mary_j_59: (flute)
Fair warning, everyone - I am a Bernie fan. I think he's great! But not perfect. That said, I fail to understand why the man is being blamed for the (apparent) acts of a few of his supporters. He said, quite clearly, that he does not support violence and that nobody ought to be threatened. Could he have offered more sympathy to that poor woman in Nevada? Yes, I think he could. She by no means deserved this horrible treatment. No one does. Still, Bernie has never advocated violence against anyone, unlike the other two candidates. Which brings me to my main point.

The Donald, Heaven help us! How did we ever get to this point? Well. Here is one way. He's a bully. And-

We live in a country in which bullying is not only acceptable, but effective.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
Today, by great good luck, I saw something remarkable. The local astronomy club in CT had set up telescopes for viewing the transit of Mercury across the sun. After a solid week of raw, rainy weather, we had a brilliant day. There was a strong wind – the guys told me the wind had actually played havoc with the telescopes – and scarcely a cloud in the sky. I got to the field about a half hour before the viewing period ended and got to look at or through three of the scopes.


Read more... )
mary_j_59: (mug)
I am now reading Ursula LeGuin's Steering the Craft, and have shared a couple of the writing exercises with my creative writing club at the library. One of them was to write something completely without punctuation. This is what I came up with.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (Niki)
Warning - this is a bit of a rant. And I'm sure others have said similar things, and gone into greater depth than I do here. But it's been on my mind.

How to Silence Marginalized Voices-
a Brief Instruction Manual


1. Discount oral histories, because they are only memories of old people, not facts.
2. Dismiss memoirs, also. They are personal, not scholarly.
3. Insist that the marginalized people should produce scholarship that is up to your standards, despite being denied your sort of education. Feel free to change the standards if someone actually manages to be scholarly. For example:
4. Dismiss scholarship produced by expatriates, because they are expatriates.
5. Also, dismiss arguments you don’t like as opinions, not facts.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (portrait)
This one is adapted from the recipe for Glühwein. I am going to try it again this weekend with orange juice and non-alcoholic beer. Here it is!

Mulled Ale


Ingredients: Water, juice of one lemon or equivalent amount of orange juice*, 1 to two tablespoons sugar, 3 or 4 cloves, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, one 12 oz. bottle of beer.
Read more... )
mary_j_59: (Deirdre)
Here's a picture of the actual stew, which I cooked during the blizzard. The recipe follows:

Kassin Harbor Bean Stew

Ingredients:
1 lb (about 400 grams) dried beans, or two large cans.
4 shallots, 2 sweet red peppers, I yam or sweet potato, ½ to 1 bulb fennel.
4-8 oz (100 to 250 grams) salt fish (I’ve used both pollock and cod.)
1-2 tablespoons olive, canola, or good quality oil. 3 or 4 teaspoons curry powder, at least 2 teaspoons cumin, ½ teaspoon ginger, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, a clove or two, hot red pepper, salt, and black pepper to taste. You may substitute an onion for the shallots, green pepper or celery for the fennel, and you may add 1-4 cloves garlic if you like it. The fish is optional, too; you can substitute ground meat or simply make a vegetarian version. Read more... )
mary_j_59: (portrait)
To all who celebrate, and happy New Year to my friends who don't. I'm learning this for one of my choirs,and it's truly a prayer for peace. In this video, the composer is conducting in Belfast Cathedral. May we have peace and may we help to bring it!
mary_j_59: (portrait)
(crossposted from my author page)

Patricia Dunn, author of “Rebels by Accident”, came to our creative writing class last spring and did some really neat writing prompts. This autumn, I tried her method again. One of the prompts was “hunger is a mountain”. This is what I came up with.



Hunger is a Mountain

(A Writing Prompt)


What does this mean? How can a mountain be hungry? It grows and dies so very slowly, and when does it ever eat? What feeds it?

I can’t imagine being in a mountain’s skin. One of the old, metamorphic mountains of New England. Every summer, hordes of tourists and locals climb through its green, damp woods and cross its streams. They are hungry, as the wild creatures are hungry, for the little dark berries that grow on the bushes ringing the mountain’s bald crown. They call it Blueberry Mountain.
280px-MtCardigan.jpg

The mountain is generous. It feeds the foxes, the chipmunks, the squirrels, the porcupines and birds and deer and people. The people climb up hopefully and walk down again carrying buckets full of blueberries. Then they eat. They eat blueberry muffins, blueberry dumplings, blueberry turnovers, blueberry pies, blueberries with cream and ice cream. They eat blueberries fresh and frozen and canned. And every time they eat, they think of the mountain and how they’ll go back the next summer and pick blueberries again.
mary_j_59: (portrait)
I went to the Unicorn Writer’s conference on Saturday and had a lot of fun. One excellent class was given by Paul Witcover. He asked us to write a tourist brochure for an imaginary setting, and this is what I came up with.



For those who love the wildest wildlife in our part of the galaxy, Sekkess can't be missed. The gentle, generous and intelligent Sekkessians will be sure to make your stay comfortable. You will live in houses among the treetops, with a clear view of the greenish sky and Sekkess' one small moon. You will hear birdsong and rushing rivers and feast on leni fruit and other delightful Sekkessian cuisine. But the high point of your stay will surely be your first view of a dragon. Sekkessian monitors, or dragons, are three times the size of the monitors on terra, with gorgeous iridescent scales. To view a hunting monitor is an extraordinary experience you will surely never forget. Be sure, however, to attend to your Sekkessian guide at all times and enjoy the dragons from a safe distance. Beautiful and unique though they are, Sekkessian dragons are wild animals and they can be very dangerous. You will be perfectly safe if you stay on the treetop paths or inside your mobile viewing dome.
mary_j_59: (flute)
Or, struggling to get noticed! I'm not sure I have any answers here, but sometimes submitting queries, etc, can seem like throwing stones down a very deep well and waiting for the echo. Or, even more, it can feel like you're jumping up and down, a toddler among a whole room full of toddlers, waving your arms and shrieking, "Look at me! Look at me! Look at MEEEE!"

But, honestly, is that what's happening? I certainly hope not. Yes, there is a lot of noise out there, and yes, we are adding to it. But that's not all we're doing.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (portrait)
So - having watched the show in its entirety, my sister (the lovely Deirdrea - deirdrej on livejournal) and I are watching episodes here and there, mostly from the fifth season. Among those we saw recently were "Dr. Bashir, I presume" and "The Begotten". And-


I really love Kukalaka! And here is why. It isn't childishness that makes Dr. Bashir hang on to him; at least, not entirely. Little Jules stitched that bear together at the age of 6, as a small, slow, differently abled child. Kukalaka is concrete proof to the good doctor that the child he was is the person he is today. He's still stubborn, determined, capable, and a healer, just as he was as a little boy. The best parts of him were things he already had long before anyone "fixed" him.



And then there's the lovely grandfather/father/child dynamic in "The Begotten". Warning - some spoilers ahead!Read more... )
mary_j_59: (flute)
This came to me while thinking of the tragic arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes. I cannot say anything at all about Charleston except that I am praying for the victims and their families.



Hunger

For years, the elder brother
Gulped envy; swallowed bitterness,
Till, at last, he spat them out
In anger,
Forgetting
(As his brother, eating greed and shame
in his pigsty, also forgot),
That there is love enough
To feed everyone.
mary_j_59: (portrait)
the books we love most passionately are often books we discover in late childhood or adolescence. Books we read at that age can have an enormous influence on us, too, can’t they? This isn’t a comprehensive list, by any means, but I’d just like to note down here a few books that influenced me.

The first couple of titles will be no surprise at all to anyone who knows me.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (portrait)
I’m very troubled by what’s happening in the world generally, and in the Middle East in particular, and I’m struggling to understand it. I am posting this now because it is Holy Week, and I think that’s relevant to my understanding.

Amidst all the trouble and bloodshed, a few facts do stand out:Read more... )
mary_j_59: (portrait)
So - we had the book of Job today in Church. That inspired this. I was seriously thinking of trying to send it somewhere, but, because of how it came, I decided to share it instead. It seemed like a gift. Cross-posted to my author blog, and comments are welcome here or there. Enjoy!



And God spoke out of the whirlwind.
God's voice was the silence
In the heart of the whirlwind.
God's silence said this:

I am eternal
Transformation.
I am the fire
In the sun's core.
That flame
Creates all matter.
Its name is love.

Will you burn with me?

(Mary Johnson, February 8, 2015)
mary_j_59: (portrait)
I have not been able to find any sporking of the third "Hobbit" film, so here is my effort. As you'll know from my earlier review, I love Fili and Kili, so this movie made me sad. The book does, also, but in a good way. The movie was a mixed bag, IMHO. Comments are welcome! Here goes—


The Battle of the Five Armies
(or, Wrong UNIVERSE, dude!)

As told by Fili, Kili (in part from the Halls of Mandos in Valinor), Biblo, and sundry other characters.

When we left our heroes, they had sorely provoked a huge dragon.

Smaug: I am sorely provoked. But forget those miserable dwarves and their rabbit-creature. I can take care of them later. I burn to have revenge on Laketown!

Bilbo: I’m horribly afraid Laketown will burn, as well.Read more... )
mary_j_59: (portrait)
“Why listen lady,” he said with a grin of delight, “the monks of old slept in their coffins!”

“They wasn’t as advanced as we are,” the old woman said. (From “The Life You Save May Be Your Own”, in The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor, Hardcover, 17th edition, FS&G 1981, page 149.)


Recent events have gotten me thinking about progress, which may be more illusory than it sometimes seems. G.K. Chesterton once wrote a poem about evolution. Its refrain went something like this: “Evolution – up, up, up/Evolutes us on, on, on”.  Similarly, C.S. Lewis compared evolution to a sailor climbing the rigging of a sinking ship. My point isn’t that evolution is false. On the contrary, it is as solidly proven as a scientific theory can be. Evolution certainly happens. And so does progress. But evolution is full of turning back and cross breeding and dead ends, and progress is very far from linear. It’s a serious mistake to think that, just because people lived before us – say, a generation or so – we are more advanced than they are.
mother shoots villain
Read more... )
mary_j_59: (portrait)

It is the weekend of Gaudete Sunday, so Im posting this. Here's the incomparable Maddy Prior and Steeleye Span, singing "Gaudete". Someone has kindly provided a translation of the verses in the comments; the chorus is "Rejoice, rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary! Rejoice!"

Let us remember that, in spite of the state of the world, there is much to rejoice about. Whatever you celebrate, I hope you'll have a happy, healthy winter festival.
mary_j_59: (portrait)
My sister and her teacher doing American waltz. I think they did a lovely job - and, honestly, I'm proud of the job i did filming, too! It's just a phone camera, but I managed to keep them in the frame all through the dance. Enjoy!
mary_j_59: (flute)
I read on twitter that Galway Kinnell was dead. Years ago, I read a poem of his, "Saint Francis and the Sow", in The Rattle Bag — an anthology Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney put together. It's one of the loveliest poems I've ever read - so full of love, and compassion, and truth. You can find the poem at the poetry foundation online, among other places. Here is a link to the full text. I wept when I first read it, and it makes me cry every time. I hope I may someday  write something as profound as this.

Saint Francis and the Sow by Galway Kinnell : The Poetry Foundation

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