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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

My Tall Sunflower

My tall sunflower has finally opened it's head. It's not the last to open, but it is the tallest. 12 -13' (nearly 4 meters).  It's tall, but the bees don't have a problem with that.

My Tall Sunflower by Jeff Carter on

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Thistles on Purpose- Part 2

The other day I shared a post about the thistle I planted in my back yard 

Well, further investigation has revealed to me that all species of thistle- even those native to Iowa, like the ones I planted- are governed by Iowa’s “Noxious Weed” law. Apparently they’re not just annoying, they are despised.

Anyway. I’ve moved them out and uprooted them. They’re gone.

Enjoy this photo of a bumblebee in one of my sunflowers.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The American Evanjuggalo Meets with Jesus

An American Evanjuggalo*, who was something of an internet troll with gadfly pretentions, came up to Jesus and said, “Good teacher…”

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus interrupted him.

“Because you…”

“No really; don’t even talk to me,” Jesus cut him off. “Come back when you learn what goodness is.”

*Evanjuggalo – a portmanteau of my own creation (as far as I can tell), combining something of the American Evangelical facade, and the violent, trash-mouthed fans of the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) known as Juggalos. An October 2010 article in The Guardian characterized the Insane Clown Posse as "evangelical Christians" who have "only been pretending to be brutal and sadistic to trick their fans into believing in God." Evanjuggalos would be the reverse – pretending to be Christians in order to hide their brutal and sadistic selves.

Thistle on Purpose

I know most people think of thistle as a weed, as an unwanted nuisance. (Unless you’re in Scotland, maybe.) But I purposefully planted some thistle in the backyard for my bees.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Tournesol sous la Pluie

 Tournesol sous la Pluie by Jeff Carter on

Summer Bees

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s been hot lately. The bees are hanging out outside the hive. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

In the Garden Today

I came home from work today and, as I do many days after coming home after work, I worked in the garden for awhile. I puled a few weeds, I righted a few plants that the afternoon's thunderstorm had blown over, and, as you can see below, I took a few photos.

Stargazer by Jeff Carter on

Sunflowers by Jeff Carter on

Rufus by Jeff Carter on

Monday, July 15, 2019

The People of Babylon (If You Know What I Mean)

The people of Babylon (if you know what I mean) were gathered for the spectacle at the Duraplain stadium; it was a beautiful day, without a cloud in the sky.  Beer and popcorn venders roamed the crowds, going up and down upon the aisles to hawk their wares. The announcer addressed the crowd through the PA system, “Welcome loyal fans, and please greet with me the Babylon High School Marching Band and Honor Choir. When you hear the sound of the trumpet, and drums, and sackbut, and zither, and bagpipe, and all the musical ensemble with the choir, stand to your feet, remove your turbans and salute the symbol that your great leader has set before you.”

And when the band began to play the familiar dotted-eighth note, sixteenth note followed by three quarter notes and a half note melody of the hymn To Anacreon in Heaven, all the assembled people of Babylon (if you know what I mean) stood as one, doffed their turbans, and saluted the object of their religious worship. 

And when the final swelling tones of the hymn echoed into the distance, everyone replaced their turbans and solemnly uttered the ritual prayer, “Thank you for your service.”

Everyone but one. 

One jerk. One freak refused to stand, or to salute. This one piece of human trash refused to sing the anthem or to say the prayer. The people of Babylon (if you know what I mean) standing near him began to boo and to jeer. They hissed at him, threw rocks at him. “Go back to the shithole country you came from!” they shouted at him, and, “Burn in hell, you eunuch!”

One Bee

One Bee by Jeff Carter on

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Amos Doesn’t Fit in Anywhere

Now ol’ Amos was a fiery sort, and I don’t mean his red hair but like he was burning. You know, on the inside. And maybe that was on account of the fact that he never did fit in anywhere too well. He was too rough for the genteel ministerial types he met at seminary. So it didn’t surprise none of us none when he dropped out and came back to work the orchards. But he wasn’t exactly what you’d call a regular blue-collar Joe, if you know what I mean. He had himself an education, even if his hands were calloused and the back of his neck was red. But he was a hard worker. 

Anyway, Amos left the orchard a few days ago without much in the way of warning. Just told the foreman that there was something he needed to take care of, and that he’d be back. I didn’t think nothing of it till I saw him on the Fox News while I was havin’ a beer at Tekoa Tavern. “Turn that up,” I said to the bartender when I saw ol’ Amos on the screen. He was up in Washington addressing a group of Senators or Congressmen.  Or maybe they were some sort of lobbyists, I don’t know.

“For three transgressions, even four,” he was saying.

‘Transgressions,’ right? That’s one of them educated church type words. Most folks around here, if they’re church going folks, would just say sin. And if they ain’t the religious types, they might just say, ‘you fucked up.’

But there he was, on the steps of the Capitol building. “For three transgressions, even four, there will be a judgement.  Because you sell the righteous for silver, and because you would, if you could, trade the poor for a pair of flag emblazoned athletic shoes. Because you trample the refugee into the dust and push the afflicted into over-crowded cages.  Because the father is a groper and his children no better. Because you prostrate yourselves on altars – drunk on wines bought…”

We didn’t get to hear him finish his rant; Capitol security tackled him on the stairs.  One of the cops clubbed him with a baton. “Shut up, prophet.”

I expect we might see ol’ Amos back here in a few days. Though he might look a bit beat up. “I’m not a prophet” he was shouting as they drug him away. “I’m just a farm hand, but I know what I know.”

I’m afraid he won’t fit in so well around here anymore after this. He doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

This Cannot Be a Surprise

There are military medals waiting at the end of the parade for corporate and corporeal thugs, as well as for the vacuous children of the President. See them standing there at the reviewing stand? Criminally debased and festooned with ink black ribbons and braids and bunting for then event. Who knew that rebuilding the concentration camps could prove so profitable, so patriotic?

Agents of the FBI – the agency now purged of all weak and failing elements – have bravely awarded themselves the highest honors that cointelpro can bestow, in celebration of the carefully orchestrated suicide of certain targeted leftists. “We did that. We are doing our part.”

They have planted thorns and snares, scattered weeds like an angry Ancient Near Eastern deity. They have reconvened the Court of Oyer and Terminer. (The magistrates are witches now!) Their collection of fingernail clippings and ear wax, used dental floss and Band-Aids will be on display across the nation until November. Get your tickets now.

There are strangers in the cemetery and we had no idea.

The welds of the Earth are weak; the foundations of the Earth have cracked. The sun is shifted in the sky. Mountains tumble, the seas foam. The void opens beneath us. All is reversed, perverse – this universe. And this cannot be a surprise. Not after the last two years.

When I Dream of Bees

When I Dream of Bees by Jeff Carter on

Monday, July 1, 2019

Why I Hate America

A friend of mine recently shared on Facebook the purported results of a CNN news poll asking the question: Will you fly the American flag on July 4th?  63% of the respondents said Yes. 33% said No and the response of the other 4% is not described. (I have not investigated the accuracy or veracity of this meme – for the purposes of this post I will accept it as valid.)

In the comments his post gathered, it was suggested that the 33% not planning to fly the Stars and Stripes on July 4th must be Democrats who actually hate America, and want to see it destroyed, and that they should find someplace else to live – preferably somewhere behind President Trump’s yet unbuilt wall.

As it turns out, I am not a Democrat, and neither do I wish to see America destroyed, but I do hate America – or more specifically, I hate the United States of America.

Please allow me to explain.

I could list examples of our nation’s history of slavery and genocide. I could describe or ever expansive, militaristic imperialism. I could cite our racism and class warfare,  but none of the things, as potent as they are, are the real root of my hatred. I hate the USA because Jesus told me I should.

“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  Luke 14:26-27 -  NRSV

I am aware that these verses do not mention the USA specifically, or any nation-state in general. But the principle underlying these words certainly applies. And it’s not really that much of a stretch. We speak of Fatherland. We speak of Motherland. We speak of Homeland. And I am told by Jesus that I should hate my home.

It will be objected that Jesus didn’t actually mean hate. And it’s true; you can find any number of commentaries to explain that the Aramaic root of the word hate that Jesus uses here actually means, “love less.”  And this understanding is reflected in Matthew’s version of this instruction.

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Matthew 10:37-38  NRSV

But Jesus’ words ,as recorded by Luke, were intended to be coarse, shocking, vulgar even. These instructions cut across the fabric of society, tear a hole in social constructs, then and now. We are supposed to be offended by them and provoked by them. It does us no good to dismiss them as merely examples of Jesus’ sometimes fiery, hyperbolic rhetoric. It is rhetoric, yes,  but we dare not dismiss it.

Those who love their home – their homeland – more than him are not worthy of him. Those who do not hate their homes – their homelands- cannot be his disciples. And so, yes: I hate the USA.

Does this mean that I want to see it destroyed? No. No more than I want my parents, or brothers, or my wife, and children to be killed. The persistently belligerent will demand, “if you hate America, then why don’t you leave?”  But where could I go that I wouldn’t say the same thing?  No nation-state is the kingdom of heaven. No nation-state has my allegiance. Only the kingdom of God – on earth as it is I heaven. .

Jeff Carter's books on Goodreads
Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
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