by baldilocks

I can’t be the only one who noticed this.

This is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he testified in front of Congress about user data privacy some weeks back.

And this is former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman recently resigned from his office because:

 [Four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters] accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.

Look at their eyes.

Now, I’m not up on the latest in high-end drugs, so, maybe someone who is can help me figure out what these guys are on, if anything.

Or maybe those trillion-yard stares are evidence a different kind of pharmakeia (definition 3).

There are lots of conspiracy theorists out there who believe that the financial, political and entertainment “elite” subscribe to a spirituality other than that of the Holy Spirit in exchange for money, power and/or fame, and that could be so. After all, God gives His children gifts and the Devil lives ever to parody God. (I’m one of those far-out conspiracy theorists who suspects that 99.9% of politicians above your local dog-catcher is bought by some entity. And maybe only half the dog-catchers are clean.)

I don’t know. But I do know that I would not want to see eyes like that looking back at me – especially not from my pillow or my mirror.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

Today is the first of Three Days of fasting and Prayer for the church, the Pope and ourselves that I wrote about here.

If we want to banish the demons that plague the church and ourselves this is the way to do it, after all this is exactly what Christ suggested :

Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting“.

That’s good enough for me.

By an odd coincidence I have had a rough few days in terms of health, finances and personal situations but it’s at those times that we should most turn to God rather than seek solace in the world whose prince is not on our side as CS Lewis says in Screwtape:

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” 

Many Christians look at the world today and wonder where God is.   The truth is that while the dominant culture has forsaken God and pushes that abandonment on us as the solution to our problems, it remains a lie.  The solution to our problems IS God and our abandonment of him is the cause.

May we turn to prayer and fasting today and follow the example of Christ, who while suffering and asking God why he was forsaken still obeyed.

Mount Everest. The name evokes thoughts of beauty, cold, danger, and many others.

I’m not entirely certain why I decided to trek to the base camp of Mount Everest. Maybe because it was there. Maybe because it scared me to try.

DaTech3.jpgMy journey hardly qualifies as dangerous, but it did involve nearly 40 hours of driving round trip from Lhasa, Tibet, along back-breaking roads. I subjected myself to altitude sickness, which causes the worst headaches almost anyone could ever have. Simple movements like walking over a stone roadway take long and calculated planning because the mind doesn’t snap quickly into even low gear.

The purpose may have been to engage in the journey. Mine included a band of two other Americans, who dabbled in real estate in Indianapolis; an Italian woman who sold insurance in Dubai; a South African man who built sports stadiums in the United States; two Malaysian businessmen; and a Vietnamese couple who worked with computers.

I can rarely talk openly in the United States about my support for Donald Trump, but the Indianapolis couple proudly announced their unconditional praise for the president. Talk about fellow travelers! One of the Malaysian businessmen couldn’t understand why the U.S. media spent so much time tearing down Trump.

The Vietnamese couple, who were in their 20s, wanted to hear about the war from an American perspective. Both were Catholics; she even referred to Ho Chi Minh City as “Saigon.”

The trip to Mount Everest starts with some training in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and home of the Dalai Lama. The Buddhist monks there decided long ago that their monasteries and temples should be built mostly on the top of hills to be closer to heaven. That means that one has to climb hundreds of stairs in a single day in what is generally considered the top of the world, with limited oxygen levels and occasional dizziness.

After two to three days, we start the journey to Mount Everest, climbing into even thinner atmospheric conditions.

The road from Lhasa to the Mount Everest base camp takes about 20 hours and is broken up into two days, with a stop at Xigaze, which is the second-largest city in Tibet.

On the second day, we arrive at the base camp just before sunset. At just about 19,000 feet above sea level, or nearly four times the elevation of Denver, Colorado, I have to think carefully about simple actions like putting one foot in front of the other.

According to history.com, almost no wildlife is found near here, the point at which permanent snow prevents even the hardiest lichens and mosses from growing.

Two of our group feel ill. Ironically, younger people tend to get sick more frequently than older people. At 66, I am one of the few seniors among roughly 200 who have made the trek.

The view is spectacular as the summit of Mount Everest shoots up to more than 29,000 feet above sea level.

The tent is much larger than I expected, accommodating the six remaining members of our crew. Four others had gone on a separate caravan to Nepal.

The tent is decorated in Tibetan colors, with a small fire of yak dung to keep up warm in the 20-degree weather. I didn’t sleep particularly well. But my insomnia was rewarded by a wonderful view of Everest during a full moon.

The unforgettable journey, including the remarkable band of companions, was well worth it!