Sunday, February 26, 2006

Conversion Imminent.

Baptists are the trailer trash of protestant denominations.

Its true. I oughtta know.

You remember last week's cemtery blog about the town/cemetery in White Oaks, New Mexico? Polarbear left a comment about a place called Ghost Ranch. I was intrigued.

We are planning to go to Santa Fe during spring break. I love Santa Fe. but Jackson and Katie have never been there. When I've been there in the past, I always stayed at Glorieta, a church camp/convention center run by the Southern Baptist Convention. It was cheap, clean and you could eat a dang good breakfast in the cafeteria before spending the rest of the day in Santa Fe or Taos or somewhere.

Its been 7 or 8 years since I've been to Glorieta. I absolutely, adamantly, and unequivocably refuse to attend any of the conferences held there. Pardon me while I spit and kick the dirt.

I do not a good church camper make.

One reason I haven't been to Glorieta in the last few years is that the campus is now managed by a company called Lifeway. I may be way off base here, but I am assuming this is the same company that also runs what used to be called the Baptist Bookstores.

When I was a kid, I had to spend a lot time in those bookstores on a fairlly regular basis. My brother and I generally left with some sort of cool toy or book. I took my treasures home and scraped off the obligatory bible verses that were inscribed on everything.

Anyway, when the fundamentalists took over the Southern Baptist Convention, their gihad included setting up a new company to take over the bookstores. Now they are Lifeway bookstores.

Granted, I haven't darkened Lifeways doors more than twice, but, bah! - they're depressing. No more cool toys. No more flannel board disciples either, but I guess I can't fault them for that. Lifeway Bookstores are the sort of places that make you seriously consider wearing an aluminum foil hat as protection from the mind control ray beams.

Anyway, Lifeway is now running Glorieta. I crossed my fingers, bit my tounge and made reservations. Then I googled
Ghost Ranch.

I was downright embarrassed. Those Presbyterians have really outdone us. Their New Mexcio mountain retreat center has a classier website, a more interesting schedule of events and Georgia O'Keefe. Georgia. Freakin'. O'Keefe.

They are enviormentally responsible, committed to community service and even though they are tax exempt, they make a yearly contribution to their county government. Not to mention they have a way-better name and a kick- ass logo.

Gloriata's website has a real nice section devoted to how you can give your money to support their "life-changing" programs. My personal favorite - the
adopt a rocking chair campaign. Glorieta's philosophy seems to center on making the individual better - in this case, less individualistic. Ghost Ranch's philosophy appears to concentrate on the individual making society better.

Oh, one more thing: when making a reservation with Glorieta, you are REQUIRED to submit the name of the church where you are a member. I wonder if they will be consulting with our minister to make sure we are in good standing before issuing a room key?

Discuss amongst yourselves: Will there be Gideon Bibles in the rooms? Or would that be considered an insulting suggestion that the lodger wouldn't have packed their own highlighted, heavily underlined and note-inscribed tome?

Friday, February 24, 2006

And can I just say... thrilled I am to be the number one site on Google for the search "children who refuse to attend church." Its like all my little preacher kid dreams have come true. I'd like to thank the academy...

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Cherub Rocks Hard On Air Guitar
He was playing Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust"
while I took this photo.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Here's another fence photo. This one if from a cemetery on a mountain side close to White Oaks, New Mexico. White Oaks is an interesting place. Very creepy in a distinctly Stephen King sort of way. Everything looks pretty normal on the surface, but you can feel someone or something watching you all the time. After a few minutes you find yourself staring at the windows of the houses, looking for whatever is staring back at you.

If you check out the White Oaks website, the Cedarvale Cemetery is where I took the fence photo. The website is all happy-cheery about how it is a tourist attraction/ghost town. If you notice the fine print on the side, it states that other than the summer, the only things open are the saloon and pottery works. I can attest to the truth of that. Its advertised as a ghost town, which is not really true as there appear to be quite a few village residents still hanging around. They give the place a freaky Ed Wood kind of ambiance. Jackson and I felt sort of like we were Fred and Daphne, pulling into town in the Mystery Machine. We tiptoed around expecting some squint-eyed prospector to warn us meddling kids out of town. By sundown. If we knowed what's good fer us.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I Choo-choo-choose You!

M2 and I spent a long afternoon warming the pews in a courtroom today. During a lull in one of the hearings she leaned over and whispered,

"Are you going to be my Valentine?"
"You know it!" I replied in kind.
"What are you going to buy me?"
"You know how they say its the thought that counts?"
"Yeah," she said.
"I'm gonna think about you."

Johari Window

I stole this from Cheesehead, who stole it herself. She's such a thief.

Its sort of interesting. Check it out.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Gimme some of that really, really old time religion...

I got home last night. It was raining in Austin when I left. No such luck here. The first thing I did when I got back here (well, ok, not the first thing) was to get some decent Mexican food. I had been jonesing for it, bad. My cousin M - he, his wife and I had a great dinner while I was there - has said that its hard to get good Mexican food in Austin. He's so right!

It was a really long hard week, but everything went well. I rocked on the student teaching portion of the training - something that is always right up there with root canals on my list of things to avoid. Didn't stress too much over the exam and that went well too.

I also had to attend a 12 step meeting during the week. Monday night I ventured out into the city, looking for Narcotics Anonymous. After 45 minutes of going in circles, I realized the concierge had entered the wrong address into mapquest. I stopped a couple of dog-walking yuppies and they pointed me in the right general direction. I ended up at a moldy old Methodist Church in a creepy neighborhood. It was so cool! It was too late to have light to take pictures, but the building was an amoeba-like structure built from stone onto the side of a ravine. It smelled like an old castle should.

The NA meeting was made up of a really interesting and diverse group of people. There were state employees, secretaries, auto mechanics, people with mental illness who lived on disability, bikers, former hookers, single mothers who brought their kids and on and on. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic. It was great to see all of these people who were probably so compartmentalized and polarized in outside society come together with a common purpose - all on equal footing.

For once, I didn't spend much time with the camera this week. I did go to the Texas State Cemetery. It was extensively restored and spiffed up in a three-year project in the mid 1990's. Everything was so shiny-new and the McMonuments and McBurials were so "done" that they were bereft of any character. I didn't even get out of the car. Bah! Give me a forgotten cemetery in a crummy neighborhood any day of the week.

I spent half of yesterday afternoon in various lines at the airport. Got a lot of good reading done. (I found a book by a brand new mystery author. Its the first in a series. So far, so good.) At one point, the PA announcer deadpanned "Will the band members of Kosher Gospel please meet their contact at the baggage claim information desk."
Kosher Gospel? I had to laugh. Evidently no one else was listening or if they were they didn't think it was funny, because I immediately had a lot more space in line.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday Cemetery Blogging

This photo is of probably the two most famous graves I have photographed so far. The graves are located behind the General Store in Lincoln, New Mexico.

They are the gravesites of John Tunstall and Alexander McSween.
If anybody explores the site long enough to find out why the El Paso Police Deparment is keeping a photo of Tunstall on their special projects division website, let me know.
I also loaded this photo of rain clouds that I took the same day as the grave photo. I just wanted to remember what rain clouds look like. Yesterday was day 98 without rain. Posted by Picasa

Last night, it rained.