January Ramblings

Today's post provides a respite from the 12 Steps. We've covered 3 steps so far, and I realize that many of you have short little spans of attention, just like me. We'll continue with Step 4 in the next post, but today it's time to ramble, as we review the first month of 2017 from Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp.

* Donald Trump is now President of the United States. No, seriously, he is really the President. I'm not kidding. I have to give him credit, though. He's already managed to accomplish what the voters of Alabama have been unable to do for many years. President Trump has removed Jeff Sessions from the US Senate by appointing him to be our new Attorney General. Sessions and Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, have been the staunchest impediment to the passage of any meaningful federal prison reform legislation that otherwise has wide bipartisan support. Sessions says he's not a racist, but he does seem unable to recognize a racial bias in the federal criminal justice system.

* David Brooks, the celebrated New York Times columnist, has written The Road To Character. In this book, he profiles a number of noteworthy people. It's an excellent read because of the individuals he selects, and it's clear that Brooks had a spiritual experience while researching and writing the book. He paints a beautiful and compelling portrait of love in his chapter on 19th century British novelist George Eliot, who was really a woman named Mary Anne Evans.

* One of the corrections officers accidentally pressed the panic button on his radio this month, and every other officer in the compound came running to the rescue. Many of them are apparently infrequent runners. It reminded me of the scene from the movie Dances With Wolves when Kevin Costner felt the ground tremble from the approaching buffalo herd long before he saw it. The similarity ended when I made visual contact with the officers, as the buffaloes were quite fast in comparison.

* In a recent interview, Eugene Peterson, retired pastor, theologian, and writer, was asked how to find a church. He said we should find the smallest and closest church to our home, actively participate there, and give it 6 months. If we don't fit in there, we should find the next smallest and closest and similarly give it 6 months. If that one doesn't fit, we move out further to the next smallest. Eventually we will find a church.

* While reading at an outdoor picnic table, I became engrossed with a lone lady bug who appeared to be lost, perhaps even misguided. Naturally, my thoughts turned to Texas politics. I couldn't help but wonder about Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. If he were a male lady bug, which bathroom would he force himself to use?

*I love to get pictures, but also understand that it's not always convenient for folks to print and mail them. I've just learned of some convenient alternatives. One is called Photo Pigeon, and another is Picture Donkey. Both services allow you to send photos directly from your phone, tablet, or computer. They will print the photos and mail them to me at reasonable prices.