Monday, October 31, 2016

You thought perhaps I had run out of anything more to say. Not today.

Welcome back. Good to catch up with you today, on this Halloween observance, Monday, October 31, 2016. I saw a posting where this preacher fellow was obviously poking some fun at one of the popular modern interpretations of the Bible. He called out the name but I'm not. I do feel the same way about the liberties taken in that version, but since this funny jab had to do with a subject I'm very happy to discuss, here's how he said that particular version handled this verse, "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, because there is coffee." (John 16:33) I am aware that is not how that verse is presented in that translation. He was making a joke. And, since coffee, that is, for me, Community Coffee, does help make sense of this world, I thought I would share it. While that translation didn't really say that, it is called a thought for thought rendering of The Scriptures. It's very popular. Sadly, many of the texts are not even close to being true to the original language. The way I see it, the fellow reads the passage, thinks about it, and then renders it based on what he thinks. I don't know about you but when I go to God's Word I want to hear what God has to say, period, end of story. I've heard people who should know better talk about how this fellow's representation of truth has changed their lives. I know there's truth in his translation, however, much of it is not how the actual texts were breathed out. I'm all for making the clear rendering of the original texts as understandable as possible, but, never should there be any questions regarding thus says the Word of the Lord. Now you know what I think about it so I believe I will have me another cup of Community. Feel free to join me.

I believe we are planning on doing candy tonight. It will be the first time in many years. We will be using some wrapper type information with the handed out candy that promotes the Gospel and gives contact information for how to get in touch with our local assembly, (Church), if there should be a need for response and/or follow-up. You never know. The old missionary saying applies, "You can never take the Gospel to the wrong address." It's a way to share hope and what happens with the message is in God's hands. I shared before about a man on the porch of a Church who was obviously in a bad situation and on the wrong path in life. The pastor pleaded with the man to consider giving his heart to God. The man became angry and grabbed the Gospel tract from the pastor and wadded it up and threw it in the trashcan and stormed off. The pastor uttered a prayer and returned to his duties. After midnight, the wayward man was under great conviction. He felt compelled to return to that Church. He walked miles to get there. He dug around and found that wadded up Gospel tract and he read it. His eyes burst with tears as he cried out to God to save him. He later returned to that Church and during the service, he came forward and shared how God had changed him, for time and eternity. See what I mean?

As I continue to play the game of chicken as I race towards the election due date, I heard a sitting Republican congressman make a comment and while I'm not quoting it exactly, it went something like this, "I will not support Donald Trump. I will not promote his candidacy. But, I will vote for him because Hillary is that bad. She will be very bad for our country." For him, that puts it into perspective. For me, it is another piece of information as I continue to prayerfully weigh my options. I thought it was a good explanation for his thinking. That's why I shared it with you. I could say I am leaning towards voting Republican but that would be the same as it has been for the past 50 plus years. I suppose the worst thing for me is the concept of having to say 'anyone but' as a way of making a choice. I know. I recently quoted the long term big money conservative donor who said it was the choice between cancer and having a heart attack. Some choice. Right? At any rate, the clock continues. Because tomorrow it will be November and November is when the election is held. I can tell you are not that impressed with my deductive reasoning and that's okay. I suppose it's like the long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs who reportedly said, "It won't be long now." You can discuss that one among yourselves if you like. Meanwhile, have a great rest of the day Monday, and may God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, October 28, 2016

"A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect." ~ copied, unattributed

I don't think anyone would argue just how coarse our society has become over the last fifty years. As the sociologists attempt to determine how we got to where we are today, I think maybe they should consider my input. That's what I'm mulling over this warm summer-like day on this Friday, October 28, 2016. That photo is part of my point. I actually remember flying back in the day when folks dressed in what was considered in those days to be appropriate attire. I'm not against the informal, but, the photo, while perhaps an overkill, does, in some ways, illustrate this sea change in what seems to be today's total lack of any modicum of consideration. This anything-goes mentality has bled over into every facet of life. We have those who have helped to tear down any and all barriers now decrying the lack of civility in our communication and in our interaction one with another. Is it any wonder? We now have the in-your-face, if-you-don't-like-it, I-don't-care approach to life. I agree. Life today is not very civil at all. Whatever happened to manners? Think about it. Road rage. Need I say more? It's like our entire society has joined the limbo dance line where we are working to see how low we can go. I'm not up on my soapbox, I'm just giving it to you like I see it. It's like the young woman I observed in the doctor's waiting room who wore a skirt so short she left little to the imagination. She sat there frantically pulling to make it longer while glaring at all the men in the room. Finally, a brave older fellow leaned over to her and told her that perhaps she should have given thought about her appearance before she left home. I see stuff every day on social media posted by those I know to be God fearing people. They have children on the same media system. Yet, they put explicit images up and quotes that use gutter language. Not, what about the children? But, what about their own children? The experts cry out: Whatever happened to decency? Whatever happened to any sense of decorum? The photo I used is intended as a metaphor. I report. You decide.

I am not saying we are living in the worst times ever in the history of our created world. It doesn't take a lot of research to know that from a historical perspective, life has been much more difficult in the past. Huge populations wiped out by plagues. The average lifespan of humanity fifty years or less. It is important to keep in mind the great accomplishments in medicine and in the quality of life considerations. Many theologians read what Jesus said about how things were when the flood came in Noah's day. He said that conditions would be similar when He would return at the end of the age. (See Matthew 24, and Luke 17) We know that sin was rampant in Noah's day. However, some point out that before the flood came, life was being lived out without recognition of, or respect for God. God had become irrelevant to the day by day pursuits of those living on the planet. In other words, they got up every day and went about their activities as if God did not exist. That may be a better understanding of how we got to where we are today than trying to link up some direct specific causes. Ambivalence. Neutral. Does it really matter? It does, my friend. The answer to the situation described in the first paragraph has to do with a return to God and His Word. A much-quoted verse from Proverbs is often misinterpreted. "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." (King James Version) Here's the meaning behind that verse as given in the Amplified Bible, "Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God]." Unrestrained. Got it? Food for thought on a Friday.

I promise I did not start out with a sermon in mind. Too bad I don't have some glossy 8x10 photographs signed by Jesus to send to those willing to make a donation today. Don't get all bent out of shape. That is a joke. I grew up listening to radio preachers late at night. They could really offer some strange items for those who wanted to participate in supporting their great ministry. (Which typically was going off the air if they didn't hear from folks that very week.) Sorry. I have to confess that I mostly was listening for the entertainment value because many of them were a parody in process. Sadly, gullible folks believed a lot of their rants and they likely sent for some of those items. You know. "It will not cost you one penny. Just send $1 dollar to cover the weight of the postal money order." I believe that one came from the late Southern comedian, Dave Gardner. Yes. I am aware there were good preachers on radio. I heard good preaching most of the time at the local fellowship where we attended, therefore, on the radio, I was only interested in hearing the comic and outlandish fellows. What's that? You think that might explain some things about me? Good. Then we did accomplish something today. Thanks for hanging in there with me and I do hope you have a great Saturday, and that Sunday, the Lord's Day, will find you and yours gathered at the meeting place to honor Him. Amen. .....More later.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Today's Fickle Finger of Fate Award goes to the Houston Texans.

Good morning and welcome to the early show, here on this channel, coming to you via the electronic impulses that fly here and there throughout the world wide web, on this Thursday edition, October 27, 2016. The Houston Texans are not a good NFL team. Their recent games are pretty much unwatchable. The local fan base thought coming out of an undefeated preseason, the next stop would be the Superbowl. Then J.J. Watt re-injured himself and is now out for the entire season. Then they discovered the $72 million, 6'-7+" quarterback may not be ready for prime time. I know it is easy to say after the fact, but, I said early on they are not so good. That didn't go over so well. It's not a told you so reflection. Folks are deflated like one of those collapsing air balloons because of the lack of on-field performance. In some ways, the Texans have become the butt of jokes around the league. The local folks are unmerciful. One Facebook posting declared there had been a $72 million dollar heist in Houston and they have few leads in what to do about it. How soon the Superbowl fever has faded. When Les Miles was unceremoniously fired from LSU, many of his ardent supporters lamented his departure. He did, after all, win 77% of his games while at LSU. Yet, three weeks later the team is winning and now the headlines read, 'This is not your Les Miles style of football'. The interim coach has become a superhero. And, so it goes. Win a few preseason games, sell a lot of merchandise, sell out all the home games, and then pretty much stink up the joint when it counts. No naysaying here, just some 'wake up and smell the coffee' observations to get our day started. Remember the old Mennen Skin Bracer commercial? When the guy was slapped in the face with some of the skin bracer he would always respond, "Thanks, I needed that."

I am officially designated as a Baby Boomer. That's because I was born in 1946, (part of the post-WW2 baby boom), and the first year of eligibility for that distinction. I suppose if I had been born a year earlier, 1945, I would have been in the last of those counted in the Greatest Generation. I sure didn't deserve to be connected to those who gave so much for our freedoms. I will admit that being in the very first year makes me somewhat of a transitional boomer. I not only like the sound of that, I thought it might explain a lot. The other day I saw a posting from a preacher that I am friends with on Facebook and he was attending a conference dealing specifically with ministering to Boomers. He is retired from being a senior pastor but on staff at a Church as the Senior Adult Minister. That translates into the older folks in case you are not familiar with the nomenclature. While at the conference he put up some photos of folks who were on the podium. He said he was there to learn from them because they were experts. Most of them had white hair. Wait just a minute here. This is what we have come to? Since the word 'boom' has to do with the sound made by an explosion, that means we who are designated as boomers are a part of a generation that exploded onto the scene. It seems like we woke up one day and found out that we have become the folks that require special ministry because of our age. As if I needed to be reminded. Here's a little quip I read from a child of boomers. These folks are referred to as Generation X: "If I had a dollar for every complaint about my generation by the Baby Boomers I would have enough to buy a house in the market they ruined." Respect. It's hard to get these days. Hard indeed!

I know I must come off at times as the opinionator at large. You know, one who mostly observes and comments on any and all things as opposed to doing something. I plead partly guilty to that characterization. While I do comment on a whole lot of stuff, I, when I have my head and heart in the right place, I do try, with God's help, to make a difference in the corner of the world where He has placed me. I've dealt with a lot of consultants in my business dealings over the years. I've even been a paid consultant at one time. I will tell you what people used to say about consultants. The joke was how those who can't do end up teaching others how to, as in consulting. I've met many of those who well mirrored that sentiment. I also did my best not to have that said about me. I'm not saying it wasn't said, but, I worked hard not to be what we used to call, an empty suit. That would be the equivalent of Paw Paw Mac's admonition for me to use my head for something other than a hatrack. I've said all of that to mostly fill up this last paragraph but it's to also remind myself how much easier it is to be a critic than it is to get off the sidelines and into the fray. However, someone mentioned to me that it would be a whole lot easier to endure a whole lot of insults if I knew I had $72 million coming to me. Now that my friend is what I call an astute observation. Take care now and enjoy the day that God has given. See you next time, Lord willing. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Conservative billionaire Charles Koch likened the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to a choice between cancer and a heart attack. ~ Time Magazine Online Edition, July 12, 2016

Good morning folks and welcome. It's that wonderful part of the week where some tend to get a lift out of it being halfway through the work week, hump day if you will. It is Wednesday, October 26, 2016, and I've decided not to bore you with a photo and quote from that camel that was at first a novelty and everyone liked him, then it was an over saturation when he was on so often it finally made folks want to run and hide, or at the very least, switch the channel. The wife informed me that she would very much like to vote early this year. She then asked me the pregnant question. How are we going to cast our vote this year? I felt terrible when I told her that I still didn't know for sure about the top of the ticket. We often vote straight Republican, not because we are impressed with the Republicans running, but mostly because of the continuing leftward slide of the Democrats, and we really don't have viable Independents to choose from. A straight ticket would include a vote for Trump and I am not yet able to reconcile that. She, of course, can vote her own conscience, however, we typically discuss and have traditionally voted the same way. Yes. I am very aware that time is slipping away. If I counted correctly, there are 13 days left before it will be the last day to make up my mind. My wife thinks I am a procrastinator by nature and practice but in this particular case, I plead insanity. I suppose the results will eventually finish the diagnosis, temporary or permanent.

I recall the angst when leftist women's groups ended up endorsing and supporting Bill Clinton. It appeared that his proven behavior with women was in direct opposition to all the principles they claimed to stand for. This all played out by their public lack of support for the women who had come forward, and how they not only failed to even acknowledge these ladies, but they went even further by endorsing Clinton. When asked, they said the issues were too important to allow these claims to interfere with their support. They reasoned about Supreme Court nominees, abortion rights, and other feminine causes at stake. The greater good was a stake, from their viewpoint. Fast forward to this year where the faith community is in many ways faced with a strikingly similar dilemma. Reports of reprehensible behavior must be set aside because of the same types of concerns. What will happen to any balance whatsoever if only left wing court nominees are appointed and liberal policies advanced? I really don't know what that says about core values or convictions but it does demonstrate the depravity involved in human rationalization. Who knew that pragmatism would become so popular? Just putting this out there, maybe as a way of explaining why I am still attempting to decide what to do. Maybe I needed it myself, again, for the first time. Or something like that. Thanks for indulging me.

Don't strain your eyes. The dates are 1961-63.
I don't consider myself to have any deep well thoughts, more like they are shallow pools fed by a multitude of independent thought springs. I know. That's a messed up description but I came up with it on my own, therefore, I think I will stick with it. It would not be the first time I've been underwater with my analogies. If there is a pun, you can be sure it was intended.This year's Future Farmers of America national meeting just concluded over this past weekend. I watched it off and on as it was pretty much covered gavel to gavel by RFD-TV, known as the farm channel. I am always encouraged hearing these kids do their speeches and to see so many of them receive recognition and awards for significant contributions in the agricultural world. I've said it before and I'll say it again, seeing the way in which these young men and women comport themselves gives hope for our future. It also gives me a good recollection of the time when I too proudly wore the jacket. I know. It was a long time ago. And, yes, I also know there's a reason I didn't zip up the jacket for the photo. I'm not certain the last time it was zipped up but I do know it hasn't been worn on a regular basis for more than 50 years. That would be reason enough for most people. Being in the FFA was good for me. Most of those medals on my jacket were achieved in test taking competitions. While we did live in a small rural town, our family didn't have farm animals milling about. However, I could read a book and take a test. I still remember that OIC was the abbreviated name for the hog breed, Ohio Improved Chester. That's a special breed of white hogs. I know some of you most likely didn't know that. I'm not sure that knowing that tidbit ever did much for me, but, I do know that all these years later I still love me some cured ham. I do. I really do. Enjoy the rest of your day and here's the FFA motto for us all to think about: "Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve." Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pausing to thank God for His provisions that help us to enjoy our journey here. Amen.

Date Night!
Good morning and welcome to the fray. I suppose I could have called it the frenzied fray because that's how many days are defined. It's Tuesday, October 25, 2016, and I am already into some wordplay to get us started. That word 'fray' has something to do with constant rubbing. As it relates to life, it might involve our nerves, stamina, or even our temper. Saying it is frenzied would indicate a situation wildly excited or uncontrolled. Bingo! I do think that often describes our day. Right? The other evening when the wife and I were out on date night for dinner and to take in the Celtic Thunder concert, I saw something very interesting. By the way, we had one of the best meals in our memory at a seafood place on our way. Everything was perfect. The food, the service, the entire experience. Back to the observation while at the concert. Sitting to the immediate left of the wife was an oriental fellow with his teenaged son. We were at an Irish music concert. It was outstanding. That oriental teenager was engrossed with the concert. He knew every song by heart. He knew all the orchestrations. He was either singing along or helping to direct every musical presentation. I thought to myself. Is this a great country or what? Here you have a young oriental American teenager who has fallen in love with Irish music. He wasn't distracting but he was enjoying. And, we did too. Very much. Maybe I can't extend that feeling to my convoluted walk back to the car in the underground garage. I may not have known where we were but at least I was in the correct garage. That helped a lot. Trust me. Again, what a blessing to have such a wonderful night out on the town with my bride of nearly 52 years. Amen.

So glad to see the Gerber Baby again!
We had good services Sunday morning at our local fellowship. On Sunday evening, the wife and I drove across the Houston metroplex to visit another Church. We went there to see the presentation of some mission works in Eastern Kenya, Africa. A young missionary family, the Straders, have come home on furlough after completing their first two years on the field. We got to know Bro. John, his wife Amber, and their little girl, Ellanora, before they left for their mission adventure. Bro. John had filled in at our local fellowship several times when we were without a senior pastor and we fell in love with these folks who have dedicated their lives to winning people to Christ. The testimonies they shared were encouraging. They are now assisting nine different Kenyan local assemblies who have their own pastors and operate largely on their own. Amber shared many one-on-one testimonies of leading people to Christ in the Swahili language. They had their fair share of cultural shock experiences and hardships to share but they also had some interesting things that could be instructive to us in this country. The people there spend time with each other. They greet each other. They talk to each other. It is their custom. If you go to the grocery store you might stop and visit with 50 or more people. The Straders have been reminded since returning how isolated we are from each other. We seem always to be in such a hurry, not wanting to risk making eye contact, much less, saying something. The presentations were great. Now the really good part. Ellanora. I dubbed her the Gerber Baby two years ago. She is now three and seeing on Facebook how she has become integrated into that culture there, well, it is nothing short of a blessing. And, as you can tell by the photo, I was very happy to see her in person, again. May God bless them as they continue to seek to serve Him. Amen.

Lest anyone think that we are living some kind of life where everything comes up daisies every single day, may I just let you know that we, individually, as a family, and as a part of a wider Church family, deal with burdens, challenges, hurts, and difficulties on most days. That, my friend, is a part of the fabric of life. Speaking for myself, I can think of many things that are of serious concern as they are constantly on my heart prompting me to seek God's intervention and direction. I just know that when He allows us to experience a blessing, we need to stop and to not only appreciate it, but, to also give Him the honor for it, and to thank Him. That's what I set out to do today. To thank Him for our Saturday date night. And I also want to thank Him for the joy of hearing about the work in Kenya and for the handful on purpose I felt with little Ellanora in my arms. The current praise song says, He is a good, good Father. And He is. Take care now, you hear? Enjoy your day and take these words with you as you go along, Psalm 5:11-12 "But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You.  For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield." Amen. ....More later.

Monday, October 24, 2016

"Speak only if it improves on the silence." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Top of the morning to one and all as I return to the scene for installment number 2422. Just think, if I was paid anything at all for this daily exercise in futility, I would likely be retired by now. Wait a minute. I am retired. But, you do make a point since I also still have a full-time job. That makes me a card carrying retiree, a regular employee, and a seasonal Santa, all wrapped up in one. What a combination and what a way to get us started off on this brand new work week here on this Monday, October 24, 2016. Don't take all of that too seriously since it is mostly what used to be called boilerplate, as in a placeholder, why I try to come up with something of interest to occupy our time together. Real metal boilerplate is the steel that is stamped out and used on the hulls of ships. In the world of communication, it became a nickname for a unit of writing that can be used over and over again. It is often stuff that you see in press releases. Yeah. I'm still stalling here, but, not to worry, I will get there. That's the goal. Not having anything pertinent has never been an impediment before. You might categorize it as nonsense but you may not recognize that as a compliment. Here's what Wikipedia reveals, "Nonsense is a communication, via speech, writing, or any other symbolic system, that lacks any coherent meaning. Sometimes in ordinary usage, nonsense is synonymous with absurdity or the ridiculous. Many poets, novelists, and songwriters have used nonsense in their works, often creating entire works using it for reasons ranging from pure comic amusement or satire to illustrating a point about language or reasoning. In the philosophy of language and philosophy of science, nonsense is distinguished from sense or meaningfulness, and attempts have been made to come up with a coherent and consistent method of distinguishing sense from nonsense." I suppose I'm known by the company I keep.

Seeing vintage photos posted on Facebook including old ads, scenic vistas from yesteryear, and other types of memorabilia does produce its intended effect. Nostalgia. I'm a sucker for it. That nostalgic feeling is defined as a sentimental or wistful yearning for the happiness felt in a former place, time, or situation. It might even be a form of escapism, since, in my situation, the memory may not be based on an actual recollection. It could be a combination of day dreaming and the 'good old days' syndrome if you will. At times I've attempted to do a more thorough analysis of the good feeling prompted by a photo or memory. It's really easy for us to see scenes from the past and to romanticize them. I remember as a kid how we loved role playing of cowboys and Indians. It was all so much fun. Later, I began to read real-life accounts of what it was like to live during those times. Not so much fun. In fact, often it was breathtakingly severe and brutal. I'm not planning on setting aside my wistful walks down memory lane but I also know that it's important to balance it all with the reality of truth. I think most of us yearn for a simpler time when life was less complex and challenging. I'm pretty sure that if we could go back to relive a memory we would discover folks who felt like that time was, in their experience, complex and challenging. Note to self: Enjoy all those doctored up memories but keep in mind how that you can only impact your world in the here and now: "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16)

When can you tell if I really have something to say or I'm just filling in the blanks? I'm not allowed to give away any trade secrets here. I'm just as surprised as anyone else when I look at a blank electronic page and after some amount of wailing, gnashing, mixing and matching, I look up, and I have filled up that page. I'm not necessarily proud of this but I often have people tell me how much they enjoyed today's blog, but, I have to ask them what I wrote about. I think it's because I am writing so many of them at the same time in my mind. Once I learn what I wrote about I can then give some insight into where it came from. Or, I can at least try. I could say it is a labor of love, however, that might be a tad too strong. I must enjoy doing them. I would guess that to be true because, I suppose without being too philosophical, they have become a part of who I am. Whoa! That sounds really heavy to me. Speaking of heavy, I think I have finally recovered from my recent spontaneous weight lifting competition. In that stunt, I was the only competitor and while I won the immediate challenge, it had the last laugh as it wearied me for the past 10 days. It's always good to get something like that in your rearview mirror. What do we call things like that? A learning experience. Time will tell if that lesson has been applied. I started out the day with nothing in particular to write about. I now come to the end with words that prove that premise. Maybe tomorrow. Until then, may God bless each one. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, October 21, 2016

“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad, For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.” ― G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

You might recall that Norad tracking radar to let kids know how soon Santa might visit their area. Well, I'm trying to do something similar in tracking this cold front. I need to stay on top of it because they tell us it will only be with us for 48 hours. After that, we go back to the heat and humidity. This means we need to fully capitalize on the 48 hours by doing our best to catch as many breaths of fresh air as we can. Cool air, at that. At last check, we were down to 58 degrees here and that made for a very pleasant ride in with my window down. As you can tell, a smidgen of cooler air is front and center as I sit here with the office door wide open, sipping on my Community on this Friday, October 21, 2016. Lord willing, the wife and I plan to attend the Celtic Thunder concert in downtown Houston tomorrow evening. No. I am not into boy bands. But I do love the Irish music and the great harmonies produced by these singers. We've been following the current group approach on the PBS specials since their American debut back in 2008. Their numerous compilations of songs released on video and CD have consistently ranked high in Billboard sales tracking. We've never seen them in person so we are looking forward to our night out on the town. Literally. The theater is actually just a few blocks from the place I called my home away from home for close to 24 years. (The hours I spent at that place most likely made it close to 40 years.) Back when I worked downtown I could have eaten out an entire week for the current cost of parking. I'll do my best to get ready to enjoy this little adventure and perhaps this little Irish blessing will help. "May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door." (Traditional, unattributed)

My first cousin over in Georgia died of pancreatic cancer last year. He was the son of my real dad's twin brother. The two of us tried over a number of years to piece together some of our family history. For us, it did not go like those commercials on TV where they put in a person's name and suddenly an entire genealogy pops up. My cousin's daughter has now taken up the effort. We have messaged forth and back where I've attempted to share my stuff along with some encouragement. She will need it. I sent her the file I had accumulated. She recently participated in the DNA analysis program offered through the largest genealogical services company. She shared the results with me. Based on her report, we are 100% European and the highest percentage makes us most likely from Great Britain which would include Scotland and Wales with Ireland next in line. The lady I exchanged a lot of information with several years ago who was secondarily tracing our family had located some of our ancestors as far back as Colonial times and had perhaps located the ship some had come over on. She also was working to confirm information about several of our people and their participation in the Revolutionary War and in the Civil War. I pretty much wore myself down trying to uncover facts about our family history but I'm glad that we now have a younger set of eyes to look at everything. I know as a family we are not unique, but, based on my efforts, there seemed to be more mysteries than there were answers. I wish her well and look forward to seeing what she can come up with. You know. We all need a list of those who preceded us. If for no other reason, so that we can blame them for the mess we have made out of things. (Joking only.)

What a week! I'm doing better physically as I seek to overcome that self-inflicted problem that I am not allowed to complain about. I do hate it when my own rules complicate my ability to sound off. The good news is that I can talk all I want to about it as I drive down the road all by myself. Folks spot me all lathered up and carried away and figure I have one of those Bluetooth hands-free smartphones. You know. They think I must be taking care of a business deal or talking to a family member. Not even close! I am well aware there are behavioral studies that report on people who talk to themselves. If they ever decide to use me as a subject, they may want to show up early and stay all day. And, yes, I also know the old joke about it not being a problem until you start answering when you talk to yourself. How crazy is that? Why would I ask myself a question if I wasn't interested in the answer? Yep. They should plan on staying late if they are going to get to the bottom of my problems. I've said all of that just to say how much I have enjoyed our time together this week. It has been therapeutic. I threw that in just to keep you guessing about my psychological status. You might as well be confused too. Thanks for tuning in. I do know this about next week. If the Lord Jesus doesn't come back and call me up to meet Him in the air, I will do my best, with His help, to show back up come next Monday. (1st Thessalonians, Chapter 4) Until then, may God help each one. Go ahead. Enjoy your Saturday and Lord's Day Sunday. Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

“A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

It really is. Thursday. Already? Alrighty! I think it may have slipped up on me but I'll take it. This one is identified as October 20, 2016. I've made it clear that I haven't decided what I will do with my presidential vote this year. While many think that's heresy, it's where I am. However, I do clearly understand Mr. Trump's claims about the system being rigged. It may not be the traditional polling of dead people in the cemetery, although that has always gone on, but, my take says that in general, it's rigged at the very highest of levels. When those who control 80% or more of all media sources pick their choice and then report the news and filter all other forms of coverage based on that choice, well, it turns out to end up guaranteeing an uneven playing field. Rigged. The revelations coming out of these leaked emails should be devastating to the Clinton campaign. They are not. The media cabal has decided since they were obtained illegally they will look the other way. Clinton doesn't say they are not true and the media doesn't say they are not true, but, essentially, they present a 'there's nothing to see here' approach. They haven't acted in that way regarding other leaked information. But, because of their predetermined choice in this election cycle, they have consistently acted to stonewall any negative information concerning the Clintons. Rigged. Back in the day, many elections were determined by the powerful elites operating in smoke-filled rooms. Today we see something slightly different. The political elite, the media elite, and the liberal establishment have joined forces to do what they can to determine the outcome they desire. I can see that. They say it isn't true. They say they are shocked by Mr. Trump's allegations. I would tell them to take their feigned outrage somewhere else. Any thoughtful person can see what's going on. Rigged. Rigged. Rigged.

Just because I at this time do not have a dog in this hunt doesn't mean I can't see exactly what is going on. Let me quickly add, this is not a new situation. There have always been powerful influences on all sides of the political spectrum that have attempted to have it their way in an election. However, this use of the media is so blatant in terms of a capitulation of any iota of journalistic integrity, it makes one want to throw up. Here's an example. The New York Times was gleeful to get their hands on an anonymously leaked portion of Mr. Trump's tax records where he took a huge write off for a business loss. They took that leaked tax information and then attempted to project what it could mean in terms of his later returns. They went to the mat to evaluate and speculate on this leaked documentation. Not so with the continuing saga of Clinton-related emails.  If nothing else, the Clinton emails establish clear collusion between the government, the Clinton campaign, and their media partners. Yet, we do not see any detailed analysis of these leaked documents. Mr. Trump's leaked tax records were deemed to be critical to informing the public. The Clinton emails merited only a yawn. Tell me there's not something rotten in Denmark!

What you have here is another drive-by assessment brought to you by the fellow who beats and bangs the keyboard to produce these daily episodes. It sounds like I am favoring one candidate over the other. I've made it crystal clear that I can not, under any circumstances, vote for Hillary Clinton. However, I am not a Donald Trump supporter. I'm not. I really am conflicted about what I will end up doing. Yet, I can see what's going on. Trust me, there's enough corruption on all sides. But, when you have this unprecedented collusion between all these powerful influences, well, the future begins to be scary. But, I remind us all that it's always scary if we see it without God. He brings the clarity of hope to our vision. As many have said, the day after the election He will still be God and He will still be Sovereign over all things. And, His love for His own will continue. That we can be sure of. That we can base our hopes and dreams on. As I wrote this paragraph a particular couplet from one of the Psalms came to mind, "Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them;..." (Psalm 146: Verses 3-6) I think that settles it. In fact, I'm certain that settles it. Take care and may God bless us all and may He especially bless our nation that we love. Amen. ....More later.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Been there, done that, but then I went back and did it again because I am a slow learner." ~ copied

Good morning and welcome to Wednesday, October 19, 2016. While I may be 70 years old, I am still capable of doing some pretty stupid things. Last Friday I picked up something I shouldn't have. It was way too heavy. Once I got it up I refused to sit it down until I carried it to its destination. That was not very smart. It didn't immediately cause me a lot of grief but on Saturday afternoon I suddenly had the feeling that I had been run over by a freight train. It took me a little while to connect the dots because of the delayed reaction but once I did I had to remember the rule I gave to our boys growing up. You can't complain about self-inflicted problems. By the way, that didn't keep it from hurting like I had been beaten with a tire tool. My wife is always very clear in her assessment. Her analysis, "Stuff like that infuriates me." I told her that I would do my best to not do that one again. You know. The old Hee Haw joke. "Doctor, it hurts when I do this." The doctor responds, "Well, then don't do it!" I am happy to report that I am some better. Some. There's enough pain left to keep my promise to do better very much on the front burner. But, the pain is fading. You know. The medical folks always ask how much pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Where I come from the scale was, it hurts like old billy heck down to a dull roar. The fact that I am getting better makes me thankful. And, yes, I did thank God for that but even though I felt like I should, I haven't apologized to Him for not using my head for something other than a hat rack. (That's how Paw Paw used to put it.)

They tell us that an even stronger cold front will be here by Friday. Yesterday, the high temperature in one location in the general area was 94. Yikes, it's only 12 days until November. I saw that front pictured on the national weather map. It's still some ways off. You can go ahead and pull out a sweater if you want to, but, I think I will wait it out. We hear about conspiracy theories every day in the political world. Well, what about the conspiratorial efforts being put forth by the weather people? They are hawking this one: "We could be in the upper 40's by Saturday morning." I've got a response to that. What about the 'unexpected wind shift', 'the slow down of the system', or 'it ran out of steam before it got here' excuses. Sorry. But, I've been at this a long time. To add injury to insult they are encouraging people to look forward to sitting outside in the cool air while enjoying their coffee. Now they have moved into the meddling territory and they might well hope their projections do come true. If not, we all know what will happen. They will be back in their same slot selling the same stuff next week. Sorry. I just felt like these things needed to be aired again, for the umpteenth time. One site that gave a lot of the technical gobbly gook for why forecasters get it wrong did add an interesting caveat. It had to do with the forecaster doing a little wishcasting instead of sticking to the proven models. Ah ha! Wishcasting. Don't say I didn't tell you. And I add for our enlightenment, my insight, the selling of sweaters and jackets.

That's all in fun because when all else fails we can always complain about the weather and those who do the forecasting. Here are a few weather related funnies from the Readers Digest website to end our time together for today. ~  "As we waited for a bus in the frosty weather, the woman next to me mentioned that she makes a lot of mistakes when texting in the cold. I nodded knowingly. 'It’s the early signs of typothermia.'" Phil Noyes, Yakima, Washington ~ "How hot was it? It was so hot in Beverly Hills, people were frying egg whites on the sidewalk." Comedian Matt Wohlfarth ~ "It’s been raining so much in Los Angeles that the Chia Pet I threw in the garbage is now blocking my entire driveway." Jay Leno ~ "Why does moisture destroy leather? When it’s raining, cows don’t go up to the farmhouse yelling, 'Let us in! We’re all wearing leather! We’re going to ruin the whole outfit here!'" Jerry Seinfeld ~ "Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation." Kin Hubbard ~ I think I certainly prove the last point in my rantings about weather prognosticators. But, that's just me. I do hope you have a most wonderful rest of the day. Be careful out there. Some of that stuff is too heavy. May God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

“The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Yep. It's Howdy Doody time so let's get this show on the road. We are working on this day, Tuesday, October 18, 2016. It showed up right after midnight, therefore, we need to see what we can do with it. You learn things when you go to a craft show. I was there to provide free photos with Santa but you can certainly observe a lot if you are watching. One thing jumped out at me. Ladies spend hours walking around, looking, and with little to show for their effort. I suppose they were doing what Granny Mac used to call it, "Pinching the calico." Hours. Where I was set up I had a ladies sewing club ministry right across from me. There were between 6 and 8 older ladies and I heard from them. Often. All day long. I found out what sewing club ladies do. They talk. Let me try to help you understand this. They tell us that ladies are more talkative. They typically speak some 20,000 words per day. Men, by contrast, do about 7,000. I'll be conservative here. Six ladies at 20,000 equal 120,000 words. I had no interest in using up my 7,000, although, they did their best to drag as many out of me as possible. That was interesting. I do admire the work they do. They take donated material and turn it into all kinds of quilts, scarves, doilies, potholders, and numerous other objects. They use the funds to support many needy causes. And, they talk. Women are resourceful. I guess they do listen at times because I read about an older lady who had double paned windows installed in her home. Many months lady the installer called asking why she had never paid the bill. The lady set him straight. She told him the sales guy made it crystal clear that these windows would pay for themselves within the first year. (I was at the craft show strictly as a volunteer from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. I didn't peruse any of the venues because I had zero interest in what they were selling. Sorry. I do appreciate our ladies using this program to raise funds for benevolent activities but it's just not my thing. I am 100% sure that I am unanimous in that perspective.)

Craft Person Extraordinaire, Mom Rawles.
My wife was out of town, therefore, we didn't end up with a new thingamabob that we just had to have. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against craft shows and I do know our ladies have raised thousands over the years used to support missionaries and other ministries. I also admire those who brought items to the show. In response to a question, I heard a lady say that she had made every item on display. She was near my station so I can testify to the fact that she had literally hundreds of items for sale. She had been a busy lady. The wife's mother, the late Mom Rawles, was a master craft maker. Her hands were amazing in sewing or in the making of about anything she put her mind to. On top of that, she was fast. I've watched her make things and honestly her hands were a blur. As they would have said back home, "That woman can sew up a storm." And, she could. We still have many examples of her clever handiwork. I'm okay with homemade, but, that doesn't mean I would go to a craft show to find something. The thing that was uncanny about Mom Rawles is how she could see something when she was out and about, and then she would figure out how to replicate it from scratch at home. If you ever stay in our home you will likely have one of her quilts on your bed. Now that is what I call a legacy because her memory lives on as we recall her great talent. And, she could do all those things and still be as Godly a woman as I have ever known. Amen.

I've made it clear many times that I've never been able to use any of those mother-in-law jokes that everyone likes so much. I've heard plenty. You know. Like the fellow who said he had mixed feelings because his mother-in-law had driven his new Cadillac off the cliff. Nothing like that for me. I know I was blessed beyond measure with my in-laws but I've been around enough folks to know that is not always the case. I've worked with fellows throughout my time here that were literally tied in knots because of their difficult relationship with their in-laws. I'm glad to say I've never experienced that. I don't think the wife has with my folks either. My father-in-law was always one of my most ardent supporters and encouragers. Believe me, I'm not bragging. Just stating the facts and along with it, calling it as what it really has been in our lives, a blessing from above. What an encouragement to know that your in-laws are calling out your name to our heavenly Father. My in-laws have gone on to their heavenly home. I do hope they knew how much they meant to me while they were still here. I did try to let them know that. We all should do that. The old saying about giving flowers while they are here is applicable. Thinking about all of these folks gives me a warm feeling of thankfulness. I pray that we all will be able to experience that kind of closeness. May God bless each one. Amen. .....More later.

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's always good for us to pause And think awhile of Santa Claus-- That jolly symbol we revere When we approach the changing year. Behind his beard so long and white, In which our children take delight, There beats a heart from color free Which bids all children "come to me." ~ MARSHALL M. MORGAN, "The Spirit of Santa Claus"

Craft Show Santa
Good to catch back up with you on this Monday, October 17, 2016. I spent this past Saturday reprising the role of Craft Show Santa. The ladies at our local fellowship of believers put on a craft show in October each year. I was there as one of the exhibits, Selfies with Santa. The photos were free, taken by the participants. We did, however, have a collection box for anyone who wanted to donate to our missions outreach. You think it could be a wee bit early? That's true but it was more of a novelty than anything else and I always enjoy getting ready to get ready to bring joy to children of all ages. Even at a ladies craft show. Let me see. It's October, so it should be cooling off. Right? I know there were a lot of fall decorations at the craft show, but, out in the parking lot, the 90-degree temperature had little in common with the autumn theme. It's a wonder Al Gore wasn't outside picketing against global warming. I know he has recently lost quite a bit of weight but for many years he was so heavy he was singularly accounting for his own personal impact on the climate. (The theory goes like this: "Carrying that extra weight means eating more, which means more food has to be produced, packaged, transported and refrigerated, increasing how much electricity and fuel is needed per person. Heavier bodies also need more fuel to move around as engines and motors strain under heavier loads." lifted from the Scientific American website) I don't know exactly how I got off on that one but the good news is that we had a good day at the craft show. I don't know that I have ever uttered anything like that about a craft show. That was Craft Show Santa's comment, not my personal opinion about what happens at craft shows.

I think most people who know me can name my coffee preference. For me, it's Community Coffee as my first, middle, and last choice. You don't have to ask twice to know that is my final answer. I like my coffee hot, black, and reasonably strong. While I appreciate the fact that markets require diversification, I am not fond of my coffee company offering a bunch of disgraceful flavors. Here's what I am talking about: Bread Pudding; Pumpkin Praline; Toasted Hazelnut; French Vanilla; Golden Caramel; Mardi Gras King; and Pecan Praline. To me, this is sad. It may be necessary for profitability but it is still sad. I don't drink decaffeinated coffee. To me, it gives brown water a bad name. I can remember back in the day when asked if I wanted black coffee, I asked if there were other choices. It was understood to be a joke. Not anymore. One fellow said, "Latte is a French word for you just paid way too much for coffee." I agree. Yes. This paragraph is an editorial or opinion piece if you will. You may have a different taste. When I see all those ads for those weird concoctions taking up space on the Community Coffee website, well, it reminds me of a song. It's one written by Irving Berlin, originally recorded in 1932 by Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees. Since then it has been covered dozens of times by the musical greats. I thought about it. It fits. "Say It Isn't So."

Please don't write me. It's all in fun. You know. Tongue in cheek. That figure of speech has been around since the 1700's. "The figurative idiom means meant or expressed ironically or facetiously. The expression has origins in 18th-century England, and it originally referred to a common facial expression used to express contempt." I did not intend any contempt except in expressing my distaste for the further degradation of the coffee bean. Enough on that subject. Almost. Just now I paused to take a sip from my Santa Claus mug filled with Community 100% Columbia Altura. It tastes so good it makes me want to sing out loud. I know the popular one says it tastes so good it makes you want to slap your momma. I would never even think about thinking about that one. Not even in jest. I think I heard slap your pappy growing up but I can't be 100% sure. Singing. I like singing. There are many songs that mention coffee. Frank Sinatra had a hit with one simply entitled, 'The Coffee Song.' The writer Dave Barry had a comment about coffee, "It is inhumane in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity." See what I mean? I'm not the only one. Do your best, with or without your coffee, to embrace the day the Lord has given to us and to be thankful for it. Amen. ....More later.

Friday, October 14, 2016

My eldest quoting a news commentator, "We may not know who won tonight's debate but we are clear who lost. The American people."

Made it to Friday. That's always a good thing. Welcome. It is October 14, 2016. The other day when I pontificated about typographical errors I actually had a big one in that episode. The space probe was Mariner-1, not Marina-1. I must have had boating on my mind. I actually saw that one flash before my eyes as I hit the send key. But it was too late to stop the presses. It just goes to show you whatever it goes to show you. I read the other day where some leading evangelical ladies are very unhappy with evangelical men for giving Mr. Trump a pass on his long record of objectifying and demeaning women. These are influential women like Beth Moore and I suppose they are sick and tired of being sick and tired of the daily revelations that seem to keep coming. I get that. I can appreciate their concern and their stand. On the other hand, I would be equally concerned if they followed up by saying they will support Ms. Clinton. To my knowledge, they have not done that. We all have to take our own decision but their stand for the reasons they give is certainly in keeping with how our system is supposed to work. As for me, I am still out in left field waiting on some kind of directional signal to help me decide what to do. Sorry. But, that's the truth. I will cast my ballot. I believe I have voted in every presidential election since I became eligible to vote. I have never skipped any part of a ballot but I may consider just sitting out the presidential portion this year. None of the above. That thought came to me as I was writing this paragraph. I said I was waiting for a signal. Food for thought. At least, for me.

I made an exception to my ban on most political stuff because of the stand taken by those believing ladies. I thought their viewpoint was one worth discussing. I have been thinking some about the little quips I used to share that may no longer be applicable. At 70, I'm not sure joking about wanting to find out what I will be when I grow up is still appropriate. It may still be true but the use by date may have expired. Also, saying one is only as old as they feel may have lost some of its luster. One fellow commented that you have moved into the older age when you no longer have an urge to throw a snowball. Here's a truism, ~ "In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days long." ~ Nikita Ivanovich Panin  Here's an excerpt written by an older gentleman from yesteryear that we all might aspire to, ~ "Some of you will perhaps be surprised — though not those who best understand that nothing is surprising in the human spirit — when I say that life never seemed so beautiful as it does now, when to many others it begins to be a burden. May God, who has brought me to this age, transport me from this vain mortal life to the true eternal life, as now I prize higher one day of this ripeness than do most young men prize a year of their bloom…" ~ Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch), letter, c.1366–1367, translated by Morris Bishop, 1966 ~

I know what some of you purists are thinking. Age is not a number. In fact, it happens to be a word. The other day I mentioned how that people are paying a king's ransom to have their animal companion cloned. In a somewhat related subject, I noticed an outpouring of testimonies, recollections, photos, sympathy and support on Facebook for the recently deceased Bengal tiger who had formerly been the mascot for Louisiana State University, (LSU). I am not anti pets or anti animals. In fact, I've been so conditioned by all the emphasis on protecting Bambi that I've nearly wrecked out more than once trying to dodge a runaway squirrel, raccoon, or armadillo. What is this world coming to? I'm thinking about proportionality here. Nothing more than that. How about it being none of my business? My response, I plead my first amendment rights. You know. My opinion. Nothing more than that. Just food for thought. I think I've slung enough keystrokes for one week. I do hope you enjoy your Saturday and that Sunday, we call it the Lord's Day, will find you and yours joined with other believers at the meeting place to seek and hear from our Great God. This is the blessing the Lord gave to Moses that he was to give to Aaron as an instruction in how the Lord wanted the priests to bless His people. I haven't used it in a while, so I want to leave it with you today, "The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace." (Numbers 6:24-26) Amen. ....More later.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"How do you keep flies out of the kitchen? Put a pile of manure in the living room!" ~ copied

There is a fly on Hillary's left eyebrow.
Here we go again. It's Thursday, October 13, 2016, and I'm continuing to do my best to avoid filling up my blog with political stuff. I did see a number of postings saying that a fly was causing some issues for Candidate Hillary during the debate last Sunday evening. I heard the expression, 'No flies on me' often during my growing up days. The dictionary has this to say about that idiom: "One is wide awake; there is nothing slow or dull about one. For example, She may be new to this field, but there are no flies on her. This slangy expression, which alludes to flies settling on a sluggish animal, was being used in Australia in the 1840s but did not appear in America until the last decades of the 1800s." Since I didn't watch the debate I did not spot this in real time. I understand that once it was spotted, it swamped both Twitter and Facebook. At least someone was paying attention. I thought it was humorous only because of the saying. I couldn't resist. I'll let you think of an appropriate metaphor to improve the caption on the photo. This is not so much about politics but think of it as an entomologic commentary regarding the species Diptera, the study of flies. 

Taking a selfie seems so been there, done that, in today's world. However, believe it or not, a fellow by the name of Robert Cornelius actually made one of himself back in 1839. He took the photo in the backyard of his family's lamp store in Philadelphia, Pa. In order to capture his image, he had to hold his same position between 3 to 15 minutes, depending on the amount of light available at the time the photo was taken. He had to work to get this one made. Before this one was discovered, two were thought to be the first ones taken and they were from the early 1900's. The original to this photo is now in the Library of Congress. It wasn't called a selfie back then. It was designated as a self-portrait. There are many self-portrait paintings dating back to the late 1300's. This tells us that a desire to portray ourselves has been around a long time. Who knows? Some of the cave paintings may include the artist's representation of himself. Now we see selfies proliferating social media. We now have the ability to photographically capture our every mood and disposition instantly sending them around the world. We've come a long way. Or, have we? I think it best for us all to take a few minutes and think about and meditate on this matter. I wonder if back in 1839 Robert asked anyone if they thought his self-portrait photo made him look fat. Just a thought. You might add that to your discussion among yourselves. 

Just how much has this self-capture become a dominant factor in our culture? Writing about this subject reminded me of the photo I shared to illustrate this very point. That's our President along with the First Lady and he is making a selfie with David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. The occasion? The funeral service for Nelson Mandela back in December 2013. Many noted how the First Lady seemed unamused by the antics of the trio sitting beside her. The President's defenders say it was the Danish PM who started with her own personal smartphone. Others said it wasn't as if it was a solemn occasion since it was like a big party of sorts, with lots of celebration, music, and it even included native dance troupes. Appropriate or inappropriate? You decide for yourself. While it may not have been the most dignified of presidential moments, it most certainly reflects the Instagram mentality we all live in. I wonder how many selfies we would see if people had to hold perfectly still for several minutes. I'm pretty sure there would still be a few but nothing like what we see today. Please direct any follow-up questions regarding this matter to someone that might have a clue. Thanks for tuning in today and may we all pause and thank God for His provision and caring. Amen. ...More later.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center." ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Good Wednesday morning to one and all, on this October 12, 2016. I've been staying away from the political stuff but I did want to share a statement from the Christian comedian Mark Lowry. Last Sunday evening he posted on Facebook a photo of himself in a crash helmet. He said he was preparing for the upcoming televised presidential debate. He went on to say the choices appear to be which toilet bowl are you going to lick. I know. That's a distasteful image. However, it does ring true with me. (This is not lost on the watching world. I saw a teaser for a panel discussion from France. It was entitled: The Low Road to the US Presidential Election.) I'm telling you, it really is like our entire political process has become a sleep depriving episode of The Twilight Zone. Sad to say, it's not a TV show, therefore, we cannot switch it off, and we cannot avoid the consequences that await us. The foregoing message was entirely of my own making and it does not reflect the views or opinions of anyone else. Now back to my intentionally interrupted non-political story telling. I'm always telling the wife that she should write things down. That's because she often laments forgetting something. I feel like maybe I should start taking my own advice. Just this past weekend I was reminded of several good story lines to share with my readers. I can feel in my bones how good they were. One problem. I can't remember what they were. They most likely will boomerang themselves back onto the scene sooner or later but when they do I will then think them to be brand new and not the ones I forgot. No wonder Paw Paw always said I acted like I woke up in a new world every few minutes. He may have said I was like a chicken or a duck in that regard. I can't be sure about that one, but I think you get the idea.

I heard a report on the BBC about a thriving business in South Korea. They are into cloning in a big way. This is a super high tech business and they have turned it into a hugely profitable enterprise. They clone and produce copies of people's beloved pets, mostly dogs or cats. Here's the deal. You can replace your animal friend, they call them companions, for a mere $100,000.00. According to the advertising people for this business, this has become popular due to the humanization of animal companions. They mentioned in the report that in the United States, a total of over $60 billion was spent on pet care last year. They interviewed a couple from the UK that had recently had their family dog, excuse me, their family animal companion, cloned in South Korea. The husband said as the time neared for the wife's companion animal to breathe his last, she became distraught and inconsolable. He had to do something. The quality of his wife's life was at stake. He checked into the cloning process and found out what they needed to do to capture the requisite cell materials. Their project was so successful they produced twin puppies, two replicas of her animal companion. The money? This couple was not without some means but they did end up selling assets to pay the fees, however, he said it was worth every penny. This is my double take story for today. I really don't know what to say about it. Maybe you can come up with something.

Maybe that story fits the Law of Triviality as propounded by C. Northcote Parkinson. His 1957 take said that members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues. His theory says weightier issues are less well understood, therefore, they may not be given as much attention as the trivial which is easier to grasp. This can lead to mistakes in direction. In fact, he said that if you aren't careful you could be perceived as being someone who wakes up in a new world every few minutes. Not really. He didn't say that. I said that. Trying to make a joke. Well actually, Paw Paw said it. About me. This grasping of the less important may be why they try to make commercials as most outrageously stupid as possible. If they gave you the proven facts you likely wouldn't even pause to notice. But two guys sitting in a car at a drive-in fast food restaurant can present some of the craziest dialogue ever and everyone stops to pay attention. Maybe that one followed by the fellow who used to say, "Can you hear me now?", is enough to support my argument. That is, if I had one to begin with. Okay. I think my work is done for today. If you happen to spot a boomerang loaded up with good story lines, let me know. I'm pretty sure you can tell I'm missing one. Until next time, may God bless us all. Amen. ....More later.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"The major function of music is emotional, but psychologists have yet to understand the connections between different songs and different emotions. This is a major task, not least because of the amount of music that exists." ~ Article: The Psychology of Musical Tastes, from the Psychology Today website

Good morning. It's Tuesday, October 11, 2016, and I say, "What's happenin chum?" That's an Irish greeting and I've been listening to quite a bit of The Irish Tenors lately, therefore, I suppose I am in an Irish kind of mood. I've not ever exactly figured out what my musical tastes reflect. Much of the Irish songs are sad and woeful. Melancholic, if you please. Songs about longing to go back home, lost love, prison, famine, war, the death of loved ones, and happy stuff like that. There are happy Irish tunes as well like gigs and dance tunes. But, I think I favor the story songs and most of them are pretty sad. I pretty much like anything recorded by The Irish Tenors. I collected a number of their CD's when the group was made up of Finbar Wright, Anthony Kerns, and Ronan Tynan. My favorite is a recording of the songs performed for a PBS special, live from Belfast. It has 19 songs and they are all great. These three now have separate careers but they do still tour together in the months of December and March. I also enjoyed the group when John McDermott was with them. As for why I lean towards the songs that reflect a sad mood or feeling, well, that might take some time. I also greatly enjoy Church hymns, Celtic, Cajun/Zydeco music, Polka, Big Band, western swing, (check out the Quebe Sisters), large orchestra, pop and classical, German/Scandinavian festival music, bagpipes, choral music, Southern Gospel, Bluegrass, some country, acapella, folk, yodeling, accordion, and several others I can't grab hold of on short notice. My point? I keep YouTube very busy when at my desk with my little ear buds vibrating. I'm not sure, but, I think I may be on my third set of ear buds. And, the answer is yes. I do occasionally listen to songs recorded at funerals. Not to worry. I follow that up with a wonderful tune from the quintessential Cajun singer, D. L. Menard, backed up by the Cajun family singers, L'Angelus, doing 'The Back Door.' You don't know until you try it. Look it up. It's all in Cajun French but I think you will like it.

1631 Edition of the Bible, typo: "Thou Shalt commit adultery."
I think most of those who read my blogs know that I do attempt to make them as accurate as I possibly can. I am very well aware that I am not always able to make that happen. The other day I had a sentence that read, 'What you see if what you get.' I very much appreciate my eldest and my life companion for pointing out that it most likely should have read 'is' instead of 'if'. I mean it when I say I am pleased they spotted that. However, it didn't keep me from trying to figure out a way to make what was obviously an errant keystroke, (typo or typographical error), make sense. I attempted to use punctuation but that didn't work. No amount of commas will make that one into anything other than a mistake. I can't blame my grammar utility because he has made it clear in the past that he doesn't check for stupid. I thought about running that sentence through some translation programs to see if maybe it would be better in a different language. You do know I am kidding. Mostly. At the end of each blog, I am what I write and that includes some mistakes along the way. What you see is what you get.

That Bible typo is considered to be all time number one in terms of its error status. That particular printed edition became known as the Wicked Bible. There are plenty of other notorious typos that led to misunderstandings, financial losses, and other serious outcomes. Mine mostly causes injury to my ego, therefore, I think we can overcome any resultant fallout. They tell us a single missing hyphen in a computer program caused NASA's Mariner-1 to explode shortly after takeoff. The cost was estimated at $80 million dollars. There are many others like that where decisions were taken based on a decimal in the wrong position or a left out word. Think about it, there is no better example of mistaken usage than the mangling of verses from the Bible to fit a preconceived notion. The Bible never said that money was the root of all evil. It did say the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. (1st Timothy 6:10) The Bible does say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." However, go and read the entire passage from Philippians 4 and you will find this is not a promise for a happy go lucky life as a believer. There are dozens of other verses that people misuse today. Finding the truth about these is magnitudes of importance greater than a mistake made in our personal communication. You can quote me on that one. And, you can actually find out these most misquoted or misapplied verses by using that powerful search engine, Google. Here's the one I used, "famous misquoted bible verses". Just so you know. Have yourself a most wonderful day and may God continue to bless is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

Monday, October 10, 2016

"A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier." ~ Tom Stoppard, British playwright and screenwriter

Yep. It's that time again. This particular 'embrace the day' falls on back-to-work Monday, October 10, 2016. Lately, I have been reminded of the frailty of the human condition. At 70, I think you have to know you are in the last quarter, but, when day after day brings you news of family, friends, co-workers, and associates who are the same or younger, dealing with life-threatening health challenges, well, it does make for a sobering thought process. Cancer and heart problems seem to be at the forefront as folks continue the journey here. I'm not immune from having all these reports work on me. It causes me to notice this, that, and the other and to think that maybe it could be a this, that, or the other problem. Some of it is mental. Some of it is the fact that I don't move exactly like I did a few years ago. Don't get me wrong. I could not be more thankful that I'm as able as I am to get up each day and do what I am able to do. The other evening I talked to my dad who is 86 years young. Emphasis on the young. I know he has a number of health challenges he is dealing with. I asked how things were going with regards to these chronic ailments. However, he wouldn't own up to any of them. He was bubbling over with confidence in his ability to do all that he set his mind to do. We all know that mindset and attitude play a huge role in our perception of our well being. After talking with dad I thought to myself that I would like to order the same thing he is having. With some extra butter, please.

The old joke about reading the obituaries each day to see if your name is listed can become a reality when we allow the ebb and flow of life to wear us down. That's when we need a fix. Not from a drug, but, for me, that's when I need a faith fix. One person reported they had counted 3,573 promises in God's Word, the Bible. Another site listed 5,000. I mention that because it's the place to go when your faith is feeling sickly. Those promises are real if God is real, and, He is, therefore, we can read them again for the first time and allow Him to revive our heart. That will help one to have a healthy outlook regardless of the news or the experiences encountered in what can be, at times, a tough-row-to-hoe life. As I was pecking out this paragraph and thinking about God's promises, one passage from Romans Chapter 8 immediately came to my mind. ~ What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ (Verses 31-39)

I challenge us all to examine that catalog of blessed truths as given in that passage. I couldn't really find any wiggle room in identifying an exception as it relates to the problems faced in this life. That word from the Lord as given through the Apostle Paul writing to a local fellowship of believers meeting together in Rome, Italy, is all encompassing for anyone who has put their faith and trust in Jesus and His finished work on the Cross on their behalf. It may not remove the very real and present challenges we face, but, my oh my, what a blessing to know that He will never leave us, never, never, no never. You likely recognize the situation of that well-known trio: me, myself, and I, as being the first and most likely target in today's episode. That, my friend, is a very astute observation. At the same time, as the late Dr. C. H. McBryde had it, "We all are fellow strugglers." This means that God's Word ministers to us all and when I share personal matters that God helps me with, that same help is available to us all. Now. If only I had one of those 1-800 numbers where you could call and make a pledge or give an offering. Joking only. I feel encouraged, and perhaps someone out there does too. Could it be God? May He bless each one is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.