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Meeting friends at our age

I don’t know about you, but finding new friendships at our age is difficult. Everyone is set in their social groups or busy with grandchildren.   Except at Lakeside.  Tonight we enjoyed for dinner the peach cobbler Arlene sent back with Bob when he went over to chat with Roger, who’s been on the mend from various ailments.  We met them about 3 years ago when they bought their cottage after being long time Lakeside renters.  Ironically, we discovered that in the summer of 1967 we lived on the same block in Upper Arlington. 

Also today, Bob decided he’d just grab a few leaves out of the gutters (while I was napping and couldn’t stop him) so he asked Tom to help him drag the ladder out from under the house, so Tom did, and just ran up the ladder and cleaned the leaves out himself!  Last Sunday our neighbors John and Katy Martin invited us for brunch at the CIC club with other neighbors Richard and Rosemary who are here for 6 weeks as renters across the street. 

Then this morning as we sat down at a table for 4 at the Patio restaurant we invited Jim and Margie Norris of Olmsted Falls (or New Olmstead) who were waiting in line to share out table.  Normally, we would have never met them because they have 6 children and 12 grandchildren, but had come for the week-end to see Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits.  We had the best time, then ran into them again in the afternoon outside the coffee shop and down on the lakefront where they went to watch Bob helping with Kids’ Sail, a free program to help young children learn about sailing. It turned out they’d also stayed in the past at the Idlewyld B & B with our friends Dan and Joan Barris whom we’d met about 8 years ago.

Friday night we invited neighbors Ron and Mary Ann Janke over for ice cream and then went to the evening program, Mike Albert and the big E Band, an Elvis tribute program that’s been to Lakeside to perform over 12 times.  We’d met them about 3 years ago, and the guys are in the Guys’ Club, but Mary Ann and I sat together at a volunteer luncheon recently and got acquainted. Friday there was an open house for the cottage across the street which is for sale.  We ran into more neighbors and chatted for awhile (from NC).  Our neighbor Dorothy Crutchfield was widowed last year, so we had her over for dinner last night.  Although she and Cleo had purchased their cottage in 1974, she’d never been inside ours, although we’d often been at neighborhood events together and they were at out 50th 8 years ago.

Yes, it only lasts 10-11 weeks, but it’s casual and easy to sit on a porch or fall in step on the way to a program. In 2 weeks we’ll all say good-bye until the next summer.

What’s bad is good, and good is bad

Do you ever have the feeling that "science" isn't very scientific? Wine. Chocolate. Coffee. Butter. Fat. All the things we were taught were bad, and now they are good. And now variety which we were all taught was good, might not be?

The blog about a miracle baby

Nick wrote this in July 2016, and I just took a look at this adorable baby’s photo at his FB page.

“Here's the real story, in case you've heard. For the last nine months, my wife, Brooklyn has been pregnant with a very sick baby boy. Three or four months ago, we learned that the baby had severe hydrocephalus. Back in the old days, hydrocephalus was called, "water on the brain"....too much brain fluid. Ultimately, we were referred to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, where we were told, by several of the most highly regarded fetal specialists in the country, that his condition was dire. The baby's condition was "off the charts bad". It was so extreme, that the specialists stopped measuring and monitoring his brain's fluid level because, at that point, it didn't really matter. The MRI's were sickening to look at. We were told, pointblank, that there was over a 90% chance that the baby would either die shortly after birth or have such severe cognitive impairments that any quality of life would be hard to imagine. We had a meeting with palliative care regarding the use of life sustaining measures, and had detailed, awful, and emotional discussions about the ethics of when we might need to remove or cease such measures - which would result in the baby "passing away peacefully".

Brooklyn relocated to Cincinnati and lived in a hotel close to the hospital - in case she went into labor. I commuted back and forth, while trying to work and take care of Sophie and Lily at home. On July 8th Brooklyn did, indeed, go into labor. Literally, 15 minutes before they wheeled her back to start the C-section, we had another meeting with doctors regarding the use of a breathing tube and at what point we might need to remove that tube and let the baby go to heaven. Guess what?. .the baby came out crying - which was the sweetest sound I have ever heard.

In a nutshell, Charlie Edward Schnarr, stayed in infant intensive care until yesterday - when we all came home. He's seems to be a normal, beautiful baby doing all the things that babies do. He has mild ventricular enlargement, but we can deal with that with checkups. How did this happen??... The doctors said, "we do not have and cannot come up with a medical explanation for what we've witnessed here". Some how, his brain found a way to naturally "clear" the blockage or re-route the fluid that was causing the oppressive "back-up" of brain fluid. During the last week, I heard the word "divine intervention" and "miracle" more times than I could count. Nurses with decades of experience, and esteemed, nationally admired doctors were flabbergasted but jubilant. Because of the "domino effect" of friends, family, clients, colleagues and even strangers praying and asking others to pray for us, I do not doubt that there were thousands of people praying for us.

I'm a practical person that certainly believes in science and medical technology, but I absolutely know, from the bottom of my heart, that God was involved in this. I give ALL of the credit and glory to him. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your thoughts, prayers, notes of encouragement, cards, texts, emails, and outpouring of love. Prayer is positively powerful. God is real, and he still performs miracles.

God bless,
-Nick Schnarr (from Facebook post)”

Today’s smoothie

A few days ago I wondered if one could make a smoothie with a giant cucumber—regifted. Well, no one said yuk, so today I made one and it was delicious. I used carrot juice, a huge chunk of cucumber with seeds and skin removed, and a very large, over ripe garden tomato. Rather than push my luck and my digestive system, I didn't add onion, but did use some onion salt. It's fabulous. Probably more a cold soup than a smoothie, but it sure tastes good with the corn chips.

John Brennan and the resistance

Brennan has accused President Trump of treason for meeting with a world leader, Vladimir Putin, he doesn’t like and with whom the past 3 presidents have met. He is attempting to undo the 2016 election and destabilize the nation. He is definitely the “leader of the resistance” of the swamp. Why should he be allowed the privilege of a security clearance? It isn’t a right. I had to turn in my keys when I retired from OSU; I did not lose my right to talk about the veterinary library or to talk to the interim librarian or to discuss various things happening on the campus. I have used great discretion in not telling tales out of school—which the Trump haters are not doing. And neither has Brennan lost any rights. He lies. He misused his office and his privileges. Trump did the right thing.

Today's smoothie and yesterday's outing

Carrot juice
organic spinach
frozen bananas
frozen pineapple
fresh strawberries

Yesterday we went out for lunch at Bistro 163 which is a very nice "pay it forward" restaurant in Port Clinton, with Dan and Joan Barris who own the Idlewyld Bed and Breadfast in Lakeside.  Then we went to the adorable artistic/resale/ shop called Lilly and Gerts.  Joan and I had heard her give a talk at the Lakeside Women's Club recently. It's a terrific store, and we all bought something, even the guys.

How a myth is hurting women--transgenderism

There is no such person as a transgender. Just stop pretending. One can take hormones, remove or transplant a penis or breasts, take voice lessons, put on the most expensive pancake makeup and buy a wig, but that doesn't change anything basic. Why should the baker, candlestick maker, and kindergarten teacher be required to bow to a religion they don't believe in? But that's the Left for you. If they don't have it, steal it. I think women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, have the most to lose in this cultural battle of the sexes, all 30 of them. It's taken millennia for women to achieve voting rights, athletic competitions, government positions, proper medical testing techniques and drugs, marriage equality, rights to their children, and even their own all female clubs and schools if so desired, and along comes some twit of a man who can't compete on the lower rungs of manhood, so poof, he hops on the lady train and rides it all the way into a political office or the runway or even the red light district stepping on us all the way.

"The owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop filed a federal lawsuit against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Gov. John Hickenlooper claiming he has been bullied and targeted for his religious beliefs.

In June the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the owner of the cake shop who had declined to create a cake for a same-sex wedding ceremony."

A business lesson for socialists

A good business lesson for socialists and for those who work as teachers or in government or in academe or for "non-profits" and have never examined who or what is a business or a capitalist.

“The article is constructed on one flawed assumption after another.

First, the authors seem to be equating business with huge multinational corporations. But most businesses in the U.S. are small. The U.S. has approximately 28 million firms. Of those, about 21 million -- nearly 80 percent -- employ no one but the owner(s). Of the remaining 7 million companies, the vast majority employs fewer than 20 people. Further, most businesses in the U.S. aren't incorporated, but of those that are, fully 80 percent are small, closely held corporations owned and operated by families.”

12 rules of life—bought it yesterday Jordan Peterson’s best seller
3:30 - Rule 1 "Stand up straight with your shoulders back"
 16:23 - Rule 2 "Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping"
22:53 - Rule 3 "Make friends with people who want the best for you" 25:44 - Rule 4 "Compare yourself with who you were yesterday" 37:20 - Rule 5 "Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them"
 48:52 - Rule 6 "Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world"
58:47 - Rule 7 "Pursue what is Meaningful" - - :- - Rule 8 "Tell the truth or at least don't lie" seems to be mixed in with Rule 7
 1:05:00 - Rule 9 "Assume the person you are listening to might know something you don't. - - : - - Rule 10 "Be precise in your speech" seems to be mixed in with Rule 9
 1:11:43 - Rule 11 "Do not bother children when they are skateboarding"
 1:17:06 - Rule 12 "Pet a cat when you encounter on on the street" 1:22:30 - Q&A
So if you need to borrow it, let me know.

A hierarchy for victims

Intersectionality is a hierarchy of victimhood, in which your "moral superiority is determined not by your actions or your character but by your race, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc. So if you are a poor, black, transgender woman, then your moral superiority is unquestioned, whereas if you are a white, heterosexual, Christian male… well, your right to even exist is highly questionable." (Louis DeBroux)

So the white transgender woman running for governor in Vermont is superior to a biological white woman, but could be on a level playing field if the opponent is a black Lesbian, but would beat out an Asian disabled man.

Symphony season ends at Lakeside

It was the final performance of the symphony last night. Fabulous. It’s been so wonderful with all the guest conductors. But it made me think of Jordan Peterson's comments that the top 1% of the 1% doesn't just apply in the financial field (richest 85 people have as much as the bottom 3.5 billion). It's also at your work place, scientific papers,  it's in book publication, and popularity of composers. It's called Price's law, after Derek Price (sometimes known as the Matthew Principle, Matt 25:30) also called the Pareto principle.
"Just 4 classical composers (Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky) wrote almost all the music played by modern orchestras. Bach, for his part, composed so prolifically that it would take decades of work merely to hand-copy his scores, yet only a small fraction of this prodigious output is commonly performed. The same thing applies to the output of the other 3 members of this group of hyper-dominant composers: only a small fraction of their work is still widely played. Thus, a small fraction of the music composed by a small fraction of all the classical composers who have ever composed makes up almost all the classical music that the world knows and loves." p. 8, 12 rules for life.  YouTube of Peterson explaining the Pareto Principle.

50 + Years of Upward Bound—Is it working?

Today I received an article about Upward Bound summer institute at Ohio State University, . Launched in 1965, Upward Bound (UB) is one of the flagship federal college access programs targeted to low-income or potential first-generation college students.  So it’s now 50+ years old. The article included several photographs, and I noticed there were no white students, even though whites outnumber blacks and Hispanics in the low-income and disadvantaged statistics, which the program is supposed to address.
Then I began the tedious search for outcomes—the program is part of the War On Poverty and is 50+ years old.  I found a lot of on-line help in applying for a grant if I were an educational institution (that’s where the money goes,over 4,450 per student).  I found an annual report for 2015-16 published in 2018, but that was all about the tutoring programs, counseling, help with applications—numbers of students—all looked like things I thought schools were already doing.
The FY 2017 budget from the federal government was $312,052,710, with 70,000 participants, at $4,458 per participant. 
Finally I found an assessment for the 2004-05 school year “POLICY AND PROGRAM STUDIES SERVICE, REPORT HIGHLIGHTS, The Impacts of Regular Upward Bound on Postsecondary Outcomes, 7-9 years after scheduled High School Graduation, final report. (2009)
Scanning that, I came to these depressing conclusions.
“For students offered the opportunity to participate in the Upward Bound program, the study found that:
Upward Bound increased postsecondary enrollment or completion rates for some subgroups of students. For the subgroup of students with lower educational expectations at baseline—that is, the students who did not expect to complete a bachelor’s degree—Upward Bound increased the rate of postsecondary enrollment by 6 percentage points and postsecondary completion by 12 percentage points. Because targeting on the basis of lower educational expectations could create an incentive for applicants to understate their expectations, further analyses were conducted to examine the effects of Upward
It would be political suicide to ever cut this program even though there is no detectable effect on the billions spent.

Keeping up with travel friends on Facebook

When we were in Scotland 14 months ago, we met two lovely couples from California, the Halls, Robin and Karen and the Mallettes, Eugene and Barbara, who had been in Ireland and were continuing on to England.  And in following them on Facebook, their travels continue—Hawaii, various California notable spots, Europe to see various heritage sites, the south, and most recently Canada. Alberta and British Colombia.  So I commented to Robin, that they certainly travel a lot.  He responded:

“Just accelerating the bucket list as my years advance quickly. As the saying goes “so many places, too little time”, or something like that. Actually Eugene, Barbara, Karen and I are planning a Midwest trip next spring or so to get in to Gerald Ford Museum, the the Football HOF in Canton and of course Cooperstown. We will be asking you if we can meet you and “Robert The Bruce” one evening and take you both to dinner in Columbus, if you are in town. Just thinkin’ It would be fun to renew acquaintances. Are you up for that?”

So I’m dropping that promise in my blog, just so I can find it next spring when they are in the midwest.

dinner in Edinburgh 2 

Wee Wee Mannie and the big big coo

One of the favorites when Mom would read it to Stan and me, although I think she had a better accent than this lady.

Jordan Peterson’s best seller

I rarely buy a book. I either buy them used, or receive them as gifts, or borrow them from friends, or from the free box at church. I even use the public library. But today I shelled out $25 in cash for Jordan Peterson's "12 rules for life; an antidote to chaos." Shocking that it can become a #1 bestseller because the millennials didn't learn any of the rules my grandparents knew! Their grandparents were boomers. #1 Stand up straight with your shoulders back.  #8 Tell the truth.

Today’s smoothie is a beautiful color

Carrot juice

fresh beets from farmers’ market

strawberries (also farmers’ market, locally grown)


mango slices (frozen)

This is a very bright color since I didn’t add any greens, but probably not the powerhouse it would be with spinach or watercress.

When I went to the small, local grocery, Ray just gave me a bunch of brown bananas, so I cut them into slices and froze them for another day.  And he also had that home made carrot cake, delicious and moist, so that added another vegetable for dinner!

HPV and Oropharyngeal Cancer
Last autumn and winter I took some Coursera free classes in the medical field.  One I finished—medical statistics, and one I didn’t—gut microbiome. It was just too gross.  So I continue to get announcements to entice me to try again, something in the medical field.  Today it was HPV and Oropharyngeal Cancer.  I knew only a little about it—with the increased acceptance of oral sex, it has put many in danger of a disease they couldn’t have imagined in the pre-Monica days of “it’s not really sex.”
Here’s what CDC says it is, without ever suggesting that oral sex not be practiced:
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Of the more than 100 types of HPV, about 40 types can spread through direct sexual contact to genital areas, as well as the mouth and throat. Oral HPV is transmitted to the mouth by oral sex, or possibly in other ways. Many people are exposed to oral HPV in their life. About 10% of men and 3.6% of women have oral HPV, and oral HPV infection is more common with older age. Most people clear HPV within one to two years, but HPV infection persists in some people.”
Because it takes years for the problems to develop, CDC recommends that 11- to 12-year-old boys and girls get two doses of HPV vaccine, although there are no studies to show it actually prevents these cancers
This fact sheet is a little more graphic and explicit.

Today’s lecture on C.S. Lewis

Dr. Jerry Root of Wheaton College is the main speaker and preacher of the week at Lakeside August 12-16. He’s been studying C.S. Lewis since 1970 and is a delightful speaker filled with humorous stories and erudition.  In fact.  I really couldn’t take notes, I was so deep in his sentences—up to my knees at least.  But I did note that he mentioned Lewis enjoyed Boethius, and that Root had never heard of him until studying Lewis.  Boethius, said Root, was also an influence in every field of endeavor in the western world, we almost can’t move ahead without examining him.  So when I went home for lunch, I looked him up to see why everyone from Chaucer to Tolkien,  Aquinas to Shakespeare to Lewis read him. Here’s what I found at Ligonier ministries site.
“One of the least known but most significant Christian thinkers of antiquity was a sixth-century layman called Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius, or simply Boethius for short. The son of an old senatorial family, he lived between 480 and 524, being consul (a largely ceremonial political position) in 510, and then Master of the Offices at the Ostrogothic court in Ravenna in 522. [He was tried and executed for treason.] He was later canonized by the Catholic Church as Saint Severinus.
Boethius’ contributions to Western civilization in general and theology in particular are wide-ranging and significant. Indeed, he adapted a number of Greek works into Latin, probably including Euclid’s Geometry; these works laid the ground work for the so-called quadrivium, or group of four academic disciplines (music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy). The quadrivium combined with the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic), to form the seven liberal arts . . . , the seven liberal arts became the foundation of Western higher education; thus, the work of Boethius was, in the long run, instrumental in profoundly shaping the whole concept of university education.”
“. . . Theologically, Boethius’ great contributions lie in his five Opuscula Sacra (Little Sacred Works) and his magnum opus, The Consolation of Philosophy. The former group of five little tracts, the Opuscula Sacra, covers issues relating to the doctrines of the Trinity, the nature of the Catholic Faith, and the Incarnation. The most significant of these are undoubtedly nos. 1–3, which deal with the Trinity. Given the fact that Boethius’ work on the Trinity was to be a standard textbook in the Middle Ages, and that writing a commentary upon it was to be a basic part of theological education, the importance of his work in this area cannot be overestimated.”
Carl Olson at Catholic Answers on C.S. Lewis and Boethius.
The influence on music and art.
Much of this lecture I heard this morning.

Not today’s smoothie

Image may contain: food 

Can you make a smoothie with a giant cuke?

Today’s smoothie is carrot juice, watercress, banana, strawberries and peach slices.

Dogs and babies at Lakeside

I usually stop to admire dogs and babies when I'm on my walks. Today a man about 18" taller than me was rocking a cranky baby in a buggy. I stopped to peek and admire a little one who'd about outgrown the space.
Me: How old is he?
He: 10 weeks.
Me: Wow. He's big.
He: Weighed 8.5 lbs. at birth. But I was 9.
Me: I was 9.5.
He: Yeah, but I was a twin.

Taking care of the children

The anti-Trump cult is obsessed with something that has been going on during the last 4 administrations--separating children from parents at the border to determine what is best for the children. Some are trafficked by non-relatives, some sponsors are ineligible, some parents have returned home without them (the goal was to get them over the border), some parents have been detained and can't take care of them. What is different is Trump is following the law, and that infuriates his enemies.

"More than 2,000 migrant children were detained separately from their parents during the 45 days between the announced launch of Trump's zero tolerance policy and Trump signing the executive order.

The administration missed a court-ordered deadline last month to reunite all detained migrant children under age 5 with their parents, although the administration said it reunited all ELIGIBLE families.

The government in total has reunited over 1,800 children ages 5 to 17 with their parents or sponsors, but numerous children were deemed ineligible to be reunited because of safety or legal concerns."

The Sultan and the Saint by PBS, Friday movie at Lakeside

Based on the book The Saint and the Sultan.

I left the movie after about 5 minutes.  First, I read all the opening credits—all but one were Muslim funding sources.  Now that is fine, but as the saying goes, “You dance with the One who brung you,”  and the production company is an Islamic non-profit. Second, I looked at the faces of the actors portraying the Christians in the opening scenes—they all appeared to be mentally challenged, or starving, or ugly.  Except the pope.  I think he was fat.  Not a good sign.  And the AC was blowing too hard, so I said to Joan (friend), See you later.  I found this review by someone who watched and took notes (which I’d intended to do). All I have is her pseudonym.


I watched it all last night and took notes, writes Erikaspirit16 at the Catholic Answers Forum.

“First, Alex Kronemer is the exec. producer. [This is his production company, Unity Productions Foundation.] He has produced 9 movies on Islam, most of which have been shown on PBS (Spain, Islamic art, Muhammad, etc.). I can’t find out much about him, other than he has an MA in comparative religion from Harvard and he did a lot of work for the federal gov. in various positions. His wife has a Muslim-sounding name. Is he a convert to Islam? I don’t know. In any case, his movies are always very sympathetic to Islam.

If you looked at the sponsors / supporters of the movie at the beginning, other than the Sisters of St. Francis in Iowa (!), they are all Muslims. PBS tacked on a note at the end of the list saying a complete list of sponsors was online at, but I couldn’t find it. But clearly this movie (and others by Kronemer) are very sympathetic to Islam, and show it in the best possible light. In other words, propaganda. There is no attempt to be even handed or objective. But of course that’s how it is presented: an accurate, objective presentation of the “facts.”

Is the movie “wrong”? Well, other than pretending a beach in Maryland is a beach in Egypt, no. But the sins of omission are many!

First, the title. They flipped it. The book by Paul Moses (who is one of the commentators) is “The Saint and the Sultan.” The movie is “The Sultan and the Saint.” Subtle, but it shows where it’s coming from.

We begin with Alexius, the Byzantine emperor, writing to the pope asking for mercenaries. No background is given at all. The impression is given that the Pope (who says “my armies” --hardly) began the Crusades as an imperialist venture. Nothing about the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 1009 by Sultan al-Hakim of Egypt; nothing about the interruption of the pilgrim routes; nothing about the Battle of Mantzikert in 1071 where the Saljuq Turks defeated a Byzantine army. All that is omitted. And of course the Byzantines had Western mercenaries in their service for a long time–this was not an innovation.

Then we have the Crusaders vs. Muslims story line. But of course (!) it omitted the fact that the Crusaders in the 5th Crusade had made an alliance with the Turks to occupy al-Malik al-Kamil’s brother in N. Syria. So you have Muslim Turks allied with Christian Crusaders. The Christian / Muslim divide isn’t quite so clear now, is it?

Then the population of Egypt is completely ignored. Most scholars think that at the beginning of the Crusades, Egypt was still a Christian country. Muslims were a minority. It’s only during the Crusades (particularly after the Crusaders burned Old Cairo (Fustat) in 1171) that the Christians began to convert to Islam in great numbers, not for religious reasons, but because they were seen as fifth columnists who would support the Crusaders given the chance. By the 5th Crusade, a large number of Egyptians were still Christian. The business about al-Kamil ruling in favor of the Christians against Muslims who wanted to tear down a church needs to be seen in this light. And even in Egypt today, Christians need a gov. permit to even repair a church, let alone build a new one.

There is some nonsense scattered throughout about “conflict” and the brain, etc. which seems to be there simply to emphasize the violence of the Crusaders vs. the peace-loving Muslims.

al-Malik al-Kamil. Poor Jeremy Irons spent the entire movie pronouncing the name as “Camille.” Why didn’t someone help him out??? It’s pronounced with the stress on the 1st syllable and the final ‘L’ as a “light” l . And al-Kamil, contrary to the impression in the movie, wasn’t the sultan at the beginning of the 5th Crusade. His father was. Al-Kamil came to power in Egypt only. Another brother got Palestine and southern Syria. A 3rd brother got N. Syria and what are now parts of Turkey and Iraq. Al-Kamil didn’t come to power smoothly–there was an attempted coup by a Kurdish regiment. (Al-Kamil and his family were all Kurds.) After the Crusade was over, there was conflict among the brothers, and the Ayyubid dynasty basically dissolved into family quarrels.

Massacre of the Jews in the Rhineland during the 1st Crusade. Yes, it happened. But the movie neglected to say that the Papal representative and the Church generally tried to stop it. And needless to say, there was not a peep about the massacre of the Jews in Granada in 1066—a massacre by the Muslims that most scholars think killed more Jews than the Crusaders did. Note that it was only about 30 years earlier.

At one point the young al-Kamil is reciting the verse about “no compulsion in religion.” Very true. But an objective presentation would have mentioned the imposition of the jizya tax on non-Muslims and the “Pact of 'Umar,” a very discriminatory set of rules for non-Muslims (they couldn’t ride horses, had to dress a certain way, had to make way for Muslims in the street, etc. etc.). Contrast that with a comment later in the movie: “Muslims were considered beasts” by the Crusaders. Not sure where that comes from–I’ve never come across it! And the idea that if only the Crusaders met “real” Muslims all would be well is just silly; Crusaders had been in Palestine well over a century by the time of the 5th Crusade. They had adopted many ideas from the Arabs and had lived with the Arabs.

At one point the movie talks about the “vengeful God” of the Christians. No balance; no other point of view mentioned.

Michael Calabria is the featured commentator, although there are others. From what I can find, he is a Franciscan friar and professor at Bonaventure U. He studied Egyptology. After he became a friar, he seems to have switched fields and now writes about Islam and Christianity (thus his presence in this movie). However, as a long-time student of the Crusades, I have never run across him or any of his work.

The movie portrays Francis as visiting the sultan’s camp to convert the sultan and / or his army. In the 13th century, Christians had the notion that they could make headway by converting Muslims, esp. their rulers. One of the reasons Thomas Aquinas wrote his Summa was as a tool to convert Muslim rulers in N. Africa. So the notion is not new or unique to Francis–he was simply one of many with that notion.

And the sultan allowing Francis to address his court is a common theme among Muslim rulers. This was not unique, it is mentioned often. But of course the idea was that the Muslim rebuttal of the ignorant Christian would show how great Islam was; it wasn’t simply a gesture of ecumenicism or toleration.

The similarities of the Fatiha and the Our Father have been remarked on before. As have the similarities of the 99 names of God vs. a litany of the aspects of God in Christianity.

The movie ends with the idea that the Crusades ended because the idea of a “loving God” replaced the idea of a “vengeful God” in Christianity. Nonsense. The final wish that “the road to peace runs through humanity that we all share,” is a pious hope we can all agree on.

Today’s smoothie is really yummy

Eggnog made with honey

organic baby spinach



Exercising with asthma (while being old)

Nonpharmacologic Treatment Measures for Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm

Increase physical conditioning.

Warm up for at least 10 minutes before actual exercise begins.

Cover mouth and nose with scarf or mask during cold weather.

Exercise in warm, humidified environment, if possible.

Avoid aeroallergens and pollutants.

Cool down or gradually lower the intensity of the exercise before stopping.

Wait at least two hours after a meal before exercising.

Even science for middle schoolers has a bias

Today at WalMart I looked through "Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Fat Notebook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide (Big Fat Notebooks)." I have one for Math that I've found very helpful, since even middle school math is a challenge for me. The series is colorful and has a nice format.  But I was shocked to read in one section about 4 factoids of misinformation on Galileo and the Catholic Church—it didn’t accurately present Galileo’s side or the church’s side.  Just the Protestant side.

I'm accustomed to being totally immersed in the Protestant viewpoint of religion, culture, and history, (I be one but our history is written like nothing happened before Luther), but in a review book for pre-teens? Let's look at this from a Catholic viewpoint--it's probably the first time you've ever seen it. It wasn't just the church of that time, it was the SCIENTISTS of that time (think-90% of scientists believe climate change science) .

At Galileo’s request, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, a Jesuit—one of the most important Catholic theologians of the day—issued a certificate that, although it forbade Galileo to hold or defend the heliocentric theory, did not prevent him from conjecturing it. When Galileo met with the new pope, Urban VIII, in 1623, he received permission from his longtime friend to write a work on heliocentrism, but the new pontiff cautioned him not to advocate the new position, only to present arguments for and against it. When Galileo wrote the Dialogue on the Two World Systems, he used an argument the pope had offered and placed it in the mouth of his character Simplicio. Galileo, perhaps inadvertently, made fun of the pope, a result that could only have disastrous consequences. Urban felt mocked and could not believe how his friend could disgrace him publicly. Galileo had mocked the very person he needed as a benefactor. He also alienated his long-time supporters, the Jesuits, with attacks on one of their astronomers. The result was the infamous trial, which is still heralded as the final separation of science and religion.