Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I Try Not To Cheat On My Diet Very Often

But when I give in to temptation I usually make a beeline for Rosa's...

 There are many great restaurants in Prescott, but Rosa's Pizzeria is my favorite!  These days my preferred meal there is the Antipasto Salad.  Every pasta dish I've ever had at Rosa's was great.  The pizza is awesome, no, beyond awesome!  All that said, I've never met anyone who was disappointed with the dish they chose.  The service - host or hostess, servers, and bartenders - is excellent.  It's noisy and routinely crowded, but that has to be part of the high energy fun. There are quieter restaurants if you plan to have a conversation but there is no place in Prescott with better food.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What's With The Green Thumb?

I planted more this Saturday...

My plans for the day changed when I realized I was two weeks early for a course I had looked forward to attending.  So on the way home through Prescott I stopped at Lowe's to buy more parts with which to expand the drip irrigation system.  Then I drove to Watters for another chat with Ms. Ella, my favorite horticulturist.  

She helped me find another plant I'd found very striking during my previous consultation.  Now I have two Coppertina Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius "Mindia" shrubs in front of the house.  They have a nice mix of copper, bronze, and verdigris color in the spring.  They'll run burgundy red in the summer and fall.    

I dug up the decrepit rose garden, snapping a shovel while prying on the ghost of a former occupant.  I turned the soil, mulched, rearranged the drippers, and seeded the space with Deer Resistant Wildflower Mix from Beauty Beyond Belief Seed

In the course of my spring yard work I've detected two former flower beds.  I gave them some attention as well.  The stone fringed circle west of the deck got mulch and a Wildflowers To Attract Butterflies & Birds.  I'll need to add a drip line.

A small bed east of the car port, which offered a couple surviving bulbs this year, got a Low-Growing Wildflower Mix.

These pictures are nothing much to look at now, but I hope they'll form the "Before" picture after we see what comes of today's work.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Got Some Planting Done

Many hands - or even just two more - make light work...

From the before picture. An unhappy pine and some sort of gnarled shrub predominated.  Behind them plastic webbing reduced the glare from cars at the four way stop.

Through staging the plants.  The ugly shrub is gone.

To mission accomplished! I regret the pine had to go, but I have a couple dozen of them elsewhere throughout the yard. The bright yellow and green leafed Gold Spot Euonymus will grow as tall as ten feet. The purple leafed "Pipa's Red" Red Chinese Fringe Flower will attain a height of about five feet. Still musing on what to plant in the foreground.

We also planted "Madame Galen" Trumpet Vines every eight feet along the fence that faces the street. I like having a fence, I just don't like looking at the fence.

I expanded the drip irrigation system to accommodate the new shrubs.  The previous owner had planted rose bushes in roughly the same spot but didn't prep the holes at all and then installed 1/2 gallon per hour drippers (which the renter who lived there before I bought the place didn't run in any case) so it's no wonder they failed to thrive.  The sandy soils in my neighborhood call for amendment and 2-4 gph drippers.  The vines will get two gph.  The new shrubs will be treated to four.

We ate well too, at The Raven Cafe,
The Waffle IronRosa's Pizzeriaand Prescott Brewing Company,  

Erik even got to sleep in Sunday.

It was a nice weekend.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I Have A Reading Problem

I can't resist buying more books than I'll have time to read, that is...

Erik and I had supper at The Raven Cafe in Prescott.  Erik had the pulled pork sandwich.  I had the Riverhouse salad.  Then we went to Peregrine Book Company just to have a look see.  Erik got a new graphic novel out of the deal.  I left with four new books I didn't know I needed before entering the store.  That's how it works.

So, I'll be reading, eventually, some day...

The Case for God, by Karen Armstrong

The Brother Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Works of Mencius, by James Legge

The Book of Job, by Stephen Mitchell

So many books, so little time.

UPDATE: When I got home I found a nice copy of The Brothers Karamazov on the shelf already. Not being a book I'll have time to read twice, it was returned the next day...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

No, Those Aren't Triffids In My Back Seat

I stopped at Watters on my way home today...

A very helpful young lady at Watters Garden Center in Prescott by the name of Ella helped me pick the first of several planting projects for this spring.  Living at 6,200 feet in Groom Creek I need plants suited to Zone 6 or 7 that are also willing to live in the shadows of my Ponderosa pines.  Being a member of the Groom Creek Water Users Association I need plants that once established will not need much water in order to thrive.

My property is surrounded by a chain link fence.  I like having the fence I suppose, but I don't like looking at the fence.  Solution!  Trumpet Vine, Campus tagliabuana "Madame Galen."  I'm told it will grow like a weed once it takes root and cover the fence between my house and the road with green leaves and orange-red blooms.

To the east of the property is a four way stop.  Solution!  I'll plant "Gold Spot Euonymus" Euonymus japonicas 'Aureovaiegatus' (five to ten feet tall and three to six feet wide) along the inside of the fence to form a hedge that will afford me some privacy and keep the headlights from shining into my bedroom window at night.  In the middle ground I'm going to plant Pipa's Red Chinese Fringe Flower, Loropetalum chinense "Pipa's Red" (five feet tall).  I've yet to select the planting for the foreground but Ella has given me some nice ideas.

The gentle slope to the west of the house will have to wait for now.

Son Erik is coming home this weekend so we should get everything in its proper place by Sunday afternoon...

Yes, I know, a Volvo S70 isn't much of a gardening vehicle.  I'm working on that too...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

NASA 811

Our very own F-104N...

Folks who don't work with me here at Embry-Riddle - Prescott may not know we have our very own F-104N on static display. Specially rebuilt to serve as NASA chase planes, only three were so typed. One them was lost in the midair collision that also destroyed an XB-70 Valkyrie 8 June 1966. The other is on display at the Lockheed-Martin "Skunkworks" in Palmdale, California. Neil Armstrong flew ours.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Podcasts

I'm listening to these days...

Distraction, With Dr. Ned Hallowell - Psychology

Monster Talk - Monsters in the popular imagination 

The Deconstructionists Podcast - Religion, mostly Christianity

Spark My Muse - Spirituality, mostly Christianity

Point of Inquiry - Critical thinking

The Classic Tales Podcast - Classic tales; I listen for the horror

Skeptoid - Critical thinking

Rationally Speaking - Critical thinking

On the Media - News media coverage of current events

Ideas, With Chris Kennedy, From CBC Radio - Currents events from a Canadian perspective

On Being, With Krista Tippett - Spirituality

Quack Cast - Critical thinking applied to medicine

Reasonable Faith Podcast - Evangelical Christianity as interpreted by Molonist theologian, philosopher, and apologist William Lane Craig

Escape Pod - Science Fiction

Astronomy Cast - Astronomy 

Please recommend others...

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Looking Forward to This One

What did he see out there in the desert for 40 days?

Hadn't heard of this 2015 film until just now, but "Last Days in the Desert" by Rodrigo Garcia looks like a winner. His participation in S**r W**s I-III notwithstanding, I've always admired Ewan McGregor as an actor. His dual role in this meditation on the story of John the Baptist's most successful follower should be at least as intriguing as my favorite gospel, Martin Scorsese's 1988 interpretation of Nikos Kazantzakis' 1953 novel, "The Last Temptation of Christ".

The stories of the life and death of the man, Yeshua from Nazareth, contain many mythic elements and myths need to be unpacked in order to understand what the storytellers were trying to convey.

UPDATE: There's a premier event Thursday, May 12, in Phoenix.  I plan to attend so I purchased my ticket online.  I don't Facebook much, but for those who do, here's that 

UPDATE 2: Son Erik is going to join me for the movie and dinner afterwards...

UPDATE 3: "Last Days in the Desert" was quite good, every bit as much as I'd hoped. It will probably be too nuanced for the literalist crowd but that's to be expected, unfortunately.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hanging With Some New Homies

Not sure what the Deconstructionists are about...

...but their enthusiasm is infectious.

The Deconstructionists Podcast is hosted by John Williamson and Adam Narloch, who appear to be sincere seeker who just may be hobbled by their presupposition that the form of Christianity they profess is self-evidentially true.  Still, their giggling, "Yeah, man!" and "Oh, wow!" exclamations are so true I can't not listen.

I've asked them - but have yet to hear their reply - the following questions...

Still working through what you mean by deconstructionism. I do wonder a little if everything is on the table as you deconstruct your religiosity. Your method - post modernism, maybe? - seems to allow a certain credulity when it comes to what moves you. You referred to John 7:53-8:11, the story of The Woman Taken In Adultery as though it features Jesus' own words. It's one of my favorite bible stories too but it was not in the original manuscripts and is first found in the form we recognize in Codex Bezae (~400-500 CE) and is widely accepted to be an interpolation. Further, the discussion of Dr. Masuru Emoto was enthusiastically accepted at face value, when his work is widely regarded as pseudoscience derived from poor technique. [See] https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4433 I so hope your definition of deconstructionism means more than simply discarding ideas you don't like and keeping your favorites. I'm not a Christian but I have no interest in being an angry atheist either. Ironically, I've been studying the history of religion, the science of mystical experience, and the nature of the religious impulse for some time now. There are those, myself among them, who found no there there when they took it all apart.


Unless and until you face the possibility that some of the story didn't happen at all, or at least not in the way traditionally expressed, have you honestly dug deeply enough? If you are genuinely serious about your deconstruction/reconstruction project read everything L. Michael White, , Elaine Pagels, Candida Moss, Paula Fredriksen, Pamela Eisenbaum, Bart Ehrman, A.N. Wilson, [and] Reza Aslan have written. If you don't have time for all that at least read Ehrman's "Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium," "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament," and "How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee." You may scream and chuck these books across the room but at least you'll have stuck your hand into "The Box."

Not quite sure these young fellas can escape the core presuppositions but I'm going to listen all the way through. They are worth a try.