Archive for September, 2010

We all need a refresher course from time to time…


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

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Seen around town

Ashley’s night-blooming cereus plant showed its stuff again and he invited us over with Phil and Judith to watch.  This was around 10:30 PM on Tuesday, and that should be it for another year.  The blossoms drop by morning.  This is a desert plant, stuck on an island in Maine.

Sunset photos on a walk this evening with Jeri and dogs.  Below is Maypole Point.


Below is the view of the opposite direction, looking north toward Mount Desert Island.  We have Cory and Caitlyn’s dog Cairn (left) on loan while they are away at a wedding on the left coast.  Gracie gets along well with him.


Sunset over Bruce’s float, also used as a shag roost.  Great Cranberry Island behind.

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Like most of you, I receive e-mails from well-meaning friends urging me to take action against some threat, perceived or otherwise.  Usually, the e-mail also includes a plea to “send this to all of your friends / at least 10 of your friends / everyone in your address book” with added pressure that one is not a true American/Christian/Republican/Democrat/God-fearing-all-of-the-above—if one does not forward the message.

There may even be a Bible verse or a quote from Thomas Jefferson to prove the point.  Fair enough.  I quote from these, too. 

This morning I received such a message, apparently passed around for at least a year, about an event held last September, and of President Obama’s implied implication with that event.  Rather than forwarding to “everyone in my address book” I hit “reply-all” in the hope that some of them will come to their senses and stop forwarding this stuff.  I won’t include the e-mail, but I’ve referred to main points within it, so it shouldn’t be too hard to read between the lines.

Just before I hit the send button I received from another recipient of the e-mail an even more vigorous “reply-all” that upped the ante, saying, “Obama has us on a path to a Socialist, Third World, Godless nation with no regard for the principles of our founding fathers, our Constitution, no patriotism, no respect for our traditions. I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it any more!!!” 

But, on the bright side, I have also received two e-mails thanking me for sending out what I did. 

See if you agree with the first response or with the second two:    

Dear _______, and others,

The email below says that “a National Day of Prayer For the Muslim Religion was Held on Capitol Hill, Beside the White House.”

Does it say that the president himself established that day as an alternate day of prayer?  I think not.  It also doesn’t say that the president established Glenn Beck’s recent rally at the Lincoln Memorial.  Some of these things simply are not within the scope of the president’s authority.  Any group can assemble peacefully under the First Amendment.

The email below also says,

“The direction this country is headed should strike fear in the heart of every Christian, especially knowing that the Muslim religion believes that if Christians cannot be converted, they should be annihilated.”

I don’t think you’ll find anywhere on the website islamoncapitalhill.com the call for Christians to be annihilated.  There are certainly extreme elements of Islam that promote this, but I’m pretty wary of extreme elements among my own Christian brothers, too (have you watched the news lately?).  Hate is not unique to Islam.

The language of this email is designed to promote fear and hate among Christians, and against Muslims.  Read the paragraph in quotes above, again.

This email also spends about as much time bullying the receiver into forwarding it to all of his friends as it does getting to the facts.  The facts are slim, cherry-picked, and include “proof texts” from the Bible to convince others of this point of view.

I know some of the problems with Islam.  I can give you chapter and verse why it is not doctrinally compatible with Christianity–but that doesn’t mean we can’t live side-by-side.  As Americans, we have to pretend, at least, that we have a First Amendment.  These people have been here for a long time, long before 9/11 (American Muslims weren’t the ones who hijacked the planes, by the way), and are here to stay unless we stop acting like Americans and deny them their rights.

Please, let’s not forward hate-mail like this any more.

Ted Spurling, Jr. ><>

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Credit:   http://comics.com/steve_benson/2010-09-09/

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It’s not that Hurricane Earl was a blessing in disguise; it was just plainly and simply a blessing (at least on this side of the Bay of Fundy).


I don’t know how much damage Earl did in Puerto Rico; I suspect mostly rain.  As for the Outer Banks and Cape Hatteras, well, I haven’t heard.  So no news is good news.  Cape Cod and the islands?  Not a huge deal. 

The storm stayed on track pretty well for most of the week.  We knew that it would come up into the Bay of Fundy, but the question was, which side of it?  Maine or Nova Scotia?  Here on the coast of Maine, if you’re a fisherman or own a boat, you don’t play the roulette wheel.  If it’s a named storm and it’s headed your way, you’d better move some lobster traps or take care of some boats. 

After a lot of activity around the island bringing in thousands of traps (I brought in 130) and hauling small outboards and sailboats (It’s September; time they were hauled anyway) we prepared for what turned out not to be the worst.  Nova Scotia, God bless ‘em, took the hit. 

But it could have been us.  Hurricane Noel, three years ago, behaved much like Earl was supposed to, and Noel dropped a maple tree on my truck.  Not to mention scattering or staving up hundreds of traps.

So, the morning of the hurricane that wasn’t (well not here, at least) we slept late and listened to the rain come down, but the wind?  Where was that? 

In Nova Scotia, God bless ‘em.  Earl made landfall over there blowing 70 knots.  Over here, a relatively light breeze and the sun came out before noon.  Cool and fallish. 

Monday I’ll start setting those traps back out.

In the meantime, the Annual Three-Day Art Workshop, of which my wife Jeri took part, kept on painting.  Oh, they had a late start for the rain, but were back on the shores after it passed and had some added surf as subject matter.

A very relaxing hurricane.

For myself, I managed to hang out at the dock for a bit, catching up with some friends (it’s been way too busy this summer for hanging out) and taking a few photos. 

And reading.  The Adirondack chair on the porch couldn’t wait for me to camp out and act like a rich man for a change while what’s left of the storm passed.  Bright sun, a good book, Salvadoran coffee and the kind of lunch I can’t get while out lobstering.  And letting scraps of mozzarella fall to the cat.    

I’ve nearly finished a book by Robert Farrar Capon, bought and begun on a challenge by some bloggers I follow (all right, they’re on intenetmonk).  It’s titled Between Noon and Three: Romance, Law, and the Outrage of GraceI hope to post more about this another day, but for now let me say that grace, which we all know to be amazing, becomes outrageous by the time Capon gets done with it.  The book is a theology disguised as a novel.  How can an extramarital love affair demonstrate grace?  How can a mafia rub-out, jolly though it be, demonstrate grace?  Capon sets up these parables to push grace to the extreme, nearly to the edge of universalism.  Some would say that he flies off that cliff.  Capon denies it.  I’ll finish the book, go over my notes, and get back to you.

Thank God that hurricane came when it did.  I needed a break.

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