One weekend ago, some of my K-State friends congregated at our house for a reunion we have once a year, usually in the summer.
Two weekends ago I got the to enjoy the Ozark autumn, with trees just at the cusp of their full fall colors. I went camping with 3 guys from Kansas City I know through our church in the Mark Twain National Forest. The end destination on our hike: the Devil’s Backbone. Below is a photo my friend took while we were on the ridge (it was very backboney).
Click on the photo to see the full panorama….
While we were there, I thought about all things Devil’s Backbone and was reminded of a great movie by Guillermo Del Toro: The Devil’s Backbone. Since this is Halloween night (I’m currently writing while waiting to hand out candy with Steph, the kids keep coming up to our door) I thought the movie buttressed up against my reflections of this October nicely. I recommend this movie greatly. It takes in Spain during the Spanish civil war in 1939. I don’t normally watch horror films. However, the horror from this film isn’t produced by the film’s ghost, but instead comes from the humans caught up in this war. At least, that’s my take on it. It’s a ghost story where the most terrifying element comes from the humans. Watch it, if you’d like. I’d love to hear your reactions on it. The DVD cover stinks, by the way.
Oh, and catch Pan’s Labyrinth when it comes out, also by Guillermo Del Toro. It looks fantastic too. …of course, it has the right to be horrible and I’ll have to take my ringing endorsement (for a film I haven’t even seen) back. I should be more careful.
A new tradition was born as part of our weekend in Kansas City: bocce on the long lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum and Sculpture Garden. Or perhaps bocce anywhere we gather and have access to a servicable bocce set.
Please go to www.bocce.org for further information on the sport, its history, and its rules. Certainly, our version–termed “extreme bocce” by several passers-by–bends the rules in numerous and important ways–which is to say, any terrain is fair play, as long as it does not risk damage to the bocce balls. I’d say it is a cross between lawn bowling, billiards, and miniature golf.
An excellent weekend, Toby and Peters. Good form. You were greatly missed, J. E. and Ned.
I am sending this letter to both of my senators and all eight of my representatives. Feel free to use my letter for your own purposes, or make your own. Both of my senators are Jewish; so I am assuming the word genocide means somehting to them. I am also sending it to my very own President of the United States.
To: The Honorable Russ Feingold
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-4904
Dear Senator Feingold,
This letter is written to plead that you and other United States representatives pay attention to what is happening in Darfur, Sudan. I, a voting citizen in a swing state, implore you to take some action, whatever action you can, to prevent the genocide occurring as we speak. How many more hundreds of thousands must be killed before we act? President Bush himself has described the situation as genocide. I am horrified, outraged, and flabbergasted that our country has remained neutral in action on this heinous situation. “You can look at it this way: back in 1944, the Germans didn’t want anybody coming in and seeing their death camps. Today in Sudan, the government doesn’t want anybody coming in and seeing what amount to death villages.” *
Please let us use our resources where we can make a true moral stand against murder and injustice. Can we not send more aid to these areas? Can we not more fiercely condemn these behaviors? Kofi Annan and Bill Clinton both recognize Rwanda as their crowning failure. Will we stand by and do nothing, again? Is it true that we have resisted sending a U.N. Peacekeeping force because we have received information on Osama Bin Laden from leaders in Sudan? “It’s been a very good deal for the government of Sudan to give little tidbits of information about suspects around the world in order to blunt United States outrage over what’s happening in Darfur,” Prendergast says. *
First, I challenge you as a respectable acting member of the government of the United States to respond to me with a letter entailing actions you are taking to prevent the slaughter taking place in Sudan and answer my questions. Are we turning our backs on Africa and Sudan because we have no financial interests there? Secondly, I challenge you to send me information on how I can make a tangible difference.
While many of you were whooping it up in Kansas City, Liz and I were at Putamayo’s Acoustic Africa Concert featuring Dobet Gnahoré from Ivory Coast, Habib Koité from Mali, and Vusi Mahlasela from South Africa. Liz and I have been long time fans of Habib Koité and like the last time we saw him in concert we left with a little glimmer of hope in our otherwise pessimistic hearts.
Though the venue, UT’s Hogg Auditorium, makes for a rather staid atmosphere to see Afropop by the end of the show everyone was on their feet. Many times while Liz and I were dancing I had to look behind me in wonder at all the different races and ages of the 600 other folks dancing with us. All the skin tones of the human spectrum. Blue haired retirees, nuclear families, all phases of life were there. As we left I heard more than one conversation in something other than English. This is a typical experience at Performing Arts Center events and it makes me proud to play a small part in it. There is no experience that gives me more hope for the future of the human race.
Except of course the experience of playing Settlers of Catan with you idiots.
(Shotts: Acoustic Africa will be at the Walker Arts Center on Thursday. If your schedule is free, I highly recommend that you and Jen check them out.)
This morning’s selection is a band I discovered this week. I’ve been listening to these two tracks repeatedly. I will probably head out to the store and pick up the album soon. You can stream selections of their whole album here.
If you want to see a few (slightly blurry) images of the children’s book I illustrated for St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, called The Man and the Vine, you can go to www.svspress.com. Scroll down below the search and find the catalog (PDF format). Clicking on this will bring up the catalog. The cover of the catalog is an image I did from the book. You can also see a few spreads by searching inside, and yet another spread, featured on the back of the catalog. The book itself will be released in December, but will likely not be available through the major venues like Borders, etc.
Here are some websites. One allows you to send an email to Bush and Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the U.N. (for just a bit longer before that South Korean guy, I forget his name takes over). Who knows what good it will do, but it can’t harm. You can edit the message if you don’t like some of the provisions. I got these from the CBS website. The article I referred to earlier is featured if you type in Darfur as a search. I visited all the sites but WorldVision is the only one I know intimately. It is a very upstanding organization.
Support Darfur, Make a Difference Today
Support the people of Darfur, Sudan today. You can help save lives in Darfur where 400,000 people have already died and over 2 million displaced. Please donate now. http://www.supportdarfur.com
I recently saw an interview on Sixty Minutes in which an American doctor (working in Darfur, Sudan) accused the Bush administration of refusing to send in intervention forces because they were receiving information on Osama Bin Laden from the men in power. Osama apparently visited the current president to recruit men. When a German doctor was asked what he wanted to say to Americans watching, he said something like (paraphrased), “I have seen men gang rape women, while killing their children in front of them, mutilate and chop up men, and throw body parts into drinking water sources so that it is certain that no one can live there for years. What do you think I should say to my fellow Westerners? History will judge them harshly. They can not continue to lie and say, “We just didn’t know.”
For those of you who have seen the film Hotel Rwanda, this is that all over and maybe worse. I find it ironic that while Bush claims to be such a Christian, he has left Christians in Africa to be butchered — sandwiched between African Resistance movements and Islamist militias. The truth is that we likely wouldn’t even need to use military force, but merely just put some pressure on these people. We’re too busy trying to deal with the nuclear can of worms that we opened and can’t close. We need new methods of negotiation and diplomacy other than intimidation and violence. Every lunatic on the map wants a bomb now, because we then have to recognize the threat that they pose. Did we learn nothing from our bomb shelters in the 70s and 80s?
If anyone has additional information on Sudan, I welcome it. I have a few articles that I copied from my free NY Times emails, if anyone wants to read them. As I said the Sixty Minutes interview aired last Sunday night. I am considering writing a letter to my Congressman in outrage, but I have my cynical doubts as to what difference it may make. Also, I am just slightly into a book by Gene Sharp called the Politics of Nonviolent Action and I already would suggest it to any of you.
For those who want a de ja vu moment- check this out: I decided to check out what website out there bears my name and went to www.jeffpeters.com. I found a strikingly familiar website. a blog that made me wonder if tob was running the universe, or if i was in an episode of Lost. I am serious give this thing a try before it changes up. strange.
Looking forward to Kansas City and heading south where, presumably, it hasn’t snowed several times already. I wish I could say that were true for Minnesota.
Tradition dictates that we will see a movie over the weekend, and tradition also dictates that we discuss in advance what movie we will watch.
My vote goes to THE PRESTIGE, the new Christopher Nolan film, the director of MEMENTO and INSOMNIA and BATMAN BEGINS. Seems like a good bet, with an autumn and Halloween appropriateness. And seems like a good movie to discuss over a pint at Harry’s.
Any other contenders?
Also of note, U2 does have a new album coming out soon–U218 Singles–with 16 of their singles plus 2 new tracks, one in collaboration with Green Day on a cover of “The Saints Are Coming.” I’m assuming Toby will have the new tracks in their entirety, somehow found and downloaded.
One of the great things about having your own blog is the ability to manipulate time. Thus, without further ado, I give you Music Thursday once more…restored to Thursday!
My apologies to everyone for missing the usual Thursday music post. The explanation is simple, I forgot it was Thursday until about 5:00pm last night. By that time, I was away from the computer for the day. But never fear! I have a very forgiving audience.
I’ve thought about the difficulty of finding a good to great album every week, and decided the longevity of Music Thursday would be severely compromised unless I developed a different tact. So I am going to be highlighting individual songs that I’ve been listening to instead of whole albums. This also helps me, because longer albums (like last week’s) are much more time consming to post, too. So those factors influence my decision to roll back the curtain on this week’s new format.
The first couple of songs are by a band I heard while watching a new TV show (Heroes) and it caught me. I scoured the internet and found out the song, and am now sharing with you. The band is Rogue Wave. I’ve been listening to their newest album Descended Like Vultures and it’s good. I may even grab it and post it on Music Thursday someday. The songs that follow aren’t actually from this album, but I loved the cover art. “Eyes” is a single and “Kicking the Heart Out” is from their CD titled Out of the Shadow.
The second selection this week is part of a longer story. To sum it up quickly, I got this album for free because of a mishap with an online music store. The whole album isn’t fantastic, but a couple of the songs were blog-worthy. Enjoy!
I told Toby a few weeks ago that there was an 80% chance that I could make to Kansas City. That was overly optimistic. I still can’t be gone for that weekend and now the plane ticket is $100 more than it was a month ago anyway.
Hope you guys have a good time. And I hope we can get together some other time soon. Perhaps in Texas….
I’ll be back on the blog more regularly after October so keep the HM fires burning!
I bought this album a couple of years ago on a weekend where the leaves on the trees changed drastically. I had a road trip through the back roads of Kansas and it was glorious. Ever since, the following album has been synonymous with autumn. (It joins the ranks of many a U2 album.)
Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs | The Three Pickers
It is the sin we all commit,
To make things in our image.
But how can I empathize
With you that have been shot,
Burned, poisoned, demonized,
Hunted, trapped, and hung for hides,
Born into this Manifest demise.
It is not human inclination
To leave things untouched;
But between us, I know,
There can be no suture.
For you are another nation,
Perfect in nature.
And maybe redemption will come
When it is enough
To love without sight
To love without touch
To succumb to the knowledge –
That freedom does not bend
For the hubris of men.