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Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

Those Romantic Wood Stoves (5 Dec 2011):

There are some good things about heating with wood. I like that wood is a renewable resource and that all of the wood we burn came from the forest around the cabin. I like that heating with wood has an ancient heritage, and now I understand this heritage better. I like the notion of bringing in the wood and starting a fire in the stove. I enjoy learning how beach, ash and maple each burn slightly differently. I like the animals that live in the stacks of wood.

Craig Leisher, Green: a blog about energy and the environment
The New York Times

My family moved out to Umstead Forest twenty-five years ago, and one of my clearest memories of moving in was the installation of the wood stove and the surrounding rock chimney. (I even remember a mouse running through the living room from the opening created by the unfinished chimney.) I was about five when we moved in, but in the coming years, my father would put me to good work, not so much splitting and chopping firewood, but certainly hauling firewood. Since we lived out between Umstead State Park and Schenck Forest, firewood was readily available on our property.

One memory I have is the aftermath of Hurricane Fran in 1996, which fell a large oak tree in our frontyard, destroying my father’s Jeep Cherokee. Due to all the carnage and power-outages, Wake County Public Schools canceled classes a full week. Generally, a high school freshman would rejoice such a windfall vacation from his studies, but we were without power and during the daylight hours my father put me to work collecting branches and then hauling firewood from the tremendous fallen oaks around our family’s house. Throughout high school and college I continued to move firewood in perpetuity — from the large woodpile by the dog-pin; the medium woodpile on the backside of the garage; the small woodpile on the pack deck; the tiny collection by the wood stove.

Winters at our house were blest with abundant and relatively free heat supplied by the many trees on our property. Somehow I miss the outside activity of moving wood. I have recently helped my father split would, and he often threatens to enlist my services still.

I hope to one day have a wood stove again, and enlist the hours of my future sons to move wood split from the felled trees of our future farm.


Harry Richardson, Winter Woodsmoke (2006)

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From The New York Times :

DENVER — They call him Big Mountain Jesus: a six-foot statue of Christ, draped in a baby blue robe and gazing out over the majestic Flathead Valley from his perch along a ski run at the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana.

He has been there for more than 50 years, erected by the local Knights of Columbus chapter in honor of the soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division who told of seeing similar shrines in the mountains of Italy during World War II.

These days, though, Whitefish’s Jesus statue is at the center of an increasingly bitter battle over the legality of such symbols on federal land.

An atheist group says that because Big Mountain Jesus stands on United States Forest Service property, it is in violation of the constitutional principle separating church and state.

After receiving a complaint about the statue in the spring, the group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, has been urging the Forest Service not to reauthorize the Knights’ special-use permit for the memorial, which is up for renewal.

“This is a no-brainer,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the group. “A violation doesn’t become less egregious because it’s gone on a long time.” Ms. Gaylor said she would have no problem if the statue stood on private property.

[read the rest of the article here]


“The case can be made that the great social and political devastations of our [20th] century have been perpetrated by regimes of militant secularism, notably those of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. That is true, and it suggests that the naked public square is a dangerous place. When religious transcendence is excluded, when the public square has been swept clean of divisive sectarianisms, the space is opened to seven demons aspiring to transcendent authority. As with a person so also with a society, the last condition is worse that the first. Nonethesless, the awareness of this truth does not alleviate our anxiety about forces that, no matter how much they deny it, seem bent upon establishing something like a theocracy.” (8-9)

Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America (1986)

I rarely engage Church/State arguments or anything having to do with the First Amendment, because I do not believe therein lie my gifts. However, I do think there is a danger in the Church conceding the “public square” of society to the State, as if the Church never belonged there in the first place, or that the State was the sum wishes or hopes of that society.

The Church (i.e., the sacramental body of individual members professing the Crucified Jesus as Lord in a society) is a political body and thus should be allowed to express herself as such.

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Mr. Krugman of Princeton University and The New York Times has an article this morning about an American response to China’s currency manipulation: Taking on China

In this article he brings out one of those George Will 25¢ words :

So how should we respond? First of all, the U.S. Treasury Department must stop fudging and obfuscating.

First I love ob- words: obscure, obtuse, obnoxious. But, for all its pomp, obfuscate is simply a more legit version of the adjective turned idiomatic verb muddy, as in muddy the waters.


ob’fus|cate, v.t.
Darken, obscure, (mind etc.); stupefy, bewilder.
So obfuscation n.

[from Late Latin OB(fuscare from fuscus dark), -ate]

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