October 2012


We had a guest today from Morgantown, an hour and 15 minutes east of us that is about 800 feet higher than us. He left home through a foot of snow but we only had rain.

Our electric went out at midnight. I contemplated getting up and starting our generator but was too tired and hoped our refrigerator would coast through the night. All glories to the utility crews because at 6 am it came back on.

We still have snow predicted for tomorrow but not that violence predicted.  So we’re fine.

Spooked cow tramples to death Palestinian trying to slaughter it for Muslim feast

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip –  A spooked cow killed a Palestinian man who was trying to slaughter the beast on Saturday during the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha, a Gaza health official said.

Muslims around the world slaughter sheep, cows and goats, during the four-day holiday that began Friday, giving away much of the meat to the poor. The Muslim holiday commemorates the sacrifice by the Prophet Ibrahim, known to Christians and Jews as Abraham.

But accidents are common as people frequently buy animals to slaughter themselves instead of paying professional butchers. The festive atmosphere at the site of the slaughtering also tends to make the animals fidgety.

The 52-year-old man who died was trampled to death, and another three people were seriously injured when the cow ran wild in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, said health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

In all, he said some 150 people were hospitalized in the Palestinian territory with knife wounds or other injuries caused by animals trying to break away.

Two similar incidents occurred in Pakistan on Saturday. …

Arise my body, my small body, we have striven
Enough, and He is merciful; we are forgiven.
Arise small body, puppet-like and pale, and go,
White as the bed-clothes into bed, and cold as snow,
Undress with small, cold fingers and put out the light,
And be alone, hush’d mortal, in the sacred night,
-A meadow whipt flat with the rain, a cup
Emptied and clean, a garment washed and folded up,
Faded in colour, thinned almost to raggedness
By dirt and by the washing of that dirtiness.
Be not too quickly warm again. Lie cold; consent
To weariness’ and pardon’s watery element.
Drink up the bitter water, breathe the chilly death;
Soon enough comes the riot of our blood and breath.

Sign the petition

Green Mountain College Will Feed Its Students Their ‘Mascot’ Oxen, Bill And Lou

(from the Huffington Post)

Imagine you’re an ox who lives in Vermont on a lovely farm at a college with a 14:1 student-to-staff ratio. You receive lots of individual attention. You look good in a fetching profile photo on the farm’s Facebook page. You have a best buddy named Bill who refuses to work without you around. The man who feeds you and scratches your chin when signaled just called you “beautiful” right in front of an NPR reporter.

Is this retirement? Paradise? No, the yoke’s on you. Your gimpy ankle betrayed you in a gopher hole and now you’re bound for the college cafeteria, your fate sealed by this “environmental liberal arts” college’s damn pledge not to destroy the whole planet.

That college is Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt. The school’s oxen, Lou and Bill, are still set to be slaughtered, but the students who have adopted the oxen as de facto mascots didn’t think the animals’ deaths would come soon as next week. They certainly didn’t think they’d have to eat them.

If the story sounds dramatic or even over-dramatic, that’s because it is, depending on whom you ask. To the 4,000-plus people who signed an online petition to save Bill and Lou, this is bullshit. Why should the oxen die? Especially if VINE, a super-reputable animal sanctuary nearby, has offered to take care of Lou and Bill at no cost to the college, according to NPR?

Bruce Friedrich, director of a farm animal protection organization, took to The Huffington Post’s blog last week to make this case, saying Green Mountain College was callous and chained to a system of thought that values efficiency and environmentalism over the humanities and liberal arts it purports to support:

In making this cold and severely utilitarian calculation, the college violates its founding principles, the liberal arts values it claims to follow, and true environmentalism. While the college’s analysis makes sense from a strictly utilitarian vantage that denies animals’ worth beyond what they can do for human beings, it makes no sense at all if one grants that Bill and Lou have an interest in their own lives. Basically, the college is saying that unless they can do something for humans, Bill and Lou’s lives are totally without value.

Answering to criticism, Green Mountain Provost William Throop told the Burlington Free Press, “We run a model, sustainable farm that integrates animal and vegetable production for the dining hall and community-supported agriculture.”

To administrators and students who support that vision, this is simply what sustainability tastes like. Oxen work the fields that feed students and they are processed into food when they can no longer do their work. Everyone pulls his own weight, it’s just best not to ask for whom the diner bell tolls.

“Although prema-bhakti is beyond words, whatever can be conveyed by authorized devotees is appreciated by those who are sincere and faithful. Krsnadasa Kaviraja says, ‘Just try to hear these topics with faith, for there is great pleasure even in hearing them. That hearing will destroy all miseries pertaining to the body, mind, and other living entities, and the unhappiness of false arguments as well.’ [Cc. Antya 19.110]”

Narada Bhakti Sutra 4: 51 purport

“And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept.  Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers,  we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover  is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.”

Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, ed. Naomi Burton, Brother Patrick Hart, and James Laughlin (New York: New Directions, 1973)  308

Today I was lifting and preparing my root crops for winter storage — carrots, beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes and yams.

This was the first time I have grown sweet potatoes and yams and researching how to cure them for storage, I found I really should have dug them weeks ago when the weather was warmer.  Temperatures below 50 F (10 C) can diminish quality and hurt storagability. I will be OK but will do better next year.

The parsnips were hard to get out of the ground and pushed my ability to get as I am quite weak anymore having lost so much muscle mass.  When I played soccer as recently  as 2004 my weight was consistently 178  lbs (81 Kg). I was definitely fatty and if I was in better shape should have played at about 170 (77 Kg), but now I am 144 (65 Kg)  and a lot of that weight loss has been  muscle. The skin hangs on my arms where once it was tight around muscle.

Most of the work though is rubbing dirt off and topping so I can sit for that.  I actually was able to spend about 5 hours doing real work for a change.

It is Indian Summer so it was pleasant being outdoors and the fall colors are still strong. We had exceptionally brilliant colors this fall and it seems like they are lingering longer than usual so if you look up it is pleasing to the eye.

See more fall color photos by Jaya Murari here.

Sign in a Paris hotel elevator: “Please leave your values at the front desk.”

Sign in a hotel in Athens: “Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.”

Sign in a Yugoslavian hotel: “The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.”

In a guest directory in a Japanese hotel: “You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid”

An advertising slogan as translated into Chinese: “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave; The original English version said “Pepsi Comes Alive”

Sign in a Norwegian cocktail bar: “Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar”

A Copenhagen airline ticket chose a different way of deterring customers with: “We take your bags and send them in all directions”

A Swiss restaurant menu took another approach: “Our wines leave you nothing to hope for”

A Bucharest hotel relied on a simple insult: “The lift is being fixed. During that time we regret you will be unbearable”

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