In order to make better use of my computer time, I am suspending operation of Trojan Horse Productions indefinitely.
Please do follow me at my other blog, The Homeless Blogger.
(The Trojan Horse Productions Library will remain intact.)
(From an April 2010 e-mail to my family:)
Dad was still in good health back in ’83-85, when I became so deeply interested in spiritual healing. He maintained a pragmatic skepticism about it throughout; in essence, “What’s the use? We’re all going to die anyway.”
I recalled that Monday night 12/07/09 on my way home from Rite Aid, where I’d had to go buy a few things. I was having pretty severe pain in lower left abdomen, after having had several “difficult” eliminations earlier in the day. I took the pain for infection-inflamed ureter; later concluded I was passing a stone. Long time since I’d passed a stone. Long time by my standards, that is.
The state I was in at that hour, I was inclined to cancel all appointments and errands for the next day, and plan to spend all day Tuesday flat on my back in bed. With pain like this, you can’t do much more than just stare into space and feel miserable.
I would recall one author’s answer to Dad’s argument; Lawrence Althouse is the guy’s name. He said the sheer alleviation of pain — without opiates — is justification enough for the practice of spiritual healing. Pain occasions loss of productivity, as just described. It also stresses relationships; with any less self-control as to these things than I’ve learned in the past few years, had anyone crossed my path the wrong way on that trip home, I might well have snapped at the person.
That’s not something you want to do in the ghetto. Especially at night
There are other was to effect spiritual healing, besides prayer.
Just being nice to people, as opposed to choosing, say, to inject needless pain (“static”) into their world — that’s one.
Crystal happened to wait on me at the Rite Aid; she’s my favorite clerk, and I’d not seen her in months. Damn if she didn’t smile at me and give me a cheery greeting as soon as I came in the door.
Damn if my pain didn’t go away — completely — for some time, later after I got home, as I recalled that encounter. “Spiritual” — healing — indeed.
Every word can work good or ill. My choice; your choice.
Why can’t I be Ted Williams?
(Originally posted 04/13/12.)
Something struck me in the TV footage of this 11/04/13 demonstration, perhaps given the fact that it’s a challenge for me to buy coffee at McDonald’s.
This was not spontaneous. There was some big money behind it. Someone paid for the big effigies/pictures of Obama; for the American flags that got burned; for the signs, including a mural that read “Down with America” in English. Someone organized the presence of the tens of thousands; someone called them out, saying be at this place at this time.
What does this say about demonstrations we see in this country?
Previous pertinent post: Will the real Malala please stand up?
A follower sent me the below link; I don’t think I need to comment on the article, but just highly recommend it.
Well, I will say this much. In “Chaos Overwhelms the Poor” and elsewhere I stress the effects on the brain itself, of chosen spiritual disciplines. This article reinforces that concept, with much good advice.
In work on recent posts and posts scheduled for release in the near future, I am finding many, many old, forgotten posts that actually remain current.
Newer readers aren’t likely to have seen these, however, nor are they likely to see them — unless I take ACTION!
So, I’m launching “Recycling Wednesdays.” Every Wednesday, I’ll re-post some “oldie but goodie.”
That’s all, folks.
I have been asked to share my vast wisdom on the subject of yeast breads (chometz).
I’m not a big fan of lots of different recipes for bread. My philosophy is to find one basic recipe and then do variations on it: experiment with different ratios; stir in a cup of raisins or nuts or grated cheese; make rolls, using cinnamon, sugar and butter, or jelly, or peanut butter and jelly; use milk or evaporated milk or even fruit juice or cream instead of water; and so on.
I’ve forgotten the basic recipe I used before becoming homeless. One could start with this one, and experiment with different ratios until one settles on one one likes.
½ cup butter, melted but not hot
1 cup warm water
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 package commercial yeast
flour: I don’t know how much. Have at least four cups available.
This is destined to produce a small loaf. You can increase amounts later.
Put all the ingredients but flour in a bowl and mix well. Begin stirring in flour, a little at a time, until the dough is firm enough to knead. (Note: There is not, and never will be, an exact amount of flour to use, as the right amount on any given day will depend on the humidity in the room, etc.)
Dust a cutting board or tabletop with flour; turn the dough out onto this, and knead. Sprinkle flour on the wet or sticky spots as needed. Kneading is done when the dough has become springy and elastic.
Put the dough into a greased bowl. Coat the surface with vegetable oil to keep it from drying out. Cover with a cloth, and put in a warm place to rise.
When it has doubled (about two hours), punch it down. At this point, you’ll form it into any special shapes you want, or make the jelly roll, etc. Put it in or on a greased baking pan, cover with cloth, and put up to rise for another two hours.
Bake at 325⁰ for as long as necessary, which will depend on the size and shape of what you’ve made. It’s done when it sounds hollow if you tap on it.
Using store-bought yeast, one can start a batch at noon and take it hot from the oven at supper; in which case the whole will probably be consumed that night.
Clean all surfaces and tools a.s.a.p. after use. Once the traces of dough begin to harden, they’re much harder to clean.
Be forewarned: you WILL “waste” flour; it’s inevitable. You WILL make a mess; it’s inevitable. Determine from the get-go to regard cleanup as fun rather than as a chore.
The biggest difference between sourdough and other bread is that sourdough takes much longer to rise. If I start a batch this morning, I will anticipate baking it tomorrow night.
To make sourdough starter: half fill a small jar with flour, and stir water in until it becomes a paste. Cover loosely and put in a warm place, like the kitchen window. After 2-3 days the wild yeasts already in the flour will have become active, and it will be bublly. Now it’s ready to use.
You can keep it in the cupboard, loosely covered, indefinitely and it won’t go bad. Every day, discard 1 tbsp. of what you’ve got — our use that much to start a batch of bread — and stir in as much new flour to replace it. Thus you’ll keep the sourdough starter fresh and active.
How much water to use is up to you. The thicker the starter is, the less sour your bread will be; the thinner, the more sour.
(1) All activities associated with breadmaking provide an ideal occasion for presence or mindfulness meditation: one focuses one’s attention wholly on the activity at hand, giving oneself completely to the experience.
(2) It’s a good time to maintain an attitude of gratitude. Give thanks to God for providing the materials. Thank God for, and pray for, the farmers who produced it. Thank yeast (or “Yeast”) and wheat (“Wheat”), who have been staunch friends to our species for thousands of years. Pray that your taxes, tithes and activities may so create shalom as to make bread more accessible to the hungry. Praise God that you can so pray.
(3) Love for “the least of these.” I’ve always made it my business to actually love the yeast. These tiny fun guys (fungis) are actually right to stand tall and take pride in themselves. No less than the Blues Brothers, they are “on a mission from God,” to destroy complex starches and create simple sugars (cf. Jeremiah 1:10); to consume those sugars and produce ethanol (:)) and carbon dioxide.
(4) The Parable of the Yeast —
Matthew 13:33: He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and [hid in] three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
— illustrates what happens when one begins to establish presence. A little harmony and peace facilitates greater harmony and peace, and one’s motivations become increasingly coherent, until one’s whole being is transformed.
Why shouldn’t I dream about these things?
(Below appears a tract I passed out with the Hallowe’en candy in 2007. “Chaos overwhelms the poor” describes that neighborhood.)
Hallowe’en is the night before a Christian holiday. The name of the holiday is “All Saints’ Day.” Years ago, they called it “All Hallows’ Day,” and the night before, “All Hallows’ Evening.”
Trick or treat, jack o’ lanterns and all the stuff with ghosts, come instead from a pagan holiday called Samhein. These customs became attached to Hallowe’en, but are not really part of it. Hallowe’en comes on October 31 every year. Samhein comes on the first full moon after September 21, which can be any day between September 22 and October 19.
A jack o’ lantern is a pumpkin with the insides carved out, and a candle or other light inside. What about the light inside of you?
For years, I had the mantra: “Most panhandlers aren’t homeless, and most homeless people don’t panhandle.”
Now I have many acquaintances who do one or the other.
Given recent instability in my support system, I myself may soon become one who does both.
My experience is much informed by what I’ve seen at the McDonald’s I frequent at Baltimore and Light Streets, where some people seem to panhandle outside all day long.
I’ll begin by quoting the e-mail that started all this. Brian said:
Bill – You have some very good points in this article. I wonder how we can increase readership of your blog?
Two ideas come to mind:
- Consider changing the name of your blog to something like “The Homeless Blogger”
- There are a number of newspapers that are by homeless people for the broader community. We have one here in Columbus called Street Speech. You could submit a weekly blog there. Here is a partial list: http://www.homeless.org.au/directory/news.htm
Some background: WordPress gives me very detailed stats about who visits my blog: where they are; what posts or pages they read; where they clicked on a link, if they did, to get here; what search engine terms they used, if any; and more.
The quickest way to increase my readership is for my readers to link to and quote from the blog early and often throughout the day. Incorporate links into your e-mail signatures. Regard any Facebook post or Tweet as incomplete until it includes a link. Do the same with comments on other blogs or news articles …
I have the conviction that the right eyes will find the blog at the right time. That doesn’t mean I should do nothing.