Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

Hopefully Western Washington is through the worst of the Winter Storm.
This one has set all sorts of records for the region.
We spent all day yesterday getting snow off the roof of our carport and living room so that the roofs won't collapse from the weight of all this snow. (We have gotten almost 3 feet in the last week.)
Evelyn took the sunset picture from our porch the other night.

Today I am making lasagne. Yum!
Tomorrow we have a Christmas duck to put in the oven.
It has been good to share all this time with my family.
Merry Christmas to all of you and a happy new year.

Tomorrow we are going to try and dig the driveway out again so we can get our car out of the carport. Wish us luck. The weatherman says warmer temperatures are on the way this weekend.

Peace and Love...
Jay Larsen

Saturday, December 20, 2008

4 degrees - No end in sight

Those are 3 foot icecicles hanging from my roof. Pipes are frozen in the laundry room. But the power and heat are on at the momment.
The prediction is for 50 mph winds tonight.
Happy Solstice.

Jay Larsen

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Spiral Tat2

You’ve got a spiral tattoo
Attached to the best part of you
Shoveling butterflies
Making glue
This is a stampede
Of a different horse
No way to impede
This evolutionary course

I’ve got a spiral tattoo too
Attached to the best part of you
Whirling dervishes
Making due
This is convocation
Of a different sort
Hostile inclinations
Build undefendable forts

We’re stuck with this spiral tattoo
Attached to the best of me and you
Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

It might turn into a blizzard

That is my mailbox you can only see half of.

Jay Larsen

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

We Americans need to reclaim our Honor

Dick Cheney has basically thumbed his nose at International Law, the Constitution of the United States, and most assumptions about how civilized people should treat each other.

The LA Times reports that when asked about waterboarding, Cheney said: "I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared," Cheney said in an interview with ABC News.Asked whether he still believes it was appropriate to use the waterboarding method on terrorism suspects, Cheney said: "I do."
His comments come on the heels of disclosures by a Senate committee showing that high-level officials in the Bush administration were intimately involved in reviewing and approving interrogation methods that have since been explicitly outlawed and that have been condemned internationally as torture.

My letters to my congressman and senators are going out, plus notes to the President Elect and the ACLU. If the United States legal system cannot conduct hearings to determine if Cheney and others are guilty of committing war crimes, then we should at least have the decency to turn this over to the International Courts in the Hague.

I’m tired of people just shrugging their shoulders and saying, oh well what can we do about it? We can do the same thing we would do if our neighbor down the street was abusing his kids—we can haul him into court and make him answer questions and determine if crimes have been committed. Cheney is pretty much confessing on camera to ABC. He is saying, I knew about torture. I helped plan torture. I approved of torture. And I still think torture is a good idea. Well, Mr. Cheney, I do not approve. The laws of the United States do not approve. International Law and treaties signed by the U.S. do not approve. This country has tried people in the past who have waterboarded U.S. troops and found them guilty and hanged them for it. Why should the rules be different for Mr. Cheney or anyone else?

If the officials in Congress and the Justice Department won’t initiate action on this then that only leaves the citizens of the United States to take care of this matter. Let’s reestablish the rule of law in our country and hold people accountable for committing crimes. And let’s start with Mr. Cheney, who has just been kind enough to confess on camera.

Snowed In

We might end up with a foot of snow by the end of the day. It has not been above freezing for 4 days already. And they say it wont get abve freezing until after Christmas.
I for one would like my mid 40s back again.

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baby Monitor

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
Disregard the action pose
Ladies and, dare I say, gentlemen
You have forgotten how these things grow

Hat in hand again
Thrown into the deep end
People in your position should always
Remember which side of the bread is buttered

Where there are cigarettes
You can always yell, fire
Society’s gears must be greased
No matter what mutations may transpire
Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blog Life

Heartache and longing
Languid and sublime
Concrete with chrome
Verse without rhyme
Ain't nothing like it
This blogging life

Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I know how to find you

There is a distinct pattern
Pulsing in your veins
There is a certain essence
Carried by your tears

I know how to knock
When I am lucky enough
To find the door

But how much of what I know
Comes from being told?

Tracing the origins
Of my thoughts
My life
My universe
I am uncertain I can find those things

In this eternal moment
I do not know where
Life comes from
Or where it goes to

But I know how to find you
Your red and green mystery
Resonates on my senses
And when you open your door
I know that I am home


Credits: Poetry and Collage by Jay Larsen

For my lover, Evelyn

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Sound of Catastrophe

It’s not like it has to be
The sound of catastrophe

Maybe it was the Russian adrenalin
Maybe it was the fall of consumerism

Even the Berlin Wal-Mart feels the crisis
As Uncle Sam keeps on shouting
“Mr. Producer, cut down those prices!”

Maybe it was the American scheme
Maybe it was an anorexic dream

Shock and awful, bills come due
What’s a Wall Street Sweeper going to do?

It’s not like it has to be
But it sounds like catastrophe

Dead crap becomes fertilizer
The cracks open needed space

Maybe it has to be
So don’t waste the opportunity
Disguised as catastrophe


Credits: poetry by Jay Larsen
Photo brazenly stolen from the internet without citation or even a thank you or a by your leave.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Green swingline in storage room B

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

The Kraftwerk Home Edition

Chani says she wants a man she can kick around.
Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Agent Chani

Danger is her middle name.

Jay Larsen

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Blue between the clouds

Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Sweaters on puppies

I'm sure sweaters on puppies was in that Julie Andrews song some where...

Jay Larsen
Sent from my Windows Mobile phone

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lamb Stew - Beautiful Cook

It's a secret family recipe. But you can tell it has lots of love in it. Good stuff on cold December night.

Hey that's quite a hat

With a hat like that
your head will never grow fat
But sometimes a pipe
is just a cigar

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Chani Makes Me Laugh

Office Doodles

Office doodles make boring conference calls more fun.

Jay Larsen
Sent from my Windows Mobile phone
Please excuse the terseness.

The era of mobile blogging begins

I am just trying to figure out if I can blog from my mobile phone.

Jay Larsen
Sent from my Windows Mobile phone
Please excuse the terseness.

how a church with mostly good values can promote hatred and intolerance

Just read an interesting article on Alternet: Link
I am just gonna repost the whole thing below. I think he handles the complexity of the issues fairly well.

Mormon Homophobia: Up Close and Personal
By Sheldon Rampton, Center for Media and Democracy. Posted December 3, 2008.
An ex-Mormon explains how a church with mostly good values can promote hatred and intolerance.

A photo from my own days as a Mormon missionary. I'm the blond guy in the middle.
I recently wrote about the PR nightmare facing the Mormon Church as a result of the prominent role it played this year promoting Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California. At the urging of church leaders, Mormons spent about $20 million on the effort, which probably provided the margin that enabled the measure to pass.
There is some irony in the fact that Mormon pollster Gary Lawrence, who led the Proposition 8 grassroots campaign for the church in California, has a gay son, Matthew, who publicly resigned from the church to protest its anti-gay campaign. Matthew says that after his father's participation in "two anti-gay initiatives in eight years, it's impossible not to feel attacked."
Adding to the irony, Gary Lawrence has a new book out, titled How Americans View Mormonism: Seven Steps to Improve Our Image. His advice to Mormons who want to be better liked is, "Simply be yourself" -- advice that drew a sharp response from one blogger, who pointed out that being yourself "is a poor prescription for winning friends when 'who you are' is someone willing to lead a campaign to strip your own child of his civil rights."
The anti-Mormon backlash continues, and some people who have Mormon friends are rising to their defense, including Kaliya Hamlin (also known as "Identity Woman" for her work on issues related to online identity). In a recent blog post, Hamlin complains that "Web mobs" are engaged in "blacklisting and subsequent public harassment and targeting of specific people and specific religious groups for their beliefs and support of 'Yes on Prop. 8.' " She continues:
I take this personally, I have and do work with people who are Mormon -- when I played water polo in university and in the Identity field). I respect the LDS church and the people in it -- they have good values. ...
I think what is going on with the blacklists that are directly targeting people in their private life is wrong. I think targeting specific religious institutions for protest is wrong.
These people and these religious institutions are not propagating HATE, they are just not agreeing that marriage can be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. This is a cultural difference of opinion.
With all due respect, I think Hamlin fails to understand the intensity, seriousness, and yes, hatred underlying Mormon opposition to gay rights. I actually have more personal experience with Mormons than she does. I was raised in a Mormon family and even served a two-year Mormon mission in Japan, from 1976 to 1978. Although I no longer believe in or practice its teachings, my extended family includes many active members. It's true that individual Mormons are mostly nice people -- as generous, thoughtful, intelligent and considerate as people from any other religion or belief system. Unfortunately, it is actually possible to possess all of those positive attributes and still promote hatred and intolerance.
From my missionary days, I still own a copy of The Miracle of Forgiveness, a book by Spencer W. Kimball, who was president (and "prophet") of the Mormon Church from 1973 until his death in 1985. The church still promotes Kimball's book and supports its beliefs regarding homosexuality, which he outlined in a chapter titled "Crime Against Nature." It states:
Homosexuality is an ugly sin, repugnant to those who find no temptation in it, as well as to many past offenders who are seeking a way out of its clutches. It is embarrassing and unpleasant as a subject for discussion, but because of its prevalence, the need to warn the uninitiated, and the desire to help those who may already be involved in it, it is discussed in this chapter. ...
[P]erhaps as an extension of homosexual practices, men and women have sunk even to seeking sexual satisfaction from animals. ...
All such deviations from normal, proper heterosexual relationships are not merely unnatural but wrong in the sight of God. Like adultery, incest and bestiality, they carried the death penalty under the Mosaic law. ... The law is less severe now, and so regrettably is the community's attitude to those grave sins -- another evidence of the deterioration of society. In some countries the act per se is not even illegal. This "liberalizing" process is reflected in the United States by communities of homosexuals in our larger cities who sponsor demonstrations and draw up petitions to this end, who are formally organized, and who even print their own perverted journals. All this is done in the open, to the detriment alike of impressionable minds, susceptible urges and our national decency.
Mormon abhorrence of homosexuality is so strong that in the 1970s the church even experimented with aversion therapy at Brigham Young University, setting up a center where it tried to "cure" homosexuality. The so-called therapy consisted of taping electrodes to the groin, thigh, chest and armpits of gay men and subjecting them to painful electric shocks while showing them pornographic photographs of nude men. The treatments, which were overseen by the head of the university's psychology department, were thought to be "effective in reducing homosexual responsiveness." I happen to know someone who underwent this treatment -- in his case voluntarily, because he was desperately trying to comply with Mormon teachings. However, some cases have been reported of people who were subjected to aversion therapy against their will or who were pressured into it with threats of expulsion from college. The experience left many with psychological and physical scars, and at least two men reportedly committed suicide shortly after undergoing treatment.
Hamlin says that Mormons have "good values." However, Mormon values are precisely what are on display in Kimball's writings and the actions of the aversion therapists at BYU. And they are core values of Mormonism today. These values are deeply felt and widely believed. They are the basis for Mormon political activism against Prop. 8 in California, and they will undoubtedly continue to drive Mormon political actions against gay rights in the future.
Of course, not all Mormons share this homophobia. There is even a Web site,, devoted to letting "the world know that not all Mormons (LDS church members) oppose gay marriage." However, this view is in the minority and is strongly at odds with the church's official position and numerous pronouncements from church leaders over a period of decades. Matthew Lawrence is only one of hundreds of Mormons who have felt compelled to resign their memberships in protest against the church's opposition to gay rights.
The question remains, of course, whether Hamlin is right that supporters of gay rights should refrain from "directly targeting people in their private life" by protesting and arguing with individual Mormons who have participated in the church's anti-gay campaigns. Certainly, protesters should refrain from belligerence, threats and intimidation. However, the only way Mormon attitudes are going to change on this issue is through confrontation. (And even then, attitudes will not change easily or quickly.)
On this point, I remember my own experience as a teenager in the 1970s, a time when Mormons continued to cling to another discriminatory value -- the so-called Negro doctrine, which excluded people of African descent from the Mormon priesthood. As justification for the priesthood ban, a number of pernicious theories were popular in Mormon culture. I own a book from that era, Mormonism and the Negro (co-authored by a vice president at BYU), which patiently explains that blacks are "descendants of Cain" and therefore subject to "Cain's curse" because their spirits were "less valiant" than the spirits of white people. (Although I didn't know it at the time, even these ideas were an improvement over the statements of Brigham Young in the 19th century, when he declared as a "law of God" that "If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot.")
As a high school student in 1974, I felt privately uncomfortable with the Negro doctrine, but like many members of the church, I didn't think about it very much. It didn't become a personal thing for me until one day in gym class, when a black kid came up to me and angrily said he had heard that Mormons didn't think blacks like him should go to heaven. What did I think of that? He wanted to know.
Technically, he was wrong about the theological details. Mormons actually believed that blacks could go to heaven. They just couldn't have the priesthood. I tried to make that distinction the basis for a joke to defuse the situation. "No, we think you can go to heaven," I replied. "We just think you don't deserve to." The kid glared at me for a minute, and that was the end of the conversation.
Today, more than 30 years later, I don't remember his name, but I remember the moment very clearly. I imagine he walked away thinking he had wasted his breath by even talking to me. He certainly didn't get a satisfactory reply. But the conversation had an effect on me. It left me feeling profoundly shaken and uncomfortable about a church practice that until then had seemed like a theoretical abstraction of no particular relevance to my own life. Over time, that discomfort helped inform my thinking and changed my attitudes.
There were Mormons and non-Mormons who challenged the Negro doctrine long before I ever heard about it. For most of them, challenging the status quo was unpleasant and sometimes was met with hostility -- all the more so because on that issue, as with the issue of gay rights, Mormons simply did not believe that they were guilty of promoting hatred or discrimination. It took years for attitudes to change on the Negro doctrine, but in 1978 the Mormon Church officially announced a revelation -- from none other than Spencer W. Kimball -- which gave black Mormons the same priesthood rights as everyone else. I remember when it happened. (I was in Japan at the time, knocking on doors and trying to get people to read the Book of Mormon.) Most members of the church were palpably relieved when the Negro doctrine was finally abandoned, but nevertheless it took pressure and personal confrontations to make this change happen.
On an issue like this one, where there are entrenched attitudes and strongly held beliefs, change comes one conversation at a time, haltingly, with discomfort and difficulty. Some Mormons are having those conversations as they discover that members of their own family are gay. Others are now having the conversation thrust upon them as people "target them in their private life" to challenge their political activities. However discomfiting these conversations may be, they need to happen if attitudes are ever to change.
Sheldon Rampton is the research director for the Center for Media & Democracy.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008