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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Hurricane Sandy.


Last night there was a strange halo around the moon – one at first, then later in the evening there were three, one of them elliptical, which was unlike anything I’d seen before.  It’s always hard to tell if we feel foreboding because our bodies do sense something, or if our minds are making it […]

Ibn Ishaq, Herodotus of Early Arabia.


On the Wizard-of-Oz-like Chosroes, king of Persia: Now Chosroes used to sit in his audience chamber which contained his crown.  According to reports his crown was like a huge grain-measure with rubies, pearls, and topazes set in gold and silver, suspended by a golden chain from the top of the dome in his hall of […]

Let’s Have Real Names For Our Daughters Again…


Names like Freelove Titus, daughter of Bathsheba Titus.  From Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, where I was pleased a few days ago to find a number of old Kuhner family graves.

Persecution, Martyrdom, and the Wholeness of the Self.


In monotheistic folklore – meaning the folktales of Christians and Muslims, and I bet in Talmudic Judaism as well, though I have not seen it for myself – there is a persistent theme of a powerful king persecuting a good, peaceful believer. Among the Christians the persecutors are typically Nero and Diocletian, and their victims […]

Faymiyun, the Holy Man of Arabia.


This is the story of Christianity in ancient Najran, in Yemen, as found in Ibn Ishaq’s Life of the Messenger of Allah.  I quote almost the entirety of it in the above essay, so I figured I would put it up in its original form, as it does not appear to be easily available online […]

Catskills Political Commentary.


Since I showed a picture of my own empty chair, I thought maybe I’d include another empty chair.  From the Rondout Valley, just outside the big state prisons north of Ellenville:

Morning in the Cabin.


The Face of Winter.


The leaves are gone from all the maples around here, and the ferns are all dying to the ground.  The forest is taking on its winter appearance, which will not alter much for the next six months.  The one exception is the beech trees, which are still going gold and brown.  But for vigorous fall […]

Hard Frost.


I stepped outside at 3 a.m. last night – I stayed up a bit to finish reading a book – and found it was 26 degrees outside.  Ice had started forming at 9 p.m.  When I got up in the morning, there was a half-inch of ice on water surfaces.  First frost of the season, […]

Red Hill Sunset.


I climbed Red Hill with a friend after he got off work yesterday.  We zipped up the mountain in record time – it’s a short hike and it was cold and the sunset was not going to wait for us – and were rewarded with a good, leisurely sunset.  He had a backpack full of […]