Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Swimming Through Life

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

J IS FOR JAVA!





The Rogue Speaks:

I thought I would give you all a break from my political and religious rants, so sit yourself down with a cup of java, and read all about it!!

A very long time ago, around the 9th century, some shepherds in Ethiopia noticed that their sheep became very frisky and playful after nibbling the berries of a certain plant. It was a coffee plant, and those sheep were getting a buzz from the caffeine! The popularity of eating coffee berries began to spread to Egypt, and in the fifteenth century Persia, Turkey and northern Africa were getting that caffeine buzz.

"Coffee" used to be called qahwa, the old Arab word for wine. It was a black drink made from the juice of the coffee berry. Muslims were forbidden to drink alcohol, but were allowed to drink coffee because it kept them awake during their nightly prayers. I guess it kept them from falling asleep in church!!

The coffee trees planted by the Arabs are the parents of most of the coffee plants in the world today. Pretty soon, everyone was drinking coffee! And all because of those sheep.

In the 17th century coffee trees could be found in Java, in the Dutch West Indies, and it is still grown there today, on coffee "estates." Java is also where kopi luwak comes from. It is the most expensive coffee in the world! You don't want to know how they clean the coffee berries to get the beans, because you would never drink another cup of kopi luwak (if you could afford to buy some, that is!).

Remember Juan Valdez? Ah, I can still see him, with his donkey, bringing coffee beans down from the mountains of Brazil! Most of the world's coffee actually comes from Brazil, but over 50 countries along the equator grow coffee. You would think that by now Juan could afford a Jeep Cherokee to bring those beans down, and give that donkey a rest!

In Turkey, bridegrooms used to make a promise during the wedding to always provide their new wives with coffee, otherwise it was "grounds" for divorce. Rod is not a Turk, but for the last 29 years he has faithfully provided me with coffee! What a guy!

You know how in westerns, the cowboys sit around the campfire drinking coffee out of tin cups? Want to know how they made that coffee? They put the ground coffee in a sock, and put it in the coffee pot with cold water. When the water was heated over the fire, the coffee was ready!! I don't know if they used a clean sock or not.

The inspiration for this post came from Java, Lizzy's mother, who is pictured above. Thank you, Java, for giving us such a sweet little girl to love.

Thanks, also, to Jenny and her Alphabe-Thursday. You really should to go her blog and check out the other entries. They're always good!!!

I must confess that this is not a brand new post, but one I wrote in 2010.  It's still interesting, though, yes?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Isis, and ISIS

The Rogue Speaks:

 
Sweet, loving Isis was a goddess in the Ancient Egyptian religion.  She was also worshipped in the Greco-Roman world.  Isis was the ideal mother and wife, and a friend of the downtrodden.  Even the wealthy aristocrats prayed to Isis, and she always listened.
 
The name Isis means "Throne."  Her headdress is a throne.  The pharaoh was her "child" and she provided the throne on which he sat.  Isis married her brother, Osiris (not gonna happen today, is it!!)  They had a baby, Horus.  Osiris was murdered by Set, his own brother, and Isis used her magic to resurrect him from the dead long enough to conceive Horus, even though she had to collect all his body parts first.
 
Egyptians believed that the Nile River flooded because of the tears of sorrow Isis wept for her beloved Osiris. This belief continued until paganism was suppressed in the Christian era.  The popular paintings of Horus nursing became a Christian theme, with Mary nursing the infant Jesus.
 
The kind and gentle Isis helped anyone she could, and still managed to keep the house clean and provide hardy meals for her family.  It would never enter her mind to kill or harm anyone!!
 
It is now 2014, and another ISIS appears on the scene.  Unfortunately this is not the good and kind ISIS, but a terrorist group with the same name.  The ISIS you have been hearing about in the news is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  It is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (the eastern Mediterranean), or ISIL. It is an active jihadist militant group in Iraq and Syria, and it is trying to be the "religious" authority of all Muslims.  To be fair, there are also other world-wide religious groups who feel that their way is the only way, and that anyone who does not follow their teachings is doomed.
 


          So I'm not showing them!!
 
 
 
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, who died in 1792 was the first modern Islamic fundamentalist and extremist, and ISIS is known for its "Wahhabist" interpretation of Islam.  Osama bin Laden came from Saudi Arabia, and was known to be a Wahhabi ( Please don't confuse the word with "Wasabi," which is a wonderful spicy condiment from Japan!  Hahahaha!!).  Mulammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab claimed that many Muslims were not true Muslims because they did not follow the strict teachings.  This is significant, because it is forbidden for one Muslim to kill another, but in the Wahhabist's skewed and sick interpretation of the Koran, if someone is not a "true" Muslim, then killing them is just fine and dandy! Many uneducated people believe that the Koran instructs the followers to kill the "infidels."  I kind of equate this with those who bomb abortion clinics, and kill innocent people simply because they think differently about abortion.  Do you get my drift?
 
ISIS does not regard their religion as just one school of thought--they believe it is the only way, and nothing else counts.  Does this sound familiar??
 
That's my "I" post for AlphabeThursday, so head over to Jenny's where " the "I's" have it!!!!
 
 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

H is for Hamas

The Rogue Speaks:

It's Alphabe-Thursday, and this week we are again back in the Middle East.

Who did it?  Who killed those Israeli teens?  Was it Hamas? Israel, the United States, Canada, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt, and Japan have classified Hamas as a Terrorist group, while Iran, Russia, Turkey, China, and many nations in the Arab world have not.

Hamas was founded in 1987 as part of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.  As we know, MUSLIMS are a strong RELIGIOUS sect, along with CHRISTIANS, and HEBREWS. So if Hamas is part of a religious sect, just what is it about their Muslim religion that makes it o.k. to kill innocent  people?  Is there ANY religion on earth that condones killing of innocents? Hmm!  Not really! But they all do it!  What makes it o.k. for Muslims to kill innocent people? Can  Hebrews  kill innocent people?  Is it justified for Christians to kill?

Oops!  I almost forgot about the Catholics!  The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition was established in 1478 by Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon, and Isabelle of Castile.  The purpose was clearly to convert Jews and Muslims to Catholocism.

The Inquisition did not end until the 19th century!  The last person to be EXECUTED  by the Inquisition on July 26, 1826, was Cayetano Ripoli, who had been the  Inquisition's  General Secretary in 1789.  He was hanged in Valencia for having taught deist principles.  As you know, the Founding Fathers, who wrote the Constitution of the United States, were largely made up of deists.  Yeah, I know that a lot of people don't believe that, but if you are not afraid of the truth, I encourage you to do a little investigating!

I could have made this another "H" post, but "Hahaha" isn't much of a post.

I welcome your response.

Now, go over to Jenny's blog and read the other entries!!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ginsburg's Dissent

The Rogue Speaks:



"In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs."
                                                                                              Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The five conservative-leaning justices on the court ruled that the government has to exempt companies who claim that because of their religion, they should not have to include birth control coverage in their insurance plans.

Ginsburg slammed the conservative judges, saying that these companies shouldn't be protected because accommodations "to religious beliefs or observances...must not significantly impinge on the interests of third parties."

To Ginsburg, the ruling is just plain horrifying.  Said Ginsburg, "The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield."

Most craft stores, including Hobby Lobby,  buy the vast majority of their inventory from China, a country which has a "two child" policy.  In other words, they are very strong on abortion and birth control.  If a "deeply religious" company buys most of their product from a country whose views are in direct conflict with the buyers' religion, doesn't that seem like a conflict of interest to you? It seems to me that religion goes out the window when it comes to profits.

Speaking of profits, Hobby Lobby has investments in certain pharmaceutical companies that along with many other drugs, make contraceptives.  If their religious beliefs are so strong, just how do they justify those investments??

As I have said before, in my post on Deism, there are conservative groups in this country who are trying to force their religious beliefs on the nation.  They would like to see their rules for life, health, and marriage become laws in America

Our Founding Fathers, who came to America to escape religious oppression, are just rolling over in their graves about now.





Friday, June 27, 2014

F is for Faust





The Rogue Speaks:

It's time again for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. I always try to read all the entries, because you never know just what you will learn, or laugh at, or find tender and loving. Try it! You won't be sorry. Now, here is my entry:

F is for Faust

"What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul?"
Matthew 16:26-27

Poor disillusioned, dispirited Faust! Despite his vast education, he is not satisfied with his life. He wants ALL knowledge and ALL power! So what does he do? He decides to become a sorcerer! Not only that, he summons up Mephistopheles to help him in his quest for all that knowledge and power!

The legend of Faust is based on a German magician, Johann Georg Faust (1480-1540), who actually lived in Knittlingen, Wurttemberg.

Faust, a brilliant scholar, had studied for many years. He became frustrated with his progress and lost faith in God. He conjured up old Mephisto and made a deal with him to serve Faust for a certain number of years. At the end of the term, the Devil will claim Faust's soul and take him to Hell.

Faust meets a beautiful young woman, Marguerite, who is so sweet and so innocent that Faust vows to have her. He asks the Devil to help him seduce her. The Devil agrees, and Marguerite falls deeply in love with Faust. Faust then discovers that the Devil has been lying to him all along. Marguerite dies, and Faust is beside himself! The Devil thinks that he now has Marguerite's soul, but nooooooo! She is so pure and so innocent that the angels come down and take her up to Heaven.

So the Devil thinks, "Well, I lost that one, but I still have Faust!!" Too bad for the Devil, though. He didn't count on the power of God, and the power of His forgiveness.

God realizes that Faust is heartily sorry for having offended Him. He recognizes, too, the value of Faust's thirst for knowledge, and that Faust, at long last, realizes the importance of pure love. God sends his angels down to snatch Faust away from the Devil, and bring him to Heaven, as well.

It is not by accident that the opera you hear in "The Phantom of the Opera is Gounod's "Faust." All through the story of the Phantom, the story of Faust peeks through.

Marguerite, Faust's innocent young love, is not unlike Christine, who is loved and desired by Erik. Erik possesses the best and worst of humanity, as does Faust. Both Erik and Faust display incredible love and passion for the women they long to have.

As soon as they discover love, both Faust and Erik become torn between the purity of love and the desire for true intellect. Christine's purity works to redeem Erik, just as Faust is redeemed by Marguerite's love for him.

Did you know that Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" was first a novel by Gaston Leroux (1868-1927)? It is a very old tale of desire, faith, love, and redemption. Goethe(1749-1832) wrote of Faust, as did Christopher Marlow(1564-1593), and others, as well.

The next time you listen to the soundtrack from the Broadway play, think about poor Faust!

I missed the deadline last week for my "E" entry, so if you scroll on down, you can read it!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

E is for Enigma

The Rogue Speaks:




I'm confused!  O.k., yeah, I know this is a common occurrence, but this time it's a little different.  I recently heard Dick Cheney say, "rarely has a president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many."

In the words of Jay Carney, President Obama's press secretary, "Which president is he talking about?"

It has been shown that Bush left Obama, and this country, a $1.2 trillion deficit.  If you don't believe this, then just check for yourself.  You can find the accurate figures with ease.  Just don't rely on Fox News, since they seem to have their heads up their asses most of the time.

Bush, despite what the conservatives say, failed to keep America safe.  It was on his watch that America suffered the worst attack on its own soil since Pearl Harbor.  Check it out, people!  This is not rocket science!  Someone seriously dropped the ball when the poor, misguided Bin Laden followers were allowed to enroll in classes to fly those jets!!!! They were even on a watch list, but sadly no one was watching.

Bush started his term as president with an agenda--he was determined to invade Iraq, long before 9/11.  In fact, it was well know by his "team" that this was his top priority,  before the devastation at the World Trade Center.  Once again, if you don't believe me, CHECK IT OUT!

In a press conference just six months after 9/11 Bush scolded those who were concerned about the whereabouts of Bin Laden, because they obviously did not understand the "scope of the mission."  He went on to say that Bin Laden was "just one person who I just don't spend that much time on."

I recently heard a comment from one of my conservative friends that there was no proof that Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attack.  When the people who piloted the planes can be directly connected to Bin Laden and his band of miscreants, just how much proof do you need????  When you see tape after tape of Bin Laden taking responsibility for the attack, how much proof do you need?

The American people are TIRED of war!  Too many lives have been lost because of all the lies that were told in order to garner support for the war in Iraq.  No one with half a brain can deny that!  It took a man like President Obama to finally put an end to Bin Laden, and  George Bush has been quoted as saying that Bin Laden was not his priority. 

Now those same people who led us into that silly war because of "weapons of mass destruction," yellow cake," aluminum tubes," etc. are trying to do the same thing again!  Iraq has been fighting against one middle-eastern group or another for thousands of years!  It's just what they do!  Not only that, but this is now a holy war between  religious sects.  Does this country really want to take sides in a war regarding religion?  Thanks to the Tea Party, we are having our own holy wars right here on our own turf!  Why would we want to enter into another one?

So now comes the ENIGMA--

Is Cheney finally apologizing to the American people for the Iraq war in which over 45,000 soldiers were wounded and killed, or is he dissing President Obama for bringing troops home?

Now head on over to Jenny's AlphabeThursday and fill your head with E's!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

D is for Deism

The Rogue Speaks:



This post is sort of a "two-parter."  The first part deals with the Constitution of the United States, and the First Amendment to that historic document by which our country is governed.  Please read very carefully the words of the First Amendment:

"Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791:
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."

Many scholars believe that the First Amendment is the most important part of the Constitution, because it protects several of the basic human rights, and reminds us of some of the dangerous areas on which the government might attempt to tread.  The first part, to me, is the part that this nation needs to become aware of, and to remember in the next few months.  It is MOST important.  There are conservative groups in this country who are trying to force their religious beliefs on the nation.  They would like to see their rules for life, health, and marriage become laws in America.  They want their religion to be THE religion of the United States.  As you can see, the Founding Fathers were firmly against this kind of thinking.  They had had enough of religious intolerance in England, and were determined that that intolerance NOT happen in America.

Forty of America's finest men signed the Constitution.  If they had not firmly believed in what they had written, do you think they would have put their names to it?  If you would like to see those names, let me know, and I will send you the list.

Many of these "conservative" groups have stated that all one has to do is read the Constitution to find that God had a hand in the writing, and that the name of God can be found in the words that were written.  Read it!  Read the Constitution, and see if you can find a reference to the God, or Jesus, or a Creator  that these modern "conservatives" worship.  Let me save you some time.  It isn't there.  The only reference you will find is "in the year of our Lord" which at that time was a common way of stating the date, and had nothing to do with religion.   The people who have told you otherwise either have not read the Constitution, or believe that you will not read it yourself, and will only take their word for it.

During the Republican debates, one of the hopefuls, a woman, stated with certainty that John Adams and his family were devout Christians who fought to abolish slavery.  First, slavery wasn't an issue at that time, and second, John Adams, his wife, Abigail Adams, and their son John Quincy Adams were actually Unitarians.  In fact, many of our founding fathers were either Deists or Unitarians, and were not at all associated with any conservative Christian group.  Thomas Jefferson, one of the signers of the Constitution,  is identified with both Unitarianism and Deism.

So, let's talk about Deism.  Deism is a religious philosophy that deals with reason and observation of the world at large.  The Deists feel that there is no need for organized religion.  They also do not believe  in the supernatural manifestations such as miracles.  They believe that God does not interfere with the decisions, good or bad, that we make in our lives.  Deists believe that human beings see God through the world around us, and through nature.

I took an active part in organized religion for many years, until one day I woke up and realized that that religion just wasn't working for me any more.  I'm not saying that I don't believe in God.  The jury is still out on that one.  But, like the Deists, I don't believe that God intervenes in our lives, to save us in times of need.  If He did, no children would die needlessly, and no people would be made to suffer from painful and debilitating diseases. I don't believe in miracles, and I certainly don't believe that an image of the Virgin Mary appearing on a toasted bagel is a message from God. The Deists believe that God does not interfere with  situations in the natural world.  If He did, He would be on serious overload 24 hours a day! 

Here is an example of that overload:  Rod's brother, an evangelical, came to visit us a few years ago.  He had been in Phoenix for a chiropractic seminar, and came down to play golf with Rod before going back to Atlanta.  The day before, he had lost his "readers."  I happened to have an extra pair that someone had left in my booth at an art fair, so I gave them to him.  He proceeded to tell me that God had provided those readers for him in answer to his prayers!  Really?????  God has enough time on his hands these days to come up with readers for you??? Get over yourself!  Women are being raped in Africa! Children are starving in third word countries!  And God provided you with "readers"?????

Getting back to the Deists, here are some names that you might recognize as contributors to the American way of life over the years:

George Washington
Benjamin Franklin
Ethan Allen
James Madison
Mark Twain
Thomas Jefferson
Albert Einstein
Thomas Paine

 I can go on, but I doubt seriously that the people who really need to get this message are actually reading this post and THINKING.   What I really want is for those sanctimonious people to realize that the rest of us have just as much a right to our beliefs as they do, and to quit trying to undo what our Founding Fathers did when they wrote the Constitution.  Freedom of religion is a basic human right.