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Friday, May 26, 2017

Biblical Limericks: Sweaty Sky

To see the Lord is awesome, you bet,
even nature by fear is beset.
The wind stops its bluster,
the heavens get flustered -
the sky sees God and breaks out in sweat.

Psalm 68: 8

Working from Mitchell Dahood's  translation:

The earth quaked and the heavens sprinkled
at the sight of God...

"Just as a person breaks out into a sweat at the sight of an unexpected caller, so the heavens drip with rain when God appears in a theophany " (138)

Dahood, Mitchell. Psalms II 51 - 100: Introduction, Translation, and Notes. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1968. Print.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The First Shall Be Last

Mr. President, please re-read (or read for the first time, perhaps) Luke 13: 22 - 30. You need it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Background Images for Everyone - Week 21 - 2017

Here ya' go - this week's free, background image. It's yours to use at home, at work, at school, at church, wherever you like. I only ask that you share it freely, and that you tell others you found it here.

If you're interested in knowing the details, these irises are growing along the fence between my backyard and my neighbor's yard.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rocket One to Triangulum!

It took thirteen years for Voyager 2 to travel from earth to the outer reaches of our little solar system. We learned about Voyager 2 back in George Hale Jr High. Thirteen years, the entire span of my life. It took what would have been the entirety of my life to that point for that unmanned interstellar record player to travel the smallest fraction of what ROCKET TEAM ONE crossed in six short weeks. But I really don’t mean to disparage that noble craft. It was brave to set out into such huge distances even at such a slow speed. Especially at such slow speed. It was an action of hope to launch that probe into the void.

And Voyager 2 carried Blind Willie Johnson into space. Imagine that: Blind Willie Johnson out among the stars. Blind Willie Johnson, who couldn’t see the stars, was being carried (or at least his music was) into the ethereal silence of interstellar space. Glorious.

The Triangulum Galaxy is approximately 3 Million Light Years from Earth within the constellation Triangulum. It is one of the most distant objects that can be seen from Earth by the naked human eye. It was discovered in the 1600s by an Italian astronomer named Giovanni Battista Hodierna. He described it as “a cloud-like nebulosity near the Triangle on either side.” It’s a pinwheel shaped galaxy, smaller than the Milky Way.

The constellation Triangulum was mentioned in an ancient Babylonian star compendium, the MUL.APIN. The Babylonian astrologers called it the “Plough Star.” They said that the angry goddess Ishtar, spurned in her romantic and sexual advances, went to her father, Anu, to demand that he create a Bull of Heaven (Taurus) to kill the hero Gilgamesh. Anu obliged her vengeful notions and created this bull for her, and it is this bull that pulls the Plough Star across the heavens.

Why did the generals at NASA choose Triangulum as the destination? Why not something closer? Why not another solar system within our own galaxy?

According to some conspiratists on the net, that galaxy was chosen based on designs found in the hieroglyphics on the walls of the great pyramids of Giza. Triangulum – pyramids are made of triangles – the connection is obvious, right? According to these tinfoil-hatters, the central star-shaft of the great pyramid points toward the Triangulum galaxy, and that this was the home of the alien race that visited Egypt in 10,500 BC.

Crazy, right? Those shafts point towards Orion, not Triangulum. The fact that the three major pyramids at Giza replicate the position of the three stars in Orion’s Belt should have been an obvious clue that the shaft is oriented towards Orion, not Triangulum. The Great Pyramid at Giza is interesting – but not for the reasons those nutters suggest.

A similar proposition was made for the arrangement of the megaliths at Stonehenge, but there’s even less support for this crackpot theory. Still another conspiracism suggests that Triangulum was marked in top-secret star charts found in the wreckage of a crashed alien vehicle as a strategic location, both rich in resources and important in controlling interstellar movement.

Perhaps their choice of Triangulum was predicated on the fact that the largest observed black hole is found in the Triangulum galaxy. Discovered in 2007 and known as M33 X-7, this black hole has 15.7 times the mass of our sun. The military value of that black star is incalculable.

So why did they pick Triangulum? Why not something closer? Why not, perhaps, the system of seven planets found orbiting the star Trappist-1, three of which were in that “Goldilocks” habitable zone around that Red Dwarf star having the potential for liquid water – and was only 40 short light years from earth? (And 40 light years is still over 235 trillion miles…) Or any of the other hundreds of exo-planets discovered by long range telescopes? Why did they pick Triangulum as their destination of choice? Who can say? Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time? 

Dark was the night, and cold the ground
on which the Lord was laid;
His sweat like drops of blood ran down;
in agony He prayed.

“Father, remove this bitter cup,
if such Thy sacred will;
if not, content to drink it up
Thy pleasure I fulfill."

Dark and cold is the space through which the Voyager probes and ROCKET TEAM ONE traveled. Why do we venture out into such cold, dark distances? Why do we risk mortal agony and death to travel into the void? Who can say? It just seems like a good idea. We are restless wanderers, always wondering if the next stop will be better than the one before.

And we’re being told (by some of those same egghead scientists who objected to the impossibility of ROCKET TEAM ONE’s trip) that the universe is nothing more than an elaborate hologram projected into sentient consciousness by some unknown agency. If this is true then we are brains in a vat and life is but a dream, a dream within a dream. But maybe that’s why we can travel the 3 Million Light Years to Triangulum in less than six weeks – because those 3 Million Light Years are an illusion. Triangulum is an illusion. Earth is an illusion. There is nothing there. There is nothing here. There is no here nor there. It’s all Dark Energy, and we are left alone in the dark, like blind musicians to sing for hope and comfort against the terror and agony of a cold, lonely night.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Stressed, but not Distressed

I've told family and friends, I've told work mates and employees, I've told FB friends and acquaintances, but I haven't said anything about it here on the blog yet...

So, here's the announcement:

After 18 years as Officers in The Salvation Army, my wife and I are resigning. We remain Majors Carter only until June 25th, after that, it's just plain ol' Jeff and Mikey. Our plan is to stay in here in town for the sake of our children and our sanity. This is a good thing.

Though everything (and I do mean everything) is up in the air right now (find jobs, find a house, find a vehicle, find myself...) we feel at peace with the decision we've made.

We meet with a realtor friend tomorrow to discuss the housing market.

I've applied for work as 1) fork-lift driver 2) art program coordinator, 3) newspaper editor, 4) manufacturing assembler, 5) general laborer, 6) media assistant for the Sac and Fox Tribe of Iowa, and, and, and, and ...

Mikey had a great interview yesterday.

We're desperate, yes, but not frantic. We're stressed, yes, but not distressed. We're happy. The kids are happy. And, the cat and the dog are, for the most part, getting along.

I Remember Iris

I Remember Iris by Jeff Carter on

Monday, May 15, 2017

He Lies – A Limerick for Trump

Trump says, ‘I know how to buy and sell;
when I’m president all will be well.’
But he lies, and he lies,
and he lies, and he lies,
and he lies and he lies…what the hell?!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Goodwill and Truth?

Goodwill and Truth? by Jeff Carter on

Background Images for Everyone - Week 20 - 2017

The week almost slipped past me without my sharing the free background image for this week. Sorry. It's been a little crazy in the Carter house.

Still - the image, as always, is yours to use as your very own. Please share it with others and tell them you found it here.

I like the simplicity of this one. There's really nothing tricky going on here; it is a small, red glass bowl, and blue, cloth napkin. That's it. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Amos Meets with the Director of the Prophets

Amos sat nervously in the waiting area as the Director’s administrative assistant carefully arranged a stack of files and papers. “The Director will be with you soon,” she said without making eye contact. She’d said the same thing ten minutes earlier, and twenty minutes before that.

Soon, as it turned out, was an hour and twenty six minutes later. In that time the administrative assistant watered the few decorative plants placed around the room, answered the phone four or five times, went out for lunch and came back. Amos sat where he was, waiting.

Eventually the Director of the Prophets opened his office door, stuck his head out, and said, “Amos, thanks for waiting. Come on in.” Inside the office the Director pointed Amos toward a purposefully uncomfortable chair and said, “Please have a seat.” Amos sat.

The Director of the Prophets sat behind his immense desk, which was devoid of any sign of work save a few sheets of paper – official reports. The edges of these he tapped on the flat surface of the desk to straighten them, then he shuffled through them, reading a line or two from each, and then tapped the edges even again. Then he laid them down flat on the desk. “Amos, I’m going to say it straight: You’re being reassigned.”

Amos silently acknowledge this; it wasn’t completely unexpected.

“You’ve been preaching in…” here the Director consulted the papers again, “Samaria and…  Bethel. And without much success as far as I can see here. So you’re being reassigned to Hebron, in Judea.”

Amos nodded again, still silent.

“But I warn you,” the Director continued. “If you don’t prove yourself there, there won’t be any more assignments…” he let the vague threat hang there in the silence between them.

“Prove myself?” the prophet Amos finally said. “What do you mean?”

“Well just look at your statistical reports: You’ve made few converts, your warnings are completely ignored, you’ve offended King Jeroboam of Israel, and you’ve been denounced by the head priest, Amaziah. This isn’t spectacular work, Amos. And I think you know that.”

“I’m not sure what more you expect, sir.” Amos said carefully. “I’ve delivered the word I’ve been given. I’ve been faithful. I’ve done my duty.”

The Director swept the reports from his desk and dropped them into one of the drawers. “Listen, Amos, it’s apparent to many of us here that you spend too much time talking about social justice, and economic policy. Perhaps your political opinions are getting in the way of your work…”

Amos began to answer, but the Director cut him off. “In any case, you need to show results in Hebron. You should be more like Jonah. Now there’s a prophet that knows how to get things done.  He converted the whole city of Nineveh in less than 40 days…”

Now it was Amos’ turn to cut the Director off. “Sir, you know that report is mostly fiction, right? That whole whale thing is a joke. He thought you’d get it.”

The director fumed. “I think we’re done here, prophet Amos. Report to Hebron.”

Amos stood. “That’s okay sir. I think I’ll go back to my father’s farm and tend to the sheep and the fig trees,” he said then turned and left the room. He was content.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Full Flower Moon

The full moon in May is sometimes known (in North America) as the Full Flower Moon.  Here it is over the house where I live.

Sparklers in the Kitchen

Sparklers in the Kitchen by Jeff Carter on

Monday, May 8, 2017

Biblical Limericks: Stop the Whispering

Lord, hear how they whisper and mutter;
they call me a lunatic nutter,
so Lord, muzzle their lips
and now cause them to slip
into the silence of death’s gutter.

Psalm 31: 13 - 18

The News Today

The News Today by Jeff Carter on

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Anticipatory Visions of November Violence

I cannot sleep for fear of
Anticipatory visions of November violence;
I see bloody stripes and exploding stars.

I see the arrest record of an entire nation.

Now shoot a man on suspicion.
Now arm the robots.

Little punks get around fast
but now we shoot first
eviscerate the rules of evidence
to hell with jurisprudence.

Society is a conspiracy to plunder.

Clowns on the platform,
neon sparkle distraction
the police state hero will have law and order

the revenge of angels is bloody work

A communion with death,
a Eucharist of death
drink from the chalice of gasoline,
eat the arsenic wafer.

Benevolent imperialism is a velvet-wrapped IED
nostalgia is a rose colored lie

Relax! There is so much to fear.
Relax! Or die. Relax!

Drop bombs down the chimney
to ease the excess of democracy

ask questions later
the line leads nowhere

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hotel Hell's Wallpaper

The rooms at Hotel Hell are nice enough, but that wallpaper... Either it goes, or I do.

Hotel Hell
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