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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Message: The Atheist Ten Commandments

So I saw a Facebook post that led me to this story- Lex Bayer and John Figador, authors of "Atheist Mind, Human Heart", held a crowdsource contest to create an atheist 10 commandments.  The idea was to " determine the 10 best atheist commandments and to modernize Old Testament ideals, creating an inclusive value set that they say is applicable in the modern era."  I would like to go through these commandments.

I. Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.

Now, I have to analyze these not just with the Bible but with my experience in the thought processes of many atheists.  And the first one honestly made me chuckle.To be open to new ideas, that includes being open to ideas that don't fit your worldview.  I have many times asked atheists to put themselves into my shoes, to say "what if" about God, and have gotten (at best), why bother?  A simple hypothetical is more than what they are willing to deal with.  So already, I'm guessing that just like the true Commandments for Christians and Jews, these commandments will be a lot harder to implement than to carve in stone.

God's Angle?  Start with Hebrews 13:

7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.…

Matthew 5: 17"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.…

And chapter 24:

…34"Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

II. Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, not to believe what you wish to be true.

I also am amused by this, considering the scientific studies on the odds of life just evolving, of the exacting conditions allowing life on earth to exist- Astrophysicist Hugh Ross estimates that to be one in 10 to 138th power- but they consider evolution "likely to be true", rather than "What they'd like to be true."

God's take?  Isaiah 45:

18For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), "I am the LORD, and there is none else. 19"I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, 'Seek Me in a waste place'; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright. 20"Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save.…

III. The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.

And as I have said many times, the problem with the scientific method is that today's "scientists" aren't doing observe-theorize-test-prove, they are doing theory-choose the observations that fit- call it "proof".

God's take?  Job 38:

4Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
9When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,
10And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
11And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
12Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;
13That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?
14It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.
15And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken.
16Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? or hast thou walked in the search of the depth?
17Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?
18Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? Declare if thou knowest it all.

IV. Every person has the right to control over their body.

This is an obvious attempt to justify abortion.  The key as always is, when do you define personhood?  And the answer is the same with the womb as it will be when "Soylent Green" becomes fact.  God's take- among others, Psalm 139:

14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.…

V. God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.

Ah, now we get to the crux of the story.  And it is true, so far as it goes...

Matthew 5:44"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?…

But the Christian perspective is on the next life, where those good deeds and meaningful life mean little...

Isaiah 64:5 Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? 6For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.…

I could bring up the Charlie Brown saying about wearing dark pants, but you get the idea.

VI. Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.

Destined to be the most-broken rule of the list.  If the very presence of commandment IV doesn't negate this, commandment IX sure will.

VII.  Treat others as you would want them to treat you, and can reasonably expect them to want to be treated. Think about their perspective.

This one gets crippled the same way I does.  The largest share of the atheists I have personally crossed swords with (though by no means all) not only could care less about any perspective that allows for a Supreme Being, it also has no room for being polite or even civil about it.  Most of them state their case in the first salvo, and then insult you after your response.  (And then tell me, "Well we do that because it was done to us first".  First grade much?)  Which, other than repeating their own intellectually-bankrupt logic, is all they can do in most cases.  So you see, I don't have a problem with SOME of these commandments; but the ones I have the least problem with are the ones they least follow.  And if they weren't so hate blinded, they might see where they got both VI and VII:

Matthew 7: 12 In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

VIII. We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.

Realizing this is their pean to the earth-mother, but extremely laughable when you consider the intent of IV.  Consider future generations, as long as they are on one side or the other of the conception-to-birth period.  As long as you don't mind them being marched blindly into hell.

Matthew 18: 5"And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

IX.  There is no one right way to live.

Don't bother rubbing your eyes... you read that right.  You make up your own morality as you go, and wait to see society shift to your desires.  I had a drawn out argument with a particularly diseased atheist who basically told me that whether God or Satan was more righteous in the Garden of Eden was a matter of perspective.  That the only "sin" the serpent committed was he didn't see obedience or disobedience to God as evil, but as a free choice.  And thus God was more wrong for demanding obedience.  This POV was extreme, but is borne out in all of these philosophies.  "As long as I don't hurt anyone", they say, and then Ferguson happens, and it becomes, "the law should have recognized HIS culture (which apparently included using force to get what he wanted), and then it becomes two cops shot from behind in their car yesterday.  But, that's okay, because it was the killer's right way to live, and besides, the recent protestors wanted it to happen.  But are they just as responsible as the killer?  "What, our protest had nothing to do with one disturbed individual."

Proverbs 14:   12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

It never ceases to amaze me how these people can see their lives described in detail in the Bible and not recognize themselves.

X. Leave the world a better place than you found it.

By taking away the ability to practice one's faith in public.  By robbing holidays of their beauty and disrespecting the dear-held beliefs of others.  By sucking joy and kindness from everything that doesn't conform to their thought pattern.

I look at this rule and I think of the Nazis lying to the Jews and Poles that the gas chambers were showers, to avoid the panic that would have come with knowing that their execution  lie just beyond the next gate.  They can make themselves believe that they are good by doing every good and right work in this world, delude those that hear them that it is a good thing.  But the one giving the orders knows what lies on the other side.

Luke 16:  22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Time Machine week 4

Well, my blurry eyes punched in the wrong co-ordinates, and instead of landing in 1974 (like my randomly generated list told me), I ended up here in December 19, 1971.  As I come in for a landing we see that today is the first time that we get to watch two very different shows.  One of those was Stanley Kubrick's x-rated version of the novel A Clockwork Orange, coming to a theater near you... and if over the top violence and social collapse isn't your thing, then tune in CBS tonight for the first showing of The Waltons in The Homecoming:  A Christmas Story.  After having read the wiki on the movie, I know which one I'd watch...

Good night, Chris-Boy...

And with that we launch this week's TM foray into 1971, a week that brought us our first listen-to's of John Lennon's Happy Xmas, Elton John's Levon, Led Zep's Black Dog, and T-Rex's Bang A Gong.  And on this occasion, we will have for your perusal the Wages Of Sin... well, actually, a band that once was called that; a surprise in the top ten by the last person you would think of covering a Beach Boys song; the 1st- and the one millionth- video played on MTV; and a special guest appearance by- Vivian Vance???  Strap in and let's head down to the club!

Ethel gets on Time Machine... and doesn't bring me?  Uuuuuuugh....

So before we kick things off, let me introduce you to this week's panel.  KCPX in Salt Lake City, leads us off, followed by repeat panelists CKLW Detroit and WLS Chicago; KGGF out of Coffeyville, KS; repeater KHJ from big LA; WAKY Louisville; WSER from Elkton, MD; Toronto's CHUM; WPGC from the nation's capitol; KIMN Denver; KXOX St. Louis; and WAVZ out of New Haven CT.  They combined to give us 5 different #1s, including CKLW's Let's Stay Together by Al Green, which just leapt into the national top 40 this very week.  However, the results from our panelists weren't nearly as spread out as last weeks'.  In fact, the same two songs turned up as 1 or 2 on all but three of the panel's charts.  So let's take a look at who the panel liked...

The #4 song from the panel, with the top spot in Elkton and St. Louis, is Three Dog Night and An Old Fashioned Love Song- which was 4 and climbing on the Cashbox national chart.

The #3 song was The Chi-Lites and Have You Seen Her- number one on CHUM- which was charting at #9 nationally.

The #2 song- losing to #1 28-25, with both collecting 4 #1 votes- is Don McLean's American Pie, which jumped from 23 to 11 this week.

And at #1.... stay tuned!

One of the things before we get there is the unknown song for the week, and I had what I thought was a good bunch of candidates- until I realized that at least two of them I had featured on TM before!  I still had a handful of good candidates, but I settled on the song that was climbing the Toronto chart and a "pick hit" on New Haven.  It was, not surprisingly, by a Canadian band (and we all know about those Canadian bands), and this band had been known briefly as The Wages Of Sin, and at one point was Cat Stevens' band on his 1970 tour.  They were called Fludd, and the song that charts this week was their second-biggest (or biggest, depending) hit, called Turned 21.  Now when I tried to search Fludd on Billboard, it sent me to a band called Saga, who had a big hit in 1981 with On The Loose (26 on BB, 3 on Mainstream Rock).  But, as I dug, none of the band members who formed Saga were with them when Turned 21 hit the charts- and not many of them were there for the band's biggest hit, Cousin Mary:

So which one did you like better?  Cousin Mary topped out in Canada at 17, while Turned 21 hit 16 (but all the articles I found described the band as "known for the hit, Cousin Mary").  They became a bit controversial when their plan for the 2nd lp- the Cousin Mary lp- had a picture of the band as flashers, with the wonderful title Cock On.  Not surprisingly, the record company frowned on that title (though it would be released WITH that title in the more "permissive" society of 2001), and it was released back then as ...On!  Luckily, their songs were better than their sensahuma.

And now we look over at the Cashbox chart, and see that while the panel gave our #2 25 points (based on 5-#1, 4-#2, etc., in the top five), the remaining top ten CBers that didn't make our top 4 gathered only 21 points between the six of them, with three (#5 Theme From Shaft, #7 All I Want Is You, and #10 Scorpio) getting shut out altogether!  One of the songs in that group was CB's #1 for the week, and the road to that one starts with Vivian Vance.

You see, Vivian was part of a musical family, and musical neighborhood, and thus it was she stood as godmother back in 1944 for a wee lad newly named John Benson Sebastian.  John would grow up to be the leader of the Loving Spoonful, as well as a solo act of his own.  One of the records he was on was Stephen Stills' ode to slut-hood, Love The One You're With.  He sang back up along with Rita Coolidge and the remainder of Crosby Stills and Nash.  Funny that you bring that song up, because Stills came up with the idea for it hanging out with Billy Preston.  See, this was one of the keyboard virtuoso's catch phrases, and Stephen had asked him if he could use it in a song, which Billy obviously agreed to.  And among the many things that Billy is known for was playing keyboards on the very first song that used a drum machine for a rhythm track and hit #1- the #1 song on CB this week, Sly Stone's Family Affair.

And that brings us to this week's shuffle top ten!

The Fortunes come in at ten with one of my all timers, Here Comes That Rainy-Day Feeling Again, which made #15 earlier in '71.

The Righteous Brothers hit #3 in 1974 (where we were SUPPOSED to land) with our #9 song- Rock And Roll Heaven (a song I just discovered that Climax did first.)

At number eight, from Grease, Olivia Newton-John and Hopelessly Devoted To You, held at #3 back in '78.

At #7 we have a song that I cheated into the One Hit Wonder's next hit a while back- the much better flip side to the actual song I was gonna feature- Shocking Blue and Wild Wind.

Peter and Gordon (not pronounced Gor-dOn) come in at #6 with their chart topper from 1964, A World Without Love.

At #5, one of 2 songs on my shuffle with the title Creep- this one, the one by Stone Temple Pilots, a #53/#12 Alternative hit from 1993.

Feelin' uninspired
Think I'll start a fire
Everybody run
Bobby's got a gun
Think you're kinda neat
Then she tells me I'm a creep
Friends don't mean a thing
Guess I'll leave it up to me....

Number four, from the greatest album of all time, Pet Sounds- The Beach Boys with Sloop John B, a #3 hit in 1966.

And I believe I mentioned something about a Beach Boys cover in the top ten- but that's not QUITE the story.  Back when I was a baby Christian, a friend was trying to come up with a Christmas present for me, and decided to get music.  But what?  The lady at the bookstore asked what kind of music I liked.  It was the era of Caddyshack, and I'm All Right was all the rage.  So my friend said, Kenny Loggins, and the clerk suggested Keith Green's For Those Who Have Ears to Hear.  It was a GREAT suggestion- I loved the lp, and was one of many saddened that the Lord took him home so suddenly.  From that album, one of its most covered tunes- The Easter Song- comes in at #3.

But, there's more to the story.  Because, in my research, I found out that Keith had been performing since he was 8, and when he was 12, Decca was setting him up to be what Donny Osmond would become.  The media train never really caught fire, and Keith went into secular obscurity.  However, we do have some of the fruits of those labors- a song written by Brian Wilson, with the lead singer of the Hondells on background vocals- one Chuck Girard, later of the Christian band Love Song- and 13 year old Keith Green at the mike:

Anyway, wrapping this up, The Easter Song and the lp came out 1977.  And to tie up continuity issues, the lp was given me in Christmas 1981 I believe (so don't be giving me any "but Caddyshack didn't come out till..." grief).

At #2, a song from the Boston lp Walk On... in fact, the title cut, an unreleased gem from 1994.

And at our twin tops of the charts:

Survey says...

... the beautiful Melanie Safka with Brand New Key!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, shuffle says........................

...the Buggles and Video Killed The Radio Star!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This was not only the very first video played on MTV, but also the one millionth!  Number one in the UK, Australia, Italy (in fact, their top song of 1980), Austria, France, Japan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ireland- of course in mainstream-saturated America, it only made #40.  Deserved FAR better.  How ironic that they could now be singing MP3 Killed The Video Star.... Lord, how I miss the old days.

That, Children, is a wrap.  Be here one day after Christmas for more fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Martin World News

And first, a big congratulations to Laurie, whose flagship team, the Elks, won Super Bowl XVIII in our fantasy league!!!  For the second straight year, the Elks took down the Greenwoods, this time 47-33, as she claims her third overall title and becomes the second franchise to win as many as two titles in a row (The now defunct T-Cubs won three from 1999-2001.)

ITEM:  Just for the record, congrats to the Taliban for being big and brave enough to slaughter 130+ school children in Afghanistan!  If youse guys keep it up, Allah will have a place for you in his heart right next to Planned Parenthood!

And I think I know why at least one was still a virgin...
ITEM: Enter Cho Hyun-ah, daughter of the head of Korean Air Lines.  As chief (read:former) of cabin service and a VP in the airline, she was a bit disappointed when a cabin steward presented her a BAG of macadamia nuts rather than on a plate.  When his supervisor came to his defense, Ms. Cho had him booted from the plane.  And it was even worse than just that...

"As it has been confirmed that Cho raised her voice and used abusive language as testified by some flight crew members and passengers, we will report her to the prosecution for potential violation of aviation safety law," the (South Korean Air Transport) ministry said in its statement. "We plan to impose a flight ban or a fine against Korean Air."
Park told South Korean network KBS that Cho hurled insults at the crew and made them kneel before her during her tirade, which has now been dubbed by the Internet as "nut rage." Park also said Korean Air executives visited and pressured him to give a toned-down version of what happened during the incident.

Allegations also include her poking the senior steward, the aforementioned Park Chang-jin, with the very manual with which he tried to show her that nuts-on-a-plate are not part of First-Class protocol.  After the obligatory day or two of denial of the incident (which happened at JFK and caused 250 passengers to have to wait while Park was returned to the terminal), she was brought before the press by Daddy Cho Yang-ho.  She gave the traditional head-down apology whilst daddy dearest announced that she was no longer an employee of the airline.  Still not enough, though...

On Tuesday, Dec. 16, South Korea's transport ministry said the airline faces sanctions of up to 21 days of flight suspensions, or a $2 million fine.

Of course, she might be off the hook if Daddy had money in macadamias...

Auction, a South Korean unit of eBay and South Korea's second-largest e-commerce website, said Monday that sales of macadamias surged nearly 12-fold during the previous five days without any promotions.   

Which meant that Macs went from 5% of their nut sales to 50%, as Koreans, who by and large never heard of them before clamor to find out what the Nut-Rage (as it's being called) is about.

I am very sorry... because 1.5 ounces per bag by $2 million fine... equals I'm not getting a Christmas gift from Daddy..

ITEM:  This one, I have to let the story tell itself...

A JAPANESE woman known as the “Boob Goddess” hopes to rake in cash with a modified rake that she claims can firm a woman’s bust and even enlarge it.
Takiko Shindo is known for something called “Oppai Taisou”, which roughly translates into English as boob exercise massage”.
Her latest advancement in the bustling field of bust enhancement is something called the “Oppai Taisou Hand,” that is basically a pink rake for stroking and brushing one’s breasts, according to Rocket News 24.
The rakish product sells online for between $41 and $54. A commercial suggests it can increase a woman’s bust by three centimetres.

I have to hand it to the Australian news.  I don't know which amused me more- the headline being "Meet Japan's Boob Goddess", or the very next line after what I copied above-  "As titillating as that sounds..."

Zeus checking out Greek boob-goddess Persiphone... there's one in every culture, I guess.

Come to think of it, I remember a dance with Leilani the Hawaiian Goddess at Showgirl III some years back... but that's another story.

ITEM:  Speaking of boobs...

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Ollanta Humala of Peru criticized the environmental group Greenpeace on Saturday for not respecting his country’s archaeological heritage as authorities said they intended to seek criminal charges against several activists who damaged the fragile desert around the Nazca Lines.

Greenpeace stirred up a storm of controversy in Peru last week after a group of about 12 activists on Monday entered a protected area around the famous lines to place a sign promoting renewable energy on the ground. The sign was meant to attract the attention of world leaders who were in Lima for a United Nations summit meeting on climate change.

The future may be renewable, but fragile archaeological sites are not, and these bozos left marks from feet and letters that can still be seen now that there stupidity has been removed.  They should stick to something, which still fairly stupid, they're more successful at- getting sunk by Japanese whalers.

ITEM:  Finally, we have the original hard-luck Romeo.  Men, do not propose like this at home...

A PERFECTLY planned marriage proposal went badly wrong yesterday when a crane smashed through the roof of a neighbour's house.  The unnamed man had hired a crane in the Dutch town of Ijsselstein to lower himself into the garden of his fiancée-to-be early in the morning.

Instead the crane toppled over and crashed into the home of the woman's unsuspecting neighbour.

Algemeen Dagblad, a Dutch news site, reported that the girlfriend accepted the calamitous proposal anyway and the couple travelled to Paris to celebrate their engagement the same day.  Part of the crane protruding through the back of the house. 

Things continued to go wrong when a larger crane, brought in to right the stricken crane, failed to do the job and the crane fell again onto the house roof, widening the original hole.

Six apartments have been evacuated, including the house that the crane hit, which has been declared unsafe.

Reason # 43,198 for staying single...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mondays suck

I had every intention to post something light and happy today, perhaps featuring a bunch of pictures from our Sunday walk.   But, when the sun peaked over the horizon and pushed what fleeting light it could past the clouds, it was... Monday.  And as always, Monday is a pitiful exercise in survival.  Or, as I told Laurie on the way home, ""This was the kind of day that F* Story gets home and tells it's wife the day was a F* Story".

And then, the news.  First up, Laurie tells me of her post on FB:

Just watched a video, on the news, of protestors in New York chanting " What do we want?Dead cops!When do we want it? Now! If the President, Sharpton, Jackson, and Diblasio don't condemn this, we all should be very concerned if not scared. IMHO Protesting is one thing, but this is way over the top!

So first thought, "All right, a-holes, why do you want cops dead?  Why do you want ANYONE dead?  You have all this concern for thugs who aren't worth a tear, who have NO concern about those they victimize, but let a cop put one of these lame excuses for humanity out of our misery, and HIM you wanna kill.  And the sad thing..."

The sad thing is, they aren't smart enough to know what hypocrites they are.  And it goes on...

As I get the lowdown on this sorry son that took the hostages in Australia.  An Iranian who begged asylum from that nuthouse so he could spend his time writing HATE MAIL TO THE FAMILIES OF FALLEN SOLDIERS.  I hope Dante finds him an extra cold spot in the bottom rings of hell.

But those idiots calling for dead cops would probably want me to sympathize, show him tolerance, understand he was- what did they call it?- a"damaged individual".

Then we had the guy that killed 9 family members in Pennsylvania, just to remind us that jerks come in a variety of colors, faith, and occupations (though an increasing number of them seem to be springing from the Philly area.  Personally I think that has to do with having the Flyers in their city all these years, but I have no numbers on that.).

I left work after a day of 25 recuts, a label printer that just had to eat a label smack in the middle of five other disasters, a document printer that is acting like an electronic jackass, and a cutting machine that responds to our company's expert trying to get it to behave right by getting far, far worse, until he manages to move it back to merely fubared.  And this is the world I come home to.  So I download the walk pics to brighten everyone's day, only to get blurry, just missed, out of focus... oh, and these:

Hmm... Duck soup...

River still waaaaay down

And yeah, just before we got home, the sun came out for like 10 minutes.

So last Friday I took a half day, but before I left, we had a little fun.  One of the ladies decided to gift us all with Christmas hats full of goodies.  Others decided to wear the hats into the plant.  It became a whole big thing, and finally, a picture was taken (which you have already seen if you are a FB friend):

That's me, second on the left with the hat that took Cialis before wearing.  The author of our gaiety is front right in green.

One last note... sorta.  We have a winnah in the NHFFL's Super Bowl XVIII... but as the final score is not yet decided, I will wait until tomorrow to post the picture of the champion (Laurie, since both contestants were hers) holding the fabled championship cup.  Until then....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday Message- to nazareth or not to nazareth

So let me establish one thing right off the top- DO NOT BE CONFUSED BY THIS POST.  I'm going to talk about some far out theories here in order to make a point.  What I believe, I will point out at the end.


I'm listening to Christian radio and one pastor tells me that Nazareth was a tiny, sleepy little town wherein a pious family raised a sweet innocent girl named Mary, and it was the perfect place to raise such a child.  Another tells me that Nazareth was a regional cesspit, garrisoning Roman soldiers- a place so nasty, in fact, that Jewish leaders started a story that the "virgin birth" was actually rape from one of those soldiers.  So which Nazareth really existed, if any?  Answer: perhaps none of the above.

One site I looked at told the story of this particular pastor getting a letter from an obviously atheist commenter who alleged a)there is no archaeological evidence for Nazareth existing until 200 years after Jesus' death; b) that the presence of burial caves in the area from that time suggest that, by Jewish law, no "pious" Jews would have lived there.  The pastor refuted him fairly well on both points, but his discussion is neither here nor there.  Why?

Because this is what I call "the black and white" attack.  In order to prove the Bible, one must present black-and-white evidence, while the disprovers can bounce about from one standard to another.  And here is a good example.  Nazareth in Jesus' day was too small to be listed by any chronicaller besides the Gospels.  No complex of ruins (possibly) have been found to that date (other than the tombs that the commenter already admitted were of the right date and area).  Does this mean Nazareth didn't exist?

Look up any old city of central Europe.  What you will almost invariably see is: "(Fill in the blank) was habited from at least the early (3rd, 4th, 5th, etc) century, but first was mentioned when King (whats his name) granted a charter in (name your middle ages year)."  In other words, just because YOU don't have a record of it doesn't mean it wasn't there.  (The tombs, by the way, the pastor refuted that they meant a village couldn't be there closeby by actually reading what the Jewish law SAID, rather than what the commenter WANTED it to say.

Another page delved into the "truth" of the rape of Mary allegation.  Among the claims found therein:

- that certain Bible passages (when misread, for example John 8:41) allege to Jesus' bastard status;

You are doing the works of your own father." "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself." (the inference being "illegitimate children like YOU")

- That the Jewish leaders constantly referred to Jesus as "ben Panthera" in reference to His alleged rapist-father, a centurion named Tiberius "the Panther"- a name that some early Church fathers actually accepted;

-That they have archaeological evidence of this-  From the site:

 Panthera's existence was confirmed by the discovery of a mysterious tombstone at Bingerbrück in Germany. The engraving etched in the headstone read:
Tiberius Julius Abdes Panthera, an archer, native of Sidon, Phoenicia, who in 9AD was transferred to service in Rhineland (Germany). 

- That there was a girl whose name was mistranslated as Mary, who if you dig in enough spots was actually a daughter of Herod the Great (and apparently a sister or half-sister to Joseph of Arimathea), and she had been raped/slept with Tiberius the Panther and had twin sons, Judas and Yeshua (Jesus), and this was the Jesus who died on the cross;

All of which led the author to this conclusion:

The scriptural and historical data being presented in this work shows that the New Testament was never an authentic record, but was, in its entirety, a corpus of corrupted documents specifically constructed to induce a particular belief (John 20:30-31). This conclusion rests firmly on known facts and the ensuing chapters analyze ancient Roman, British and church reports that support this assertion.

Which really opens the door to my big finish, but first:

Truth number one- anything can be misrepresented if you want to bad enough.  The verses he pulls out to "prove" Jesus was a bastard he views with assumptions and hidden meanings much like he does on the alleged gravestone of Tiberius the Panther:

The date, nevertheless, was curious for locating the tombstone at Bingerbrück at all, because it did not say that Tiberius Julius Abdes Panthera died and was buried there, only that he was on service in the Rhineland. The evidence of the assertion was supposed that this time of 9BC was a coded message revealing the year the twin boys were born to Mariamne Herod. At that time she would have been fifteen years of age.

C'mon, boy stre-e-e-e-e-etch that truth!

Truth number two- look at the legend on the headstone.  A pretty particular amount of Tiberius' resume to be put on a tombstone- and in Germany, no less!

Truth number three- I left out the more incredulous stuff from his "genealogy of Mary"  (Yes, it gets worse).

Bring yer checkbook...

Finally, let us get to the POINT of this post, a point this author elegantly states:

 ...a corpus of corrupted documents specifically constructed to induce a particular belief ...

As in Matthew 28:

 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.


So let me ask you, you who struggle with your faith when you read the reports of man.  I admit, I can get sidetracked by these things too, until I bring to mind my personal experience with Christ, my salvation, and the moment He freed me from my chains.  But here's the question- who had more reason to twist the truth?  Atheists who dedicate their life to disproving something they claim doesn't exist?  Jewish leaders anxious to keep their tenuous hold on power?  Or Luke And Paul, who tell the story of the road to Damascus and Paul's conversion?  Why would you lie about the resurrection of a man in order to go out and build a cult that only got them persecuted and executed?

Maybe if they found Paul's tombstone...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Time Machine week three

Landing date:  December 12, 1969.  Landing place, Milan, Italy.  A bomb goes off in the Piazza Fontana, killing 16.

The blame was originally placed on Anarchists and leftists, with one "suspect" taking a nosedive out a window of a police interrogation room. Around 4,000 people ended up arrested for one reason or another in the investigation, and the blast inaugurated what was known as the "years of lead" (as in bullets).  After about a million trials, no one was found guilty and not turned loose on appeal- and the suspicion was that a right wing group called Ordine Nuovo did it with the intent of blaming the leftists.  The Red Brigade was a growing concern at the time, and the story goes that ON was trying to either pin it on them or to at least set Italy on the path to a more authoritarian government in order to deal with them.  One author suggests the CIA was butt-deep in the "muddying of the waters" in the investigation, and may have supplied ON.

On a lighter note, welcome to our nomadic Tardis as Time Machine lands this week in 1969- a week that saw the first nationally heard notes of Joe Cocker's cover of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (not bad if you like singers that sound like they have a throatful of Grape-Nuts), Tommy James and the Shondells' last big hit, She- and the song that is either my first, second, or third favorite song of all time (depending on what I heard last), the Guess Who and No Time.

No time for a gentle rain... no time for my watch and chain...

This week- NO SPECIALS!  So you get to see what this show will now be like on a normal (?) week.  But you DO get: six degrees from Toto to the Cashbox #1 song; what Kim Wilde had to do with our unknown song of the week;  a top ten that features funk, country, oldies, psychedelic, classical rock, classic, rock, and a wee bit of the alternative; and a cameo by the Steelers...

...but not THOSE Steelers!  C'mon along, it'll be a blast!

Let me start out by introducing our cast of stations who contribute this week.  WKNR Detroit, is a return panelist, as is KQV, Pittsburgh;  but we also throw in  CKLG, Vancouver (our first panelist from the Great White North); KTKT, Tuscon; WLOF, Orlando; KLIF, Dallas;  WNAP, Indianapolis; WAVZ, New Haven CT; WOSH, Oshkosh WI; WSGN, Birmingham, AL; and two of the heavy hitters, WABC New York and WFIL Philadelphia! Together, they managed to round up  7 different #1s this week, including one that was #1 on no less than four of our stations!  There were four #1s that were unique to their stations, though.  CKLG had the Billy Jack theme, One Tin Soldier by Original Caste at #1- a song that wouldn't debut on the national charts for another week here.  KQV was Beatles crazy at the time;  they had Come Together at #1 and the flip side, Something, at #2 (they were #4 and #14 on CB, respectively.).  WLOF Had RB Greaves and Take A Letter Maria (#5 on the CB chart); and WOSH had Tommy Roe's Jam Up Jelly Tight at the top (#18).

CKLG also gives us our unknown for the week.  It was by a duo from Sheffield (whose hockey team is the Steelers, but that's not the cameo, either), UK, named John and Anne Ryder.  Their song is called, I Still Believe In Tomorrow...

A young married couple at the time, they would retire briefly in just a couple of months to raise their newborn daughter- and a couple more kids to come!  But by the summer of '72 they were performing again- albeit close to home so they could spend the time with their kids.  I went chart looking for them in other places, and found they were at #47 on Oshkosh, their follow up, a song called A Sign For Love, was climbing in New Haven, and in the Netherlands, they had a hit with a decent cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia.  This particular song was written by one Marty Wilde- father of Kim (Kids In America, You Keep Me Hanging On) Wilde.  John  and Anne retired for good in 1987, and (I bet you're thinking, here comes their separation/divorce, right?  WRONG!) celebrated their 50th anniversary in June of 2012.  Nice to know some beliefs in tomorrow can come true...

Just missing the status of my unknown was a group called the Steelers, which had a hit on (where else?) Pittsburgh (#7 on their chart) called Get It From The Bottom (of your heart, you perverts!) .  I got some info on them from a site called RarePhillyStax which tells me they were not from Philly or Pittsburgh, but from  the west side of Chi-town, and were mainly a brother act- founder Alonzo Wells, lead singer Wes, and little bro George.  It would peak at 55 on CB after a 7-week run for their only big national score.  An article in a 2012 issue of the Post-Tribune says Wes and Alonzo are still alive and kicking, albeit Wes does his kicking at an assisted care facility.  George passed in 2006.

What the heck, this is a cool tune!  Have a listen!

On the more popular side of the story, our panel's top four for this week:

Fourth was Someday We'll Be Together by the Supremes;

third, with #1s in NY and Philly, Steam with Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye;

second, with another couple of #1s (Tuscon and Dallas), BJ Thomas and Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head;

and the top one... well, wait a little bit.  Now the Supremes sat at #8 on CB, Steam at #3, and Raindrops only at #12.  The number one on cashbox that week?  Well, that story starts out with Toto...

You mean... this Toto?
Of course not!  I mean the band Toto.  They were founded by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, who- as you know if you've been around the ol' Time Machine much- were involved in a lot of session work before deciding to do their own thing.  One of those things was basically being Boz Scaggs' band on the great lp Silk Degrees.  Also on that disc, singing background on Lowdown, was a gentleman by the name of Jim Gilstrap.  Jim is most famous for singing the theme of the TV show Good Times with a lady named Sondra Williams.  But Sondra wasn't always known as Sondra- in fact, she did a duet lp called Just We Two with Edwin Starr billed as "Blinky".

And on that lp they did a cover of You Made Me So Very Happy, recently recorded by one Brenda Holloway.

Boy, this story just keeps getting better!
Who also saw it covered, and most famously, by Blood Sweat And Tears on their second lp- and first with David Clayton Thomas.  And also on that lp is the song that sits at #1 on Cashbox this week-  And When I Die, which scored pretty low with our panel this week.

And now, this week's top ten!

We start out by gettin' down the fiddle and gettin' down the bow, with Mel McDaniel's Louisiana Saturday Night at #10 from 1981.

Spacehog was a band which got its start in an unusual way- founder Anthony Langdon met future drummer Jonny Crass when he stopped by a cafe where Jonny had a job "killing rats".  Spacehog hit #32 on the hot 100 and the top of the alternative charts with their debut tune, In The Meantime.

Well that sounds fine so I'll see you sometime
Give my love to the future of the humankind
Okay, okay, it's not okay.
While it's on my mind there's a girl that fits the crime
For a future love dream that I'm still to find
But in the meantime....

Number eight was the flip side to ELO's hit Mr. Blue Sky.  A haunting, ethereal tune with backup vocals by none other than last week's star, Ellie Greenwich- from the lp Face The Music, One Summer Dream.

At number seven, a cut from the first album I ever bought without knowing more than one cut.  The lp was Jefferson Starship's 1979 record Freedom At Point Zero, a concept lp about a future gone wrong and the rebellious young people fighting to save themselves... and the cut is called Just The Same, one of Mickey Thomas' best vocals on his first record with the band.

At #6, Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits- a band I'll admit to not knowing much about until after the fact- and their #1 from '65, Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter.

Sly and the Family Stone's first big hit- Dance To The Music, a top ten in '68- is our #5 tune.

A surprise at #4 is a song from the Moody Blues The Present lp from 1983- the #27 hit Sitting At The Wheel.  It was released just one week after the slower, melancholy Justin Heyward comp Blue World, which missed the top 40.

At #3, one of the classic rockers of all time- Cream, with their lesser known (but my favorite) hit, Badge.  It peaked at #60 in '69, and had at rhythm guitar a dude dubbed "L'Angelo Misterioso"- better known as George Harrison.

In 1987 Eddie Money scored big with his lp Can't Hold Back, and it's big #1 Take Me Home Tonight.  He also hit the top forty two more times off that record, but the second best tune on the lp only made it to #90 on Billboard- but here, it's at #2- We Should Be Sleeping.

And this week's number one songs?

Panel says....

...Peter, Paul, and Mary with Leaving On A Jet Plane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And shuffle says...

...the Byrds with Eight Miles High!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Repeating a tendency to pick '60s hits as #1s, the shuffle brings us this top 15 hit from '66, banned on several stations due to alleged drug references (it didn't take much back then...).  It is believed in some quarters to be the FIRST psychedelic song.

And that is a wrap!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Laurie's Christmas decorating, and Scrappy gets some sun

Laurie used to have a big table and lots of room to make a huge Christmas village.  Since we moved to the land of "rent collectors are much nicer than mortgage collectors", the story has been much more modest.  But this year, the death of Laurie's old computer has left us with room for a village and a suburb on the other side of the room.  And the front window lights come out pretty good when taken on the camera's "fireworks mode".  With that, and the Christmas card we each got from our financial advisers, we are pretty much set for the blinky end of Christmas.

In the meantime, we actually had some sun this afternoon, and you know what that means...

Not sure what he thinks he sees...

We did see some deer later, at a "No shot in hell" distance... Scrappy gave it the old doggie college try to track them, anyway.

"Bout time I got some face time around here..."


On an unrelated note, we had a discussion of the liberal world's latest attempt to retell a Bible story, the movie Exodus:  Gods and Kings.  I had stumbled onto some reviews, the nicest of which ran something like, "Should you ignore Exodus: Gods and Kings?  As a Ramses from a earlier and much better movie said, 'So let it be written, so let it be done.' "  Laurie had mentioned that she had heard the creator was an atheist who wanted to show scientific explanations for everything.  I did not find exact confirmation of that, but what I did find was a comment made by "Moses" AKA Christian Bale:

“I think the man (Moses) was likely schizophrenic and was one of the most barbaric individuals that I ever read about in my life”.

And I said, "My God, Nancy Pelosi has a son!"

I shudder to think what logic a man who played a character opposite a psychopath like the Joker uses to come up with Moses- who admittedly unintentionally killed ONE man- as "most barbaric.  No, wait, here it is:

(Numbers 20) 6 Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

13 These were the waters of Meribah,[a] where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord and where he was proved holy among them.

See, there's the misconception.  Bale is obviously a PETA member that thinks a pet rock is a real pet.  I'm sure he has a lot in common with his...