C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Drive: The King of Love My Shepherd Is

As performed by Sir Cliff Richard on his 1967 album Good News:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Revolution of Tenderness

Pope Francis delivered a surprise TED talk this week, recorded at the Vatican, which your Head Trucker finds very appropriate to this moment in history, when all the world seems consumed by arrogance, ignorance, and deadly hatred.   Excerpt:
How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us. How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries. Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the "culture of waste," which doesn't concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.

Solidarity is a term that many wish to erase from the dictionary. Solidarity, however, is not an automatic mechanism. It cannot be programmed or controlled. It is a free response born from the heart of each and everyone. Yes, a free response! When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being? . . .

The story of the Good Samaritan is the story of today’s humanity. People's paths are riddled with suffering, as everything is centered around money, and things, instead of people. And often there is this habit, by people who call themselves "respectable," of not taking care of the others, thus leaving behind thousands of human beings, or entire populations, on the side of the road. Fortunately, there are also those who are creating a new world by taking care of the other, even out of their own pockets. Mother Teresa actually said: "One cannot love, unless it is at their own expense."

We have so much to do, and we must do it together. But how can we do that with all the evil we breathe every day? Thank God, no system can nullify our desire to open up to the good, to compassion and to our capacity to react against evil, all of which stem from deep within our hearts. Now you might tell me, "Sure, these are beautiful words, but I am not the Good Samaritan, nor Mother Teresa of Calcutta." On the contrary: we are precious, each and every one of us. Each and every one of us is irreplaceable in the eyes of God. Through the darkness of today's conflicts, each and every one of us can become a bright candle, a reminder that light will overcome darkness, and never the other way around. . . .

The third message I would like to share today is, indeed, about revolution: the revolution of tenderness. And what is tenderness? It is the love that comes close and becomes real. It is a movement that starts from our heart and reaches the eyes, the ears and the hands. Tenderness means to use our eyes to see the other, our ears to hear the other, to listen to the children, the poor, those who are afraid of the future. To listen also to the silent cry of our common home, of our sick and polluted earth. Tenderness means to use our hands and our heart to comfort the other, to take care of those in need.

Tenderness is the language of the young children, of those who need the other. A child’s love for mom and dad grows through their touch, their gaze, their voice, their tenderness. I like when I hear parents talk to their babies, adapting to the little child, sharing the same level of communication. This is tenderness: being on the same level as the other. God himself descended into Jesus to be on our level. This is the same path the Good Samaritan took. This is the path that Jesus himself took. He lowered himself, he lived his entire human existence practicing the real, concrete language of love.

Yes, tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility. Please, allow me to say it loud and clear: the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other. There is a saying in Argentina: "Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach." You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with humility and tenderness. Through humility and concrete love, on the other hand, power – the highest, the strongest one – becomes a service, a force for good.
Full text here.

Click the "CC" button at the bottom of the video to see English subtitles.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Waitin' for the Weekend

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Waitin' for the Weekend

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Pork Boys Do Easter 2017

Some photos of our Easter feast, along with scenes from M. P.'s garden - click photos to enlarge:

A simple white table with flowers and Easter eggs

Easter egg tree

Electric fireplace decorated with paper flowers

Appetizer:  colored deviled eggs 

Soup: chicken and potato

Entree no. 1:  boneless chicken thighs stuffed with dressing, in a cream sauce

Entree no. 2:  Baked ham with orange sauce

Pineapple casserole (left) and creamed corn; not pictured is a pot of boiled kale

Potato salad with radish roses

A full plate with a "bunny roll" at right

M. P. made a garden this year, the first in a long while.  Here is how it looked on the first of April, just before a heavy rain that night:

Front view:  It took M.P. several weekends to get all this dug up, composted, enclosed, and planted with 20 or so varieties of vegetables.  At the rear, the new compost enclosure he built.

New stepping stones, using found tiles

Closeup of two varieties of tomato plants, showing M.P.'s markers made out of wooden skewers and cut-outs from a milk jug.  At right his ingenious first example of a plant protector made from a clear soda bottle.

Rear view, where squash and cucucumbers are still hiding below ground

And here is the view on Easter Sunday, showing marked progress:

Front view showing more plant protectors around the tomato plants 

Rear view with a lively growth of squash and other things

M.P. also planted several varieties of rosebushes; here are the first two blooming now:

Green Ice miniature roses; as you can see at the top of the bush, they are a pale green when they first blossom.

Sunset rose:  a delicate shade of orange, with a lovely scent.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter 2017

The Incredulity of St. Thomas by Guernico (1591-1666)

I wish a very Happy Easter to all my truckbuddies.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Little Night Music

Photo by Ben Gierig, Semperopernball.
Click to enlarge.
Difficulties of one kind and another prevented your Head Trucker from making his usual Palm Sunday post yesterday, but although we are still technically in the sorrowful season of Lent, he has felt the need of something uplifting, a pleasant reminiscence of simpler, happier times to distract his thoughts from the cares and alarums of the present.  The following concert worked nicely for an hour, and I recommend it to any of my truckbuddies whose feelings may also need something light and gay to dwell on for a while.

Andre Rieu and his orchestra in performance at the all-night Semperopernball in Dresden, on February 3rd of this year:

One would have liked to go to a ball, a real ball, just once - sigh.  Alas, no fairy godmother with pumpkin and mice ever came.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Waitin' for the Weekend

Monday, April 3, 2017

Yankee Voters Love Trump

The Connecticut State Capitol

Last week, Alisyn Camerota of CNN's morning program New Day talked with a group of clean-cut, all-American Trump voters at the Connecticut statehouse.  This ties directly into my post last Tuesday, attempting to answer Frank's questions about "where did these people come from" - well, here is a nest of them in Frank's native state, and they are just what I said they were in my post: neither gruesome monsters nor raving lunatics, but ordinary, everyday Americans who are tragically, dangerously misguided and misinformed - and determined to stay that way.

More than that -- I want all you Yankee boys out there to listen closely to their remarks and remember these two vids next time you are tempted to bad-mouth all us Southerners as dumb, stupid rednecks.

Ignorance and blind faith, of course, have no fixed address, and are spread throughout North, South, East, and West, and all up and down the social scale.

This willfully blind faith in a political messiah is the exact equivalent of fanatical religious faith, it seems to me. But it gets even worse when the two are melded:  according to this utterly insipid guest on the Jim Bakker Show last week, Trump really, truly is "God's chosen one" and God Himself is going to curse you and your children if you don't support Trump -- no wonder so many "liberal" people hate the very name of Christianity now:

Problem is, as you fellas know if you've ever tried to talk with a Bible-thumper on your doorstep, it's nearly impossible to get someone to see what they don't want to see. The same principle applies to political fanaticism as to the religious kind.  People most often believe what they need to believe - reason and logic have nothing to do with it. That's why the nation is so polarized now, and I don't know how or when that will change.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday Drive: April in Paris

Ella sings it live in Brussels, 1957:

Saturday, April 1, 2017

In Memoriam: Gilbert Baker, 1951-2017

Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag, died yesterday at age 65.  Too young, but what a beautiful legacy he left us all.

Of course, many variants of the rainbow flag have been created in countries all around the world, and if not for Gilbert, we wouldn't have seen this fabulous sight on June 26, 2015:

So Gilbert's little sparkle of creativity has rippled out across the whole world and will cascade down the years, a symbol of pride, freedom, and hope to countless millions. What better memorial could there be? May he rest in peace.

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