Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Tuesday, September 07, 2004  

My enemy's book is on the remainder table

Woe is me. I looked up my web page on for my book, Brightness Springs, and what did I find?

copies were for sale as used. I don't know that I've even sold that many on Amazon, but then I recalled how I'd given away about 50 copies at a Tucson Catholic writers' conference; and I recalled that a book reviewer once confessed that he took all the books sent to him for review and sold them. Obviously, others have had the same thought.

It rankled me that people who didn't bother to read my book, write a decent review of it on Amazon, or simply give it to someone who might like it would trade it in for a few measly bucks or one dollar. How about donating it to a library, for Pete's sake, if you don't want it? But to be so cheaply ripped off like that, the crassness of someone saying, "hey, I can get a dollar for this gift, maybe" -- well, it simply rankles.

It's like telling someone you love them, and they go off and sell the quote. That sounds like a weird analogy, perhaps, but frankly, my book is a kind of love letter to other people, an invitation to sacred communion with me, with God, with each other.

Or it's like a child giving his aunt a drawing of her, and she promptly runs off and sells it for a buck, because there is a simplicity, purity, and innocence in my book that is indeed childlike and guileless.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 2:06 PM |

I Get Freudian

To do a little armchair analyzing myself, let's look at John Kerry's subconscious mind for a second.

In West Virginia, Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America, gave Kerry a rifle as a gift. Kerry, a self-described gun-owner and hunter, quipped: "I thank you for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me."

I tend to the belief that what we say reveals something about ourselves, often in ways we don't expect.

Clearly, Kerry is trying to make a joke, and is kidding around, but the interesting thing about kidding is not how lame and witless it usually is, but that it often exposes strong, underlying feelings.

Kerry does not want to kill Bush. That's not the point he's making. What he's actually saying is that he hates Bush. That he has great animosity, a violent hostility toward Bush. He doesn't just see Bush as an opponent and adversary in a contest (as Bush sees him) -- he sees Bush as a true enemy.

I expect that after Nov. when he has lost badly, that Kerry will be joining the ranks with Al Gore (see blog below) in a permanent hatefest and circle jerk of bile.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:53 PM |

The Games People Play

"The real distinction . . . is that, at the core, he is a very weak man. He projects himself as incredibly strong, but behind closed doors he is incapable of saying no to his biggest financial supporters and his coalition . . . He's been shockingly malleable . . . He was too weak to resist it.

I think his weakness is a moral weakness. I think he is a bully, and like all bullies, he's a coward when confronted with a force that he's fearful of. His reaction to the extravagant and unbelievably selfish wish list of the wealthy . . . is obsequious. The degree of obsequiousness that is involved in saying 'yes, yes, yes, yes, yes' to whatever these people want, no matter the damage and harm done . . .that can only come from genuine moral cowardice."

(His) failures have been so spectacular . . . The evidence of deceit, miscalculation, have combined to produce in the minds of a lot of people a growing conviction that it's really not good ..."

Who said this? Al Gore about George Bush. This is classic Projection. Gore is giving one of the best descriptions about himself (and/or Bill Clinton) you will find.

One of the interesting qualities of George W. Bush is that he doesn't engage in this kind activity. I believe his Christian committment leads him to put aside these kinds of speculations on others' character in this manner.

In fact, it's rather girlish of Gore to get catty and psuedo-analytical in this manner. Junior High girls stand around speculating and judging others in this vein.

I altered the quotes to remove obvious references to Bush, but otherwise, this is how Gore thinks these days, and it's just pathetic. Oh, yes, he believes kerry will win by a goodly margin, "my own prediction is that in the end it's probably not going to be that close."

"Also, the Republican right wing has launched a kind of civil cold war in a very ruthless fashion."

Again, it is the Left which is making a relentless attack on American values and traditions, but I guess when you don't get power and your Utopia right now, it means that the resistance to you is evil and unabating.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:17 PM |

More vacation Pictures

These were taken in Utah along I-70 going West before Green River. The first picture has a doppelganger here (scroll down to the seventh picture) where a blogger saw the same thing and took a copy almost exactly like mine with the same light and shadows.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:21 AM |

Monday, September 06, 2004  

Today's Quotes:

If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you.

Don Marquis
(1878 - 1937)

An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.

Aldous Huxley
(1894 - 1963)

posted by Mark Butterworth | 7:45 PM |

Saturday, September 04, 2004  


The story of my life:

This fellow in England reveals the truth and philistinism (without shame) of the majority of humans alive, dead, and yet to be.

When I finally saw the Mona Lisa, after my 50 years on this Earth, I found it a terrible disappointment. I don't know quite what I was expecting. I suppose that I was hoping at least for some glimmer of understanding of why this was the most talked-about painting in the world - at best, for a rush of joy at the sheer beauty of this, the real thing.

These philistine thoughts have been prompted by my first ever visit to the Louvre, where I went with my family last week. Like so many other visitors, we made a bee-line for the Mona Lisa, because everyone knows that this is the painting that you just have to see when you are in Paris.

But, if I am right, most of us don't get a great deal of pleasure from paintings - and we wouldn't appreciate them very much no matter how long we stood gazing at them.

. . . I dare say that millions will go on paying their entrance fees to stare at paintings that they don't really appreciate - half pretending, half longing to enjoy them. I shall certainly be among them.

Sad to say, but I understand that it takes one to know one, and it more often takes one artist to recognize the beauty and talent in another. It is more than he says here:

A mere difference of attribution can make a hundredfold difference in the amount that people are prepared to pay for a painting. "After" Vermeer? Let's call that £140,000. "By" Vermeer? Stick a couple of noughts on the end. Never mind that the picture is exactly the same - no more or less beautiful - whether it was painted by Vermeer or the girl next door.

No matter how much it seems like Vermeer, it isn't. Lots of people can imitate Bach and compose a fugue, but it isn't close to what makes Bach the highest achievement in music. Although, I will grant you that most people aren't impressed by Bach or Leonardo or Vermeer. Their loss, but I also think that the further you are from intimacy with God, the more you miss or don't get the truly beautiful things of man and life.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 6:35 PM |

Bill Clinton's Heart

Having suffered a serious heart attack myself, I have a little insight into the experience of getting things fixed.

From what I hear, Bill Clinton did not have a heart attack although he may have been having chest pains that triggered learning of his condition of heart disease.

I'm sorry that Mr. Clinton did not have a heart attack in one sense only -- as an old priest once told a man: "When people know they are going to die, they only think of two things -- there relationship with God, and of the people they love, their family."

I know that's factual. In the midst of my heart attack, I found that I was right with God and had no fear of him, nor any fear that there was no heaven to come. My second thought was for my family; to tell them I loved them.

But the aftermath of my recovery is what really shook me up spiritually. I spent perhaps two years trying to understand God and life better. I had to explain the paradox of a God who dearly loves and cares for me with a God who is completely unhelpful (or indifferent) to me in a moment of extremity and awesome pain.

I had known God's true and incredible love for me and all his children and creation before; but since that time, I had not experienced such a sense of loss and abandonment as I did in the midst of the heart attack. There was nothing gracious in the moment.

Anyway, I had to search and rethink what I had known of God's nature and my own. It was a painful wandering and lookout. I think I have come to better conclusions about God than I knew before which gives me the equanamity to persevere now.

But I fear that Clinton, who might have profited from a serious moment of unmitigated mortality, has not had that benefit. I do not wish him ill, but in fact wish him truth, clarity, insight, and the suffering that leads to wisdom and repentance.

We will see if this event becomes something he shrugs off, alters his perceptions, or starts him on a real crusade for his soul and wisdom, but my expectation is that this will be of little present consequence to him or his family.

In an article on present thoughts about Dualism (the mind/body problem), the author writes:

"President Clinton, one of our most scientifically literate presidents, was at a town meeting ten years ago, and he discussed abortion. He described the controversy as a reasonable disagreement among moral people." (My emphasis)

By that same reasoning, one can easily say that 150 years ago that slavery was an issue of disagreement among moral people. For the Southerners were very moral otherwise in their lives, and good, God fearing citizens.

In fact, it turns out that in the ancient world, slavery was a merciful turn from total annihilation of an enemy (though it certainly proved to have economic value to owners of slaves, too).

The author of the quote above then adds:

"Nobody doubts the preciousness of human life. What they disagree about is an empirical issue: Precisely when does the soul occupy the body?"

This can never be a scientific question as the author supposes, nor as Mr. Clinton seems to aver to. How can I imagine that my neighbor is truly a moral man simply because he obeys other moral laws (against murder, rape, theft, and so on) while violating the life of an unborn child?

I would like to quote Jesus as favoring my perspective when he said, "Blessed are those who know God's will and do it." But the problem is Bill Clinton and others claim to be moral and doing God's will as they see it by allowing abortion.

It takes a powerful experience of God, to be reborn, for many to have the scales drop from their eyes. I would hope Clinton's recent episode with his body might induce such a desire and need, but I'm skeptical. Not of God, of course, but of Clinton's willingness to submit to instruction from the only One who can truly inform a soul of its moral duties.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 4:16 PM |

Today's Quote:

One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.

Sir William Osler
(1849 - 1919)

This puts me in mind of all the homeopathy quacks, the vitamin, herbal medicine, and accupuncture (and feng shui nuts) promoters, along with the promisers of miracle cures in Mexico or some disease ridden tropical country.

Let's not forget Linus Pauling and megadoses of vitamin C, or the eight glasses of water a day crowd.

A number of people often advised me to drink more water, but I would point out to them that I drink when I'm thirsty, and I never saw a dog or other animal force themselves to drink an extra gallon of water every day, while they seemed to do just fine. Turns out I was right.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 2:27 PM |

Heart of Darkness

I've been saying for some time now that Islam is evil. Evil at its heart and core. That seems like hyperbolic bigotry or prejudice to many. But those many haven't really looked at Islam and its founder, nor embraced their own western faiths with much devotion or understanding.

Ralph Peters writes:

If Muslim religious leaders around the world will not publicly condemn the taking of children as hostages and their subsequent slaughter — if those "men of faith" will not issue a condemnation without reservations or caveats — then no one need pretend any longer that all religions are equally sound and moral.

Where is the outrage in the Muslim world?

A visitor in Pakistan once noted the strangeness of encountering what he believed were charmingly polite and hospitable people except he noticed that these people had a congenital deformity. They could not feel any sympathy for anyone who was not of their group or tribe.

They might cry buckets over a muslim child accidentally killed or who made a "martyr" of himself, and yet be completely indifferent to the horrific murders of other children or women or men.

That is the philosophy and mannerof the savage and barbarian throughout history.


Cleric supports targeting children
By Rajeev Syal

An extremist Islamic cleric based in Britain said yesterday that he would support hostage-taking at British schools if carried out by terrorists with a just cause.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the extremist sect al-Muhajiroun, said that holding women and children hostage would be a reasonable course of action for a Muslim who has suffered under British rule.

Mr Mohammed, 44, who lives in Edmonton, north London, but is originally from Syria, also claimed that the Chechen rebels were not responsible for the deaths of more than 350 people - at least half of them children - who are so far known to have died in Beslan.

"The Mujahideen [Chechen rebels] would not have wanted to kill those people, because it is strictly forbidden as a Muslim to deliberately kill women and children. It is the fault of the Russians," he said.

I realize this creature does not represent all Muslims, but I must still rest my case. The Muslim world is not denouncing this attitude or these acts in any significant way.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:48 PM |

Friday, September 03, 2004  

Zell, you might want to use this:

G.K. Chesterton said: "The decay of society is praised by artists as the decay of a corpse is praised by worms."

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:08 PM |

Thursday, September 02, 2004  

Today's Quote:

I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.

Ludwig Wittgenstein
(1889 - 1951)

Yes, but we should enjoy ourselves a little, but then I found the search for truth fun and engaging.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 10:35 PM |


I watched the four nights of the Convention with interest, but felt I missed a lot of good speakers who weren't on prime time.

I suppose the RNC was a success. It pretty well defined the difference between Bush and Kerry, and illustrated the strengths of the Republican Party regarding War and Peace, yet I thought it failed to appeal to actual conservatives.

Bush's speech had a Nanny State part one - no child's behind not wiped by Washington. It all seemed like the Democrats 44 years ago. Freedom and Defense, and we'll fix every social problem because we have experts we can pay.

I didn't find a Republican Party I could be proud to join or contribute to. Not a single word on illegal aliens, by the way.

Friends, I hate to say it but we're doomed. Socially, legally, and spiritually.

I will say that Bush may be right about America expanding freedom. At the time of the first election for preseident, we were the first nation in the world ruled by democracy of the people. Since then, purely through our American Way and our efforts, freedom and democracy has expanded throughout the world. The Middle East may well be ripe in Afghanistran and Iraq for freedom.

Their traditions of tribe and cleric may overpower the freedom impulse, but there is a strong desire there now for liberty.

Great Britain never established democracies after conquest. America has, and that's why we aren't imperialists, and why our efforts now have a better chance of success in creating stable governments in the Arab world.

As for the Republican Party, what you will find in the future is what you find now. As the Dems continue their suicide mission, more and more of them will begin to slip into the conservative ranks so they can get elected or have influence and power in the world.

They bring with them as they have already a pro-abortion attitude, a homosexual rights attitude (see Cheney's remarks. And yes, there are a lot of areas of life in which I believe in discriminating against homosexuals such as in the schools, the Boy Scouts, adoptions, and so forth), and we're from the government and we're here to help belief.

When the Republican big tent allows so many libertarians, libertines, and do-gooders in, the real conservatives will have to leave and form another party.

Many have complained about the speakers at the convention all being liberal Republicans, and I must say that as much as I want Bush over Kerry, I would rather have a real conservative over Bush. (Yet I can't stomach Pat Buchanan.)

But then, people in my camp must admit that we're always fighting a Lost Cause. The battle for moral truth and clarity can never win in this world. Still, I lament the loss.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 9:53 PM |