Sunday, January 29, 2006

Amadisto Sol McCarroll Gallegos!

Amadisto Sol McCarroll Gallegos
Born 6:19 p.m., Jan. 28, 2006
9 pounds, 10 ounces
A beautiful and healthy boy.

Wendy was very brave through about 30 hours of labour. We're both in love with our child, "Amado," who is very sweet, very peaceful, and very interested in his new world. Wendy is doing well and we are all due home from the hospital on Tuesday. We will be able to share more then.
Thank you very much for your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Gathering Spirits

Wendy's in early labour now. We spent a lot of last night and most of today in hospital getting things going. Baby's heart sounding a powwow drum on the monitor the whole time. We return in a couple of hours---or sooner, depending on how things go. Then we won't be back home until the baby is born. Please keep the prayers coming...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

One day at a time...

Yes, we have no baby yet. But according to the doctor and the doula it's just a matter of days. Most likely before the weekend. Ms. Wendy's doing fine, though a bit uncomfortable. She's had a couple of tests in the past couple of days, and the baby, too, is doing fine. It's going to be a big one. I'm ok too, though Ms. Wendy and I are plenty nervous about it all. Please remember all three of us in your prayers, meditations, and thoughts...

[No, I don't think the baby will be blue -- this is just a picture I found on the Internet. Ms. Wendy, however, has bulked up on her jewelry collection.]

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dar a luz

¿Podría yo abrir la matriz,
y no provocar el parto?
dice el Señor.
¿O cerraría yo el seno materno,
siendo que yo hago dar a luz?
dice tu Dios.

--Isaías 66:9
Here's an English version, for those who wondered...
Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?" says the Lord;
"shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?" says your God.
--Isaiah 66:9
More editorial comment...basically this Bible verse affirms that, at this point, no doubt about it, we're having a baby! (And believe me, it's obvious!) I love the Spanish phrase for giving birth: "dar a luz." It literally means "to bring to light," or perhaps could even mean "to give to light." I don't think Babel will tell you this. In fact, here is the Babel Fish version:
It could I open the matrix, and not cause the childbirth? the Gentleman says. Or would close I the maternal sine, being that I make give light? your God says.
-- Isaiah 66:9
What you talkin' about Willis?
Was Sie talkin ' über Willis?
Che cosa voi talkin 'circa Willis?
Ce qui vous talkin 'au sujet de Willis ?
무엇 너Willis에 관하여talkin'?
Вы talkin ' о Willis?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Aviary GPS

Somewhere out there a stork is looking for our house. If you see it, please give it this map. We think it may be lost.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Steady as she goes...

Hi Folks,
Yesterday was the due date, but there's no news to report yet. Everything here seems pretty stable....for now.

We will let you know if...I mean WHEN something happens.

Monday, January 16, 2006

a single garment of destiny

"Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood [or sisterhood]. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured."

From "Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution," delivered by Martin Luther King at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1968.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

So Sunny...

...a beautiful day today. If it wasn't -23C (-4F) with the wind chill, you would think we lived at the beach! (No, that's not a factory that we have in our view, nor is it Tibet's Potala Palace, it's St. Joseph's Hospital, which isn't, in case you were wondering, where we are going to have our baby. We're traveling all the way across town instead!)

Ms. Wendy just woke up (11:45 a.m.), she needs her sleep, but otherwise she's fine. And I mean fine.

Ok, I'm cutting myself more blogging!


The University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) may not have a national champion in football or basketball, but this school (my alma mater) has been in the nation's top 10 for political activism since the 60s. GO BANANA SLUGS!

Here's a good article about the Pentagon's surveillance and labeling of a UCSC protest by Students Against the War against military recruiters at a job fair on campus as a "credible threat."

The protest at...

"...the sunny campus long known for surfing, mountain biking and leftist political activity, drew about 300 of the university's 15,000 students, organizers said. (Students surmise that, these days, they are out-agitating their famed anti-establishment peers at the University of California, Berkeley, campus, 65 miles northwest of here.) "This is the war at home," said Jennifer Low, 20, a member of the antiwar group. "So many of us were so discouraged and demoralized by the war, a lot of us said this is the way we can stop it."

...And about the Pentagon calling the protest a "credible threat":

Representative Sam Farr, a Democrat whose district includes Santa Cruz, was one of several who sent letters to the Bush administration. "This is a joke," Mr. Farr said in an interview. "There is a protest du jour at Santa Cruz."

"Santa Cruz is not a terrorist town," he added. "It's an activist town. It's essentially Berkeley on the coast."

This article is also by Sarah Kershaw. Is she my new favourite writer at the Times or what? Here's the link:

You may need to register at The New York Times site before being able to read this article. Don't worry it's not difficult. This process is necessary so that the Times can track the readers of this anti-war article and, as stipulated by the U.S. Patriot Act, submit the list of readers to surveillance officials at the Pentagon. The list of readers will then be compared to lists of suspected plotters and evil doers that the government has collected. You have no worries if your name does not appear as a "person of interest." There is no cost for reading this article or registering with The New York Times. It's all about freedom.

Hello, my name is Aaron and I am (quite possibly) an Internet addict. I will spend no more than 25 minutes working on my blog page. That is, unless I discover something very interesting on the web that I NEED to share with my readers. --AMG.

FIFTEEN signs of an addiction to using the Internet and computers, according to Internet/Computer Addiction Services in Redmond, Wash.:

1. Inability to predict the amount of time spent on computer.

2. Failed attempts to control personal use for an extended period of time.

3. Having a sense of euphoria while on the computer.

4. Craving more computer time.

5. Neglecting family and friends.

6. Feeling restless, irritable and discontent when not on the computer.

7. Lying to employers and family about computer activity.

8. Problems with school or job performance as a result of time spent on the computer.

9. Feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety or depression as a result of time spent on the computer.

10. Changes in sleep patterns.

11. Health problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, weight changes, backaches and chronic sleep deprivation.

12. Denying, rationalizing and minimizing adverse consequences stemming from computer use.

13. Withdrawal from real-life hobbies and social interactions.

14. Obsessing about sexual acting out through the use of the Internet.

15. Creation of enhanced personae to find cyberlove or cybersex.

From a New York Times article by Sarah Kershaw:

You may need to register to read it. But it's free and easy.

Mixed Emotions...

...and new strange pains. Is it the full moon or the beginnings of labour? We spent a day filled with a new burst of energy (or is it anxiety?) to get together the never-ending final details. It's hard to believe that we will ever be completely ready for the new baby, but one thing for sure, he or she is coming very soon...

(yes, Ms. Wendy said I could post this picture! She may change her mind when she sees it in the morning.)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

John Coltrane Live

One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note
I just picked up this new Coltrane release, recorded live at the Half Note club in New York in spring of 1965. It's an amazing recording of Coltrane's "Classic Quartet" just months before it disbanded and Trane took off full blast, out of this world on his free jazz space ship.

I love Coltrane's free jazz playing with his wife Alice, and drummer Rashid Ali (check out the studio album Stellar Regions, or Trane's duet album with Ali, Interstellar Space), but I think my favourite Coltrane period is during this last year of the quartet year when One Down, One Up was recorded. He still has the grounding a McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and the amazing Elvin Jones--a band that played a type of jazz that was aggressive, expansive. and very powerful, but remained anchored in jazz's traditional harmonic and rhythmic structures.

In the last year of the quartet they released two of the best jazz albums ever recorded, Crescent, and A Love Supreme. And, as One Down, One Up shows, the quartet was also amazing live. In the four songs included on this two disc recording--One Down, One Up (27:40), Afro Blue (12:44), Song of Praise (19:39), and My Favorite Things (22:47)--Coltane has time to extend his solos. There are passages, especially during the title track and Song of Praise, where his playing is truly transcendent. You can hear Trane seeking new ground through each solo and pushing himself and the band into new sonic realities during these sessions. It's even more unbelievable when you see a picture of the stage at the Half Note, it's basically an extended shelf over the bar, and is hardly big enough to fit the members of quartet--Garrison's bass neck is pressed against the ceiling and Elvin Jones' drum kit is hanging into off the stage edge. I can't imagine this tiny stage being able to physically hold such a powerful performance.

It's hard not to consider the depth of questing captured on this recording as "spiritual," a word some critics consider overused when it comes to John Coltrane. But witness after witness who saw Trane live testify to similar spiritual or religious experiences at the shows. One is quoted in the liner notes of One Down, One Up that during one show, "En masse, cats started to put their hands up to the ceiling and the whole place stood up. It was like those holy-roller meetings. It was unbelievable."

Can somebody say "Amen"?

Here are two articles I wrote on John Coltrane some years ago if you're interested...

Singing With All the Saints
The Other Side, March/April 1999

Spiritual Improvision: John Coltrane's Quest for Freedom
Sojourners, July/August 1999

Jeanie's Obituaries

Hi Folks,
Here are two obituaries for Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann.

"She snubbed President Richard Nixon’s handshake as a teen, and got herself arrested repeatedly in protests as an adult..."

For more about Jeanie, see below.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Rev. Eugene Rivers

Rev. Eugene Rivers came and kicked Toronto's ass on the gangs and guns issue.

For the past three days Eugene (above with Ontario's, Eugene's the guy on the right in case you couldn't figure that out already) has been the lead story on just about every Toronto news program and newspaper. I've never seen a preacher take a town like this since Pope John Paul II came to Toronto a couple of years ago for what some called "Popestock."

Rev. Eugene can be controversial and over the top (note his new glasses), but ever since I first met him some years ago through Sojourners, I've always thought he was basically right on in his "we're all in this together" approach to stopping urban violence.

Here's some of what was reported in The Toronto Star this week:

Rivers, one of the architects of the "Boston miracle," which dramatically reduced gun crime there, was brought to Toronto by the faith community.

"We come out of the meeting with an understanding that there are mutual obligations," Rivers said. "Now it is incumbent on the black leadership, represented in the meeting, to generate the kinds of politically and programmatically viable proposals that can be over the long term produced to correct a correctable problem."

Boston's strategy succeeded because pastors, like Rivers, moved in and began mentoring drug dealers and young men at risk of joining gangs.

Strengthening the capacity of faith-based organizations to "mentor the most violent young people in the poorest neighbourhoods," is one element of a possible proposal for Toronto, Rivers said.

"Ministering, mentoring, monitoring," needs to be part of a broader strategy of "prevention, intervention and enforcement," Rivers said, echoing comments he made earlier in the day to a dozen local city councillors.

While Rivers said he was very encouraged by the response he got from the premier, he said there is only so much the government can do.

"This is a family conversation. It requires that the black community come together, stop making excuses, move beyond rhetoric, race card and focuses on how do we as a community become more accountable?" Rivers said.

"We are simply asking the government to help us in developing programs that serve young people," he said.

Here's just one of many links on Rev. Rivers' visit.

Nice Try!

...but it still doesn't top the excuse of the husband of a pregnant woman who claims he now "has to drink for three."

Judge: Baby on board is no excuse
Pregnant woman claimed she was driving for two

PHOENIX, Arizona (AP) -- Fetuses do not count as passengers when it comes to determining who may drive in the carpool lane, a judge has ruled. Candace Dickinson was fined $367 for improper use of a carpool lane, but contended her unborn child qualified to use the lane. Motorists who use the lanes normally must carry at least one passenger during weekday rush hours.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann

“...were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different”
-- T.S. Elliot, Journey of the Magi

Today is Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann's funeral in Detroit (above, with husband Bill). We know Jeanie and Bill through Sojourners. The journal of Jeanie's long illness and her passing is a very moving testament to the difference that community-based living (and dying) makes. Wendy and I are sad to hear that Jeanie has died, but happy to remember that the years since her first seizure (1998) were filled with loving companions who never stopped supporting and caring for her and her family. I worked with Bill on Sojourners Board during much of the time Jeanie was sick and have been honoured and very moved by the difficult journey they have been on and the way they shared it with us. Death is always a tragedy for those left behind, but there's a real sign in the way Jeanie died of a different way of living that in and of itself shows that death isn't the final word for any of us.

If you have a chance read their "How's Jeanie" journal. Jeanie wrote the first entries, then Bill continued. Here's the link:

Wendy and I send lift prayers of grace and thanksgiving for Jeanie, Bill, and their daughters, Lydia and Lucy.


Update (1-14-06): Here are two obituaries for Jeanie.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

baby watch baby

1) Snowing today.

2) Definitely entering baby watch mode.

3) Please notice the Flickr flash thing on the is too cool.

4) Watched the new TV show, "Book of Daniel" last night. That is one freaky show.

5) Going to see Ms. Wendy's cousin Cam perform a jazz vespers tonight.

6) Listening to Coltrane's "The Last Blues" at the moment. Nice.

7) Got lots of stuff to do today (see point #2 above)

Duly noted.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Obligatory JFK Assassination Blog

Cuba paid Oswald to kill Kennedy, new film says

"Cuba lay behind the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald and its agents provided the gunman with money and support, an award-winning German director says in a new documentary film."

"The film, shown to journalists in Berlin on Wednesday, says Oswald traveled to Mexico City by bus in September 1963, seven weeks before the Kennedy shooting, and met agents at the Cuban embassy there who paid him $6,500."

"Oswald was shot dead by Jack Ruby two days after killing Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963."

"The film argues Cuba wanted to eliminate Kennedy as the chief enemy of its Communist revolution, and portrays him and Castro as dueling opponents each trying to assassinate the other first. Former CIA official Sam Halpern told Huismann: 'He (Castro) beat us. He bested us. He came out on top, and we lost.'"

Here's the link to the full article:

Castro certainly seems like a plausible suspect....but for me the key to figuring out the Kennedy assassination has always been Jack Rudy who killed Lee Harvey Oswald. Why would he do this? How could he do this? The accussed assassin of a U.S. president getting gunned down in a police station by a stripclub owner...there's something very fishy about this.

I've always thought this there had to be a Mafia-connection to Oswald's murder...but then again, perhaps I'm wrong about ol' Jack Rubenstein after all. There's this:

In Defense of Jack Ruby

...but it's easy to find a rebuttal for anything on the Internet:
"Framed: America's Pasty Tradition"

The assassination of John Kennedy is a defining event for my generation. There's a whole lot of people who have been obsessing about "whodonit" for decades. I for one would like to hear the truth about this in my lifetime. Is there anyone who keeps secrets anymore?

Could Cuba, the Mafia, and "some certain"Texas politicians have been working together to kill JFK?

Have I been reading too many conspiracy websites??

Am I going to care about any of this once our baby is born? Probably not.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Deserves a Hearing: Alpha Blondy - Jerusalem

I can't figure out how to add a "Now Listening" section to this blog, so I'm just going to start adding them here...

Alpha Blondy's Jerusalem is a great reggae album from the 80s that I listened to a lot back in my Santa Cruz years. Alpha Blondy was a very talented reggae artist from the Ivory Coast who sang in English, French, Arabic, and some African languages. I don't think he was Rasta, but used a lot of Christian and Muslim imagery in his message.

I remember the first time I heard the title track, "Jerusalem." I think it was on KUSP or one of the alternative Santa Cruz stations. I was sitting in my car in the driveway of the apartment where Katie and I lived the Live Oak neighbourhood. This tune starts off really slow and meditatively....then falls into a reggae beat. At the time I thought I was listening to a Christian radio station, and I remember thinking, "Damn, it's about time those Christians got into some good reggae." Later, probably in 1988, Katie and I drove up to San Francisco to see Alpha Blondy play at the Fillmore. I bought a t-shirt and kept it for years until it finally disinigrated. That night, on the way home driving down Highway 1, we stopped at some midnight beach.

I haven't kept up with Alpha Blondy over the years. I heard he spent some time in Bellvue with some mental troubles. I think he's still around though.

"What a Strange Custom."

As you can see, New Year's Eve brought Toronto a nice little snowstorm. We're still waiting for the big one though (Editor's note for the Californians reading: I mean big snowstorm, not big earthquake). Today it's 2006, but the weather is still pretty much the same. Well, what do you know?

Last night Ms. Wendy and I ordered a pizza from Vesuvios and watched not one but two DVDs (this on the biggest party night of the year--are we almost ready to be parents or what?), "Kinsey," a movie we rented three times, even paid late fees on once, but just got around to watching. Very interesting. We also watched a movie called "Pancho Villa" with Antonio Banderas--who else?--that was kind of dumb like most Antonio Banderas films are. Then, having just barely been able to withstand boring Banderas without falling asleep, Ms. Wendy and I stood out on the balcony pictured above to greet the new year. It was amazing to hear people screaming "Happy New Year!" from all these balconies around here. "What a strange custom," Ms. Wendy said. I agreed.

I always feel fresh and filled with potential on New Year's Day. Don't you? The other things I always do is watch the Rose Bowl (well, at least I did before it was moved to January 4...and the Rose Parade now on Jan. 2? Wow, how postmodern is that?) and remember the time (or times) my grandmother BamBea made French Onion soup with a piece of toast floating in it. This would have been around 1969 or 1970. I seem to remember her saying it's the tradition. Now I'm not sure who's tradition it is...but even though I haven't had any French Onion soup on New Year's Day since then, I do think of it as my tradition. Yum.

Happy New Year!