Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy Week

The week is reserved for contemplation and adoration of our Saviour, Advocate, Elder Brother.

Maundy Thursday commemorate the Last Supper Christ shared with his apostles.

Good Friday commemorate the Crucifixion of Our Lord and Saviour.

Holy Saturday commemorate the Lamentations at the Tomb of Christ.

We will celebrate next Sunday!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chaucer in Colorado #T

Upon completion of my junior year in high school, I transferred to Colorado Springs High School for my final year. Before school started, I had an appointment with my new counselor to complete my class schedule. Much to my surprise, I found that a schedule had already been made for me, which included senior math classes and physics, the primary reason for my transfer, since these were not available at my previous school.

Also included, however, was "Senior English," a course which I had no intention of taking, since the state required only three years of English. I said, "This is all right, except I am not taking English." The counselor replied, "Yes, you are." And I did.

My senior English teacher was Miss Lillian Bateman. The class met (I think I recall this correctly) during second period of the day, late enough that being tardy would not foil this class, yet early enough that the energy had not yet flagged. The year I was in her class, Miss Bateman was sixty-one years of age, one might say in her prime. For some reason which eludes me to this day, she chose to designate me "Able Seaman," notwithstanding the nearest I had ever been to a ship was the rowboat in the park. Wanna know what struck fear into my heart? "Mr. Lacy, Able Seaman." Until I eventually learned that the worst that was going to happen was that I would appear to be a fool; and thus I strove to insure that would not happen. What a technique: scare the ignorance out of you. (Knew some preachers during this time in my life who used a similar ploy to "scare the hell out of you.")

One of the assignments as we were studying the Middle English period was to memorize the first twelve lines of the Prologue to Canterbury Tales. I imposed a few extra lines on myself. I can recite it to this day in my very best Chaucerian English, should you ask me to do it.
But here, learn it for yourself. Unfortunately, Miss Bateman is no longer with us to teach you pronunciation and inflection.

WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open ye,
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages:
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmers for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.

-----Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 - 1400)

Lillian Bateman 1890 - 1985 RIP

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Text: Gospel According to St. Matthew, chapter 21:
5: Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
6: And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
7: And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
8: And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9: And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
10: And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
11: And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
12: And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
13: And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
14: And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
15: And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
16: And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

Painting: Triumphal Entry, by Henry Martin

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Food Chain

There is a very interesting nature story in today's Seattle Times. This article relates the conflict between the great blue heron and the bald eagle in the Seattle area. Interesting story here.

Picture from Seattle Times

Friday, March 26, 2010


Wednesday evening we went "jamming." We rode to the event in Aransas Pass with friends Judy and Mahlon from Nebraska. The band consisted of ten guitars, a dobro, three fiddles, a harmonica, and a keyboard. Most of these musicians sang solos in addition to playing their instruments. There were also several singers who provided solos backed by the band. Each participant did two numbers over the course of the evening. What a wonderful, relaxing and fun way to spend a few hours!

Following the closing down of the venue, many of the people who were in attendance repaired to a nearby Whataburger(TM) where burgers, fries and shakes put the cap on the evening.

That's BBBH performing, upper left. Judy is on keyboard.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 25, 2010

For Sister on Her Birthday

First and foremost, Happy Birthday.

I once said I would stop reminding you of the passage of years. I lied. Besides, we are now both at a point in our lives where the numbers only represent achievement! And yeah, I'll always be older than you.

The images show you in a [very] slightly younger stage of your life with your groom and the three generations of ancestors immediately preceding you.

We love you.

Born in a little house in a
little town in south-central
Nebraska. March 25

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Bit More English History

Margaret of Anjou was born 23 March 1430 in Lorraine.
She died 25 August 1482 in Anjou and was interred in Angers Cathedral. Her remains were removed and scattered during the French Revolution three hundred years later.

In attempting to make a selection of one worthy of commemoration today, I looked through a list of celebrities and quasi-celebrities as well as lists of the notorious and the felonious. I picked Margaret, because you can't make this stuff up.

I am not a historian, but I have long had a keen fascination with the feats and peccadillos of our ancestors. In attempting to truncate volumes (literally) of information down to a post-sized snippet, there is danger of doing violence to history. I hope not to do that.

I have looked at ancestral charts for the honoree of the day, but have chosen not to go into the genealogical background, fascinating though it is.

We will start with the Lady as a women of fifteen years who, according to one account was "already a woman, beautiful, passionate and proud, and knew her duty which was to zealously guard the interests of the Crown." With these credentials, she married Henry VI of England in 1445.

Henry was eight years older than Margaret and had "ruled" England since his infancy. Unfortunately, about the time their only son was born, Henry fell into a state of mental incompetence which rendered him incapable of functioning as king. But Margaret proceeded to "zealously guard the Crown."

By March 1461 Edward IV of Lancaster who, curiously enough, was married to Elizabeth Woodville who was Maid of Honor at the wedding of Margaret and Henry, had deposed Henry and declared himself king. End of story.

Not so fast.

Margaret, enlisting her cousin, Louis XI of France in her cause, took his suggestion that she form an alliance with Neville, Duke of Warwick. This was accomplished by the marriage of her son the Prince of Wales to Warwick's daughter, Anne Neville. Warwick was successful in returning Henry to the throne in October 1470. But the Yorkists under Edward returned to the lists, and Margaret herself led her forces against him at the Battle of Tewkesbury, 4 May 1471. She was defeated and captured and her seventeen-year-old son was killed.

Margaret was imprisoned at Wallingford Castle and later at the Tower of London until she was ransomed by the King of France in 1475, at which time she moved to France where she lived out her days.

Image: Wikipedia

You might also like Lady Jane; Eleanor Castile; or Royal Wedding.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Massacre 1622

Friday, March 22, 1621/22 the Powhatan under the leadership of Opechancanough entered the homes of the Virginia Colonists unarmed and bearing produce, ostensibly to sell to the settlers. Once inside the homes, the native inhabitants of the land grasped whatever weapons were at hand and slew the occupants of the houses.

The history books refer to this as "The Indian Massacre of 1622."

The Great Chief Wahunsunacock was also known as Powhatan. Thus he went by the name of the confederation of Indians over whom he ruled. Powhatan had become convinced that the white man did not come to their land with peaceful ends in view, but rather to subjugate the land and its peoples. He made every attempt to maintain positive relationships with the settlers; but clearly this was not going to end well.

Wahunsunacock died in 1618. His brother Opechancanough solidified his claim to tribal leadership and took a more bellicose stance toward the settlers. He believed that if the English were soundly defeated in a foray they would withdraw and return to their homeland; for this is, after all, the way any "civilized" Indian group would behave upon being defeated in battle. The colonists stayed, thus proving this thinking to be in gross error. The English brought reprisals upon the Indians and it was 22 years before the Algonquins again attacked the whites.

Reference to the attack of 1644.
Image: detail from John Smith's Map of Virginia, 1612

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On the Lord's Day

Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!
for in one hour is thy judgment come.
03/21/10 22:47

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Big Country, Few People

Yesterday's pictures were taken along US 77 at the "exit" to Sarita, Texas. Sarita is the county seat of Kenedy County. There are barely more than 400 residents in Kenedy County, and with 1946 square miles of territory, the population density is approximately one-quarter person per square mile (0.28 at the 2000 census). There are over 100 times as many cattle as there are people.

There is only one highway in the county, US 77 which traverses Kenedy north and south. At any given moment, the number of persons in vehicles traveling through the county doubtless more than doubles the population. But they don't get to be counted. Nor pay taxes. Yes, there is a public school system. Sarita Elementary (k - 6) serves almost the entire county.

The (in)famous Dick Cheney hunting incident took place in Kenedy County.

It Is --

Friday, March 19, 2010

Northbound 77

Yesterday, we drove from Edinburg to Rockport. We made our usual stop at Raymondville for gasoline and groceries. They like us in R-ville, I mean after all we leave quite a bit of cash there each year. In about an hour. Here, though is our next stop in the middle of Kenedy County. Trust me, we weren't the only people pulled off the side of the road and out wading around in this display.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Ides of March

Hero or villain, Jose Doroteo Arango Arambula was a major player in the first quarter of the last century. His "Robin Hood" exploits endeared him to his followers and irritated merchants and landholders. On the fifteenth of March in 1916, President Wilson authorized the use of 12,000 troops to pursue this bandit into Mexico. Perhaps the US was a little irritated with his raids into American territoy, and the Battle of Columbus (NM) was not forgotten. Under the leadership of General John J. Pershing, this contingent chased the man for a year and failed to capture him.

Upon his retirement from action in 1920, Arango was given a large estate which he turned into a "military colony" for his former soldiers. He was assassinated in 1923 when he chose not to get involved in Mexican politics again. Twenty years after his death, he was recognized as a Mexican national hero, and his memory is honored by Mexicans, Americans and many other peoples worldwide. Many place names in Mexico commemorate the life of Francisco Villa

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.--Philippians 4:11

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.--1Tmothy 6:8

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.--Hebrews 13:5

 We live in an economic and social milieu in which we are bombarded by marketing techniques and advertising ploys which are specifically designed to engender dissatisfaction! The devil is good at what he does, and he will use anything available to draw you away from contentment in Christ!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What the Heck Time Is It?

Saturday reminder that tomorrow is the shortest day of the year, notwithstanding anything you've been taught. (23 hours instead of 24.)

If you don't want to miss church in the morning, it would be a good idea to set your clock ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight.

"Daylight Savings Time" may well be one of the silliest ideas ever, but what are you gonna do?

This from last spring is good enough for a revisit.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cola Memories

No, I am not selling this product. However, history must be observed. It was on this date in 1894 that the concoction was first sold in bottles. The cola wars and the soft drink industry has been a major part of our culture. Too much so, for who can deny that we would all be better off if only we stopped the consumption of the stuff entirely?

My Dad used to confound the young waitresses in restaurants by ordering "Adam's Ale." Of course he was referring to nature's original drink and the only one that is an absolute condition of our existence.

A few snippets of cola history from my own youth, the reflections for my own entertainment. But of course I hope you enjoy them, and perhaps recall some of your own experiences.

1) Soft drinks were a virtual unknown in our household when I was a child. However, on very rare occasions Dad would bring home a bottle of Pepsi Cola (with "12 full ounces-- that's a lot!"). Mom would combine it with a like amount of water and each of us would get a glass of the wonderful treat along with our supper. Very rare. And obviously memorable.

2) As I grew and eventually acquired means of earning small amounts of cash, my taste turned to RC cola. Again, twelve ounces as opposed to the six and one-half ounces Coke provided for the same nickel. I liked Dr. Pepper, too, but should I include that fact in a cola tale? I have earlier recounted my penchant for buying a bottle of RC and a five-cent pack of Planters Peanuts, taking a long swig of the cola and pouring the peanuts into the throat of the bottle. Mmmmmm!

3) The deposit on pop bottles was two cents. (Yes, they were "pop" bottles. "Soda" was something Mom used in cooking or gave you a dose of when you had a belly-ache.) This bottle deposit was a boon to us kids, because, people being the slobs they are, often threw the bottles out along the road, just as many morons dispose of their trash yet today. We would collect the bottles and turn them in at the corner grocery for the proceeds. Which of course the grocer got back immediately because of the candy counter and pop case.

4) When I was very young, I was introduced to the soda fountain at the Woolworth's. This by my friend who somehow had the means to patronize such a place. Lime Coke was pretty good, but again a dime and the glass was very small. Donald preferred something he called a "phosphate," whatever that might have been.

5) As a teenager I delivered telegrams for Western Union. I would often stop on a hot summer day in the lobby of the Mining Exchange building where the Coke machine would take ten cents of my hard-earned pay. Ten cents because, though the pop was a nickel, the bottles were too small to quench my thirst and I required two of them.

What memories of your youth do these tales evoke?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things are Looking Up!

Temperature hit 90 at one-thirty this afternoon, and peaked at 91 at three o'clock. This is why we came to Texas!

Looking at the weather map suggests that warmth is spreading across the country, albeit along with rain (which we don't have). Awaiting your signal that Spring has returned to the Midwest. But I don't plan to leave here if I have to winterize the RV before we go.

Did not wear the jacket this afternoon! Also, I am not eight feet tall with a twenty-four inch inseam.

Get the 'Phone!

March 10, 1876 Alexander Graham Bell spoke the now-famous words, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you." We have been afflicted with ability more or less to be in contact with anyone anywhere ever since. Either Bell or Antonio Meucci invented the telephone, whichever you choose to believe. But it is a fact that the above communication took place three days after Bell had been granted a patent for his device.

Bell was born on March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He died on August 2, 1922 in Novia Scotia.

Bell Telephone Company was founded on July 9, 1877.

Image: lucidcafe.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Barbie (Still) Rules

Mattel introduced Ruth Handler's Barbie Doll at the New York Toy Fair on this date in 1959.

Why would I care enough about this to post a commemoration? It's a tiny yet huge piece of our culture. And I had two daughters who grew up in the sixties.
Image: about.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

Work Hard, Work Smart

Throughout most of my administrative tenure I had this little card posted above my credenza where I would be reminded frequently that little effort produces little results. And that, what many folks don't think about, there is such a thing as superfluous effort, that is, beating a dead horse.

The saying and the accompanying graph are self-explanatory.

Don't waste your life doing too little. Don't waste your life exerting unnecessary effort.

You're welcome.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Orange Blossom Special

The grass withers, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.--Isaiah 40:8
Orange blossom time once again in the Valley. Buds and flowers are just outside our window, the sweet scent wafting through the air.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

1/2 K

Assuming a correct count, this is milestone "500" for STSTT. Perhaps I should celebrate with an app.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Entomology II

Today's six-legged creature was spotted crawling across the exterior of the MH. The exterminator working nearby had a sign on his truck proclaiming his station in life was "Entomologist," so I asked him for an ID on creature. He said it is referred to here in the valley as "brown bandit." Good enough for me. I think she very strongly resembles what we call a "box-elder bug" in the Midwest, substituting red for the yellow, of course.
Previously, "Entomology."

Thursday, March 4, 2010


"We have met the enemy and they are ours." Thus wrote Commander Oliver Hazard Perry to Commander William Henry Harrison at the beginning of the Battle of Lake Erie.

The war of 1812 was fought between the United States and Great Britain and its subsidiaries. The war was principally fought at sea, ranging over much of the Atlantic and Carribean, and along the coastal areas of the US and Canada.

The principal causes of the war included the impressment of merchant sailors whom the British considered to be their rightful subjects into the British Navy; the support of the British for the Indians in the Northwest Territories* who were impeding progress of US development and expansion into the West; trade restrictions the British imposed on America vis a vis France, with whom the British were at war. It was complicated, but the United States declared war on June 18, 1812.

On September 13, 1814, Francis Scott Key, an amateur poet, visited the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay. He was acting in the interest of one Dr. Bearnes who was being held by the British. Key was successful in obtaining the prisoner's release, but he himself was detained overnight during the shelling of Ft. McHenry. The following morning he observed that the flag was still flying above the fort, so he penned the poem, "Defense of Fort M'Henry" in commemoration of the event.

The poem soon became widely popular and since the words fit nicely with a popular tune which had been written many years earlier by a British composer, John Stafford Smith, it began to be sung as an anthem. Unfortunately for many, the tune ranges over one and one-half octaves which makes it difficult to sing well. "The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, and by President Wilson in 1916. Congress officially adopted it as the National Anthem on March 3, 1931, as noted earlier.

The history of the war is interesting and much information is available online, or if you are inclined to more scholarly pursuit, at your friendly library. I present this brief story at the request of Secondary Roads who referred to this as "the forgotten war." The war was concluded with the Treaty of Ghent, March 23, 1815**, resulting in pre-war status. (Everyone wins? No one wins?) Long enough for a blogpost. A study of Early American Maritime Power would be fascinating.

*It is interesting to note that the portion of the Northwest Territories which comprises present-day Ohio, Michigan and Indiana was proposed by the British to be established as a neutral Indian Territory in perpetuity. Further, they supplied support in aid to the Indians. The principal leader of the Native American contingent, Tecumseh, was himself killed at the Battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813, effectively ending the British support for the natives' defense of their claim to the land.
**I might have saved this for the soon-coming anniversary, 195 years, but posting it earlier due to request. Thanks, Chuck.

See also
Perry and the Battle of Lake Erie
Battle of York
Battle of Stoney Creek
Burning of Washington
Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans, which was actually fought after the Peace had been signed. (Three of the American commanders in this war later ran for President, and two of them were elected.)
Jackson and Coffee at Horseshoe Bend
Wilkinson and Mobile
Treaty of Ghent

Image: Action between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere, 19 August 1812. Naval Historical Center

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

National Anthem Day!

The Star Spangled Banner

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
---Francis Scott Key

March 3, 1931 The Star Spangled Banner was adopted as the official Anthem of the United States of America.

Flag image: USflag.org

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cooper and Kong #T

Merian C. Cooper, 1893 - 1973 was the creator and producer of the film King Kong, which was first screened in New York City on March 2, 1933. It was my intent to make a brief mention of this famous film on this anniversary of its debut. However, in researching the film, I found that Mr. Cooper, who previously had never crossed my radar (unless his name flashed before my eyes in movie credits) lived a very interesting life.

Cooper attended the U.S. Naval Academy but was forced to resign in his senior year. The following year he joined the National Guard to engage in chasing Pancho Villa in Mexico.

Cooper was a bomber pilot during WWI and was shot down and captured by the Germans, POW until end of war.

From 1919 to 1921 he was a pilot, Kosciuszko Squadron, in support of the Polish Army in its fight with the Soviets. He was shot down and again incarcerated as POW to the Soviets. He escaped after nine months in prison and fled to Latvia. While imprisoned he wrote Things Men Die For. Awarded the highest Polish Military honor, the Virtuti Militari.

He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Pan American Airways.
CEO of RKO Radio Pictures
VP in charge of production, Pioneer Pictures
VP, Selznick International
Founder Argosy Pictures with John Ford.
List of credits in Film production long as your arm; King Kong most famous film.
Has star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
It is said that Cooper himself flew the plane that "brought down" Kong.

WWII: Logistics for Doolittle Raiders. China Air Task force. Chief of Staff, Fifth Air Force. Promoted to Brigadier General. Witness to Japan's surrender aboard USS Missouri.

Father of Polish writer Maciej Stomczyriski.

And in general lived a life of such widely varied and exciting experiences that it is hard for me to imagine. Old stodgy me.

I first saw King Kong in a theater on Douglas Avenue in Wichita, Kansas, 1952.
Image and list of sources, Wikipedia.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dad's First Pastorate

Dad had been preaching for some time in country schoolhouses in eastern Colorado. Three months after my birth, Mama and Daddy moved to Virginia. Here his work involved him in a regular ministry, but not in a "regular" church house, as the church in which he worked was, again, a schoolhouse. Being a minister from the West in an Appalachian valley apparently offered excitement as well as opportunity to preach the gospel, for we children grew up listening to the stories Dad told of those months in this situation. Not everyone took kindly to the "outsider" and some were antagonistic to the message as well as toward the messenger. But Dad had his supporters and God prospered the ministry. He took a full-time "real" church pastorate in Nebraska in the summer of 1935.

(The pictures of the schoolhouse and Mom and Dad are in a scrapbook presentation of Dad's career as a minister which was displayed upon his retirement.)