Friday, February 16, 2007

"The One Saints Day Worth Observing"

Here they are. Sans the Missus and self, this is the company that foregathered of a Wednesday Night to strap on the feed bag and exchange pink hearts.
Good looking women and stern-faced men. It doesn't get any better.

The post title comes from a poem written for the occasion by Tom "Lord" Banks (standing with poetic dash to the far right).

Monday, February 05, 2007

More Than A Little Pleased

My daughter, the lovely Michal Angela, is a jazz vocalist. Most of you who read this know that. Over the last few years she has become friends with the jazz great and saxophonist Houston Person. He has been very kind to her in sending charts and jazz recordings. When she visited her brother in New York he hosted the two of them at a jazz club in Harlem. At the last Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival they got their picture taken together.
Blessings on that man.
All that is just a nice visual to announce that you can hear a demo of Michal Angela singing a one of Blossom Dearie's A Fine Spring Morning at

Do You Believe That....

Every Man has Sinned Against this Holy God?

This is an easy point to make by merely reading a daily newspaper, or a cursory glance at the history of man, or with a half an ear to our own conscience. We all know that we disapprove of other's actions and call them "evil" (while assiduously avoiding conscience for our own) and we know that when we so disapprove we are not merely saying that our opinions of their actions differ from those who did the dispicable deed. But in order to say that such is "evil" and not "I differ with that", we must appeal to a basic law of law.
"There is no law without police action."
Without this law of law Nazis are just "different" as are child molesters and wife beaters. Until there is someone who sits above the agents acting thus and has the ability to punish, it is all mere opinion. For those differences mentioned to be not merely "different" but be "sin,wrong, and evil" I must grant that there is a policing agent higher than man, (in other words, a god), that has, by His ability to police this world, the authority to dictate what is wrong and evil. For it to be evil we must affirm that such a god's dictates will bring reward and punishment.

Revelations 20:11-15
Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Since that God has a moral will, we find that it is only the moral will He has revealed about which we are able to speak. We can not claim someone has done "evil" without God letting us know, somehow, the content of that which He will police. All men know of evil and God has revealed it.

Genesis 3:23-24
Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever" -- therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Romans 2:14-16
When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

If we examine that moral will (revealed in our conscience or through His Holy Apostles and Prophets) we find that it has condemned every man whoever lived, including, tragically, ourselves.

Galatians 5:19-21
"Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

As you look over that list, the temptation is to say, "Well, I'm no sorceror!" The judgment of God, His unavoidable police action, will be about what we have done, not what we haven't.

II Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

Suppose you are a sophisticated thinker and you reply, "What if there were an innocent man in Africa?" Cute. Picked up, no doubt, when you attended The Self Defense Academy of Nonbelievers. By this question you are admitting that everywhere you or I could conceivably check, we would find no innocence. You asked the wrong question. Your concerns do not rest in the Third World, in imaginary human ethical efforts.
Do not ask if there is an innocent man somewhere else but ask your conscience if you are that innocent man.

Romans 3:9-23
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all; for I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one."
"Their throat is an open grave, they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood, in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 5:12
Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned --

Payin' the Bill

Last Wednesday there appeared some water on the Big Haus basement floor.
I cleaned it up.
On Thursday, yet again, water. The floor drain, in tandem with the washing machine, conspired to "seek its own level" which was above the level of my basement floor.
The Amazing saith unto me, "O, what shall we do?" meaning "O, what shall you do?"
Liquid Plumber into the utility sink. Liquid Plumber into the gaping maw of the floor drain. Liquid Plumber ought to be poured into the forced open mouths of the corporate heads of the Liquid Plumber corporation.
Going outside to the shed I fetched the 25 foot plumber's snake. Kneeling in water I fed said snake through the bowels of the Big Haus.
My realizations regarding those who manufacture Liquid Plumber (disregarding my plans for their end) brought me, in discussion with Amazing, to conclude a need for serious chemicals. We are talking about chemicals which can't be sold off a shelf in a bottle. They have a acid resistant bag in which the bottle sits. They have names like "Mule Kick" or "Atomic Fire". The companies of origin do not believe that a slick corporate image or logo is necessary. The product sells itself.
I purchase some.
I read in very small but insistent print on the bottle in the bag, that under no circumstances should I apply this product to a drain which had ever, in the last century, had other chemicals applied to it. I had applied Liquid Plumber (if it can be called a "chemical" by other than women and the French) in the last few hours. Safety first. I put the "Mule Kick" on the shelf.
I called the sewer guys at Express Drain Openers and felt better.
Amazing does a load of laundry and reports that things seemed better.
Friday morning dawns. I lay there knowing but few things for my day. I must tag the garbage and I must remove the recycling (corrugated cardboard) from the basement to the street. It has become nicely and fragrantly damp from the ablutions of the last two days. Amazing addresses me from the bedroom door as I look at her sideways. "Would you start a fire."
"Certainly, my sweet."
"And would you vacuum up the water in the basement". Things had not gotten better.
Mr. Express shows up at 9 a.m.
He has got a bigger, motorized snake with a sludge and root choppy thingy at the business end.
We ran that snake out past Portland. It comes back bearing gifts whose presence could be ascertained by every sense man possesses but failed to create the free flow of water desired in all drains everywhere. Mr. Express fetches his sewer camera which is too cool. We get to see what has established residency in the Big Haus main drain, my link to civilization.
Oh My Heavens and all the Saints (including the lesser known)!
I can't look away. Fifteen feet of moving but immobile white has grabbed my attention. It is unresponsive to the snake, the camera (imagine the sight of pushing past decades of offal with the lens of a color video camera only to have it, as you watch closely, close back around the lens pulling back), and finally unresponsive to the application of a pulsing, water squirting, pipe sealing ball on the end of a water hose. This last has to be applied down another (unopened since the 1920's) drain cap.
It is Friday 3 p.m..
Mr. Express has to go on another call.
He will leave all his stuff stuck in my drains for me to fiddle with (ineffectively I discover) over the next hour. My feet hurt.
Mr. Express returns. He has news. He is having a high pressure water jet brought up from Lewiston and will bring this drain under submission.
It arrives.
It is inserted. They put on goggles which impresses this homeowner.
It has an gas motor. It has what they call p.s.i. and lots of it.
Fifteen minutes later, down goes the camera again. That pipe has confessed its many sins. That pipe is clean as far as the eye can see. That p.s.i. had introduced itself to the fifteen feet of "white". Words were exchanged, became heated, and the fifteen feet of "white" woke up floating down the Ganges wondering how it got there.
Mr. Express commented on how it was the worst drain he had seen in his born days. This may have been a "let-me-prepare-you" buffer for he said it as he handed me the bill.
$573.00 for the privilege of standing on concrete all day, inhaling the ripeness of the American sewer, and gaining only what I blissfully and ignorantly enjoyed three days earlier.

This morning Joe Mickler calls me.
He has dreamed of my drains.
"You had to pay a high futility bill this month," he says.