code word VERTICAL?

Huckabee’s talking “vertical politics.”
“Vertical.” Now, that seems like a strange word to use if you’re talking (as he says he is) about discussing issues and sharing information about his position’s broadly.
“Vertical” means Situated at the vertex or highest point; directly overhead.
Hmm: “highest point.” Isn’t that, like, what/how/where fundamentalists think “god” is?
I’ll bet that Josh Marshall got it right., noting that
A few other readers suggest there’s some crypto-evangelical code wording going on with it too. And it seems like they’re definitely on to something here. Here’s one example, another and another.


[and thanks to b!X for the tip}

they come at night

The snow from the bird feeders right up the the back steps was trampled by lots of hoofs when I looked out the window this morning. I’ll bet the whole herd descended on the patch of yard where I throw out the bird food every morning. It’s sheltered on three sides. I wonder if they spent the night here. Oh how I wish I could have seen that.
It’s late at night. I hear a noise outside. I tip-toe to the kitchen window next to the switch for the outside floodlight. I pull up the blinds at the same time that I flip the switch.
Her face is right there in the window, looking right at me, blinded by the light, startled by my sudden appearance. She prances in place, not sure what to do.
I close the blinds and turn out the light.
Now I know.

brown on white

they came again,
the wintering white tails —
a tableau of brown
in a wash of white


It is almost zero degrees tonight. Where do they go when it gets this cold?
Several times over the past couple of days, I startled the one young deer as she searched through the snow outside the kitchen window for what the birds left behind. She comes in late afternoon, when I’m starting to think about what to make for supper. I didn’t even know she was there until I saw her jerk back and look at me through the partially closed window blinds. She seems to be the only one of the small herd who ventures close to the house to look for food. Apparently, the others have better instincts.
I have discovered that it’s not good to feed the deer in winter.
I don’t feed the deer. I feed the birds. But if the food is there, they all go for it. So should I not feed the birds?
It’s a dilemma.
Meanwhile, the herd comes and goes across these few acres. I hope they have some shelter tonight.

this is the way the year ends

So, I say to him (the sibling who is as unlike me as possible) imagine if, instead of spending money on all of these New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world, the money was put toward solving the problems of, say, world hunger and homelessness.
I should have known what his response would be, which was something like:
…what if they cut down spending for education and teachers’ salaries so that we wouldn’t be living under the threat of losing our homes if we don’t pay these outrageous school taxes…they don’t teach kids anything worthwhile anyway, just some history and lots of memorization.
First of all, I respond, that’s not all they teach kids these days. School is very different from when you went. Second of all, the kids in school today will be running this country in the future. They need to be educated so that they know what they’re doing. And kids from dysfunctional families who give their kids no guidance need that education even more so that they have alternatives to crime to support themselves. (My brother has no children and has not spent any meaningful time around any.)
Well, he says, his voice angry and belligerent, it would be a lot cheaper to give all kids computers and connect them to the internet and let them learn that way. And then they can dump all the teachers on whose salaries all of the money is wasted.
Um, I say (trying hard not to raise my voice and frighten my mother into a dementia episode) I guess you don’t know much about educational theory or practice. (I can feel my own anger rising, and I struggle to speak calmly and clearly.) Why don’t you go and spend some time in a classroom and find out what’s really going on….
He interrupts me with some additional harangue that I no longer have the patience to tolerate, so I leave quietly and go to my room, burdened by the fact that this kind of interaction is how we have spent the last two years and how we will, no doubt, spend the years until my mother’s death.
Over the past 48 hours, in an effort to keep my mother calm and functional, I have spent a more than 20 waking hours and about 20 of her sleeping hours at my mother’s beck and call. Included in my working hours was feeding her three times a day; giving her a shower; helping her in the bathroom (more times than I can count); holding her in my arms and dancing with her; setting out a week’s worth of her medications and making sure she took the right ones at the right times; and listening to her endless repetition of questions, the answers to which she won’t remember. Interspersed throughout those 48 hours was time when my brother sat with her, usually sitting in front of the television, sometimes on his laptop at the same time.
I purposely took over so much caregiving time over the past two days to demonstrate to him that it’s possible to keep her calm and relatively satisfied. But it’s a lot of work.
Apparently he doesn’t care. He’d rather harangue me. This year ends with the last conversation I’ll ever try to start with him.

counting backwards from ten to negative territory

The following post is by MYRLN, a non-blogger who is Kalilily Time’s guest writer every Monday.
So here we are, the last day of the year. My goodness, the LAST day of the YEAR? Yup, last DAY of the year — Idiots Day! Why Idiots? What else can you honestly call any day on which all sense, common or otherwise, is discarded in favor of total disregard for anything but deliberate madness? For counting backwards from 10? Spend only a few minutes to reflect on it, to let yourself picture the numbers of people worldwide who will participate in tonight’s madness — while calling it a celebration. A celebration of what? Of Idiocy, that’s what. Of a total, absolute waste of time, people, and materials.
Imagine instead, every last bit of this day’s energy and resources — human and otherwise — every iota of it expended toward some positive, worthwhile end. What might be achieved? For example, imagine if every smidgen of human energy were directed toward some need instead of wasted, if every penny expended on decorations, drinking, fireworks, confetti, security — all that plus a $10. donation by every single one of the hundreds and hundreds of millions of people who instead will tonight toss their cookies in a gutter (or whatever). What might we be able to achieve with such an effort of that caliber instead of idiot games? That one night’s effort alone could probably finance a total solution to an entire country’s problems.
But we won’t do that. Hell no. Idiots Day is too important. It accomplishes nothing. To which much of the human race is passionately devoted. Feh.
*** ***
Hopefully everyone took time Sunday night to watch “Jesus Camp” on A & E television to see how future warriors can be trained early to fight them Muslims. If the camp were a Muslim one, Homeland Security would’ve been all over it to arrest those involved.
*** ***
Another entry for the “Our Country” or “Get Yours Today” category. Might wanna sleep out in line to be first to get’em. A veterinarian in California is selling “Neuticles.” What are they? Prosthetic testicles. Why? To replace the missing ones of neutered dogs whose owners either miss the originals or feel guilty cuz their pets can’t deliver any more. And how could we know for sure they’d originate in California?

terrorists for Jesus

I blogged about it more than a year ago, with the title “fanatics by any other name are still fanatics.” The documentary film on the Jesus Camp is on A&E tonight at 10 p.m.
The documentary is about the “Kids on Fire” Ministry, which apparently has been closed down after much public protest. It has reopened as the Kids in Ministry International.
As I said in the post I made about this terrifying project last year:
Fanatics, whether religious or political (and they’re even more dangerous when they’re both) control their followers by only telling them what they want them to believe, leaving out all kinds of information that might shake their belief. That’s what indoctrination is, what brainwashing is.
And when you start the brainwashing when the individuals are young children — as the Jesuits supposedly say, “Give me the child before the age of seven, and I will give you the man” — you can easily mold fanatics in any way you want.
Are you scared yet? Hah. Watch this. And this.
And be afraid. Be very afraid.
NOTE: One or more of the links in the above are no longer valid.
However, go and read this piece about what was reported about British religious schools a few years ago. If that’s not brainwashing children, I don’t know what is.
And for contemporary twist on things, check out The GodMen and what ABC news showed about this movement’s efforts to make Christianity and Jesus’ legacy more “macho.”
Didn’t Robert Bly and his Iron John movement try this years ago?


Jim Culleny’s daily poetry email (see below) brought back the memory of my grandmother pouring the hot wax from a melted blessed candle, through strands of blessed straw, into a bowl of cold holy water and then placing the bowl under my toddler brother’s crib. The image that congealed when the wax hardened would tell my mother what was causing my brother’s nightmares.
In the morning, when we looked at the image, it was as close to the face of Mr. Bluster (of Howdy Doody fame} as a blob of hard wax could look. Sure enough, and strangely enough, my brother was afraid of the blustery Mr. Bluster.
That same grandmother saved my life, once, with her old wives’ ways, and I wrote a poem about that experience, which I blogged here.
And now, here’s the poem — actually Suzanne Vega lyrics — that prompted this post today:

song by Suzanne Vega
Let’s tell the future
Let’s see how it’s been done.
By numbers. By mirrors. By water.
By dots made at random on paper.
By salt. By dice.
By meal. By mice.
By dough of cakes.
By sacrificial fire.
By fountains. By fishes.
Writing in ashes.
Birds. Herbs.
Smoke from the altar.
A suspended ring or the mode of laughing
Pebbles drawn from a heap
One of these things
Will tell you something.
Let’s tell the future
Let’s see how it’s been done.
By dreams. By the features. By letters.
By dropping hot wax into water.
By nails reflecting the rays of the sun.
By waling in a circle.
By red hot iron.
By passages in books.
A balanced hatchet.
A suspended ring or the mode of laughing
Pebbles drawn from a heap
One of these things
Will tell you something.
Let’s tell the future
Let’s see how it’s been done.
How it’s been done.

Which all makes me realize that there is another legacy left to me that I hope my daughter will want — the set of crystal cups, now probably more than a century old, that my grandmother used to save my little life.


After blogging my post about what I had kept that belonged to my father, I started thinking about what I would want to keep in remembrance of my mother after she is gone.
Not any of her clothes, certainly. Our styles are about as different as generations can be.
Not her jewelry, certainly. The only jewelry I wear are those few rings that have meaning for me. And lots of cheap earrings that I put on according to my mood. She has nothing special that she has worn for years, except my father’s grade school graduation ring, which my brother probably will want. She lost her engagement ring years ago.
Not the large professional and original oil portrait of her painted by a friend when my mom was in her 30s. I’m sure my brother will want it.
None of her furniture — although I might consider her electric-powered recliner even though I hate the fabric and color But that wouldn’t be in the same category as my father’s hat.
Not even the crewel image of Jesus she made when she was a teenager (of which she is still very proud) and which has always hung on her wall. I would never hang it on any of my walls. I suppose I could just keep it in a drawer, but I don’t know why I would do that.
I think that the only thing of my mother’s that I really want to keep is a lustrous porcelain statue of the Virgin Mary that came from Lourdes sometime in the 1920s, and it has the number 168 carved into the back of the base. It was my grandmother’s before it was my mother’s. It is also something my mother continues to treasure, but for reasons much different from mine.
Actually, I already have kept one other thing associated with my father. It’s from the home in which I lived as a young child, which was also my Dad’s funeral home/place of business.
When he took over the business from his predecessor in the early forties, one of the objects left behind was a ceramic bowl planter and matching pedestal, each of which is covered with glazed stands of lush bull rushes. These decorative pieces survived 40 years of funerals and another 25 of my hauling them around through countless moves. They both are still in perfect condition.
I think my father filled the planter with sand and used it as a place smokers could put their cigarette butts. I have filled the planter with various trailing plants. There is something calming about its colors and forms, and I just like being in the same room with it.
I am wondering what possessions of mine will have value to my own children. Maybe it will just be this weblog.

Christmas Eve morning

It was the morning of Christmas Eve. I had just thrown out some seeds for the birds, and I was getting ready to make that Polish dried mushroom soup that my family of origin always had before their pierogi at the Christmas “Vigilia” dinner.
As I piled all of the ingredients on the table, I stopped to look out the kitchen window, expecting to see the usual bluejays bullying the mourning doves, who bullied the titmice and junkos, and all of them being bullied by the squirrels. Instead:
If the window had been open, I could have petted the deer. Of course she wouldn’t have stayed long enough for me to do that, but I couldn’t help wondering how it might feel.
I quietly walked around to the breezeway, where I could get a head-on look at her and peeked out through the closed drapes. She looked right into my eyes, unsure, I’m sure, of what she was seeing at first.
But then it must have registered: human. danger. run.
And with her white tail flipped up, she turned around and took off into the woods.
I know a woman who puts grain out for the deer all winter. If I lived here alone, I would probably do that. But this is not my property. And I don’t make the rules.
I only enjoy watching how nature ignores all of those rules that humans devise.

this is our country

The following post is by MYRLN, a non-blogger who is Kalilily Time’s guest writer every Monday.
…to paraphrase a patriotic song. And two recent news items symbolize exactly what our country now IS.
The first was photo from a wedding, an event quite fundamental to any culture. The photo showed the happy, if overweight, couple smooching while they danced at their wedding. Nearby, some mylar balloons floated on floor-bound tethers next to a couple of onlookers in smiling bear costumes, while several other onlookers wore baseball caps and uniform-like scarfs or vests. The floor was littered with what seemed to be flower petals.
Although from Kentucky, the newlyweds chose to marry in New York City. And the bride’s gown was an original creation “fashioned from glue, tape, and Charmin Ultra Soft and Charmin Ultra Strong toilet tissues.” The ceremony was held in Times Square at Charmin’s temporary, free public restrooms.
Maybe they weren’t flower petals after all.
The second item demonstrating the state of our culture also comes out of NYC as part of the holiday or Xmas (whichever you are brainwashed to) season.
At a magic shop called Abracadabra, instead of a Santa Claus, there will be a Mrs. Claus. One of the store’s owners said it was their answer to Macy’s traditional St. Nick. The magic shop’s approach is to provide an opportunity for naughty adults to get spanked for being so. Serving up the punishment is the aforementioned Mrs. Claus. But the owners also noted she will be actually a man dressed in a clingy red and white outfit and long black boots.
Happy holidays or Xmas (whichever you are brainwashed to) to all in OUR COUNTRY.