Thursday, June 30, 2011

What, no Tears for Daddy Rupert?

Today marked a personal triumph of sorts. Not due to any specific action of my own or anything like that mind you - more that today I indeed triumph in that Glenn Beck will no longer be on the TV airwaves polluting the minds of millions of viewers with his wretched "conspiracy theories" about George Soros and "left-wing socialists".

Was it the ratings plunge? The exodus of influential sponsors? The pressure from network execs to dial it back?

Whatever his reasons, (he says it was because he had more to do) the departure of Glenn Beck from Fox News is nothing short of a sign of relief for moderate conservatives (who found him an embarrassment to their brand), and nothing short of a major victory for progressives who endured his rhetoric on TV for over two years. They also thought he was embarrassing, for humanity.

Not that Mr. Beck is going away, really. He will still have his radio show, and chances are (and he's already hinted at) that he'll land a TV talk show somewhere else, albeit a much more remote locale compared to Fox. He mentions a web-based program on GBTV. (Green Beans for TransVestites?, Great Big Tennis Volleys?, George Bush's Too-soon Victory?)

One of my biggest concerns with Beck is how easily he blends patriotism and nationalism with religious fervor. As if being Proud To Be An American is a virtue of Christendom. [Editor's note: I like how Chuck Norris-y Lee Greenwood looks at the beginning of that video] 

It's difficult for me to place U.S. patriotism and affinity to Jesus in the same basket. The Jesus I've learned to follow wasn't too big on empires or pride, and spent a lot of time blessing others instead of asking for blessings for himself.

So when Good Boy Glenn makes claims that Christians should leave churches that preach social justice, because he believes it is a scourge to our democracy, I have a really hard time taking the bait. I don't see the two in relationship that way. Rather, I see the moral issue of care and concern for the poor, elderly and other vulnerable groups of society as both a religious and societal imperative. One problem being tackled from multiple viewpoints. Not necessarily working together, but toward the same goal.

I see the social justice issue as religious in the sense that the Jesus I have come to understand made it very clear that we have a responsibility to look after the well being of all people. And I see this again as a responsibility for society in large part because of what history has shown us - that societies empires who do not care for the needs of all people ultimately disintegrate.

But additionally, countries that do not make important strides in caring and providing for their citizens in meaningful and important ways end up with massive debt, huge disparities between income groups, and a disjointed and toxic political climates. Oh wait, that's the United States of America.

One of my favorite comedians is John Fugelsang. You'll remember him as the funny man to Daisy Fuentes' funny girl on "America's Funniest Home Videos" from '98-'99, following Bob Saget's near decade reign.

Lately he's been lighting up twitter with commentary about Glenn Beck's last broadcast on Fox:

If Glenn Beck were any more unbalanced he'd be Cubist.
Beck says Christians should leave a church that wants Social Justice; Beck should leave a church before bursting into flames.

Anyway, peace out Glenn Beck; thanks for adding fuel to the fire that's burning the country to the ground. May you fade into oblivion and be forgotten.

Let there be carrots!!

Here's the last of the carrots we harvested. I was a little disappointed in both the size of carrot and quantity of the harvest, but it's given me a few ideas for the next season.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Road Burn

This kept me from exiting where I wanted. Look closely, the entire cab is engulfed in flames. No one was injured, thank goodness.

Vacation: Missouri part 2

Here's some new generation Barnes family kids, doin' the Barnes family kid thing: getting sticky from watermelon & sitting on the storm shelter.

Vacation: Missouri

Last week we traveled to Van Buren, MO for a week long family get away. And by family, I mean over 60 of my closest and most distant relatives from the Barnes side. So it was, as one might say - a hootenanny. Oh, what's that you say Wikipedia? I used the term wrong?

Well, as Supreme Chancellor of Linguistics of this blog, I'm going to decree that henceforth, the term "hootenanny" whence uttered amidst the hills and hollers, cricks and creeks of the Missouri Ozarks shall refer to what others call a "shin-dig", "reunion", "get-together" or "jamboree".

After the festivities of feasting and familial funitude, a great multitude of occasions for aquatic splashery commenced. There was:

Wading and floating:

And fishing:

And exploring:

And cute girls:

* appearing in this post is Jason from "The Moanstead" & "Two Thumbs Brewing", and Elizabeth from "The Multi-Tasking Momma"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vacation: Kansas (part 2)

Some pretty flowers and an old steamy in Lawrence, KS.

iPhone 3GS / lomob pix.

Farmer Life

Carrots and watermelons are Coming on well!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Field Trip

When out searching for "free range" sandstone rocks for landscaping, we stumbled upon the path of the May 24th tornado. It carved a path across western and central Oklahoma for over 70 miles. The final evaluation placed the twister in the EF5 category. The Enhanced Fujita scale, which takes into consideration damage caused as well as the traditional measure of wind sheer speeds to determine the severity of the tornado, was adopted a few years back.

Now, on to something other than meteorological trivia:

On N. McArthur Boulevard north of Waterloo Rd. in Logan County (where the boulevard is little more than a dirt road) we stumbled on what was once an Oklahoma Centennial Farm:

Now, I know that the damage from this storm pales in comparison to that of Joplin, MO. And as close to home as that one was, this one was also too close for comfort. There was damage to the High School and Upper Elementary school in Guthrie, where I and both my sisters attended. 
Even still, after 2 weeks of debris removal, clean up and repairs - driving through that area gave me a strange sense of un-ease. The last picture tells it well: two weeks afterward and the grass is still not just bent and broken, but flattened - plastered even into the ground at the mercy of the wind. 

Humanity has endured much greater struggles than this. But the trauma, sorrow and sense of waning control over our lives cannot be ignored or forgotten. These are what make us human, after all. So be strong, indeed be brave - and remain humble and human, able to bend and full of understanding that sometimes we even break. And as is so evident and prevalent in places like Joplin, MO and Guthrie and El Reno, OK, we are reminded that essentially humanity is good. And for that I give thanks to God.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Adirondack Blues

I got the blues, man. Got the blues real bad. Feel like I've been livin' in the dirt for months. Yeah, I got The Adirondack Blues.

Tonight we fried up a mess of taters from our garden. We grew Yukon Golds and Adirondack Blues. So we mixed it up for some color.
I tossed a pork tenderloin and some farmers market sweet corn on the grill, then mixed up some pink lemonade.

Still to come from the garden: beans, peppers, carrots, watermelon and sunflowers. We have 2 grape vines we're tending as well, but that's a few years down the road.

Meanwhile the kids made a mud hole in the back yard. It started off as playing in the sprinkler, but quickly devolved into sitting and splashing the mud.

Man, I do enjoy summer.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Vacation: Kansas

While up in Kansas for a family reunion on my wife's side I spotted this little guy:

I'll leave it to my entomologist sister to ID it in the comments, and probably tell me it's not a "guy".

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Here are a few Yukon Golds we pulled from the garden Monday night. The plants were starting to lay over and expose the base, so we pulled one up to see what was going on. Lo and behold- potatoes!

We're getting ready for some summer fun, and these spuds will be a great compliment to whatever delicious food we prepare.