Sunday, May 29, 2005

Gone fishin'

The family Trabue has left the building. We're soon on our way to points east on a ramblin', laid back tour of Eastern Kentucky winding up in Whitesburg next weekend just in time for the Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival of all things Appalachian.

And so, this blog will be taking a rest for a few days, as will we. Take the chance to catch up on archived essays, or hit some of the adjoining blogs and the ones adjoining those. It's been fun finding a community of bloggers out there with whom I have so much in common.

In these days of despair, it's always good to find some more friends and family.

Until later, I'll leave you with some favored nature quotes.


I was born upon thy bank, river,
My blood flows in thy stream,
And thou meanderest forever
At the bottom of my dream

Henry David Thoreau

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't take notice.

Alice Walker

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.

Norman Maclean

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

Langston Hughes

Vacation Time!

Vacation Time!
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Let's stretch that in to a summer and the summer in to a season and the season in to a year...or at least a season. Let's bike, walk, explore this grand ol' world in person, how about it?

I have been out wandering
I have travelled far
And one conclusion I have made
Is God don't own a car

God don't wear no fancy clothes
God'd rather take the bus
God would pay a tourist fare
So God could sit with us!

St. Jimmy of Buffett

The automobile is self-necessitating. That is, because everyone has a car, a quarter of the land in the city is devoted to streets, freeways, parking lots, garages and filling stations, making the city so big that one needs a car to get around. Because everyone has a car, mass transit is inadequate, making the use of a car necessary. Because everyone has a car, the air is polluted, making it healthier to drive a car than to walk or bicycle. Because everyone has a car, riding a bicycle is a dangerous frightening experience.

From a thesis at the now-defunct

rolling on the river

biking on the river
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Not sure where this photo came from. Not mine.


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I do most of my bicycling within the three mile radius where we live, work and play, which happens to be in downtown Louisville. But Monday, I biked out to the wealthier east end of town for a meeting along busy Brownsboro Rd.

With my extra-large STOP BUSH bumper sticker on the back of my bike, I'm used to motorists honking at me, mostly in support (progressive Louisville?), with a rare opponent. This was true on Monday's ride, as well. Three well-wishers honked and thumbs-upped their support my way.

Then, just after passing the golf club and the ritzy neighborhood next to it, a fella zipped past me in his bright and shiny Jaguar, turned into his bright and shiny neighborhood, honked and yelled, "LOSER!"

What could I say? He's right.

I wanted to holler back, "Yeah, I'm a loser. You're a loser. We're ALL losers thanks to this neocon takeover of a once free republic!" or perhaps, given his Jag and million dollar subdivision: "Oh, please don't be so stereotypical!"

But he is right, you know. He spent, what - $50,000 for his Jaguar? I spent $200 on my bicycle. He spent $1-2 million on his home. I spent a tenth of that on mine. So, yeah. I'm a loser. I lost a lotta debt, a ton of prestige and status, and perhaps a bit of speed.

When you're right, you're right.

So, here's to all us losers! God bless us, every one.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Stepping in it, now...

In my previous post, I asked the question: What would we (the US) do if we found ourselves suddenly without oil? Would we be willing to start wars, commit acts of terrorism if need be to obtain that which is keeping us from starving?

My point was to get us to do that most horrid of actions: Try to understand our "enemy." What was I thinking?

One respondent quickly pointed out that my scenario couldn't happen. We're strong enough fiscally that we couldn't find ourselves on the short end of an economic depression. If the price of oil went up drastically, he said, then we'd still be the ones who could most afford it.

I told him: The point of my analogy is to put yourself in their shoes, not the plausibility of my scenario - which got no response. For myself, I was less concerned about the design of my analogy than the point.

But what of the premise: Is my friend correct in thinking that we're superinsulated from any sort of economic disaster?

I think not. Try this scenario on for size. Disclaimer: I don't know nothin' 'bout economics, just what makes sense to me (in fact, I distrust economics as a legitimate science, but then that's another argument for another day).

1. The US has tremendous debt, much of it owned by China. China could, if inclined, pull out of our currency and we'd quickly take note.

2. China is, in fact, increasing their demand for oil. They want to be like us - a car in every garage and a driver in every car.

What if China took this opportunity to devalue the dollar in order to more readily afford the oil they so desire. What if we were out-capitalismed by communists! Wouldn't that be a rich irony?!

Now, I'm not suggesting that this is likely to happen. I'm only saying it could happen.

I think it is a valid truism: Those who live by the economic sword, die by it. I will stand by my assertion: Economic Darwinism sucks if you're not the most fit...

Let the economists rant!

Friday, May 13, 2005

The other foot

What if the shoe were on it?

I've talked to several war supporters lately who've said variations on the theme: THE 9/11 TERRORISTS DID WHAT THEY DID BECAUSE THEY HATE US AND OUR WAY OF LIFE....

To which I've said, Oh really? They've said that? It's not because they fear a lone superpower that makes the rules and sets the norms for the rest of the world whether they want it or not?

And so I'm asking them to think about what we might do if we were in their shoes.

What if we offended all of the Middle East oil countries by some of our actions and they decided to no longer sell oil to us. Seeking to strike out at Bush, Venezuela (the other place we get a lot of our oil) also refuses to sell to us. These countries can afford to do this now, because of increased global demand - particularly from China.

Suddenly, our economy collapses. Just like that.

Our trucks and planes stop delivering to our Walmarts, which are quickly emptied. The collapse of Walmart, McDonalds, Starbucks and UPS puts millions of people out of jobs... You get the idea. If the oil were suddenly cut off, we'd be hurting. People would be out of work. Soon, people would be starving, right here in the US. After all, our big agribusinesses are based on petroleum, right?

This is not illegal for these countries decided to stop selling us oil. That oil belongs to the countries of origin. It is totally within their rights to choose to not sell oil to us. Sometimes, Darwinian Economics sucks. Especially when you're no longer "the fittest."

What would our response be? Would we go to war to get access to oil, even though the oil isn't ours and those countries had done nothing wrong? Would we begin bombing simply because we're hungry?

Yes, unfortunately we would. There would be no pretense of nobility (well, of course, it would be spun that way, but we'd know better), no Greater Cause. It'd be just to take what wasn't ours, but what we felt we had a right to. This is what we've come to.

Well, if you can see how we - in all our unjustness - would wage war to take what wasn't ours, to end our hunger and destitution, can you also see how some who are currently economically oppressed or fear oppression by the lone superpower also resort to war? And how, not having the resources to wage a "respectable" war, they resort to terrorism?

Damn! That walking a mile in another's mocassins is hard.


There have been three totalitarian forces in our lifetime: the totalitarianism of Fascism, of Communism, and now of Capitalism.

-Jose Bove

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Slow Walk

a poem writ a few springs ago

Dozens of tiny, puffy spiders,

bright red on an olive moss tree,

busy themselves doing who knows what,

and apparently doing it well.

Although too small to feel with my

clumsy fingertips,

they look to be velvet smooth.

Knowing the desire to touch what may not be,

to feel what cannot be,

I continue with my walk,

content to have at least stopped long enough

to see what could be.

If I could have a job that required long slow walks

through the woods-

any woods close to my Louisville city home-

I think I would take it.

Brisk, heelstomping, leafcrunching hikes

can be enjoyable,

but the Slow Walks are what allow me

to see what could be.

Soon I hear a fluttering just above me

and I stop again,

and thrill to my first sighting this spring

of a redheaded woodpecker

with his flashy formal black and white attire

standing in bold contrast to his brilliant

scarlet scalp.

I pause like a tree and listen and watch,

and then I move on,

but only at a

possum pace.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

take up the full armor of Christ, and do peace

en garde!
Originally uploaded by paynehollow.

More on the Bible and Peace

Here's a reframing of an issue that's been discussed a good bit these last few years.

It occurred to me that one way to look at war and peace and the Bible is that the norm in the Old Testament and New Testament was peace. God expected God's people to be peace-loving workers of justice. Period.

That norm was interrupted at times (seemingly quite often in the OT) when God specifically told Israel to engage in a specific type of war (not depending upon her army, but upon God, and often involving wiping out every man, woman, child and puppy dog in the process).

Then we received a definitive teaching from Jesus, telling us that we ought to love our neighbors, friends, enemies and fiends.

For me, this is the last word from God. I'm willing to suggest that God may indeed want to call me to go to war again, but it'll have to be pretty specifically from God, not a questionable ruler. In the meantime, the norm at least for Christians is to follow the last word we have from Jesus.

Love your enemies.

Monday, May 2, 2005

It's Bicycling Month!

Actually, every month is bicycling month, but this is the one that's recognized thusly. And rightly so, at least in this part of the world. The sweet winds of a cool May morning while riding your bicycle can make you fly, fly, fly. Freedom, bicycle is thy name.

In honor of this month, I'll offer some of my favorite bike quotes. Enjoy and be inspired.

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

Mark Twain

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of mankind.

H.G. Wells

I'll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood.

Susan B. Anthony

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia.

H.G. Wells

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.

Elizabeth West

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.

Grant Petersen

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.

Arthur Conan Doyle

The bicycle had what is called the "wabbles," and had them very badly. In order to keep my position, a good many things were required of me, and in every instance the thing required was against nature.

Mark Twain, on learning to ride a bike


Originally uploaded by paynehollow.