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


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Message

Now, one might expect that, since the Lord is leading my reading, that this post would be about the Resurrection, and the holy day we celebrate today.  But God doesn't lead you TO things, He leads you THROUGH things.  Ask Moses riding in his bulrush cruiser, or David getting his OJT in Gath of the Philistines, or Elijah celebrating his great victory in a ditch.  And so, though we do get to Easter, it's in the VERY long run.

Because this week, the subject is hypocrisy.  Now I can hear you saying here comes a long discourse on the Pharisees and how they apply to us.  And you'd be 10% right.  But God recognizes a spectrum in the definition of hypocrisy, and they are just a part of it.

The first place I landed this week was the opening chapter of the book of the prophet Haggai.   Here we are 16 years since the Jews were able to return to Babylon, and when God looks around, He sees city walls and nice fancy homes with paneled walls- but the Lord's Temple isn't half finished.  More to the point, the governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua, and the people themselves, are going about their lives without seemingly minding.  "Consider Your Ways!" God shouts, not once but twice.  It's easy to get to that point where God has answered your prayers, given you everything you wanted- and then you just forget about Him.  This insidious form of hypocrisy  cost them a drought until Z and Joshua, and the people, got off the stick and paid attention to God's work again.  What does it cost you?

Tuesday brought me to the trailing end of Job 15, where Eliphaz the Temanite is accusing Job of hypocrisy.   Now it is well-established that Eliphaz et al were considered foolish counselors, but their fault was not in what they said so much as trying to apply it to Job, who had done none of what they accused him of.  So it is that Eliphaz points out another form of hypocrisy, in which wealth in material things not only causes a man to forget about God as in the first example, but to "(act) defiantly against the Almighty, Running stubbornly against Him with his strong, embossed shield" (VV25-26).  You can start to see that the point of hypocrisy is not as much saying one thing and doing another, but believing that God is there, but "I don't need Him", or "I'll get back to Him later".  Hypocrisy is the act of knowing that God exists and not giving Him the importance due in your life.  At the end of his message, Eliphaz brings up two important observations.  First, "Let him not trust in futile things, deceiving himself, for futility will be his reward" (v31); and second, "...for the company of hypocrites will be barren..."(v34).

Wednesday took me to Paul reading the riot act to the Corinthian church in I Cor. 4 and 5.  In my Bible's translation, Paul repeatedly accuses them of being "puffed up", which it then gives a definition of arrogant (4:6. 4:18, 5:2).  Arrogant in knowledge as well as wealth, they have begun to argue over nits, setting themselves up as experts, "aligning" themselves with those they think they follow like Paul, Apollos, or Peter, and in the meantime allowing sins "as is not even named among the Gentiles" to go on right under their noses without reproach.  I have seen a lot of Facebook "discussions" that fit this category well.  The philosophic argument being of more weight than the life you live, the example you set for others.

Thursday we finally hit the Pharisees and scribes in Mark 12.  38 Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
For them, it was all about the power they wielded over the people.  The appearance of religion but no true faith.  The law but not its purpose.  It puts me in mind of the gay marriage debate.  Do I think its wrong? Yes.  Do I think it will have a detrimental effect on this nation?  It already has.  BUUUUUT....  It is an affair of SECULAR government, and Jesus I think would put it in the "render unto Caesar" category- our mission is for US to give to GOD what is GOD'S.  I mentioned this on a FB comment to a relative of Laurie's who briefly replaced her profile pic with that damnable red-and-pink equal sign that's been popping up everywhere.  But that's a whole other post, and I've been there before.

Friday kind of brought the readings to an early conclusion, in Isaiah 6.  Here, the prophet has come before the Lord in a vision.

So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
Hypocrisy is defeated by constantly reminding yourself of your true condition.  And that is, no matter your wealth, knowledge, or comfort, your are a hopeless, fallen sinner, and the only ticket you have into heaven is the one that Christ bought you on the Cross.  If you forget what that means, go rent The Passion Of The Christ- or watch it again, if the case may be.  Let it remind you of just what price was paid for your well-being spiritually.
So at this point, we see categories of hypocrisy- the Pharisees brand of intentional "live one way, talk the other";  Z and Joshua's "I'll get to Him in a minute"; Eliphaz's "I don't need Him, I have X"; and the Corinthians arrogance, which is a lot like the Pharisee type except the emphasis moves from what you have to what you know.  But there is one more type.
And that brings us to Saturday, and my habit of sleeping with the radio on.  Waking up in the middle of the night, I caught a bit of a sermon on Easter and it made me think.  The final hypocrisy that we face (and I know some of you won't like this) is how we treat the evidence given us in the Bible.  Some of you will say that the Bible is a book written by human hands and put together by men hundreds of years removed from the events.  So be it.  But Peter tells us in his letter (2 Peter 1:19-21) that ALL scripture is certain; and common sense should tell you that a God that can fashion things so marvelous, from a flea's eyeball to a distant quasar, can keep what He wants man to know inviolate over the centuries.  Yet, some will say, as Thomas Jefferson did, that Jesus was a wise teacher, but not God.  Salvation is a myth; the miracles didn't happen.  Some don't go quite that far; they'll go along with the Bible up to the point where Jesus died and rose, but not that He was God made man.
But hear me- the Bible is plain on these things.  There is a resurrection- Jesus said in that same passage of Mark, God is the God of the living not the dead.  Jesus told us He was God- "Before Abraham was, I AM."  God agreed- "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."  The doctrine of the Trinity is there- "Let us make man in OUR own image, after OUR likeness".  And lastly, the resurrection of Jesus is attested to:
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (I Cor. 15:12-19)
So tell me- how much can you pick and choose to believe about the Bible before you are in effect calling God a hypocrite?  To me, the Bible is the ultimate authority, and Easter divides the believers from the hypocrites.  Either there is a Triune God, beyond our understanding, revealed in the part of Him that manifested as Man and died for our sins, and rose from the dead, and a spirit that proceeds from both to guide us, or there isn't.  Anything less than that lessens our God, and makes Him a hypocrite.  So, do we worship a lesser God that fudges the truth, or is it our preconceptions that is the problem?  How much of God do we sell off in the name of our Knowledge?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's looking like spring

...and even though with the holy day weekend, I'm still gonna tell ya about it, whether you're around to see it or not.

As you can see, this dummy managed to survive last weekend's return to winter and is still out and about.  Kinda puts ya in mind of Tom Coughlin, don't he?

Anyway, today was a great day for a walk, and we were out for about two hours.

Nothing was green yet but moss.  This didn't deter us, amazingly enough from getting buzzed by a very confused black butterfly who was hoping my hat might be a food source.

Mrs. Cardinal - and you thought celibacy was a hard rule...

Yep, we found somebody's paddle.

Second attempt at crossing the swamp was a "success"  (Yeah, we went through there.)  At one point I was almost spread-eagled, with my left foot sinking rapidly and Scrappy pulling to the foreward right.  Now, I was prepared for a little bit of wet foot, but that was a little too close to the one-shoe mambo for me.
Lot of blackbirds down that way.  And they weren't shy about telling us to get lost.

Then we decided to go down North Bank.  So pretty- in spots.

Of course, you knew what Scrappy would be doing.

Moments later in the woods (and with a now-dead battery in the camera) , we saw a fox- and he was a big one.  He made it over a rise before we got a second shot at him.


Hey, we finally have our first Champion in hockey, and despite blowing three chances to win it, it was Cracovia Krakow that finally got the job done in the Polish league.  After having seen a 3 games to none lead evaporate into a tie between last Saturday and yesterday, Krakow entered the final period of game seven with a 3-2 lead, only to see Jastrzebie score on a "bizarre" goal 18 seconds in when the Krakow goalie thought he had the puck frozen but someone poked it in anyway.  But Michal Piotrowski set of a flurry when he scored at 17:42 to make it 4-2 Krakow.  Leszek Laszkiewicz, the team's leading scorer who'd already scored twice in the game, hit an empty net for his hat trick 15 seconds later, and Piotrowski got his second goal in a minute and a half just over a minute later for a 6-2 win. 

And then, very early this morning, the season runners-up Tohoku Free Blades (whose home city got a nearly 8 foot wave from the tsunami this time last year) knocked out the Oji Eagles for the Asia League championship with a 1-0 win.  The only goal came from Go Tanaka, who was the highest scoring Japanese player in the league (eighth overall behind assorted Canadians, Americans, and Koreans).  The winners come from Hachinohe, about 170 miles from the earthquake's epicenter as the crow flies, and have now took two titles in three years, and might have been three if the earthquake (and damage to their arena) hadn't cancelled their final against Anyang Halla last year.

In other leagues:
France- Rouen leads first seed Angers 2 to 1 going into game 4 today.  Rouen can wrap up another Ligue Magnus title with a win today.
UK- The first round of the mystifying EIHL playoffs kicks off in about an hour from my typing.  The 8 quarterfinal teams will play a 2-game best goals series this weekend, and if memory serves, there will be a round robin knock-out round of the 4 survivors next week.  Not sure how they decide who plays who; first place Nottingham drew the sixth place team, and second place Belfast got #7, while 5 plays 8 and 3 plays 4.
Italy- Asiago can squirm their way to another championship with a win today against Valpellice, which trails 3-1 in the finals.
KHL- Viktor Tikhanov scored halfway through the third to tie and 17:58 into OT to win, and SKA St. Pete stays alive with a 2-1 win over Dynamo that puts the series 3-2 in favor of Moscow.  The Russian Snow Leopards can eliminate the Meteor Guys with a win tomorrow.
Denmark- SonderJyskE and Fredrikshavn kick off the AL Bank League finals today.
Switzerland- Zug can join Fribourg in the NLA finals with a win today over SC Bern.
Norway- Valerenga and Stavenger- the Yankees and Red Sox of Norway- Kick off the finals Tuesday.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Time Machine #61.

It's March 29, 1971.  Today the court system gave us two verdicts, and two outcomes, to ponder.  Today, Lt. William Calley was found guilty of the My Lai massacre.  It became such a divisive issue that even President Nixon tentatively stepped in.  It seemed to me that Calley got a lot of misplaced sympathy for "following", at least in his opinion, an order he should have disobeyed.  Others might say that he wasn't competent enough to come up with such an original thought, and wouldn't have had the moral character to refuse in the first place.  In the end, his life sentence (which he would still be serving today) was thrown out by a tribunal that found that his defense was denied some very important rights, his maximum security accommodations were exchanged for house arrest on a military base, and in fall 1974 he was let off with time served- almost a 40-year gift.

Also today, the jury on the Charles Manson multiple murder trial found he deserved the death penalty.  Within two years- occupied by legal wrangling and more murders committed in his name by his followers- the death penalty was abandoned in California, and Manson has had a 40-year gift at the expense of a not-so-bright state IMHO.  His sentence was commuted to life in prison (which he IS still serving today).

Calley and Manson... and justice for all?

Welcome to a Good Friday edition of Time Machine, in which I will (ironically but not intentionally) share what I learned in my study of #1 acts that have passed on, along with turning last week's #1 song into Mashed Potato Time, a look back at a #1 hit singer who was accused of beating his dog because he was gay (oops, didn't intend for that to come out THAT way, either), turning a preacher into an amphibian,  and a lot of leading ladies!

This week's hot 100 had 10 debuts, and two of them I'll point to.  At 83 is Harry Nilsson with Me And My Arrow from his animated movie The Point.  That movie was one of my fondest childhood memories and worth netflixing or youtubing..  At 91 is Lobo with another childhood favorite- Me And You And A Dog Named Boo.

Hey.. excuse me... I like that one too!

Which brings us to the birthday list for this week.  Turning thirty are a half dozen songs:  David Bowie's #1 Let's Dance; Ronnie Milsap's crossover hit Stranger In My House; Lou Rawls with the much finer version of Wind Beneath My Wings; Modern English with their new wave hit I Melt With You; Duran Duran's Rio; and INXS with The One Thing.  That's more than we had on all the other years together!  Turning 35 were Travolta and Newton-John with You're The One That I Want; Journey with one of my favorites, Wheel In The Sky; and another favorite, Steely Dan's Deacon Blues.  Turning 45 is Tommy James and the Shondells' Mony Mony; and turning fifty, the Beach Boys with Surfin' USA.  Blow out the candles...

"Let's see... you were thirty when we were supposed to be 18 in the movie... and that was 35 years ago... so that would make you..."
"You'd better stop right there... no number you come up with will save your life if you don't..."
So what did my bleary eyed nights of research come up with on the subject of #1 acts who are performing now in rock'n'roll heaven?  Keep in mind that I couldn't find facts on everyone (starting with Bill Snyder, the alter-ego of our friend from a couple weeks ago, Sir Hubert Pimm), and some of the details on groups I was a little loosey-goosey with (as in I tried my best to get the details on the lineup that had the hit... but sometimes I may have fudged a bit), and some people even old band mates have lost track of (including two members of the Tijuana Brass).  Anyway, I looked at all; the #1s from 1950 to this week on TM- a total of 249 acts!  It was about 1965 that that totals of new acts every year started to really pick up- it hovered under 10 most of the fifties but exploded to hit 20 new acts four times in the sixties and seventies.  The only year that I could find no one alive was 1950 (out of 11 acts), but from there on the survivor rate climbed to 36.8 percent by the end of the decade.  The sixties stabilized in the 55-60% range in the sixties, and was around 80% after January 1970.  My final count ended up 237 dead, 391 still alive for a 62.3 survival rate.  It was 1962 before we started having consistently more survivors than passed on, and it was 1965 when the total alive passed the graveyard shift.  Not surprisingly, that's when the volume of new acts per year started really climbing.  And that's the story.

Our big mover this week is Dawn with the tune (and a bright deduction it is) I Sing And Play.  It climbs 25 spots to 56.  Sweet Mary takes the big dive this week, plunging 53 notches to #84.  And that brings us to the Where Are They Now feature- and the last single for the Miracles featuring Smokey Robinson, I Don't Blame You At All.

This was the swan song for the original Miracles.  Smokey had wanted to retire before this, but hung around when Tears Of A Clown became such a big hit.  He soon made up his mind, and in 1972 he and wife Claudette retired from that end of the business.  Good buddy Marvin Tarplin left about then as well, and Smokey's successor- the 60th man who auditioned- was Billy Griffin.  The Miracles forged on, hitting #13 in '74 with Do It Baby, and #1 with the 1975 hit Love Machine.  After that the hits dried up, but the band held together until 1978.  Originals Bobby Rogers and Ronald White reunited the group in 1993 with new members, but White passed from Leukemia in 1995.  Rogers kept the band together until he retired in 2011; he died earlier this month.

Rogers was the brother of founder Sonny Rogers and Claudette Robinson's cousin.  Pete Moore was, after Smokey, the most prolific songwriter, having a hand in songs like Ooo Baby Baby, Tracks Of My Tears, and later on Love Machine.  He was with the group until the breakup in 1978, but other than a reuniting of the original band in 1983, he was not involved in any of the regroupings.  Tarplin also stayed out of the regrouping, helping Smokey on his 1979 comeback hit Cruisin'.  Claudette and Smokey divorced in 1986, and performs today billing herself "the first lady of Motown".  No word on whether she arm-wrestled Diana Ross for that title.  Smokey was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1987- without the Miracles.  A special group trying to right such wrongs in the Hall Of Fame's proceedures, retroactively admitted the other originals in 2009 (posthumously in White's case).  Another reason why I love the RNRHOF so much- always full of class. (He says tongue in cheek.)

Seven new top 40 hits this week.  Up 7 to lead off the 40, Elvis with Where Did They Go, Lord; Stevie Wonder, who copped the WATN feature last week, moves from 50 to 39 with We Can Work It Out; Up 5 to 38 is the ever-delightful Engelbert Humperdink with When Ther's No You; Stephen Stills climbs 7 to #34 with Sit Yourself Down.  Up 11 spots to 33 is Alice Cooper with Eighteen; Neil Diamond's high debut last week, I Am.. I Said jumps 23 to #31.  Finally, climbing 12 to #30, Three Dog Night with what would become one of the biggest hits of the decade, Joy To The World.  This song was born when Hoyt Axton came up with the tune, and was told, "Just write any old words for it."  He began it with "Jeremiah was a prophet, " but nobody liked that, thus the prophet became a bullfrog.
Our lookback takes us to the big mover of this week in 1957, and one of three top 40 hits for movie heartthrob Tab Hunter.  He had already hit #1 with Young Love (which he and Sonny James would reach the top with within weeks of each other).  This time, he was moving 10 spots to 24 with Ninety-Nine Ways.  Born Arthur Gelien, he was a boy- and then man- of many talents, including being a competitive figure skater.  Soon, his good looks made him the highest grossing star in Hollywood from 1955-9, in movies opposite a bevy of leading ladies, including:

Kathryn Grant ( soon to be Mrs Bing Crosby #2)...

Debbie Reynolds...

Sophia Loren...

...and Natalie Wood.
But despite the supposed romances with one or more of these ladies that Hollywood would have us believe, Tab's tab ran the other way... or as they used to say off set, "Natalie Wood, but Tab wouldn't."  In fact, at one point he was taken to trial for beating his dog, a charge fabricated (as it was finally learned) by a neighbor woman whom he would not go out with.

He got his own sitcom in the late fifties, in which he played a cartoonist with dating problems, but he was opposite Ed Sullivan, and didn't last long.  Later he would become a "cult star" with roles in movies like Grease 2.  Lately he has been in an off-Broadway production of Love Letters with Joyce DeWitt- insert your own Three's Company gag here.

Three songs go into the top ten three go out.  Dropping are Have You Ever Seen The Rain ( 7 to 21), Mama's Pearl (9 to 23), and Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You (10 to 24).

Bobby Sherman moves up a pair to #10 with Cried Like A Baby.

Marvin Gaye rises 4 to #9 with the classic What's Going On.

George Harrison's What Is Life is up three spots to 8.

The Osmonds drop a couple to 7 with the former top dog One Bad Apple.

The Carpenters nail themselves to the #6 slot for a second week with For All We Know.

Ike and Tina move up 3 to #5 with Proud Mary.

And that brings us to the six degrees victim du jour.

The Temptations slip from the top to #4 with Just My Imagination.  This was the swan song for the departing Eddie Kendricks, who was about to walk out in mid-show to go solo.  He would go on to hit #1 with Keep On Truckin' a tune written by Leonard Caston, Jr.  In addition to having a famous bluesman for a father, Leonard was an accomplished songwriter and played as a session man, including the piano on Fontella Bass' Rescue Me.  Fontella also had a parent in the business; her mother Martha played with the great gospel stars the Clara Ward Singers ( for a brief time).  For all her gospel stardom, Clara did have one moment of pop "fame":  she joined her sister Willa's group in singing backup vocals on Dee Dee Sharp's Mashed Potato Time.

Stuck in place:  the next two songs- #3 Me And Bobby McGee for Janis Joplin, and #2 Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted by the Partridge Family.

And climbing from #4 to the very top...

Tom Jones with She's A Lady!!!!!!

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lotsa Little bits vol. 11

ITEM:  Bobby G. made a comment that reminded me to tell you the rest of the TV buying story.  Whilst we waited for his register to free up ( another guy who was having a problem knowing what he was doing was on it), We had mentioned the capacitor popping problem and our salesman tried to convince us this was a "surge protector" problem.  He then led us to a set of their surgers- priced at 7.99, 8.99, 59.99, 79.99, and 129.99.  He said we should get a "good" one, not a "cheap one".  Laurie asked what he considered a cheap one, and he pointed to the 59.99 one.  Then she asked the difference between the 59.99 and the 79.99, and we got a "well, um, "filled explanation that told us nothing.  After we passed on that, he tried to get a register where we were standing, but it was busy as well.  So he led us to another one while telling us, "We had some kind of power problem yesterday and now I can't check out anyone on the registers in the back."  With every ounce of strength I had, I refrained from asking if they were using a cheap surge protector when it happened until we left.

ITEM:  Just as KC (the drug-test king) went to leave last night, he beckoned us to the back window, where we saw this:

As you will notice, we still didn't have that snow at that point.  However, come morning...

...I had about 7 inches on my car.  It started somewhere between 11:30 and 12:30.

ITEM:  The gerber has been repaired- sort of.  About 2 today I  was given the okey-dokey to try it out, and it cut two patterns without incident.... but 3/4 of the way through #3, it messed up again.  The gerber guy messed with some more things, and we ran 3 covers and 2 canopies without incident.  If it's going to mess up again, pray it does so by about 8AM tomorrow when he returns.  Of course, the printer went awry again, and ended up printing the cut sheet (usually of an 8 1/2 by 11 1/2 paper) on a box label (a 4 x6 sticker).  Apparently they had it hooked in through the program that had all our production stuff, and every time you shut the computer down, the program erased the defaults.  Always sompthin!

ITEM:  Hockey update!  Denmark, Czech Rep., Slovakia, Switzerland, and Sweden are in their semifinals (4 teams left).  The Asia League is in the finals with Oji's Eagles and Tohoku's Free Blades tied at 1 game apiece after each took an OT win this weekend.  Sunday the Austrian league made it to the finals, with Vienna Capitals and KAC Klagenfurt winning their series with game 6 victories.  France is in the semis, but Angers and Rouen have 3-1 leads in their series.

Finland reaches the semis when all four teams- Lukko, Jyvaskyla, Tappara, and Assat (and wouldn't you like to be on a team with that name?) won 4-1 series.  In Italy, sixth place Asiago won two matches against 5th place Valpellice to go up 2-0 in their finals, the second a 6-1 rout.  Poland is also in the finals.  Krakow was up 3 games to none and could have been our first champions Sunday- but gave up 4 straight scores to Jastrzebie to lose 5-4.  No problem, they had another chance to win it all today- and got smoked 5-0, and now it's a 3-2 series.

Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg, the 10th place team, took a 1-0 win over #1 Adler Mannheim to lead their German quarterfinal series 2-1.  In Norway, Valerenga won it's way into the finals by taking out Sparta Sarpsborg; they'll play the winner of the Stavenger/Lorenskog series.  And in the KHL, Moscow Dynamo and Ak Bars Kazan (the Russian snow leopards) each have 2-0 leads in their conference finals, over SKA St. Pete and Traktor (the meteor guys), respectively.

And the UK?  Still in season.

ITEM:  Why hasn't a sports fan like me said something about March Madness (AKA the NCAA men's basketball tourney)?  Because My champion got knocked out on night #1, and my bracket is 6,088,900 (and change) out of 8.15 million on ESPN.

ITEM: But did you see the ending of the NASCAR race in Fontana?  Whatta helluva race!  Hopefully Denny Hamlin will heal fast.  It was a lot of fun for my son and I to see Hamlin and Logano wipe out at the very end so Kyle (my son's guy) and Junior (my guy) finished 1-2.

ITEM: Dinnertime!  And no, I have no idea what I'll have yet.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday message

One of the reasons I have been doing these Sunday messages- and the readings they require- is to work on my perseverance.  I am a fallen man- I struggle with anger, lust, the lack of forgiveness, pride, just like we all do.  There are nights that I hear loudly Satan telling me it's not worth it.  No one is listening... "Even you aren't paying attention."  But I go on- and it commits me to not ignoring God, because without prayer, these readings often end up in places dictated more by creases in my Bible than places where God wants me to be.

And this week was a very good example of that.  Even after I got to Saturday, I was looking at a varied jumble of readings that stopped making sense to me after day #2; and Satan was saying, "Well, this is because you messed up, it doesn't go together, take a week off."

But God, at 6:45 on Saturday morning, said, "Write it all down, and it will make sense."  So I tried.  Over and over, trying to hammer it in my way, chronologically.  But what I found out was, God didn't want me to read it in MY order.  He didn't even want me to read it in Paul's order.

At 7:00 Saturday morning, I learned that the lesson was about the pathway to Glory that God has made for each of us.  And it was based on verses 2, 3, and 4 of Romans 5:

 ...and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 

So in Paul's understanding, it goes tribulation, perseverance, character, hope, glory.  But that wasn't exactly the way God taught it this week- or necessarily the way we experience it.

You see, I started off in I Kings 8, as Solomon finishes dedicating the Temple with a long prayer to God and a blessing on the people.  In v. 56, he reminds them of how God has and is fulfilling every promise He made to them.  The next verse, he mentions how God never will leave them or forsake them- as long as they are faithful.  And at the end of v. 59 he adds one more important concept-  " EACH DAY REQUIRES."  This is what perseverance is- not the getting through the disaster du jour, but the being faithful and remembering His promises each day.  Where Paul observes (and correctly) that perseverance is built through tribulation, you ain't going to make it through the trib without the foundation of an each-day perseverance.

Then I was off to Numbers 14.  This is where God has His belly full of the newly-liberated and disobedient nation of Israel, and tells Moses, I'm going to wipe them out, start from scratch, and make a new nation FROM MOSES.  At first I thought that this was going to be about the longsuffering of God that Moses "talked Him into"; but the lesson was not what God did, but what Moses did.  You see, God's angry "offer" had two advantages for Moses.  No one other than God had had to put up with more crap from these people than he had.  It would be a big relief to get them off of his hands.  Plus, he'd be the new "father of a nation"- his name would be bigger than Abraham's!  He would be Moseraham!  But He was concerned with two other things more than that.  First, what would the Egyptian, the Amalekites, and the others think of Him if He could bring them out of Egypt but not out of the desert?  God's glory was upmost in Moses' mind.  Plus, he loved this cantankerous people he was guiding with God's help, and implored God to forgive them.  He had developed- first by walking with God the last 40-odd years, and second through the rough spots- the CHARACTER he needed to do what was right.

Wednesday landed me into the midst of Ezekiel 38-39, and the destruction of Gog.  For those of you not up on prophecy, "Gog" is the great nation from the uttermost north who is to invade Israel, and be destroyed there by God, in the last days.  For those of you who are, imagine my WTH moment coming here after the previous two readings.  But as I tried writing this story's contents and context down, I saw what was really going on.  But then, I noticed all the "I am"s in the passage:

-"..when I AM hallowed in you, o Gog, before their eyes..." (38:16)
- "...I would bring you against them..." (38:17)
- "I will call for a sword against Gog..." (38:21)
- "...and I will bring him to judgment..." (38:22)
- "Thus I will magnify Myself..." (38:23)
-  "...and I will turn you around and lead you on..." (39:2)
- "Then they shall know that I AM the Lord..." (39: 6 and 7)

Point being, this is the BIG TRIBULATION- and God's got it all under control.  He's saying, I'll handle the big stuff.  But you have something to worry about...

And I got to that Thursday, in Matthew 4's passage about Jesus' temptations by Satan in the desert.  Jesus, being God, could have snapped a finger and gotten rid of the pest.  But what would we have learned?  Here's where an additional layer gets added onto character.  Like Jesus, we face the big and small temptations every day (Remember, Solomon mentioned that we need to go to Him every day?).  But God equipped us.  Each of those temptations, Jesus didn't just withstand- He refuted them through His knowledge of the Word of God.  "It is written," He said before quoting Deuteronomy, David, and Deuteronomy again.  It's still written, and when we learn it, we develop more of that character we need for the tribulation.  Get it?  Character is part the willingness to learn the right thing and part the courage to do it!

Friday brought my confused self to Proverbs 3 and 4, where Solomon (surprise surprise) admonishes us to seek wisdom and understanding.  Over and over he goes through the tangible benefits of seeking wisdom and understanding (which of course you get from the reading of the Word mentioned in Matthew), but then he finishes with this:

Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”

And see, now we arrive at glory- if we do all the rest.  Solomon gives us HOPE of that glory, that we will get there in the end if we do all the rest FIRST.

Which brought me to Saturday morning and my slight reshuffling of Paul's pathway in Romans.  We have to have first that perseverance in doing the daily stuff, and the character to do the right thing, to get to the point of trusting God's control of the BIG tribulations as well as knowing what to do about the "little" tribulations.  That solidifies the perseverance and character we need to come through the tribulations with the wisdom we earn getting through them- and the hope of the reward at the end.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Here we go again...

Since tomorrow it's supposed to start getting covered in 2-8 inches of that stupid white stuff, me 'n' Scrappy decided to go take advantage of things.

First, I learned through several twists, turns, whines, and jerks, that Scrappy was going to be more "kick" than "side" today.  Then, in the distance, I saw two animals playing.  Running, jumping, the whole nine yards.  Imagine my surprise when I downloaded the pictures and saw...

...yup, a groundhog and a squirrel!!

He'll be ever so happy he woke up from hibernation when he gets socked in tomorrow night!
 If you consult The Map (see above), you'll see that the first fenced field on the north side is just a backstop to keep soccer balls from going into the swamp.  Usually we have to go the long way around the fence row that hugs the west side of the field, but we thought today we might try to force a passage through the relatively open swamp.

You can pretty much see why we don't usually make the attempt.

And while I assayed the options...

...Scrappy found ways to entertain himself.
 Eventually, I thought better of the attempt, and we circumnavigated the fence row and moved on.

I walked with Scrap today, oh boy...
Four thousand holes along the St. Joe Trail;
And though the holes were rather small,
he had to sniff them all;
Now he know the scent of ev'ry hole that sat in Albert's Hall...
I'd love to tu-r-r-r-r-nn
In other news, I got out of working today because that stupid Gerber machine died the true death.  After an afternoon which featured a 10- panel stretch in which it successfully cut one, the Gerber guy showed up after I got off, fiddled with a few things, and it gave up the ghost.  Which led to a somewhat amusing happenstance.  I missed Wednesday with sinuses of death, and texted My boss to let him know I wouldn't be in.  I texted my temp company at the same time but it didn't go through.  Fading by the second, I gave Laurie the temp business card and had her leave a message; then I thought, in my stupor, I better have her call the job too, in case the other one didn't go through either.  She reached the number the sewing super had gave me (for her phone at home), and if I hadn't had her do this, I wouldn't have known about the gerber till I pulled in for no reason Saturday- unknown to us all, the company had never asked me for my phone number!  So the super checked the number from Wednesday and called Laurie's phone.
KC comes over today and told me how he set a new world record at work last night.  Seems my son the neophyte forklift driver had not one, not two, but three accidents on the lift in one night- two of which weren't TRULY his fault.  Nevertheless, there are certain rules involved, and thus KC became what I believe has to be the only person in history to have to take three urine tests in ONE SHIFT!
And we just went out and got a new TV!  Our last one- an LG that we inherited from her dear departed dad- had a capacitor going out that meant it would periodically pop and go black when the room temp around it changed (e.g. the furnace kicks in, the door opens, and so on).  Then it learned that doing that scared Scrappy into fleeing the living room.  So Wednesday night as I tried to recover from the aforementioned Sinuses, it decided to pop every time- and only when- Scrappy showed his fearful head in the room.  Enuff is enuff, I cried, and moments later it was dealing with the temperature change from the living room to the dumpster down the street.  An old Apex warrior filled in for a few days, until this afternoon when we brought home our new Samsung.  On which I am now going to finish watching the Nationwide race to see if Elliot Sadler might at last blunder into some good luck.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Time Machine #60

Today is March 22, 1971.  Nine days after completing the tapes that would become their seven-song double album magnum opus, At Filmore East, the Allman Brothers Band along with their road crew were arrested for possession of MJ and Heroin.  Apparently a roadie was observed as a public intox, and the investigation led to the discovery that the group wasn't really good at picking up their party favors lying around their vehicles.  Just the first of a string of disasters that would make 1971 a bad year for the band.

Welcome to yet another stumble down memory lane I call Time Machine.  All I can tell you ahead is that the three songs that have dominated the last few weeks drop a minimum of 4 spots this week, so there will be a new #1.  Other than that, I gotta throw in a lot of fill-in stuff in the features as they're a might thin, and I'll have to make a 76 mile stretch to connect my six degrees that features not one, but two of those previously-mentioned droppers.

And if you were around for the last Lotsa Little Bits, you know we have a sad announcement coming up.  Bobby Smith, Spinners' lead vocal on hits like I'll Be Around, Games People Play, Could It Be I'm Falling In Love, and Then Came You, passed away the day before St. Patty's, just shy of his 77th birthday.  Henry Fambrough is now the sole surviving member of that great group.  And I slide on into announcing that it will be next week (at least) before I finish the great "how many #1 artists are dead" project.  This is taking a lot of time, especially considering that the number of different acts that hit #1 each year has risen from an average of 10.3 in the fifties to over 18 from 1960-65.

ANNNNYway, we had 15 hot 100 debuts this week, including these three- Derek and the Dominoes (AKA Eric Clapton and buddies) with Layla at 98; Bread with If at #72; and Neil Diamond's self-therapy session I Am... I Said at 54.

He didn't need a chair to answer...
We kinda ran into a slow spot for birthday songs again this week.  Def Lepperd (if you can believe this) turns 30 with Photograph; turning 35 are Wings' With A Little Luck, Warren Zevon's Weewolves Of London, Bonnie Tyler's It's A Heartache, Meatloaf's Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad, and Robert Palmer's Every Kinda People.

With A Little Luck can be found on the lp London Town, which can be found as a candy dish on our kitchen table.
Turning 45 this week are the Beatles' Lady Madonna, Bobby Goldsboro's prototype tear-jerker Honey, and Neil Diamond (again) with the original Red Red Wine.

UB40 did the hit version of Red Red Wine- which leads us to the question, "How many times can Chris mention Neil Diamond and not put up a picture of him?"

Finally, turning fifty is Jimmy Soul with If You Want To Be Happy- remember how that goes?

 If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So for my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you...

Moving right along... Our big mover this week is Elvis' Rags To Riches, which climbs 25 to #49; while our big dropper is Bloodrock's D.O.A., which falls the same to #69.  And that brings us our Where Are They Now entry.  At 50 this week is Stevie Wonder with his take on the Beatles' We Can Work It Out.  While he has managed to keep busy, including his appearances as a voodoo king in a couple of Super Bowl ads, the recording end of things has been a bit slow.  His last lp came out in 2005.  It contained the "hit" So What The Fuss, which despite the help of fellow "has-beens" Prince and En Vogue, only straggled to #95.  His last time in the 40 was 1987's Skeletons, which rode the crest of leftist anti-Reagan propaganda to a whopping #19.

And we're already to the top 40 debuts!  Glen Campbell's cover of Roy Orbison's Dream Baby moves up 7 to 40; James Brown comes in with Soul Power at 38, up four; the next one I'll definitely have to look up, as it seems to be a title at odds with everything you hear these days- the Staple Singers with Heavy Makes You Happy.  Not big Bloomberg fans, I guess. That song leaps 14 to #34.  And the high debut this week is Van Morrison's Blue Money, climbing 8 to #33.

Our lookback brings us the big mover of this week in 1956, one Richard Maltby, Sr, with the Theme To The Man With The Golden Arm.  That movie starred Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak in a tale of heroin addiction and a man trying to stay clean.  Which was almost more than I learned about Maltby, other than his son, Richard Jr., who was the broadway brains behind such shows as Ain't Misbehavin' and Miss Saigon.  Dear old dad was responsible for three chart hits with his orchestra- 1954's Stardust Mambo (#27) and St. Louis Blues Mambo (#21), along with the Theme, which peaked at #14.

See what I mean about filler?

Hey, Mac!  Where ya want this load of cow manure?

Two songs go into the top ten, two go out.  Taking the long fall is If You Could Read My Mind (9 to 28); a somewhat lesser drop for Amos Moses (8 to 14).

Wilson Pickett holds a third week at 10 with Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You.

The Jacksons tumble 7 spots to #9 with Mama's Pearl.

Coming in from 12 to 8, Ike and Tina Turner with their take on Proud Mary.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain falls from a peak of 3 to #7 for CCR.

The Carpenters blast (such as they do) their way into the ten, climbing 5 to #6 with For All We Know.

And that brings us to the six degrees victim.

The Osmonds drop from their encore in the top dog seat to #5 with One Bad Apple.  OBA was written by prolific Motown writer George Jackson.  Jackson was also responsible, with partner Tom Jones (not that TJ), for possibly the most overplayed oldie of all time, Bob Seger's Old Time Rock'N'Roll.  This song caused quite a stir in the Segerverse- It was brought to his attention by the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who ended up playing on the record since the Silver Bullet Band thought it "not Silver Bullitty", Seger and producers were desperate for a song to finish out the Stranger In Town lp, and Seger hated the lyrics so much that he (claims, anyway) rewrote everything but the chorus and still didn't like it.  Amongst the legendary Muscle Shoals boys was drummer Roger Hawkins, who was born in Mishawaka, Indiana- 76 miles by Google from Gary, Indiana, home of the Jackson Five, for whom George Jackson had originally wrote One Bad Apple.

The real Tom Jones climbs a notch to 4 with She's A Lady.

The recently-deceased Janis Joplin climbs from 6 to 3 with Me And My Bobby McGee.

The Partridge Family climb to #2, up 2, with Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted.

ANNNNNND the top dog this week, climbing all the way from #7.....

The Temptations with Just My Imagination!!!!!!!!

Sorry, no time for a Neil Diamond pic- maybe next time!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lotsa Little Bits vol. 10

ITEM:  I've been for the last two days a blog post looking for a subject to write about.  So today you get mishmash so I can gratify myself.

ITEM:  Laurie is now employed, having gotten a job at that great anti-union corporate monolith with all the customers whose pictures make up a funny if disgusting website.  She starts tomorrow, and hopefully will take over the company in time for me to retire next week.  In other news, Scrappy has been leafing through "solitaire for dogs" again.

ITEM:  Checked my junk e-mail file, and found nothing worth making fun of.    Outside of a major propensity for a blogging lady I know (whose posts mostly involve taking care of her grandchildren) to get spam comments from those who want to hawk "portable vaginas" for hard up guys.  Who says target marketing is dead?

ITEM:  Quick hockey update:  In Denmark, the regular season champion (and rival of my team SonderjyskE), Herning Blue Fox, got owned in the quarters by the 7th place Rodovore Mighty Bulls!  Gotta laugh at that one!  They move on to face Frederickshavn, who were first for most of the season before fading.  SYU topped the Russian Snow Leopards 4-3 in OT yesterday to knot their series at 3 games each.  The Meteor Guys await the winner, while St. Pete will face Dynamo.  And Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg posted a 5-3 win and a 2-1 series victory over Nurnberg in the German playoffs.  GAW moves on to play Adler Mannheim, who won the regular season with a 30-16-6 mark.

ITEM:  Our local university, IPFW (I Personally Favor Women... er, Indiana U- Purdue U, Ft Wayne), announced that they would be laying off some employees.  From the News15 report:

Chancellor Vicky L. Carwein sent an email to the IPFW community on Thursday afternoon announcing the elimination of 15.5 jobs. 24.5 unfilled positions will also be eliminated. These reductions are expected to save IPFW $2.2 million.

Fifteen point five?  Twenty-four point five?  Damn it, I just got canned from my half a job at IPFW!  Where will I find another campus that offers half-jobs?  My half-life is ruined!

ITEM:  Bobby Smith, the voice of the Spinners, died today.  Which brings up that I am currently researching how many acts that have hit #1 have moved on to the great turntable in the sky.  I'm only about halfway, so it's debatable whether I will have it on this week's Time Machine or next week.  Or what form it will take, or whether anyone will care but me.

ITEM:  I have been absolutely astounded  mildly surprised by how many of my peers here in blogland have described the traditional Irish fare they consumed for St. Patty's Day.  Of them all, I'd have to say the shepherd's pie and the cake that doubled as a bottle of Bailey's by Nain at View from down here was my favorite.  Second place for cutest chef goes to Squirrel, Skippy's Daughter, over at I Make Soap.  Me?  The closest to anything Irish I consumed was when a co-worker bought some cupcakes for SPD at work.  They were a wonderful chocolate with an equal amount by weight dose of green icing on the top.  He joked, "I was up all night making them!"  I replied, "You could have left off about half the icing and got a couple hours sleep."  Still, I think I was the only one (besides him) that didn't throw half their icing away.

ITEM:  Darling Diane Feinstein's assault weapons ban got 86'ed by Harry Reid today.  Seems even with a Democrat senate, Harry and Di couldn't muster the support for it.  Think we'll get "Reid bows to NRA pressure" stories on the network news tonight?  Me either.  Of course, Harry broadly hinted she should try to jam it in as pork an amendment on the floor, which is no doubt just what will happen.  Still, it is amusing that Obama's mandate isn't as invincible as he likes to think.

ITEM: Speaking of amusing, I assume everyone here has heard that the Devil that appeared on the TV miniseries The Bible looked like a weathered Obama.  With those ears, a lot of radar installations resemble Obama, but you don't see us shutting them down- yet.  I did check out a bit of the repeats of the show Sunday whilst doing other things.  Perhaps I was too hard on it in the past- but what I saw resembled a lot of old Cecil B. DeMille storyboards.  And splitting the red sea was better on The Ten Commandments.  So were the commandments.  A fiery hand blasting commandments into a mountainside does a lot more for me than a couple seconds of shaking followed by a rock sliding away and TA-DA! Commandments.

ITEM:  One more thing on the sequester:  Obama says he'll "make it hurt".  So far, the closures have included: ending guided White House tours; no breakfast in Army mess halls overseas; and no more flyovers at sporting events.  What next?  No more toilet paper at VA Hospitals?  I don't know about his other "skills", but Obama has petty down to a T.

ITEM:  Boy, I guess I did have a few things to say!

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm about tired of winter...

Most of my friends have abandoned the woods for lack of food- and cover, as IPFW has been very active in clearing the "unnecessary brush" along California Road that afforded the south end of the woods a little privacy.   I always thought Purdue was big in forestry, but I guess that must just be from the "cutting down" side.  Anyway, if you want to know why there haven't been  many pics lately...

Not much to see but ducks.

Mr. Cardinal, fresh back from Rome, searching for food amongst the litter of the woods.

I liked this one- Cardinal working the log in one corner, robin across the diagonal.

Yeah, you wanna start something wit' us?

Ice, water, and mud- the woods in a nutshell.

Not sure what the guy standing up was up to, he never took off.

Noisy?  Must be a Blue Jay.

George, they're looking at us again...

Bunny field was full of robins- not sure what they were finding.

I dunno... looks cold...

Oh, BTW, kudos to blogger- the new photo upload is way cool and way faster!  Nice to have an improvement that improves something for a change.