WWJD What would Jesus do in North Carolina? Born of a virgin so no Y chromosome yet still self identifies as a male. Where would Jesus pee?

Toilet doors

I realize that I probably shouldn't just post my "headline" without sticking my neck out with editorial comment. Listen, if you believe in Jesus, make what he called the most important commandment YOUR most important commandment.

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
— Matthew 22:36-40 NIV Bible

El Niño - come soon. PLEASE.

With temps over 100 and suffering through another year of drought, the Napa Valley is screaming out in pain. Trees are stressed. Ground plants are stressed. Vines are stressed. And vintners are stressed. (I spent over $4000 during July just buying water for my vineyard!)

We can keep buying water to get us through harvest, but all of the glorious California oaks on our Baconbrook property are looking very sad. And sad trees are susceptible to disease and pest. Dry grass and ground plants look like matches ready to strike.

"They" say that there is a 50-50 chance Northern California will get a huge rainfall this year. We need it. There will be challenges with mudslides and flooding, but those are problems we need to live through right now. We need the rain. But even more importantly, we need snow. Five of the lowest snowpacks on record in the Sierra have taken place over the last ten years. Snow pack is our water storage system.

So come on, El Niño. Bring it on. While we all enjoy the glorious Golden State sunshine, we're ready for some gloomy rainy days. A bunch of them.

Take my symbol. Please. I don't need it.

I get it. 

Most of you who now feel threatened or offended by the controversy surrounding the display of the Confederate flag are not proponents of slavery. You're proud of your heritage and you feel like the U.S. and the rest of the world are progressing past your beliefs. The things you hold dear are being left behind. You want to defend your symbol.

You're wrong.  

If you are proud of your freedom, you should be proud of my freedom. If you rejoice in your rights, you should rejoice in the rights of gay Americans which were recently affirmed by the Supreme Court.  If you ever feel like your liberties are being threatened, you should shout from the highest rooftops in protest when the liberties of ANY Americans are threatened. If you want society to respect your traditions and values, you should be aware and sensitive to how those traditions and values affected (and continue to affect) others.

I don't advocate outlawing any symbol but the only symbols that should be on government lands or buildings are unifying, national (or state-level) symbols. Honestly, even though I was thrilled by the step forward in marriage equality, I was uncomfortable by the White House and SF City Hall being lit in Rainbow Pride colors, but I can live with it being a one time celebratory event. I can't and won't condone someone's religious or divisive symbols on permanent display on government buildings. 

I have as much claim to the Confederate battle flag (the Stars and Bars) as anyone. I was born in and spent my childhood in Texas. My family, on both sides, are from Texas going back at least 4 generations and prior to that, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee are my ancestral homes. If you trace my roots back far enough, you'll see the names of my forebears on the roles of proud Confederate Army units from the Civil War. We weren't big plantation owners; not moneyed landed gentry; there's no Tara in my inheritance. We were regular, small farmers and tradesmen. Did any of my ancestors own slaves? I don't really know. Given the economic evidence, it's doubtful.

I don't need a symbol to be proud of where I'm from. You shouldn't either. And insisting on exercising your freedoms even knowing what evil and pain it represents for many is just down-right mean. Just because you have a freedom doesn't mean it is right (or wise) to exercise it.

Ignorance causes Bigotry

I've never, ever, heard my parents utter a bigoted word. Growing up in our conservative, evangelical household, other people were referred to with God's love. With my grandparents, the prejudice was ingrained, but not outwardly hateful. I remember my grandfather, a poor sharecropper his whole life, sitting there in the 1970s describing a man who would come by to do odd jobs and peddle goods in East Texas: He's a negro BUT really a good boy and hard worker. It was only as an adult I realized the bigotry of such a statement, but it was totally natural to my grandfather. To him, the good qualities of this man were unexpected because he was black. This shows ignorance (or lack of experience) from my grandfather, but not hate.

40+ years later, this type of bigotry still permeates our society. We don't know each other. So unless you are lying about why you want a Confederate flag, give it up. Show some compassion and display instead a symbol of freedom for all. May I suggest the American flag?


Jon Stewart: why I quit The Daily Show

Interesting article from the Guardian, but my favorite part was his response on if he would ever watch Fox News again after leaving the show:

Umm… All right, let’s say that it’s a nuclear winter, and I have been wandering, and there appears to be a flickering light through what appears to be a radioactive cloud and I think that light might be a food source that could help my family. I might glance at it for a moment until I realise, that’s Fox News, and then I shut it off. That’s the circumstance.
— Jon Stewart to Hadley Freeman, The Guardian

Putin reappears after 10 day absence, tired but satisfied, promises no spoilers...

After much speculation about the reason for his 10-day disappearance from public view, Vladimir Putin has reemerged. The Russian President announced that he is "tired, but satisfied" after binge watching the complete 3rd season of "House of Cards". The Slavic strongman promises no spoilers "unless NATO continues its expansion plans in Eastern Europe".