Friday, August 07, 2009

For the birds

Well, it’s been an exciting week down south, providing the relative nature of excitement is factored in.

I’m pretty excited about the new birdbath, acquired to replace the old one, a metal model that had become such a rust bucket no self-respecting bird would have considered getting his or her feet wet in it.

The new model is pottery, made in Ohio (rather than China) and bought at Ellis Greenhouse at Lucas (rather than at Super Something-or-another in some dangerously-large place like Ottumwa or Des Moines). Not only do I have a new birdbath, I’m feeling downright self-righteous about where it was manufactured and where I bought it.

The crotchety mourning doves that hang out in this neighborhood have been eyeing it, but so far haven’t dived in. The robins, which like the poor and the Methodists always will be with us, haven’t been as restrained.

There was a horse or mule on the loose somewhere in the neighborhood yesterday, although I didn’t see it. But when the neighbor and I were standing in his driveway yesterday morning, looking south toward the pasture at the foot of the hill, someone stopped by to ask if we’d seen it --- assuming that was why were were standing in the driveway looking south. Actually we were talking about something unrelated and just looking.

Sorry I missed it, especially if it was a mule. There are more horses than people in this neck of the woods, but mules aren’t that frequently sighted.


Up in Des Moines, Terry Branstad (Terry who?) is talking about running for governor again. Anyone else remember the governor-for-life (so called because he was elected for four terms as Robert D. Ray’s successor)? Good grief. Talk about a blast from the past.

I was at work in the office at The Forest City Summit long, long ago when Terry, then practicing law in Lake Mills, came in to ask Ben Carter --- a major player in North Iowa Republican politics at the time --- if he could run for state representative, his public life entry point. Good grief again!

Not that Terry, president of Des Moines University (an osteopathic medical school in Des Moines) for quite a few years now, was a bad governor. And while not exactly charismatic, he almost seems exciting when compared to incumbent Chet Culver (there are rocks that generate more excitement than poor Chet, bless his heart). But still…


The biggest tempest in a teapot south of Ames this week developed when Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) pulled an advertisement placed on its buses by Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers after an unspecified number of complaints. The advertisement asked “Don’t believe in God?” and then offered the assurance “You are not alone” and information about how to contact the organization. Pretty shocking stuff.

Comedic high points included a televised view of DART’s advertising director trying to explain why the ad had been accepted in the first place if it was so objectionable and then squirming when asked if DART had accepted advertising from other religious groups (“Yes, but …”); and a televised appearance by the aforementioned Culver looking the consummate hypocrite as he expressed shock and dismay at the ad’s content.

Yes, I do know that atheism is not supposed to be a religion. But I have known moderate atheists, fundamentalist atheists, atheists who hedge their bets by referring to themselves as agnostics and atheists who get together on Sunday mornings to talk about being atheists. So I figure if it looks like religion and smells like religion then it is religion.

Of course the tempest has generated mountains of publicity for the Atheists and Freethinkers, far more than that group ever could have dreamed of or afforded --- proving once again that the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways, some days, His wonders to perform.

No comments: