Hold It All

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I Like To See “Selfies”

They are a bell of mindfulness
Reminding me of one of my favorite songs

From the Beatles’ Let It Be
George singing “I Me Mine”


Modus Vivendi

A world of images is offered by Christ — better, dramatized by him — images of waiting, listening, observing, debating, healing, conveying hope and humor, telling stories that end with a question lodged like a seed in the heart.

–Dan Berrigan, from his commentary, Isaiah: Spirit of Courage, Gift of Tears

“Just Mow ‘Em Down”

Next month will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the very few well-known atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Vietnam. Compare mainstream coverage of this anniversary with the following …

Michael Bilton and Kevin Sim, Four Hours in My Lai  (New York: Penguin Books, 1992).
Seymour Hersh, My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath (New York: Random House, 1970).

On March 16, 1968, over a hundred men of the Army’s Charlie Company of the Americal Division entered the village of Mỹ Lai and murdered over five hundred people, overwhelmingly women, children, and old men.  A military cover-up of the mass murder ensued. Lieutenant William “Rusty” Calley was the only member of the company or of the higher command who received any punishment, initially, a sentence of life imprisonment with hard labor, which became three and a half years under house arrest, after which he was released. Some in the Army were relieved as the Mỹ Lai massacre was eventually termed a “tragedy,” later to be viewed as an “incident.” Read the rest of this entry »

Why Translation Matters

Translation not only plays its important traditional role as the means that allows us access to literature  originally written in one of the countless languages we cannot read, but it also represents a concrete literary presence with the crucial capacity to ease and make more meaningful our relationship to those with whom we may not have had a connection before.  Translation always helps us to know, to see from a  different angle, to attribute new value to what once may have been unfamiliar. As nations and individuals, we have a critical need for that kind of understanding and insight. The alternative is unthinkable.

–Edith Grossman, translator of Don Quixote, author of Why Translation Matters



Gratitude for the 11 people who’ve been reading, writing, and sharing the past two months in the online “Be in Love with Yr Life” Class.

Palm Coast

My friends, the Burkempers, are vacationing at Palm Coast, and Liz sent me this photograph.

Napalm Sticks to Kids, Teens, Adults, Elders

On Robert Neer, Napalm: An American Biography (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013)


“I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like …victory.”
—Lt. Col.Kilgore, in Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Apocalypse Now

“[W]e’ll fight mercilessly. Flying Fortresses will be dispatched immediately to set the paper cities of Japan on fire… There won’t be any hesitation about bombing civilians.”
Army Chief of Staff George Marshall, November 1941

“Fry ‘em out, burn ‘em out, cook ‘em.”
—Narrator in U.S. documentary film, This Is Korea Read the rest of this entry »

The Good News of Puck, 4.21.2017

Today I saw Puck Vlaskamp play her last tennis matches as an undergraduate at Maryville University.  She has given her all to her studies and her sport, and has touched and inspired many of us at school. Puck is the Good News—of joie de vivre, presence, curiosity, and camaraderie.

Puck Vlaskamp and Kine Sandø Kleppe


The Good News of Remembering the Big Picture, 3.26.2017

I randomly pull books off of my shelves and turn to a page to see what’s there. Today I found the following in Dorothee Soelle’s Against the Wind: Memoir of a Radical Christian (she was a German theologian, feminist, and peace activist):

Once, when I was particularly depressed, a friend and pacifist from Holland told me something very beautiful: “The people who worked to build the cathedrals in the Middle Ages never saw them completed. It took two hundred years and more to build them. Some stone-cutter somewhere sculpted a beautiful rose; it was his life’s work, and it was all he ever saw. But he never entered into the completed cathedral. But one day, the cathedral was really there. You must imagine peace the same way.” Those words helped me a lot. It was good to know: I was participating in building a cathedral, and I knew that someday it would be completed, just as slavery was abolished, so war will also be abolished, though beyond my lifetime.

The Good News of Generating, 3.9.2017

I have 286 chapters in an almost finished first draft of a manuscript entitled, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris.