat pump has had nothing to do since the end of June. And then October was almost 31 perfect days, a little shower poking around the city one day, but almost completely non-weather, notable only for the 2nd highest October average temperature here in Albuquerque of 63 degrees. Good news for global warming enthusiasts. Probably June set a record for heat, too.
    I see my sarcasm popping up too early, so you won’t believe me if I say I have been in a serious mood, studying narcissism (as part of aestheticism) mostly through Bible study, and have grown tired of my “experimental” dallyings at the keyboard, which are narcissistic.  Such behavior presumes upon readers, assuming that you think I’m cute, and paying no attention at all to whether or not that is true. Yes, I know writers and musicians cutely apologize for seeking the limelight, call it God’s calling, or maybe even God’s anointing, if they are in that kind of world, but we don’t repent. It is in our blood, we say. So here you have 219 words that say I should have said nothing.
    But now the weather has changed!  
  

    On November 1 the clouds came in and there was a hint of a chill, and on the 2nd I wore a jacket to my old guys’ breakfast, and that night the wind began, with a weather alert particular to the middle Rio Grande valley, where cold air can pour over the central mountain chain and blast through the gaps, like Tijeras Canyon, which lines up with my San Pablo house and loves to flip back and break my shingles—but Allstate just bought me a new roof, so I am NOT wondering how many half-shingles will be in the driveway when I go there next!
jumbled mountain orange clouds
    A great standing wave of cloud has hovered over the Sandias for 48 hours. If you were up there it would not be “standing” at all, but buffeting you ferociously. This morning this cataclysmic wave was alight with morning orange sun, while gun-metal darkness lay across the high mesa in the west. This is the first time I’ve seen the east wind cloud bank at the same time as thunderstorms moving in from the west. So for the first time we have a choice, if it is a choice, between bright, garrulous mountain-top shenanigans,with their risks, and the cold, dark advance of a hard rain. The winds whipping around my patios are from the east, but long-term change comes from the west. These frivolous gusts may fall silent soon, but what’s moving in slowly is the future, whatever it is. We could ask Ray Bradbury, or Shakespeare, Macbeth,, the Second Witch, Act 4, Scene 1, line 45.    
    I am speaking, of course, of our candidates, our choice, our votes. Hillary said that with Donald, what you see is what you get. He will not rise to the occasion. I think he could grow into the job, because some have greatness thrust upon them, but when she said that I nodded, thinking, yes, it is good that what we see is what we get.  Because with Clinton, what you see is what she is trying to show you, and it takes a little research to discern what you will probably get. That research is certainly doable, and it yields a pretty sure conclusion: with Hillary Clinton weather map of storms to the westyou will get the further advance of Progressivism, which is harmful to the interests of most Americans. The Land of the Free, right? Social control by a religious elite is harmful to the interests of most of us. Half of you (demographically speaking) heard the word “religion” and jumped over here with me for a second, but I mean the religion of Progressivism. The biblical religion people believe in freedom. They don’t believe in a gooey miasma of shapeless social  okay-ness, but they believe in freedom. Diminishment of freedom is against the interests of almost everyone. If we count ego-satisfaction as a major interest, then Progressivism (better known as Liberalism or Being Nice) does indeed serve the interests of 49-51% of us, and this will be the deciding factor on Tuesday. 
    I have an easier math I use these days. One third of us think that if Clinton is elected we will be rescued from a cataclysmic presidency, one third think the same if Trump is elected, and one third think we are doomed in either outcome. Speakers these days like to say “flawed.” Both are flawed. But those who say that are minimizing the problem, regarding that candidate, as compared with the one who is truly dangerous, like those coming clouds.
    It began to rain, as I wrote, and I scurried out and did some firewood stuff, as the midday temperature is 49 right now. A hard rain gave us a quick two tenths of an inch and then let up; the east wind and the crazy mountain clouds continued, and there is still a dark curtain across the western horizon.


    I have a political cartoon in my head, in which Trump is standing with his hands in his pockets and that “Who me?” look on his face, except he looks more introspective. The thought bubble says, “Gee. I have a lot of strengths and a lot going for me. If I could just not be a jerk.”
    My view of the election is that Trump is surprising and shocking in spots, but not especially dangerous. The regular stuff that we swallow day by day without blinking is the real danger, and our instinctual recognition of this is what got him nominated. He is not hateful unless you define hate as disagreement with certain points of view. He is “hateful” in the thought-bubble in which politically correct ideas are “loving.” Most of the people I know are hateful in that weird sense of the word.  
    Donald Trump could preside over some small disasters, but Clinton is pursuing a pronounced agenda of liberal progressivism that has a worrisome track record. It includes radical views on abortion and the redefinition of the family. It looks with suspicion on business and its profit motive. It thinks globally and apologizes for being a nation. All of these choices could be good ones, of course, in theory, depending on your point of view. But that ideological agenda, the one the President is following, has become starkly anti-biblical and is threatening freedom of religion and speech. It is allied with the irrational distrust of Israel, which helps sort out who's who. Its power is its religious devotion to the cause, such that those who are not sold over to Progressivism are consider to be enemies, to be forcibly resisted. You and I and our best friends are rapidly becoming illegal.
   
    Voting for Hillary is acceding to what I just described.
    Voting for Trump has its own problems, but it does not promote the ideological shift we see coming from the left.
 
    There are two radical voices I recommend. Not “radical” as in Leftists or Islamists, but truly radical in seeing to the root of the problem. Dinesh D’Souza argues, and I would say demonstrates, that the Democratic party bills itself as the party that nice people belong to, people who care, but that it does not deserve that reputation. They have blocked progress in even those areas that Progressives pride themselves on, like the ending of slavery. To vilify the rich does not help the poor, and big government with its social programs is more about control than it is about helping. But if the illusion of being the only nice guys in town is stripped away, we see powerful people working hard to control the world from their point of view. That leaves it open whether or not such point of view is the correct one—Oh, excuse me, no such thing. But it’s the one “nice” people will support as they combat “hateful” ideas.   
    We came across a new voice we, a TV preacher with a difference: Tommy Nelson, of Denton Bible Church, in Texas. Google his “Continental Divide.” (Or try,  http://afr.net/afr-talk/exploring-the-word/2016/november/continental-divide-pastor-tommy-nelson/)  (Or YouTube  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwTAQpYhkug   It is a long and very political sermon in which he boldly puts forward what I have been creeping toward for years: that our recent politics is a struggle of good and evil, not just because each side thinks it is right, but because the Left—the Progressives and thus, to an extent and largely by silence or omission, the Democrats of our country, have turned a corner and are fighting God. They are fighting the American religious tradition, the Bible, and the notions of objective truth and morality. The party spirit that drives electoral politics is not just us-them, but them-Him. This is the emerging "Man of lawlessness" from 2 Thessalonians 2.  Republicans are terribly imperfect, of course, but the direction they are trying to go is one that could bring us happiness, while the avowed direction of the Left is rebellion against authority. They hope when we all stop “hating” (discerning) we will be happy, but the fruits of this experiment have been on display this whole past century.
    Tommy Nelson is amusing talking of Donald Trump’s flaws, but he is sobering talking about Clinton’s intentions. The east wind and the dark clouds in the west are still with us. I expect that Clinton will win, but not by much. She will win as Obama did in 2012, by inertia. If you whistle the right tune, failed outcomes can be blamed on others, and about 53% of American are comfortable with that. As long as you can be assured you are one of the good guys.  Of course the Right seeks that, too, but it is not their entire program (because they still have something greater than themselves to connect to). If Trump does win, that will be better, for a while, but the divide of good and evil is well underway. It is more important to be on the right side than to be on the winning side.  Pray early and often






The Sherman Weather Report:
Wrong Turns

December 27, 2015 . . . well, time flies . . . April 3-19, 2016

(Look below for "Getting There" about city streets and country roads and Israel)



So, I got out of bed and split into five people, tearing off in six directions.

That’s no way to start a day, or even a novel. 

But things move fast when you make a wrong turn.  Like the poor Army kid in San Diego who found himself in a Tijuana jail. Or when someone said to me, “Your reputation precedes you,” and I ate it up, then coughed it up and spit it out two years later, writing a quick resignation before they could fire me. Like snatching up firewood before the blizzard roars in, hearing the National Weather Service say on Facebook “Don’t let those blue skies mislead you this snow is coming, measured in feet.” If we planned to travel we should cancel.  But this snowstorm’s reputation preceded and exceeded it, the strong language by officials now becoming someone’s breakfast . . .

Except that when you make a wrong turn you should get the facts: The weather in eastern New Mexico was brutal, and I-40 was closed from here to Amarillo for a day. Wind gusted to 82 mph  near the border; and worse: in Texas violent storms were killing people. Here in Albuquerque where the blizzard withheld its blow, there were a 168 wrecks overnight. So the flippant armchair weather nut had to repent.

And then we went on into our cold, wet winter, rejoicing in the El Nińo pattern and the resolution of our drought, with a little relief even for California. Our snowpack was climbing and the spring run-off looked to be nicely dangerous.

But then a butterfly near Singapore looked over his shoulder and saw a lady butterfly with an interesting shape and hairdo, and he turned to speak to her. One thing led to another, and the pacific surface began to cool. (They don’t tell you what a butterfly actually has to DO, to have an effect like that.) Anyway, our cold wet winter lasted to mid-January, and then it was quite cold, but gradually warming up and morphing into a luxurious February full of picnic weather. Rain and snow on the 3rd, then 3 weeks later 2” of wet snow, which ran off the white roof immediately and filled my rain barrels. About then the storm warnings became fire danger alerts. 6 weeks later the chance of precipitation has been flat-lined at zero, with one or two disappointing exceptions, like this past weekend, when a few flakes wandered down from the mountain. Colorado keeps getting snow, but we just get the winds.

Good hiking, though. Marc and I were shut down by snow when we tried to come up through  the foothills to the base of the Needle, back in the snowy-cold part our winter.  Then on Saturday Feb. 20 Ken and I tried to get to the TWA crash—a horrendous wrong turn made 61years ago, on Saturday February 19, 1955.  Our weather was perfect, and my body surprised me by enduring the 4-5 hours of ascent pretty well.  But we made our own Wrong Turn. I have been studying the canyon visually for six weeks since then, eyeballing it from the back patio and down the road, and perusing it electronically.  Doing my homework before the hike would have helped.


 

We seemed not to have turned, but we branched off by going straight. There’s a Dylanesque metaphor for political life, if you want one.


But in a closer look, we turned Left and didn't know it. We hiked up to just below the tram cables, one canyon to the left of the intended one, in our own subsidiary canyon with delights and dangers of its own. closer look at how we turned leftistPlenty of water, from our wet winter.


  At one point we climbed the ridge between them (the right side of the V at the top) and could have corrected ourselves, but all of this I learned later.  I have a GPS track that superimposes itself on the topographical map and on Google Earth, so I can see exactly where we did not get to.  Dropbox link for the .klm file to download and open with Google Earth. Or email me. the tower to left and crash site to right


Now, when a writer throws in a “now” with a comma, then watch out, because he’s about to change the subject abruptly, or ask you to believe something you have no reason to believe. [3 — used with the sense of present time weakened or lost to introduce an important point or indicate a transition (as of ideas) <now, this may seem reasonable at first>]  So if this essay segues oddly, it is because it has turned into a new twist on segueing . . a word I never use out loud. Seg-way. Never wrote it before, either. Not sure about the -ing form. But if we have segued into a discussion about segueing, at least we know we are doing that, unlike Ken and I segueing into the wrong canyon, or the army kid segueing into a Tijuana jail. God only knows what the Republican Party is segueing into.  If I segue and don’t know it, then I am an old guy.  Or you, the reader, were not paying attention, because I just hopped off the word “now” onto a meta-treatment of it,    which is to say I did not use it but mentioned it, and everyone knows that the use-mention distinction has the key to explaining consciousness itself . . . if we can stay on track here and get to the end of what I meant to say.

When you make a wrong turn you have to go back.

Now, seeing the hiking track on Google Earth and being able to send the file to Bill, so we could look at  Domingo Baca canyon together while on the phone—that’s cool old-guy stuff, if you like electronics.  He was flying around on the computer screen and found the TWA crash, and just then I called him, so then I put the .kml file in an email, and we looked together at how Ken and I did not find it. 

And this, you no doubt have begun to recognize, is why I wake up and fly off in five directions: because electronics keeps giving me more tools with which to orient myself and take a solid position on the important matters of life. I have to explore all those tools, find out which ones are best, and document everything.  So,when I got my . . . let’s see  . . . let me count the ways . . . 1985 Leading Edge PC, DR 386 PC, Gateway win 98 PC, science fair pc, large used Dell, pc for Brie, 2 Apples for the girls, 2nd used Dell, present used Dell, Toshiba laptop, Asus laptop, Acer laptop, Treo phone, Centro phone, HTC smart phone, Motorola smart phone, Samsung smart phone,  Fire HD 7, Samsung tab 2, . . . when I got my 20th computer (my first good android tablet), I really got into this hiking, mapping, GPS stuff.  There’s an app for everything. And it was gardening season, too, with the early warmth, so—I need the “Transitions” app—once again, I find myself standing near the driveway or on the north side of the house, facing south, holding both arms up at an angle to mark the rising and setting of the sun, just north of east and west, right now; in two months stretching my shoulders to point to it further north and arcing high into the southern sky . . .

But you have to see how I eke out just enough solar time for my baby veggies on the north side of the house and backed up against neighbors’ fences and house. Those angles and directions are crucial.  I have, of course, known for years that the house is cocked a little east along its southern exposure, or to the north along its eastern side. But how much is it turned?  If Maps or Earth  would show one’s heading, that would do the job, and I think in the past they did, but not now, not for me. They show the lines of longitude and latitude, but not how much an object or a gaze is deviating. A compass, right? Well, okay, maybe, but electronic compasses on a bright screen are more fun.  But these apps vary greatly in accuracy and steadiness and ease of use.  So I need a benchmark by which to evaluate my compasses. Perhaps a map?  Yes, that might work, but first I have to find and print a decent protractor. Google has everything, right? Yes, I printed a beautiful protractor on a transparency. But what is my reference point?

On the first day of spring, at the equinox, the sun rises and sets exactly east and west. So I eyeballed the setting sun from the corner of the garage, and a week or so later I stood at that spot across the parking lot and eyeballed past that corner to the wall of the patio, recasting my triangle into a smaller one, which I measured, 19 feet by 7.7 feet. 19 by 7.8 triangle in patio Then I marked that many inches on the sides of my desk and drew the hypotenuse on the desk surface. My printed protractor told me the NS line is turned about 23 degrees from the desk/wall/house.  Then I did the math (found a good triangles app), and decided it was 22.5 degrees.  Suddenly it all fell into place. I was thrown back  to the hot straight streets of northeast Albuquerque and to the mid-century engineers who plotted  those rectangles cleanly along the north-south, east-west lines of reality as they conceived it. The number 22.5 is no random thing; it is half of half of 90 degrees, one sixteenth of the compass, the difference between S and SSE.  So the children of those rigid engineers, laying out this neighborhood some thirty years later, created this odd little loop, (Tramway Terrace Loop), with no clear lie to the streets, but with all the houses turned 22.5 degrees. In the center part of our loop (a step up socially) two houses are skewed to better match the street.  Further east, the houses of the rich and famous have no discernible position, but they are not rectangular either. I remember a picture Brie took in Frankfurt in 2008, looking down on a colorful neighborhood, where each house looked in a different direction. No wonder they did not win the war.

There is, of course, a hidden logic to all this, driven not by clean fractions of the compass, but by the position and countenance of our little Albuquerque god, Sandia Crest. All of our ENE picture windows are bowing to the Mountain. If our “east” were truly east, we could barely see Sandia Crest.  Along one side of our cul de sac the street behind runs EW, but each cocked and stair-stepped house looks past its neighbor to the WSW, in obeisance to our other local god, the Sunset. 

And these matters, if you will believe me on this, have everything to do with a far-flung book I am thinking of, as I read the 1977 hopeful masterpiece, Out of Chaos. Everything you ever wanted to know about the natural world. But it occurs to me this afternoon, as I try again to end this letter, that to transcend that book, which seeks transcendence in the unity of our comprehension of the world, is to realize that no neat theories of perfect numbers can ever grasp the essence of things (and we should not expect them to come out neatly, when all is told), because these theories leave out our loves, the passions that control our hearts and minds and give shape to perceived reality. Thus the gods of the city planners reveal themselves in the maps they drew.

Meanwhile, the butterfly has relented, or turned again. (She made quite a flap, when he broke up with her.)  Friday the 8th a few hundredths fell, putting 15-20 gallons in the rain barrels. I went to bed thinking probably the dark clouds in the west were wishful thinking, and I woke up to clear skies—and a Facebook post by Mark Campola showing rain approaching the city. radar image of incoming rainI thought it  had somehow missed us, but in the light of day I found a half inch in the rain gauge and all four rain barrels full. Since then we’ve had an unsteady mix of sunshine (always), wind and clouds, with two more measurable rains, more “Red Flag” alerts, and the first rumbles of the sky gods, taunting us. 

April is the cruellest month, breeding     
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing     
Memory and desire, stirring     
Dull roots with spring rain.


T.S.Eliot never came to New Mexico. These words speak the pain of reaching for a frail beauty, and you almost have to be in Wisconsin or some other meteorologically marginalized place to get their depth. Here, April is cruel mostly for Breeding tumbleweeds out of the dry land.

In this moment, though . . . Albuquerque has never been more beautiful, with new-green trees, their blossoms of a hundred hues, and enough rain to dampen down the pollen. 






Sept - December 2015:  Getting There

As the story goes, a businessman lost in the back roads of Maine enters a tiny town and pulls his Lexus to the shoulder outside a hardware store, where two lanky and laconic old farmers are resting on a bench.  He rolls down his window and asks for directions to his destination in a nearby town, and they turn to each other to confer with sober glances, and then one of them turns back to him and says, “You can’t get there from here.”

 

“Getting There” became for me an essay that starts in the hot, straight streets of Albuquerque—103 degrees—but finds itself in the fibrous country roads of Pennsylvania—a little muggy—twisting its way toward a destination almost impossible to describe in definable steps, although two little female navigator robot voices are trying to do so, not always agreeing, which is why a story called “Getting There” morphs itself into existence, built on the tension between a city planned out by under-employed civil engineers of the Great Depression, then built in a post-war rush, the whole northeast residential quadrant of it laid out in half mile NSEW squares, flat roofed houses on 100 foot lots with 5 foot cement block walls . . .  and these lovely waltzing cow-path roads romancing themselves toward nowhere in particular, the next farm, your favorite neighbor, perhaps? It is a fact that to have written down the turns would take more paper than this essay, and that no respectable highway covers any part of the route in a helpful way, even though we were in that great splash of highways known as Boshwash, where one of five Americans live and drive a billion cars.  No highway helps, not if we are coming from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Lancaster Pennsylvania. 

 

We were in fact going to the Sight and Sound theatre near Lancaster, and the story called “Getting There” exists in the mind of the grandfather of a sixteen year old who is riding in the back seat very quietly. The story is told, if it exists, in the quiet thoughts of that sixteen year old, commenting on the bizarre conversations of the old guy with the other family members in the car.  The young man’s special emphasis is the two smart phones, the two guiding robot lady voices, the wrong turn, (the wrong Sight and Sound!) getting lost in the cornfields. . . all so familiar.

 

But of course that story does not exist, except in my head, where I also think about a German philosopher named Heidegger, considered brilliant but unfathomable, who was all about existence—an Existentialist—and was known for a phrase, Dasein, which means “being there.”  But we are not there yet, hence my title.  These days, we have a new usage of “existential,” referring to the risk faced by the small nation that did arrive at its destination and was asked to make a u-turn. Heidegger made huge wrong turns, as detailed (obscurely) in the film Hannah Arendt, which is worth seeing just for the challenge of sorting out the points of view, the twisted and torn value judgments at work there. If you want to be sure you do not know where you are going, watch this film. Ask yourself who dreamed up the mean baddie Israeli agents who hassle the little Jewish girl who covered the Eichmann trial the way she did and had been the lover of this anti-Semitic philosopher, the great Heidegger.  No doubt my sixteen year old, given the chance, would have a heyday with these tangled threads, in his quiet way, as his grandfather was having a heyday with the twisted roads of Pennsylvania. .

 

Heidegger did not claim to be there, as if he had arrived, but to live in some smokily sensed significance of being, a reality he could express only in invented German words. I wondered why he did not, like Augustine, rejoice in the Being who is the God of creation; an easy question; he was not saved; he was stuck in guilt. I wanted to do my dissertation on it, but my professors dismissed the idea quickly.  No one can learn anything so simple (9 words) and important, or even study it laboriously enough to justify a dissertation. So I studied Nietzsche, who also was not saved, stuck in guilt.

 

You know I am not a relativist, a skeptic, a liberal, a cynic, or a nihilist, so I think there is a way to have arrived, but we need to be careful. Alan Watts wrote a nifty little book called This Is It, a fascinated American youth culture Buddhism, which I soon found futile. What he found was not ‘it’. I imagine at some stage of life he thought about a sequel, There it Went! Later he wrote Nothingness: The Essence of Alan Watts. The title describes the problem exactly. The final test was what his death was like. But there is an answer, and a year or two after reading Watts I found Jesus, more real now than ever, after 46.5 years (Oct. 9) and, should things get difficult, all the more so. I don’t think I’ll ever have to say “There it Went” about life in Jesus.

 

We did arrive in Tel Aviv on September 24, and in spite of being cautious about thinking one has arrived, I did have three special moments in Israel and Jerusalem. If you want to get serious about Getting There, I suggest Jerusalem. Roving desperate jihadists were stabbing Jews while we were there, and getting shot themselves, so if one of those had happened upon us in the Old City, then we might really know what getting there is about. Or if we were tortured and beheaded by ISIS in Syria, as I was reading about this morning.  In a strange contrast, Sylvia and I were in good company, very well fed, mostly healthy, delighted with The Land and Jerusalem, and happy.

 

In these special moments, I could hardly imagine a time and place in the world better than this, almost as if I were to say, This is It. But here the “It” is a facet of the same jewel I have been learning about for 46.5 years, the sovereign intention of God to bless the world.  It is the Bible church gospel of decades past, unchanged, and it is the Messianic vision of the future of Israel, appearing on every horizon. We study and grow, and God’s good intentions keep reappearing, getting simpler, much too simple for a dissertation. 

 

The first moment is seen best at Ein Gedi, the desert site of the opening night of the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) Feast of Tabernacles.  But this moment gathered itself together from several times and places. First we spent 10 hours in Ben Gurion airport, waiting for our group and waiting out their difficulties with delays and missing luggage. But the Arrivals Hall in Ben Gurion is a special place. Upstairs you have all the stress and bustle and impersonal glitz of a major airport.  But the Arrivals Hall is quiet, with places to sit and a few useful shops; at its center large columns mark out a circle into which deplaning travelers are released, surrounded by those who have come to greet them, some strangers, holding signs.

 

The airport is 100% international, so there are no bored businessmen wishing they didn’t have another leg in their flights home.  Israelis are returning from the world, and visitors are touching holy ground for the first time, and a few are Jews making aliah. You could make glorious candid shots of the greetings there, though I tried not to steal these moments for myself.  Loved ones are finding the arms that want to hold them, and the Nations are coming to Zion!

 

 

Many of those colorful arrivals were going to the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles, opening three days later at Ein Gedi, a resort town in the desert alongside the Dead Sea.  We left late that night with our new tour group and spent three days in the Galilee, and then we drove down the Jordan valley from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. We saw Masada and Qumran, then arrived at Ein Gedi in the late afternoon of September 27th, as Sukkot was about to begin. This “Arrivals  Hall” was painted wide and bright in the watercolors of land and sky—bright tans and blues, and the reddish hills of Moab— and in the wild colors of a hundred tour buses, with their colorful people in their cheerful throngs. South America, especially Brazil, and Africa and the Far East brought their many-colored garments and their songs. Spotlights turned the palms red and green, and we waved our banners and danced to the loud music. The full moon rose big and pale in the dusky sky above the hills of Jordan.

Tabernacles or Sukkot is the last of the three fall feasts on the Hebrew calendar.  Rosh Hoshana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot come together quickly with the new moon that brings in Tishrei and the New Year (September 13), and then the full moon that starts the eight days of Sukkot.  At Ein Gedi, the full moon rose and Sukkot began, and, as Christians teachers might tell you, at this time and place the Church age ends, and the “ingathering” of the nations begins.  If you see the feast days in Christian perspective, you can say that Passover and First Fruits and Pentecost have been fulfilled by Messiah, and then the long months of summer, like the long millennia of the Church age, have no feasts, but await Messiah, and the fulfillment of the fall feasts. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When four blood moons (eclipses) occur on Jewish holidays in two years, then maybe God has the world’s attention regarding his good intentions. Maybe. I don’t jump too quickly into supernatural expectations. The blood moons are remarkable, but the fact they fell on Jewish feasts is not a statistical miracle, since these Jewish holidays occur on full moons (on the 14th day), and all eclipses happen on full moons. So here sits Sherman, in the desert alongside the Dead Sea, eating a pretty good picnic meal, cooling off finally with the breeze that sprang up, thinking very naturally, talking down the enormity of the setting. Yet he said there is no other place or time he would choose to be.   

 

I could tell you that our worship there was awesome, there beneath the rising full moon and the waving banners and spotlights, but actually it was not, from where I sat. The message did little for me. It introduced the theme, “Reformation” in short bursts of translated preaching, but I wanted to get some content, as I grumbled to myself. Others in our tour were not too excited. The food was good, but it was a long line to get in, and when one of our group was missing the purple end of her three-part ticket, and the gatekeepers did not just wave her in but wanted her to return to the building where our guide had picked up tickets—somewhere out there between the Sinai peninsula and Egypt—well, we grumbled and urged them to just let her in, and the gate lady said she can’t do that, and I said “why not?” for the next month, in my head. She did get in, I understand. As we ate we could see untold thousands still in line outside the gates, and when the musicians were singing “Open the Gates” over and over again, very worshipfully, I found myself wondering why they did not just open the gates and forget all those silly tickets.  Of course, that would have overwhelmed the food tables . . . so who am I?  I’m just grumbler who knows little about how to run a feast. . .

 

. . . which is an example of something I saw everywhere among these humans converging on Israel for the Feast of Tabernacles: our carnality.  I enjoyed our blessed group of imperfect people, and I wasn’t depressed or grouchy. (If I was grouchy, I have already forgotten it, conveniently . . . except for our hot, up-and-down walk around a long block, just out of sight of the hotel, the smart phone not quite smart enough.) We both were blessed by wonderful sights and sounds and messages, and people to enjoy.  Our guide Teisha, and her sister Lisa, who run the company, and our driver, Rudy, and Dr. Booker, our teacher, with his wife, Peggy—all of them sweet people leading us through a blessed time in Israel. 

 

But I kept seeing how spiritual all of us are not. It was a tiny glimpse of how Jesus must have felt, consorting with humans, even those who loved him. His patience is a sight to see, smoothing our path and soothing my silly little peevish heart.   

                                                                       

So, what was so special about the carnal people pouring in to gather in the desert and watch the moon rise?  It is just the fact that this is happening, that God planned it from the beginning, and people are loving Israel. In the new Friends of Zion museum that Mike Evans built we met a German woman who comes to Israel about once a year just to say that she loves Jews and Israel, and on Ben Yehuda street a German band was playing and telling passersby they were there as an act of love, just to give Israel their blessing. The band did not seem to be Christians, just people wanting to do the right thing.Cry for Zion booth supporting  Jewish prayer at Temple Mount

I read after our return of a group called Cry for Zion, who during the Jerusalem Day March demonstrated at the UN headquarters in Jerusalem for Jewish freedom to worship on the Temple Mount. Hecklers, including UN personnel, shouted “Allahu Akbar,” and the demonstrators shouted, “The L-rd, He is God, the L- rd, He is God,” and “Shema Israel!” (http://cryforzion.com/cry-for-zion-event-press-release/)  This is the first time in history that Christians supported the rights of Jews to pray at the Temple Mount.

 

That night we sped our bus out of Ein Gedi ahead of the traffic and got nestled in at the Olive Tree hotel in Jerusalem before midnight, and then our guide and driver yanked us out of bed at 330 am to bring us to the Mount of Olives, which is the perfect place on Earth to see the fourth Blood Moon. Where else would you want to be? Friends in Albuquerque had a spectacular view of the moon going dark as it rose over the Sandia Mountains. Much further west, it would have finished before it rose, and too far east of Israel it would have set before it eclipsed.  Half the world did not see it at all.  We saw it just before dawn, hovering in the western sky over Jerusalem and the Old City, above the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock. 

 

Photographically, to be perfect, we could have walked a quarter mile north to get the moon lined up above the Temple Mount, then used a telephoto lens to put them together in the early dawn light. I knew that the light of day would soon bring up the golden color of God’s city, even while the red moon hung in the sky above the dome. So I glimpsed this perfect photo-op of God, but we didn’t move to the north, and as the moon dropped lower in the sky and the light rose, it faded into the haze. So I found as usual that the moon is difficult to photograph.

 

Yet it was a perfect time and place, with a Christian group on the road just above singing praise in an unknown tongue, the gentle murmers and low talk of the crowd, the “crazy Christians,” as Sylvia and I say, blowing the shofar with little respect for time and place, and, at five-fifteen, the Muslim call to prayer, floating across the morning air. I called my brother in Tulsa, and his moon, rising in the east, was also mine, setting in the west. Picture that: it helps you see yourself and the other, globally—in a geophysical sense. The same word used politically is politically correct in all the wrong places.  Our phone call moon made me think of “Somewhere Out There,” in An American Tail: 

 

and even though I know how very far apart we are

it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

and when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby

it helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky . . .

 

I was not expecting the LORD to plant his feet on the Mount of Olives and split it in two and send clear, rushing water to the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. But this scene has all the tensions of these expectations, in the singing of hymns and calling out of Muslim prayer, and the boisterous sounds of the shofars. Most of all there is Jerusalem, spread out in the dawn, with the Temple Mount marked by that all-visible Dome.  God’s plan for the human race, and the human argument back in his face: all there for us on the opening morning of Sukkot.

 

We were in Jerusalem for the rest of our time, mostly with our group, in and out of the hotel, with a guided tour of the Old City adding detail to what we already knew and loved there . . . this on the day of the first stabbing, at the beginning of what people were thinking might become the third intifada. But we didn’t rush away or hide inside. New to me in Jerusalem were the sukkahs, a few in the Old City but mostly spread across Jerusalem, perched on high-rise balconies, and at the hotel, where we ate. The best was one that ran the length of a downtown street, made of umbrellas tied high and bright in the sun and blue sky.

 

The umbrella-sukkah was the prettiest idea in Israel, but my third special time and place was a lecture in the hotel by David Nekrutman, of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation. See cjcuc.com.  This organization appreciates the warming of the Church toward Israel, all these twice-born, half-baked people of the Nations pouring into Israel with clumsy good intentions. He came to speak to our little Messianic group, and the rules were very clear, agreed upon and sworn to with many warm smiles: no one was trying to convert anyone. This was about how to not be in conflict, and the one carrying this message was sincere and earnest. The Center was founded by Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, and David, its Executive Director, is a Jewish-American-Israeli, with degrees in Forensic Psychology and Social Work, once Director of Christian Affairs at the Israeli Consulate in New York.

 

We soon learned that David is also a student at ORU in Tulsa, which you probably know as the linchpin of the buckle of the Bible belt, created by Oral Roberts, of pentecostal and “seed faith” fame. He is getting an MA in Biblical Literature, with a concentration in Judaic-Christian Studies. His MA thesis is about “The Hebraic Roots of the Holy Spirit.” We were amazed, as expected, and smiled at his laughing explanations of how this all comes together.

 

If Torah is the word of the Spirit, and the Spirit preaches the gospel, and you throw in ORU and, for all I know, speaking in tongues, then we know where we are about to find ourselves, at an unexpected rendezvous, best described as a happy collision at the intersection of two highways that hardly even knew they crossed. Yet David Nekrutman did not go there, for all his cordiality toward Christianity. What came to me was the simple but far reaching fact that the gospel is in the Torah. Standard fare for a Messianic, but real and clear right there in that hotel conference room. I could see this Jew loving his Torah and steering his little ship right toward the safe harbor of Messiah. I don’t mean that if he messes around with those pentecostals in Tulsa he might accidentally get saved; more unified than that: reading Torah takes him there, to that “This is it!” place, and for real—no nothingness here.

 

There is, of course, the matter of the Name. HaShem is everything to the Jew, but Jesus? Yeshua? Is that only The Name . . .  as WE know it?

 

And there is our Arab Christian friend at the hotel where we stayed one night after the group dropped us off on Saturday. Genuine love exists between us, but with the stabbings in the news, we heard from him the fear of the Arab street about the harsh defenses of Israel. It makes it hard to be sure about what we so easily feel and think. 

 

Just now (Dec. 16), Russ Resnik (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations) has written in his blog (Divine Reversal) about the Pope’s recent edgy/nuanced statement about the Jews…clearly good news and/or bad news, if we can figure out what to think about it.  Russ writes,”It’s worth exploring the idea that a pious, Torah-honoring, God-fearing Jew might benefit from the sacrificial priesthood of Messiah Yeshua without ever professing faith in him.”  That’s what I thought I might be glimpsing, when David Nekrutman was speaking.

 

Since we are all being nice here, we ought to admit the possibility that those engineers were wrong to block out Albuquerque or Human Life behind 5 foot cement block walls, and we are wrong to block out our thoughts just so, and be sure we have it mapped correctly. The twisted Pennsylvania roads and the two female navigator voices . . . we have to remember these. There are two Sight and Sound theaters outside Lancaster, and Google does not know the difference.

 

We did arrive, and we spread out in the front row to see “Joseph,” in brilliant sound and color, with our sixteen year-old between us, wondering (in my non-existent story)what on earth to think.

 

And if you think you just changed planes at 30,000 feet . . . well, that’s the nature of the beast, with these “Weather Reports.” I am fixated on grabbing ideas too far apart and seeing if I can make them happen in the same essay. Sometimes I cheat.  So it was 103 and blazing dry, and now we are crunching around on frozen slush and watching the sunshine lick up our six-inch snow.

 

 Happy Chanukkah--ending in two hours.   Merry Christmas!






6:29 AM June 21, 2015
Arise, Fathers, before the sun, before the light if you are serious about this, and take yourself out into the wilderness (Sandia Mountains, if you’re blessed to live here), and spend the entire 14 hours, 31 minutes and 15 seconds out there in God’s great Earth.  Stay until dark, as long as you know how to find your way back, so dawn and dusk will add another hour to meditate on the physical Earth we enjoy.  Six months from now you can do this from sundown to sunup and shiver in the cold dark for 14 hours and 12 minutes.  Those of you in higher latitudes will have greater challenges.  Softies can switch these and spend the winter day and summer night in the wild. 

sunrise and sunsets now and at other times

Of course, I did not do this and never have.  I just think of it twice a year.  On Father’s day one should not set an alarm, but I suggest not sleeping through the first hours of light, either.  I got out of bed at sunrise, which is not visible in most of Albuquerque, as our sleep is cradled in the shadow of the Sandias for a while.  I heard the drip system click on in the garden, but since Darby keeps sleeping I haven’t gone out there yet to behold the wondrous new developments.  Coffee and the keyboard are the true meaning of early Father’s day.

Now the sun is cresting the mountain, and its almost time to shut the blinds on the east side of the house and bundled up against another classic June day in Albuquerque.  Yesterday we touched 100, but we start again at 64 degrees, and the humidity is now about 25%, after dropping yesterday to 9%.  So this is Albuquerque, what we learn to love here, long days of blazing sunshine, yesterday without a cloud, but before that with towering anvil clouds scattered across the horizons, and a day before that, with tiny hints of showers here and there.  And before that, in May and early June, Albuquerque was unusually cool and damp.  We drove to Scottsdale at the end of the month, to get hot, but Albuquerque had hardly seen 80 up ‘til then, and the high desert is pale green in the long view as you drive, and full of flowers up close. 

This late-arrival heat follows our four days in Durango, where Gabe and Laura had their wedding, amidst rushing rivers and heavy rains.  The weather at 5 o’clock that day was cool and perfect, and all the flood warnings and advisories just accentuated for me the unexplored paradise just 3.5 hours away.  Sylvia and I spent most of our time with Shannon and Violet and Deklan, with car seats and snacks and, for Shannon, diapers.  It was wonderful, especially talking to Violet about everything, as she emerged from two-year old to little girl.  Deklan did his part by being cheerful and beginning to crawl.   Our high point in our travels was lunch on a safe and secure observation deck on the Animas river, deep and swift below us.  Not quite the same as Bill and Matt and Meg, who rafted through the city and had to pull others from the water after their rafts flipped.



We heard the river was closed, we talked about someone having died sometime and somewhere . . .  were confused by 10 year old googled stories on our not-so-smart phones . . .  and yet on Saturday Brie and Randy rafted through the city and heard that, yes, rafts were flipping quite often, but this is all part of the fun.
 Never did get perspective on this.

But I did think about that abundant water.  Vallecito Reservoir by the campground where we had the wedding was full and being released into the stream, keeping it bank full, so the flood warning was up all weekend, along with the flash food watches based on possible heavy rain.  We saw one of those showers, a few hours before the wedding, as we drove up the forest road and missed our turn twice.  Streams everywhere were rushing from snow melt and showers, and the Animas river was pouring down to join the San Juan, some of which would be tunneled across the continental divide to supplement the Rio Grande.  We crossed the San Juan below Navajo Dam, on our drive home, and it was not very full, making me think that the Navajo is storing it, and it is going to the Rio Grande—looking good at Albuquerque, and Texas doesn’t need it. The rest flows on to join the Colorado, and I wondered how rafting is in the Grand Canyon, and whether lakes Powell and Mead are filling up (read all about “Miracle May” at http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/jun/19/colorado-river-drought-outlook-improves/)  . . . and does any of it ever get to the Pacific?  And is California able to lick it up and survive?

Meanwhile, most of the wedding guests rolled downhill to Tulsa to face tropical storm Bill, which poured rain upon soaked Texas and Oklahoma.  Tulsa was expecting 4-5” of new rain about midweek.  I didn’t hear of any disasters, but I saw that as soon as that was over the temperature was approaching 90 and the dewpoint was near 70 degrees, which is to say HUMID. 

So, here we sit, soaked in sunshine.  98 degrees today, probably, with 0% chance of precip.  But starting Tuesday there is a chance of storms all the way through next Sunday, culminating with a 60 % chance the 28th.  That’s Weather Bug.  Weather Channel is less optimistic.  But the usual pattern for May and June is that we wait eagerly for the next drop of rain and are repeatedly disappointed. This year has been very different.  The El Nino pattern in the Pacific is bringing moisture.  We are near our annual average rainful of about 8” already.   When August comes
and we have our “monsoon,” New Mexico might become greener than ever. 

Meanwhile, look for me about sundown (8:24) at the edge of Brie and Randy’s pool.

December 16, 2014
Plato’s Appetite for Paleo Coffee

This next Weather Report wants to reach too far around, with no way to connect the beginning to the end, and yet the dots are there . . .. Good new information wants to save us untold millions and widespread suffering, but few will hear, or listen; Plato’s Appetite for Order is big and all-encompassing, but he saw the slippery slope at the bottom of which Appetite, not Intelligence, runs the world.  And here we are: quite unable to be rational about anything important.  Technology soars skyward, but it leaves wreckage in its trail, and though we have a tiny bit of doleful wisdom about that, our  regrets and condemnations are ineffectual.  Meanwhile low-tech problems we could fix are driven  on strong winds that defy us.

December 30, 2014  
12:03 PM
Paleo-Coffee!


In a crowded cafeteria full of bulky people with strange boots, which is to say, in the “lodge” of the Santa Fe Ski Area at noon.  Half the hill is here, now, but I can hope for a sunny table later, instead of a crowded bench.  Somehow, as a non-skier (on the jerry-sylvia car-and-money team), I always picture a Ski Lodge with stone floors, big easy chairs, and a huge, glowing fireplace, or maybe Wi-Fi, or NFL on a wide screen.  But I keep finding messy, pricey cafeterias, cold around the edges, with a half bar on the cell phone.  I must have seen the huge fireplace and large cozy chairs in 1955 at the Great Barrington slope in western Massachusetts, the one place I skied, one time.  I remember the slush on the rope tow . . . but we remember the bad, right?  The Lodge of my Dreams may have been implanted there, to be brought up in pleasing hopes, repeatedly dashed.  And yet now the Paleo Coffee . . . a miniscule kind of irreverent salvation.

The paleo fad amuses me in a positive, non-condemning way.  Nuggets in a laughable setting.  On Christmas I heard about a paleo boutique where buff handsome men slaver you with tasty meaty filler-uppers, then top it off with butter coffee. So when I saw the sign at the coffee bar here I tried it: “Make your Coffee Bullet-Proof” with butter and coconut oil.  Why is coconut oil suddenly so wonderful?  A fad, yes, but an epiphany, too: Our nation of sheep has become carboholics, and now a redneck paradigm shift is underway, to the tune of shouting men with muscles.  Anyway, I tried it, and I will definitely try it at home.

I was awakened at 3:45 a.m.December 30 by a National Weather Service alarm announcing a new announcement, unstated, but I knew them all, had been studying them in consideration of our 6:30 planned departure for a place where, according to all indications, it would be about 5 degrees with a dreadful wind chill and sunless light snow careening in on a massive cold front.  We were promised nasty road difficulties, and, in my darkened imagination in the wee hours, blizzard conditions on the packed snow where the miserable snow-board learners would be huddled with their teacher, some $200 dollars into the day.  So I was not entirely sure we should drive up to Santa Fe and the ski area at 11,000 feet, just to kill the kids—Briana and her new fiance, Zech—in such an expensive way.  They had already frozen themselves in the gale force 15 degree wind at the top of the tram, and their whole New Mexico trip was pretty frigid, not to mention their flight from Dallas being delayed 3 hours by the difficulty of flights into and out of Denver the day after Christmas.  In the  dark morning I was truly gloomy about all of this, and my sense-of-adventure counter was reading about the same as the thermometers I kept consulting.  

And then we got up, and we proceeded to get ready, almost on schedule at 6:56 a.m.  Once in the car I shared my misgivings and said we might end up turning around once we got there, but, nevertheless, here we go, and don’t forget to pray.  I love how Sylvia has total scorn for forecasts and is glad to pray for the weather we need.  As we left the neighborhood, a great breaking wave of cloud was pouring cold air over the mountain, lit up in the southeast by the rising sun; turning to the west we had city lights in a pale, florescent dawn, with strange banks of clouds across the west mesa, speckled with red but streaked with blue sky.  We then drove north in a gray flurry of snow and tumbleweeds, and the temperature dropped to 16, then 14.  As we neared Santa Fe a wall of cloud stood in front of us, and I thought it might be the blizzard wrapping its arms around the Sangre de Cristo mountains where we were bound.  But I also thought it might be just a local amusement, and, sure enough, the outline of the mountains began to appear in the thinning curtain of cloud, and then a lighter sky, partly blue.  A little after eight we were driving into the snowy pines under solid blue skies. 

I thought questionable weather might be why the traffic was light, but Duh! on a tightly curving road of course you can only see one car ahead and one behind!—and then we found ourselves being shepherded into a huge, full, packed-snow parking lot, and then into a long line for rentals, swept into the labyrinthic system, bustling with the energy of a thousand warmly bundled humans . . .and their money . . .  each politely shoving his or her way toward the coveted slippery slope. 

Which is why I am thinking so much lately about people and the systems they swarm within.  It is the 31st now, and in my warm bed I read that everyone is recollecting.  One academic person is surprised that the 2014 election was a victory not for democracy, but for moneyed interests.  Excuse Me?  Was it not the people repudiating intrusive government?  Well, I guess if only massively intrusive government can save us from moneyed interests (indeed! save us from prosperity!) and our votes are but the manipulated effect of those moneyed interests, then this was not a victory for democracy, defined as the untrammeled  march of do-gooder government.  But how different these points of view!

I read also that a most-widely-read web article for the year was about “double government” (google it & Boston Globe), the bureaucratic leviathan that runs our lives untouched by cherished ideas, speeches or votes.  And this is the animal I have been glimpsing, wanting to write about, that lurks within every stupidity of doctrine and practice, a dull, slow, but relentless force.  It is the force of appetite, Platonically speaking, but calls itself democracy, which Plato calls the next to last step down on the slippery slope of disintegrating government forms.  The article used the phrase,  “smart, hard-working, public-spirited people acting in good faith who are responding to systemic incentives.”  So we cannot call them villains, for they are as good as we, as equally devoted to their perception of the Good.  But watch out for those “systemic incentives”: these are the strong but variable winds that have us all so upset with each other.

The systemic incentives of all the bustling humans at the ski area brought order out of chaos, and in two hours our young adults were in their group, learning how to have some say-so over their slipping and sliding, and Sylvia and I were upstairs in the warm cafeteria, lodged in a few spaces of the benches at the long, narrow tables.  We were reasonably comfortable, able to talk and read and type, almost as if in that mythical lodge with fireplace and easy chairs.  I returned to my question: how can good and important information be invisible to almost everyone?  

Grouchy, divisive Americans are about to spend another two to three trillion dollars on health care, two or three hundred billion of that going to type 2 Diabetes, more if we add other weight-related malfunctions.  If these include heart disease, we’re looking at a trillion.  So about a third of our health budget goes to preventable disease, mostly because of what we eat.

We have been told for fifty years that fat is bad and carbohydrates are good, so we should consume non-fat products as much as possible.  But the opposite is true.  Carbohydrates are killing us, and many of the fats are good for us.  We’ve also told ourselves that saturated fats are bad, and that polyunsaturated are the best, but the skyrocketing use of soybean oil and other omega 6 oils has us under a conflagration of inflammations, affecting our joints, our arteries, and our neurons. 

A third failed theory is that we are obese because we eat too much and/or exercise too little.  Calories in must match calories out; positive balance leads to fat storage, and negative balance will burn the fat away.  Not true.  It ignores how hormones determine fat storage and how carbohydrates affect insulin.  See the details in my food page. 

Reaching for that foamy, fattened coffee, I’m believing that fats do not make us fat or plug our arteries.  It’s not just those wild-eyed carnophile extremists who think this, but a growing body of informed opinion.  Yet right here is our problem.  How could the established experts be turned so backward on major points of nutritional theory?  Is this just a learning curve, or is this a learning hair-pin screeching-tires cliff-hanger curve, brought about by revolutionaries who saw the cliff and grabbed the wheel?  And who is fighting to regain control, cliff or no cliff, to keep us on the established path? 

We have a new Surgeon General, goes by the name Murthy.  Maybe the new “Murthy’s Corollary” will be “If it doesn’t work, don’t worry.” But in my mind I imagine a Surgeon General with persuasive top-down leadership sweeping away the foolishness.  Michelle Obama had some good suggestions, and the NY mayor proposed to save us from ourselves, but conservatives told them both to get lost, while the rest of us paid no attention.  So sweeping, top-down educational
blitzes have their limits.

Plato was the last one to seriously think we could run the world by reason through education, and he made it plain there are too many representations parading across the parapet and casting their dubious shadows on the back wall of our consciousness.  If we did figure it all out, Plato knew, we still might tumble quickly down the slope into Democracy, heaven forbid, sure to soon show its true colors as Tyranny, the rule of Appetite. 

I was deeply sobered by Gary Taubes’s books and many other sources who see the backwardness of our nutritional philosophies.  Taubes gives genuine perspective through his history of the research on obesity and heart disease: The science of metabolism is clear enough and tells us what we need to know, but the scientific controversy was never publicly resolved, except by the formation of a convenient “consensus.”  The carb people won.  300 billion dollars later (every year), the science is still plain, and much of it appears in biology books at the universities.  But the nutritional messages are not based on it.  They are based on the easy assumption that fat makes us fat and clogs our vessels.
 
This means corruption, right?  Big Corn Rules.  Yet early on the researchers who praised saturated fats were thought to be in cahoots with the Egg and Dairy and Meat behemoths—Carnivorous Capitalists!  Now, Plato wouldn’t like this, and I am not a relativist, but it turns out that everyone is in cahoots with someone—not necessarily private enterprise!—or in love with his own ideas, or preferring to coast comfortably in his power . . . etc., etc., etc.  In this case, low-carb became politically correct, with the help of, guess who, George McGovern and the hippies.  Population Bomb (Ehrlichman).  Too little food to waste, letting animals turn it into meat, must eat plants.  Soy is especially good because you can get protein without killing any animals.  More importantly—this is the “double government” part—a simple theory, easily presentable to the public, with a simple game plan, to eat less fat and exercise more . . . this will win over any fact of science standing inconveniently in the way.  Besides, how can you say I am wrong!  How could I get the grant with dangerous ideas like eating bacon?  What is more important than keeping your job and being at ease with the people you work with?  Thus everyone’s Systemic Incentives kicked in nicely, and we slogged slowly and stupidly ahead.

So, alas, no one is the villain, but instead we have a big, stupid animal here, a kind of drugged she-bear.  Our multifarious incentives drive disparate impulses and she lurches down the road.

Plato would want the greasy coffee, if only to wake her up.

Our snowboarders had five hours under a bright, blue sky, cold but not extreme, a little breezy.  Then we drove down the twisty highway and looked out over the land to the southwest and saw clouds beneath us, as if we had spent our day in a bright and sunny bubble up there in the sky.

Crossing Santa Fe and looking homeward, we saw again a great, dark wall of cloud, and as dark fell the east wind rose and the temperature dropped to 14.  A wide, dry river of cold air was still pouring out of the eastern highlands through the gap in the mountain chain. 

6:56 p.m., 19 degrees, home.
                                                              
Note about the China Study, undoing all I said

4:15 a.m., 37 degrees, home, on January 21st, 2015.

BEEP-BEEP-BEEP: “The National Weather Service has issued an advisory.”
Again?  Totally out of the dark, that alarming announcement, 8 words with no information . . . Why now?  But last night on the internet it was a WARNING: Snow coming to Albuquerque sometime today.  Now I refuse to reach for the phone and look. Maybe the “advisory” is good news.  God you have it all in control, etc. etc., but my heart is beating a little like when Green Bay was trying to hang on to its lead over Seattle.  Probably won’t go back to sleep.   It’s not like when the bobcat leaped on the roof in three thudding strides and the black cat next door screamed and flew into the air.  He survived. Not like that, but in the same time and place, in the roof immediately over my head, on the plywood deck of that roof, but now stripped bare, full of holes, utterly vulnerable to rain or snow.  I peek out, cloudy darkness, tend to the fire, the heat pump is standing on the bare plywood unconnected.  The roofers are coming at seven.
Flat roof stripped bare      
When I am fully out of bed and happy with my fire and my coffee, I read the advisory.  Snow will begin about dark this afternoon.  Just as the roofers planned.  They have 10 hours to put a roof on the 1400 square feet of our house that they attacked yesterday.   All is well.  A high pitched sound begins, somewhere, somewhere outside, in some direction . . . I walk outside in the mild winter darkness.  It is a directionless sound, as alarms will be.  It ends.  Time for coffee. 

You all know this silly Sherman goes on and on with his disappointments at the receding precipitation possibilities of officially announced would-be desert storms, but now I am praying for the weather to not come, not yet, and, unlike almost every other thing that I ever wrote about, this matters!  All of my insulation and interior sheet rock is at risk. 

By the full light of day now eight busy young men are tromping around under gray skies, brea
Roof finished in white membrane (not snow)king blue, sun emerging over the mountain.    

They closed it up about 12:30, ate their lunches, and went home.  

I got the heat pump reconnected by 2:00.
White single-ply roof with snow
Fine, wet snow began at 2:15. 

 






            




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