Wednesday, September 30, 2009

28 tons of sand: FUN!

Got a load of sand in. Kids got to play on it first -- because the dogs would piss on it, let's be honest. But everyone had a lovely time nevertheless. Now I will go wreck the pile with a bulldozer.

big pile of sand from glencadia on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On Santa Claus, a Platonic Dialogue

Not believing in Santa is a rite of passage and not considered a big deal. But Ollie immediately concluded that if there is no Santa there is no soul and that when you die, you're gone.

I don't know what I believe about the soul but I was upset to see my son throw the soul out with Santa. Should we throw Santa under the bus to preserve the soul? Would that be honest? Can I honestly make a case for Santa? Can I honestly make a case for the soul if I deny Santa?

I let it go. We all go back and forth on these issues and as sure as he sounded the day he declare there is no Santa and no soul, he's likely to change his mind as time goes by. But when the issue comes up again, I want to have thought the thing through.

I am unlikely to be alone in this situation. I offer the dialogue below to anyone is a similar bind.

I resolved the soul-Santa dilemma with Plato. That's right: Plato. A platonic dialogue on Santa.

Ollie did say much of what I have him quoted as saying, about Santa and the soul, about the light in the trees... only I didn't have Socrates to help me out at the time.


As the fields ripened and air cooled, Socrates left the walls of the city and wandered up into the hills. He went for a considerable distance and crossed a small stream, then found Ollie, then about 7 years old, sitting on his swing under the maple tree that turns red in the Fall. Ollie was kicking the trunk of the tree and swinging back and forth and Socrates sat on the steps to the porch.

“And how goes it today?” asked Socrates.

“Not well,” said Ollie. “I’ve decided there is no Santa Claus. The parents give the presents. If there is no Santa Claus, there is no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy, no soul, no God and when you die, that’s it your dead.”

“Can you so easily extrapolate from one creature to the next? What is it that unifies all these entities you have so easily connected as similar.”

“They are all made up and not true, that’s what,” said Ollie.

“You started with Santa Claus. Let’s look at him first and leave the soul to the side for now. What is the essential activity that makes Santa Claus who he is?”

“Giving. He gives stuff away.”

“If he were to charge for toys, that would un-Santa Claus-like?”

“Of course.”

“Can we say that Santa Claus is generous?”

“He is the most generous person in the whole world.”

“Could we say that Santa Claus personifies generosity and the spirit of sharing?”

“I don’t know since I don’t know what that means.”

“Let me suggest this to you: In the real world, it is impossible to be generous perfectly. If I give you a present, in the most simple case I want you to know I gave it to you so you can thank me and perhaps give me one in return some day. I want you to feel in my debt.”

“Yes, but I think it’s the parents that give the presents. They actually don’t want me to know they gave it to me.

“Right, but they are there when you open the presents, right? They like to watch you open them, and enjoy your reaction. Are they not actually giving presents to themselves? Do your parents give so many presents to other people’s children or only to their own?”

“Only to their own.”

“So you see, when your parents give you presents in the real world, it isn’t perfect. Yet, if a spirit in the spiritual realm were to give a present to another spirit in the spiritual realm, then that present would be given in perfect generosity.”

“You mean angels have Christmas?”

“I mean there is perfect generosity in the dimension we do not experience very often since we live in the concrete world. We cannot see this spirit of perfect generosity. We are lucky to get any glimpse or sense of the spiritual realm at all. A person can live 100 years and only get a slight glimpse of the spiritual realm for only a few seconds. How much more unlike is it for a person to see perfect generosity? We can never see it.”

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“Or course you’re not sure. When you look in the mirror you see your face but it is not your face but that image in the mirror could not exist without your real face existing. When you make a shadow of your hand on the wall the shadow is not your hand but it could not exist without your real hand really existing. The same is true when your parents give you a present: when we are generous here on earth, when we give presents, that imperfect generosity is the reflection of the perfect generosity in the spiritual realm. It is like the shadow of your hand: as you hand is more than the shadow, the perfect generosity of the spiritual realm is more than the imperfect generosity of your parents giving you a present.”

“Wow. Can you say that again?”

“No. The idea of a perfect spirit of generosity existing in the prefect spiritual realm beyond our senses is very hard to understand. We can’t imagine what perfect generosity would look like. So, to let us get some sense of what we would see in the spiritual realm, we invented Santa Claus to be the image of perfect generosity on earth. Santa Claus is real: he is the essence of generosity. He gives without ulterior motive. He is perfect. Whenever someone is generous, that person is the image of Santa Claus. No one could ever be generous if there were no Santa Claus. How can you have a shadow of a hand without a real hand? How can you have shadow of generosity without the real generosity of the spiritual realm, which is Santa Claus?”

“But what if I don’t believe in the spiritual ream or whatever you said, that spirit world?”

“Well, do you? Have you ever felt it on earth in any way?”

“Yes. My mom’s friend died and we went to the service afterwards. The Dad was talking to the little boy, her son, and we were all under her favorite tree. The Dad said she was in Heaven looking down on him, the son. Just then the light came through the leaves of the trees. I don’t know how it came in, but there was no light before, and no light like that afterwards. Maybe the clouds moved or the leaves, or both at just the same time, just when he said that about the Mom. We were all there and everyone was sure something had happened.”

“How long did you see the light?”

“A few seconds.”

“So you’re lucky: only seven years old and you’ve had a glimpse of the spiritual realm. If there is a spiritual realm, and you say you know there is since you saw into it, then it is perfect. In the spiritual realm there is perfect everything, perfect love, perfect truth, perfect generosity. We can’t see it, so we imagine these qualities as special people, like Santa Claus. There is a Santa Claus and his reflection shines into Christmas as people become more generous.”

“Is this what I should tell my sister if she asks?”

“How old is your sister?”


“No: you see, you’re seven, you can understand about the spiritual realm. She is only three and must image pure generosity as Santa: a man on a sleigh, giving actual presents, real, to real children. And that isn’t wrong. It isn’t a lie. It’s just a simpler story than the one I have told you about the reflections and the spirit world.”

“Okay, I’ll just tell her Santa came and left the presents.”

“And what will you tell her about the soul?”

“That I saw the spirit world and that there is a soul, I think.”

“That’s okay for now. I’ll be back later to talk to you about that again when you’re older.”

“Okay, see you, Socrates.”


Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Man Connie Tuck

I don't think the Hudson River should be named after Henry Hudson. Apparently he records in his own diary that his first mate Robert Juet opened fire on an Indian canoe that approached his boat. There was no sense of threat: it was murder for the pure enjoyment of killing and recognized as such by Hudson himself, as reported in his own dairy. What did he do to Juet for this act? Nothing. They continued to spread mayhem and death from Manhattan to Albany.

So, why not call the river after the Indian name instead? Why walk around honoring a cold blooded murderer every time we look at a river? We just had the harvest festival at the Martin Van Buren Historic Site near our house. A group of Mohawk Indians formerly of this area who now have a reservation in Wisconsin who come every year.

The Hudson River was called the Muheakantuck in Mohawk. The way the woman pronounced it to me it was "Mani Can He Tuck." I found it easier to remember as "My Man, Connie Tuck."

So from now on, if I talk about My Man Connie Tuck, that's the river formerly known as the Hudson. "I'm going to go for a ride with My Man Connie Tuck." That means I going canoeing on the Hudson.

Even shorter, I can drop the My Man. The West Side Highway runs along the Connie Tuck.

Hudson was a murderer and Stuyvesant was a tyrant. Why honor an anti-democratic oppressive tyrant? Everything that is named after Peter Stuyvesant should be renamed in honor of Robert Hodgson, leader of the Flushing Rebellion.

I live in Stuyvesant Falls in the Town of Stuyvesant on the banks of Hudson River. I don't like it. I would rather live in the town of Glencadia in the Town of Hodgson on the banks of the Mi-man-can-i-tuck.

As far as I'm concerned, that where I live.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

crane shots: dog camp goes hollywood big budget

Well, not really. More tomorrow!

Let's see... Sammy is usually too close to my leg to get in the shot. Rocky is too far away to get in the shot. If I could keep the crane, I would get good at using it. Or if I had someone else around, other than Jim who has to work and then had to go.

We rented the crane to paint the roof of the barn. It'll rain tomorrow and I hope to find no drips or drops!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

my domain has been squat upon

Lesson for today: Keep your domain registrations current and don't assume the company you register the names through will automatically remind you to do it. Don't assume you are too small potatoes for squatters to get in and sit on your domain.

When I first started this business, wasn't available. So I did business through until I got

I did not renew my domain and it expired and my webhost didn't tell me, so some automated squatters parked themselves on my old domain and want to sell it back to be for a lot of money.

I don't really need any more since I have, except that it comes up in Google searches. Also, some people have an email address under that domain.

Whatever I had at will now be at:

Thank you.

And this is an excellent cause:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

next video

Jim's here today so I should have a chance to make another video, especially getting the dogs that were camera shy in the last one. It's such nice weather it's nice to walk around with a camera, especially when I have some great help cleaning up back in the barn. I'll put on a chartreuse necktie and a pair of ripped slippers and head out to the manure pile.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stuyvesant Democrats: Stuyvesant Democrats Choose Their Candidates

the worst outfit

Now, I wander out of the house to deal with the dogs in some crappy clothes -- ripped, stained, ill-fitting -- but today I out did myself. I have on a bathing suit and a bright green/yellow ripped t-shirt and some muck boots. Of course, it doesn't matter since there is no one here but my family, the dogs and Jim... and a video camera. Why I don't think about the fact that I will later be editing a video and see myself looking like the king of the house elves I can't say. I could also put that broken stove we just removed away. Now, the hole in the barn door I made by backing into the door with a load of hay in the pick up seems to have some useful aspects to it. Furthermore, Ollie's balloon pump works. And you'll see a couple of attempts to catch the dogs as they are when I'm not there. That spot they all like to roll in? Manure.

So where is the above mentioned video? Converting to lower res. Then I have to upload. And I have to go to the dump now, so this won't be live until about 5 pm this afternoon EST. Try back!

UPDATE: I left it sitting for hours to get the thing exported, then left it for more hours to upload and then... it didn't work the first time. So I'll try again...

September 4, 2009 at glencadia dog camp second upload try from glencadia on Vimeo.