Sunday, May 17, 2015

A great little poem

Haven't posted in such a long time. Found the Blogger app & thought it might be a good thing to put on my phone.

Heard this poem in church today… had to look it up & re-read it. Thinking about how I want to frame it & hang it up in our house:

“If Jesus Came to Your House.”

If Jesus came to your house to spend some time with you,
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you'd do.
Oh, I know you'd give your nicest room to such an honored guest
And all the food you'd give to Him would be the very best.
And you would keep assuring Him you're glad to have Him there—
That serving Him in your home is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door
With arms outstretched in welcome to your heavenly visitor?
Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they'd been?
Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in, or would you rush about?

And I wonder—if the Savior spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing, the things you always do?
Would you go right on saying, the things you always say?
Or would life for you continue as it does from day to day?

Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you go?
Or would you maybe change your plans for just a day or so?
Would you be glad to have Him meet all your closest friends?
Or would you hope they stay away, until His visit ends?
Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on?
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?

It might be interesting to know the things that you would do,
If Jesus came in person, to spend some time with you.

~ Lois Blanchard Eades ~

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

So I was nominated... twice!
On the same day no less!
By two completely different people!
hoo... ray...  (imagine me: sitting down; not-so-thrilled face).

Don't get me wrong, I DO think it is wonderful that so many people have been donating to ALS research (ALS announced Tuesday, August 19th, that they've received 22.9 million in the last four weeks), but in and of itself, I don't think the Ice Bucket Challenge is all that "great" if it doesn't lead to greater things.

I have watched many adults do this... simply because they'd been "dared," "challenged," or "called out" to do it (and of course, most Americans cannot be "shown up" or "called out" without responding). Personally, I've never much cared what people think of me... just try to do my best at the things that "matter the most" to me.

There are 3 main things that bother me about doing "The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" --

1. What I like least: it appears most of the adults participating in "the challenge" do not know what ALS is, they don't know what it does to its victims, or anything else about ALS except (because someone told them so) it "is a good cause." (Even heard one person say the "ASL Ice Bucket Challenge" the other day... ASL: American Sign Language... yeesh. They dumped ice water on their head and could not remember why???)

Have seen numerous kids (and teens) participate as well... they seem want to do this "challenge" solely because they get to dump water on themselves while fully clothed... with their parent(s)' permission. These kids don't have a clue what ALS is... and they do not care what it is... as long as they can get soaking wet, then it's "fun" for them.

ALS is scary, debilitating, and usually fatal in a very short period of time, but because of this challenge, many will only remember ALS as that "fun challenge" they "did back in the 'teens." ALS is not fun. There are many people slowly asphyxiating, trapped in their own heads, dying a slow miserable death... and their grief-stricken families can do nothing but watch their loved ones die a slow, excruciating death right before their eyes. This challenge seems to me to cheapen their suffering and their courage to fight the disease.


2. The next thing I don't like about the challenge: there are so many other things that cause suffering to many MORE people. According to their own numbers (the ALS Foundation's website) there are somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 cases of ALS in the US right now. Not "very many" cases when considered against the total population of the US. In my lifetime, I cannot remember personally meeting or even "knowing of" more than 1 or 2 people that have contracted ALS.

There are many other things in this world that could use research money: Down Syndrome (over 400,000 in America), or (less well-known) Williams Syndrome. Williams Syndrome is similar to Down, but its rate of incidence is growing quickly (used to be 1 in 20,000 live births were affected, but studies as recent as 2008, indicate it's now closer to 1 in 7,500 live births -- nearly the same percentage of Americans have Williams as have ALS). The people affected by Downs, Williams, and many other "syndromes" cannot be "fixed" (because they are fully "people" and need neither sympathy nor medication), but perhaps more research could help those born with these challenges have fewer other difficulties: developmental, thyroid, respiratory & cardiac problems, or... more research could just lead to helping them lead better, more-fulfilling lives.

Another, more wide-spread problem that could use research money is cancer. There are nearly 14 million survivors of cancer living in the US today. (I've lost numerous friends and family to cancer, and am glad to know several survivors.) Yes, ALS is very scary, and there generally is no possibility of "remission" (like cancer patients pray for), but between 4-6% of our population has had cancer and are "in remission!" Not "1 in thousands" is affected (like ALS), but more frequently than 1 in 20! That number is particularly staggering because it does not take into account the number of people that die of cancer every year (over 560,000/year just in America) -- and we've still not reached the extent of all of the "problems" that affect people... and could use immediate donations for research: Alzheimer's, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis, Bell's Palsy, Ebola, Meningitis... and the list goes on and on.

I do have some concern that all the money "The Challenge" raises for ALS may tend to "dry up" donations to other medical research charities this year... other problems that could be researched... but instead will result in less chance to offer relief (or prevention) to many, many others... because of a fun fad. (Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong.)


3. Lastly, I'm not impressed by the fact that people don't seem to give much consideration to whom they're challenging; they just name people that they think would look most hilarious getting wet. To me, there seems to be at least 2 types of people not considered when "calling out" others for this challenge: those of "the challenged" that already donate large portions of the money they earn to multiple charities (thereby giving money they may've spread to multiple charities to a single charity), as well as the other people receiving a "challenge" that may have medical problems of their own. Medical problems that could make a cold dunking dangerous to their health. I wonder how many people know that individuals with heart conditions can stop their heart with a cold water shock (doesn't "usually" happen, unless they're overheated first or swimming, but it is possible), and there are many people that don't even know they have a heart condition. A dare isn't something on which I'd want to risk my life. Other "medical issues" offer less chance of death to the participants, but would still be an "unsafe activity" for them to consider. For example, I'm prone to ear infections... in both ears. No water should ever be poured on my head; even showering must be done very carefully or I risk losing my hearing (in one or both ears). Yes, I could dump ice water on my head while wearing ear-plugs, but I'd rather not risk my health or my hearing because of a dare... with a wife, 5 children, and students to teach daily, it would be irresponsible of me to allow myself to be doused. (If an earplug were to fall out from the force of the water.)


In conclusion, I believe more people should give much greater consideration to the seemingly insignificant choices they make daily... and not just for this challenge, but also for other "fun" (irresponsible) actions that can impact their families, friends, co-workers, and others negatively (DUIs came to mind immediately). Find things that "matter" before jumping headlong onto another bandwagon.

Overall, I'm not "bothered" that this challenge exists, and I do hope it continues to help those with ALS... but if it stops there, I'd consider it a failure.

I believe it would be much better if this ridiculous little fad would:
A. bring (to each one participating or watching) a greater societal awareness of the suffering of others,
B. make people more mindful of how they can help others less fortunate than they are -- by donating their money, time, AND effort to many different needy causes, &
C. help everyone realize that life doesn't have to be full of "fun" all the time; seriousness and responsibility for one's actions is needed every day... especially if there is a chance of dropping huge chunks of ice... or large, heavy cans full of water upon the heads of others.

(Yes, I do particularly enjoy watching the "Ice Bucket Challenge Fails" tho -- please, keep those coming.) ;)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Weird Day

Our dryer quit blowing warm air last week. It works now, but I've never had anything else like this happen to me


I'd taken it apart, checked the element, all of the thermostats, thermistors, etc., & nothing seemed bad. It had a generic schematic taped inside by the timer, so I checked that too, & it wasn't giving me quite the right readings on everything, so I figured I'd found the problem.


Pulled the timer & brought it to the oldest appliance repair place I know of in our county (12 mi. away), but the guy told me I really don't want to order that timer because it's $120+ after tax. Then he told me 4 more things to check after I got it back together & whatever part didn't work would be much cheaper than buying the timer and then coming back to buy the right part later


So I brought the timer back home, stuck it in the dryer, plugged all the wires back onto all the right spade connectors, turned it on, and started to test the first thing he said, which was:  is there 220v across the 2 big wires in the back of the timer?


So I set up the meter, put the meter probes on the spade connectors, turned my head to look at the meter, and… one of the probes slipped. I don't know how it slipped (the sharp point was in a hole), but… there was a very bright flash, a rather loud pop, 2 or 3 little bright red balls of molten metal (the point of meter had melted off) fell to the floor, & I let out a strangled yell (sounded a lot like Sven the reindeer, from the movie Frozen).


Between all that happening, & trying to keep my hands out of the 220, I was a bit too distracted to know just what my meter probe slipped into, but wherever it went… THE DRYER STARTED WORKING IMMEDIATELY!!!


So I have a working dryer. I was chagrined to realize I'm not smart enough to know what I did, how I did it, or how to do it again.


Decided to tell the kids that God fixed the dryer.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Diametric Differences of Domestic Doctrine…

The vast gulf fixed between the intellect of Thomas Sowell and Barack (aka "Barry Sotero") Obama has never been so apparent as when examining the "facts" behind the current "govt shutdown" as presented by both men.

Obama (and cronies) forced a "government shutdown" and continue to lay the blame at the feet of "unreasonable" Republicans in the House that have failed to step up and do their jobs.

Sowell succinctly lays out his own proof that blaming the shutdown on the House would be inaccurate (as found in the Congressional Record), then continues by citing the Constitutional mandate of the House to fund (or "not fund") those things that they believe are in the best (and worst)  interests of the nation, and to support those things that best represent the beliefs of their constituents.

Personally, I wish we had gotten Sowell... the classy, articulate, intellectual, war veteran (Marine) that worked hard to put himself thru college after dropping out of high school. Unfortunately, he never had a big enough ego to run for President.

Therefore, the one currently occupying the White House is instead the brassy, teleprompter-dependent, activist, community organizer (& self-confessed marijuana smoker) that put himself thru college by successfully applying for numerous "foreign student" scholarships.

(FWIW— These well-known black Americans have had interesting parallels in their lives: both were born poor, both espoused Marxist ideology in their 20s, both graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, both went on to teach at the college level, and both worked in some capacity in our government.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Google Doodles...

Usually enjoy the "Google Doodles" quite a bit. Foucault's Google Doodle yesterday was no exception and reminded me of my family's day-trip to Chicago's MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) when I was in junior high.

I really enjoyed that day, and can safely say I soaked up more knowledge in that one trip than in any 2-week period at any school I've ever attended. In fact, when I'm teaching, I still mention things learned from that trip... some 25+ years later.

When I first saw the Foucault Doodle, of course I had to play around with the controls, was completely side-tracked for several minutes, then wanted to Google search Léon Foucault, clicked right over to his Wikipedia page, read the entire thing, opening several tabs in my browser to look at all of the cool things he'd been involved in discovering. Eventually I "woke up," noticing I'd spent a good hour reading, completely forgotten why I went to Google in the first place, and had missed my short window-of-opportunity for a 20 minute power nap.

Normally, no power nap isn't a problem, but this year I teach in the mornings, my wife comes to school, hands off our 2 year old, I play with her, &/or run errands for an hour, feed her, put her down for a nap, then (if time permits) grab a 20 minute power nap, and work from home the rest of the day. My brief foray into the life and accomplishments of Léon Foucault led me to the realization that I am (and probably most Americans today are) quite "busy," but don't really accomplish quite as much as people did a hundred years ago. Foucault lived a grand total of 48 years, 4 months, & 23 days (six years and a few days longer than my lifespan to date), and he discovered many interesting and amazing things.

I, on the other hand, could not think of one single thing I've discovered or created. Sure, I do have an incredible wife (that not only puts up with me, but loves me too), five great kids (that are better looking, have more skills, and are in better shape than I was at their age), have taught kids for years (one-on-one, in "regular" school settings, & in Sunday School), and can carry a tune (with my voice and several different instruments), but that's about it. Not overly impressive.

Was thinking I'd like to "up my game" in the "life accomplishments" department so I could have an impressive headstone like Foucault, until I took a closer look and realized: there was no mention of his family. Then recalled I hadn't seen any mention of Foucault's family members in any of the on-line biographies I'd read either. I scanned them more thoroughly, but still found no mention of a wife or any children. After that additional reading, I realized he died rather young with progressive (and incurable) paralysis (due to all the chemicals with which he'd worked) and he died alone.

That decided it for me: my simple life, with not a single "discovery" or "world-renowned accomplishment" has been much more fulfilling than poor Mr. Foucault's. Sure, there are still things on my bucket list, and I need to put more time in on my wife's little projects around the house, but if a drunk driver puts me underground some morning on my way to or from school, in my view, I'll have had a greater legacy than Foucault... just in our five children... even if every one of them lives their own "inconsequential" and "simple" lifestyle... just like mine.

I still appreciate his discoveries, think it would be neat to make some scientific discoveries of my own, or become a world-renowned singer, or musician, or a multi-millionaire in business, but if none of that happens, I'm fine with that too. I'll have the love of several little people and my wife to keep me happy for years to come.

Off to school now. Think after school today I'll run my errands, play with the baby awhile, and see what can be done around the house for my wife. =)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Some Time & School Tidbits

Well, I've been quite far "out of the loop" (the "active blogger" loop that is) for quite awhile. Haven't had much time, and really wasn't getting enough sleep to care. The kids are all (obviously) older now, my wife & I are "tag-team" teaching, and (amazingly) I do have a bit more time on my hands since school started!

As I thought about it, am fairly certain this is the only time since I first boarded a school bus (with my multiple cow-licks slicked down and my lunch box clutched in my grubby little hand) that I've been able to say "more time since school started." Pretty amazing actually. I'm sure someone just might be thinking, "How on earth could he possibly remember every year so far back into ancient history? He's over 40; surely he must be exaggerating." (Thank you, BTW for relegating me from "cool" and "young" to "fogy," but I was hoping no one would notice for another 10-30 years.) While I do not have a photographic memory, there still is quite a bit in this old belfry that's not so thickly "coated with cobwebs" that it can't be brushed off and drug out into the light of day...

For example, remembering back to a small USAF base in central Illinois, there was a messy little boy that was quite enthused about starting school… but that only lasted about 2 weeks. Once I realized school was not a place to learn about all the "cool stuff" in the world, but was actually just a place to coop up a bunch of rambunctious little kids all day, and that all of us were only allowed to learn as slowly as the least motivated student in the class, then I wasn't all that interested in school anymore.

I did want so badly to learn to read... yet Miss Fry would only teach us one letter each day! (FWIW, I thought it was funny that "Miss Fry" became "Mrs. Brown" later that year.) When we weren't practicing our measly one letter, the rest of the time we had to "color." At least we had our big boxes of 64 Crayolas with the pencil sharpener on the back, but I knew my 3-year old sister was doing the same thing at home... so the "fun factor" was totally not there. Coloring at school was completely boring.

There wouldn't have been anything at all to look forward to at school if it hadn't been for my best friend (& neighbor) Tori and the cute little red-haired girl that rode the bus with us. Every day I'd look forward to holding her hand as we walked all the way through the "big kids' end" of "bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, Pleasant Acres" Elementary to where the Kindergarten classes were on the far end... and then repeating the process after school to get back on the bus. (Neither one of us cared that the big kids thought we were "so cute.") Can still remember the daily disappointment of leaving my two best friends at the door of the "other K-5" class before trudging across the hall to my slave-driving teacher and then trying to sit still… for those never-ending hours… every day… bored, and completely unmotivated to color. (It got worse after the little red-haired girl moved away part way through kindergarten. One of the greatest travesties of my lack of education in K-5: they hadn't taught us to read… so I couldn't get her address to write to her!)

When first grades' Mrs. Dupree showed us how to put all those single letters together to make words… and I was finally able to read on my own I was SO excited! Of course, from then on I was still in trouble quite often, but rather than being scolded for talking to my neighbors, I was sent to the principal's office for reading my books… for "not following along" with all the slow kids (never mind that I would read every textbook from cover to cover in the first 3 weeks of every school year). Needless to say, school remained pretty boring, but at least with a few books secreted in my backpack I knew there would be something interesting to do in school each day.

Suffice it to say, as I'm teaching now I try very hard to exclude dull, "busy work" from my classes, include as many interesting things as can be crammed into each class, and still pay attention to which ever student(s) may be love-struck over their little neighbor. It is too bad I don't need to test them on all the interesting stuff, they seem to remember it much better than the things we're required to teach them.

Anyway, about that extra time I've found: the baby (who's now 2, has decided she's too big to soil her diaper, and and has been speaking in complete sentences for several months now) needs to be put down for a nap every day after lunch. Since my wife is teaching English during nap time & my classes are over by then, I get to come home and hang out for a few hours. Have lesson plans and quite a few projects around the house that still need to be completed (as well as mounds of laundry to fold… but what man in his right mind wants to fold laundry?), but several of those projects can be done quietly, so I'm not planning to be blogging daily, but still have high hopes for the life of "ye olde blog" this school year.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Crazy Fruit

Well, I'm still not blogging consistently, but I think today's oddity warrants a blog posting.

We eat a lot of fruit in our house... prevents scurvy, keeps everything in the digestive system balanced and all that. So this morning, my daughter asked for "an orange." Technically, these aren't oranges, they're "Darling Clementines" (from Chile), but my wife and I knew what she wanted.

So, of course, the answer was "yes." She went in the kitchen, got the biggest one she could find (all my kids do that), and commenced peeling it at the dining room table. When she opened it up there was a very small clementine completely inside the fruit part of the big clementine: an "orange inside an orange," or a "clementine in a clementine" so be more precise. I have seen little pieces of orange inside bigger ones before, but this one was very different: it was completely encased with a second peel! She had already started eating the large pieces, so I grabbed what was left, an AA battery, and a nickel (for size reference) and snapped a picture of everything with my iPhone:

I also wanted to know if the inside of the mini-clementine had developed at all, so I took it into the kitchen, sliced it open on the cutting board, and got another surprise. It WAS completely developed! Put it back on the table next to the AA battery, the nickel, and an unpeeled Clementine for another pic. (Didn't realize the pic turned out so yellow, or I'd have taken another one, but my daughter ate it immediately afterward.) =)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

People. Explained.


This evening I was "profile surfing" on FaceBook. I don't know if anyone else does this, but I rather enjoy it. "Profile surfing" consists of randomly selecting one friend in your friend list, clicking on them, then when their page opens, clicking on one of their friends (that you do not know) for whatever reason (an interesting name, a nice profile picture, the 3rd friend from the top of the friend list, etc.). Profile surfing is most fun when you can read something about the random people that you find. Tonight, I hit on an interesting page. In the "bio" part of the person's "Info" I found the following allegory:



The differences between men and women are kind of like the differences between dogs and cats:

Cats do what they want.
They rarely listen to you.
They're totally unpredictable.
When they want your attention, they get it; even if they have to put themself in the middle of what you're doing,
or claw your leg.
Cats value appearances (especially their own).
Sometimes they like to be pet, brushed, and held;
sometimes, they don't want to be touched.
They expect you to cater to their every whim,
they are often moody,
they may hiss, scratch, bite, or just ignore you when they are unhappy, and
they leave hair all over the place.
When you want to play, they want to be alone.
When you want to be alone, they want to play.

Actually, cats are just tiny women in little fur coats.


Dogs also do what they want.
They can hear food being opened on the other side of the house, but they don't hear some things in the same room.
When they want your attention, they get it; even if they have to sit on you, lick you, or wet on your leg.
Dogs value "fun" things to do.
They like to spend all day sprawled in the most comfortable piece of furniture in the house.
They love combining "fun" things:
Sprawling in a comfortable piece of furniture is better with the addition of food.
Sprawling in a comfortable piece of furniture, watching (or sniffing) fun things, with food, and other friends around -- is even better still.
Dogs can look dumb and loveable -- all at the same time.
They growl and show their teeth when they are not happy.
They love to be pet, scratched, and played with.
They are almost always happy to see you,
they love to greet special people by jumping on them
(some special people get wet, sloppy kisses too), and
they leave their toys everywhere.
When you want to play, they want to play.
When you want to be alone, they want to play.

Actually, dogs are just tiny men in little fur coats.


So, for you ladies out there, be sure you "pet" your man's ego frequently, and be more willing to play. He'll be loyal to you forever.

For the men, work on your appearance, be mindful of your lady's feelings (don't maul her every day either), and listen to her closely. She may not mention she likes it, but she'll notice. She may even throw you a bone. ;)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Happy New Year!


NOTE: Once again, I've relapsed... it's obviously been a very long time since I've blogged. I did have a great idea for a first-blog-posting-of-the-year, but I didn't sit down and do it right then (or at least make a note of it in my phone), and it has been lost to the deepest recesses of my subconscious. Although unlikely, perhaps in the near future it'll resurface and I'll have the presence of mind to make a note of it.



This year, I've decided to keep my long-standing New Year's resolution of "Make no New Year's resolutions." (Resolutions which I wouldn't keep anyway.) So instead, I've compiled a short list of areas in my life in which I'd like to see growth this year. Mind you, these are not resolutions, just a rough outline for personal development. Of course I may think of a few more and add them later, but these should suffice for a start:

  1. Love (and enjoy) my whole family more (every day),
  2. Be thankful for everything (and more faithful to pray).
  3. To all sin, be more resistant,
  4. In my life, be more consistent.
  5. Always exhort, edify, and smile at each friend,
  6. Think before I tactlessly stomp toes or offend.
  7. Cast no pearls before swine,
  8. Eat less when I dine.
  9. Repair (or dispose of) anything I find broken,
10. Be mindful not to let one kind word go unspoken.
11. With my lovely wife, always show my passion,
12. With those that need it, have (at least some) compassion.

and...

I might even blog more too. =)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dud-Deals & Disparities

Have had a huge amount of work the last few months, and seriously neglected my blogs. Decided to take a few moments from this already-hectic-day and add a little something here.



My wife and I like to go up to visit her parents in Pennsylvania (or mine in Illinois) once a year, and since we've been married, we've found amazingly low-priced airline tickets nearly every time we've wanted to travel. This year, however, the deals are just not flowing in south Florida.

With 4 children, it's important to us to find high quality transportation; "high quality" being whatever mode of transportation:
1. Takes up the least amount of time (4 children in any enclosed area for an extended period of time is not my idea of "fun"),
2. Gets us as close as possible to where we want to be in the least amount of stops (getting in and out of a car, airplane, or anything else is best kept to a minimum),
3. Costs us the least amount of money (because the kids and Daddy like to eat well), and
4. Has a better than 80% survival rate. (Just kidding, we really want 100%.)

Anyway, the only low-priced, direct airline tickets we could find this year would put us no closer than DC's Reagan International for $28 per person. That's $128 one way for 6 of us, or $336 round-trip. Unless you're the President, a Governor, or in Congress, you can't fly anywhere anymore without planning on tons of extra fees and taxes, so it was no surprise to find out that our $336-worth of tickets actually set us back $601.79. All things considered, $50 per person per flight is not too shabby.

Of course, Reagan is still quite a drive from PA. (Thankfully, we have friends nearby in Virginia that our kids have been begging to visit, and they have graciously accepted our request for their hospitality.) Since we still will have several hours of driving left to us after arriving in DC, I decided to see how much more it will cost us to rent a minivan.

Prices in the airport are all just over $815 per week (before taxes) for an unlimited mileage minivan. Since we are staying for 2 weeks, that price would be a serious kick in the wallet. Looking outside all the airports in the DC area, we did find prices as low as $530 per week (quite a savings for a 2 week rental) but that's still rather high for us. I put a bid in to see if "Mr. Priceline" can get us something for about $600 for the whole 13 days, otherwise, we're going to have to bite the thousand-dollar bullet.

On a side-note, several weeks after we'd purchased our airline tickets, a friend suggested taking the train. Evidently, AmTrak will let you ship our own vehicle on the train with you. I didn't know they still do that, but I think our kids would find that the most enjoyable travel option, so next time we might just find ourselves riding a choo choo.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: Double Cousins & the Mystery of the Missing Watch

My wife and I have a friend that's recently written her first book: The Double Cousins and the Mystery of the Missing Watch is the first in a series written for 9-12 year olds and is set in modern day Nebraska.

This is a great book for anyone that wants their kids reading clean (yet still interesting) books that teach Bible principles. While the focus of the book is the story, it also promotes having a right heart attitude all the time -- when we're unhappy, while doing unpleasant tasks, and by not being hasty to judge others. All in all, a great book, that could even be to read to younger children (since there aren't any "scary" sections).

It also focuses on family and contains a small genealogy chart in the front of the book that may spark a child's interest to research their own family tree.

If you want to visit her blog, it's at doublecousins.wordpress.com.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Regrettable Reaction

I like to joke about stuff that's not usually "funny" to others, but I'm also a curious person... I like to KNOW any issue when I talk about things. Not to be "superior" in discussions, I just like to see what makes people tick.

Decided to look up Steven Anderson on YouTube after my last post. After listening to the entire (hour long!) message that the article was based on (while I was working, didn't want to "waste" time on him), all I found was it did contain waaay too much politics for my taste, and wasn't heretical doctrinally. (I like to talk about politics, but usually after church, or out of church. When I'm in church, I want to hear The Bible.)

Was surprised to find out his message WAS mostly from Psalm 58 & 109 (like I mentioned earlier), but he also included Psalm 69 & 139, Jeremiah 7, 11, & 14 and some other verses (going from memory, didn't write them down).

I've had one particular friend (for several years) that twists a LOT of verses, so I'm getting pretty good at noticing when that happens, but didn't notice this guy take any verse to twist the meaning to "fit" or "support" his position... he mostly just read the verses and repeated them several times.

I'd started out extremely prejudiced against this guy, so was a little disappointed when he didn't pan out as a obvious "crazy" or a "twister" right away.

I'd say he's a bit on the "younger" side for a Pastor (think he said 28, but might've been 29 -- he started this church 2 years ago). He also seems minimally experienced: had trouble remembering where he was going next and some references... not that I mind... I have the same trouble. The only really "annoying" thing to me was he really likes to interject politics into his preaching. Without the politics he probably could have cut his sermon down by at least 15 minutes, maybe a half hour. If the message is going to be an hour long, then I'd rather have a solid hour of Bible teaching. When I spent a summer in Russia, we had service from 8am to 3pm... that was pretty cool. Never seen any Americans that could handle that much Bible in a day. (There was a seminary there, so the Pastor would preach, the head of the seminary would preach, and they usually had two or three seminary students deliver a message as well. The "scary" part for the students was... after their message, the Pastor and the head of the seminary would stand up and go thru the sermon point by point.... and look out if there was even the slightest hint of heretical doctrine or a verse twisted out of context. But I digress...)

One of his points in the sermon (had no discernible outline to me, so maybe it wasn't "a point," but I think it was supposed to be, and I found it important) was that you can't love innocent victims (abortion victims) and the people that are murdering them at the same time. So you have to make the choice of whom to love: the victims or the murderers. Hadn't thought of it that way before.

He went on to say that worse than just "accepting abortions are legal," if you go further and actually promote abortion, you are not only condoning the murders but also guilty as an accessory to those murders. Therefore, since the government is taking tax dollars to pay for abortions (and has been doing so for awhile) then the government is way past "condoning" murder, and is actually a party in the commission of murders... millions of them... because the govt is financing them. Another thing I hadn't thought about, but that I agree with whole-heartedly.

He was very disgusted at how Obama has repeatedly made fun of the Bible and Christians, and seemed annoyed that people worship this President as some kind of demi-god; those are huge pet-peeves of mine.

He was also annoyed that so many people today are quick to hand over the rights and freedoms we have as Americans... rights that others have bled and died for. So I'd guess he must have had a family member or some friends in the military... I do, and these are annoying to me. It made me realize that I don't really think about handing over my God- and state-given rights on a day-to-day basis, I just stay within the law and don't really think about what my rights are. (I'm glad we don't have Border Patrol checkpoints here in south Florida.)

One of the things he said in his sermon was something like, "Don't go to the rally tomorrow and get a tear in the eye for Obama. Go to your prayer closet and get a tear in the eye for our country." Kinda liked that one... should be the rallying cry of every preacher in America.

Another was, "It's not all Obama; he isn't the source of all wickedness in this country, but he's the tip of the sword for all of the spiritual wickedness in high places." He made it very clear he did not want anyone to go shoot Obama.

He was preaching from the standpoint that we should be praying against not just the wickedness that's rampant in our country, but also anyone that supports it. There wasn't any actual "death threat" or any "fierce opposition" as the news called it. His 2 harshest statements were the ones in the news article. I distinctly remember hearing several (more experienced) preachers deliver very similar sermons with Bill Clinton as the focus rather than Obama. A few older people have told me they heard similar messages where Jimmy Carter was the focus. There wasn't much outcry back then, so I'm wondering if the outcry now is just due to the media's access to YouTube.

Thus ends my doctrinal observations. He was right on track. Everything I thought I had a problem with, he had already done correctly. So it just goes to show me that I need to remember to take everything the media says (even Fox news) with a grand salt-shaker.




Later, I also went thru a bunch of other videos (this dude likes to make looooong vids... so yes, anyone can definitely see the context, but man -- is there ever a lot of repetition and down time to sit through).

Anyway, I'd heard from others that he was a "trouble maker" and was forcibly dragged from his car at a police checkpoint because he wouldn't show his driver's license, or answer any questions as to whether he was a citizen or not. I really don't have much patience for people that mess with the police, so I was ready to condemn him on that point... until I got some more of the facts about it.

I now understand his point of view on the checkpoint thing. There was (and is) no valid legal reason for the US Border Patrol to set up permanent checkpoints and stop all motorists on a major highway over 50 miles from the border -- plus search any car they want to -- with no warrants and no probable cause other than "you won't let us search your car, so you're suspicious." Craziness. This isn't the USSR during the cold war -- Arizona is still subject to the same Constitution the rest of the country is. That was not right... and it is definitely not legal either.

Also... in going through several of his other videos, I never saw him refuse to answer any important questions. He made it very clear in all the videos that he was a citizen, traveling on business between states, not transporting any illegals, and had not been anywhere near a border, needed to go on (for work, home, etc.), but he knew the law states he must stop until they let him leave, so he'd stay there until he could leave.

He seemed to stay well within his rights without being overly confrontational, but he didn't budge on even the slightest of those rights... even if it meant extreme pain and suffering. They actually tazered him twice -- once for 13 seconds, then immediately after for another 7... that is seriously over the top.

One tazering for 5-7 seconds is plenty. Unless you're dealing with a drug-crazed suspect, 20 seconds is past "excessive force" and into "brutality"... that could easily kill a person with a weak heart.

Since I initially thought he was at a regular police checkpoint, I was against him on that point (as well against him Biblically in my earlier post), but he wasn't at a police check point. Then I watched as he was stomped & beaten by Border Patrol just because they wanted to look in his car?? Border Patrol shouldn't even be allowed to ask for anyone's driver's license 60 miles from the border "just because they want to." Their jurisdiction is near the border, not an hour's drive from the nearest border crossing. They had to call to have a state police officer dispatched to "open" the car (since that exceeded their jurisdiction).

This whole thing is just crazy... they could easily have run the plates on his car to see who he was... all the photos from photo IDs are right in state databases for anyone in law enforcement (or any other part of the government) to see. If they had any real concerns they could have chocked his tires, jacked them up off the ground (so he couldn't drive away) and popped the trunk right there with him in the car -- or even had a unit interdict him at his house. Instead they tricked him into closing his eyes, broke both the windows on his car, jammed his face onto the broken window while he was being tazered, beat on him with night sticks, and then threw him on the ground and stepped on his head? Total, complete, irrational, moronic craziness by the Border Patrol. Waaaay out of control.

While I don't think I personally would have sat there that long just to stand up for my right not to be subjected to an illegal search (I'd rather sue them later, with my face intact), he did not do anything nearly enough to warrant any part of that kind of abuse.

I'm still withholding my judgment on whether he's completely nuts (I know I don't want any part of tazering) or just exceptionally patriotic, but the sermon wasn't "unBiblical" or "heretical" in my opinion -- just "not politically correct." (At an hour long, didn't have time to listen to any more than one sermon as well as look at the other stuff too. When I have more time I might go see what other sermon's are there.)

As far as the beating, I would not classify him as a martyr at all; those actions were for his politics, but the Border Patrol agents were waaay over the top in "exceeding their jurisdiction" -- now I'm curious as to how this will play out legally. I really hope he wins... or the rest of us are in for a horrific next few years.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Imprecatory Incitement

Today I saw Pastor Steven Anderson from Phoenix, Arizona says he is praying for Obama's death.

My first thought was that's sick, but it's still pretty funny. Not funny in the sense that he wants someone dead, but that a "spiritual leader" would be so immature as to voice this opinion in an attempt to get media attention.

Here we have a pastor that has not learned to pray properly. Luke 18 is pretty clear on which person (the Pharisee or the publican) had the better prayer. Christ said the Pharisee that prayed in the middle of the temple (and was condescending of others and their sinful lifestyles) was not "justified" and He went on to say that "every one that exalteth himself shall be abased."

Biblically, I don't have a problem with the man's prayer; only in his application and publication. In looking for Biblical examples of prayer, most people got to Psalm 23 and the Lord's prayer, but never examine those examples closely, or even look at the Imprecatory Psalms (specifically, Psalm 58 and 109) which clearly are prayers of cursing against those that oppress God's people, or are extremely sinful (this President does fit those qualifications).

Just before what is called "The Lord's Prayer" we find these verses on how to pray:
Mat 6:1-6
        Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
        Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
        But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
        That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
        And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
        But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
That's about as clear as you can get on the publication and application sides of prayer. Moving further to the Lord's Prayer we find how we should pray:
Mat 6:9-13
        After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
        Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
        Give us this day our daily bread.
        And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
        And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
I'm sure you're wondering why -- from these verses -- that I have no problem with the prayer against the President's life. It's from the second verse (v. 10b), "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

Obviously, praying that God's will be done is Biblical. Furthermore, nowhere in the Bible does God approve of the killing of innocent children or those that condone those actions. By simply allowing pro-abortion agendas to proceed unhindered, the President can be said to be obstructing the will of God. So I don't see any problem with the man praying against Obama; I do see a problem with shouting it from the housetops -- not Biblical.

Also, I do NOT approve of reciprocity in the form of murder -- that is equally wrong. That is a battle best left to God (Rom 12:19b "...for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord").

David (in 1 Samuel 24:6) put it best when he said, "The LORD forbid that I should ... stretch forth mine hand against ... the anointed of the LORD."

Additionally, if one is going to pray an imprecatory prayer against the President for his stance on abortion, then to be perfectly just, that prayer must extend to all of the others that promote the same pro-abortion position. Many Congressmen, judges, and activists hold the same opinion and are furthering that agenda far more than the President.

Finally, just praying for the death of the President is futile. If his death were to happen (for any reason), there is a prescribed line of succession that would place other individuals with equally bad (or worse) ethics into the same office. All of those people should also be prayed for... that their hearts and minds are changed.

So, if you really feel like you need to increase your prayer life, here is that (most uninspiring) list of succession to the Presidency of the United States--

















Veep:    Joe Biden
Spkr of the House:    Nancy Pelosi
Pres Pro Temp of the Senate:    Robert Byrd
Sec State:    Hillary Clinton
Sec Treas:    Tim Geithner
Sec Def:    Robert Gates
AG:    Eric Holder  
Sec Interior:    Ken Salazar
Sec Ag:    Tom Vilsack
Sec Commerce:    Gary Locke
Sec Labor:    Hilda Solis
Sec Health & Human Svcs:    Kathleen Sebelius
Sec HUD:    Shaun Donovan
Sec Transportation:    Ray LaHood
Sec Energy:    Stephen Chu
Sec Ed:    Arne Duncan
Sec VA:    Eric Shinseki
Sec Homeland Security:    Janet Napolitano


[EDIT: Not really sure why the table dropped so far down from the rest of the post; there isn't any whitespace in the code.]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Founding of the FBI

Today (26 July) marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the FBI. Probably not the greatest anniversary for Average Joe to celebrate, but they've done a lot to ensure the safety of our great nation over the last 100 years. I thought it was worth noting for all those that might be unaware of the fact.

(And it also is proof positive that I'm not dead, just too busy to blog anything long enough to be considered insightful.)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Expendability

A brief talk by Nate Saint over HCJB radio: 1949.

I've been reading Jungle Pilot, by Russell T. Hitt. It's a great book about Nate Saint, and I thought this small excerpt would be an encouragement to my friends: missionaries, military members, and others in service to the King.

You can get a copy of this book free here.

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A fact that is mixed in a very important way with our work is the thing that became commonly known during the last war as "EXPENDABILITY."

The flying business is full of illustrations of this basic principle. God has seen fit to make a vehicle that is expendable essential to progress. There is always a price that must be paid.

During the last war (WW2) we were taught that, in order to obtain our objective, we had to be willing to be expendable, and many lives were spent paying the price of our redemption from the bonds of political slavery.

This very afternoon thousands of soldiers are known by their serial numbers as men who are expendable. During the last war we saw big bombers on the assembly line, row after row, powerful, costly implements of war! Yet we all knew--we actually KNEW that many of those bombers would not accomplish even five missions over enemy territory. We also knew that young fellows, many of them volunteers, would ride in those airborne machine-gun turrets, and their life expectancy behind those guns was (with the trigger down) only four minutes. Tremendous expendability!

We know that there is only one answer when our country demands that we share in the price of freedom--yet when the Lord Jesus asks us to pay the price for world evangelization, we often answer without a word. We cannot go. We say it costs too much.

God Himself laid down the law when He built the universe. He knew when He made it what the price was going to be. And the Lamb of God was slain in the counsels of God from before the foundation of the world. If God didn't hold back His only Son, but gave Him up to pay the price for our failure and sin, then how can we Christians bold back our lives-- the lives He really owns?

The Lord tells us that "He that loveth his life" -- we might say that "he that is selfish with his life" -- "shall lose it." It's inescapable.

Missionaries constantly face expendability. And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives. They forget that when their lives are spent and the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.



Some might say, isn't it too great a price to pay? When missionaries consider themselves--their lives before God--they consider themselves expendable. And in our personal lives as Christians, isn't the same thing true? Isn't the price small in the light of God's infinite love? Those who know the joy of leading a stranger to Christ and those who have gone to tribes who have never heard the Gospel, gladly count themselves expendable. And they count it all joy.

"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone." The apostle Paul said, "I die daily." "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

And Jesus said, "There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time . . . and in the world to come eternal life."
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Friday, April 03, 2009

Working On....... Life

In addition to my "normal" everyday work (I do realize that my version of "normal" -- isn't), I've been doing some reading and extensive research in the last few days. (See my personal blog for a better explanation; check my FaceBook links or drop me an email if you've lost the link to it -- I removed the direct link from this blog.)

Am tentatively planning to be finished redoing my (moved) personal blog and getting this slightly redesigned one up to the level of activity I want within the next one or two weeks (that's at the very earliest, if everything comes together nicely). I think one month is a more realistic estimate tho. (Perhaps two months, if one of the offline projects I'm looking at materializes, but if more than one happens, well, don't hold your breath, because I won't.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Opting Out" Of Optometrists

Sometime in early 2005 (January to March), I happened to stumble upon an extremely interesting technology: "adjustable prescription eyeglasses" -- with no eye appointment necessary!

At the time, I worked for a small medical sales, service, and supply company here in south Florida. I've since left that career path, but back then I was "up" on most of the new medical equipment, and tried to keep myself well informed. Medical advances still intrigue me, so I occasionally browse major technological advances in the field. Every once in awhile (like this past week) I still stumble on articles about the creator of these money-saving spectacles. His original site, www.adaptive-eyecare.com hasn't been operative since July of 2007, but you can still read through it at the Internet Archive.

The inventor, Professor Joshua D. Silver, runs the EBIT Group in the physics department at Oxford University.

The concept behind the glasses is fairly basic: the wearer can "tune" each lens (independently) to the exact prescription needed (+/-6 diopters max) and then "lock" that prescription into the glasses by tightening a screw to seal the lenses. With that, Presto! You have the correct prescription -- for your eyes! Of course, that is without the exam fee, the doctor's fee, the extra cost for designer frames (these are ugly, but effective), and without wasting time waiting for the production of new designer glasses.

The only drawback to these adjustable prescription glasses: they're still in "concept" phase, so they haven't become cheap enough (yet) to distribute widely. (Over 30,000 pair have already been donated to the poor.)

Professor Silver's goal for this year is to be able to produce a pair of glasses for around $1 -- and then he'd like to distribute one million of them throughout India.

His long term goal:
Distributing one billion glasses to the poor and needy of the entire world!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Wearing Green For St. Patrick's Day... Again

Last year (2008) I was a week late for tomorrow's holiday, so here is a re-vamped version of last year's post: Immured in Green:



Every year I'm asked why I -- as a "religious" fanatic -- never wear green on St. Patrick's Day. While I do attend church every time the doors are open, I'm actually not "religious" -- religions are based on tradition first. In most areas, I'm not a traditionalist by any stretch of the imagination. Although I wear suits & ties with dress shirts several times every week, I quit wearing white dress shirts entirely sometime back in the late 1990s. The one exception being a white shirt I rented for my wedding day. Plus, I usually wear cowboy boots with my suits.

People think of me as "religious" because I do attempt to live right, to base my beliefs on the Bible, and to teach my kids to have their own set of high ethical standards based on the Bible. Of course, just like everyone else, I still succeed some days and fail on others -- depending on the minute, hour, day, week, month, and year, but when it comes to St. Patrick's day I avoid including green in every (visible) part of my wardrobe. Instead, I wear maroon -- and that prominently.

I started my personal "not wearing green" trend in junior high and continued this non-conformist trend throughout high school, college, and to the present. Prior to college, without some explanation, few understood why I wouldn't wear green. Every year I explained that both Catholics and Protestants celebrate St. Patrick's Day, all the Catholics wear green, and all the Protestants wear orange. As an orange-wearing kid, in green-wearing schools, I'd get the inevitable, "Prove it," every year. Thus would commence a short social sciences lesson on the Irish and their flag. I'll relate it here, very briefly, for those that may not have heard it before:

The Irish flag consists of 3 vertical stripes, green at the pole, orange at the opposite end, and white between them. Green signifies Catholics, orange -- Protestants, and white -- the peace that should be between them. Their "Irish-ness" supposedly enough to unify even opposing religious views.

After that brief explanation, most understood my self-imposed abstinence from green for the holiday, and a few others even began to wear orange as I did. In more recent years (I believe it was in college, but am uncertain), I've refrained from wearing orange as well -- this change was brought about by studying church history. I am a Baptist, and Baptist history is a very different, separate "tree" than both Catholicism and Protestantism.

The "dark ages" lasted a little over 1,000 years -- different people observe differing events to "mark" the beginning and end, but the approximate dates are 450 AD to 1600 AD (I usually allow +/-75 years to and from each end). "Protestantism" began as an off-shoot out of Catholicism as the early champions of the Bible attempted to reform the Roman Catholic church. They wanted worship to line up with the Bible rather than the traditions of men. Officially, Protestantism is said to have "started" when Luther broke away from the Roman Catholic church in the early 1500s. The Lutherans were followed by the Church of England, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, and many other denominations that all now claim to be Protestant.

The difference between "Baptist-believing" churches and all of the others, is that they existed prior to Luther (as early as the 1400s) and all held to the belief that for baptism to be of any effect, it had to be practiced Biblically. The Bible states baptism is to occur after one's salvation as an act of obedience to God and as an identification with your faith in Christ as Savior. "Baptizo" meaning to "immerse completely," has a definite and entirely different meaning than "rhantizo" -- "to sprinkle."

These Baptistic churches were persecuted throughout the entire dark ages because they wouldn't conform to Rome's mandates, but only to the scriptures. Prior to being called "Baptist" these churches were called by many other names: Ana-Baptists, Anabaptists, Montanists, Novations, Paterins, Donatists, Paterins Cathari, Paulicians, Arnoldists, Henricians, Albigenses, and Waldenses. Generally, these all believed in rebaptizing any new converts coming from churches holding views unaligned with the Bible (i.e. Catholicism and Orthodoxy). Wittenburg wrote in 1607, "Our modern Anabaptist are the same as the Donitists of old. They took no account of the baptism of others ..."

Based on my study, there were churches referred to as "Anabaptist" as early as the 200s -- predating the reign of Catholicism's Constantine (306 A.D. - 312 A.D.).


I said all that to say, as a Baptist, I won't be wearing green for this holiday -- ever. Associating myself with the Roman Catholic religion that has (over many past centuries) killed thousands that believe the Bible as I do would be remiss on my part. EDIT: (I realize, in the USA, as well as most other parts of the world, this is no longer condoned by anyone in the Catholic Church. Although, the Muslims have picked up where the Catholic church left off a few hundred years ago.)

I could wear orange, as many different Protestants of today hold beliefs quite similar to my own (and the general public cannot differentiate between a Protestant and a Baptist). However, in the early days of Protestantism, many of those denominations also held beliefs widely divergent from Baptists, and some went so far as to persecute Baptists, just as the Roman Catholics did.

No matter how similar my beliefs are to those of others, I know that I'm not Protestant. Because I'm a Baptist (of the conservative, independent, and Biblically-based fundamental variety... that have existed "underground" for centuries), I hold to views that are separate from both Catholicism and Protestantism. So, as a matter of personal preference, I eschew BOTH green AND orange on St. Patrick's day.

If I don't have any clean maroon shirts, I'll substitute red -- whatever color I have that is as close as possible to the color of blood. Maroon and red are close to orange (as many of my beliefs are close to mainline Protestants of today and of old), but are obviously different colors.

In this way, if someone asks about my lack of green (or orange), I can point to my red article of clothing and explain God's exclusive requirement of Christ's blood sacrifice to remit any and all sin -- the importance of accepting this sacrifice -- and how (as a Baptist that follows the Bible over traditions) it's my belief that each convert should be baptized after their salvation.

Explaining the green/orange observance of St. Patrick's day has yet to enable me to lead anyone up to (or through) the Bible verses that promise 100% certainty of salvation (and eternal residence in heaven), but maybe this St. Patrick's day will change that.



As a side note, I am part Irish, BUT I am NOT Catholic, never have been, never will be, and if you attempt to punch or pinch me for not wearing green... well, let's just say you may contribute to my delinquency. =)
(That's a joke... don't forget to smile.)


* * * * * * * EDIT * * * * * * *
NOTE #1: Actually left home early in the morning on St. Patrick's Day for an appointment. Was running behind, and couldn't find any clean maroon (or red) shirts -- so I looked for an orange stand-in -- came up short there too. Ended up wearing white. (Was able to find a maroon polo later when I came home for lunch.)

NOTE #2: Was able to use my non-green shirt as an "opportunity" for the first time!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Comparison of 128 Years Of CO2 Emissions & Resulting Climate Change

    This entry gets a little more detailed than I normally do, but in the last week I've been having extensive discussions with some individuals that are concerned with CO2 emissions causing the eminent demise of our planet. Seemed to me that replicating the work to my blog would make a good article... for those that aren't interested in "spin" -- but in the truth.

    After you look at this small amount of evidence, and before you go explaining it to "lousy Larry" on the street, just remember what Terence said:
      "Hoc tempore obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit":
      (In these days friends are won through flattery, the truth gives birth to hate.)
I've done extensive work... learning formulas... comparing graphs... studying charts... crunching numbers... plugging along... and the sum total all of my research can be boiled down and expressed by a comparison of 2 simple graphs. (Both are pulled from 2008 data compiled by US govt organizations.)

The first is the CDIAC's estimate of CO2 emissions and the second is NASA's recorded climatological records.

I got this CDIAC graph from EarthPolicy.org. It shows the increase in total CO2 emissions from 1751 to the present (prior to 1825 the amounts were too small to graph):

This NASA graph shows the difference of the yearly US temperature averages (0 degrees C being the mean of the last 128 years) -- from when they were first recorded (in 1880) to the present:

Looking at the two graphs, I see several things:

1) Since the early 1880s, CO2 emissions have increased astronomically.

2) The largest difference in minimum and maximum yearly temperature means for any 5 year period falls between 1917 (low of -1.071) & 1921 (high of +1.119). (A total difference of 2.226 degrees C.)

3) The highest single yearly average mean is actually a tie between 2 years: 1934 & 1998 (+1.238).

4) 1934 had ~1.125 billion tons of CO2 emissions; 1998 had ~6.875 billion. (A difference of ~5.75 billion tons.)

5) The difference in the absolute lowest recorded yearly mean temperature (1917: -1.071 degrees C) and the highest recorded yearly mean (the 2 years listed in #3 & #4) is about 2 degrees C (2.309524).

6) The total change from the first 5 year mean ~(-0.24) to the most recent ~(+0.64) is a difference of almost 1 degree C ~(0.880952).

7) The very first recorded five year mean temperature (1882) is identical to the five year mean temperature recorded in 1977.

8) The last year on the temperature graph -- 2008 -- has an annual mean temperature identical to that recorded in 1890.

9) The estimated yearly output of CO2 emissions in 1890 was ~0.375 billion tons, in 2008 was ~8.375 billion tons. (A difference of ~8 billion tons.)

10) There is only one yearly mean that falls more than 1 degree lower than the 128 year average: 1917, but there are 5 yearly means that fall more than 1 degree above the 128 year average: 1921, 1931, 1934, 1998, & 2006.
(Incidentally, 3 of those 5 occur well before the beginning of the explosion of CO2 emissions that started in the 1950s and have continued since).

There is no observable correlation in the data between the graph of CO2 emissions and the graph of yearly temperature means.

This is only ONE comparative example of MUCH data that I've sifted through. After extensive digging, I have yet to find even one piece of recorded scientific evidence that reflects a direct tie-in to CO2 emissions and climate.

Therefore, it's apparent to me (based on the last 128 years of recorded global temperature change) that the urgency of reducing CO2 emissions to "save the planet" from catastrophic climate change is an unmitigated hoax.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Recent Stories I Have NOT Seen In The MSM... Yet

Being sick (again) seems like a bit of a cop out for not posting anything, so I grabbed several of the links I read last week and added my own commentary:

A "friend"-ly warning:
A new variant of the old "Koobface" worm has been rewritten for FaceBook. It tricks unsuspecting users into going to a fake YouTube site, downloading the worm, and then the worm takes over their computer, replicates and sends itself to everyone in their FaceBook friend list.
With friends like that who needs frenemies?

No fear of God:
Some brazen thief robbed a large church in Nebraska (7,000 member congregation is large to me) of their weekly offering... of $145,000! He walked in, said he was there for the weekly deposits, they handed it over, and he calmly walked out with them none the wiser -- because he had an armored car uniform on! 15 minutes later the real guard got there and they realized they'd been robbed.
I'm the treasurer at my church -- we've never had a weekly offering that large. Anyone want to change that?

Bad day:
While moving containers at a shipping yard in Turkey, a tractor trailer pulled in front of a train, got hit, was pushed across a parking lot until the cab of the truck slammed into a concrete wall, and the trailer smashed into another trailer parked nearby.
Worse day:
The man standing next to the tracks saw the truck go by, but not the oncoming train. He got hit by the (then sliding) truck so hard that his helmet was knocked off and went flying... then the truck went over him. (See video below... no sound included)
video
Beautiful day:
The train stayed on the tracks (so didn't fall on him), the man went under the trailer between the wheels, awakened with no memory of the crash, and had only minor injuries. Dumb luck?

Fruits of his labors:
The recent election of our current President has not only caused a run on guns and ammunition nationwide, but also a backlog of 95,000 people seeking concealed weapons permits -- that's 95,000 just in Florida! Might be faster to take a few self-defense classes, or enroll in the martial arts.

No wonder people don't like leftovers:
From the company that brought the world "kangaroo-poo paper" (in 2005) we can now purchase green OR gold paper made from... the poo of wombats!
Yuck.
"Going green" I can understand, "Being Brown" I cannot. (The company name "Creative Paper" is literally a "gross" understatement... of less-than-epic proportions.)
Just don't forget and lick your fingers while you're turning the pages.

"Green" I can believe in:
A French firm has developed the "AirPod" -- a car that runs on compressed air. The 46 gallon tank can take you approximately 140 miles, and recharging can be accomplished in a few minutes at specialized gas stations, or you can plug it in overnight (~8 hours) and the on-board compressor will fill the tank. Retailing for the equivalent of $7,500, it sounds like a great deal to me. The only drawback is the current version only holds 3 passengers -- I have a wife and 4 kids.

Cashing in on our dead relatives:
It seems that one of the best ways to collect a debt in today's economy is to get it from surviving relatives. New technology is enabling debt collectors to quickly file claims after the death of a debtor. In many cases, the surviving family isn't legally required to pay these bills from their own personal assets, but most do -- some even send "Thank You" letters afterward! Talk about selling an ice maker to an Eskimo.

A new low in passing counterfeit bills:
Five $20 counterfeit bills were used to purchase cookies from Girl Scouts' Troop 40411 in Bremen Washington. The troop is going to have to "eat" the losses. Girl Scout cookies aren't "necessary expenditures" for making ends meet or surviving, what kind of bum would scam little kids?

Stupid criminal file:
An obviously unintelligent thief attempted to rob a gun store in subruban Chicago (Waukegan). He took 1 in the leg and 2 in the chest before the cops got there to save...er... I mean arrest him. Charges unlikely against the store clerk.
(This idiot is lucky to be alive. There's a nice little gun store a few blocks south of O'Hare that I like to visit when I'm in Chi-town. About 10 years ago an idiot tried to rob that store, too. Just "happened" to be several off-duty cops and several clerks in the store at the time -- all were carrying. In his report, the M.E. wasn't exactly sure whose bullet killed him -- he was full of holes.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

a poor President

Long ago (elementary school), I was the shortest kid in my class -- every class; I also remember being a little more plump than most of the other kids, too. Thankfully, I wasn't always ridiculed, harassed, or "picked on" by the bullies, but it always irked me to see the results of the inevitable "pecking order" in school. As a result of occasionally having people think of me as "different" and (very few) bad experiences, I still dislike it when others call people names, ridicule them, or attempt to wrongfully impugn the character of any weaker person, nor do I (usually) do so myself. Of course, I do have a few exceptions: if the description is spot-on truthful, the person continuously annoys me, or if the person is a friend, everyone around is a friend, and all know it's in jest.

Unfortunately, there is no jesting today. Our President's life story is the least stellar of all who've come before him. Several times in the last year I've blogged about his utter lack of legitimate qualifications to hold the office. If you don't want to read that huge (old) link, here are a few points (distilled and refined) from which I drew those conclusions and a few new ones to round out my convictions:

    * Who, exactly moves to Chicago for it's exemplary politics?? any honest people you know ever do that? not me.

    * Who believes any person could sit under that many years of Jeremiah Wright's version of Farrakhan's theology and not be affected? (I'm not impressed with Oprah's theology, but even she couldn't take the continuous stream of hate-filled hurl he has spewed from his pulpit.)

    * Does anyone believe both of his books were not ghost written? (Especially when he was asked to describe his feelings about multiple passages in both, and he was clueless?)

    * How many other incompetent, inexperienced politicians have ever been so highly worshiped by the media? (yet, he only reads teleprompters well -- his impromptu speaking ability stinks)

    * I'm supposed to believe that it was a complete coincidence that a socialistic nobody moved to the city Ayers lived in, got himself introduced to Ayers, moved next door to the man, taught with him, served in numerous positions alongside him, and started his political career in Ayer's LIVING ROOM? ALL of that is pure happenstance?

    * What other US politician has ever asked every school he attended to seal his records? and then there was no media outcry? what's he hiding from the public?

    * How far will the troops trust a President that just told The Marine Band he doesn't want them to play for him anymore?

    * Why is he the only politician in recent memory that's ever gotten a pass on self-contradictory statements? stupidity? admitted drug use? etc...

    * Why have there been so many attempts by him to promote a whole slew of crooks to fill high level positions in the government? isn't the "normal level" of corruption in government enough? Any "regular" Americans would be doing jail time with the types of records these nominees have, yet all his guys keep getting off scott-free?

    * No McCarthyism intended, but why is this the first time any U.S. politician hasn't been questioned for associating in a friendly manner with Gaddafi, multiple anti-US Muslim-terrorists, and terrorist supporters (both Hamas & PLO)? Aren't we still in a war against said terrorists? Isn't there a double-standard in "consorting with the enemy" here?

    * Why does he bristle if he's asked anything but softball questions? and those at his leisure? yet still doesn't give definitive answers even to those?

    * Where is the "transparency" in this administration that we heard so much about? so far (less than a month in office) "transparency" has just been a word bandied about in a failed attempt to shore up his political image and crashing poll numbers. There's only so much mileage in repeating untruths, especially if crooks are repeatedly proffered as "preferred teammates" in running the show.

    * What valid reason prohibited even a few questions by the mainstream media of the caliber of the man when viewed in the light of the questionable and low moral character of his numerous associates? Was there, perhaps, no "valid reason" -- only collusion?

    * He has consistently castigated and belittled average Americans from all walks of life (often) in his previous efforts to appear most appealing (to whatever group to whom he was speaking at the time), so just how many campaign promises should we realistically expect will be kept? are TWO too many? and which ones do we choose? Oh, I forgot, he's already railroading us on the murder of our future citizens (pro-abortion) and killing our economy (with this massive government-waste plan).
In short, the President is a shyster on all counts. I have yet to find one thing with which he has enough experience to make an intelligent decision about. He has snowed the world (and our nation) with his empty rhetoric, platitudes, and idol-like messiah complex.

Until the results of this past election cycle came in, I didn't realize "mystique" and "rhetoric" had the slightest chance at trouncing "ethics" and "administrative experience" so soundly. What a pathetic commentary on the general lack of intelligence and objectivity of the citizens of our once-great nation. I will be surprised if he can muddle through the next four years without ruining our nation.


P.S. I was just thinking, we're stuck with him for four years unless, of course, some poor deluded soul kills (or attempts to kill) him; then we'll have a new "National Martyr/Hero" of epic proportions -- imagine the combined worship of past heroes and idealization of the world's worst dictators. That outcome would be worse than letting him run his course -- and be the root of his own demise.