Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ireland: A Dark Gem

In Irish mythology, Ériu (/ˈeːrʲu/), daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha Dé Danann, was the eponymous patron goddess of Ireland. Her husband was Mac Gréine (‘Son of the Sun’).[1] She was the mother of Bres by Prince Elatha of the Fomorians.

The English name for Ireland comes from the name Ériu and the Old Norse or Anglo-Saxon word land.
~ from Wikipedia

"Clouds Over Western Ireland"

courtesy of Anne van der Vaart

Ireland's beginnings are shrouded in mystery. Myths and Legends tell tales to explain her people and her existence. The names of fabled people, long gone, resonate through Ireland's history, prick our curiosity, and add to the richness of Ireland. Who, for instance, were the Da'Danaan and who was Milesius, their conqueror; who were the Firbolgs, and did they have anything to do with the Israelite tribe of Dan? What is/was Lia Fáil - the Stone of Destiny?

The history of Ireland from long ago is filled with wonder, bloodshed, heroism, and shrouded in darkness, too. We know that the Irish are Celts, not Latins, and are related to the Welsh, Scots, Cornish, Bretons, and perhaps even the Basque. But it is also likely that they are related to the Teutons. The massive wave of migration through Central Europe, that took place at least from 1,000 BC onward, and emanated from the Caucasus region of Eurasia, populated Europe with a war-like, land-hungry people. As they crossed into Europe they split into separate streams and continued their march westward. Heading north, into the regions of Northern Germany, and on into the Scandinavian regions, went the Teutons. The vast majority filled Europe, as much as supposed primitive peoples can, and crossed the English Channel. But where did they come from? Who were they? And what caused them to pick up and leave their homes?

Linguists and Historians attempt to build a coherent history of these people and simply add to the confusion - something the Irish seem to cause everyone. But we can perhaps tie a few legends and myths into something that may, or may not be, close to the truth.

The Assyrian Empire, while bloody and merciless, had an interesting way of dealing with the people of nations they conquered. Unlike the Babylonian Empire, which brought the defeated peoples into Babylonia as slaves, the Assyrians took everyone and moved them to another part of the Empire, populating territory with a captive people who were now far from their homes. Most would eventually accept their new homeland as their only homeland, and would pass into history as footnotes. But some few did not calmly accept the new circumstances.

In the vast area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, dwelt many peoples, of different origins, brought there by the Assyrians, and left to their own devices. Among those peoples were a Semitic group brought there after 714 BC. They came from the defeated Kingdom of Israel. And their appearance coincides with the first Assyrian record of the Cimmerians. The Assyrians called them the "Gimirri", which is considered by some to be an early version of "Cimri" or "Cymry". Why is this interesting? Because Cymry is the name the Welsh call themselves. And the Welsh are Celts.

By 705 CB the Cimmerians had killed the Assyrian Emperor Sargon in battle and launched themselves northward into the surrounding lands. The Babylonians called them "Scythians", which came from the name "Saka". By 515 BC, the Cimmerians, after threatening the Kingdom of Lydia (in modern Western Turkey), and being beaten back, slipped out of history. Saka is the Persian name, while the Greeks called the same people Scythians. In Akkadian, the Saka were called the Ashkuza and were closely associated with the Gimirri, who were the Cimmerians known to the ancient Greeks. In ancient Hebrew texts, the Ashkuz (Ashkenaz) are even considered to be a direct offshoot from the Gimirri. Back to them, once again. And who were the Gimirri? The legends say they are the descendants of Gomer. Gomer? Gomer was the eldest son of Japeth, father of Ashkenaz, and mentioned in Genesis. Still with me?

According to the Books of Esdras (Ezra in Hebrew), apocryphal books of the Old Testament, following the fall of Assyria to the Babylonian Empire, a delegation of Judahites, part of the captured peoples of Babylon, went north to seek out their relatives from the defeated Kingdom of Israel. Esdras recounts the request of this delegation that their cousins join them as they rebuilt their former Kingdom in Israel. For the Babylonians had given the Judahites permission to return to their old lands and rebuild. But the Books of Esdras relate that the mission was a failure. The now-intermingled tribes in northern Assyria said "no" and passed into the mountains and out of Biblical history. Could this be true? Why not? After all, the "ten Tribes" of Israel were not a small group, but numbered, by the time of the writings of Esdras, in the millions. Millions of people do not simply vanish. They go somewhere, or leave some evidence of their existence. My opinion is that they left a massive footprint for us to follow.

What of the Saka, mentioned earlier? According to Wikipedia:
The word 'Saxon' is believed to be derived from the word seax, meaning a variety of single-edged knives. The Saxons were considered by Charlemagne's historian Einhard (Vita Caroli c.7), to be especially war-like and ferocious.
This could be correct. But there is a stream of thought which says that the Saka called themselves "Sacasunii". And this is derived from "Sons of Isaac". If true, and I like to think so, it makes one wonder what the war-like people of Ancient times were doing calling themselves by the name of a Hebrew patriarch. The Saxons were a Teutonic people, related to the Angles, the Jutes, the Frisians.

Remember that many smaller tribes took other names, and thus are likely to be forgotten as a part of the great wave of migration. The Gauls had smaller tribal offshoots, but they remained a Teutonic people. The Franks, another Teutonic tribe, habitually divied their lands among the surviving sons, leading to partitions of ever smaller family groups or tribes. Yet out of the Franks came two ruling families: the Merovingians and the Carolingians. We remember the Carolingians primarily for their name-sake, Charlemagne.

And what of the Gauls? Another Celtic people who initially were widespread in Europe, sacked Rome under the great warrior chieftain Brennus, and were renowned to the Ancient world for their ferocity. And their habit of going into battle naked, their hair pulled up into spikes by the use of lime, and sometimes dying their bodies blue.

Images of Ireland

So, by the time we get to Ireland, that Emerald Island of beauty and mystery, we are in fact at the ebb tide of a wave of migration that began, in my own estimation, in the lands of the Assyrians.

Once we reach Ireland we have Myths where we would perhaps prefer history. Famous in Irish Myth is the Tuatha Dé Danann, said to mean "peoples or tribe of the goddess Danu". But some believe that the name Danann refers, not to some mythical goddess, but in fact to Dan, one of the "Lost Tribes", and a seafaring people from Biblical times. Some believe that they brought with them a religious concept of monotheism, which would in time evolve into Druidism. Druidism based its deities in a Triune setting. The Tuatha Dé Danann are said to have arrived in Ireland, bearing with them a Princess of Egypt (odd legend for the Irish, right?), led by an old prophet they called Ollamh Fodhla, meaning "great teacher," and bearing a stone called Lia Fáil: Stone of Destiny. This old prophet became high-king of Fodla, a poetic term for Ireland, in 633 BC, or so it is said. But it could have been earlier or even later. For, within one hundred years of that date we find remnants of the Kingdom of Judah, entering Egypt to find haven from the Babylonians. Most would be sent back to the Babylonians by the Egyptians. But others are said to have taken to the seas, heading to the northwest and the unknown, seeking a new home. They took with them the last daughter of the King of Judah, the prophet Jeremiah, and Jacob's Pillar, a stone used by the Patriarch Jacob as a pillow (Genesis 28:10-18).

Legend say that the rightful Irish King must stand upon the Stone when crowned, and that the stone then gives out a joyful roar. The Stone, called Lia Fáil, was sent to Scotland, and used by the invading Irish as a sign that they were now rightful rulers there. It was never returned to Ireland. King Edward of England, The "Hammer of the Scots", captured the stone, and carried it off in 1296, as a spoil of war. It was taken to Westminster Abbey, where it was fitted into the old wooden chair, known as St. Edward's Chair, on which English sovereigns were crowned. And just who were those sovereigns of England, later Britain? They were descendants of Celts and Teutons. In fact, when George VI was crowned, following the abdication of Edward VIII, he was then the hereditary King of Scotland, by blood. Elizabeth II is his rightful heiress, and thus also the rightful Queen of Scotland.

And Milesius? According to Seumas MacManus in his book The Story of the Irish Race, Milesius was the leader of a people descended from Niul, grandson of Gaodhal Glas. Moses is the one who gave Gaodhal the prophecy that one day his decendants would live on a happy western island free of serpents. And it was Niul who lived in Egypt, having come there from Scythia, and was driven out by an unjust Pharaoh. After long wanderings through succeeding ages, the descendants of Niul reached the Iberian Peninsula.

Milesius died in Iberia before he could reach the Isle of Destiny. His wife Scota went to Ireland with their eight sons. Due to some terrible storms (attributed to the magic of the De Danann who already lived in Ireland) most of Milesius' sons died when they tried to land. Eventually, though, the Milesians defeated the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Milesians, of course, were Celts. Interesting how their legends contained the name of Moses.

The Irish are the edge of a migration of peoples rich in oral history, fables, legends and myths. Their origins remain shrouded in the dark mists of time, and cannot be placed with any real accuracy. By the time of the Viking invasions, and the High King Brian Boru, Ireland was ready to fall apart under the weight of its forever battling clans and families. The Celts have a long history of great accomplishments followed by internecine warfare that leaves them prey for stronger, unified peoples. Strangely, those peoples have been their own relations.

And what of the Firbolgs? They were in Ireland, too. Who were they? In Irish mythology the Fir Bolg (Fir Bholg, Firbolg) were one of the races that inhabited the island of Ireland prior to the arrival of the Gaels. They were probably related to the Belgae tribe. And the Belgae? Yep, Celts. The Firbolgs were part of an early wave of migration into the island of Ireland and were subsequently defeated by later Celtic waves. The origin of the name Firbolg is lost to history, with many meanings raised. Nobody really knows anymore. Much like so much of Ireland's history before the times of the Romans, the true stories have faded. Some into Myth and Legend, many more lost forever in the fogs of the Emerald Isle.

There is much more I could relate, as far as legends, which would fill a book. But you can find more elsewhere. You all know how to surf the Web. Know this, however: The Irish are ancient. Their language older than English, their culture older, too. But they remain a part of the world's most powerful peoples: The Children of God.

Romans 9:26 And it shall come to pass, [that] in the place where it was said unto them, Ye [are] not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

Hosea 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, [that] in the place where it was said unto them, Ye [are] not my people, [there] it shall be said unto them, [Ye are] the sons of the living God.

From PBS

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Worth A Vote?

Blandly Urbane suggested I submit my post, "War Is All Hell" to Real Clear Politics. And I did! Thanks, BU!

If you liked the post, and have a few minutes, perhaps you could head on over to Real Clear Politics and vote for the article. It would be nice to see that post sitting on the front page of the site.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

War Is All Hell

"The majority of people are timid by nature, and that is why they constantly exaggerate danger. All influences on the military leader, therefore, combine to give him a false impression of his opponent's strength, and from this arises a new source of indecision."
~ Karl von Clausewitz
"Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum." (Latin)
(Therefore, whoever wishes for peace, let him prepare for war.)
~ Vegetius in "De Re Militari"

There is nothing pretty about War. War is an unalterably ugly thing. It is to be avoided whenever possible. But it cannot be avoided at all cost. Some costs are far too dear to bear. Because nobody comes in second in a War. There is a winner and a loser. And the losers in War are not envied their position.

Ask the French who lost to Nazi Germany how life was under the Germans. Ask the Germans who lost to the Soviets. Ask the Greeks who were defeated by the Turks. Ask the Native Americans who lost to the United States. Ask the Carthaginians who lost to the Romans. No, wait! You can't ask the Carthaginians. The were annihilated by the Romans and sold into slavery, their cities razed, the ground sown with salt.
"It is clear that war is not a mere act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means"
~ Karl von Clausewitz

Any nation which embarks on the path to War must be prepared to win it - no matter the cost - if that nation is to survive. Britain dithered, and sought Peace by any means, to avoid going to War with Nazi Germany. Their blindness to reality in Continental Europe, their reluctance to arm in preparation for what was coming, cost them dearly, in money, lives, and Empire. They sent out their diplomats to talk Peace with a tyrant. They talked and talked until they had an agreement - a piece of paper - to show the people.

And then the Nazis struck. And Havoc enveloped the entire world.

During the Cold War, Americans were told that the Communists were just like us. They loved their children, dreamed of better lives, wanted only to live in Peace. And all the while the Soviets gobbled up defenseless nations, enslaved their people, and plotted the destruction of the Western world. And still the Pacifists in the West prattled on about how peaceful were the intentions of the Communists.

Wars were fought between the Communists and the Western Powers by proxy. Many people died. Much blood was spilled. And still the Pacifists blithered on that the West needed to understand the Soviet's view of things. And while they told us that, the Communists undermined free nations, murdered dissenters, enslaved the imprisoned populace of Eastern Europe and of Asia. And the Pacifists told us we must fear War, avoid it at all costs, and give in to the very enemies of the Freedoms they took for granted.

And the Pacifists insisted that we could not win the Cold War. So why bother fighting it? Let's try detente! Let's try Treaties! Anything but fight the Communists.
"No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his body, to risk his well being, to risk his life, in a great cause."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

Then, as the 20Th Century aged, bloody and wretched, Leaders came to power in the West, Leaders who did not accept the dicta of the Pacifists, the Socialists, the fearful. Britain elected a Conservative woman to lead them, to the horror of the Leftists. And she began the unenviable task of dismantling the Socialist stranglehold on the British economy. She refused to allow the naked aggression of a Military Thug to stand in the Falklands. She took the tiny island to War. And the Left howled its rage at her for daring to show courage in the face of unrelenting attacks on her. But she was steadfast. And Britain won the War.

The United States elected as President a man who had evolved from a Liberal to a Conservative, a man who made a living as an actor. The Left howled with rage. For this man had already stood up to the Leftist thugs in California as its elected Governor. He knew that you did not, dared not, compromise with those who would bow to those who fear a Free people.

He was told we could not win the Cold War. He asked, "Why not?" His advisers asked him, "What's your plan?" He replied, "We win. They lose." And it was almost as simple as that.

He refused to bow to the supposed greatness and inevitability of the Soviet Union, refused to appease them, despite the immense pressure of the Press to do so. He re-armed the United States against the screaming complaints of the Left. And he told the Soviets he would. The Soviets came to him, seeking a compromise. Against all advice he refused.

The Soviet Union fell. Shortly thereafter the Iron Curtain was pulled down. Not from without, not from invasion, but from within. The people of Eastern Europe, their bonds loosened with the internal upheaval of the Communist regime in Moscow, freed themselves. The Cold War was won. Not by the forces of Tyranny but by the forces of Freedom acting with resolve. A resolve not shown by the West since the end of the Second World War.
"The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

But the Left never dies, never admits defeat, never stops trying to enslave humanity. So the United States began to disarm. Seeking the money from the "Peace Dividend" so hard-won by others, the West began to nap, ignoring the growing and seething tyrannies, and religious Death Cults, around the world. When they attacked the outskirts of the Western world the West recoiled, and slumbered on. They spoke of righteous anger, and retribution to come, but did nothing. And the Death Cults grew bolder.

All the while the Leftists demanded more disarmament, more taxes to fund their schemes, more hatred to heap on those who worried about the growing Evil without our own borders. For to the Leftists, their time in Power meant the "Never-Ending Party". Any who dared to disagree were to be shouted down, castigated, ruined, if possible.
"The fool who has not sense to discriminate between what is good and what is bad is well nigh as dangerous as the man who does discriminate and yet chooses the bad."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

The people of the United States grew weary of the teenagers running the nation and elected the son of a President to the White House. The Left and the Press hated him. They made sure, as they always do, that the world knew what a buffoon he was, how stupid he was, how poorly he spoke. And when the Death Cults struck at the very heart of this nation, that man stood tall, and refused to bow to the appeasers.

He was advised to not be hasty, to understand the grievances of those who murder the defenseless and the innocent. And he bided his time. He let the diplomats ply their trade while the Death Cultists plotted more destruction, more bloodshed, more murder. He talked to supposed allies and sought help and agreement from them. They refused him almost to a man. And while he waited the Death Cultists allied themselves with bloody Tyrants in Iraq and Iran.

And finally there was simply no more time to wait. Acting on information gathered under his predecessor, the President took the nation to War. First with Afghanistan's terrorist regime, then with Iraq's bloody Tyrant. And the Leftists howled with rage. They warned that no Western Power had ever won in Afghanistan, they called the War there a quagmire within hours of its beginning. They went to the allies of the Iraqi Tyrant and told them that the US would invade Iraq. And they heaped such vitriol on the President that it beggars the imagination.
"Find the enemy and shoot him down. Anything else is nonsense"
~ Captain Manfred von Richthofen ("The Red Baron"), 1917

In their zeal to shackle the President, the Left enshrined an ideal for fighting War that was impossible and suicidal to attempt. Rules of Engagement were so onerous that the Soldiers fighting for their country were at risk of arrest and prosecution for criminal acts. The Left did anything it could to defeat the President, and by extension, the United States. From the incessant vilification of the President, and any who support him, to exposure of National Secrets to handcuff the nation, to prosecution of officials for crimes that never happened, the Left plied its trade. And the American people were caught in the middle, not knowing what was the truth and what was the lie. But many simply wanted the United States to win, and so continued to support the President, the Servicemen and women fighting the Death Cultists, and refused to be shouted down by the Left and its minions.
"War is fear cloaked in courage."
~ William Westmoreland

Now, while the nation is truly at War in Iraq, and may be in Iran in the near future, the nibbling of the Leftist Hamsters of Hatred continues. Nothing matters to them but gaining and holding Power, while destroying the hated President. They will destroy the nation's economy to continue pushing a Socialism that has never worked anywhere in the world. They will buy votes with taxes, tax those they hate into oblivion, if they can, and try, as they have seemingly forever, to legislate against the Morality of the Ages in favor of the Licentiousness of Today. And they will snipe at those who are proud of this nation, proud of our history, proud of all that we have accomplished as a people. To the Leftists, those who wave the Stars and Stripes with pride are uneducated, illiterate, religious extremists, hate-mongers, war-mongers, beneath contempt.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belong to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again. Who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
~ Theodore Roosevelt ("The Man in the Arena")

The Left will only go to War to further what they think is a Progressive agenda, but is actually a bargain with the Devil. War in defense of the Homeland is incomprehensible to them. War in defense of ourselves is, likewise, incomprehensible to them. For our lives, our way of life, our Faith, is nothing to them but uncivilized superstition, and must be wiped out. The only thing in which the Left has Faith is in themselves and their self-acclaimed greatness. Question their Patriotism? We rarely do, but are accused of it with every question we do ask. Question their morals? They have none save those which will benefit themselves to the detriment of the rest of us. We fight a War, today, not simply to free and keep free those enslaved by tyrannies, but we fight the War to preserve our own Freedoms and Liberties which are daily threatened. From within as well as without.

Yes, War is an ugly, horrible thing. And we fight when we must!
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
~ John Stuart Mill

Email Gem

My Folks are fairly conservative, remain active in politics in Tarpon Springs, and have a host of friends with whom they converse. They have also leaped into the Digital Age with a will. And they get emails from friends and, naturally, they forward them to me. The following is one they sent me yesterday. What do you think?

A mother asked President Bush,

"Why did my son have to die in Iraq?"

Another mother asked President Kennedy,

"Why did my son have to die in Viet Nam?"

Another mother asked President Truman,

"Why did my son have to die in Korea?

Another mother asked President F.D. Roosevelt,

"Why did my son have to die at Iwo Jima?"

Another mother asked President W. Wilson,

"Why did my son have to die on the battlefield of France?"

Yet another mother asked President Lincoln,

"Why did my son have to die at Gettysburg?"

And yet another mother asked President G. Washington,

"Why did my son have to die near Valley Forge?"

Then long, long ago, a mother asked...

"Heavenly Father, why did my Son have to die

on a cross outside of Jerusalem?"

The answers to all these are similar --

"So that others may have life and dwell in peace,

happiness and freedom."

This was emailed to me with no author
and I thought the magnitude
and the simplicity were awesome.



I can add nothing to that. Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Widget!

Over on the left, there, in my sidebar, you will find a widget. I found it while surfing through the Anchoress' blog. I voted, checked the results, and had to wait until they posted the widgets for "general" use. 'Cause, NO, I am not a member of Pajamas Media.

You can vote once each week. The more voting, the better the data, and the more accurate the results. I had just voted today - my second vote! - and checked the results, when I hit the link to get the widget. You register, which will make your blog a precinct, verify the registration, then install the widget on your template. Once installed I tested it.

Yup! It knew I had already voted. Some folks have tried to stuff the ballots, but they've been caught. And what's the point? It's a fun thing, if nothing else. Why try to gin up the results? The totals don't look very large, but last week when I was at the site, they were describing the cheating attempts, and were talking about votes of over a thousand. I wish they had saved that post for later reading, but they didn't.

You can check the results of the precinct where you voted, or get the total for all the precincts.



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There's another Widget a little further down the sidebar. It's from MyBlogLog and it's a Recent Readers Widget. That means it can show your name and avatar whenever you comment at a site that has the widget. Well, something like that. I found one at Blandly Urbane's Demediacratic Nation. Click on the box, over there, and head over to MyBlogLog, or hit the link above. It takes little time and, who knows, you may enjoy the response. Go! Do it! Heheheee!

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Some of you wonder why your blogrolls don't seem to ever update. I don't have an answer for that. But I do have a remedy for you, just in case you didn't know it existed. Head on over to BlogRolling and look at the section at the left.

Under the "Navigation" header there's a list of links, such as "Login", "Lost Password", "Breaking News". You'll also see a link titled, "Ping Form". That's the one you want! Click on it! You don't need to login, or anything. Just type in your blog's name, and in the box under that you type in your blog's address. Then hit the "Ping" button. All there is to it! Blogrolling will now "ping" the blogrolls and yours will be updated on the rolls you belong to.

Easy, isn't it? Make this a part of yyour posting procedures! It's easy and it ensures that your blogroll entry is updated everywhere. Go, Ye, and Ping.

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Bones Of Contention: PC, Religion, Science

"Kennewick Man", "Beauty of Loulan",
and Where Have All The Horses Gone?

Kennewick Man may or may not be a familiar name to you. It should be. For along with that name there follows an odd trail of political intrigue, distortions, religious animus, and a host of other strange behavior. All of it surrounding the skeletal remains of a man who lived, and died, over 9,000 years ago.

From Wikipedia:
Kennewick Man is the name for the remains of a prehistoric man found on a bank of the Columbia River near Kennewick, Washington, on July 28, 1996. The discovery of Kennewick Man was accidental: a pair of spectators at the yearly hydroplane races found his skull while watching the races.

After removing the skull from the muck, the County Coroner, Floyd Johnson, put it in a bucket and hauled it to the home of James Chatters. Chatters is a free-lance anthropologist who works out of a basement-lab in his home. From Willamette Week:
The pair later went back to the site and, miraculously, found almost all of Kennewick Man's bones, which had been scattered downstream by the current.

Chatters began studying and measuring, eventually sending some bone fragments to the University of California for radiocarbon dating.

When the results came back, Chatters was dumbstruck. The skeleton lying on his makeshift examination table was among the oldest ever found in North America. As such, Kennewick Man belongs to an exclusive club of a dozen or so paleoskeletons that provide the earliest evidence of the human population of North America. Kennewick Man is arguably the best-preserved of the bunch.

"He has a lot to let us know about his time in history," Chatters says. Most significantly, studies of Kennewick Man could help trace the path of some of America's first human inhabitants.

But that path was endangered almost from the start. First, Native American tribes got into the act, demanding the return of their "ancestor" so it could be reburied "in secret". Soon after the radio-carbon dating results came back, the bones were seized by the Army Corps of Engineers, on whose land the remains had been found. (Funny, I don't recall hearing that the ACE was a land-owner, but ... what do I know, eh?) From Willamette Week:
The corps was acting on behalf of five Native American tribes who have claimed that Kennewick man was their ancestor: the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Wanapum Band.

Since they first heard about the skeleton, the tribes have repeated a single message: Kennewick Man must be put back in the ground.


Why? Why the need to bury bones that had never been interred by human hand? Because the Native Americans have fought for years to have the remains of their loved ones returned. They have seen burial grounds dug up in a search for scientific information, bones for display, artifacts for money. And as far as the Native Americans are concerned, if bones were found that predate the white Colonialists, then they are Indian! The desecrations of their ancestors' resting places had to stop! From Willamette Week:
In 1990, Native Americans made that case to Congress.

What resulted was the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which gave Indians the right to reclaim their ancestors' remains and cultural artifacts. It applied not only to skeletons and objects in museums, but to new archaeological finds as well. The impact this has had on both tribes and scientists cannot be underestimated.

Citing NAGPRA, the five tribes demanded that Kennewick Man be returned to them for reburial. That's why the corps put a stop to DNA testing already in progress and locked the skeleton in the Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash.

There's just one problem: The ancient skeleton might not be an Indian at all.

Ahhh, and therein lies the problem!

Accepted anthropological data tells us that caucasian people - Whites - came to this continent only in the past 1,000 years or so. Science will admit that perhaps a few early Irish found their way here, and the Viking (Norse) voyages are pretty well accepted. But nothing else! No way! Anything beyond that is not acceptable. And why? Because that means that the entrenched acolytes of the Ivory Halls of Science will have to rethink what they "know" and teach. New information threatens the entire foundation of accepted history. So, nothing earlier than maybe some early Irish will be allowed.

Although science continues to discover that human habitation of the Americas is older than previously imagined - we used to be taught that man first arrived here about 12,000 years ago, crossing the Bering Land Bridge - every new discovery is fought tooth-and-nail. Not because the findings are wrong, or doctored, but because they are a threat. I recall watching a PBS documentary - it might have been the Discovery or History channel - that showed an anthropologist in South America who believed that she had discovered human remains that were more than 20,000 years old. Her position at a University was threatened because of this. "Lock-step, People! Lock-step!"

From Willamette Week, again:
If Kennewick Man does appear "Caucasoid"--a term, referring to skulls that have both Asian and European features, that Chatters has used in more cautious moments--it could change the way Americans see the past. (It should be noted, however, that the Caucasoid label has been disputed by other scientists.)

Most public school students are taught that the New World was first populated with a single migration some 12,000 years ago. According to history books, these first inhabitants were ancestors of modern Native Americans who came from the Far East, through Alaska, and spread out through North America before being wiped out by the white man.

If Kennewick Man does indeed have "Caucasoid" features, he may have something in common with the other North American paleoskeletons, all of which have been described as having features that are to some degree Caucasoid.

Because these paleoskeletons don't resemble modern Native Americans, many scientists now suspect that North America was populated by several migrations of several different groups. What that could mean is that ancestors of modern Native Americans might not have been the first people in the New World.

That raises a sticky question, one that scientists are only beginning to ask: If Native Americans weren't the first people in the United States, then who were?

It is a question the tribes don't want to consider. "If this individual is truly over 9,000 years old, that only substantiates our belief that he is Native American," wrote Armand Minthorn. "From our oral histories, we know that our people have been part of this land since the beginning of time.... Some scientists say that if this individual is not studied further, we, as Indians, will be destroying evidence of our history. We already know our history."

And that is what the Army Corps of Engineers and the US government are allowing to control the debate? That is what they bow to when looking at science? Political Correctness is foolish enough, but when it goes beyond being nice to people, it is a dangerous dogma, indeed!

So what happened? Well ...
In September 1996, the Army Corps of Engineers placed a legal notice in the Washington Tri-City Herald advertising that the ancient remains would be repatriated to the five tribes within just a few weeks.

The corps' decision was puzzling for several reasons. The speed with which the corps acted was entirely out of character. NAGPRA is very ambiguous, especially with respect to paleoskeletons, which are in a category by themselves, according to scientists. The law also doesn't specifically address the question of whether scientific study is allowed prior to repatriation, yet the corps notice appeared to bar any testing.

Most curious, of course, was the fact that the corps decided to repatriate the skeleton based solely on the tribes' unsubstantiated claims that Kennewick Man was their ancestor. The only evidence the corps had at the time--Chatters' assessment, which was backed up by two scientists he had consulted--indicated something to the contrary.

When scientists realized the corps was going to turn the skeleton over to the tribes for immediate reburial, they were astounded and horrified.
And they filed suit. The judge, U.S. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks, accepted the lawsuit and ordered the ACE to stop. Strangely enough, while those bones were then in the possesion of this governmental agency, some of the bones are said to have been turned over to the Indians. The judge, on eight occassions, had to rebuke the ACE. Odd, isn't it? And nearly eight years later, Judge Jelderks ruled that the bones could be studied.

Why did that take so long? What was so frightening to the Indian tribes involved that those bones had to be hidden? Could it be that they were not the First People? Is it possible that others were here at the same time? Could whites have also shared this continent in prehistoric times? And if so, where did they all go?

One of the biological theories that is discredited in these PC days, says that when a people is weak a stronger people will move in. The stronger people will kill or absorb the weaker. Sounds fairly sensible to me. And it fits hand-in-glove with "known" history, doesn't it? We all "know" that the Black Hills of Dakota are sacred to the Lakota tribes. But they weren't the first people there. Those hills were peopled by other Indian tribes before the Lakota took them. And they didn't take them by asking, "May we?" They moved in on weaker tribes.

Thus we see that there is quicksand under the long-held contention that the land of North America was held by so-called Indians until the arrival of the White Man following the voyages of Columbus. There were other peoples here, too. Where did they go? Why fight so hard to hide the evidence of their existence?

In the 1980s, in western China, remains were found - mummies - of people with caucasian features. These were not the first mummies found there, nor the last. But they were among the best preserved. The age of The Beauty of Loulan is around 4,000 years - 2,000 BCE - and predates Chinese civilization as we know it. The mummies were discovered in an area called the Tarim Basin - tarim means agriculture in Turkish - a place dry enough to preserve the mummmies well. The Basin includes the Taklamakan Desert, known as the largest sand-only desert in the world. Among the many mummies discovered were quite a few with blonde hair, red hair, and caucasian features. The clothing they wore seemed to be of western european design. The mummy of a one-year-old boy had blonde hair, and blue stones had been placed over his eyes. These Taklamakan Mummies are thought to be of a Tocharian people - Indo-European - who immigrated into the area in the second millenium BCE. Could have been earlier. Tocharian or Tokharian is one of the most obscure branches of the group of Indo-European languages. The name of the language is taken from people known to the Greek historians (Ptolemy VI, 11, 6) as the Tocharians (Greek: Τόχαροι, "Tokharoi"). See The Curse of the Red-Headed Mummy for more.

Sure, this is getting thick, isn't it? What's the connection? Well, the Chinese governemnt, initially excited about the discovery, quickly came to their senses and denied permission to the anthropologists to remove the mummies from China for further examination. They finally relented - partially! - and allowed five of the mummies to be taken out. But the fear they had was that the mummies would be used by seperatists to influence world opinion. The seperatists in question? Uyghur Muslims.

Heather Pringle: "Historians had long suggested that the Uyghurs were relative latecomers to the region, migrating from the plains of Mongolia less than two thousand years ago. But Uyghur leaders were skeptical. They believed that their farmer ancestors had always lived along the thin but fertile river valleys of the Tarim, and as such they embraced the mummies as their kin -- even though many scholars [...] suspected that Uyghur invaders had slaughtered or driven out most of the mummies' true descendants and assimilated the few that remained. Still, in Xinjiang, Uyghur leaders picked one of the oldest mummies as an emblem of their cause." Which, of course, caused the Red Chinese to see those mummies as a matter of national security. Hide the evidence!

But by then it was too late. The world had already learned of the existence of "white" people who had lived in China long, long ago. And that's something you don't learn in school, do you? Too complicated, too controversial, too un-PC. Which brings me to ...

Where have all the horses gone? This continent is an absolute heaven for the horse. Left to their own devices, the horse thrives in the wilds of North America. Yet every one of the horses used by the Native Americans, when White Europeans finally crossed into the Great Plains, were descended from horse lost, or turned loose, by the Spaniards. Not one Indian horse was a native animal. But archaeology shows us that the horse is, in fact, originally native to the continent. And why not? As I said ealrier, they thrive here. So what happened to the native American horse?

The horse is actually believed to have arisen in the Americas, not Europe, Africa, Asia, or anywhere else. It showed up here, spread to the Asian continent via the Bering Land Bridge, then died out here. Why? Why, when the horse thrives in the Americas, since its reintroduction by the Spaniards, did it disappear thousands of years ago?

Were they hunted to extinction? That hardly seems possible. We are told time and time again that the Native Americans are at one with nature. So surely they could not have destroyed the horse. Climatic disaster? Perhaps. But then we have to admit the possibility that climate change is a natural happenstance. There was no industry belching pollutants into the sky back then. *snarky comment alert!* And we know that the smoke of Indian fires was environmentally safe! Actually there were never enough Indians around to have enough fires burning to do anything. *end snarky!* A continent-wide disease epidemic may have done the trick. But that's doubtful. And no evidence exists to point to an epidemic.

No, the only evidence we have consists of the over-hunting of Native Americans, or some global catastrophe that science refuses to allow. You may have seen the documentaries on the Mega-Flood of the American Northwest. PBS says: "About 15,000 years ago, in the waning millennia of the Ice Age, a vast lake known as Glacial Lake Missoula suddenly burst through the ice dam that plugged it at one end. In the space of just 48 hours, geologists believe, the collapse sent 500 cubic miles of water cascading across the Pacific Northwest, creating overnight such unusual landscapes as the scablands of eastern Washington (see Explore the Scablands.)" As early as 1927 the theory of the mega-flood was raised. It was quickly ridiculed by the experts of the time. Everybody knew that gigantic catastrophes did not occur.

But they did and do and will. And scientists have to get their heads out of their academic rear-ends and explore the facts. They cannot simply regurgitate what they have been taught, like good little lemmings, and sit smugly in their Ivory Towers. What happened to the American horse? We cannot be sure. But the PC efforts to block inquiry, that may remove some of the gloss from the Myth of the AMerican Indian, cannot continue.

The same holds for ancient skeletons, too. One of the complaints from Native Americans is that whites only do it to the remains of other peoples. "How would you like it if I dug up the body of your Aunt Mable, and displayed her in a museum," they like to say. Well, we do dig up the remains of white folks. The victims of the Deerfield Massacre were dug up, photographed and studied. They were all white Europeans. They were killed during "Queen Anne's War", on February 29, 1704. The bodies of the unfortunate inhabitants of Jamestown, Virginia, were disinterred and studied. They were whites, too. Celtic graves around the world are dug up, studied, displayed for the betterment of science and knowledge. Again, these are whites. Caucasians. So what is special about the Native American? Their beliefs? Fine. But whites bury their dead, too.

There is a vast difference between showing respect for the dead, and deifying them for the sake of their supposed descendants. Facts are facts. Emotions are emotions. The two are not a good mix. Not in religion, not in politics, and certainly not in science. If there were white peopl in the Americas ten millenia or more ago, then that is something that we should learn about and study. It is not something to be buried to protect the tender feelings of Native Americans. As long as respect is shown - demanded! - then study what ye may.

Where have all the horses gone?

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More on Kennewick Man, and the controversy, is here: Kennewick Man
or Dead "Indians" Don't Lie
. Very good opinion piece.

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Among those blogging about the controversial - ooOOOooh! - floats in a German festival is Angel! Check it out!

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ancient Ireland

In the Roman Catholic Church, an oratory is a semi-public place of worship constructed for the benefit of a group of persons (Code of Canon law, can. 1223). Other faithful may attend the church under certain circumstances. An oratory is more private than a church, since in a church everyone has a right to attend. It is, however, more public than a chapel since only the owners of a chapel have the right of entrance.

The Gallarus Oratory is situated on the Dingle Peninsula near Ballyferriter in County Kerry, Ireland. (Bally [baile], meaning "town" in the Irish language ) Although I did a bit of a search for the name 'Gallarus', I found nothing, so I have no idea what that name means. Regardless, the Gallarus Oratory is a very interesting bit of ancient architecture. The boat-shaped building can sometimes be traced to early Viking times, the earliest of which was excavated at an 11th-Century site in southern Jutland.

Click on any image for a larger view.

An 1899 photo of Rev.D. Murphy and Dr. George Stokes at the Gallarus Oratory, Dingle, Co. Kerry. This boat-shaped structure is highly similar to structures on the Balearic and other Mediterranean islands.
From The Golden Age Project

From The Round Towers and Ancient Architecture of Ireland - George Petrie(1845)
From Megalithomania

Gallarus Oratory before the Government cleaned it up for the public. From Professor F. C. McGrath, University of Southern Maine

The Gallarus Oratory is believed to be a product, perhaps, of the 6th to the 8th century. Nobody really knows for sure. Even it's designation as a place of Christian worship is uncertain. But it's placement, and the existence of a small stone, engraved with an Irish cross, nearby, make it probable. As early as the 6th century, monastic settlements were built in remote areas of Ireland. And this windwswept place is certainly remote, even today.

Courtesy of Carsten Clasohm
This photo, courtesy of Carsten Clasohm, is a nice view of the oratory showing the slight curves like a boat's keel and the gentle swayback of the roof.

This small oratory, built without mortar, uses corbel vaulting, a technique developed by Neolithic tomb-makers. It is dimly lit, with only a tiny window opposite the entrance door. Shaped like an upturned boat, this miniature church overlooks the harbour at Ard na Caithne (formerly also called Smerwick) on the Dingle Peninsula.

From Travels in Ireland. A nice wide shot. Notice that there is sunshine in this part of Ireland!

It is built with the stones being laid at a slight angle, lower on the outside than on the inside, allowing rainwater to run off. This design has kept the interior relatively dry, despite the lack of mortaring, allowing the building to stay in excellent condition.

Photo courtesy of Carol Bardon
Photo courtesy of Carol Bardon

These images by Carol Bardon give you an idea of its size.

The following images are from Gallarus Oratory, a web page by Brian T. McElherron.

Gallarus Oratory is a fine boat-shaped structure with a narrow doorway with inclined jambs.

It is the only perfect example of its type to survive in Ireland. There is a small round-headed east window. Just above the doorway on the inside are two hinge-stones.

The walls are about 1m thick and internally the oratory measures about 5m by 3m by 5m high.

Close to the building is a stone about 1m high and inscribed with a cross within a ring, as well as some writing. the remains stand within an oval enclosure about 36m by 44m.

It has one doorway, and one window opposite. That east-facing window has a rounded top made of two carved stones (not a true arch). According to local legend, if a person climbs out of the oratory via the window, their soul will be cleansed. This is, however, physically impossible, because the window is approximately 18cm in length and 12cm in width. Some locals, however, claim that babies are passed out through the window, as they have been told it protects the child from ever drowning.

Seacoast scenery on the Dingle Peninsula

Photo by Robert & Emily Kane
From The Dingle Peninsula. Remote and windswept, indeed!

For more images see the Gallarus Oratory page maintained by Mary Ann Sullivan.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Earl SmileyRecognize the character above? You probably do. You should! He's one of the stars of the comic strip, "Mutts". His name is Earl, and along with his owner, Ozzie, and his friend Mooch (a cat!), Mutts chronicles the adventures and day-to-day happenings in Earl's world. This comic strip is a kind of throwback to earlier times, gentler times, in America. The strip hearkens to a humor that did not depend on raunchy jokes or naughty images to gain and hold an audience.

Earl and Ozzie

Earl SmileyThere's a lot of love in this comic strip. The love of a pet for its owner, the love of an owner for his pet, the love of animals for each other (yeah, I know that's a silly thing to say, but it fits here).

Good Boy
Earl's a dog?

Earl SmileyAlong with the daily humor of Mutts, the artist, Patrick McDonnell, also supports Pet Adoption, and other pet-friendly causes, frome time-to-time. Those strips still have the gentle humor, but they also make you look at cruelty to animals in a way that isn't PETA-style in-your-face.

Earl SmileyFor instance, on the 'splash page' of the Mutts site, you will find 'news' links scrolling on the upper right. One of them has this to say, once you click the link:
February 27, 2007 is Spay Day
Help the Humane Society spread the word about Spay Day. Thousands of kittens and puppies are born every hour in the United States. While these baby animals are adorable, the fate of most of them is tragic. Spaying or neutering our pets and feral cats is the most effective way to reduce the vast numbers of animals who are born only to die prematurely and without a family who loves them.

Patrick has drawn two very special strips (see a sample of one on the left) that will run February 26 & 27 to promote awareness of Spay Day. This national campaign to promotes spaying/neutering as a simple, humane and effective way to end the tragedy of euthanizing homeless pets.

You can learn more about Spay Day by visiting the HSUS site.

Earl SmileyI get a Mutts strip emailed to me each morning. And I save them! Yeah, it's silly, and I ought to grow up, but I still do it. And I love it!

Earl SmileyThe most enjoyable aspect of the strip, for me, is watching the give-and-take between Earl and Mooch. If you read the strip you'll know that Mooch has a bit of a lisp. Yesh! And all by himself, Mooch is special.

Lil Pink Sock
Empty Bowl

Earl SmileyAccording to the Mutts site:
Patrick McDonnell was born on March 17, 1956. A native of New Jersey, he attended The School of Visual Arts in New York City on scholarship, and graduated with a BFA in 1978.

McDonnell then launched a successful career as a freelance illustrator, drawing the Russell Baker Observer column for the New York Times Sunday Magazine from 1978-1993, and Bad Baby, a monthly comic strip for Parents Magazine, which ran for 10 years. During that time he also was a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest, Forbes, Time and many other national magazines. His work has been animated for television commercials, most notably a PSA for the NY Philharmonic. He is coauthor of Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman, published in 1986 by Abrams.

In 1994 McDonnell created Mutts, a daily newspaper comic strip distributed by King Features Syndicate. He has since received numerous awards for his strip. These include:

National Cartoonist Society’s Reuben for Cartoonist of the Year 1999
National Cartoonist Society’s Reuben for Comic Strip of the Year 1997
Germany’s Max and Moritz Award for Best International Comic Strip 1998
Swedish Academy of Comic Art’s Adamson Statuette 1997
Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003
Ark Trust Genesis Award 1997, 1999
HSUS Hollywood Genesis Award 2002, 2005
PETA Humanitarian Award 2001
Mutts appears in 700 newspapers in over 20 countries, and the Mutts cartoons have been collected and published in many books throughout the world.

An Abrams book of his life and work, Mutts: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell, was published in Autumn 2003. He has recently embarked on a children’s book career, and his The Gift of Nothing was on the New York Times bestseller list in January 2006. He has been on the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States since 2000. The Mutts characters appear on a New Jersey Animal Friendly license plate. McDonnell tries to live a conscious, organic vegan lifestyle with his wife Karen O’Connell, dog Earl, and cat MeeMow.

McDonnell is a member of the following boards / advisory boards:

The Humane Society of the United States
The Fund for Animals
HSUS Hollywood Office
Art for Animals
Neighborhood Cats
North Shore Animal League
Charles M. Schulz Museum
National Cartoonists Society (former secretary)

Earl and Snoopy by SchultzEarl SmileyWith the publication of the first Mutts book, in 1996, Charles Schultz, beloved creator of Peanuts, penned the introduction. I have a few of the earliest books. And, yes, I reread them now and then. They never get old for me. I used to own some of the earliest Peanuts books, too, back when they weren't called Peanuts. And Schultz's early strips didn't get old either!

Earl SmileyMutts, and Peanuts, are quite unique, not only for the gentleness I mentioned earlier, but for the artwork. In the case of Mutts, McDonnell seems to emulate the very early cartoonists from the beginning of the Twentieth Century. The look is very original.

Earl SmileyNeed a laugh? Don't want to "go there"? Just want to smile and feel good? Well, why not take a trip to Mutts and check out the archive of strips? Maybe order a book? Will you? Yesh!

Year of the Pig
The Mutts Tree

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A Hat Tip to Sister Toldjah for this: Protector of the free world deserves better

And don't you dare forget Red Shirt Friday! I'm watching you!

To keep up the good feelings, here's something from Sues Views:


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

PS I Love You ...

Anyone who knows me at all knows I am a big Beatles fan. Have been for almost as long as I can remember. They also know that I am a fanatic about M&Ms (not the Crunchy M&Ms! Yech! How come I can't find the Cafe con Leche M&Ms? I had them once, and they're great!), that my answer to my mother when she tells me what's for supper, is, "Well, I'd rather have lobster", and that I truly enjoy Classical music.

But on Valentine's Day I would enjoy listening to the Beatles. With no woman in my life, at present, this is bitter-sweet at best, for along with the enjoyment of the music comes the loneliness, too.

But that's as may be. For this Valentine's Day I'd like to give you the lyrics to an early Beatles song. A sweet, innocent tune, that speaks of being away from the one you love. It's in the form of a letter.

So here you go! Happy Valentine's Day! Remember: it's not about diamonds, champagne, chocolate or flowers; it's about Love. Show it! Enjoy it.

PS I Love You

As I write this letter, send my love to you,
Remember that I’ll always
be in love with you.

Treasure these few words till we’re together
Keep all my love forever.
PS I love you, you, you, you.

I’ll be coming home again to you, love,
Until the day I do, love.
PS I love you, you, you, you.

AsI write this letter, send my love to you,
Remember that I’ll always
be in love with you.

Treasure these few words till we’re together
Keep all my love forever.
PS I love you, you, you, you.

As I write this letter, send my love to you,
(you know I want you to)
Remember that I’ll always be in love with you.

I’ll be coming home again to you, love,
Until the day I do, love.
PS I love you, you, you, you.

I love you.

Greater Love ...

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." John 15:13

Jesus spoke those words to his Disciples, knowing that they would, in fact die for His sake, as He would die for their sake, and the sake of all humanity. And He uses the phrase 'lay down one's life' as a voluntary act. For this is love: to do something of your own will to help or protect another. And Jesus had prefaced that statement with this:

John 15:12 "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you."

For already Jesus knew that He would have to lay down His own life. Voluntarily. In fact no one in all of human history has ever done what Jesus did, after He allowed Himself to be punished for the Sins of all mankind. He picked up that life again. No one else has ever done so. And He did that to prove the Resurrection. All who would partake of His gift would be resurrected at the End.

Already He had proven His own power to give life back to the Dead. And he did it in, what was for Him, a painful way. He allowed His very best friend to die. This is not something that is given great gravity in the New Testament, for there is much in the Scriptures that needs explaining and the death of Lazarus, and Christ's power to bring him back from the dead, is somehow merely a secondary phenomenom. So, when John describes the actions of Jesus which lead up to His raising Lazarus from the dead, we find the shortest sentence in the entire Bible. And one which is so profound in its depth and breadth:

"Jesus wept." John 11:35

Nowhere in the New Testament do we see Jesus weeping for anybody. Only this man, the brother of Martha and Mary, Lazarus, who was a friend of Jesus.

Yet, when He learns that Lazarus is gravely ill, and perhaps dying, what does Jesus do? He waits. For two days, days when He and the Disciples could have been on the road, and on their way to Bethany to help this man, Lazarus, Jesus tarries. Waiting. For what?

To hear that Lazarus has died. His friend. He waits until there is no way to save Lazarus, heal him; Jesus allows His dear friend to die. And He does so because He knows He must prepare His Disciples for something greater than the miracles He has performed before.

Yes, He changed water into wine, He cleansed Lepers, and made the blind see. His miracles were wonderous! But they were 'small potatoes' compared to what He was going to do in Bethany. As much as He loved Lazarus, He loved His Disciples, indeed all humanity, as much. And so He let Lazarus die to show the world just what powers GOD has. And one of those powers He was about to perform before many people.

The Scripture recounts this for us: John 11:1-4:
Now a certain [man] was sick, [named] Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

John 11:2 (It was [that] Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

John 11:3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

John 11:4 When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

We don't usually think of illness as a way to Glorify GOD. But Jesus knew that there was something important that Lazarus' death was going to prove. And as usual, His Disciples weren't quite in sync with the Lord. The story continues:
John 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.

John 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

John 11:7 Then after that saith he to [his] disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.

John 11:8 [His] disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?

John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.

John 11:10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

John 11:12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.

John 11:13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.

John 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

He had to explain that this was not simply a sleeping, or comatose, man. He knew that Lazarus had died. And He gives them a hint:
John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

Thomas says they should all go with Him and die with Him. But, of course, that wasn't what Jesus had in store.

John 11:17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had [lain] in the grave four days already.

John 11:18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:

John 11:19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

John 11:20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat [still] in the house.

John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

John 11:22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give [it] thee.

John 11:23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 11:28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

Martha, along with the Samarian woman in another story, knew who He was. They knew it on Faith, and they knew it long before any of His Disciples had figured it out. They knew it in their hearts. And now here comes Mary, Lazarus' sister, who had been grieving for her beloved brother.

John 11:29 As soon as she heard [that], she arose quickly, and came unto him.

John 11:30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.

John 11:31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

John 11:32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

John 11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,

John 11:34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

John 11:36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

John 11:37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

John 11:38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

Mary knew He had power, but not the depth of that power. Notice how the people around knew of Jesus and His miracles? They were in for a show of Love and Power they had never seen.

John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been [dead] four days.

John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

John 11:41 Then they took away the stone [from the place] where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up [his] eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.

John 11:42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said [it], that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
Jesus doesn't speak of His Glory, but that of His Father. And He speaks to GOD and explains why He is doing this thing now. Jesus knows His power comes from GOD, the very source of Love. And He calls on GOD, not Himself.
John 11:44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

John 11:45 ¶ Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

Jesus did this out of Love. He did it at great price to His own Spirit. He grieved for His friend, and could have cured him with a thought. But He waited until His friend had died to go to him and help. He did that out of love for us.

Shortly after this, having taught all that He could to His followers and those who believed in Him, he would be betrayed, tried, and crucified for our sakes. And then He would lay down His life for three days.

When He rose from the dead, Jesus did for Himself that which He had already done for Lazarus. Now He was doing it for all Humanity. And He did this, at the behest of His Father, GOD Himself, out of Love.


The Clock

While taking a free writing course, back in 2001, Julie Jennings, my Mentor (the guide during the session), would give us little extra assignments to write, beyond the week's lesson. Her favorite thing was to name a few things, disparate items, and say, "Write a short story with all these elements, in 1,000 words or less." And of course the stories had to be complete. After all, the thrust of the course was to learn how to write a short story, properly, containing certain things such as the senses, conflict, a beginning, middle, and end. These extra assignments had no other purpose than to give us something to think about, and to stretch our writing wings.

So, I gave it a try! When I was finished I had my very first short story! And after the course finished, I decided I liked it enough to submit it to the publisher of T-zero, an online ezine. They liked it enough to accept it and paid me $15 for it! My first publication and my first paid piece of writing. And it is less than 500 words in length.

That free writing course is on a kind of hiatus, and has been for months, but I was lucky enough to be asked to be a Mentor for the last session held. And as a Mentor, I continued Julie Jennings' practice of assigning voluntary extras to my group. I think they had fun; I hope they learned as much as I did!

So here you go: my assignment. I called it

"The Clock"

The Clock

The ceaseless ticking drew her eyes once more to the old clock hung upon the wall, its glass face reflecting the upside down image of herself.

"6:30," it read in the dim, fading, orange light from the kitchen window. She turned her attention to her ironing, the hiss of the steam roiling around the bright white shirt, rising to tickle her nostrils with the fragrance of detergent and starch.

"Where is he?" she thought for the thousandth time, her strokes nearly in time with the clock's sound.

Her eyes were drawn again to the clock. Shadow cast in the dying light lengthening across the wall; gleaming silver needle of the second hand sweeping around inexorably. The black numbers seemed to dance as the second hand swept past them, as if mocking her. "He's gone. He's gone. He's gone," they seemed to say, mocking her. "Your fault. Your fault. Your fault." She tasted salt at the corner of her mouth and realized she was crying. She could scarcely see the clock now, the light so dim; the tears blurring all. Still it ticked away the accusation. "He's gone. He's gone. He's gone."

She rested the iron on its tail and dabbed at her eyes. She closed them tightly against the memory of the fierce, slashing argument of the morning.

"Your fault. Your fault. Your fault," the clock intoned. She didn't see the flash of bright whiteness that crossed the clock's round face; didn't hear the crump from the driveway; heard no tap of shoes coming to the door.

"He's gone. He's gone. He's gone," the clock screamed.

Strong hands grasped her shoulders and gently pulled her into a deep embrace, as she wept. The familiar tang of aftershave filled her head; scratch of beard along her cheek as he kissed her, saying, "My fault. All my fault. My fault."

"He's back," the clock chirped. "He's back. He's back. He's back."

Copyright 2001 by benning

More of benning's short stories, as well as a lot of great writing, can be found at: T-Zero: The Writer's Ezine

Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing

"And now these three remain:
Faith, Hope, and Love.
But the greatest of these is Love."

Corinthians 13:13

Valentine's Day is a day for Lovers.
No matter it's origins, and no matter who
Saint Valentine himself was, the day itself
has become identified with the idea of Romantic Love.
Chocolates and Roses are given to those we adore,
and words of Love whispered with longing.

The sad thing is, that no matter the deep
feelings of Romance we express on this day,
soon after it fades from our Hearts and minds.
Until the next year brings it back once again.
Why not, this year, keep it alive?
Not just for a day, or maybe two, but all the Year?

Let's make sure that the special Person in our
life knows how we feel every day.
Because, let's face it, the words are so easy to say,
and hold so very much meaning, that it's a pity to
keep them to ourselves.

"I Love You" is all it takes to convey the
meaning of the Heart. Why not say it every day?
Just say, "I Love You".
Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Rural Courtship
"Rural Courtship"

~ Daniel Ridgway Knight

~The Meaning of True Love~

It is sharing and caring, giving and forgiving,

loving and being loved, walking hand in hand,

talking heart to heart, seeing through each others eyes.

laughing together, weeping together,

praying together, always trusting and believing

thanking God for each other, for love that is shared

is a beautiful thing, it enriches the soul

and makes the heart sing.

Helen Steiner Rice

Romeo and Juliet

"Romeo and Juliet"

~Shall I Compare Thee~
(Sonnet XVIII)

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?

Thou are more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:

But thy eternal Summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare


~ Maxfield Parrish

~When You Are Old~

WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled

And paced among the mountains overhead

And hid his face among a crowd of stars.

~William Butler Yeats~

To take a look at what the post was intended to look like (blogger is a pain-in-the-ass to play with!), please surf on over to Benning's Valentine's Day Home. Click on the links, enjoy the poetry, listen to the music (midi files!)and remember that the pages were created for one I loved way back in 1997. Pity that the love did not last, but the pages created are pretty nice, if I do say so myself!