June 2007 - Posts
1. The British defused a car bomb in London near Piccadilly Circus. You'll probably read over this without much thought, so I'll say it again. The British defused a car bomb in London near Piccadilly Circus.
2. I just read an hilarious account of an Amish woman who was shot in the head with a pellet gun by her sister in the "summer of '73". Unfortunately, it contains some mild language (which is odd because I don't picture Amish people cursing), so I won't link to it. But I will share my favorite part: "Ohhh GREAT!!! Now you're gonna get it. You just WAIT til Mama hears you shot me in the head!! Stomping out to garage ..."
3. I'd like to have a tattoo. Once I considered getting Calvin from "Calvin & Hobbes" walking with determination, holding stuffed Hobbes and dragging an M60 machinegun by the barrel. But I chickened out.
4. Did Superman ever get tired of saving people? Did he ever say, "A school bus is stuck on a bridge again? Do these people ever learn?" I think he did. What a wuss.
5. OK. Here's the plan for the weekend. Tonight, take my wife and daughter out for dinner. Wake up early tomorrow morning and drive to North Carolina to pick up Bubba and Butch. Drive back in time to help distribute flyers for Vacation Bible School. Clear some brush behind the church building. Drive to Cades Cove and hike to Abrams Falls. Sunday morning, teach Sunday school and participate in worship service. Eat lunch at Mom and Dad's. Swim. Go to church again. Whew, I'm already tired.
6. Have a blessed weekend. Free Prose Friday is a tad short today because of some drama that doesn't need mentioning. Get outside. Even if you just sit on the porch and chat with neighbors, get outside. See you on Monday. Peace.
When will we have a session of Congress where the senators and representatives show up and say, "You know what? There are already enough laws, programs and entitlements on the books. We're going to do nothing -- absolutely nothing"?
We have a wonderful milk company in East Tennessee. The milk is rich, sweet and smooth; and the icecream is even more sinful. I've travelled the world and the one thing that brings me back to East Tennessee is Mayfield milk [link]. Don't even try to convince me that your second-rate, regional milk producer is superior. Anything other than Mayfield milk is snot. I know. So, I was disappointed this week to hear that our milk prices are going up.
My family goes through about three or four gallons a week. It goes with Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, oatmeal, pancakes, pizza, chocolate cake ... well, you get the point. My older son drinks milk with nearly every meal. We've come to believe that his milk mustache is stained on his upper lip permanently. Therefore, a milk price increase is going to hit my wallet relatively hard.
What could possibly cause an increase? That's right. The meddling government.
You see, the government -- our benevolent nanny -- is subsidizing ethanol production. The subsidy has artificially inflated the price of corn. What that means is that the only people benefiting from the ethanol production are corn growers and ethanol producers. The rest of us lose.
The government gets involved. Corn prices go up artificially. Dairy farmers pay more for feed corn. And the increased costs are passed to consumers in the form of price increases. Therefore, my beloved milk is more expensive.
Oh, and if that isn't bad enough, did you know that there are 119 ethanol refineries in the U.S. with 77 under construction. Yet, my 1991 Civic uses gasoline! So how many oil refineries are there? There certainly aren't enough because gasoline is hovering around $3 a gallon with no hope of it coming down soon. And there have been no new ones built since 1976!
So the government -- our elected officials, mind you -- get involved in the form of subsidies and my milk goes up. And then they get involved in the form of EPA regulations and permits and my gas goes up. For crying out loud! Arrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh!!!!
Next time, I'm voting for a lazy procrastinator. Run on that ticket and you have my vote.
Note how your eyes are drawn to the man sitting at the table and pointing to himself. This man is the Apostle Matthew. Jesus and Peter have entered the room from the right. Jesus and Peter are clothed in their real time period; however, Matthew and his companions are dressed in the attire of Caravaggio's contemporaries. Therefore, Caravaggio's viewers would have been drawn into this evangelical story.
Jesus is painted in the shadows. He is coming out of the darkness. The emphasis is not placed on the divine as was common in artwork during this time period. The emphasis is placed on the humanity, the sinful Matthew. Christ points with a hand that is reminiscent of Adam's hand in Michelangelo's fresco on the Sistine Chapel.
Surprisingly, the glowing light is not coming from the window; it appears to be coming from above Jesus. The light shines on the faces of ALL the men sitting at the table. However, only Matthew looks at Jesus. The two to the left of Matthew are studying Peter. The men to Matthew's right are oblivious to the visitors; they are more preoccupied with the money.
Look closely and you will realize that Matthew has one hand on his money. This snap shot captures the moment Matthew must make a decision. Which master will he choose: God or money?
From his strong Catholic beliefs, it is no coincidence that Caravaggio paints Peter standing between Christ and the people at the table. It is with Peter that Christ established his Church. The Catholics taught that the Church is the mediator between God and men. However, Matthew is looking straight at Jesus, where I believe we should all look.
... Was my mind slapping shut.
Today, I have writer's block -- or maybe it's writer's don't-give-a-pooh. There is so, so much to write about, but I just don't care. I think I have the blahs because of the looming Mexican amnesty bill.
But there is an interesting discussion going on in the Son of Liberty forums (click the link in the margin) about the Civil War. I have kept my distance and read from the sidelines because I haven't had anything to add. Today, I have something. And here it is:
There was a movement in England in the late 1700s to abolish the transatlantic trade of slaves. The conditions on the ships and at the ports were atrocious. Families were divided; men, women and children were shackled together in the 'tween decks for months; and large numbers of humans died terrible deaths of starvation and infection. Anti-slavery politician and Christian, William Wilberforce [link], said, "So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [slave] trade's wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition."
Since the beginning of the United States, the issue of slavery has been debated. Many of our founding fathers recognized that it was a contradiction to say that all men were born free with rights bestowed by God, yet they continued to own slaves that drove the horrible transatlantic market (see George Washington).
We can debate until we're blue in the face what the Civil War was really about. We can attempt to reason like a 19th Century citizen of the U.S., or we can look at our ancestors and judge them in light of 21st-Century reason. But one thing we can't dispute is that the war was the beginning of the end of the transatlantic atrocity.
Maybe Wesley is right when he says that God was for neither side. God's Word doesn't say that slavery is wrong. In fact, God has commands for slaves. But he also has specific guidelines for masters of slaves; and killing them on the high seas in their own *** breaks his rules. Unfortunately, it took a war between fellow countrymen to effect abolition in the U.S.
Hear, ye. Hear, ye. Hear, ye.
First-born children are smarter. On average, they score 2.3 IQ points higher than their younger siblings. [link]
That is all. Carry on.
My good acquaintance, Mark Rose, sometimes has a moment that shatters the minutiae of my daily grind. On Saturday, June 23, he had one such moment and was kind enough to share it with the world. You can read it here [link].
One day, Mark will run for office and I will get him coffee and doughnuts. Until that day, I can only gaze in wonder.
Oh, yes...the classic phrase from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams...Great book for the ADD types...
Shaken's family had a great time at the Jamestown Quadricentennial last week...And loved learning history where the word "God" was actually used. What a concept. Didn't get a chance to meet many of the steeplemedia folks...boo. If you saw an Asian-looking momma with shades, aimlessly wandering with a temperamental 3 year old...chances are it was me. I didn't even get to meet Joe! Many of you don't realize that I have never met the man in person. He could be fat, hairy, beast with tentacles...and I still wouldn't know the difference. Joe, I hope your family is fairing well...
Shaken' will be writing (venting) some prophetic comments very soon...Until then...A Babel fish will need to be inserted into the ears of all US citizens to understand what our legislators are spouting these days. Oy vay.
1. Yesterday, June 21, was the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. From here until December 22, the days only get shorter. Or, if you're the glass-is-half-full type of person, the nights get longer!
2. I've received several emails this week with quotes or words of wisdom after the signature block. Someone please explain that to me. I just don't get it. What does a quote by Mark Twain have to do with your identity?
3. There are two proven ways to increase your testosterone level naturally: First, exercise large muscle groups like those in your legs. Or you can read this blog for 30 seconds a day.
4. Even though I was up against a hard deadline to respond, yesterday's interview with BJ was genius. Read it here [link].
5. My commencement address was a flaming disaster. I've missed the deadline. And, by now, our recent graduates are either in the state penetentiary or working 3rd shift as spitoon cleaners because of my tardiness. In hope that we can still save a few, I give you these bullet points from the speech and commit to have it completed by May 2008.
Wear a watch. A watch on your wrist is a sign that you are actively participating in this world of ours.
Don't be stupid. We all know stupid people. Don't be like them.
Don't draw your gun unless you're going to shoot. You'll lose credibility if you just wave your gun around and don't act.
Let your work ethic define who you are. Whatever you do in this world after this speech, excel at it.
6. Have a glorious weekend. Get outdoors. Go see a cave, or waterfall or something. Don't be content to sit inside and loaf. I'll be with a large group of boys at a Cub Scout day camp tomorrow enjoying the sunshine and adventure. See you on Monday.
Many times we distinguish between opposites: day and night; up and down; right and left; etc. However, there is no opposite of God. No fully evil deity with all power exists. God stands alone. There is no yin and yang; no balance of power. God stands at the top with no one near him.
This picture is no where better portrayed than when God asks Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job?" Satan replies, "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?" God was in complete control.
As we read through Revelation, we see that it is God who "set the times or days by his own authority." God's scroll is passed to the Lamb who determines when to break the seals.
"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:17)
... And substitute my own.
How can people vote for a man that lives in an alternate reality? Mormon and Governor Mitt Romney, according to many polls, holds about ten percent of the GOP vote. Ten percent for a man that has to believe some really wacky stuff! If he is as devoutly Mormon as we are led to believe in the media, then he has to believe that the Book of Mormon is a true record of historical fact.
The Book of Mormon says that a group of Middle Eastern peoples migrated to the Americas at the time of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-10), and then two other groups migrated between the times of the Assyrian and Babylonian conquest of Israel and Judah. The first group died out in upper-state New York. The other groups were flourishing civilizations that wrote in Hebrew and Egyptian, used bows, arrows and metal shields in battle, domesticated all types of livestock and used silver and gold coins. It is very specific, saying that the peoples harvested barley, rode camels, and built synagogues and temples.
Yet, archaeologists and scholars have never unearthed one shred of evidence that proves that any of these events even took place. The Smithsonian Institute has gone as far as publishing a form letter because of rumors that they had used the book as a guidebook. It reads, "archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book [of Mormon]." It continues by saying "none of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars."
When I'm about to throw my hands in the air and walk away from political news and its audience altogether, a lightbulb goes off. A portion of the population also lives in an alternate universe where the U.S. government blew up the World Trade Center towers. So, it all starts to become clear. We have visitors from another universe -- one that is drastically different and lacking common sense. Then, the question that begs to be answered is this: Are they here legally or are we going to have to give them amnesty, too?
"Science ... is neither prophetic nor moralistic. It is simply an approach to acquiring knowledge." [link]
Pictured above is the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK. It was designed in 1676 by Sir Christopher Wren and construction was completed in 1695. Wren designed every aspect of the library including the large windows that allow plenty of lighting to enter and even the furniture inside.
Besides the architecture and history of the library, what is most impressive is the collection held inside. According to the official website and Wikipedia.org, the library contains many rare books and manuscripts including the following:
- Isaac Newton's first edition copy of Principia Mathematica with handwritten notes.
- An Eighth Century copy of the Epistles of St. Paul.
- A. A. Milne's autograph copy of Winnie-the-Pooh
- A couple of Caxton Bibles.
- Handwritten notes by Robert Oppenheimer describing the "Trinity" atomic bomb test in New Mexico.
Trinity College website
Now that the treasure hunt is over, let's get back to a little normalcy around here: Global climate change!
On Sunday, June 10, I ate lunch at Krystal. You know? Fresh, hot, small, square? I had left Otter and Mrs. Napalm at the hospital to grab quick bite to eat. While sitting at a window seat, I overheard three women and one man dressed in Sunday-church attire discussing global warming. It piqued my interest because I was interested to hear the logic and reason about the subject from unknown, fellow churchgoers. Otherwise, if it had been non-churchgoers, I would have written off their worldview becuase I've heard it ad nauseum on TV and radio and would have gone back to my internal soundtrack and monologue.
After about ten minutes of discussion, the group came to a conclusion. It was summed up by the woman sitting closer to me. She said, "2012! That's in my lifetime. And that's a little scary." Sigh. Sure, I could've donned the Napalm cape and jumped in to save the poor, witless citizens. But my A-game was at home in bed after only four hours of sleep and the cape was still packed in the overnight bag in Room 227 at the hospital.
You see, the World Wide Fund for Nature has warned that Earth is "just five years away from climate change catastrophe" [link]. And the lady at Krystal was just regurgitating that nonsense while the others nodded like bobble-head dolls. They left in a funk, not from the cheesy goodness on the gooey sliders, but because global warming was just too depressing for them.
So, as a member and soldier of the Liberty Forward Army, how should we react to tales of global temperature disaster and climate catastrophe? The best way is to shout, "Yippee!" from your rooftop. For our slightly duller members a high five or subdued fist pump is also acceptable.
Luke 21:25-28 (NIV) says "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars."
On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
So, next time you overhear someone speaking of arctic icecaps melting, polar bears drowning, drought and powerful hurricanes, throw your hands in the air and shout, "Hallelujah! Time to go home!"
Now that the hunt has passed, I reflect back and give you this:
Top 5 Frustrations with the HuntTop 7 Enjoyments during the Hunt
5. Obscure answers or unclear methods in obtaining the answer, especially in stage 1 and 2 of the hunt
4. Anagrams (Joe and I hate anagrams)
3. The very late night at the end of phase 2 (however, it generated great conversation at church the next day, or should I say that same day)
2. Not knowing why we were eliminated in phase 3
1. Not being able to spend more time with everyone (this is situational for us, the Napalm crew)
7. The concept of a treasure with 400 gold coins
6. The plot line woven throughout the hunt
5. Walking around Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg
4. Learning about historical figures and facts not commonly found in a textbook (for example, did you know that William Nelson’s monument at Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown had structural damage and Helen Keller help them read the nearly undecipherable top ledger)
3. Spending family time with Joe and his two boys (either at the computer or during the trip to Virginia)
2. Meeting all the families in person and on the internet
1. Seeing Joe sit down with Peabody on D.O.G Street (I still wish I had taken a picture)
Next page »
I normally don't like to blog on Sunday. But this was handed to me today and was an inspiration and encouragement. These are the words of Mr. Maynard Nordmoe, the Principal of Christian Family Cooperative and close family friend.
"When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, 'Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live.'" - Proverbs 4:2-4
If you read the Scripture at the top, you probably agreed in your heart that it is a very good model of how things are supposed to be. Yet, how many of us had dads who did this, who took us aside and spoke tender words in comfort and wisdom into our souls? Precious few, I suspect. I never experienced that. But at least he was there in my life, a rugged block of a man who knew hard labor as his busniess and faithfulness as his duty. We celebrated father's day last Sunday, which always makes the card companies happy and means that I might get to make a request for dinner. But as a nation, we evidently are doing a pitiful job of appreciating the role that fathers play.
Kathleen Parker reports that "a 1999 study of how fathers were presented in 102 primetime TV shows, the National Fatherhood Initiative found only four in which a father was portrayed as present and involved in his children's lives." You know the typical drama. Dad is a bumbling fool at best or absent and hopeless at worst. And "at the same time little boys and girls are seeing bad, dumb daddies on TV, more that a third don't live with their own father, owing either to divorce or single motherhood." And yet we know "study after study shows an association between fatherlessness and a wide range of social pathologies, including drug abuse, promiscuity and deliquency."
Fathers do have a strong influence upon the lives of children even if they are not chiseled from the Book of Proverbs. Susan Estrich wrote a tearful testimonial last week about how her father was far from perfect. "He smoked and drank and married the wrong woman. He went months without seeing me. He didn't buy me presents or pay my tuition. ...But I loved him so." Thirty years later she still misses him.
But when the dad-role is played well, it can have a huge impact upon families. As a man, I often thought my influence was rather minimal when walking in the door at the end of a day to see the whirl of family activity going on about me. I did not cook the meal on the table, clean the house, wash any of the clothes, or help anybody with the homework of the day. I possessed only a fraction of my wife's knowledge of the world in which my children moved and had their being. But to think I did not matter is a totally false and deprecating assumption. Theodore Roosevelt called the Presidency of the United States a "bully pulpit" for he rightly knew that the words he spoke from it would echo near and far. The high and holy position of "father" is also a "bully pulpit" as well that begs to be used for good.
Roosevelt's father spoke these words into his young son's life as he was going off to college: "Take care of your morals first, your health next, and finally your studies." Theodore Roosevelt idolized his father and bound those words tightly to his heart. So much so, that his modern day biographer offered bemused wonder at Theodore's commitment to purity before marriage. How many young men go off to college today so challenged? Not long after, Roosevelt's father died and in his grief in pondering his future he wrote, "Oh Father, my Father, no words can tell how I shall miss your counsel and advice."
May you dads realize that you are standing on holy ground. Your daily footsteps leave imprints that will follow you in the lives of your children for generations to come. You are more than just a paycheck. Much, much more.
Mercy and Truth, Mr. Moe.