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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!!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dear blog...

I thought I'd talk to you tonight.  You see, this is a night on which Laurie has to work, the Reds and A's both played early, and nobody's doing much on Facebook ( with the exception of someone who posted they were being threatened and about 20 minutes later posted everything's fine, no need for the police... yeesh!)  I guess you could say I'm bored.

Tried reading blogs, news, whatever... other than the Premier of Belarus claiming he caught a bigger fish than Putin, nothing much there.  Weeded through the blogs I follow that are no longer posting- removed the ones that have been removed (and one I'm apparently no longer invited to), left open some that just post every other blue moon.  Gave a sad thought for those who just sorta drifted off...

Read my Bible chapters- tonight was Mark.  Made me think of how we sometimes get a headache defending our faith, and this reading was nothing but Pharisees bitching because Jesus was doing the job they wouldn't.  Monday was Malachi- nothing but priests bitching about "having" to serve God, and Matthew Tuesday was John the Baptist doing the same at Pharisees trying to be in with the in crowd.  Think we're looking at a less-than-sunny Sunday message here, folks.

(Oh, that reminds me.  Nain's court report included a dude from Kenya who went to the International Court of Justice to have Jesus' conviction by Pilate overturned- after having the case booted from the Kenya Supreme Court due to "lack of jurisdiction".)

Listen to music for a while; just not getting the vibe.  E Mail the Forgotten Hits blog about "songs that make you want to put a sharpened pencil through your eye".  Let you know how that one flies.

Scrappy tries to suck up for a treat, but he ate poop tonight, so no dice.

Look through old tweets to see if anyone ever replied.  Not that I blame them; I really only use Twitter at trading deadline (passed at 4 PM), draft day, and when I'm super bored.

Check e mail for 150th time.  Nothing that wouldn't be happier in the "deleted" file.

Look into having dinner.  I'm not that hungry, and the cupboard's pretty bare anyway.

Do you know I finally (hopefully, I'll have to call tomorrow) go back to work Monday?  The nice thing is, it's a job I like, I do decent at, and it'll keep me from two-hour naps during Father Knows Best on Antenna TV.  Bad thing? Re-learning how to get up at 5 AM, and the whole alarm thing.

I've tried to come up with projects here and there.  Started a comic book.  A story fairly heavily cribbed from youthful events with a heavy dose of father-son (me being son) catharsis.  But I came to realize two things about the story.  One, it is based on getting super powers in a Faustian deal in which the more you use them, you go from having visions of yourself at your worst level to (eventually) acting out a scene from your worst level for each time you do something good.  On the one level, it was intended (though not gotten to yet) that it would be a handed-down-father-to-son thing, explaining some of the things the father went through to make him the excuse of a man the son knew; the other level would have been the son's slow descent TO that level, and I decided I didn't want to gouge into those areas beyond my own head.  Plus, I can write the stuff fine, but drawing it takes so much time I get bored waiting to catch up to where the story has raced off to.

Decided to go outside and talk to God.  Instead, my mind starts writing this.  I remember in a comic book once, Klaw asked Doctor Doom, "You narrate your life as you go along, don't you?"  and Doom admitted he had a recorder running at all times to save his wisdom for posterity.  I'm not as vain as Doom, and to me it just gets annoying.  I told God, "I came out to talk to you, but all I am accomplishing is talking to myself."  And then I asked myself the big question:  Is that all I EVER do?

Not because God isn't there, or isn't listening.  But because it's one more thing I'd like to control.  But I can't control it.  Any more than I can get through a day without having to get up asking for forgiveness in the morning.  And it's not JUST overt sin, it's all the little "Well, God will understand" things I do and half the time don't even notice.  If it wasn't for Revelation 21:5-

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new!


-I wouldn't bother getting up most mornings.  And I could use it being morning right now...

And I check the e-mail again.  And Facebook.  And Twitter.  Al Penwasser's played on Words with friends, but all I have is a "u".  Ubi, eru, and du didn't work, so I guess I'll pass.

I've told a few of you before about my old Pastor.  One thing I may not have mentioned is that he had the sweetest mother on the face of the earth.  When her husband passed away, she emotionally collapsed.  It wasn't that I couldn't do anything to help, it was that NO ONE could do anything to help.  Her world had completely come off it's moorings, and it wasn't going to re-attach.  Now, mind you, she could still basically take care of herself (in an assisted living setting) but she wasn't who she was.  Or maybe, she was ONLY who she was, and who she was was now half gone.

Nights like this, I wonder what will happen to me if I end up having to spend the end of my life alone. Hell, I have a hard enough time imagining life without Scrappy.  I hope in the back of my mind we go out for a walk one day and both get hit by a meteor (well, WAAAAAAY in the back.)

The internet is a great thing, don't get me wrong.  But on nights like this, when nobody's posting, no one's e-mailing, and a post I did three days ago and thought, "now there's one I might even lose readers over" gets only two (very nice and quite amusing) comments -  well I guess I'll go look at the fridge one more time.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

So let's just get the Weiner out of the way

Can there ever have been a better target for political derision than Anthony Weiner, who lost one position because of sexting, and couldn't even give it up long enough to get elected to another one.  But now, in addition to being a big red circle for wags like me and Al Penwasser, he has become the whipping boy for the liberal establishment as well.  For example:

In a “Today” appearance Monday morning, NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell said, "This is getting to the point where it is really splashing up against the Clintons because it's almost unavoidable that people are making comparisons."
Which is a bit amusing to me that someone else's sex scandal has to "wash up" on Bill Clinton, who is more the debris than the shoreline on this one.  Like I saw on FB today:



Next up, California babe Nancy Pelosi:

Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "The conduct of some of these people that we're talking about here is reprehensible, is so disrespectful of women."But, I thought everything was okay as long as you supported her right to have an abortion?  I guess that's a no when you start to "splash onto"  Hillary's upcoming Presidential bid.  One thing I can honestly say I like about Barak Obama- we haven't heard any stories about HIM dashing around DC with his zipper down.  Next up, chief White House reputational assassin, David Axelrod.

On Sunday's “Meet the Press,” David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Obama, said of Weiner, "He is not going to be the next mayor of New York, he is wasting time and space."And if anyone should be an expert on wasting time and space (just as Pelosi is a senior fellow at Reprehensible U.), it's Axelrod.  And finally, a comment on the other "big Democrat sex scandal"- that of San Diego mayor "Groping Bob" Filner, from the patron saint of battle axes:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on CNN's “State of the Union” was equally critical of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. "I don't think that somebody who is lacking a moral compass really sets a role model or really will provide the kind of leadership that San Diegans want,"
Fine words from a woman whose moral compass always points $outh.


More entertaining fun will be had at Weiner's expense by the minor league Richmond Flying Squirrels (isn't that appropriate?) who will be selling Weiners, er, wieners, for a dollar at "Salute to Scandal" night.

The team says fans also can enter a contest by tweeting photos during the game showing how they are enjoying their hot dogs.



________________________________________

I did get a response from Professional Web (remember, the guys who gave blog-spammer thetaoofbadass a website, I mentioned a couple posts back?) about the sites that they cater to. 

Hello,

As per our investigation we have not been able to identify any incidents of abuse originating from the domain name 'taoofbadass.pw'.

If you feel that the domain name is involved in illicit activities such as spamming, you may update us with the mail headers and we shall do the needful.

Alternately, you may also get in touch with the Registrar on record and file a complaint at their end. Please note that we will not be able to take any sort of action on a domain name without sufficient evidence supporting your claim.

Feel free to get in touch with us in case of any further queries.

Regards,
Abuse Mitigation Team
.PW Registry



Actually, I DID tell you that the domain name was spamming.  Am I to believe you'd be any more attentive the second time?

Speaking of spammers, The are getting just about as lazy as the rest of society.  A while back, I got one based on a true story- a British woman, dying of some disease, was giving away her fortune through certain means- and scammers took the story and made it their own.  But I guess after a while, you just lose interest in the story.  I got this yesterday, addressed to "dear":

I am Mrs. Grace Roberts, suffering from cancerous ailment. I am named as the beneficiary of a trust fund worth Thirty Five Million Pounds
(35,000,000.00 GBP). Email:graceroberts1955@live.com


A good attempt, except for leaving out the part about dying in such and such time... or that you're intending to give away the money...or what I should be emailing you about...


And a story on WANE.com shows that it isn't just out-of-country scammers at their busy little computers involved in these shenanigans...


KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WANE)  Two women have been arrested and are facing felony charges for their alleged involvement in a "Nigerian Scam."
Desiree Starlette Blackburn, 20, and Barbara Ickes, 39, of Harvard, Illinois, face felony charges for being involved in a large scale check scam, according to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department
A resident recently contacted detectives when he believed he was being "scammed." Officers looked into the fraudulent check and discovered it was part of an international scam. They were able to trace the check itself back to Ickes in Illinois.
Officers found a check-printing machine with fake banking institutions at Ickes' place along with a list of possible victims.
After speaking with Ickes, detectives believed Blackburn was also involved.
The two allegedly began forwarding money to a location in Nigeria in October 2012. Equipment and computers taken from the scene are still being analyzed by the Indiana State Police Cyber Crimes Unit. 
The United States Secret Service has also been contacted to determine if federal authorities will continue the investigation further.
Blackburn and Ickes have been preliminarily charged with felony corrupt business influence & control, as well as felony attempted theft. Ickes also faces a charge of felony forgery. Both were being held in the Kosciusko County Jail on $20,000 bonds.

So I guess that's how the money gets to Nigeria in the first place.

_____________________________________________

And I could wrap it up with the story of our walk, but there really wasn't much to say... other than, in light of our stories above, you'd think I wouldn't have to make this announcement, considering the dangers of ID theft, but...


JAMES FELIMON COOK, your BIRTH CERTIFICATE  can be found on the east side of North Clinton, between Walgreens and the medical park!

Oh, and there was a deer, keeping a watch on us from a distance:










Monday, July 29, 2013

Lotsa Little Bits vol. 25

ITEM:  First up, I have to question the ability of some ESPN.com reporters to proofread their own copy.  To wit, here is a chunk from the story about the Baltimore Ravens signing former Viking Visanthe Shiancoe:


The Ravens were reportedly considering signing Shiancoe even before the injury to Pitta. Shiancoe played in just four games last season with the New England Patriots, and did not have any catches. He last played in an NFL game in 2011 with the Minnesota Vikings and has 243 receptions for 2,677 yards and 27 touchdowns in 148 career games.

Okay, so did he last play for New England in 2012, or Minnesota in 2011?  I will give them points for efficiency, though; if you're going to have two different stories, put 'em both in the same paragraph.


ITEM: While I know the liberal elite and media would LOVE for you to think that the US of A is the ONLY place where prejudice exists, I give you Italy, courtesy the BBC:

Black Italian minister Kyenge suffers banana insult


Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge in Rome, 16 July

Italian politicians have reacted with anger after the country's first black minister had bananas thrown at her during a political rally.

Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, who has suffered racial abuse in the past, dismissed the act as "a waste of food".

But Environment Minister Andrea Orlando said on Twitter he felt the "utmost indignation" over the incident.

Earlier this month an Italian senator apologised after saying Ms Kyenge reminded him of an orangutan.

Congolese-born Ms Kyenge was speaking at a Democratic Party (PD) rally in Cervia on Friday when an unidentified spectator threw bananas towards the stage, narrowly missing her.

Italian police say they are trying to find the culprit.


Yes, well, that sort of thing would never happen in a "civilized" country.

ITEM:  According to the BBC, the Pope is having some trouble in his job description.  It seems he told a Brazilian interviewer,  "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?"  True- you are no one to judge them.  However, as the leader of the oldest and largest Christian denomination, it IS your job to say that forgiveness comes with repentance, and homosexuality is a sin.

"The problem is not having this orientation," he said. "We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem." Excuse me, but the problem is with considering it an orientation.  It is, in the end, a choice.  You can look at a behavior and realize it is wrong, and chose to not do it.  Just like an alcoholic can choose not to drink, because he knows that that is the right choice.  Not saying it's easy, not saying that making the wrong choice makes you evil.  But the facts are: A) by any intelligent standard, it is against the way nature intended.  B) It is a sin throughout the Bible.  And C) repenting of a sin is required for forgiveness- repenting meaning recognizing the action is sinful and making an effort to turn from it.  I find it difficult to understand how he can declare that the act is a sin, but the orientation is "not a problem".

And, "Masonic lobbies"?  Really?

ITEM:  One final story from the news front- Philadelphia pitcher (or should that be spelled with a "b") Jonathon Papelbon is a bit upset with his team losing 8 straight:

"No, I would like to stay here," Papelbon said. "But if I'm going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don't want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?"

Hmm.  So Papelbon leaves the Red Sox ( a team on which he was judged to be "part of the problem" and jettisoned two years ago) to sign a $50 million, 4 year deal with the Phillies, a team that just ended a 9-year streak of winning records by falling 21 games to 81-81 last year.  And he apparently thought that his mere presence would magically stem the tide.  But after a year and two thirds, in which his incredible talents haven't stemmed the tide, he's ready to bail.

Kinda reminds you of Ernie Banks, right?  I mean, Ernie, a HOF shortstop with the Cubs from 1953-71, played on losing teams on 13 of his first 14 seasons, and was best known for saying with a smile, "Let's play two."  Okay, maybe it doesn't sound so much like Ernie.  Maybe it sounds more like Zach Grienke, who, when he wants off a losing team, he just plays like crap till they trade him.  Worked in Kansas City AND Milwaukee.  Maybe if you just blow a few saves...

ITEM:  The sixty-second AIHL report!  The Ice Dogs of Sydney and Adelaide had a doubleheader weekend.  Game one Saturday saw a 1-1 tie after 2 periods saw the teams combine for 8 third period scores.  The Ads pulled to a 3-1 lead, saw the game tied by 2 Todd Stephenson goals before taking a 4-3 lead, then giving up 2 shorthanders followed by an empty net score, and the Ice Dogs win 6-4.  Sunday it was again 1-1 after 2, but this time Adelaide tallied 4 scores in the third for a 5-1 win.

It was another doubleheader for Melbourne's Ice and Perth.  In the first match, Perth scored first but then saw the Ice score 5 straight en route to a 5-3 win.  In Sunday's game, league scoring leader Matt Armstrong, who had late power-play and shorthanded goals to help the Ice to a 5-5 tie after regulation, was shut out in a shootout; Perth's Dan Mohle got the only SO score for a 6-5 Perth win.

The other Saturday game saw Mustangs goalie Jon Olthuis handle 45 of 46 shots as the 'Stangs overcame being outshot 46-24 to beat Newcastle 2-1.  Newcastle wasn't aided by the 18 minutes in penalties whistled on their player John Kennedy.

The 'Stangs went on to swamp the Sydney Bears Sunday 10-3.  Jamie Bourke had a hat trick, and Jack Woglemuth and Alex Hall added 2 each.  Newcastle rebounded with a 9-5 win over struggling Canberra.  Dominic Osmun scored a hat and Jeff Martens added 2; and John Kennedy redeemed himself with a goal and three assists, and NO penalties!

The Ice Dog split kept them in first place (12-6-4, 43 points), with the Ice (13-4-3, 42 pts) and Newcastle (12-6-3, 42 pts), hot on the trail.  The Ads, 'Stangs, and Perth are all within 9 points of the lead.


ITEM:  Close it out with a couple pictures.

A once busy thouroughfare- the north end of California road.



Relaxing at IPFW.  Moments later, he would find a snake... a big black racer, I think, sunning by the river.


First time I ever saw herons perch...


Heard this horrible screeching, and then saw the source- little bird chasing a hawk again.

Scrappy checking out a bigtooth aspen.

"But, honey, I brought lunch..."



#2 was just about to go swimming...


Someone loves his Mommy...

Learned this morning that cats don't pay any more attention than dogs.  Kitty walked straight at us a la Gary Cooper for several yards- THEN he looked up and saw us.

Of course, Scrappy saw him only when he finally ran the other way- and charged after him until an older scent on the other side of the trail caught his nose.
 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday message.

This week I was in the "minor" prophets:  Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Zechariah.  And what was on their minds was prophecy, telling backslidden Israel and treacherous Judah the coming consequences of their actions- as well as the light at the end of the tunnel.  Like the Chosen, we are supposed to "be holy, as I am Holy".  But we can also be backslidden, even treacherous- and maybe not even see it.  In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul warns of a coming "falling away", or apostasy.  And we look at that and say, "Look what the Church will do/is doing."  But the Church is made up of people; and just as our salvation is a personal relationship, one-on-one with Christ, so also is the falling away.  And in some of the signs shown by God in the prophets, we can see the evidences in them of our personal falling away- and it seems to start with attitude.  An attitude that we are either a)equal partners with God, who should be consulted on major decisions, or b) that God is "up there", an impersonal boss we answer to if the rules are broken.  Do we have those attitudes?  Let's look. 

I decided that in trying to study these chapters, to go to the "one thing that stands out".  In Micah, for me that point was in 2:10:

“Arise and depart,
For this is not your rest;
Because it is defiled, it shall destroy,
Yes, with utter destruction.


Attitude #1:  As Christians, we should sail through life's problems.  If you took a poll of the Saints born before the 19th or 20th centuries, I'll bet they'd laugh at THAT notion.  But think about it- A lot of us have NO IDEA what suffering is, think we can traipse into the life of some truly suffering soul wrapped in white linen and backed by a halo, and give them sweet words to help them.  And when the least thing comes to our door, we are almost offended that "God would allow this."  Wake up bunky, it's a fallen world.  It doesn't get up on its hind legs because you do.  And God is fine with that, because His focus is not this world.  And if we feel we deserve a break here, we are mistaken about the whole plan.


Nahum had a passage that seemed to me to dovetail with the severe problems with Detroit we've all been hearing about:

Woe to the bloody city!
It is all full of lies and robbery.
Its victim never departs.
The noise of a whip
And the noise of rattling wheels,
Of galloping horses,
Of clattering chariots!
Horsemen charge with bright sword and glittering spear.
There is a multitude of slain,
A great number of bodies,
Countless corpses—
They stumble over the corpses—
Because of the multitude of harlotries of the seductive harlot,
The mistress of sorceries,
Who sells nations through her harlotries,
And families through her sorceries.

“Behold, I am against you,” says the Lord of hosts;
“I will lift your skirts over your face,
I will show the nations your nakedness,
And the kingdoms your shame.
I will cast abominable filth upon you,
Make you vile,
And make you a spectacle.
It shall come to pass that all who look upon you
Will flee from you, and say,
‘Nineveh is laid waste!
Who will bemoan her?’
Where shall I seek comforters for you?” (From chapter 3)
 
Note in this a few things:
Full of lies and robbery- No one doubts the corruption of the city leaders that helped make Detroit what it is today; the police warn you "enter at your own risk", as gangs armed with AK guns hit gas stations in broad daylight.
 
The noise of rattling wheels... of clattering chariots- Is there a better way to describe how we all see the Motor City?
 
They stumble over the corpses- We've all heard the stories of bodies dumped in depopulated neighborhoods and not found for weeks.
 
Who sells nations with her harlotries- selling the American Dream on four wheels for decades, perhaps?
 
I will lift your skirts over your face... and make you a spectacle- mission accomplished.
 
Now, Nahum was talking about Nineveh.  Am I saying Detroit is as evil as Nineveh, or that their disaster was directly or indirectly prophesied here?  NO!  I am saying one thing in pointing out the similarities:
 
 
IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU. As Luke 11:32 shows Jesus saying:
 
The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold, a greater than Jonah is here.
 
Did Detroit go out to "become Nineveh?"  No, no one does.  As Jesus said later in Luke (17:27 to be exact):
27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
 
 
Moral of this story- don't expect to see the big black line you shouldn't cross.  The falling away will be in shades of gray.
 
 
In Habakkuk, the prophet looks around himself and asks two questions of God- Why don't you answer when I cry out? (1:2) and, Why do you "hold your tongue" when the wicked get away with everything? (1:13)  And God basically answers in two ways.  First, if you look, I do act in the short term (1:5-11), and Wait'll they get what's coming to them (basically all of chapter two, where He  declares woes upon them four times).  Lesson in this- God IS keeping a "naughty and nice list"- and ALL shall be repaid in the end.  Just because it isn't all taken care of "in your days" doesn't mean it won't get done.
 
Zephaniah goes a step farther in the beginning of chapter three.  In the 3rd and fourth verses, he admonishes the rulers who are leading the people astray- the Princes who are like "roaring lions", a lot of talk and evil action; the Judges, who like wolves devour the innocent; the Prophets, who have let their station go to their heads, becoming "insolent and treacherous"; and the priests, who pollute the sanctuary and do violence to the Law- in other words, cast away what is sacred and change the Law to meet up with society's "virtues".  But he also points out a people no less guilty in the first two verses, charging them with:
 
-Being rebellious and polluted;
-Oppressing others;
-Not obeying God's word;
-Not "receiving correction", IOW not taking the blame;
-Not trusting in God;
-and most important, not Drawing near to Him- in worship, in repentance, in humility.
 
It's easy to blame society's transformation on evil leaders, failed prophets, crooked judges- but in the end, WE are the ones they came from, we are the ones that put them in charge.  And we can switch them out all we want, but if we don't change as individuals, they won't change as rulers.  We'll just keep recycling the same trash.  The change doesn't start with ANYONE ELSE.
 
Haggai we have been through not so long ago, and we know the phrase he used over and over to sum this tale up:  CONSIDER YOUR WAYS!  He puts this to a test in Chapter two:
 
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?”’”
Then the priests answered and said, “No.”
13 And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”
So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.”
14 Then Haggai answered and said, “‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.

 
Once the people were unclean, everything they did was unclean.  Works were not making them holy- but obedience would.  and not because it was their accomplishment.  Consider Zechariah 3:
 
 

 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”
So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.

 

Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:
‘If you will walk in My ways,
And if you will keep My command,
Then you shall also judge My house,
And likewise have charge of My courts;
I will give you places to walk
Among these who stand here.
‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest,
You and your companions who sit before you,
For they are a wondrous sign;
For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
For behold, the stone
That I have laid before Joshua:
Upon the stone are seven eyes.
Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
10 In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts,
‘Everyone will invite his neighbor
Under his vine and under his fig tree

 
 
Notice in this passage:
 
-Though Joshua was clothed in dirty garments, God rebuked Satan without even hearing his accusation.
 
-God removed his iniquity from him- it wasn't his obedience.
 
-However, it was because he was obedient that he was brought to this point, and by his obedience he would be given charge of more.
 
-And note, it is THE BRANCH through which God would remove the iniquity of the land IN ONE DAY.  Not by the one man's obedience, but by the one act of God.
 
So, summing up our lesson today, what do we need to watch out for in ourselves?
 
-The attitude that the Lord "owes us something";
-The idea that it can't happen to us;
-Impatience with the evil around us;
-Blaming it all on "society";
-and the idea that good works cover everything.
 
 My friend Shirley once again cut to the point earlier this week, that complacency is the enemy:

In the Church today, in the hearts of those who profess Jesus Christ as their Saviour, there is this heavy silence, this refusal to speak out loud in truth to one another, because, by and large, we've bought into the false belief that we can have a private faith which will offend no one. Going to church, singing songs, reading good books or even God's Word, doing good deeds and speaking only kind, positive words to each other has become a belief in itself, and generally speaking, discipline by God, is not needed nor accepted.


But this didn't work for Joshua the priest, it never worked for Job, and it won't work for us.  And if we think it will.... Detroit awaits.

Friday, July 26, 2013

By request, no drama!

One of my longtime readers has gone on the record wishing the blogs she follows would cut the drama.  A noble request, and unless you get me ranting, one I easily fulfill.  For example, I give news updates such as this:

The Japanese murderer of five, the "haiku killer", if you will, was apprehended.  Upon capture, he explained he wasn't getting along with his neighbors.  (Note to Bob G. - this is NOT acceptable social behavior.)  He also mentioned he didn't think they liked his dog.  (Note to Scrappy:  STILL not socially acceptable behavior.)  This seems to be the same excuse that the deceased Boston bomber (as opposed to the one Rolling Stone thinks should be a rock star) was going to use, modified for his non-residence status.  He also told the cops that he "should have died", but he failed to accomplish that.  (Note to other maladjusted individuals looking into murder/suicide:  Try killing YOURSELF FIRST.)

I have been loving Japan news (specifically the Japan Times), because I always seem to find an interesting socio-historical story.  This time, I found the story of a 1968 North Korean commando raid into the south, with a goal of assassinating then-S-Korean president Park Chung-hee.  Apparently the group of 31 elite commandos made good progress until they ran into a group of four villagers out chopping wood.

Here, a dispute breaks out over the parameters of the mission- some of them believed they should kill everyone they ran into; others thought that would thwart the purpose of the assassination- to cause a popular uprising that would drive the South into the North's open arms.  So what happened, in the words of one of only two survivors:

According to Kim (Shin Jo, the interviewee), a fierce debate ensued over whether or not to kill them. For reasons never entirely explained, they opted to offer the four some on-the-spot ideological training, and then let them go with a stern warning not to raise the alarm.
The villagers promptly went to the police and alerted them.

So lesson #1, ideology training, even 18 years after you release the Chinese army on a people, doesn't work well.  (Unless you are a prospective voter who thinks MSNBC is news.)  The commandos made it to "within a few hundred meters" of the Presidential "Blue House" (don't ask me) before ROK troops wiped them out, save for Kim and another fellow who somehow got back across the border.  And the moral of the story?  Kim was

interrogated for about a year and then, much to his surprise, was released, partly on the grounds that he had never discharged his firearm. He publicly renounced the North, married a South Korean woman, converted to Christianity and finally became a pastor.

And to top it all off, Park did end up being assassinated- by his own security chief- eleven years later- but no popular uprising occurred.  Thus their attempt at ideological conversion, assassination, and even causing a revolution, were all shot in the butt.


Besides news, I also do insightful commentary on spam.  Today, I was perusing my "referring sites" list, and found a couple I hadn't paid much mind to before.  One was a site called Thetaoofbadass.pw ("The Tao of badass", for those not of a mind to dissect).  It is apparently a video that will show you some secret for getting any woman you want.  Doubting its efficacy, I left over its protests and pleas, and decided to find out WTH ".pw" was.  At one point, it was the web address for the south Pacific nation of Palau, a coral flyspeck due north of Papua and due east of the Philippines.  I guess you don't need a whole directory for a nation a little bigger than Allen County in area with a population roughly equivalent to Huntington, Indiana, so it was re-assigned to an outfit that calls itself "Professional Web" and sells sites to low lifes like the Tao of Badass.  I sent them an e-mail questioning their "professional" status.  I am NOT holding my breath.

The other little troublemaker was something called "ceae2122.dyo.gs" in which the ".gs" belonged once upon a time to the South Georgia Islands, a flyspeck off the Falklands (size: approximately Ft. Wayne; population, a semi-permanent 30).  Nowadays, it's run by an outfit that "shortens URLs to make them readable", and sells them to your friendly porn dealers.  The site it connects to in this case is one of those lovely places that gives you the fake "Your flash player needs updated" message that then downloads Webcakes, a spam toolbar that I have now done battle with twice.  (PSA- NEVER download flash player anywhere but from the actual Adobe site.  If you get a message to update- close it, go to Adobe, check to see if you are up-to-date.  Odds are, you will be.)

Speaking of PSAs, here's another one, which the Rolling Stone thing reminded me of.  1190 (and now on 92.3 FM) WOWO announced that anybody who had a subscription to RS and was offended by the Tsarnaev cover, WOWO would buy them back, bundle them up, and send them back to RS with a polite "thanks but no thanks" note.  Local moron talking head Gary Snyder (formerly carried at WOWO briefly during the Gregg Henson reign) thought that was terrible, posting a blog bit about WOWO sinking to an obvious catering to a listenership "one Glen Beck command away from drinking the koolaid".   PSA to Mr. Gary Snyder- the Henson war is over.  Your side lost.  Time to grow up and play with other toys now.  And as far as Rolling Stone?  I would never give money to anyone who would keep KISS out of the rock'n'roll hall of fame.  Moving on...


Of course, the MOST fun we have here is with pictures!


This morning, off the north trail.

Hey, I caught that indigo bunting!

Another hole inspected.


Tonight, the highlight happened too quick for me.  As we turned the north corner onto the back trail, Scrappy paused to pee- directly onto a good-sized garter snake!  It seems that Scrappy was firing from an empty tank, though, and the snake never moved until the lifted leg came down on top of him, and Scrappy (who, as I've said recently, turns like a drunken trucker) only jumped as the last six inches of the snake made it into the brush.  Me?  I was too dumbfounded to do anything but say, "Scrappy, you're peeing on a snake!" as it disappeared.


Back to the fungi...


...and butterflies!



Another frog?  Well, I wasn't gonna, but he was practically posing...


 And we ended the trip with a mini comedy of errors on my part.  As we made our canal cross-over, I saw a deer WAAAY down towards the end of my line of sight.  As I pulled out the camera, desperately trying to remove from pouch, turn on, and aim in one fluid motion, at some point during the "point the damn thing the right direction" maneuver I hit the "look at the pictures you've taken" button.  Unaware, I hit the power button (to no effect) and tried to sight the deer (who had just paused to pose) only to find myself looking at a picture I took of a weed I mistook for a bunny earlier.



At this point, I had two options to get a chance to snap the picture.  I could have re-pushed the "look at the pictures I've taken" button, or pushed the "focus/shoot" button, either of which would have gotten me back into picture mode.  But it was the power button I hit instead, and as the deer dropped into the woods I watched my screen go black, as Scrappy waited at the bottom of the canal, grumbling something about "always taking bird pictures..."


And finally, I admit mistakes.  After excoriating the Cardinals for having steroid poster-boy Mark McGwire as their hitting coach, I found out he was actually now with the Dodgers.  Please feel free to go back and paste in "former" next to the reference.

"Step one, look around for Canseco.  Step two, drop your pants..."



Time Machine week 78

It is July 26th, 1971.  Today, Apollo 15 takes off for the moon; it will land there on the 30th and spend not quite three days on the lunar surface.


Also, photographer Diane Arbus commits suicide.  Diane was the former wife of M*A*S*H guest shotter Allan Arbus (Psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman), which will become another of our ironic twists in just a bit.

Welcome to a blurry-eyed but better Time Machine, where this week, we'll forego the six degrees for the longest charting lps in our purview; wander our way to Life Is A Highway for a second time;  visit, briefly, the Cat in the Hat; just for laughs, throw in the next installment of the Great Fifties countdown; and see double in the top 40 debuts (after all, why should I be alone in visual impairment?).  All this and a NEW top dog, at last!  Just remember, no collecting "past rocks", there's a moratorium on that now, you know.  And let's go!


First off, let's look at the tops of the other charts this week.  Several cities have a split base this week:  in Detroit, WKNR has the Bee Gees' How Can You Mend A broken Heart on top, while CLKW has Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine; KWDB in Minneapolis has the Bee Gees as well, while down the street, WDGY has Indian Reservation; WCFL in Chicago also has the Brothers Gibb, while WLS has Tommy James' Draggin' The Line.  KHJ in L.A. Also has the Bee Gees, while KQV in Pittsburgh has Tom Clay's What The World Needs Now/Abraham, Martin, and John fall clear OUT of their top 30, with It's Too Late replacing it at the top.

In France, singer/actor Michel Delpech is on top with Pour Un Flirt ("For A Date"), a catchy little tune with one (translated) line going, "...for a little trip in the morning/between your sheets..."  A lot more than I expected on a date, but he IS French.  In Holland, Jacques Herb and his two-girl back up, the Riwis, are on top with a 50's-style torch called Manuela (with lyrics somewhat akin to Last Kiss).  Switzerland, Ireland, and Norway are still stuck on UK band Middle Of The Road's Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, but the UK itself has moved on to T-Rex's Bang A Gong.  The R&B chart has Mr. Big Stuff; the Adult Contemporary has one last week of It's Too Late; and the country chart has Sonny James doing Bright Lights, Big City.

Our hot hundred debut list is 12 deep, but only two mentions-  Rare Earth at 66 with I just Want To Celebrate, and Jethro Tull with a cut from Aqualung called Hymn 43 at 86.

And now, onto this week's birthday songs!  Turning thirty is one lonely entrant; Michael Jackson's Human Nature.  Turning thirty-five, we get a little busier.  Stevie Nicks and Kenny Loggins' Whenever I Call You Friend (a song which I heard in my mind an annoying amount of time for no good reason while working the pick line at Vera Bradley), the Captain and Tennille with You've Never Done It Like That (a song that annoys me under ANY circumstance), Foxy's disco hit Get Off, and just to give you an idea of the times we lived in back them- Kristy and Jimmy McNichol with He's So Fine.  Oh, and one you might not know; a Canadian act called Stonebolt hit with this:



Stonebolt was a local band from Vancouver until they got a contract and hit the charts with this one in 1978.  One member went on to somewhat greater notoriety- John Webster, who was another musician that followed Tom Cochrane from Red Rider into his solo career, playing piano on that once-before-featured hit Life Is A Highway.  If you recall, we did a RR/Tom Cochrane thing earlier when Rider's hit White Hot turned 30.

Turning 40 this week, Paul Simon's Loves Me Like A Rock; Elton John's Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting; the Isley Bros' Who's That Lady; and BW Stephenson's My Maria.  Turning 45, Al Wilson with a song I was just recently reminded of, The Snake ("Take me in, oh tender woman...").

Turning 50, Trini Lopez's If I Had A Hammer (our favorite "play the single at 78 rpm" song of childhood), the Angels' classic My Boyfriend's Back, and Martha and the Vandellas' Heat  Wave.  Oh, and Allan Sherman's comedy classic Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!  In looking into Sherman, I found out that not only was he the voice of The Cat In The Hat, but I also found a M*A*S*H anachronism.  The aforementioned Allan Arbus' Dr. Freedman character was known for the line, "Ladies and Gentleman, take my advice; pull down your pants, and slide on the ice."  Apparently, this line came from an Allan Sherman song, Turn Back The Clock, which came out in 1967...

Turn back the clock
And recall what you did
Back on the block where
You lived as a kid.
And if you think every kid nowadays
Is a nut or a kook or a fool,
Just turn back the clock
And recall what you said
When you were a kid in school.
Ah, your mother wears army shoes!
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
Teacher, teacher, I declare,
I see your purple underwear.
Margarite, go wash your feet,
The board of health's across the street.
Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice,
Pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
Inka binka, bottle of ink,
The cork fell out and you stink.
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
Mary had a little lamb,
The doctor was surprised!
Mary had a little lamb,
She also had a bear.
I've often seen her little lamb,
But I've never seen her bare.
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
Roses are red, violets are blue,
I copied your paper and I flunked too.
Roses are red, violets are blue,
Whenever it rains, I think of you - drip, drip, drip!
Roses are red, violets are blue,
I still say your mother wears army shoes!
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
Your mother is a burglar,
Your father is a spy,
And you're the dirty little rat
Who told the F.B.I.
Dirty Lil, Dirty Lil,
Lives on top of Garbage Hill,
Never took a bath and never will,
Yuck, pooey, Dirty Lil.
Oh what a face, oh what a figure,
Two more legs and you'd look like Trigger!
A B C D goldfish?
L M N O goldfish.
S A R 2 goldfish, C M?
Turn back the clock
And recall what you did
Back on the block where
You lived as a kid.
And if you think every kid nowadays
Is a nut or a kook or a fool,
Just turn back the clock
And recall what you said
When you were a kid in school.
There goes your father wearing your mother's army shoes!

Lyrics from eLyrics.net

Ahem!  And finally, turning 55, we have a couple of GFC songs!  One of them I'll tell you because it comes up later on in the countdown- Domenico Modugno's Volare.  The other is in this week's bunch!  In fact, in the first bunch we look at!  And so, without further doo-doo:

40- Rock Around The Clock, Bill Haley and his Comets, #1, 1954.  Though it COULD have been the group's first hit under the name, it wasn't-  Essex Records' boss Dave Miller hated songwriter James Myers, and every time Bill tried to record it, Miller tore up the sheet music.  Eventually Bill and the boys moved to Decca, where it became the B-side to the tune Thirteen Women (And Only One Man In Town).  By the time it hit the charts due to being in the movie Blackboard Jungle (remember THAT from last week?) Bill and crew had already charted with Crazy, Man, Crazy (#12), Shake Rattle And Roll (#7), and Dim, Dim The Lights (#11).  One of the RS 500 greatest hits.

39- Get A Job, Silhouettes, #1, 1957.  This enduring staple was also a B-side, for the non-hit I Am Lonely.  A&R men, whattaya gonna do?

38- The Wayward Wind, Gogi Grant, #1, 1955.  Originally Myrtle Audrey Arinsberg, she was renamed by A&R man (!) for RCA, Dave Kapp, after his favorite restaurant, Gogi's LaRue.

37- Mr. Sandman, Chordettes, #1, 1954.  Cadence Records' boss Archie Bleyer was the voice of the Sandman saying, "Yes..."

36- Rockin' Robin, Bobby Day, #2, 1958.  Our birthday song, turning 55 this week.  Co-written by Leon Rene, who also gave us another song we've mentioned in the GFC- Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, the failed A-side of Patti Page's Tennessee Waltz.


I'd love to mention our big movers, but... the one going up I'll mention in the top 40 debuts, and the big dropper I'll mention in the "falling from the top ten" section.... ooooooohh!

So I guess this is where I better stick in the six-degrees-that-wasn't".  You see, I was going to give the treatment to our descending top dog, Carole King's It's Too Late.  Any discussion of this song starts with the tremendous success of it's lp, Tapestry.  It was the best selling lp for a female soloist until Adele passed it with 21 in 2012.  It still has the most weeks on the chart by a female solo, second-most by ANY soloist, and fifth most overall.  Which led me to a list of the best-by-weeks-on-chart of all time, provided by Dave's Music Database.  I decided to see what we'd have if we cut it down to the Time Machine era (60s and 70s).  Then, I tossed out the musical soundtracks (Highlights of the Phantom of the Opera, Camelot, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, and West Side Story), Comedy lps (Rusty Warren's Knockers Up!), and any greatest hits compilations (Patsy Cline, 1973; Rolling Stones' Hot Rocks, 1971; John Denver, 1973; and Beatles 1967-70, 1973), and share with you the top ten we have left:

10:  Van Halen 1, 1978 (169 weeks)
9:  Off The Wall, Michael Jackson, 1979 (170)
8: Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority (their first lp), 1969 (171)
7: Andy Williams, Moon River and Other Great Movie Themes, 1962 (176)
6: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Beatles, 1967 (184)
5: Peter, Paul, and Mary, 1962 (185)
4: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, 1965 (185)
3: Led Zeppelin IV, 1971 (259)
2: Carole King, Tapestry, 1971 (309)
 And not surprisingly at #1:

1: Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd, 1973 (823 weeks).



And back to the GFC:

35- Bye Bye Love, Everly Brothers, #2, 1957.  A song rejected by over thirty acts, including Elvis. (T500)

34- Jailhouse Rock, Elvis Presley, #1, 1957.  Lieber and Stoller were contracted to write the soundtrack during pre-production for the movie.  Months later, they were summoned to NYC by movie execs upset that they hadn't even got started.  They still weren't moved, spending their time touring the city- until publishing exec Jean Aberbach blocked their hotel room door with a sofa, refusing to let them out until they got to work.  Four hours later, the entire 6-song songtrack, including the title song, were completed.  Elvis liked them so much, Lieber was asked to be the pianist (uncredited) in the movie. (T500)

33- Gotta Travel On, Billy Grammer, #4, 1959.  I can't tell you how many times I heard this tune during square dances at childhood wedding receptions.  Probably as many times as I heard Proud Mary.

32- The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late), David Seville, #1, 1958.  When first played on American Bandstand's rate-a-record, it got 35s (the lowest score allowed) across the board.  A couple months later, it had sold four-and-a-half MILLION records.


How they look NOW...


And how they looked then... a little more rat-like.

31- There Goes My Baby, The Drifters, #2, 1959.  Co-written and produced by Lieber and Stoller, it was the first use of a string orchestra in a pop record- and the inspiration for a young producer named Phil Spector.  (T500)

That brings us to this week's top 40 debuts.  We have a whopping 5 of 'em.  Remember last week when Ashton, Gardiner, and Dyke's Resurrection Shuffle made the countdown?  This week it moves up to 37, while Tom Jones' version moves up 2 to enter the 40 in the leadoff spot.  And it's not the only song with two versions in this week's 40-  Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway go from 48 to 39 with their take on Carol King's You've Got A Friend, while James Taylor's cover is at... well, we'll get to that.  Three Dog Night climbs 7 to #35 with Liar; the aforementioned Tom Clay medley leaps 38 spots (the week's big mover) to 28; while CCR bumps up 28 spots to 27 with Sweet Hitchhiker- their last trip into the top ten. 

And here's an almost but not quite-  The Stones peak at 18 this week with Wild Horses.  It sounds better, when you know the back story, when you believe that Mick wrote it for Marianne Faithful whilst in her drug-induced coma.  But Mick and Keith both say it isn't the case.


Wild horses couldn't drag him away... but Marsha Hunt could...

So if I've not forgotten anything else (which I've been doing a lot of tonight), it's time for this week's GFC wrap-up:

30- Little Darlin', The Diamonds, #2, 1957.  Written by Maurice Williams of Zodiacs fame, he recorded it with his first band, the Gladiolas (?). 

29- Donna, Ritchie Valens, #2, 1958.  The A-side to the more-famous-later La Bamba, it was written for high-school sweetheart Donna Ludwig.

28- Tutti Frutti, Little Richard, #17, 1956.  The original (which he wrote at a car wash he worked at) started with "Tutti Frutti, good booty..." and continued in a downward path from there.  Needless to say, they had to hire someone to clean the lyrics up. (T500)

27- Lonesome Town, Ricky Nelson, #7, 1958.  My flat out most depression-causing record of all time, it was penned by Baker Knight, who also brought us The Wonder Of You.

26- 16 Tons, Tennessee Ernie Ford, #1, 1955.  Yet another B-side, if you can believe it.  The A-side was a song called You Don't Have To Be A Baby To Cry,  which the Caravelles took to #3 in 1963.

Three songs enter the top ten, three fall out.  In fact, one falls clear out of the top 40!  When You're Hot, You're Hot is the week's big dropper, going from 10 to 47.  Also dropping:  She's Not Just Another Woman (8 to 20) and That's The way I've Always Heard It Should Be (9 to 13).


The end of the beginning starts with The Beginning Of The End and Funky Nassau, up a spot to #10.

Gladys Knight and the Pips climb 3 to #9 with I Don't Want To Do Wrong.

The Cornelius family slip to 8, down a pair with Treat Her Like A Lady.

From 16 to #7 this week, the toast of Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, and L.A. (or at least half of each), the Bee Gees' How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.

Up a notch to #6, Tommy James sans Shondells with Draggin' The Line.

Last week's top dog (and the week before, and the week before...), Carole King's two sided It's Too Late/I Feel The Earth Move moves down to #5,

The other half of the You've Got A Friend tandem moves from 5 to 4 for James Taylor.

Jean Knight also moves up a notch to 3 with Mr. Big Stuff.

And Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds re-assume the runner-up slot with Don't Pull Your Love.

Which means the new #1 song is....

... The Raiders and Indian Reservation!!!!!!



Be back next week for the penultimate ( that's fancy talk for second-to-last) episode of the Great Fifties Countdown, and other fun stuff!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Time Machine might be delayed this week...


When we wake up in the morning, Scrappy usually walks up, throws one arm on my chest and flops armpit to armpit on me, staring into my eyes as his paw starts kneading on the side of my head like a cat.However, about every fourth morning or so he chooses to plop butt-first so he can look outside while I rub his back.  I think that was what he was shooting for this morning... unfortunately, he turns like a drunken trucker and managed to step SQUARELY into my right eye.  Thirty pound of Booogle, straight down. And of course, into my stronger eye. 

It doesn't seem to be much damaged, but is sore as all hell.  And I might have to rest it a bit.  Thus, I won't be doing my usual perusal of the world's dumbbutts for fodder, and not sure when I'll get to TM research.  But I do have some pictures for you...


This is about all I saw on that walk two days ago.  However, I AM getting better at spotting frogs.


Last night, Scrappy swore there was something under the bridge.  By the time I got down there to take a picture of nothing, Scrappy was up the bank, looking at me as if, "What are you doing down there?"

Our first, not quite legal, crossing of the new bridge.
Scrappy thought he saw something at the base of the bridge.   Before he could get to it, I tripped on a board and scared him- and it.  All that was left was a cloud of mud...

Enjoying the walk...




We started running into similar clouds and ripples along the river...  then I saw the culprit at one... a foot-long carp...






 
I guess frog's eyes glow, too...


Scrappy wanted to show you that they have pulled up the temporary work bridge...

 
 
Just a shot of her before she split.

.
And thanks to Blogger for giving me fits getting this far!  See you tomorrow... sometime...