Friday, November 30, 2007

Payne Hollow painting, by Hubbard

Whilst visiting our friend, Green Man Tim (Walking the Berkshires), I happened upon this post, which references a Survivalist's (Constitutionalist's?) website listing 100 Items to Disappear First in a real emergency.

Given our recent and on-going conversations about Peak Oil, I thought it interesting and wanted to post a few of the top 100.

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy... target of thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 - 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice - Beans - Wheat...

13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.)

17. Survival Guide Book...

25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges...

41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. {"Strike Anywhere" preferred.)...

And, of course,
53. Duct Tape


You can see the complete list at the link above. What's missing? What would be on your Survivalist list if Peak Oil (Global Warming, Water shortages, stupid presidents, name your catastrophe) causes the worst to happen?

[On a marginally related note, today's photo is of a painting by Harlan Hubbard of the Hubbard's Payne Hollow homestead.]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Culture Wars 1, Common Sense, 0

Merry Christmas
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
In the news:

SAGINAW, Mich. -- Tightening budgets have forced Mt. Pleasant to take Christ out of their Christmas.

The traditional Dickens Christmas Festival has been re-named the Dickens Holiday Festival so the city can advertise in local schools.

In order to get more bang for their buck out of a thinning advertisement budget, the organization wants to put fliers in schools. For that to happen, the word “Christmas” had to be removed...

“We changed the name this year for the schools because we wanted to advertise in the school brochures and the schools have a list of words you can’t use like Santa, Christmas and Nativity. So did a brochure for the schools and we took those words out.”

Two things:

1. Why in the world did the school put words like Santa and Christmas on a list of words they can't use? Why in the hell do they even HAVE a list of words they can't use (allowing for not having obscenities)??

2. Why in the world does anyone care what the city calls its Holiday celebration?

On a more cheerful note, feel free to visit my church's blog - Jeff Street - to read about our Reclaiming Christmas Project this year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas in the Trenches

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
For better and for worse, it’s that season again and the Christmas songs have begun a-playing everywhere. I thought I’d share one of my favorite new classic Christmas songs, John McCutcheon’s Christmas in the Trenches. What’s great about this story is that it is based upon a true story – a modern Christmas miracle, if you please.

McCutcheon’s music beautifully compliments this song. If you’re not familiar with it, check it out sometime. It’s a great one.

Christmas in the Trenches

My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.

'Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung
Our families back in England were toasting us that day
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, "Now listen up, me boys!" each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.

"He's singing bloody well, you know!" my partner says to me
Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war

As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was "Stille Nacht." "Tis 'Silent Night'," says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky

“There's someone coming toward us!" the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one long figure trudging from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shown on that plain so bright
As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night

Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's Land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell

We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeezebox and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wonderous night
"Whose family have I fixed within my sights?"

'Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore

My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same

How about it? You have a favorite Christmas song?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

fall Leaves 2
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
...if a little late.

Been a bit busy holiday-ing. Fall has peaked and gone on by already. The trees that were beautifully afire two weeks ago have mostly lost their leaves and we've mostly moved to the more austere beauty of winter in these parts.

The drought in my region somehow failed to stop the trees from showing their fall colors. We had a decent amount of rain this fall so perhaps that helped.

A couple of seasonal quotes, and then we'll move on.

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;
Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

~J. R. R. Tolkien

The breezes taste Of apple peel.
The air is full Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean with suds, the days
Are polished with a morning haze.

~September, John Updike

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tear Down That Interstate!

Hubbard Painting
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Submitted 11/19/2007

Here in Louisville, we have been trying for a few years to get a couple of new bridges built: One spanning the Ohio downtown and one further east. At a cost of a few billion dollars, of course.

The reasoning being is that we have more traffic load than our roads can bear. But, as I’ve heard noted before, trying to solve traffic problems by building more roads (and bridges) is like trying to solve obesity issues by buying a larger belt.

There is a local group here who have encouraged the exact opposite (sort of). The 86-64 campaign has been encouraging city leaders to consider actually removing Interstate 64 which runs along the Ohio – cutting off downtown Louisville from the river which birthed us.

They’ve suggested this partially – but not solely – for aesthetic reasons. The Build More Bridges crowd would have us increasing the size of the monster that keeps us from the river, making a bad problem worse. Naturally, the supporters of the Build More Bridges solution loathe the 86-64 people, who are threatening their bridge solution.

In today’s local paper, the Bridges people wrote a letter criticizing the 86-64 people. They said that getting rid of I-64 downtown threatens our economy and, besides, this was already decided four years ago. I responded to their letter:

I'm writing in response to the “Build the Bridges” letter in today's paper. They suggested that getting rid of I-64 downtown "would eradicate any chance of having any bridge built for the foreseeable future, effectively jeopardizing our region's economic vitality."

He went on to note that this has already been decided, back in 2003.

What they fail to take into account is that gas prices have more than doubled since 2003. Experts from many fields are telling us that we are peaking out on our available affordable oil.

In the coming decades, we will no longer have access to cheap oil. With oil supplies diminishing, we will simply not be able to drive as we've done the last few decades.

Those who support continuing with the assumption that we WILL continue to get around as always are not facing this new reality. Short of any evidence of new fuel supplies (in the amazing quantity and cheap price that we've had with oil), it would behoove us to begin planning for new means of transportation.

The Bridges Coalition suggested that the 8664 plan will "derail progress." But planning our future on last century’s solutions is the surest way to derail progress.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Originally uploaded by paynehollow
We've begun, at church, to study Ched Myers' Sabbath Economics. It is a great little booklet (~70 pages) - in fact, it's the second time that we've studied it! - that walks you through what the Bible has to say on money matters.

I will probably make a few comments on our study here as we proceed through it. Myers' introduction begins by suggesting that "economic and social justice is woven into the warp and weft of the Bible. Pull this strand, and the fabric unravels."

He describes the consistent biblical themes on economics, "Sabbath Economics," and begins by saying that the Bible's views on economics can be summarized in three axioms:

1. The world as created by God is abundant, with enough for everyone - provided that human communities restrain their appetites and live within limits;

2. Disparities in wealth and power are not "natural" but the result of human sin, and must be mitigated within the community of faith through the regular practice of redistribution;

3. The prophetic message calls people to the practice of such redistribution, and is thus characterized as "good news" to the poor.

And before anyone gets their knickers twisted, Myers has not said anything in the above about government redistribution of wealth. Just pointing to the reality that in the Sabbath Laws, in the Jubilee laws and in the example of the early church, a sharing and redistribution were all commonalities.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh, no, you di'n't!

Sassy Girls
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
My pal, Roger - a friend from church - had some good commentary at the end of our last long dicussion about how we read the Bible and, since it was there at the tail end, I thought I'd stoke the fire and post it here for consideration.

The gist of the point for the faithful folk from my church and in our tradition is that we take the Bible literally enough that we don't accept the additional teachings some are attempting to tie to Christianity. They may sometimes be reasonable additions, but our point here has just been that some are asking us to believe things that the Bible doesn't ask us to believe, and we are hesitant to do so. We're literalists, in that regard.

And, I suppose an additional point for us is that, just because we don't interpret the Bible the same way as others do sometimes, does NOT mean that we reject the Bible, reject God's authority or anything like that. There's a difference between having a difference of opinion on interpretation and rejection of God's Word.

It would seem to be rejecting God's Word only if you conflate your take on the Bible with God's Word. Poor idea, that.

Roger's comments:

Bubba you wrote, “When Jesus cited Scripture, He said, 'It is written,' as if it that is the final word on the subject, not as if it were some merely human work, but as if every passage was revealed by God Himself.”

If I'm not mistaken, earlier you suggested that this phrase was used to identify written scripture and the phrase, “You have heard that it was said,” was used to identify an oral tradition familiar to Jesus' hearers. You have made some very detailed arguments, so I offer my apologies if I've botched the details.

I'd like to suggest two possible different interpretations here.

One is that instead of differentiating between degrees of authority of the teaching that was to follow, these phrases were used to identify the sources of what he was going to use. If this is true, interpreting the passage to imply that it is the final word revealed by God Himself would be adding meaning that may not be there.

I don't have as much problem with the “revealed by God” part, though as I do with the “final word” part.

Which brings me to my second suggestion. Jesus seems to give a different "final word" in the in the Sermon on the Mount.

Just before he begins to use the “you have heard that it was said to the people long ago,” Jesus says,

“Do not think I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
~Matthew 5:17-20

At this point in the Sermon Jesus begins to reinterpret parts of the law and the oral tradition to present his teachings on justice and peace. I don't think Jesus is suggesting that what is written is the final word.

I believe Jesus is saying that the reason the righteousness of the Pharisees needed to be surpassed was their neglect of peace and justice. I think that the focus of every teaching that follows in the Sermon either talks about peace and justice or what it is that keeps us from doing peace and justice.

That's not to say there aren't important elements of justice and peace in the law and the prophets. There are. I'm not throwing them out. But I believe humble obedience to Jesus' teachings about all of us living in peace and justice with each other is a more important component in entering the kingdom of heaven than affirming inerrancy or infallibility to any part of the Bible.

For what its' worth....

And that commentary was followed by my equally beloved church brother, Michael's comments, who said:

The big divide doesn't seem to be, as it often appears on the surface, between those who believe the Bible and those who don't, but between those who attempt to have a "flat Bible" hermeneutic in which everything is claimed to have equal and non-contradictory authority (and, thus, Jesus is allowed to say nothing new and must be squeezed into a mold made by a certain reading of the OT apart from Jesus) and those of us, including Dan, Roger, and myself, who believe that Jesus is the final authority and the hermeneutical key to Scripture (see Heb. 1:1). All else is to be interpreted or reinterpreted and given various levels of authority based on Jesus.

And, as I have said in previous debates between Dan and Bubba, the attempt to separate the teachings of Jesus to those about him made by the NT writers is a failure--a non-starter. The higher one's Christology the more one should be careful to obey Jesus' teachings--since they are not the teaching of just any 1st C. Rabbi but of the WORD Made Flesh.


By the way, be sure to go to Michael's blog and scroll down to some of his series on The Creation - which touches very much on some of these same interpretive issues.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Foxes have Holes, Birds have Nests...

Redtail Soaring
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Support our veterans!

Unless they're homeless bums, then let them pull themselves up by their own combat bootstraps?

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More than 25 percent of the homeless population in the United States are war veterans, although they represent only 11 percent of the civilian adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday.

On any given night last year, nearly 196,000 veterans slept on the street, in a shelter or in transitional housing, the study by the Homelessness Research Institute found.

"Veterans make up a disproportionate share of homeless people," the report said.

"This is true despite the fact that veterans are better educated, more likely to be employed and have a lower poverty rate than the general population..."

..."These findings highlight the need to provide veterans with the proper housing and supportive services to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place," said Nan Roman, the organization's president. "If we can do that, then we can greatly reduce the number of homeless veterans in general."

Other veterans -- nearly 468,000 -- are experiencing "severe housing cost burden," or paying more than half their income for housing, thereby putting them at a high risk for homelessness.

Full story here
Birds have nests, foxes have dens
But the hope of the whole world rests
On the shoulders of a homeless man...

~Rich Mullins

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pay Attention!

NEW YORK ( -- Oil prices set another record high Tuesday, jumping over $2 on fears of dwindling supplies in the United States, projections for strong worldwide demand and a falling U.S. dollar...

U.S. light crude for December delivery gained $2.72 to settle at $96.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, surpassing the previous closing high of $95.93 set Friday. Crude hit an intraday high of $97.07, surpassing the previous intraday record of $96.05, also set Friday.

Crude, already up over $2 in morning trade, rose further after the Energy Information Administration issued a report showing worldwide demand unchanged despite high prices.

EIA said the forecast for oil use growth worldwide in 2008 was unchanged at 1.5 million barrels per day. This was despite the fact prices have risen 20 percent.

The agency said world oil use would grow by 1.8 million barrels per day
in the current quarter, slightly below previous estimates due to a drop in U.S. demand.

The world currently consumes about 85.6 million barrels of oil a day.

Total U.S. petroleum consumption is expected to increase by 0.5 percent in 2007 and 1 percent in 2008, despite the higher oil and petroleum product prices. Continued economic growth and forecasted colder average temperatures this winter than last winter could combine to push demand higher.

The rising demand's impact on prices was noted.


And what does ever-growing demand (in spite of increased costs!) and a limited supply mean, my economics students? And with what shall we replace all this energy?

Pay attention to these oil and water issues and live accordingly, seems like wise advice to me.


Oil prices hit a record high of $97 a barrel on Tuesday, but the next generation of consumers could look back on that price with envy. The dire predictions of a key report on international oil supplies released Wednesday suggest that oil prices could move irreversibly over the $100 a barrel threshold in the not too distant future, as the global economy faces a serious energy shortage.

This gloomy assessment comes from the International Energy Agency, the Paris-based organization representing the 26 rich, gas-guzzling member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The agency is not known for alarmist warnings, and its World Energy Outlook is typically viewed by policy wonks as a solid indicator of global energy supplies.

In a marked change from its traditionally bland, measured tones, the IEA's 2007 report says governments need to make urgent, bold decisions on energy policy, or risk massive environmental and energy-supply crises within two decades — crises and shortages that could spark serious global conflicts.

"I am sorry to say this, but we are headed toward really bad days," IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told TIME this week.

[source ]

Conducting a Psychotropic Measurement Process

Ultimate Frisbee
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I'm undergoing an assessment process, in an Aristotelian effort to determine the categorical logic - the syllogism, if you will - of a non-standardized measurement device upon which I've floundered in my travels and travails in the ehtereal blogosphere. It is with an integral acumen of the deficiencies of my erudition that I expurge this shibboleth upon my keyboard today.

This has been an assessment device - if it had been a substantive exigency, you would have been handed an onomasticon or its pedantic equivelent. This has only been an assessment device.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Jeff Street 2007 Retreat

My church, Jeff Street just had our annual retreat this last weekend, where we danced and laughed and prayed and sang and were not a little bit silly. It was perhaps the most beautiful weekend we've ever had for one of these - the trees were at their peak of color and, drought or no, they were beautiful, as was the weather and the company.

Feel free to stop by the church blog to see some of the photos.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!

From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what are we that You take thought of us, and our children that You care for them?

Yet You have made us a little lower than God, and You crown us with glory and majesty!

You make us to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under our feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

~Psalm 8

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Where's Solomon when you need him?

Originally uploaded by paynehollow
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three Southeastern governors who are in Washington to lobby for water rights amid a potentially catastrophic drought are likely to put the Bush administration on the spot.

If the administration decides to bolster Georgia's drinking supply,
Alabama and Florida may claim it's crippling their economies to satisfy uncontrolled growth around Atlanta. If it continues releasing water downstream to Alabama and Florida, Georgia could argue that one of the nation's largest cities is being hung out to dry...

At issue is how much water the Army Corps of Engineers should capture in federal reservoirs near the head of two river basins in north
Georgia that flow south into Florida and Alabama.

So, exercise some Solomon-like wisdom. To whom does the water belong? Who has priority and why?

How do we decide matters such as this equitably? How does an unfettered market resolve it? How does a Republic with elected representatives handle it?

What do the small gov't types think of this?

I would imagine, if there were no regulations (ie, totally free market)
in place, then Georgia would consume as much as it wanted and Florida and Alabama would just be out of luck. And it wouldn't matter if Georgia were using the water irresponsibly (growing grass in the middle of the desert, as they do in Arizona, I hear).

But then, the water doesn't belong to Georgia, not to the person from
whose land it originates. Unlike land, water is something that we have not privatized. Is that good or not?

Interesting but difficult questions, I think.
WASHINGTON — The Army Corps of Engineers would hold back more water in Georgia lakes as the governors of drought-stricken Georgia, Florida and Alabama work toward a water-sharing agreement, under a plan brokered by the Bush administration.

The proposal — which would bolster Atlanta's drinking supply at the expense of users downstream — was announced Thursday after the governors of the three states met with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and other administration officials.