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

SOCK IT TO ME BABY!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Trump progress report

So for a few days you won't be seeing new pictures from me.  I believe yet another USB cable has assumed room temperature, but I won't know until I pick one up.  In the meantime, I'm going to do a bit of "fair and balanced" thoughts on President Trump.

Has he done a good job?  People, he hasn't been on the job that long.  Congress has been too busy pissing over his appointees to work on any of his legislation.  And let's face it, much of what has happened thus far has been good-looking show.  But because I have been defending him against pointless attacks from people who just hate- with a little debate with people with actual real, thinking opinions thrown in- I haven't been able to look at things as perhaps I would have normally.  I'm going to try to bring up some of these things now.


First, let's get the Swedish thing off the table.  I have heard this described as the blundering statement of a semi-deranged mind.  I have heard it described as a stroke of genius in forcing thinking people to look at just what Sweden is hiding.  Are they hiding something?  Well, if you hit places like Sweden's security services website, you'll find the threat of terrorism poo-pooed.  Or statistics that show that Sweden's crime rate hasn't blossomed despite taking on more immigrants per capita than most anyone. (Which is a controversial subject not on tonight's schedule.)  But if you weed out all the articles that Google so kindly attach Trump's name to, you find a LOT of articles from 2014-6 talking about an ever-increasing terrorist threat, and that Sweden had heretofore been "naive" about the terrorist threat.  Even saw one guy posting on a FB thread claiming he was from Sweden and that Swedish media was bending over backwards in cooperation with the government to keep the fact that Sweden is just as messed up by immigrant crime as the rest of Europe.  Can I prove that? No.  But sometimes when you find NOTHING, it's because someone's got a cloaking field up.


As for Trump's part?  It is really hard to tell, because so much of the things he claims become real battles to back up.  In the end, a way is found to 'back them up', but when you are busily trying to eviscerate the media on false stories, one should try to tell the provable truth.  Especially when you know you have a "reporter" waiting to trap you and yours on some picadillo around every corner.

How about that war on the media?  Actually, like Rush Limbaugh says, this is brilliant strategy.  With the MSM so virulently against him, he has little other course open to him that will work.  Fortunately for him the ones calling him a blundering liar are fairly easily proven to be blundering liars themselves, so I think on that level the MSM has finally got the government they deserve.


One thing I have been way behind on my take on is his appointments.  Most of the people in his cabinet I have had no problem with.  I have found MOST (not all) attacks against them petty and ineffectual, even ironic- the idea of criticizing Ben Carson as HUD sec on the basis of "experience" is especially laughable considering he has more experience for THAT job than our previous President had for HIS job.  Betsy DeVos I would have to classify as "a different matter altogether", but I can't imagine she'll do any more damage to her department than Loretta Lynch did to hers.

Unfortunately, we have not been able to have substantive  discussions about any of them since the left has been so busy attacking them as "racist", "homophobic", "Islamophobic", or "in bed with the Russians".  At worst, we have had charges stick of doing the job before you are confirmed, and not knowing proper grizzly protection etiquette in Montana schools.

I'm still waiting for the left to begin their assault on "all the military guys Trump's appointing" and how it shows he's setting up a military dictatorship.  Of course, I've been dropped as a friend by the one person who consistently tried to compare Trump to Hitler (and being Jewish, she shoulda been damn ashamed of herself), so maybe it has started and my friends haven't started poking fun at it on their timelines yet.  Me?  I'm thinking maybe if we'd have had a few more good military men in the LAST administration, Chris Stevens et al would still be alive.  Yes, I know, supposedly Trump had a copy of Mein Kampf, but guess what?  It's in the top 3,000 books on Amazon, so he ain't exactly alone.

Finally, as I'm typing this last night and it's getting close to bedtime, the Twitter thing.  Here's my take on this.  Bill Clinton went on Jimmy Kimmel and played sax while POTUS.  Obama did an interview on some d-list YouTube show.  And you want me to say Trump is undermining the dignity of the office?  Buddy, that boat sailed.  Do I think it's the most intelligent way to do things?  Sometimes.  I think he needs to edit his posts and choose his battles better.  But it's sound strategy in this day and age.

In closing, I'd have to say I usually be more in the "making a good start" category than the "let me boot him right in the ass" one- somedays it's about a 60-40 split, some a little higher.  But I'm not hopeful because of my blind allegiance to an agenda.  I'm hopeful because I want to see a better, more prosperous, united America that takes care of its own- and does it first.  If that makes me a Nazi, well, you and I have different ideas on the subject of evil.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekend catch-up

What a wonderful weekend weather-wise.  Ol' Scrappy and I logged close to 8 miles, and the sunshine seems to help him tons.

Morning doves, kings of the road...

"Am I near-sighted, or are you the most beautiful hen I ever... no, near-sighted.  You're a stick."

And there you have it- utility work on the trail is so unpopular, it says, "No support" right on their structures

For some reason, they've put a nice long boardwalk in between two of the tower structures.  Guessing they don't trust the eroding river side of the trail there.


Redwings were singing all over Saturday morning.

Ducks lifting off

Scrappy investigates a new element, called straw

And inspects the heavy equipment
And, an obligatory stop at the (soon-to-be) Green Hole.


At the duck pond




That night, former co-worker Robin got us together for the second year at the VFW Valentine dinner and dance...


Music actually by the Junk Yard Band

But if you zoom in, the singer looked like Jack Nicholson, and the white haired dude dancing was a good facsimile of Frankie Valli.

And Robin's guy was a Bill Clinton ringer.

Chris:  "Do something Clinton would do!  Grab her ass!"


Left to right:  Jack Nicholson, lovely current co-worker Celeste, yours truly in Dent May attire trying to dance, Bill Clinton who can twist like you would not believe.

Celeste and Ron

I guess I should mention that a) "Bill Clinton's" actual name is Dan, and b) he's not a pervert like Bill so Celeste was never in any danger.

$10  of 50/50 tickets shot up the butt as usual, might as well build a house with them...



Ta-DAAA!

This lady was the life of the party.  I'm guessing she had a couple of decades on me, but she danced nearly every fast song, and even drug my butt out there once!


And now, the pics I stole from Robin...

They had these new "experimental shots" called Tainted Love.  Grenadine, some kind of strawberry tequila stuff, and Bailey's.  Darn good.

Robin and Dan

Y'know, I never knew that heart was up there until I saw the picture...

Whatever it was, it was damn funny

One more time, Frankie and Jack

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Message - a right way and a wrong way to do right

This week I was approaching the end of 2 Chronicles and the interesting differences between the last two Kings of Judah "who walked in the way of their father David."  That would be Hezekiah and Josiah.  They were both great religious reformers, Hezekiah repairing the damage done by his father Ahaz, and Josiah trying to overcome nearly 60 years of religious persecution and idolatry from his grandfather Manasseh and father Amon.  But while they both sought the Lord with their whole heart, the way that they differed in getting there is fascinating and instructive.

Hezekiah started off right at the beginning, and he did things by the numbers.  His first act was to "Open the doors of the Temple of the Lord", which Ahaz had closed up.  This to me is intensely symbolic;  if we want to get our lives right with God, the first thing we have to do is OPEN THE DOORS to Him.   And his next steps were right on line with this- he ordered the priests to re-sanctify the Temple.  This took three forms:  First, cleanse the altars and other things of the Temple, as Ahaz had used what he had used to sacrifice to false gods.  Second, "Clean out the debris" in the Temple.  Third, take the holy things that Ahaz had cast aside in his sin and re-dedicate them.

Application time:  After opening the doors of one's "temple", or heart, to God, then one must re-sanctify himself.  What are your idols, things more important than God?  Then take out the debris- what are the things that, while not per se idols, clutter up your way and take up time you need to give TO God?  And third, what are the holy things you USED to do, but time and being busy and thoughtless have deleted from your daily life?  Keep in mind, you can't accomplish any of the three until you open those doors to God; this will become important when we get to Josiah's part in the story.

Step three for Hezekiah was to worship God properly.  That meant the priests and Levites readying themselves for a renewed celebration of their most holy day, Passover.  And Hezekiah made sure that everything was done by the book:  The priests had to get busy and sanctify themselves ( the run of the mill Levites were doing great at this, but the priests, who were Levites assigned to the special functions, were dragging and needed a good boot to do their job).  The people were INVITED (also key when we get to Josiah), even those of the other Kingdom Israel- though most of them just laughed at the messengers, sadly.  He even put off the actual celebration for a month, because the priests weren't ready in enough numbers.  EVERYTHING he checked with God before doing, that it would be blessed.  And in the end, the Lord heard them- and HEALED them.  It became the biggest Passover since Solomon almost 400 years before- so big, in fact, they asked the Lord to extend it to two weeks instead of one!

Application:  So you've let God in, and you've prepared yourself.  Next is WORSHIP, worship that puts God first.  With the proper reverence, and the proper ministry (Hezekiah tried to unite all the sons of Jacob to join in).


And it is in the part of putting God first that Josiah wasn't QUITE as good.  75 years after Hezekiah's Passover, Josiah became an 8-year-old King.  At 16 he gave himself to the Lord, but he attacked reform a different way.  He spent the next ten years rooting the idols out of every bit of the area (including the remains of Israel, which had been destroyed by Assyria in the meantime)- a task that Hezekiah didn't worry about until AFTER the Passover.  Then he ordered the cleaning of the Temple- again- and it was during that cleaning that the workers found the book of Mosaic Law that the priests had hidden from Manasseh and Amon for sixty years.

Application:  Josiah had his heart in the right place, but he was young and headstrong, and went after the SYMPTOMS, the outward signs of the problem before working on the disease.  Where Hezekiah's every act put God first, Josiah's put the outward signs first.  Do you need to quit drinking?  Looking at porn? Cussing every other word?  Fine goals, but meaningless unless you have gotten the crap out of your Temple which leads you to them in the FIRST place.

So they bring the book to Josiah, and he rips his clothes when he reads the curses about to come upon the people because of their past debauchery.  Hezekiah, at this point, would have been praying to God himself, seeking absolution for the people, as he indeed did.  Josiah, while he knew things looked bad, wondered how bad it was.  Instead of praying himself, he ordered a court prophetess to tell him what was going on.  And She let him know-  Judah was as doomed as Israel- and soon.   Because of his own faith, he would not live to see it, but after he died, all bets would be off.

Thinking there had to be something to do, he too decided to celebrate a Passover- the biggest the world had ever seen.  The story says it was bigger than any since the time of Samuel, that NO King had ever had such a Passover, even Hezekiah.  But I'm thinking that this was NOT done with the care Hezekiah showed.  It was not accompanied by the sanctifications, the invitations- and it was NOT accompanied by putting God first.  And where, at the end of Hezekiah's Passover, God healed the people, here He did no such thing.  Hezekiah saved a generation; Josiah saved himself.

Application:  How do your morning prayers run?  I thought about this- how do my prayers in the morning put God first, other than chronologically.  Half my time is spent in, "I'm sorry for MY sin, thank You for saving ME", and the other half is, "Lord please bless THEM, please work Your will in THEIR lives.  Like Josiah, all noble and aspiring things.  Unlike Hezekiah, none of them put God first.

The final thing for each of these things is that BOTH of them had a bad faith/political ending.  For Hezekiah the obedient, who put God first in all things and was blessed- well, he let pride creep in.  He tried to show himself as a big man and worthwhile ally to the servants of that historical cretin Merodach-Baladin of Babylon (a usurper who would end his life in hiding in the swamps at the mouth of the Euphrates), and God said, "Well, thanks to you, I know who I'm going to destroy Judah with..."  And that is the reason many of us have those annoying thorns in the flesh.  Being obedient- good.  Looking around and saying, "Look how obedient I am!"- bad.

And Josiah?  I cannot put it better than did the man who ended up killing him:

2Ch 35:20  After all this, when Josiah had prepared the house, Necho the king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out to meet him. 
2Ch 35:21  And he sent messengers to him, saying, What do I have to do with you, O king of Judah? I am not coming against you today, but toward the house with which I have war; and God said for me to hasten; stop yourself from opposing God, who is with me, and He shall not destroy you. 
2Ch 35:22  Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself to fight against him, and did not listen to the words of Necho from the mouth of God; and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 
2Ch 35:23  And the archers shot at King Josiah. And the king said to his servants, Carry me out, for I am severely wounded. 
2Ch 35:24  And his servants carried him out from the chariot, and caused him to ride in a second chariot of his, and brought him to Jerusalem. And he died and was buried in the graves of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem were mourning for Josiah. 


You see, rash impulsive Josiah never learned not to do it HIS way.  Unlike Hezekiah, he was so sure he was doing things right, he never questioned his own judgment- or consulted God.  How ironic that even evil kings of Israel like Ahab consulted the Lord before going to war... but this man, with his heart in the right place but his head somewhere else entirely, did not.


So Hezekiah did the right thing; and the right that he did survived 129 years, almost 100 of them ruled by evil kings.  Josiah did the right thing the wrong way- and 23 years and 4 bad kings later, Judah was gone.  In 1 Corinthians 3:15, Paul describes someone who does the right thing the wrong way- how "If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as if through fire".  So Josiah doing things basically his way, saved himself.  It's not a matter of saving yourself doing it "your way"; but how many will you LOSE not doing it the right way?  Something I REALLY need to ponder.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It's 60 on Friday in February, so...

...Let's take a walk with scrappy and Chris!


First off, just after finding a big, dead raccoon (that'll be making the trail fun soon)..

Wow, that's new...

Hmm... green things...

We haven't stopped at the creek forever!

Always has to take me "over the precipice"... NOT fun...


Way down we go...




Somebody's having big fun!




Later, Daddy takes a brief nap on the "big hump"- a big and old dirt-dump that is now a hill near the creek

What's the matter, Scrappy?  Are you ready to keep going?

"ROOOF!!!"

View from the Big Hump

And along south end of IPFW (PUFW?  PUNE?  Their new name choices give you a choice between a fart and "puny?" How about "the University that cares nothing about nature and knows nothing about Conservation?"  TUTCNANAKNAC!) soccer field.


A squadron defending the approaches to the duck pond  were easily scattered.

"Good, 'cause I'm trying to track something here..."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Time Machine Co-ordinates VVIII41621779



Today we merge right into February 17th, 1979, and find that Vietnam is at war.  Not with us, but with China.  China was looking at "punishing" Vietnam for taking out their buddy in Cambodia, serial mass-murderer Pol Pot.  ANNNND it was a great way to dig in the spurs to the USSR, who had just signed a 25-year friendship treaty with Vietnam- and WITH whom a 30-year friendship treaty had JUST expired.  The Chinese army burst through lightly defended border lines, tried to tempt the Vietnamese army into a trap, hoping to knock out much of their main forces at one blow.  The Vietnamese never committed large amounts of Regular Army forces, didn't do a lot of slug-it-out fighting, and used Russian intel to avoid the trap; so after a few weeks of the attempt, China declared that they "had forced the gate" to Hanoi and thus really didn't need to GO there, and pulled out.  Whether their cases of Hanoius Interruptus were from not wanting to get caught in the same sinkhole the US did, or the idea of daring the Red Army to a fight in Mongolia lost its luster, IDK.





And welcome to our Time Machine for the week, in which we have a pretty big Panel blowout; a Doctor Who cameo on the 79 in '79; Carole King, Sly and the Family Stone, Steely Dan, and Fleetwood Mac, all on the 6D; and the Arcs slide their tendrils into yet another story- not bad for a band that charted on the M10 once for one week!  And we have three debuts, so let's kick off with one right now!

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Our first debut is the second single from a group that missed the M10 with their first by THAT much!  One of the most memorable (for me) songs that I just couldn't squeeze into the M10 at the time was a tune called Handsome by a band called Drug Cabin.  Drug Cabin was supposed to be a side project for members of an already-established indy act out of LA called Ambulance LTD, but it took on a life of its own.  Handsome, which was a Spotify suggest to me, was off their 2014 EP Wiggle Room; and the song Spotify slipped me this time was the title cut.  It debuts at #10.





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Our Presidents this week, Paul and Paula, now have the floor for the Panel picks.  Guys?

HE: Thanks, Mr. Martin, and thank you out there in radio land for voting for us last week!

SHE:  There were nine candidates from 21 stations this week, Paul, and they were all pretty big- well, almost...

HE:  The list starts off with one Mr. Martin indicates is a favorite of his, Olivia Newton-John's A Little More Love.  It was at #4 on the Cashbox countdown.  Hey, Paula, how many hits did we have?

SHE:  Well, we made the top 40 3 times, and the hot 100 5 times...

Um, guys...

SHE:  I'm so sorry, let's get back to the list.  Now this next song didn't chart here... because it was about cricket!

HE:  Not the insect, but the game.  It was called C'mon Aussie C'mon by the Mojo Singers, and was basically Australia's version of Talkin' Baseball.  Needless to say, it was #1 there, not here, so you might not want to vote for it.

You guys are doing a great job of padding your appearance...

SHE:  Thank you!

...but this isn't a day-long event, so...

HE:  Okay, speed it up!  Next up is Rod Stewart's Do Ya Think I'm Sexy...
SHE: I always have...
HE:... and it was the #1 on Cashbox this week.  Then comes  Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive at #5, Chic's Le Freak at #5, And Nicholette Larson's Lotta Love at #8.

She: Also we have Barry Manilow's Somewhere In The Night at #13, The Bee Gees and Tragedy at #21, and the Village People with that silly YMCA song at #6.  Back to you, Chris!

Thanks, Paula.  I won't mention the three singles you had that never got out of Bubbling Under Land;  however, I will tell everyone that there are just three candidates that got multiple votes.  So bend your considerations towards ONJ, Rod, and Chic, as we move on to the next debut this week:

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I'm skipping for now over a lower debut for story reasons and am revealing our high debut- all the way up at #6.  Give a warm TM welcome to- Chicano Batman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!






All I will add today is- look out, Foxygen....

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Carole King's 1974 lp Wrap Around Joy featured top ten singles Nightingale and Jazzman, which was lyriced (is that a word?) by David Palmer.  David you might know as the vocalist on early Steely Dan hit Dirty Work, which is one of my favorites.  And I stumbled onto a very nice cover of this song... which I'll get to in a minute.  On that same album were covers of Sly Stone's Everybody Is A Star (of the recent election controversy), and a hit by pre- big-in-America Fleetwood Mac, Hypnotised.  But the hit single on this lp was a song that had been passed down by Bruce Springsteen but not recorded by him at the time.  You see, he wanted to send it to Elvis, but was a bit too late.  So he gave it to the Pointer Sisters, and there, tucked in with all those covers on their lp Energy, is the song that charted highest but got no Panel Love- Fire, at #2.


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This week in the UK, the top song was Blondie's Heart Of Glass- which was just coming onto Cashbox at #78.  The highest here that was charting there was Le Freak (3 here, 36 there), and the vice versa was Heart Of Glass.  Now I might have mentioned somewhere that I had NEW Blondie in the rotation, and perhaps someday I'll sneak it in.  Like many acts from the good ol' days who are still singing, it just doesn't quite have the same vibe for me.  I have been through new lps in the M10 period by Elton John, Paul Simon, the Zombies... and outside of Boz Scaggs' Small Town Talk, not many of them making an impact.  This week, I noticed that the Pretenders were charting in the UK with one of their first singles (which didn't chart here, but should have) called Stop Your Sobbing.  I bring this up because the debut on the M10 at #7 this week... is brand new Pretenders, from the lp Alone... with a little help from Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant...





This new lp was produced by Dan Auerbach, who's best known for being a teammate of Leon Michaels on the Arcs!  Funny how stuff just keeps tying together...
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Our #79 in '79 this week is a tune I didn't know by name but vaguely remembered after playing by Queen, called  Don't Stop Me Now.  It was #9 on this week's UK chart, but it is already higher on CB than it would get on Billboard (85).  Funny thing is, this song was covered by UK act Foxes (who, while she may be a fox, is only one person), and that cover, which she never released, was used TWICE on Doctor Who- on both Mummy On The Orient Express and on Hell Bent!




So maybe THAT'S why it sounds familiar...




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No hints for the vote-  I'll just tell you that the winnah got 52.3 % of the vote- a total whupping!

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And now, the rest of the M10!

Gimme Shelter slips for Puddle Of Mudd from 7 to 9 in its 8th week.

Castlecomer goes back to #8 after a week at 6 with If I Could Be Like You.

POWERS drops from 2 to 5 with Dance.

Every week, I say, I'm surprised I have this song up here- and then the next week it moves up again!  Colony House, from 5 to 4 with You And I.

Orwells hold at #3 with Black Francis.

Surprise, surprise!  Sweet slams it back into forward and goes from 3 to 4 to #2 this week with the Peppermint Twist.

And the number ones?  M10 says...



...Foxygen for a third week with Follow The Leader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the winner of the Panel vote and next week's president...





....Rod Stewart and Do Ya Think I'm Sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next time, 1976!  Be There!