Thursday, December 29, 2011


As this calendar year draws to a close, we put away our holiday things, and we bid farewell to our celebrations, I hope your new year will be free from conflict, filled with Peace and joy. Put aside your delusions of grandeur, be humble, be understanding and patient. Enjoy life no matter what comes, be it a warm sunny day, snow up to your belly, or crunchy leaves to roll in. Take time to watch the birds, enjoy a good meal. Let life be OK whether you sleep on a catnip pillow or a brick.

It is all good. Take time to meditate.

Avoid showing off… Be modest. Avoid being sent to a corner. Be cool. Take life in stride, both the highs and the lows. Hang out with your friends, sleep overs are always good. And don’t forget to let those very best friends knAdd Imageow how much you care!With love from Hadji, Rascal, Punkin, and Spook

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Today is the Solstice. It can be proven by measuring the position of the sun and the length of the day. Many folks celebrate the Solstice, not as a superstition thing (If we don't sacrifice a calf the sun won't come back!) Most of the stories about what the "pagans" did were made up by those who wanted to convert them (add to the collection plate, etc). The actual date of the Solstice varies from year to year by a day or 2 - the earth wobbles a bit - and then there are time zones. Plus, this is the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere. Cool, huh? Or warm in Rio. So, whether you celebrate it or not, I hope your Solstice and the new year (sun-wise) is happy and healthy for you.

Next - December 25th….. Happy Birthday to, um, ah………

Many Christians are unaware that the true spirit of reverence which Muslims display towards Jesus and his mother Mary spring from the fountainhead of their faith as prescribed in the Holy Quran. Most do not know that a Muslim does not take the name of Jesus , without saying Eesa alai-hiss-salaam i.e. (Jesus peace be upon him).

Many Christians do not know that in the Holy Qur'an, Jesus is mentioned by name twenty-five times. For example:

.. We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit. .. Quran 2:87

Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah gives thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. Quran 3:45

.. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an apostle of Allah .. Quran 4:171

And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him .. Quran 5:46

And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous: Quran 6:85

The Quranic Titles of Jesus
Though Jesus is mentioned by name in twenty-five places in the Holy Quran he is also addressed with respect as: "Ibne Maryam" - son of Mary; as Masi (Heb) Messiah - translated as Christ; "Abd-ullah" servant of Allah; "Rasul -Ullah" - Messenger of Allah.

He is spoken of as "the word of God", as "the spirit of God", as a "Sign of God", and numerous other epithets of honor spread over fifteen different chapters. The Holy Quran honors this great Messenger of God, and over the past fourteen hundred years Muslims continue to hold Jesus as a symbol of truth.

Christmas and 25th of December
Jesus is commonly considered to have been born on the 25th of December. However, it is common knowledge among Christian scholars that he was not born on this day. It is well known that the first Christian churches held their festival in May, April, or January. Scholars of the first two centuries AD even differ in which year he was born, some believing that he was born fully twenty years before the current accepted date. So how was the 25th of December selected as the birthday of Jesus?

Grolier's encyclopedia says: "Christmas is the feast of the birth of Jesus Christ, celebrated on December 25 ... Despite the beliefs about Christ that the birth stories expressed, the church did not observe a festival for the celebration of the event until the 4th century.... since 274, under the emperor Aurelian, Rome had celebrated the feast of the "Invincible Sun" on December 25. In the Eastern Church, January 6, a day also associated with the winter solstice, was initially preferred. In course of time, however, the West added the Eastern date as the Feast of the Epiphany, and the East added the Western date of Christmas".

So who else celebrated the 25th of December as the birth day of their gods before it was agreed upon as the birth day of Jesus ? Well, there are the people of India who rejoice, decorate their houses with garlands, and give presents to their friends on this day. The people of China also celebrate this day and close their shops. Buddha is believed to have been born on this day. The great savior and god of the Persians, Mithras, is also believed to have been born on the 25th of December long before the coming of Jesus .

The Egyptians celebrated this day as the birth day of their great savior Horus, the Egyptian god of light and the son of the "virgin mother" and "queen of the heavens" Isis. Osiris, god of the dead and the underworld in Egypt, the son of "the holy virgin", again was believed to have been born on the 25th of December.

The Greeks celebrated the 25th of December as the birthday of Hercules, the son of the supreme god of the Greeks, Zeus, through the mortal woman Alcmene Bacchus, the god of wine and revelry among the Romans (known among the Greeks as Dionysus) was also born on this day.

Adonis, revered as a "dying-and-rising god" among the Greeks, miraculously was also born on the 25th of December. His worshipers held him a yearly festival representing his death and resurrection, in midsummer. The ceremonies of his birthday are recorded to have taken place in the same cave in Bethlehem which is claimed to have been the birth place of Jesus .

The Scandinavians celebrated the 25th of December as the birthday of their god Freyr, the son of their supreme god of the heavens, Odin.

The Romans observed this day as the birthday of the god of the sun, Natalis Solis Invicti ("Birthday of Sol the invincible"). There was great rejoicing and all shops were closed. There was illumination and public games. Presents were exchanged, and the slaves were indulged in great liberties. These are the same Romans who would later preside over the council of Nicaea (325 CE) which lead to the official Christian recognition of the "Trinity" as the "true" nature of God, and the "fact" that Jesus was born on the 25th of December too.

In Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon says: "The Roman Christians, ignorant of his (Christ's) birth, fixed the solemn festival to the 25th of December, the Brumalia, or Winter Solstice, when the Pagans annually celebrated the birth of Sol " vol. ii, p. 383.

There are several Christian groups who are opposed to Christmas. For example, they take the verse from the Bible in Jeremiah 10:2-4 as an admonition against decorating Christmas trees. The King James Version reads: "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen.... For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not."

In order to understand this subject, it is helpful to trace some of the history of Christmas avoidance, particularly its roots in Puritanism. The Puritans believed that the first-century church modeled a Christianity that modern Christians should copy. They attempted to base their faith and practice solely on the New Testament, and their position on Christmas reflected their commitment to practice a pure, scriptural form of Christianity. Puritans argued that God reserved to himself the determination of all proper forms of worship, and that he disapproved of any human innovations - even innovations that celebrated the great events of salvation. The name Christmas also alienated many Puritans. Christmas, after all, meant "the mass of Christ." The mass was despised as a Roman Catholic institution that undermined the Protestant concept of Christ, who offered himself once for all. The Puritans' passionate avoidance of any practice that was associated with papal Rome caused them to overlook the fact that in many countries the name for the day had nothing to do with the Catholic mass, but focused instead on Jesus' birth. The mass did not evolve into the form abhorred by Protestants until long after Christmas was widely observed. The two customs had separate, though interconnected, histories.

As ardent Protestants, Puritans identified the embracing of Christianity by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the early 300s CE as the starting point of the degeneration and corruption of the church. They believed the corruption of the church was brought on by the interweaving of the church with the pagan Roman state. To Puritans, Christmas was impure because it entered the Roman Church sometime in this period. No one knows the exact year or under what circumstances Roman Christians began to celebrate the birth of their Lord, but by the mid-300s CE, the practice was well established.

Islam requires Muslims to respect the faith of others. Regardless of historical facts and theological differences that Christians may have among themselves or theological differences Muslims may have with Christianity we cannot disregard the sentiments of practicing Christians who use this occasion to revere Jesus .

Prophet Muhammad was always very respectful towards the Christians. According to Islamic historians, Ibn e Saad and Ibn e Hisham, once there was a delegation of Byzantine Christians, who were traveling from Yemen to Madinah. The delegation was led by a bishop by the name of Zqyd al-Usquf, who came to discuss a number of issues with Prophet Muhammad. When the time of their prayer came, they asked the Prophet if they could do their worship in the mosque of the Prophet. He answered, "Conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place dedicated to God."

We should never ridicule the religious beliefs of others, no matter how much we disagree with them. God says in the Quran: "And insult not those whom they worship besides God, lest they insult God wrongfully without knowledge. Thus We have made fair-seeming to each people its own doings; then to their Lord is their return and He shall then inform them of all that they used to do". Quran, 6:108

For whatever you celebrate, I wish you Peace and Love. Isn't that what He tried to teach us? What better way to celebrate than a day of loving each and all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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How did you do?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Think you know about Pearl Harbor? May I suggest you do some research - I bet you will be shocked at what the world has not known until recently. Who really started that war? Why did FDR move all the newer and better warships out of the harbor before the attack. Think the powers that be knew we were going to be bombed? You betcha. So the decision was made - which of our boys were going to be sacrificed so the US could go to war? Go ahead, google it.

"Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?" by Patrick J. Buchanan
"On Dec. 8, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt took the rostrum before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war on Japan. A day earlier, at dawn, carrier-based Japanese aircraft had launched a sneak attack devastating the U.S. battle fleet at Pearl Harbor. Said ex-President Herbert Hoover, Republican statesman of the day, "We have only one job to do now, and that is to defeat Japan." But to friends, "the Chief" sent another message: "You and I know that this continuous putting pins in rattlesnakes finally got this country bit."Today, 70 years after Pearl Harbor, a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light. It is Hoover's explanation of what happened before, during and after the world war that may prove yet the death knell of the West. Edited by historian George Nash, "Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath" is a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war. Yet the book is no polemic. The 50-page run-up to the war in the Pacific uses memoirs and documents from all sides to prove Hoover's indictment. And perhaps the best way to show the power of this book is the way Hoover does it - chronologically, painstakingly, week by week.Consider Japan's situation in the summer of 1941. Bogged down in a four year war in China she could neither win nor end, having moved into French Indochina, Japan saw herself as near the end of her tether. Inside the government was a powerful faction led by Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoye that desperately did not want a war with the United States. The "pro-Anglo-Saxon" camp included the navy, whose officers had fought alongside the U.S. and Royal navies in World War I, while the war party was centered on the army, Gen. Hideki Tojo and Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, a bitter anti-American. On July 18, 1941, Konoye ousted Matsuoka, replacing him with the "pro-Anglo-Saxon" Adm. Teijiro Toyoda.The U.S. response: On July 25, we froze all Japanese assets in the United States, ending all exports and imports, and denying Japan the oil upon which the nation and empire depended. Stunned, Konoye still pursued his peace policy by winning secret support from the navy and army to meet FDR on the U.S. side of the Pacific to hear and respond to U.S. demands. U.S. Ambassador Joseph Grew implored Washington not to ignore Konoye's offer, that the prince had convinced him an agreement could be reached on Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and South and Central China. Out of fear of Mao's armies and Stalin's Russia, Tokyo wanted to hold a buffer in North China.On Aug. 28, Japan's ambassador in Washington presented FDR a personal letter from Konoye imploring him to meet. Tokyo begged us to keep Konoye's offer secret, as the revelation of a Japanese prime minister's offering to cross the Pacific to talk to an American president could imperil his government. On Sept. 3, the Konoye letter was leaked to the Herald-Tribune. On Sept. 6, Konoye met again at a three-hour dinner with Grew to tell him Japan now agreed with the four principles the Americans were demanding as the basis for peace. No response. On Sept. 29, Grew sent what Hoover describes as a "prayer" to the president not to let this chance for peace pass by. On Sept. 30, Grew wrote Washington, "Konoye's warship is ready waiting to take him to Honolulu, Alaska or anyplace designated by the president." No response. On Oct. 16, Konoye's cabinet fell.In November, the U.S. intercepted two new offers from Tokyo: a Plan A for an end to the China war and occupation of Indochina and, if that were rejected, a Plan B, a modus vivendi where neither side would make any new move. When presented, these, too, were rejected out of hand. At a Nov. 25 meeting of FDR's war council, Secretary of War Henry Stimson's notes speak of the prevailing consensus: "The question was how we should maneuver them (the Japanese) into ... firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves." "We can wipe the Japanese off the map in three months," wrote Navy Secretary Frank Knox.As Grew had predicted, Japan, a "hara-kiri nation," proved more likely to fling herself into national suicide for honor than to allow herself to be humiliated. Out of the war that arose from the refusal to meet Prince Konoye came scores of thousands of U.S. dead, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the fall of China to Mao Zedong, U.S. wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the rise of a new arrogant China that shows little respect for the great superpower of yesterday. If you would know the history that made our world, spend a week with Mr. Hoover's book."

My heart aches for those who died because politicians decided it was their time.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


After hours and hours of preparation, and an hour and a half waiting, the Santa Train rolled into town yesterday. Even tho there were numerous Santa imitators around on Saturday, we had the real deal at our train station! Cookies, popcorn, and hot chocolate were available, free to the public, served graciously by our wonderful volunteers.

This year, our station had a nice clean spot for Santa and Company, a "living room" of sorts, a clean floor to sit on, spare furniture from my barn, a rug from my kitchen, and the tent to mark the space, control the lighting, and a tree and train (of course) under the tree. There is also the required milk and cookies, er, cookie with a bite taken out of it, and a fern hanging to hide the wiring and plugs. Stage Craft 204. Who'd believe that class would still pay off almost 50 years later? At the other stops along the track, Santa greets the kids outside the train, and I hear mob control is difficult. We were very orderly and well mannered here.

Some kids brought a list that took several pages. This one was 4 pages long... These girls were having a Santa Birthday Party . Some admitted that had been mostly kinda good... but, "well, I had a slip or two, Santa."

Some were older, some were very young. All were precious. Santa and Mrs Claus, his helpers, and our motley crew! Happy Holidays from the SPOTS Board of Directors.

Friday, November 25, 2011


NO, we did not EAT him, he just paid us a visit, much to Punkin's dislike, not that Punkin dislikes possums, but he was not feeling like sharing. Punk went over and took a sniff, turned around and got back on the steps to wait until the slow poke finished and "mommy" brought out fresh food. I did not recognize this possum. I guess he was visiting for Thanksgiving. He sure was a big fella, and hungry. Or maybe he just liked the fixin's here. The big crockery DOG dish is heavy. Raccoons can't steal it, the wind can't blow it away. The plastic keeps the food dry in a windy rain, and keeps leaves out of their food. More camellias are in bloom. I am never sure which is more impressive, the masses of flowers, or the individual ones. Even tho we have had temps below freezing, the camellias are quite happy. If you follow this blog, you might remember pics of snow on the camellias from last winter... one of my favorite sights. They get "burned" when the sun shines on the ice on the petals, so some folks cover their plants. Camellias are hardy, to a point. They will not take repeated freezing temps like in the teens. These leaves are from last week. The wind from Wednesday stripped the bush of all but its berries.
I hope you had a happy Turkey Day. Be safe over the holidays!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I have been in many places, but I've never been in Cahoots. Apparently, you can't go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport; you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends and family.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump, and I'm not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go, and I try not to visit there too often.

I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older.

One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense! It really gets the adrenaline flowing and pumps up the old heart! At my age I need all the stimulus I can get!                                                          

And, sometimes I think I am in Vincible but life shows me I am not!

I have been in Deepshit many times; in fact the older I get, the longer I stay because I feel so much at home there.

Monday, November 14, 2011


THIS IS an amazingly beautiful time of year. Sure, it has been pretty in New England, yeah, the Poconos were awesome, as usual... and there is nothing as beautiful as the rocky coast of Maine anytime of the year. But, I am getting, OK, make that, I am older... and those beautiful hills and that beautiful but treacherous snow is something I no longer want to deal with on a daily basis. Here on the shore, we have something that we can't find in Maine. Won't happen in the Poconos... but brings beauty to the shore starting in mid-september, blooming often all winter long, into late spring... Camellias.
Some of these camellias are 12 feet or taller! This is Yule Tide by the maple tree. See the power line running thru it?

As you can see, by now, most of my camellias are more like small trees. This last one is Yule Tide again. It is also more than 12 feet across. I know it needs to be cut back, but I so hate doing that. Yule Tide was a gift from my friend Sabra, more than 20 years ago.
Yesterday, I was taking a short walk around the place with my camera noticing all the beautiful color combinations for this time of year. Yes, they will change soon. It is windy this morning and the leaves are falling as I type this. But let me share a bit of My Little Corner of the World with you today.

The berries are plentiful this year. That is supposed to mean another rough winter. We shall see.

And! Look carefully, a baby zucchini! See it?