Category Archives: Nature

I’ll Get You…and your little veep, too!

Muthee_2 Vice Presidential pretendee/nominee Sarah Palin credits and praises a Kenyan Minister named Thomas Muthee with helping her to achieve the Alaskan governorship through prayer. It turns out the Muthee also hunts down witches and makes Rev. John Hagee, to say nothing of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., look positively normal. At a speech at the Wasilla Assembly of God on June 8 this year, Palin described how Muthee had laid his hands on her:

As I was mayor and Pastor Muthee was here and he was praying over me, and you know how he speaks and he’s so bold. And he was praying “Lord make a way, Lord make a way. And I’m thinking, this guy’s really bold, he doesn’t even know what I’m going to do, he doesn’t know what my plans are. And he’s praying not “oh Lord if it be your will may she become governor,” no, he just prayed for it. He said “Lord make a way and let her do this next step. And that’s exactly what happened.”

She might also have enlisted him in some good old witchhunting. After founding the Prayer Cave in 1989 in Kiambu, Kenya, Muthee reportedly says that he spoke with God and was called to the United States where he would be embraced by Palin and her church. While in Kenya, he says that he discovered that the community was inundated by witchcraft: “We prayed, we fasted, the Lord showed us a spirit of witchcraft resting over the place.”

He even identified one witch known as Mama Jane, who ran a competing “divination” center called the Emmanuel Clinic. He declared that she was responsible for a rash of car accidents and led a crusade against her — a movement that would trigger calls for her to be stoned to death. She was eventually arrested and then fled the area.

It is certainly an example of “small town values” but perhaps not the quite type that the campaign is Aaa_wickedwitch looking for. On the other hand, something like 80% of U.S. voters say they believe in Angels. So it’s only a quick hop, skip and a jump to witches, I suppose. Halloween is right around the corner…and let’s not forget that “witches” and “witchcraft” was an early way of the monotheists to crack down on…and mass murder, the Old Folk Ways, and that many of these were strong women, and faeries…

Gay Men’s Leadership Academy 2008 – West Coast edition

Academy_2008Not to brag or anything…but we were a busy Institute this weekend.

This weekend was also the fourth Gay Men’s Leadership Academy, a sponsored program of White Crane Institute.

We alternate the academies between the west coast and the east coast to make attendance and subsequent networking easier. And, you know…we get bored easily.

East coast academies are held at Easton Mountain and the west coast academies are held in Guerneville at the Wildwood Retreat Center. Both beautiful facilities. Add handsome men, cute young guys and a multitude of bright minds…and you’re talking AWE & WONDER!

We invite you to visit the GMHLA blog set up by the Academy alums. And even more importantly, consider attending. We’re moving Gay Men’s Health into the 21st Century.

The Second Total Lunar Eclipse of 2007

Total Lunar Eclipse of August 28

The second lunar eclipse of the year is another total eclipse.








All of North America will witness some portion of the eclipse, but western
observers are favored. The early penumbral or umbral phases will be in progress
at moonset for observers in Maritime Canada. From the eastern USA, the Great
Lakes region and Ontario, the Moon sets in total eclipse. Only observers to the
west of the Rockies (including Alaska) will be treated to the entire event. All
phases of the eclipse are also visible from islands of the Pacific Ocean, New
Zealand and eastern Australia. Various stages of the eclipse are in progress at
moonrise for eastern Asia. No eclipse is visible from Europe, Africa and western

Penumbral Eclipse Begins: 07:53:39 UT    

Partial Eclipse Begins: 08:51:16 UT

Total Eclipse Begins: 09:52:22 UT              

Greatest Eclipse: 10:37:22 UT         

Total Eclipse Ends:     11:22:24 UT             

Partial Eclipse Ends: 12:23:30 UT    

Penumbral Eclipse Ends: 13:21:01 UT 

Living on Air

Air_blossom_1_2 I wanted to share this picture.

This is one of those "air plants" my partner and I picked up at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, our local gem. Though you can’t see it in this picture (and be sure to click on it to see it enlarged), it isn’t sitting in any soil whatsoever (it is in the window, on the sill, of our shower). It sits on top of the wood chips that cover the roots of another plant we have in the bathroom, an orchid plant.

This morning, for the sixth time, the purple "protuberance,"…erection, if you will…you see on the right, has pushed it’s way up and out of the ensiform, or sword-shaped "structure" (iris leaves are "ensiform"…and I’m not sure if this is a flower or the purple bloom is the flower…) that sits on the gray, woody stalk of the air plant. I may be mistaken, but I believe this plant is either a bromeliad, or closely related to them.Air_blossom_2_2

The technical name for the air plant and bromeliads are "epiphytic plants," amazing because they do not require soil to grow. Because there is no soil, watering is, in the main, via humidity. If you visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, (and I highly recommend it and the Steinhardt Pavilions where there are bonsai in what they call the Starr Bonsai Museum that are more than 125 years old and very lovely botanical art downstairs) which we do almost weekly, you can see these plants hanging in mid-air in the orchid pavilion, plants to which they are also related.

Air plants derive their nutrition from the air, rain water nutrients and decomposing matter (mostly leaves and dead insects) that may be caught among their air roots or in their leaves. Another incredible example, epiphytic plants absorb nitrogen in the air produced by lightning! In the wild, most epiphytic plants are attached to tree bark as a brace but do not in any way feed off the tree.

Anyway…every time it blossoms it is amazing to me, and I wanted to share it and preserve it in some way. Each of the individual components of this ensiform structure has had one of these beautiful purple blooms, tipped with the tiny plume.

We’ve also had pretty good luck with passion flowers actually fruiting! This is the flower we got on the right, and a picture of the fruit on the left: Passion_flower Passion_fruit


It’s been a strange winter this year, to be sure. Little if any snow here in Brooklyn and temperatures ranging from single digits to the 70s all in the span of a week.

But any talk of the "dead of winter" must be tempered…Bill and I were on the wind-raked rocky coast of Maine over the past weekend. Out in the middle of a lake frozen to a depth of three feet or more, we found this lovely patch of moss in brilliant, and very much living color. Click on it to see it enlarged…Christmas_2006_012