The Moslem equivalent of the Bible is not the Koran.  Rather, the Christian equivalent of the Koran is Jesus.  That means that the Koran itself is the holy object for Moslems.  When a Koran is too tattered to read anymore, it cannot be tossed in the garbage; it must be buried like a corpse.  That's why one of the great archaeological finds of the last decade was a twelve hundred year old Koran.  Renovators of an ancient Medina mosque found it in the space between the ceiling and the roof.  The archaeologists dated the pages from a year within two generations of the Prophet. 
    Because the Koran is the word of God, it cannot change, at least not in the opinion of many Saudi scholars.  Immediately the sheiks in power in Saudi Arabia recognized that a comparison between contemporary Korans and this one would expose the evolution of the Arabic language and, presumably, the voice of Allah.  Differences between the old Koran and the new would demonstrate that Allah is subordinate to human history.  To the credit of whoever was in charge, this document was released to the best linguistic scholars who happened to be Protestant professors in Germany. 
    This was several years ago.  The discovery and subsequent reseach has not destroyed Islam or Allah.  As far as I know there remain half a billion Moslems in the world.  The sky has not fallen.  (It never does.)  Anyway, my quick response to the tyrants who regard the Koran as the permanent, unchanging voice of Allah is to condemn them as a bunch of moronic, bigoted, SS dorks.  For the most part, my opinion remains the same.  However, I remembered my judgment when I attempted to sell an old Modern Library book.  As I buy those books off eBay, I often have to buy them in lots, resulting in duplicates on my shelves.  These I turn around and sell to someone else in eBay, give away to friends, or sell to a Half-Price Bookstore.  An extra copy of The Brothers Karamazov materialized on my shelf in this way. When I took it to the store, they rejected it as worthless because it was too well read (i.e. tattered).  The clerk offered to dispose of it, actually throw it in the wastebasket.  I was appalled that someone could throw a mature copy of one of the best novels in history in one of the best editions ever printed, a book that lies flat in one hand, smells good, bound in signatures, and printed before I was born.The words "Merry Christmas - Bob Maclean from Dana" written on the inside cover make this copy of The Brothers Karamazov unique, enhancing its value for me.  The clerk actually offered to throw this book into the wastebasket with Snickers wrappers, used Post-Its, and wet tea bags. I retrieved the book from her a little more abruptly than I needed.  I could have allowed her to simply hand it back to me.  So I have an extra copy of The Brothers Karamozov on my shelf and I am just a tad less intolerant of Islamic clerics.  Just a tad though.

Turkeys in My Yard

This morning I saw a flock of ten turkeys in my backyard. They reminded me of a little column of mendicants as they made their way slowly and deliberately by my window. I thought about them the same thing I usually think when I see deer, muskrat, beaver, or pileated woodpeckers: How do such big animals live near me and I see them so rarely? I wish I carried on my housing, my foraging and transportation in such a way that if I were seen by a turkey, it would think to itself, "Wow. Look. A human being. How strange to live so near such a big animal and I see them so rarely and unless I am actually looking at one, I wouldn't even know that they lived near me. What a noble creature. See how he carries himself with dignity, knowing he is where he belongs and is doing all of and only what he needs to do. So intentional. And so beautiful." That's what I wish.