Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year

Happy New Year everyone, wishing you the best.

1. I hope this year would not find anyone facing the great disasters like the Tsunami or Katrina or the Pakistan Earthquake. In reality we know these things happen continually and may be happening more because of Global Warning (some of them), and if you are the one affected it doesn't matter if the disaster is one on a global scale or only your home. So maybe I should just wish that we all are safe in the new year and that we avoid disasters, and if we do face one that we recover easily and it brings out the best in us rather than the worst.

2. Last year I almost lost my father. But now he is better than he had been in years. I hope everyone gets to enjoy their families.

3. I have been divorced now just over a year, although I've been alone much longer. I hope everyone can find the love they need in the coming year if they don't have it already, and if they do have it, I pray they can nurture it and appreciate it.

4. I hope everyone finds good health this year - mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.

5. I hope if we make it to the end of this year, that we are better than when it started - mentally, physically, emotionally and especially spiritually.

6. I finished my Master's Degree this past year. I pray everyone is able to obtain their educational goals and continually learn and grow.

7. Now I have to pay that school loan! I pray for everyone that we could all get out of debt. Come on, Publisher's Clearinghouse. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Two of my Favorite Easy Everyday Good Things

I've mentioned it before, but it is worth mentioning again.

Almost every town/city/community in the country and beyond has a Freecycle network set up. It is a great concept - instead of throwing away what you can't or won't use, offer it to someone else on Freecycle. Have some canned goods in the cupboard that you're probably never going to want to eat? Someone on Freecycle needs it and wants it. Furniture, pets, duplicate Christmas gifts, appliances, clothes, food, exercise equipment, craft stuff, material and sewing stuff, computers, computer parts, car parts, moving boxes, printers, cell phones, wrong brands of stuff bought by mistake, books, all kinds of baby stuff, toys, holiday decorations and anything else you can imagine is offered - no charge, ever. You may sometimes see something you'd love to have. You may have some stuff sitting around taking up space that would delight someone else.

Just have a look for a few days and think of it next time you go to throw something away.


Also neato:

The Hungersite

Click every day to "donate" free food, mammograms, books, health care, preserve rainforest, care for sheltered animals, etc. (link is also on sidebar)

2006 Postponed by One (Leap) Second

These past few days I've been mostly hanging out with my mom while she ran errands and then hanging out at home reading Calvin & Hobbes, enjoying my awesome new down comforter and my wonderful new sandwich maker. And trying to figure out all the mysteries of life - no new progress on that front....

John Roach
for National Geographic News
December 29, 2005
For those of you counting the seconds until 2006, add one.

The world's top timekeepers will insert an extra second—or leap second—just before midnight in coordinated universal time (UTC) on New Year's Eve. (That's the same as 6:59:59 p.m. eastern time on December 31.) UTC is determined by atomic clocks and is five hours ahead of eastern time.

Earth's rotation is ever so slightly slowing down, but atomic clocks remain unwaveringly consistent. The extra second will allow Earth to stay in sync with the ultraprecise clocks, which mark time based on the vibration of atoms.

The planet's slowing is mostly due to the friction of tides raised by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon. In fact, a day is now about two-thousandths of a second longer than it was a couple centuries ago, scientists say.

To keep today's atomic clocks synchronized with time as measured by Earth's rotation, timekeepers insert a leap second whenever the difference between the two clocks exceeds nine-tenths of a second.

The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems, near Frankfurt, Germany, coordinates the additions of leap seconds.

This year's "extra" second will be the 23rd leap second added since 1972. In that year atomic timekeeping became the world standard. Before then, authorities relied on the movement of stars.

The most recent leap second was added seven years ago, in 1998.

"For the last several years Earth has behaved well," explained Geoff Chester, a spokesperson for the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. Together with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, the observatory keeps official time for the country.

But Earth is predicted to slow down "on a nearly exponential scale" in the decades to come as tidal friction increases, Chester says. And this is a conundrum that has sparked debate among the world's clock-watchers.

Abolish Leap Seconds?

As the Earth slows, the addition of leap seconds will be required more frequently to keep the Earth and atomic clocks in sync.For a world increasingly dominated by technology, this is a potential headache for people who have to reset personal computers, global positioning systems (GPS), mobile phones, and the like every time a leap second is added.

"They don't like leap seconds because they are irregular and they are inserted on a sort of as-needed basis," Chester said. "We try to give a six-month warning so they can make plans."

Although the addition of leap seconds has never proven a problem, some scientists are afraid that a glitch somewhere along the line will lead to a catastrophic error.

For example, an un-updated GPS navigation system could cause an oil tanker to run aground and spoil a pristine coastline. To avoid such a mishap, critics are pushing for the abolition of leap seconds.

On the other hand, if the atomic clocks and Earth's rotation are allowed to drift apart, eventually—as in, thousands of years from now—"high noon" will come hours before the sun crosses directly overhead.

Seeking to avoid such a distorted view of time, leap second proponents argue for continued coordination among the clocks.

"It's like on a small scale abolishing the leap year—the extra day. If you did that, sooner or later the months would get out of sync with the seasons," said Mark Bailey, the director of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

Bailey wants to keep the tradition of leap seconds alive.

Leap seconds may be an inconvenience for timekeepers, he says. But the abolition of leap seconds could come with unintended consequences.

Many telescopes, he notes, are already programmed to account for the occasional addition of leap seconds. If the practice were abolished, astronomers would have to reprogram much of their equipment.

Ongoing Debate

The U.S. Naval Observatory recognizes the pros and cons of leap seconds. But Dennis McCarthy, former head of the observatory's Directorate of Time, opposes the added seconds.

McCarthy is part of a group of U.S. scientists within the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that recently submitted a proposal to eliminate leap seconds to the ITU, which has final say.

For most timing applications, the group argues, the practice of adding the occasional leap second creates more problems than it fixes.

A working group within the International Astronomical Union, which also has some influence in the matter, is reviewing the proposal. The IAU group will report its findings at the union's generally assembly meeting in August 2006.

The U.K.'s Royal Astronomical Society issued a statement on December 23 calling for a "much wider, more informed public debate" on the usefulness of leap seconds before a final decision is made.

Bailey of the Armagh Observatory, who is also a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, added, "It is an interesting question and I think one that deserves wider debate than just among professional scientists."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas - Christmas and Jesus (as) in Islam

In spirit, most Muslims have no problem with the concept of celebrating the birth of Jesus (as). There are some Muslims who avoid celebrating birthdays altogether. But Shia Muslims as a matter of course find it meritorious to honor and remember the saints and prophets of God on the birthdays, death days and other significant dates.

We now know that December 25 is a wrong date for the birth of Jesus (as) and was chosen to coincide with certain pagan activities to ease their conversions from paganism but allowing them to incorporate some pagan traditions. I guess the more favored date now is sometime in April, around 4 or 5 B.C.

Muslims believe in Jesus (as), and in that sense we are Christians.

1. We believe Jesus (as) was born of the Virgin Mary by a miracle from God.

2. We believe Jesus (as) spoke to people while still a newborn.

3. We believe Jesus (as) performed numerous other miracles through the power of God including having the ability to raise the dead.

4. We believe Jesus (as) was a prophet of God who delivered the message (gospel) about how to get saved from hell and that he was supported by Ruh al Quddus, sometimes called the Holy Spirit. The gospel was a scripture revealed to Jesus (as) to deliver to mankind.

5. We believe Jesus (as) never committed a sin ( and actually we believe this of all prophets).

6. We believe Jesus (as) is not part of a triune God - we believe in a Unitarian God.

7. We believe Jesus (as) is not God in the flesh but is a holy man who prayed to God and carried out God's will on earth.

8. We believe Jesus (as) was not crucified on the cross but was raised to heaven by God.

9. We believe Jesus (as) will return at the time of Armageddon to help establish God's rule on Earth.

10. There is no Joseph as a father of Jesus (as) or husband of Mary mentioned in the Muslim Scriptures.

11. John the Baptist is also mentioned in the Qur'an as a prophet of God just preceding Jesus (as) and a supporter and preparer for Jesus (as).

Some pertinent passages from the Qur'an for Christmas about Jesus and Mary:

So her Lord accepted her with good acceptance and made her grow up a good growing and gave her into the charge of Zakariya; whenever Zakariya entered the sanctuary to see her, he found her with food. He said: O Mary! where did you get this? She said: It is from God. Surely God gives to whom He pleases without measure. (3:36)

And the angels said: O Mary! Surely God has chosen you and chosen you above the women of the world. (3:41)

She (Mary) said: My Lord! Shall there be a son born to me while no man has touched me? He said: Even so, God creates what He pleases; when He has decreed a matter, He only says to it, Be! - and then it is. (3:46)

And most certainly we gave Moses the Torah and We sent apostles after him one after another; and We gave Jesus son of Mary clear arguments and strengthened him with the Ruh al Quddus. (2:87)

Say: We believe in God and what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord; we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit (are Muslims). (3:83)

And We made a covenant with the prophets and with you, and with Noah and Abraham and Moses and Jesus son of Mary, and We made with them a strong covenant. (33:7)

And We sent after them in their footsteps Jesus, son of Mary, verifying what was before him of the Torah and We gave him the Gospel in which was guidance and light, and verifying what was before it of the Torah and a guidance and an admonition for those who guard against evil. (5:46)

And mention Mary in the Book when she drew aside from her family to an eastern place; So she took a veil to screen herself from them; then We sent to her Our spirit, and there appeared to her a well-made man. She said: Surely I seek refuge from you with the Beneficient God, if you are one guarding against evil. He said: I am only a messenger of your Lord that you will give birth to a pure boy. She said: How shall I have a boy when no mortal has touched me nor have I been unchaste? He said: Even so, your Lord says: It is easy to Me, and that We may make him a sign to men and a mercy from us; and it is a matter which has been decreed. So she conceived him, then withdrew herself with him to a remote place. And the throes of child birth compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten. Then the child called out to her from beneath her, 'Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you, and shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree and it will provide you with fresh ripe dates. So eat and drink and refresh the eye. Then if you see any mortal say "Surely I have vowed a fast to the Beneficient God, so I shall not speak to any man today. And she came to her people with him (Jesus), carry him. They said: O Mary! Surely you have done a strange thing. Your father was not a bad man, nor was your mother an unchaste woman. But Mary pointed to the baby. They said: how should we speak to a child in the cradle? But Jesus spoke, and said: Surely I am a servant of God; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and poor-rate so long as I live. And He has made me dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent or unblessed. Peace on me the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life again.' Such is Jesus, the son of Mary; this is the saying of truth about which they dispute. It beseems not God that He should take to Himself a son; glory be to Him; when He decrees a matter He only says to it "Be" and it is. (19:16-36)

And when you (Jesus) determined out of clay a think like the form of a bird and by My permission then you breathed into it and it became a living bird, and you healed the blind and leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission. (5:110)

When the disciples said: O Jesus Son of Mary, will you Lord consent to send down to us food from heaven? He said: Be careful of your duty to God if you are believers. They said: We desire to eat of it and that our hearts should be at rest, and that we may know that you have indeed spoken the truth to us and that we may be the witnesses of it. Jesus Son of mary said: O God our Lord, send down ot us food from heaven which should be to us an everrecurring happiness, to the first of us and to the last of us, as a sign from Thee, and grant us means of subsistence, and Thou art the best of Providers. God said: Surely I will send it down to you, but whoever shall disbeliever afterwards from among you, surely I will chastise him with a chastisement with which I will not chastise any one from among the nations. (5:112-115)

And the Messiah (Jesus) said: O Children of Israel! Serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates others with God, then God has forbidden to him the paradise, and his abode is the fire, and there shall be no helpers for the unjust. (5:72)

And Jesus Son of Mary said: O Children of Israel! Surely I am the apostle of Allah sent to you, verifying that which is sent before of the Torah and giving the good news of an apostle who will come after me, his name being Ahmad (Comforter). (61:6)

Surely the likeness of Jesus is with God the same as the likeness of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, Be, and he was. (3:58)

And they say: God has taken to Himself a son. Glory be to Him; rather whatever is in the heavens and the earth is His; all are obedient to Him. (2:116)

And they say: The Beneficient God has taken to Himself a son, Glory be to Him, Nay! they (all prophets including Jesus) are honored servants, they do not precede Him in speech and only according to His commandment do they act. (21:26-27)

Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely God is the third of three; rather there is no god but the one God. (5:73)

The Messiah, Son of Mary is but an apostle; apostles before him have indeed passed away; and his mother was a truthful woman; they both used to eat food (they were humans, not gods). (5:75)

And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the apostle of God; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Jesus) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure. Nay! God took him up to Himself; and God is Mighty, Wise. (4:157-158)

And God said: O Jesus I am going to terminate the period of your stay on earth and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those you follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of resurrection; then to Me shall be your return. (3:54)

And when God will say: O Jesus Son of Mary! Did you say to men, 'Take me and my mother for gods besides God' he will say: Glory be to thee, it did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to say; if I had said it, Thou wouldst have indeed known it; Thou knowest what is in my mind and I do not know what is in Thy mind; surely Thou art the Great Knower of unseen things. I do not say to them aught except save what Thou did enjoin me with; I said to serve God, My Lord and your Lord, and I was witness of them so long as I was among them, but when Thou caused me to leave, then Thou were the watcher over them. (5:116-117)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I just thought this was interesting.....

It snowed all weekend - big pretty flakes, but coooold. Drove up to the mountains and it was clear there because the clouds were all down low and enjoyed a beautiful view of Pikes Peak from Woodland Park. The birds outside were crazy at the feeder - whenever the weather turns bad, the wild birds want to eat like there's no tomorrow - I think they must need the extra food to try to stay warm and it must be instinct when weather turns to eat up trying to store for the future a little bit.

I read this article yesterday and thought it was interesting....

14-point deer turns out to be doe

The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa — A hunter thought he might have bagged a trophy buck when he shot a 14-point deer in northeast Iowa earlier this month.

Eric Weymiller, 25, of rural Harpers Ferry, started to field dress the animal when to his surprise he noticed it wasn’t a buck at all.

“I noticed right away it was missing some plumbing,” said Weymiller, who shot the animal Dec. 7 in Allamakee County.

He discovered he was dressing a doe sporting antlers with 14 tines, a big rack even for a buck.

“I stopped field dressing the animal and called a DNR biologist,” Weymiller said. “I wanted them to document this.”

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Biologist Terry Hainfield confirmed that the animal was female.

“It is unusual to find a doe with antlers, but what makes this particularly unusual is that the antlers had hardened and grown so big,” Hainfield said.

More research will be required to determine whether the deer’s antlers are large enough to set a record for doe antlers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Woman found alive from the Pakistan Earthquake after more than 2 months of being buried in rubble.

I still have the link for free aid to victims of the earthquake at left in the sidebar.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

What's your Childhood Fantasy?

Mine is that I could travel back in time. Not actually being in that time in a way to influence it, but to see how things really were. To see the Saber Tooth Tiger and Giant Sloth. To see answers to mysteries like what really happened to Amelia Earhart or what the Lighthouse of Alexandria really looked like. Similarly, I wished that I could see anything in the present instantly, like where a missing person is or lost money or sunken treasure or the Loch Ness Monster..... And then people would ask me to help them find their lost friends or things and I'd do it instantly for free and make my living off finding some giant piece of gold or diamond somewhere.... So that's my childhood fantasy; what's yours?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Imam Sajjad (as) - Giving Thanks

His Supplication when Confessing his Shortcomings in Giving Thanks

1 O God,
no one reaches a limit in thanking Thee
without acquiring that of Thy beneficence
which enjoins upon him thanksgiving,
2 nor does anyone reach a degree in obeying Thee,
even if he strives,
without falling short of what Thou deservest
because of Thy bounty.
3 The most thankful of Thy servants
has not the capacity to thank Thee,
and the most worshipful of them
falls short of obeying Thee.
4 To none of them is due
Thy forgiveness through what he himself deserves
or Thy good pleasure for his own merit.
5 When Thou forgivest someone,
it is through Thy graciousness,
and when Thou art pleased with someone,
it is through Thy bounty.
6 Thou showest gratitude
for the paltry for which Thou showest gratitude
and Thou rewardest
the small act in which Thou art obeyed,
so that it seems as if Thy servants' thanksgiving
for which Thou hast made incumbent their reward
and made great their repayment
is an affair
from which they could have held back without Thee,
and hence Thou wilt recompense them,
and whose cause is not in Thy hand,
and hence Thou wilt repay them.
7 Nay, my God, Thou hadst power over their affair
before they had power to worship Thee,
and Thou hadst prepared their reward
before they began to obey Thee;
and that because Thy wont is bestowal of bounty,
Thy custom beneficence,
Thy way pardon.
8 So all creatures confess
that Thou wrongest not him whom Thou punishest
and bear witness
that Thou bestowest bounty upon him whom Thou pardonest.
Each admits
that he has fallen short of what Thou meritest.
9 Had Satan not misled them from Thy obedience,
no disobeyer would have disobeyed Thee,
and had he not shown falsehood to them in the likeness of truth
no strayer would have gone astray from Thy path.
10 So glory be to Thee!
How manifest is Thy generosity
in dealing with him who obeys or disobeys Thee!
Thou showest gratitude to the obedient
for that which Thou undertakest for him,
and Thou grantest a respite to the disobedient
in that within which Thou art able to hurry him.
11 Thou givest to each of them
that which is not his due,
and Thou bestowest bounty upon each
in that wherein his works fall short.
12 Wert Thou to counterbalance for the obedient servant
that which Thou Thyself hadst undertaken,
he would be on the point of losing Thy reward
and seeing the end of Thy favour,
but through Thy generosity Thou hast repaid him
for a short, perishing term
with a long, everlasting term,
and for a near, vanishing limit
with an extended, abiding limit.
13 Then Thou dost not visit him with a settling of accounts
for Thy provision
through which he gained strength to obey Thee,
nor dost Thou force him to make reckonings
for the organs he employed
to find the means to Thy forgiveness.
Wert Thou to do that to him,
it would take away
everything for which he had laboured
and all wherein he had exerted himself
as repayment for the smallest of Thy benefits
and kindnesses,
and he would remain hostage before Thee
for Thy other favours.
So how can he deserve something of Thy reward?
Indeed, how?
14 This, my God, is the state of him who obeys Thee
and the path of him who worships Thee.
But as for him who disobeys Thy command
and goes against Thy prohibition,
Thou dost not hurry him to Thy vengeance,
so that he may seek to replace
his state in disobeying Thee
with the state of turning back to obey Thee,
though he deserved from the time he set out to disobey Thee
every punishment which Thou hast prepared
for all Thy creatures.
15 Through each chastisement
which Thou hast kept back from him
and each penalty of Thy vengeance and Thy punishment
which Thou hast delayed from him,
Thou hast refrained from Thy right
and shown good pleasure
in place of what Thou hast made obligatory.
16 So who is more generous, my God, than Thou?
And who is more wretched than he who perishes
in spite of Thee?
Indeed, who?
Thou art too blessed to be described
by any but beneficence
and too generous for any but justice
to be feared from Thee!
There is no dread that Thou wilt be unjust
toward him who disobeys Thee,
nor any fear of Thy neglecting to reward
him who satisfies Thee.
So bless Muhammad and his Household,
give me my hope,
and increase me in that of Thy guidance
through which I may be successful in my works!
Surely Thou art All-kind, Generous.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

some hadith

Thus ease comes from considering this world to be insignificant, giving up one's enjoyment of it, and removing the impurity of what is forbidden or doubtful. A person closes the door of pride on himself once he recognizes this; he flees from wrong actions and opens the door of humility, regret and modesty. He strives to carry out Allah swt's commands and to avoid His prohibitions, seeking a good end and excellent proximity to Allah swt. He locks himself in the prison of fear, steadfastness, and the restraint of his appetites until he reaches the safety of Allah swt in the world to come and tastes the food of His good pleasure. If he intends that, everything else means nothing to him.
Imam Sadiq (as), Lantern of the Path

It is narrated that Imam Zainul Abideen (as) has said:

The richest of people is [one] who is satisfied with
what Allah has
chosen for him.

Tuhaf al-Uqoul
The Masterpieces of the Intellects
Page 327 Hadith Number 5
Compiled by Abu Muhammad al-Hassan bin Ali bin
al-Hussein bin Shuba
Translated by Badr Shahin
It is narrated that Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) has
narrated from Imam Ali (as)

Indeed, he who treats people fairly even though it be
to his detriment, is only increased in worth and
honor by Allah.

Combat with Self
Page 120 Hadith number 20525 
Muhammad b al_Hasan al-Hurr al-Amili
Translated by Nazmina A Virjee

It is narrated that Imam Ali (as) has said:

If a person thinks well of you, make his idea hold

A Bundle of Flowers from the garden of traditions of
the Prophet &
his Ahlul-Bayt (as)
Compiled by Ayatullah Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani
Translated by Sayyid Abbas Sadr-ameli
Page 89

I am as My servant thinks I am.
I am with him when he makes mention of Me.
If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention
of him to Myself;
and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make
mention of him in an assembly better than it.
And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw
near to him a fathom's length.
And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.

Hadith Qudsi

It is narrated that Imam Sadiq (as) has said:

Dua is more forceful than a sword.

(Odattol Daee)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pikes Peak


Lt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike wasn’t sure. But as the explorer stood on a rise in the flat, dry prairie of southeastern Colorado on Nov. 15, 1806, he thought he had spotted something on the horizon with his spyglass.

“At two o’clock in the afternoon I thought I could distinguish a mountain to our right, which appeared like a small blue cloud,” he wrote in his journal.

Pike had been in Colorado four days with his group of soldiers on an expedition to explore the southern reaches of the Louisiana Purchase. He kept quiet about what he saw, talking only to another member of his party. “Yet only communicated it to doctor Robinson, who was in front with me,” he wrote.

But another half hour’s travel brought the party to a hilltop with a clearer view. The group, Pike reported, “gave three cheers to the Mexi- can mountains.”

On this date 199 years ago, Pike’s journal entry about the “small blue cloud” became the first record of the mountain that would someday be named after him.

Throughout the next year, his expedition to the mountain we know as Pikes Peak will be cause for celebration in communities throughout southeastern Colorado. Small towns like Rocky Ford and Las Animas, the cities of Colorado Springs and Pueblo, and such entities as Colorado State Parks, the Santa Fe Trail Association and the Colorado Division of Wildlife have also joined in. The Gazette is planning a year of coverage, including a collector’s edition special section.

Working from old maps and Pike’s journal, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has surveyed the area where Pike camped when he sighted the mountain and will soon set a marker of Pikes Peak granite on the spot.

By the time Pike and his men reached that stretch of land on the banks of the Arkansas River, they had already encountered vast herds of buffalo and signs of Indian war parties. It was a vast, dry prairie cut by rivers that meandered in the shade of cottonwoods.

On Monday, the area still looked like Pike described it, save for the absence of American Indians and herds of buffalo. The prairie was silent except for a constant wind that rustled the remaining leaves on the cottonwoods crowding the banks of the river. Coyote tracks were preserved in the dry clay. Tumbleweeds blew through with little to stop them, and tufts of buffalo grass waved and bent.

And to the northwest, a “small blue cloud” sat on the horizon, topped by bubbly white cumulus clouds. It shimmered, discernible only because an Army Corps of Engineers official pointed it out, changing shape with the angle of the sun or hiding tantalizingly beneath clouds that signaled an encroaching storm.

Looking at that shimmering image from this vantage point allowed a visitor to wonder at the temerity of Pike and his men. The party — 21 men and one interpreter — had set forth four months earlier, on July 15, 1806, from Belfountaine, near modern-day St. Louis.

The group’s mission was to explore the southwestern holdings of the Louisiana Purchase, acquired by the United States from France in 1803. The more famous expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took a more northerly route across the continent.

In Colorado, Pike and his men followed rivers and creeks, charting their course and noting other geographic features along the way. He followed groups of Spanish cavalry, who may well have seen Pikes Peak, and encountered Indians, who of course already had their own name for it — Taba. But Pike was the first to record an observation of the mountain he first spotted as a blue cloud and later called Grand Peak.

In the week following his sighting, he moved closer to the mountain, and on Nov. 23, 1806, he wrote, “As the river appeared to be dividing itself into many small branches and of course must be near its extreme source, I concluded to put the party in a defensible situation; ascend the north fork, to the high point of the blue mountain.”

Pike misjudged his proximity to the source of the Arkansas, which was still more than 100 miles away. He also misjudged the climb he faced. He thought it would take one day’s march, but after a day he was nowhere near the summit, and by the 27th he realized he had underestimated the climb. He looked at the mountain again.

The first recorded ascent was by the botanist Edwin James in 1820. Nevertheless, the mountain was called “Pike’s Peak” until 1891, when the U.S. Board on Geographic Names took out the apostrophe.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Imam Sajjad (as)'s supplication when sick

His Supplication when Sick

His Supplication when Sick or Visited by Distress or an Affliction

1 O God, to Thee belongs praise
for the good health of my body
which lets me move about,
and to Thee belongs praise,
for the ailments
which Thou causest to arise in my flesh!
2 For I know not, my God,
which of the two states deserves more my thanking Thee
and which of the two times is more worthy for my praise of Thee:
3 the time of health,
within which Thou makest me delight
in the agreeable things of Thy provision,
through which Thou givest me the joy to seek
the means to Thy good pleasure and bounty,
and by which Thou strengthenest me
for the acts of obedience
which Thou hast given me success to accomplish;
4 or the time of illness
through which Thou puttest me to the test
and bestowest upon me favours:
lightening of the offenses
that weigh down my back,
purification of the evil deeds
into which I have plunged,
incitement to reach
for repentance,
reminder of the erasure of misdeeds
through ancient favour;
5 and, through all that, what the two writers write for me:
blameless acts,
which no heart had thought,
no tongue had uttered,
and no limb had undertaken,
rather, as Thy bestowal of bounty upon me
and the beneficence of Thy benefaction toward me.
6 O God,
bless Muhammad and his Household,
make me love
what Thou hast approved for me,
make easy for me
what Thou hast sent down upon me,
purify me of the defilement
of what I have sent ahead,
erase the evil
of what I have done beforehand,
let me find the sweetness
of well-being,
let me taste the coolness
of safety,
and appoint for me
a way out from my illness to Thy pardon,
transformation of my infirmity into Thy forbearance,
escape from my distress to Thy refreshment,
and safety from this hardship in Thy relief!
7 Thou art gratuitously bountiful in beneficence,
ever gracious in kindness,
the Generous, the Giver,
Possessor of majesty and munificence!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Du'a for Sahar (Dawn)

Du'a for Sahar

This is a very beautiful du'a. Its poetic language and heartfelt message makes for an outstanding prayer. The all encompassing mercy of the Almighty is analogized with the vastness of the sea, while the needy are passengers on a ship waiting to cross.

Humility is an essential part of the etiquette of Du'a. An acknowledgemnt of one's sins and shortcomings is most becoming to a supplicant. This is succintly expressed in the following Du'a.

In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful.

O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.

My God,

the beggars are standing at Your door,

the needy have taken refuge with Your Honor.

The ship carrying the poor and humble people,

is standing at the shores of the sea ,

of Your generosity and grace,

hoping for permission to cross ,

to the shores of Your mercy and blessings.

My God, if You do not forgive,

in this honored month,

except the one who has sincerely purified himself for You,

in his fasting and prayers,

then who is there for the negligent sinner,

when he drowns in the sea of his sins?

My God, if You do not have mercy on any,

except the obedient,

then who is there for the disobedient?

And if You do not accept from any,

except the performers of (good) actions,

then who is there for those who fall short?

My God, those who fast have profited,

those who stay up in prayer have won,

and those who are sincere have succeeded,

but we are Your sinful servants!

So be kind to us through Your mercy

and save us from the fire through Your forgiveness, O Gracious

O most merciful.

O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family, the purified ones.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Statue springs to life with pumpkin vines

I haven't seen this, might have to stop by. Not particularly a fan of statues, but the man himself is remembered for his good deeds.


Hot days and afternoon monsoons have had a magical effect on the statue of Nick Venetucci — the celebrated pumpkin man of Colorado Springs memorialized in bronze on the lawn of the Pioneers Museum downtown.

Almost overnight, the statue seemingly came to life as large pumpkin vines sprouted in the flower bed that surrounds it.

The vines have obliterated pansies planted earlier in the summer, and they’ve given birth to gourds that swell with each afternoon shower. Today, the vines are kneehigh on the statue honoring the Security farmer.

It’s a pose thousands of area residents would recognize: Venetucci smiling amid growing pumpkins. Before his death Sept. 7, 2004, he became a legend for giving pumpkins to area schoolchildren over a 50-year period.

“It really looks great,” said Matt Mayberry, museum director. “It’s such a fitting tribute to Venetucci.”

Mayberry is eager to see the small green fruit on the vine grow and ripen into the large, orangish-yellow pumpkins that were Venetucci’s trademark.

Some of the vines are spilling onto the sidewalk, and others are slightly obscuring the three bronze children who surround Venetucci in artist Fred Darpino’s sculpture.

Again, Mayberry thinks it only adds to the effect.

“It really looks great with the kids there in the pumpkin patch,” he said.

Others agree, including Suzanne Royer, who spearheaded the “Pennies for Pumpkins” campaign that raised more than $100,000 to pay for the statue.

“I love it,” Royer said.

Another fan is Bambi Venetucci, who worked side-by-side with her husband at the farm and was his partner in the annual pumpkin giveaway.

It was Bambi who coordinated the visits of school groups, social clubs, senior citizens and others — upwards of 50,000 a year — to the farm to gather free pumpkins.

She has made several visits to the statue since it was unveiled last October and is tickled by the growing vines.

“It’s a beautiful tribute,” she said. “And I think it’s wonderful people are still so caring and interested. He loved his community, and it’s so nice to see they love him, too.”

So, just who is responsible for the pumpkins, anyway? Neither Royer nor Bambi Venetucci knew the answer.

And it wasn’t the city gardners who planted them, said Paul Butcher, director of the Parks Department.

“We don’t plant vegetables and fruits that can be consumed,” he said.

Could it have been magic? Maybe a little pumpkin dust sprinkled in the dirt?

Actually, it was Beth Kosley of the Downtown Partnership.

“We planted pumpkin seeds at the request of the museum and the artist,” Kosley said, noting how the vines are really taking off. “I’m a little worried we’re having too much success.”

No way, say Mayberry, Royer and the others. Their only fear is that the pumpkins might disappear.

“We’re a little bit worried,” Mayberry said. “We’ll just have to see what happens. It will be great if we can get to middle or late October and have bright pumpkins in there.

“We’ll have to see how the public reacts to it.”

Tell us about your neighborhood: 636-0193 or

On other notes - I watched the series finales of The 4400 and The Dead Zone last night - they were good!

Later this week is a birth anniversary for Imam Musa Kazim (as), 7th Imam (as). I think it is Wednesday. People don't give him the respect and attention he is due, as is the case for many of our Imams (sa). There is a lengthy biography of him for sale at the Khoei bookstore now. I got a copy but I haven't read it yet, because I'm trying to work through the Imams' biographies in order.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Jeff Foxworthy on Colorado

Some of the favorites:
You know you're from Colorado when...

1. You switch from "Heat" to "A/C" in one day.
2. You know what the "People's Republic of Boulder" means.
3. Your sense of direction is: towards the mountains and away from the mountains.
5. You're able to drive 65 miles per hour through 13 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without even flinching.
6. You take your out of town guests to Casa Bonita even though you would never go there otherwise.
8. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
11. You can drive over a 12,000-foot pass in 4 feet of snow, but can't get to work if there are 4 inches of snow.
12. You know the 'correct' pronunciation of Buena Vista and Pueblo.
15. You have surge protectors on every outlet.
16. April showers bring May blizzards.
17. 'Timberline' is someplace you have actually been.
18. You know what a 'Chinook' is.
20. You know what a 'fourteener' is.
21. But you don't know what a 'turn signal' is.
24. You know who Alfred Packer was.
30. Thunder has set off your car alarm.
33. You think a red light means 3 more cars can go.
37. You know where the real 'South Park' is.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


I took my brother's kids yesterday up to school and painted my classroom - well at least the two big walls - I didn't bother with walls with chalkboards and other stuff. When I picked them up, they told me they had to be at a baseball thing at eleven so we had to work really fast. They helped some both in painting and in making a big mess! :) The walls are painted and I think that part is fine, but there is also some paint on baseboards, floor, student desks, etc., that I guess I'll be trying to work on some over the next several days.

In the evening I picked them up again to go to a geocaching event - it wasn't actually caching, but rather a meeting/picnic of southern Colorado cachers discussing some upcoming games/events. The kids played on the playground, adults sat around and talked to people they already knew from online but never in person before. Just as it was ending, the rain came - I love this weather!

Tomorrow it is official - back to school for teachers - although I've already been working in the building three days I still have a lot to do to be "ready", but at least I am closer than before. But tomorrow insha'allah everyone will be back. And we'll have to sit in lots of meetings.

With all my travel this summer I didn't get to the gym regularly. After my last trip end of July, I haven't been to the gym but a few times, plus at all these conferences and meetings it is hard to avoid not eating well. So now I have to motivate myself to go after work when I'm tired several times a week - that was my plan to begin with, but now I've got to make myself stick to it!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Madrassah, Grad Party, Board Retreat

Saturday I went to the last Madrassah session for this term up in Denver. I got reimbursed for my gas which was really great - 150 miles a trip adds up! I guess it is starting up again for a new term in September.

Saturday afternoon was the Master's Degree party. It was nice, my mom did a nice job putting it together, and Tonya and the kids helped with the food and decorations the day of the party. From my school Jen and her husband Dave came, and Nancy and her husband Bob came - those are both math teachers. Anne and her husband Rick came and Marie came - Anne is the school front office queen and Marie is the data processor. Dave Ulmer came, he was my cooperating teacher at the school when I did my student teaching. Laura and Byron came even though they just flew in from the East Coast, which was really nice - Laura gave me a nice purse. Derek and Heather came as well. Some of mom's family and Jeff's guests of course came, too. And Mark and Irma from CSEA came. I think that's everyone.

Yesterday and today I was at the Board Retreat up in Florissant. It was a cute place we stayed at. I felt we had a productive meeting and we had a lot of fun. The geocaching game was a hit, everyone seemed to like it. I took a ton of notes as Secretary. The rest of the week is more CSEA stuff - tomorrow is the AR training and Friday is the New Teacher Orientation. I think I'm going to axe painting the classroom, I'm just out of energy and time. But we'll see. I'm struggling a bit with the sudden and early end of summer juxtaposed with the beginnings of excitement for a new year.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cachin' and Gettin' Soaked

Yesterday I spent the whole day caching with Haily, my niece. That is what she asked for as 'payment' for watching my birds when I went to L.A. We started about 8am and picked what we wanted to do off the Internet. Then we loaded up an ammo box for a multicache we went out and placed. I had three fake rocks that could hold micros, so I came up with the idea of a "shell game". The first coordinates takes them to one of the rocks. Inside is a card with two coordinates on it and they have to pick one. It takes them to one of the two other rocks. Inside again are two coordinates and they have to pick. One would take them to the cache and one would take them to the third rock. Depending on the choices the make they may have to do more walking or less and make have to make three stops or four. So, we'll see how that goes.

We found two new ones in my neighborhood - not first to find, but third, which still isn't bad. Then, we went and found one in a neat quiet park west of highway 115 that had cabochons in it. The guy who owns the cache polishes and cuts semi-precious stones like agates and jaspers. We left various toys and goodies and choose two small red agates. We went over to a jewelry store that does custom work in the southgate shopping center - the one with the Schlotzsky's and Sylvan called Berges. I let Haily pick out a setting for her stone in silver, she chose a pendant setting, and I chose a ring setting. So that will be her birthday gift, insha'allah.

Then we went on to try a newer cache over near Quail Lake. The coordinates kept pointing to the middle of the lake. So we checked what I'd written down and I'd left out a number and Haily had just filled a zero. So, not having the right coordinates available we had to move on to another cache. But, we had a nice walk all the way around the lake. It was a bit nostalgic for me because I used to live in the apartments right next to the lake and would walk around it in the evenings sometimes.

Our last cache of the day was a micro over by the old airport. It was a tiny keychain size toothpick canister covered in camo tape hanging in a tree in a hotel parking lot. We found it right away.

It took all day for that because it took awhile to set up our own cache, we stopped at Dairy Queen for blizzards, and it took us awhile to find the park for the Cabochon cache since we didn't know the neighborhood.

Today, I ended up doing cache-type stuff again. Mark Hampson, the VP of the union board, and I went up to Florissant to set up a caching type team-building game for the board retreat this weekend. We set up three mile and a half courses with six stations. So, the teams will be about six people, and they will have to use a gps to get the first station, find a hidden plastic baggie with the next coordinates, and so-on. The baggies also have letters in them that they will have to unjumble to solve a puzzle. But it was pouring rain today. So we spent a few hours trudging around in mud and wet trees and grass and got soaked to the bone. My jeans were so wet it looked like they'd been soaked in a tub for an hour. :) So it was a bit chilly and wet, but fun. At the main hall of the place we're staying, there were these humming bird feeders and they were literally swarming with humming birds - dozens of them. I love the sound they make when they fly, and they're so pretty. Even though these weren't the pretty-colored ones, they're still awesome. We headed out early so I was back home by 1. I fell asleep in the afternoon - man is it going to be an adjustment going back to a rigid schedule trying to get everything done and still get more than 5 hours of sleep, which just kills me. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Silverton Ultramarathon

When I was in high school I thought I might want to do something like this one day. Now I have different dreams.

Now, I'd be one of those who doesn't see the point of risking one's life for sport. But there are some appealing aspects to it, too - the accomplishment, the beauty, the spirituality that can be involved in a task like this.

"No one is in greater state of loss, is viler, or is lower than the person who does not believe what his Lord has guaranteed for him and allotted him before He created him. In spite of that, this person relies on his own strength, management, effort and striving and goes beyond the limits of his Lord by seeking ways and means which Allah swt has caused him to have no need of." - Imam Sadiq (as)

I can see that sometimes in sport, in ruthless capitalism, etc. People assume they accomplish things themselves and have power they don't have and they use it wasteful pursuits or in monetary gain at the expense of others, etc.

Jul 14, 12:13 AM EDT
OUT THERE: Mountain-filled ultramarathon pushes the limits of body and mind

AP Sports Writer

SILVERTON, Colo. (AP) -- The legs come in wobbly, weary and occasionally sturdy, many striped with scrapes and scratches, most caked in dirt. The faces are contorted in pain or glowing with joy, most raining sweat, some streaming tears.

The shoulders tell a story, too, drooping from exhaustion or thrust back in pride, each rolling to a different cadence.

But the eyes are where the truth of The Hardrock Hundred lies.

Narrowed in determination, never wavering from the finish line, the eyes of those who finish the Hardrock are like portals into the soul of someone searching for a higher spiritual plane through physical and emotional exhaustion. Getting to that finish line is the only verification they need to know it's worth the anguish.

"I've always sort of thought that at Hardrock you sort of live your entire life in a single day," said Roch Horton, a five-time finisher. "You'll be the happiest you'll ever be in your entire life, whenever that was, here at Hardrock. And the most ragged, lowdown, just desperate, decrepit, degenerate, sore - you're going to feel that, too, in one day, all in one continuous experience.

"I don't know anything quite like this."

Because there isn't.

There are plenty of 100-mile races and many are in the mountains, but few match the Hardrock's brutality.

Steeper, over more rugged terrain and at a higher altitude than any other ultramarathon, the Hardrock is a diabolical combination of physical fitness, mountaineering, wilderness navigation, stamina and willpower.

The race starts here in Silverton at 9,305 feet and climbs from there, covering nearly 66,000 feet of elevation change - 32,992 up and the same distance down. There are 13 passes of at least 12,000 feet - 14,048-foot Handies Peak is the high point - and much of the course is above timberline, on the bare rock (and snow) of the southern Colorado Rockies.

The runners run, walk, crawl and sometimes limp along cliffs, through forests, over avalanche debris and snowfields, across fast-moving creeks and rivers, and up slopes that would give mountain goats fits.

Think of it as a stage in the Tour de France, only there's 13 straight Category 1 passes, all in little over a day, all on foot.

"When you're 56 miles into a race, are you really happy?" asked Karl Meltzer, who won this year's race in 28 hours, 29 minutes. "You kind of are, if you're feeling good. If you aren't, you're feeling miserable."

The race begins at 6 a.m. with a gym full of alpha personalities smiling, joking and taking pictures. After a few hugs and kisses and plenty of pats on the back, the runners take off down the gravel streets of Silverton as dawn glows off the craggy snow-speckled peaks, then breaks over the Animas River Valley.

But serenity has a short shelf life at the Hardrock.

After clearing the outskirts of town and a short jaunt along the river, the race course punches the runners in the gut with a seven-mile, 4,000-foot climb to Dives-Little Giant Pass. The runners descend 2,000 feet from there, go up to Buffalo Boy Ridge at 13,000 feet and do it over and over again until sanity starts to fizzle in the thin air.

"Pretty soon there's these little demons starting to crawl all over you telling you, 'You really don't have to do this, just quit right now,'" Horton said. "Then the sun is coming up and you get a little energy from that, and then the stomach starts to go and you realize you still have a marathon to go. That's when your head really starts playing tricks on you."

How difficult is the Hardrock? The race manual warns runners that the course is "DANGEROUS." Half the field usually "bonks" out before the finish, including 54 of 125 this year - 30 before the halfway point.

Meltzer, a three-time winner and the course record holder, has failed to finish twice. Even race founder Gordon Hardman, who's completed nearly three dozen 100-milers, has quit six of the 13 times he's started, including this year.

"The thing to do is to quit before you die. That's always the smart move," said Hardman, who twice had to be taken to the hospital during the race.

The race has produced its share of broken fingers and arms from falls, plenty of runners have passed out from exhaustion and rapid-fire vomiting is not unusual.

There's also a problem with sleep depravation, particularly for those who need the full two days to complete the course, meaning runners might have to decide if that's really an elk in a cowboy hat or just a hallucination.

But the biggest dangers come from dehydration and elevation sickness.

One of the keys to finishing the Hardrock is making sure to take in enough fluids, which isn't always as easy as it seems. There are 14 checkpoints and runners are loaded down with water bottles and hydration backpacks, but there still have been a few cases of kidney failure.

Then there's the altitude. A combination of hypoxia - lack of oxygen in tissue - and leaking capillaries can cause swelling of hands and feet, and some faces puff up to the point that the runners appear to be having an allergic reaction.

Exertion in extreme altitudes also can cause irritation in the airways and lead to pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), a potentially fatal condition that reduces oxygen intake and can lead to respiratory failure. At least two or three runners are treated for pulmonary edema each year and a handful have been airlifted from the course.

No one has died while running the Hardrock - one runner died two days after the 1998 race because of a brain aneurysm - and the biggest danger comes from lightning strikes on the peaks.

"There's a huge physical burden," Horton said. "It's very tough to get around this course regardless how you do it. Whether you're the first place or the last place, everyone's suffering equally."

A link to history makes the pain worth it.

The course loops through the four mining towns of the San Juan Mountains - Silverton, Lake City, Ouray and Telluride - winding past huge piles of unproductive rock, old smelters and mining camps along the same trails miners and burros used to carry loads of gold and silver over the jagged passes.

Though the tipples and chutes are empty now, the runners feel a sort of kinship with the Old West miners, almost as if ghosts are pushing them to finish the Hardrock.

"It blows my mind that the miners at the turn of the century were carrying giant loads over the same passes we're doing for sport," Horton said. "For them, it was a way to keep their family fed and I have a huge respect for this town and all these little trails and roads and all the history that goes with it.

"It's sort of an honor just to be out there to celebrate that heritage."


On the Net:

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

planting the seed - the legacy of the venetuccis lives on

fyi: the venetucci farm is less than one mile from my house. Everyone here has wonderful childhood memories of the Venetuccis and their generosity - not just this little community here, but everyone who grew up in the whole city.

July 10, 2005

Nick Venetucci


Toward the end, developers would call Nick and Bambi Venetucci regularly, trying to persuade them to sell their 190-acre farm and its water rights.

“Golf courses, strip malls, condos. Those guys wanted to build all kinds of crap here,” said Mac Mackenzie, 80, who worked the farm in Security for decades.

Many people who loved the farm feared the Venetuccis, who had no heirs, would sell. The couple stopped planting pumpkins in 2002. After Nick died in September 2004 at age 93, it seemed like selling was only a matter of time.

But the farm isn’t for sale. The pumpkins are coming back.

To the couple who invited thousands of local children to their farm every fall, the acreage wasn’t mere land to be bought and sold. It was a legacy they hoped could be carried on somehow, by someone.

In 2003, with characteristic humility, the couple that always shied away from public thankyous and awards quietly called the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and arranged for the local philanthropic organization to take control of the farm. Eventually, the land will be placed in a conservation easement, planting the seeds that ensure the farm will be around forever.

This spring, the foundation’s caretaker sowed pumpkins and corn so Nick and Bambi Venetucci’s legacy could sprout again.

“I have total faith and trust in what they’re doing,” said Bambi Venetucci, 76.

The Venetuccis, both lifelong Catholics, also gave 35 acres to the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

Protecting the farm was an unusual move in sprawling Colorado Springs, which often acts as its own Vesuvius, willingly burying the region’s heritage in sudden eruptions of housing and retail space.

But Nick and Bambi Venetucci had sacrificed too much to see their spread wither. Both grew up the children of Italian immigrant coal miners.

Nick’s parents, Nicholas and Marguerita Venetucci, eventually scraped together enough money for a small farm near what is now Fillmore Street and Nevada Avenue. In 1936, they moved to the bigger place in Security.

To help the family, Nick gave up a promising career as a baseball catcher to work on the farm during the Depression. He labored on that earth with his hands for almost 70 years. His father died in the fields in 1961, and Nick carried him on his back to the house.

Not long before his father died, Nick started giving away the pumpkins that would make him a household name in the region. In the 1950s, the way he told the story, he was driving a load of pumpkins down Tejon Street and just started handing them out to every kid he saw.

Later, schoolchildren started coming to his pumpkin patch. He let every child pick out a free pumpkin. He probably gave away more than a million pumpkins.

Bambi Venetucci, who is legally blind, was a teacher at the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. She married Nick in 1984 after a 27-year courtship. She would direct the lines of school buses bringing kids every October.

Bambi Venetucci - she wrote an autobiography about growing up blind out here in the 1920's and 30's.

The couple stopped planting pumpkins because of drought and Nick Venetucci’s age, but they always wanted their land to remain a working farm.

“Nick would get tears in his eyes when he even mentioned that his farm might not be around after him,” said Michael Hannigan, the foundation’s director. “That’s why he approached us. Now we want to make sure every day, in every decision we make, that we make him proud.”


The Pikes Peak Community Foundation has never taken on such a project.

Until this winter, when Bambi Venetucci broke her hip and moved off the farm, the 9-year-old foundation had focused mainly on managing endowments and investing money for other nonprofits.

“I don’t know squat about farming,” said Hannigan, “so we had to learn from the best.”

Hannigan knew Bambi Venetucci would be the key to learning all the quirks and traditions of the farm, but first he had to find a new farmer.

He didn’t look far. The foundation’s office manager, Amy Sue Lambert, said she and her husband, Tim, who grew up on a soybean and turkey farm in Minnesota, could move in immediately.

“She didn’t even call me, she just said, ‘We’ll do it!’” Tim said with a chuckle on a recent afternoon while taking a break from planting pumpkins. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance we couldn’t pass up.”

The couple moved to the farm with their infant son, Sydney, in early April. Then Tim Lambert visited Bambi Venetucci to ask her advice. At the time, she was recovering from her broken hip in the hospital. She now lives a few miles from the farm.

How long do I irrigate? Lambert asked. What are the tricks to starting the tractors? What about handling all those kids coming for pumpkins in October?

“Don’t try to do too much in one year,” she told him. “You have plenty of time. You’ll be fine. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Tim Lambert, working on the first pumpkin patch since Nick's death.


The Venetuccis leased the farm to the foundation for 99 years. Bambi Venetucci is setting up a conservation easement for the property that will ensure its agriculture character after the lease is up.

No one can replace Nick Venetucci, Lambert is quick to say, but someone has to disk the weeds and give the seedlings water. And he doesn’t mind the idea of being the new pumpkin man. Just the mention of it spreads a warm, wide grin across his face.

Lambert graduated from Colorado College in 1992 with a degree in economics. In the late 1990s, he helped develop the first vegetable-based motor oil.

Today, his day job still involves veggiebased lubricants, as chief financial officer of Agro Management Group Inc. He works the Venetucci land in his spare time and in return lives in the old stucco farmhouse.

Drivers on U.S. Highway 85/87 can see him most afternoons walking the rows or bumping along on a tractor in a dusty white cowboy hat.

“Things are just so busy now, I’m trying to plan next week and the next 10 years,” he said.

More immediately, he has to keep the fleet of ancient tractors running. The newest one was built in 1951. On a recent visit, none would start.

“I know Nick’s up there now, laughing at me. That guy was a genius. He did so much with what he had,” Lambert said. “It’s a lot of work, I’ve already lost 20 pounds. I call it the Venetucci diet.”

This year, he planted pumpkins, sweet corn and corn for popcorn along the highway, and some clover and alfalfa to keep down the weeds in the bottom lands. Next year, he hopes to get the farm certified as organic and start a children’s garden where classes can plant vegetables and visit through the season. He also plans community gardens where locals can work in return for a share of the crops. To old-timers such as Mackenzie who have been harvesting corn and mending fences at the farm for generations, some of the organic stuff is a little odd. But he said he’s glad to see the farm preserved, and Lambert doesn’t seem like that bad of a guy.

“He’s a young farmer, he’s got a lot to learn,” Mackenzie said, “But he’ll figure it out.”

Eventually, Lambert wants to refill a few drained ponds on the property, stock them with bass and ring them with a nature trail, and possibly raise hogs again just as Nick Venetucci did years ago. The long-term goal is to make the farm self-sufficient by planting niche crops like organic edamame that Nick Venetucci probably never envisioned but bring a good price.

As the director, Hannigan has his own wish list that extends beyond the farm’s fences.

“I want kids to watch their plants grow here and maybe cook them here and learn about healthy eating. I want their kids to have the same experience, and their kids.

“I want people to meet their neighbors here. I want people to come back 100 years from now and say, ‘You know, my grandparents got married here.’

“I want this place to really make this community proud.”



The Pikes Peak Community Foundation will hold an open house at the farm 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday. The foundation is seeking donations of farm equipment and cash as well as volunteers. A line of farm apparel will be for sale, and officials will discuss Farm Project 400, a work weekend at the farm.

For information or to donate: or 389-1251.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Conference, cat, tree, death, taqwa

The trip to Los Angeles

I flew out with a fellow teacher on June 30. Our hotel was called the Westin Century Plaza. One of the nights we were there there was a 1.2 million dollar pseudo-Jewish wedding. I'd never seen so many ultra-expensive cars (Rolls Royce, Astin Martin et al) or expensive dresses in my life. I noticed that all the women in that part of L.A. wear heels - stilletto heels. Even to work, even if that work involves walking and standing all day. Stupid and crazy if you ask me. The shoe stores having nothing in stock for women but heels except maybe a few flip flops - most of those also have heels.

Beautiful flowering trees and bushes and fruit trees everywhere. Wonderful cool breeze because we were close to the ocean. Ridiculous grafitti, trash, pollution and traffic. Couldn't stand living there. Didn't see very many muslims. We were near a Jewish neighborhood that used Arabic script for their signs rather than Hebrew - interesting....

Went to the La Brea Tar Pits (worth going once), the J Paul Geddy Museum (art - if you don't like art, they have a beautiful garden - all for free), and Venice Beach (skip it unless you want to worry about possibly stepping on a drug needle in the sand, etc.). Spent most days two hours in a state Caucus in the morning followed by the rest of the day at the Los Angeles Convention Center in the assembly enjoying the antics of Parliamentary Procedure and voting on business. Got lots of free stuff from vendors to use Geocaching. Did one geocaching with fellow CSEA board member named Mark - walked from the convention center to downtown and found one out of two we looked for. The GPS was useless downtown - the signal bounced off the tall buildings and couldn't get more than about 60 foot accuracy and kept spinning.

The meetings were good over all. Ate at lots of expensive places with the voucher money. My return flight had some problems and got home just before fajr time Friday. Glad to be home! I didn't take many pictures but Irma, our President, did. I asked her to send them to me and if she does maybe at some point in the future I'll upload some here. My flight back was the day of the stupid evil terrorist attacks in London. That stuff really gets my ire because they hurt Muslims and non-Muslims alike - those people attacked, those people facing retaliation and restrictions because of the attacks, etc.,, they hurt innocent people, they hurt people just going about their lives, and they don't accomplish anything productive! My flight did not seem to be much affected. However, I avoided praying in the airport because I saw several signs asking people to look at everyone around them and report any "suspicious behavior" immediately.

While I was away, mom was coming to the house to put down cat food. On Saturday she tried to play with him and got bit. She got bit once before by one of her cats and her hand swelled a bit. Well, this time it got really swollen and painful. So Sunday it was so bad she went to the hospital thinking she'd get a shot but they made her stay in the hospital over night and take antibiotics through an IV. She didn't get to go home until late Monday and missed the annual family Fourth of July picnic. She said the doctor told her that cat bites and scratches are really serious and someone can even lose their hand from a bite if it isn't treated soon enough. I've grown up with all kinds of pets including cats and so has my mom but that was news to both of us. So think carefully about getting pets. Leo adopted me and now depends on me. But otherwise I don't think I'd get a cat now. So I felt badly about that- they didn't tell me about it until after I got home, though. About a month ago I got a good scratch from the cat. It was pretty sore. A few days later I came down with flu-like symptoms that lasted nearly two weeks. It was a long time, long enough that I was starting to think of going to the doctor because it didn't seem to be a normal kind of thing. I didn't put the two together at the time, but now I am suspecting that the scratch and illness were related.

Yesterday I was woken up by a call from my brother so he could come over and work on his master's paper with my computer and he brought his kids. They were here all day. The two youngest kids were outside playing and we went to check and them and lo and behold these two itty bitty kids had climbed my white pine tree so high they were about fifty feet above the ground! Needless to say, my brother told them to get down immediately.

Today I went to teach madrassah. I found out that one of my friend's son was murdered last night - shot near his home in Denver. He was about 20 and had gotten into some gang related problems in the past few years. But it is sad. I feel for his mother and his brothers, etc., left behind. God sometimes takes people like that when they're young before they dig themselves too deep into trouble. He was a Muslim boy of Iranian descent. I hope maybe I can visit her later this week. Lots of people were going today. But, after my dad nearly dying, I know how overwhelming well-intentioned people can be. And then a few days later there is no one. So maybe my company would be more useful a bit later, insha'allah.

I've listened to several people talking lately about struggles with faith and religion. Disillusionment. It is very easy to get disillusioned if our religion is that of the people. That is, if our focus in religion becomes on things depending on people like fatwas, religious rulings, practice at the masjid, terrorism, spousal relations, etc. People get away from what made them "religious" in the first place - a love of God, a love of the holy people who brought us the truth, and relying wholly on God. This comes first before everything. It is the beginning, the middle and the end. There is no deen or religion without God. Without that, all you have is ritual and shell of religion now matter how many times you go to church or pray or go to mosque, etc. The deen is not about the practice - the practice is about the deen. And the deen is all about God-consciousness. Everyone must get back to that, try to find God-consciousness before anything else and the rest will follow. And the rest that doesn't follow won't matter. This is what I am learning in this life.

Monday, June 27, 2005

From one of my favorite books

Thus ease comes from considering this world to be insignificant, giving up one's enjoyment of it, and removing the impurity of what is forbidden or doubtful. A person closes the door of pride on himself once he recognizes this; he flees from wrong actions and opens the door of humility, regret and modesty. He strives to carry out Allah swt's commands and to avoid His prohibitions, seeking a good end and excellent proximity to Allah swt. He locks himself in the prison of fear, steadfastness, and the restraint of his appetites until he reaches the safety of Allah swt in the world to come and tastes the food of His good pleasure. If he intends that, everything else means nothing to him.

Imam Sadiq (as), Lantern of the Path

Sunday, June 19, 2005


The first time I saw fireflies was the summer of 1996 when I did a physics internship in Knoxville/Oakridge Tennessee. I was fascinated by them. Up close they were, well, ugly. But the swarm of light in the evening was fascinating and a wonderful sight to behold. The next summer, I did an internship in Troy, NY, and again I got to see fireflies - not in numbers so great, but still in the evenings I could look forward to darting, green lights in the backyard of the old, lonely and creepy sublet apartment/house with no front yard that I was staying in by myself. I was the only female in the program so I had my own residence during the program just off campus.

But I've never seen other fireflies before or since. Even visiting my grandparents in Deatsville, Alabama, I didn't notice them. They had lots of other interesting wildlife there like huge turtles, though.

But now, apparently the fireflies are are doing the Pikes Peak or Bust thing. I don't think it would last long-term because it is only due to the meddling of people, altering the natural environment. Still, I do think it would be cool to see one in my own yard one day....

Eastern fireflies beat a luminous path West


Fireflies. Just mention the bright little insects and anyone who grew up in states east of Colorado pines for muggy summer evenings lit by thousands of floating lights.

Well, pine no more. Fireflies have arrived on Colorado’s Front Range.

Actually, isolated groups appear to have been here for some time, but as sprinklers, irrigation ditches, reservoirs, and other water sources increase moisture along the Front Range, firefly sightings are increasing.

The official line has always been that members of the firefly family (Lampyridae) living in the arid West don’t light up. They communicate instead through potent scents called pheromones.

Well-established pockets of fireflies in Colorado flash in the face of such orthodoxy. One group has been blinking above Valley View Hot Springs in the northern San Luis Valley since at least the 1920s.

But recently, many Coloradans have seen lights in places they never have before. The sightings, although not official, seem to suggest a modest firefly boom.

Most testimonials begin like this one from Stan Garnett in Boulder: “I have lived in Colorado all of my 46 years, and I have never seen fireflies west of central Kansas. Then one night . . .”

His first sighting was in 2002. Now fireflies drift around his yard every summer.

Ken Pals, a naturalist with El Paso County Parks, had a similar experience. He has led nature walks in the region since 1981.

He didn’t see fireflies until 1997 when, while walking in a meadow near Fountain Creek south of Colorado Springs, he saw something like embers darting above the grass.

“I thought, ‘You’re nuts; you’re out of your mind. We don’t have fireflies in Colorado,’” he said. But there they were.

Now he leads “guaranteed” firefly walks every summer to share these rarely seen delights with unsuspecting Westerners.

The firefly is actually a type of soft-shelled beetle. It spends most of its life underground as a glowing, grublike larva. The adults emerge as rather plain-looking, thin, brown beetles.

At dusk, adults take to the sky above tall grass and mix air, a substance called luciferin and an enzyme to create a luminous chemical reaction in their posteriors. They use the blinking taillight to attract the opposite sex.

The mating season and light show generally peak in July.

One evening last week, Pals visited the fields surrounding the Fountain Creek Nature Center to see if the inch-long insects were feeling frisky yet.

Already standing watch over the meadow was Brandon Broccardo of Security who had walked down to introduce son Daylan, 3, and daughter Kayley, 2, to one of summer’s rites of passage.

At 9 p.m., with dusk thickening in the fields, there was no sign of sparks, but Broccardo was sure they would appear.

“Last year there were just thousands of them here flying everywhere. It was incredible,” he said.

It blew him away because he was born in Colorado Springs, grew up in Colorado Springs, and until that moment had never seen a firefly in the state.

The beetles may have gained a foothold on the Front Range in the past several decades as millions of people have transformed the short grass prairie into a lush patchwork of lawns, fields and ponds resembling the green country of the Midwest.

During that time, Fountain Creek changed from a trickle along a dry, sandy bed to a constant stream lined with vegetation.

Moisture is vital for firefly young feeding on snails and slugs in the soil, and may explain why populations appear to be expanding.

The region, once too dry for the grubs, now appears to have several spots to their liking.

There have been no formal studies of the population, said Whitney Cranshaw, an entomologist at Colorado State University, but he said anecdotal reports are increasing.

It’s possible that more people are seeing the same few bugs, he said.

“It could just as likely be that changes in water use have created more habitat and the fireflies are increasing.”

These days, fireflies blink regularly on sections of the Cache La Poudre River west of Fort Collins, over ponds and fields in Boulder and Jefferson counties, and in areas of Colorado Springs and Pueblo, including the section of Fountain Creek where Pals and Broccardo waited.

It looked like there would be no fireflies that night. Then, suddenly, a spark streaked the dark field. Then two.

The kids giggled with delight.

They counted four fireflies — not the glowing swarms of the Midwest, but possibly a harbinger of more to come.

“Who knows. They may spread quite a bit,” Pals said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”


Thursday, June 16, 2005

For Granted

I read a most incredibly wonderful and powerful dua today. Someone recommended it to me and now I have to spread the word and recommend it to everyone else. It is Imam Husain (as)'s supplication at Arafah (Dua Arafah of Imam Husain (as)), given just before he left the plain of Arafah toward Karbala. It is not particularly short, so set aside a bit of time for it but I think you would certainly not regret it.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we take things for granted; I've been learning about that through lots of events in my life and hopefully learning to do it less. We take our families for granted, that they will be there, that they will be healthy, that they will do what we expect them to, etc. We take our health for granted, that it will be there, that we will be able to do what we want with our bodies like getting up in the morning, moving around the house, driving to the store, breathing, typing. We take nature for granted, that we overlook its beauty, that it will always provide us with wholesome resources, that our children will be able to enjoy it. We take our minds for granted - that we can learn, reason, try to reform ourselves, deal with difficulties. We take our faith for granted, that we have it, that it stays with us and doesn't leave us, that it grows and guides us in the right direction. We take Allah swt for granted more than anything, that He will forgive us, that He accepts our prayers and answers them, that He guides us, that He loves us and is Merciful. Everything in life that we haven't lost or had to fight for we tend to take for granted, and sometimes even those things we take for granted, too, the moment they are given to us.

That is the beauty of loss and struggle. It teaches us to appreciate the uncountable blessings in our bodies, our minds, our souls, our environment, our friends and family, our challenges. Being able to appreciate Allah swt even a fraction of what He is due is a source of peace and joy. Appreciating makes us reflect and slow down and honor what we have. It also makes us understand that it is Allah swt's to take away and when it is taken away we still have uncountable blessings and still owe immeasureable gratitude, and that something taken away is really not a loss to us, it has its own blessings. The only loss or challenge we could face that would truly be a loss is that which takes us away from God, from His pleasure, from knowing Him.

It is not only loss and struggle that teaches not to take things for granted and to appreciate. But an answered prayer, a wonderful unexpected blessing can do the same. In the presence of a wonderful gift, if we reflect on it and acknowledge its preciousness, we have to love Allah swt all the more for the blessing. Its preciousness, even if it is a short-lived blessing, makes us not take that honor of receiving it for granted and makes us appreciate that gift and the Giver. In order to appreciate, we have to be willing to feel joy and pain alike, and we have to be open to Allah swt's designs and plans whatever they may be.

If you want to feel the power of Allah swt in your daily life; to you have to acknowledge the complete power He has over every aspect of your life. The fact that you breathe another breath is only due to the will and power of Allah swt. Allah swt is a changer of fortunes. Like Yusuf (Joseph) who was the lowest of low in the well and became the highest of the high in the Pharaoh's kingdom. We can be made high from low or low from high in an instant despite any effort of our own power granted to us by God. In a moment, I could lose my health, my sanity, my family, my everything. So we must appreciate and not take for granted anything, nothing is promised but that we all will die and raise again; whatever we have is a gift.

If we truly understand this and absorb it into our being, we can never want for what we do not have, we cannot be jealous for what another possesses or can do, because we will be absorbed in the acknowledgement of the greatness of what Allah swt has given us, appreciating it, enjoying it, and inspired by it to give thanks to Allah swt, draw nearer to Him, and seek His pleasure.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Thanks for everyone's prayers and good thoughts. Dad got offered the job as electrician for the Fountain school district and he starts Monday. I am very happy for him and I hope he likes the job.

My house is terribly messy. I've been pretty busy so far this summer. I need to finish some papers soon but it has been hard to get much accomplished on them. I feel crummy about getting stuff done and things weighing on me that need to be done.

Watched The Pacifier today at the dollar theater with Laura; it is only 50 cents on Tuesdays. That is a popular day care field trip movie; last week we tried to see it and it was sold out! But I like that movie, I think it is hilarious. We also did a quick geocache hidden in the East Library - one busy library. Also watched my brother's kids and took them to their baseball game. It is kind of nice to see so many people out enjoying summer. Makes me wish I could be a full-time stay at home wife/mother. Insha'allah someday, we'll see.

Friday, June 10, 2005


The past two days I have been participating in interviews as part of a committee to evaluate candidates for the CSEA Uniserv director position. It is a highly skilled job. I learned much about interviews over the past few days. I served on an interview committee before, but it was not as well run, and through this process I learned much more. A few points that really stuck out:

1. If you are interviewing someone, you must design the questions carefully ahead of time to make them describe for you specific examples in which they have exemplified the skills you need. This requires that you carefully identify what skills are required for the job first. You want them to talk about what they have actually done that shows they have or do not have the skills you need. When a successful interview is over, you don't just have an impression about how you feel about how the person would work, but instead you actually know if they have what the position calls for or not.

2. If you are coming for an interview, it is absolutely essential to prepare by conducting research. You must come in having researched about that organization, the job, and the community where it resides. You need to have questions prepared to ask the interview team that probe further and demonstrate your research.

3. Exhibiting some humor is good; exhibiting strong political stances is bad.

4. Don't ever be late for an interview.

5. Use good grammar. Stop and think if you need to and organize your thoughts.

6. Make SURE you actually answer the specific question asked, and not just something related to it or similar to it.

7. If it is important to get the right person, then it is better to re-open the position than to hire a candidate that is acceptable but not your ideal. Try to design timelines accordingly.

And here is some possible good news: dad has gotten some interest from a local school district to be an electrician for them. Insha'allah they may offer him a job soon, we are hopeful.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Another Loss

One of my aunts passed away this morning. She was young, in her fifties, and had gone in for routine knee surgery but developed a blood clot and died on the operating table. Inna ilahe wa inna lillahe rajeoon. ( From God we come, and to Him we return.) The last time I saw her was when she had come to visit us in the hospital when my father was so ill and we thought he might pass away. So it somehow seems a bit ironic. No one knows when we will go.

The funeral may be Saturday or Monday. Insha'allah I am hoping it is Monday because there are people counting on me for something on Saturday and I don't want to leave them without what they need.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Star Wars Horoscope (Libra)

From Sister Scorpion's blog, I took this quiz, another meaningless but somewhat entertaining thing to do....

Star Wars Horoscope for Libra

You are on a lifelong pursuit of justice and determined to succeed.
You convey the art of persuasion through force.
You always display your supreme intelligence.
You have a great talent in obtaining balance between yourself and your surroundings.

Star wars character you are most like: Obi Wan Kenobie

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Update on Leo

He is home. I have to take him back on Saturday. I guess an old war wound from his tom cat lifestyle resulted in an abscess or infection in his leg deep inside near the bone. They had to cut it out, and I have to give him some antibiotics and pain medicine. His leg is wrapped in a bandage but the cut is left open because it needs to still drain more. On Saturday they would check it and put on a new bandage, and then I would have to bring him again in a few weeks to see if it is healed properly and the infection is completely gone. He has to be an indoor kitty for awhile. Right now that seems alright with him, but that may be harder later. Vet bills are so expensive, this cost nearly $500, but it had to be done. If someone didn't do it, the poor kitty would probably die slowly and painfully from the infection and debilitation. Insha'allah I hope he recovers fully and with little further expense! He seems a bit tired right now but I think he is glad to be home.


Yesterday I came home in between work and a meeting to find Leo limping around. He won't put wait on his front right leg at all and it does look bent out of shape. It doesn't seem to cause a lot of pain for him and he's eating and drinking but he does find it difficult to get around. He is a stray/abandoned cat that sort of adopted me but also frequently visits others and just likes to be outside mostly and roam the neighborhood. But he has no interest in going out right now and is pretty much staying in one spot, poor guy. He's still purring with attention and all that, but it is so hard to see an innocent sweet animal injured. It makes me want to cry. I don't really know if he has other "owners" or not; I think they were renters that moved on a few years ago. So I need to take care of him; my mom has the day off and will get him into a vet today, insha'allah; I hope they can fix him easily......

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Well, mom is supposed to be in surgery right now. I appreciate everyone's prayers and I hope everything goes well. I'm anxiously waiting for news.:)

On the weekend we had a nice Mother's Day; dad let mom buy some flowers and we spent the afternoon planting them. On Saturday she helped me put down some rock in my yard. Weather-wise it was a beautiful weekend and I've been really enjoying my new porch swing being able to sit outside in my private background, swinging and enjoying God's creation. The tree in my yard has several bird nests in it - looks like Robin and Black bird. I thought I saw a bat the other night fly through the yard around dusk.

My graduate school courses are harder this time - more work required - but it is the last ones and I can't wait to finish.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Word ‘Ali in the Bible

The word 'ali is used 226 times in the Hebrew scriptures. The following study examines all of these occurrences at least briefly. The Massoretic text of the Hebrew Bible is the source, but I have ignored the Massoretic pointing of the word 'ali, rather examining each context for clues to which pointing and consequently which meaning of the word is to be preferred.

Most of the time the word 'ali is a preposition, either with or without the first person singular pronominal suffix. The first occurrence with the pronominal suffix is in Genesis 20:9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. The following texts, the great preponderance of passages including the word cali, seem to have the same meaning, that is, “upon me” or something similar. Genesis 27:12; 13; 30:28; 33:13; 34:12; 34:30; 42:36; 48:7; 50:20, Numbers 11:11; 14:35; 22:30; Judges 7:2; 19:20; 20:5; 1 Samuel 17:35; 21:15; 22:8,13; 23:21; 2 Samuel 1:9; 3:8; 14:9; 15:33; 19:38; 1 Kings 2:4; 14:2; 22:8,18; 2 Kings 16:7; 18:14; 1 Chronicles 22:8; 2 Chronicles 18:7; 18:17; 36:23; Ezra 1:2; 7:28; Nehemiah 2:8; 2:18; 6:12; 13:22; Esther 4:16; Job 7:12; 7:20; 9:11; 10:1; 13:13,26; 16:9,10,13,14,15; 19:5,6; 19:11; 19:12; 21:27; 29:13; 30:1,12,15,16; 31:38; 33:10; Psalm 3:1(2); 3:6(7); 13:2(3); 13:6(7); 16:6; 17:9; 22:13; 27:2,3; 31:13; 32:4,5; 35:15; 35:21; 35:16,26; 38:2(3); 38:16(17); 40:7,12; 41:7; 41:9(10); 41:11; 42:4(5); 42:5(6); 42:7(8); 42:11(12); 43:5; 54:3(5); 55:3(4); 55:4(5); 55:12(13); 56:5(6); 59:3(4); 60:8; 69:9(10); 69:15(16); 86:14; 88:7(8); 88:16(17); 88:17(18); 92:11(12); 109:2; 109:5; 116:12; 119:69; 139:5; 142:7(8); 143:4; Proverbs 7:14; Ecclesiastes 2:17; Song of Solomon 2:4; Isaiah 1:14; 61:1; Jeremiah 8:18; 11:19; 12:8,11; 15:16; 18:23; 49:11; Lamentations 1:15; 3:5,20,61,62; Ezekiel 3:22; 8:1; 11:5; 35:13; 37:1; 40:1; Daniel 4:34; 4:36; 7:28; 10:8; 10:16; Hosea 7:13; Hosea 11:8; Joel 3(4):4; Jonah 2:3(4); 2:7(8); and Malachi 3:13.

The first occurrence of the word as a preposition without suffix is in Genesis 49:17, which is a poetic passage. Indeed, the form is typical of poetic style. Genesis 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. Similarly the word appears to be used as a simple preposition without suffix in Genesis 49:22; Deuteronomy 32:2; Job 6:5; 8:9; 9:26; 15:27; 18:10; 20:4; 29:3,4; 30:4; 33:15; 36:28; 38:24; 41:30; Psalm 49:11; 50:5,16; 92:3(4); 94:20; 108:9(10); 131:2; 142:3(4); Proverbs 8:2; 30:19; Isaiah 18:4; Lamentations 4:5; and Micah 5:(6)7.

In 1 Samuel 1-4 is found the story of the house of Eli. The name is also mentioned in 1 Samuel 14:3; 1 Kings 2:27; This proper name of the high priest and judge of Israel before Samuel is written 'Ali. The pointing with the long e merely reflects the more complex vowel system of Hebrew as compared to Arabic. Arabic cognates with a appear in Hebrew with either a or e, and often preferably e. The segholate character of Hebrew thus clouds the fact that the name is precisely the same as the Arabic c Ali. There are some striking parallels as well as direct contrasts between the Biblical Eli and Imam cAli (as). The first cAli had two unrighteous sons who led the people into disaster. The second one had two sons who became righteous leaders. There is a parallel between the two figures from a historical perspective as well. The Samaritans claim that Eli caused the rift between Samaritans and Jews by his false claim to the priesthood. The division between Shi’ite and Sunnite Islam surrounds the claims of the figure of Imam cAli (as).

The first clear passage in which the word must be translated as the imperative singular of the verb “to go up” is in 1 Samuel 25:35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person. Similarly the word occurs in Isaiah 21:2; 40:9; Jeremiah 22:20; and 46:11.

The word appears with the meaning of “leaves of” in Nehemiah 8:15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.

The first text that requires reevaluation is Exodus 8:(5)9.

And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?

It is not likely that anyone would pretend that the phrase “glory over me” makes any sense at all. The assumption of the translator is that the word here is the preposition with the pronominal suffix, which is of course the dominant usage of the word in the Torah, especially in the prose passages. There seems to be no questioning of the preposition and suffix themselves, while the hesitancy about how to understand the verb placed with the preposition and suffix is of longstanding debate, going back to the Septuagint (LXX) underlying the Vulgata expression constitue mihi, appoint me (a time). Reference to the Masoretic text has led most translators to reject the Septuagint and Vulgata alternative for something presumably based on the Hebrew text, whether or not it makes sense.

Those translators requiring meaning in their translation have tended to read an unwarranted expression into the Hebrew in the sense of “do me the honor to...” an interpretation that goes back at least to Luther. Wavering between sense and nonsense is illustrated by the Webster original, which was “Glory over me” and the revised Webster which is “Command me,” apparently accepting the LXX over the Masoretic text. In sum, three alternatives are to be found in the more commonly known translations. The first follows the LXX-Vulgata tradition. The second tries to make sense of the Hebrew Massoretic text by attributing unattested meanings to the preceding verb. The third translates the Massoretic verb correctly, producing nonsense in the word cali by insisting that it is a preposition with suffix.

An alternative is to accept the Massoretic verb as it stands and attribute a non-prepositional meaning to the word cly. The choices are one of the verb forms “to rise,” or one of the proper or common noun meanings. The position requires the latter, rather than the imperative verb. The choices are thus basically “glorify my leaf,” “glorify a pestle or pistil” or “glorify cAli.” The common nouns do not make sense, and the second meaning is not even attested in Scriptural Hebrew. An Arab will immediately suggest a reference to the Deity, as “exalted.” This word, however, in the Hebrew text, would consist in an Arabicism. We are thus left with the enigmatic “glorify cAli,” in reference to an unknown named figure, or reference to God under the term, something that appears to be more or less without precedent in Biblical Hebrew. The reflexive sense of the verb could be thought to imply the necessity of a preposition before the object. However, the lack of the preposition is almost the rule in poetic passages, and is not lacking in the Torah as well. Thus these two alternatives are otherwise perfectly feasible.

The rest of the texts must be examined in the light to two questions. The first is whether or not the word should be translated as one of the common alternatives noted above (as a preposition, a preposition with the suffix, the verb imperative, or as “leaves of” or “pestle.”). Once these meanings are eliminated, we are left with the alternatives of Exodus 8:(5)9. The second task is to determine whether the text refers to Imam Ali (as) or some other figure.

There is nothing in Exodus 8:(5)9 to indicate whether a human or divine figure is meant. The Muslim reader will immediately doubt whether the word is an epithet of God, since it is generally used so in the holy Qur’an. The translators of the Bible, however, have generally neglected that possibility, probably from hesitance to impose an Arabicism on the Biblical Hebrew text rather than bias. We can only hope to answer the question by an examination of all of the texts. Failing that, recourse to extra-biblical sources will be necessary

Such texts as Numbers 11:13 and 14:27 could conceivably be translated cAli as well as a form of interjection, something on the order of “ya Ali!” Numbers 11:13 Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.

Numbers 14:27 How long (shall I bear with) this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. The second occurrence, however, in Numbers 14:27 can only be translated as in the Authorized Version. Even without this evidence, however, the structure of the sentences makes the authorized translation preferable.

The structure of Numbers 14:29 is neutral, and would actually as such allow the translation with cAli as easily as “against me.” The witness of verse 27, however, speaks against cAli as the better alternative. Numbers 14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me.

Numbers 21:17 is the second text that translators have been willing to leave in a form void of meaning, in the figure of the flying well. It is doubly troublesome in lacking an explanatory context.

Numbers 21:17 Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it. The authorized translator writes words more appropriate to Alice in Wonderland than to scriptural translation. Most others do little better. Douay, Darby, The Jewish Publication Society Bible, The Twenty-first Century King James, Green’s Literal Translation, The Modern King James Version, The New King James Version, la Bible nouvelle edition de Geneve, the Webster and most other are satisfied with this interpretation. The Bible in Basic English tries to avoid the problem of the flying well by replacing it with the obedient well that comes when called: Then Israel gave voice to this song: Come up, O water-spring, let us make a song to it. Other translators have recognized the problem and tried to make sense of it by referring to the springing up of the water from a fountain. Among these are Finnish translation of 1938, the Swedish translation of 1917, and la nuova Diodati 1991. These are roughly “surge out, o well!” English translators are willing to depend on the ambiguity of the word “spring” in English. A few translators assume a preposition between the verb and the noun, thus making the noun the direction of movement rather than the vocative. This relieves us of the rather forced speech to a well. Among these are the redivierte Schlachter Bibel 1951 Da sang Israel dieses Lied: «Kommt zum Brunnen! Singt von ihm! It is rare to find help from the LXX in this dilemma, but perhaps Luther’s original is such an example Da sang Israel dieses Lied, und sangen umeinander ├╝ber dem Brunnen. The translators in the revision of Luther have succumbed to the general fascination with nonsense. Even the Vulgata is surprisingly interpretive with the LXX with tunc cecinit Israhel carmen istud ascendat puteus concinebant. Young makes a novel contribution by rejecting the Masoretic pointing of the word, thus changing it from an imperative to the preposition. (Young’s literal translation. Then singeth Israel this song, concerning the well--they have answered to it. In so doing, Young is the only translator to write a grammatically sensible translation. However, by doing so, he suppresses the song itself, thus raising the issue of what “this” can possibly refer to. In sum, almost every possible configuration has been tried. The implication is that no translator actually knows what the verse means.

There is a construction that is completely normal and understandable in Hebrew, whereby cAli is the subject and the well the predicate: cAli is a well. It is not clear, however, to whom this proper name refers.

It is possible, but not necessary, to translate cAli as a proper name in Numbers 24:6.

The Authorized Version is As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters. All translators seem to accept the interpretation “by the river.” Furthermore, it parallels what follows, “beside the waters.” Semantically and syntactically there seems to be no better alternative. If one understands cAli as a proper name here, the translation might read (following the Authorized Version otherwise): Ali is like the valleys that spread forth, like gardens, a river: as the trees... No linguistic arguments favour this interpretation. However, its position so close to Numbers 21:17, the similar references to water (well, river), and the further consideration that almost the entire book of Numbers contemplates the question of leadership authority, are factors that speak in favour of cAli as a proper name in this text also.

Deuteronomy 17:14 also deserves attention. The Authorised Version has this as When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me... The significant phrase is “a king over me” or cAli melekh. If cAli were an epithet (exalted), it should come after the word “king” rather than before it. As it stands, it could be translated “I will set cAli king like all the peoples that are around me.”

This implies that the personage of cAli is king of all the peoples around. The Authorised Version also has hermeneutical problems. The actual narrative relative to the establishment of kingship in Israel is found in 1 Samuel, and is clearly ill-advised. It requires the establishment of the unacceptable monarchy of Saul as a bridge to the acceptable dynasty of David (as). The critical study of Deuteronomy would date it as a later text, in which case there would be no problem. As it stands, the acceptability (with reservations) of the monarchy in Deuteronomy conflicts with the policy of Samuel. Probably the verse should stand as interpreted by the Authorised Version, whatever the hermeneutical problems may be.

In 1 Chronicles 28:19 there is an occurrence of the word that could well be translated as an epithet. The Authorised Version has this as All (this, said David,) the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. The relevant phrase is “miyyadh YHWH cAli.” The translator has rearranged the words in translation probably because he does not, on the basis of philological reasons, accept the possibility of understanding cAli as an epithet. A Qur’anic translator would have thought of this alternative first and perhaps have ignored the other altogether, but would at the same time lay himself open to charges of Arabicism. Many translators have noticed the awkwardness of including “upon me” in the text, and have merely disregarded it, as does the American Standard Version: All this, (said David,) have I been made to understand in writing from the hand of Jehovah, even all the works of this pattern. Others reinterpret it as a preposition with an eliptical object as does the Revised Standard Version All this he made clear by the writing from the hand of the LORD concerning it, all the work to be done according to the plan. In the latter cAli is translated with some imagination as “concerning it.”

The more straightforward translation would be “The whole in writing from the hand of YHWH cAli made clear...” This could be understood as “He made clear the whole in writing by the hand of YHWH cAli.” The interpretation “cAli made clear the whole in writing by the hand of YHWH” ignores Hebrew syntax. cAli must therefore refer to God in this text. The concrete meanings of the words should probably give way to their more abstract meanings, thus “The whole by decree from the authority of YHWH cAli made clear...” If this is an acceptable interpretation, it would provide a Hebrew precedent for the use of the word as an epithet, the exalted, as in Arabic.

A strange syntactical configuration is one found in Nehemiah 5:7. The Authorised Version has this as Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. The relevant phrase is “with myself” which seems to translate libbi cali. The full phrase is “my heart reigned cali. The word is syntactically in the position of a prepositional phrase. This is the only occurrence of the expression in the Scriptures, and it may well not mean “I consulted with myself.” It would seem more likely to suggest that his heart, the seat of his cogitations, reigned over him, thus influencing him to act as follows. In any case no reference to a proper name can be inferred.

Much of the Book of Job is ambiguous, but the word cali appears in such a context only once, in Job 29:7. The Authorised Version has it When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street! No translators seem to see real alternatives to this interpretation. Several Spanish translations disregard the prepositional meaning and read “judicial” or something similar for cali. Another adjectival alternative might be “leafy,” but neither of these is relevant to the proper name Ali.

Psalm 7:8(9) has an interesting case. The Authorized Version renders this The LORD shall judge the people: judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity (that is) in me. There is no reason whatsover to add “that is” to the text. The final word is just as clearly a vocative as is the word YHWH at the pausal midpoint of the verse. The two words parallel each other. In this case the word Ali most readily relates to God, and is thus possibly a second precedent for the epithet. On the other hand, there is no reason to prohibit addressing a human figure in the second clause, that is, appealing to Ali as judge.

An interesting expression appears in Psalm 42:6(7). This is rendered in the Authorised Version as O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. The relevant phrase is cali nafshi. There are several cases when the preposition occurs before a noun with the same suffix, and these are merely circumlocutions expressing possession. The same structure appears here. However, it appears ambiguously, since cali appears between Elohay and nafshi, and could stand as easily with one as the other. The expression could be interpreted as “my God exalted.” In this case cali would be an epithet referring to God, either as a proper name or as an attribute, but again an Arabicism unrecognized by Biblical scholars.

Another case of possible reference to God may be seen in Psalm 56:12(13). The Authorised Version gives Thy vows (are) upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. A more straightforward interpretation would render both words at the beginning as vocatives, thus cAli Elohim. This interpretation would require the third word, “thy vows,” to go with the rest of the sentence. The midpoint pausal does not exclude that possibility. The translation would then read “O exalted God, (by) thy vows will I render praises unto thee.” Again, this would require the acceptance of an Arabicism.

Psalm 57:2(3) presents another possibility of a vocative parallel. The Authorised Version gives I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth (all things) for me. Here again the Qur’anic translator would immediately see two parallel epithets after the word El. Many verses of the Qur’an terminate in precisely this way. Thus we should read “I will cry unto God most high; unto God Accomplisher, Exalted.” This is especially interesting, since it uses the expanded word from the same root as Ali, celyon. This form of the word Ali is the one generally used in Hebrew in reference to God.

Psalm 86:13 is ambiguous, and could be translated in either of two ways. The Authorized Version gives For great (is) thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. The alternative would be “For great (is) thy mercy, O cAli...” In this case the name again would refer again to God.

There is a final verse in Ezekiel 3:14 where the word could just as well be translated as an epithet of God. The Authorised Version gives So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. The alternative translation would be “...the hand of the LORD exalted was strong.”

The texts examined may be placed in several groups. The first includes cases of ambiguity which do not contribute toward finding the word cAli used as a proper name or epithet. The second includes cases of ambiguity in which the word cAli could just as well be translated as a proper name or epithet, but in which cases the translators have never chosen to do so. The third group includes cases of ambiguity in which the word cAli could best be translated as a proper name or epithet, but in which cases the translators have sought awkward alternatives, often adding words not found in the original.

The texts remain troublesome. There are texts that can clearly best be translated as referring to a proper name or epithet. These suggest that others, ambiguous ones, might also best be interpreted in this way. As we examine these to determine whether the name Ali (or the Hebrew segholate form Eli) is meant, we see that some of these, if they are interpreted as epithets or proper nouns, must refer to God. In that case, an Arabicism produces a parallel term to the common Hebrew term Elyon.

Nevertheless, there are two considerations to note. The first is that several of the ambiguous names, notably those in the Torah, associate the name cAli with a source of water. This brings to mind Qur’anic associations, specifically the pool of Kauthar and the role given to cAli (as) in that regard. While it is not possible to state that the word cAli in the Hebrew Scriptures is used in a prophetic sense in regard to cAli (as), there are passages that seem to be evocative of that. They are ambiguous, and perhaps refer to God, but the possibility remains that they are faint intimations, or perhaps more than faint intimations of a promised figure to come.

The second consideration is that non-Muslim Biblical scholars have not taken note of the fact that the epithet cAli as applied to God in the Qur’an has striking parallels in the Hebrew Scriptures, not only in the Psalms but in several other passages. This failure is only to be expected, since it requires the acceptance of an Arabicism. The positive result of this study is to show that the Hebrew Scriptures and the holy Qur’an are perhaps closer to each other in expression than has generally been acknowledged. In any case, either the acceptance of the term as meaning “exalted” on one hand, or as a proper name on the other, seems to be the best way of accommodating those texts of Scripture that until now have been glossed over with translations having little or no meaning. Either solution brings the Bible closer into accord with Islam.