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


Monday, July 16, 2018

It's too hot to go out- let's go to the zoo!

Got a text from KC Sunday morning, wanting to take us all to the zoo.  I said, why not?  Worst that could happen is I would keel over dead and they'd be on the hook for me instead of Laurie....

Aaron sporting his spanking-new haircut, Peanut wondering what we're up to

"I dunno what it is, but it looks like FUN!"

"Gampaw, I like climbing on rocks!"

Driving the safari jeep

Mommy and Aaron take the sky lift.

That thing takes a lot longer when you're on the ground.  We were sure they jumped, but here they come..

Bat eared foxes taking a batnap

Them Mongooses are neat!

"Hey, I'M the king of the zoo!"

"Daddy, look!"

You know, I would bet this would be his favorite part...
Mommy:  "Everybody smile- 1, 2, 3... Hey!  I don't want your butt!"

Close as I could get to Peanut feeding the giraffe

"Hey, dipstick! Show 'em the one where you tried to hold the camera over the crowd to get it..."


We offered to lock him in... it started a long story on why we would soon wish we had him back.  Got to give him credit; even though he re-started the story with the opening line of , "You'll get bored by the time...", getting interrupted each time, the last by me saying, "By the time you get to the end of this sentence...", he stuck with it until he got to the point that we all ignored anyway.

Exotic squirrel sex

This goat was cool.  The other one, not pictured, tried to eat Aaron's ear, my leg hair, and KC's shirt in that order.  This one though, did have a hanging poopy that Peanut tried to grab before Daddy said, "For the love of all that's holy, NO!"

The lizards in the middle of the picture, I noticed, were in a somewhat troubling display...

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday message: Cain and me

Today I listened to a sermon on Cain.  A story seemingly so simple:  Boy gets jealous, boy kills rival, boy gets punished.  But is that all there is to it?  Pastor Steve Fish made several good points.  And I want to focus on one section.  It begins with God teaching Cain, right after ignoring his sacrifice:

Gen 4:7  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." 
Gen 4:8  Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 
Gen 4:9  Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?" 
Gen 4:10  And the LORD said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. 
Gen 4:11  And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 
Gen 4:12  When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." 
Gen 4:13  Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear. 
Gen 4:14  Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me." 
Gen 4:15  Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 
Gen 4:16  Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 

1- First God teaches Cain, so he has no excuse.  Seek after good, beware of sin.  But you have the choice, and the control.  It's not that Cain doesn't get it when he kills Abel- he just flat out ignored God right back.

I have an electronic friend who is a lot like that.  She has suffered in life, perhaps the greatest loss her late husband, but by no means the only.  Thus she has allowed blame and bitterness separate her from God.  "God ignored me here and here and here, so I'm under no obligation to listen to him," might be words that both she and Cain echo.  But as we will learn Wednesday, you have to go to God with right attitude, right reasoning.  If God ignores us, our first reaction should be, "Where am I in the wrong?"  Cain doesn't do that.  He puts his own ego and hurt feelings as his "god", and acts accordingly.

2- After the act, God does just what he did for his father Adam- gives him a chance to confess.  As Pastor Fish pointed out, Cain answered with first a lie ("I do not know") and then an attitude ("Am I my brother's keeper?").  His parents did much the same, playing pass the buck when cornered.  How do we justify sin?  "So what, everyone is doing it"?  "It's a different world, the old rules don't apply"?  It all boils down to the same thing- "I am not going to take responsibility for my actions".

3- Cain goes on to make assumptions about God's "cruelty".  God said, "You are cursed from the ground"; Cain says, "You have driven me from the ground, AND from your face I am hidden."

God says, " You will be a restless wanderer on the earth"; Cain says, "You have made me a restless wanderer on the earth, AND whoever finds me will kill me".

God will chastise us for sin.  He does this out of love, not cruelty.  Cain, in his rebellion, made God out to be the big bad, claiming God would now hide from him, leaving him to be destroyed.  As Pastor Fish said, "How many times have you heard someone say, 'If I went to Church, lightning would strike me'? " Or something along those lines.  When you are in rebellion, it is easy to think God would NEVER bring you back.  God proves that wrong in EVERY case, including right here.

Think about this:  Both Peter and Judas betrayed Jesus that night.  Judas tried to fix it himself, failed, and killed himself.  Peter wept and repented, was forgiven and saved others alive.

4- It wasn't God's choice to abandon Cain.  "Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD ..."  God didn't cast him out, despite his punishment.  Everything that did happen to Cain, he did to himself.

You can clearly see what Cain THOUGHT God did in this story.  Can you see what He ACTUALLY did?

1- He taught and counselled Cain.
2- He gave Cain a chance to confess.
3- He clearly deliniated what Cain had done wrong to him; as a result He showed His Holiness by showing that what Cain did HAD to be punished.
4- He showed Cain that despite the punishment, He would still take care of him.

For whatever reason, the sermon I was intending on listening to was not available; this one was from a past series.  God had a reason for me to hear it and right this about it; are you the reason?  If so, don't be a Cain; see the love God has for us despite our sin.  See that we can come to Him and get rid of the hate and the me-first attitude that brings us to this place.  And remember if you feel like God isn't there, it's not because He left you...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Time Machine co-ordinates VILX49571373

Today is a Time Machine rarity- You are reading on Friday the 13th of July 2018, and we are travelling in Friday the 13th, 1973!  No bad luck here, though.  Today, Queen released their first (self-titled) album.  The lead single was a rocking number you might remember- Keep Yourself Alive.  The BBC kept it off their playlists because " the record "took too long to happen". "  After the failure to chart here and in the UK (the only Queen single NOT to chart in the UK), it was re-released in 1975- getting a #89 peak on Cashbox.  Then Bohemian Rhapsody followed- and this too was a song eventually re-released.  In 1975, it got a #9 on Billboard and a #6 on CB;  in 1991, following Wayne's World, it got a #2 Billboard and #1 Cashbox.

This snap for the single is the first known picture of the band, I'm told


Welcome to this week's trip through music, where we will chill a bit after the 4th of July celebration last week (and prior to the big anniversary episode in 5 weeks).  We have Bill Withers, a new debut on the M10, and how the 1.57 %  became the 1.88% this week- and no, it has nothing to do with politics or rich people!  So let's do the Freddie and get on with it!


Let's give a big hello to Bill Withers!

How are you today, sir?

Man, I feel 45 years younger!  This is one great ship!

But, Bill, you are only 35 where I got you from...

35 and 9 days!  I don' know man, I just feel like I was a lot older a while ago...

Hmmm... must have a circuit going bad.  Anyway, you know why you're here, right?

Man, I don' know WHY I'm here, just glad to be here...

Okay, well, I'm gonna give you the list of songs that were local #1s this week back in 1973, with little tidbits here and there.  You read them off, and later the folks out there will vote on them, and...

Out where?  Here?

Bill, no! Don't open thaWHOOOOOOOSHSLAM damn it all to... er... Bill Withers, ladies and gentlemen!  You'll never know WHERE he might pop up next.  Anyway, it looks like you're stuck with me doing the list yet again, and I think I'll do it like I did last time.  18 contestants from 48 stations- and we have a run-off between the early leader and a dark horse that knotted things up late in the vote!

So, let me lead off with the One Vote Wonders:

We start with Barry White, where many couples end up, and I'm Gonna Love You A Little Bit More, which was at #58 on Cashbox this week.

Then it's Wings and My Love, our Laurenco Marques song, charting at #11.

One of the things I never quite got about music was the idea of re-releasing Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Monster Mash in the middle of summer.  But they did, and it sits at #25 this week.

The Doobies were at #10 with Long Train Running.

Next comes our "missed the memo" song for the week- Gunhill Road's Back When My Hair Was Short, which had dropped off after peaking at #37 in June.

Coven had just come in with One Tin Soldier at #97.

South African teen star Lauren Copley had a vote with, surprisingly, Kentucky Blues.  In researching this, I see she released her first new recordings in 40 years back in 2015.  That has to be some kind of record...

Bloodstone's soul hit Natural High was at #6.

Three Dog Night was all the way up at #3 with Shambala- but got boned on the voting.

And finally, Lobo with How Can I Tell Her at #45.

In the "better but not good enough" crowd, we have with 2 votes:

Paul Simon's Kodachrome- which puts the week's #2 song out of contention...
and the Stories with Brother Louie at #44.

Then, with 4 votes:

Jim Croce and Bad Bad Leroy Brown at #7... and the Carpenters with Yesterday Once More at #8.

That leaves us four songs, two of which went to a run-off.  Vote from amongst:  Billy Preston's Will It Go 'Round In Circles (#1), Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water (#9), George Harrison's Give Me Love (#4), and Clint Holmes' Playground In My Mind (#5).  I'll be back in a bit to let you in on the Big Two.


New debut this week comes in at #7.  Since I started the M10, I've often thought of some new to me group as the M10's version of (fill in the blank).  Like, the Explorers Club are my Beach Boys, Redspencer was my Strawberry Alarm Clock, Monster Truck was my Steppenwolf, the Derevs are (kinda) my Archies, POWERS are my KC and the Sunshine Band, and the Monkees... well, they play themselves.  This act, with 2 songs in this week's ten, are kinda like my Eagles.  With the latest from their new lp, here are the Jayhawks:


We start our journey to the 6D victim this week with one Kenny O'Dell.  No, that's not what you get when you mix Alan O'Day with Kenny Loggins, thanks for asking.  He is actually a fairly successful country songwriter, who penned Charlie Rich's Behind Closed Doors and the Judds' Mama He's Crazy.  Another hit was Tanya Tucker's Lizzie And The Rainman, which she took into the top 40 (#37) as well as #1 on the country charts.  Tanya also had the first hit with Delta Dawn, charting #6 on country but only #72 on the Hot 100.  Funny you should mention that song, because Delta Dawn was only a hit by two days.  Wait, what?  Well, Helen Reddy, who hit #1 on all appropriate charts with that song, released her version just two days before another singer released hers... the other singer got no traction with her version, so the record company flipped the single, and the b-side became just as big a hit as it had been originally for the Andrews Sisters back in the 40's.  The position, #6.  The singer?  Bette Midler.  And that's how she got her first big hit- Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, which sat at #12 this week without any Panel Love.


Did you make it into the run-off?  If you took Billy Preston and/or George Harrison... you did not.  If you however took Deep Purple or Clint Holmes, you got the two that split 16.7% of the vote each, and move onto the run-off.


Our stat pack:

I knew 52 songs out of the 100 this week.  On an unrelated note, I knew 13 of the top 50 in the UK.

Johnny Taylor's I Believe In You (You Believe In Me) was the big mover, 27 notches from 66 to 39.

The #73 in '73 was Elton John's Daniel, on its way back out of the chart.

And at #101 was Joe Simon's Theme from the movie Cleopatra Jones. 

Believe it or not, I knew this "blacksploitation" flick because, a long time ago, I wrote a story in the genre of League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, using this Bond-ish character, along with Mr Roarke and Tattoo from Fantasy Island, Gilligan, Rooster Cogburn, and a few more characters that slip my mind right now.  Joe Simon would make it to #18 with this one.

Since I forgot to mention it before, our only Panelists who made it onto the UK charts were Give Me Love (#10), and Yesterday Once More (#34).

And the Brit #1?  Why that was Slade with Skweeze Me Pleeze Me ... another of their 13 trips into the UK top 3 that I will never quite fathom...  I thought about putting up this video, but considered a) I want you to come back next week, and b) I want you to come back with your hearing intact.


The remaining M10:

Wet slips back down a pair to 10 with You're Not Wrong.

Gin Blossoms hold at 9 with Here Again.

Shilpa Ray is in her 8th week, at #8 with Shoot This Dying Horse.

The Derevs slip to #6 with Now You Know My Name.

Another 8-weeker, Phantogram's Saturday is far and away the biggest hit that peaked 4 or lower on the M10.  They are at #5, in a battle for 3-4-5 that almost was flipped the other direction.

The two hottest songs of the week are three notch jumpers- Geowulf's Sunday at 4 and Black Jow Lewis's Nature's Natural at 3.

The "Eagles of the M10" the Jayhawks, hold at #2 with Everybody Knows.

So coming into this week, we had the 1.57%- the percent of M10 songs who spent 4 weeks at the top.  This week, that percentage goes up to 1.88%.  With the 6th 4-week #1...

...Caroline Rose with More Of The Same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And the winner of the run-off by a 4-2 count...

Deep Purple and Smoke On The Water!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next week we'll be in 1974... IF I have figured out where Bill Withers ended up by then!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wednesday Bible Study: Wherefore, the Ark?

This week we hit Jeremiah 3:16- and get another very straightforward verse.

Jer 3:16  And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, "The ark of the covenant of the LORD." It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 

This was the prophet telling the people of a day in the far future- "In THOSE days..."  It was a far cry from the days they were having, or about to have, then.  Jeremiah prophesied in the later end of Josiah's reign, and thus got to witness- and suffer through- the last evil kings of Judah that followed:  Jehoahaz (3 months, dethroned and exiled by the Pharaoh of Egypt), Jehoiakim (11 years, captured and taken in chains to Babylon), Jeconiah (3 1/2 months, also taken to Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar's advisors warned him that the son of the former king would likely be rebellious), and Zedekiah (11 years before he did the rebelling, and Nebuchadnezzar had him watch his sons being executed before blinding him).  While we don't know exactly when this particular prophecy came about, we can guess from just prior verses that one of these four losers were in charge by then, since Josiah's revival had clearly ended:

Jer 3:10  Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD." 
Jer 3:11  And the LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah..."

So this message, after giving warning to Judah of her fate to come, was a message of hope for the future.  This future is post-apocalypse;  The People of God now live in the Promised Land, and have the peace to grow and multiply at last.  Moreover, there is no need for their most precious treasure, the Ark of the Covenant.  Why?  Several reasons.

The Ark itself was where the holiest of priests would go to converse with God in His Shekinah Glory.  It was His judgment seat as ruler over Israel.  But a lot of water had went under the bridge since then.  Remember, the Ark had been lost to the Philistines, and with her dying breath Eli's daughter-in-law prophesied that the Glory of God had left Israel.  But they regained it, and that God still had his hand on it was shown both in the curses that came upon the Philistines, and the deaths caused later by its improper handling.  It had been in and out of both the Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple, most recently brought back by Josiah; one assumes it was returning after being hid by the priests during the bloody and evil reigns of Manasseh and Ammon.  So the question is: as its apparent importance drops in the Biblical texts, was it even considered sacred anymore by then?

Second, Jesus had come, thus replacing the old Covenant with the New inaugurated in His blood.  He was now the connection to God, made by everyone without Tabernacle, without Curtain, without High Priest.  In the far future day Jeremiah foresaw, it was obsolete.

Third, and because of the above, it could only be a temptation to idolatry, just as Moses' Bronze Serpent (also a symbol of the Christ) had become.  Thus the injunction against remembering, missing, or rebuilding.

But, you know me- I had to see what the Jews had to say about its final fate.  And I found two stories.

The first was that Josiah hid it in mind of the prophecy to Hezekiah of Babylon taking the Temple's treasures.  This makes no sense for two reasons:  one, he had JUST brought the darn thing BACK to the Temple; why would he have done that IF he was afraid of the prophecy?  Second, he was more concerned at the time with Egypt, before whose armies he would die DESPITE Pharaoh Necho prophesying that God didn't want Josiah to fight the battle.

The second, which made a bit more sense, actually comes to us from a Book that the Catholic Church still recognizes- 2 Maccabees.  In that book, the story is told that Jeremiah himself took it to Mt Sinai and hid it.  Followers sought out the mouth of the cave he hid it in and couldn't find it;  he told them that it would not be found again until after the children of Israel had been gathered in their homeland one final time.

Do I buy that?  I'm skeptical, and here are some reasons why again.  First off, the story says that he not only hid the Ark, but the Tabernacle itself and the altar of incense.  That is a LOT of luggage for one guy to lug way into the desert.  (And how do I know that he did it alone?  Because afterwards, NO ONE could find it.)  Second, the Tabernacle had not been mentioned one time in the four hundred years since Solomon replaced it with the Temple;  while it is possible that 400-year-old fabric that had to be hid from evil kings every 20 years or so COULD survive through divine intervention, 3:16 pretty much shows us that God WOULD NOT do such a thing.  

Finally, because wherever you have folklore, you have people and items that are supposed to come back in the last days, and stuff that is miraculously found intact just because it was attached to something significant in Church history.  The Ark et al joins such luminaries and items as the last Emperor of Byzantium and/or the last Patriarch thereof; various kings of Europe and others such as, as I recall, Nicholas II of Russia and Martin Luther; a crowd of Biblical characters that, believe it or not, include not only the aforementioned Zedekiah, but King Saul as well; the Holy Grail, the True Cross, the Spear of Destiny (which pierced Christ's side), and Noah's Ark, soon to celebrate its some-odd thousand year anniversary.

In my opinion, Jeremiah 3:16 puts paid to all that.  God is not some Cosmic collector of Memorabilia.  He gave people symbols to point to what was coming; when Jesus came, all those things were fulfilled.  And excepting Moses and Elijah, I see nothing that contends that anyone in particular will be brought back in the end days, at least until Christ returns with the Army of Heaven.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

MWN: Headline scramble

Okay, today I'm trying something different.  I am, in search of fun in the news, am going to attempt to put pictures off a news site's front page with the WRONG headline, also off that page.  Let's see if this will be fun or not.

1- FoxNews



'Haunting' faces of 'ghosts' reappear in world's oldest photos

Right up there with Jason and Freddie...

2- BBC #1



Trump told to appreciate allies on Nato trip

Well, except that's not where the Allies would like Trump to kiss...

  3- BBC #2   



Canada neighbourhood bans outside fun

Quick, everyone into the Chinese restaurant...

4- CNN



Why Corporate America is recruiting high schoolers

That might do it for me, too...

5- Xinhua



Turkey's Erdogan assumes presidency, unveils cabinet

Not only a great legilative team, but good on the pitch...

6- Deutsche Welle



German interior minister presents his migration master plan

"No, Hans!  Not San Francisco!!"

7- The Times Of London



England band out of tune with fans, says Baddiel

Which, if you have been following the UK news this week, is right perfect...