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
– First Amendment to the United States Constitution
With the news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has established a “religious liberty task force,” the Trump administration’s assault on the First Amendment is now complete.
It seems surprising that people who take the Second Amendment literally have such a hard time with the First, which makes several things crystal clear:
Congress, which is the lawmaking body of our nation, cannot establish a state religion, nor can it stop anyone from worshiping however they please.
Nor can our system of laws restrict freedom of speech or of the press, no matter how upset it makes the current…
There was a time when whether or not I would continue to have a pulse was a matter of considerable discussion. Apparently, if I didn’t have a lot of surgery, it was going to go away and not come back.
I didn’t like that idea much, so eventually, I had the surgery. Two pig valves, one myocardial-something-or-other-y in the left ventricle, a bypass, and a Pacemaker later, everything pulses in a reasonably tidy, efficient way. As long as the batteries don’t wear out, or one of the animal valves stops working, I’m good to go.
So far, anyhow.
I have a pulse. Check yours. It’s always useful to keep checking.
From sparksfromacombustiblemindcome some questions. And since I don’t have any other brilliant thoughts, I figured I’d answer them!
I want to start out by answering the big question of the month for this household.
How is Garry doing?
Garry is fine for a guy recently out of surgery. The pain is past, but the imbalance is not. This is a common side effect of surgery to ears because that’s where our little gyroscope is.
That gyroscope is the thing that lets us keep our balance. He will regain balance eventually. I’m hoping sooner rather than later, but what will be will be.
He isn’t writing much because part of the lack of balance is linked to him having trouble finding the keys on the keyboard. This too shall pass.
So Garry isn’t driving and is uncomfortable on the stairs. I’d rather he not do anything that would cause him to fall, so basically, we aren’t doing much. Visitors are welcome, but we are not traveling.
Have you ever been in a food fight?
Do you count trying to feed a one-year-old baby?
How do you deliver bad news?
Simply. Because bad news doesn’t get better when you make it more complicated and a lot of sighing, moaning, and crying probably makes it worse.
What (if anything) do you think is beyond the stars?
I would guess more stars.
What “redneck” (unsophisticated) activity do you like to do?
I’m not sure what I do is particularly sophisticated, unless reading, writing, and taking pictures are sophisticated. I also think, but I used to believe that this was one of the privileges of being a human. Apparently, I was wrong about that.
I still eat, sleep, use the bathroom. I scrub the floor just like the rest of the world. No house cleaners, yachts, or fancy cars. Not that I would mind having any of the aforementioned, mind you. I just can’t afford them.
Is there a scary scene from a movie (or book) you viewed a child that still haunts you?
Nope. Not much of a scary movie watcher. Probably because if I watched those movies, the scenes would bother me.
If I don’t watch them, no problem.
Last (rock trivia courtesy of Glyn), which true to form I won’t answer. I wanna see if anyone (besides Glyn) knows the answer:
Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’ was the theme from which film?
It has been hot in England recently… hotter than usual, even for summer. There has been no rain in my part of the country for weeks now and the ground is parched and cracked. Harvests are being brought in early, fields are already shorn and neatly dotted with straw-bales, and the human population has been slowly wilting in the scorching, heavy air. So, it was with some eagerness that we awaited the promised rain and thunderstorms.
They didn’t arrive… The forecasters shifted their predictions to the next day, then the next… and all we had seen was a spot or two of moisture accompanied by a distant, lazy rumble of thunder. When the rain finally arrived last night, it was no more than the briefest of light showers. The dog and I, nevertheless, headed outside to enjoy the fall of water, watching its instant evaporation on the superheated concrete of the paving, but glad of the momentary respite.
Although the weather is a national preoccupation in England, we generally don’t suffer too badly from its vagaries. Ours is a temperate climate. Summers are generally warm, winters cold but not glacial… but whatever the weather is doing, we will soon be complaining about it. On the odd occasion, we do get a severe winter… by English standards… or an unusually hot summer. We are prepared for neither, and both can bring the country to its knees at temperatures other nations would consider mild. We don’t cope well with what we consider extremes of anything… be that weather or behaviour…
There is a ‘normal’ for everyone… parameters within which we are comfortable because they are familiar. They do not have to be good, or what we would choose … they are just our accustomed and accepted standards of normality. Step beyond their boundaries and, depending upon your temperament, you are in a zone of unease, or one of excitement. Such boundaries shift and change with time and circumstance… and the adaptability that is one of humanity’s greatest assets can also be its greatest handicap, as we learn to accept a new ‘normal’ very quickly and alter the parameters to suit the moment.
I was talking to my son about this as we headed out to the local farm shop on Saturday. Because of the changes in his life and capabilities caused by the brain injury, he has been redefining his ‘normal’ on a regular basis. He tends to forget where he has come from, and what he has endured and achieved to get here, and the latest version of ‘normality’ takes a great deal of the journey for granted.
We took the country lanes back to my home after we had done the shopping, stopping by a field gate so he could get out, lean on the gate, and watch the fast-forming clouds race in. It is a simple thing, but I remembered the first time he was able to do that a few years ago… and the wonder we both felt at that achievement.
This time I watched as he lost himself in the moment, seeing emotions on his face shift from bright to dark and back again, like the cloud-shadows on the land. The wind was getting stronger as dark clouds raced in. The little bit of rain had enhanced all the colours, turning the dry grasses to gold and illuminating the green of the hedgerows, where blackberries glistened amongst the wildflowers. The changing weather and the experience of beauty lifted him out of his normality and allowed him to see what he might otherwise not have noticed.
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