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


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Message: Cush and the bunny trail.

Psalms 7 starts like this:

A shiggaion of David, which he sang to the LORD concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite.

Which of course started me down the bunny trail of "Who is Cush, the Benjaminite?"  Having looked it up in several places, I found that there were four possibilities.  One was that it was just what it said- some guy named Cush.  This guy apparently had it in for David because of his problems with Saul, who was himself a Benjaminite.  Which led to possibility #2- "Cush", which basically means black or dark, was a code word for Saul himself.  That would go a long way to explaining what words we were talking about.  Even more so was the third choice, Shimei, the dude that stood cursing and throwing rocks at David during his flight from Absalom in 2 Samuel 16.  There you have the actual words- "you bloodthirsty man!"  Fourth, and quite close to this story, is Hushai the Archite, a friend of David who wormed his way into Absalom's camp and fed him bad strategies.  That one I found on a Jewish studies blog, along with a question I had overlooked, that became in fact more important:  What is a shiggaion?

Now I missed it at first because MY Bible translated it as "meditation", which rather fits the story.  But if you look at the structure of the REST of the Psalm, you'll get another posited meaning.  In Psalm 7, you have the first 2 verses setting things up: David's in distress and needs the Lord's help against his enemies.

BUT THEN-  from v3-5, David shifts course a little bit, and asks the Lord, "If this is MY fault, then let my enemy trample me."  The remaining 12 verses, though, proclaim David's righteousness, and call the wrath of God down on his foes.  So this blogger I found explained that some Rabbis translated shiggaion as a "mistaken prayer"- one that should never been prayed.  It hinted that the mistake was ever considering the problem was David's fault, and that he never should have called curses down upon himself.  The blogger didn't buy that reasoning, and neither did I.  But there was something about the whole thing that was nagging at me, and I was still wondering about Cush and what I was supposed to learn from him the next day.

That day was one stressful mess at work, which if I am not grounded usually leads to me having a debate with God over something in the structure of His universe I am not quite grasping.  And today, it was the thought: "What is up with God's fascination with pain? "  The life on earth is nothing but pain- and it's scant comfort that a lot better Christians that I have to suffer with a lot worse pain.  EVERYbody must suffer, everybody must feel pain for some unknown reason.  Even His Own Son He made to feel pain.  WHY?

(Note:  I know that this thoughtline has a million ways to be shot through.  But hang on and let me arrive at the way I got there.)

Now arguing with God has lost a LOT of its luster for me (since one always loses, and usually ends up looking stupid), so I just tried NOT to try and understand, just give the whole thing to Him.  But Satan is a determined foe, and wasn't going to let me off so easy.  Recently, tithing has become a thing for me (be prepared on a post about that someday soon), and as usual, not three weeks after I started REALLY trying to tithe we get a problem- rent going up yet again, and the company is no longer interested in giving longtime tenants a break- followed by what seems to be God's "solution"- a buttload of OT, including "2 Saturdays on, one off" for a while.  So of course, the argument I am trying to avoid becomes "Why does this crap happen EVERY time I try to be faithful- and why does God use OT as a solution for EVERY financial woe?  Isn't there a point where he can go to the Glick Company and say, "Hey, stop being so darn greedy!"?

Moments later, a pastor I was listening to told the story:  A believing wife felt convicted to tithe; unbelieving husband did not.  She says nothing, and eventually Hubby accepts Christ and then questions HER on why she didn't force the tithing issue.  Asked what he would have counselled, the pastor said, "In this case, the money is not so important to God as the RELATIONSHIP."  So the wife was in the right all along.  What does this have to do with the story?  That my being tested after renewing the tithe didn't constitute a "test" from God on tithing- the test was growing our relationship.  And that brought me just about to full circle.

Because I was still frustrated, still questioning, and still felt awful.  And then I thought about the rabbis and "mistaken prayer"- and began to see it was not a mistake in the least.  I tried again, starting the prayer with, "If this is on ME, help me to see MY problem.  And then..."

And that's what it took.  Not that it was on me, but I got my answer to the pain problem.  Which, by the way, went like this:

GOD:  Pain is part of the death man inherited from Adam.  Part and parcel of the mortal world.  I didn't choose it, man did.

CHRIS:  And what about Jesus?

GOD: He was born into the world of man- and that pain became part of HIS heritage, as well.  It became a world of pain at Adam's sin, and anyone born on this world will deal with it.

See, now that makes sense to me- and just like that, my anxiety was gone.  God is perfect and is trying to make MORE perfection in us.  But just like diamonds are broken from a matrix of rock, and has to be cut, chiseled to draw away imperfection, our souls- God's raw material- are trapped in this physical rubble we call flesh.  If not for Adam, we might have been BORN diamonds.

And the actual moral of this story- it is NOT a mistake, when you are in distress, to ask God how much of it YOU yourself are causing.  That reflection is humbling, and God rewards a humble spirit- which I didn't have when I was "handing the problem to God" by flinging it on the floor in frustration.

Think maybe I'm on to something here?  One thing I always taught kids in my Sunday School is that God has a way of reinforcing His point.  And just before I started typing this out, I got Chuck Swindoll's daily devotional, which read:

There are numerous riddles in life that remain wrapped in mystery and shrouded inside an enigma.

The sea, for example, is an unexplainable phenomenon. Who can fathom its tide affected strangely by the moon . . . ? We manage to continue on, though brilliant scientists have been trying to solve and/or explain life's mysteries for years . . . .But when God leaves us with a mystery that isn't solved in a week or two, most of us go through desperate struggles believing that He is good or fair.  I mean, after all, if we're going to trust a good God, He should do only good things, right? No fair doing mysterious stuff!

The Bible that I read simply doesn't present that as the way life is. Yet the world I live in seems to expect that. And that's certainly the cynic's line: "You mean to tell me you are going to trust a God who treats you like that?"

When will we ever learn that cynics have no capacity to understand the profound and unfathomable ways of God?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Time Machine Co-ordinates VXVI42542159

Today, buffeted by the winds of time, we find ourselves landing on April 21, 1959, where at first I thought my A's, then in Kansas City, did a stupid thing- but wait, that's tomorrow.  Then I saw that Hawaii became the 50th- but no, Google, that's in August.  What did happen today?  Well there was this....

Yep, that's not yet Commie dictator Fidel Castro in the midst of his whirlwind visit of NYC and Washington, speaking to the Women Lawyers Association of New York, where EVERYONE goes to speak.  During his visit, Ike hung the "Gone golfing" sign on the Oval Office door, but VP Dick Nixon met with him- and in his usual astute grasp of the holding-his-cards-close-to-the-vest Castro, he said, "(Castro is) either incredibly naive about communism or under communist discipline-my guess is the former.”

Can't win 'em all, huh?

Today on Time Machine, we'll be covering new ground for a lot of you young whippersnappers- and for me, as I was 37 months away from making my own debut!  However, President Falco is 2 years and 2 months old, so he'll be handling things-

Ich werde was machen?

Oh, simmer down, I'm just kidding!  We have not one, not two, but three debuts this week!  Why don't we lead off with the first one at #10.  This is singer -songwriter Jason Isbel and his band of Muscle Shoals musicians called the 400 Unit:


We managed 22 stations for this week's panel, who served up 10 songs you may or may NOT know, as they are almost 60 years old now!  Take a look at the list:

First off, we have the current Cashbox #2, Elvis and A Fool Such As I.  Since I didn't put in a 6D for it, I can mention that the flip side, I Need You Love Tonight, was at #6 and while it MAY have gotten some Panel love, none of the stations either separated them nor put the b-side in front.

Next is the week's CB top dog, the Fleetwoods and Come Softly To Me.

The Virtues, a Philly instrumental band, were at #5 with Guitar Boogie Shuffle.

The oft-mentioned (lately) Wilbert Harrison was at #28 with Kansas City.

Ed Byrnes and Connie Stevens combined for the novelty hit at #50 (debuting this week), Kookie Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb).

Ricky Nelson was at #12 and falling with Never Be Anyone Else But You.

Dodie Stevens and Pink Shoe Laces was at #4.

Jackie Wilson was at #15 with That's Why (I Love You So).

Frankie Avalon was at #3 with Venus.

And at #35 and climbing, a familiar song to most of us oldie-but-goodies, if not the particular version, Only You (And You Alone), this time by classical instrumentalist Frank Pourcel and his French Fiddles.  This is one of many times it charted;  Pourcel would eventually peak at #9.  Four years before, the Platters took the signature version to #5, while the Hilltoppers took it to #8.  In the sixties, Brenda Lee would hit the top 5- in Belgium;  Ringo Starr would have a #6 hit in '74, and Harry Connick, Jr, would have the biggest hit of his career with it in the UK in 2004, peaking at #6.

I never really did singles in the US of A, though.  Buy my albums!

Now as for your clues, we have 4 songs which got multiple votes.  So lose everyone else and concentrate on Byrnes/Francis, the Fleetwoods, Elvis, and Dodie Stevens, and we'll check back with the winner later.


Debut #2- landing at #9 on the M10- Is a band called Easy Love.  They were the "way past heartbreak" for a young singer/drummer named Justine Brown, who had been with a band called Summer Twins.  On the first lp for Justine, and her cohorts- lead guitar Chelsea Brown, Natalie Burris on bass, and a guy- Dave Jauregi- now on drums, she turns that heartbreak into their first M10 hit:


This week's CB didn't have a bubbling under chart, but they did have a two-way tie at 100 (how that works out, IDK), and they made for the best stories of the show.  One of those was a tune called Lonely Saturday Night, which eventually peaked at #72 for Don French.  Unfortunately for Don, who showed some promise on this one, his career was screwed by the late fifties Payola scandals.  Unable to get anywhere without the scratch, he gave it up and went to college instead.

The other was a tune called Two Brothers- credited to one David Hill.  The singer in question was actually David Hess, who had quite a little career.  The first to actually record the later hit by Elvis All Shook Up, he went on to write hits like Elvis' I Got Stung, and Pat Boone's Speedy Gonzales.  He went on to be an actor/director, best known for a role in Wes Craven's cult horror classic Last House On The Left in 1972.

Wow, and Now I'm on Time Machine!  I'll be as big as Wayne Newton!

Vertrauen Sie mir, es ist nicht alles, was es sein soll...*

*Trust me, it's not all it's supposed to be...


And at #8, the third of this week's M10 debuts- from their first lp since 2011- this is Flogging Molly....


One last note before the charts.... our 59 in '59 belongs to Lloyd Price, who had top tens with Personality and Stagger Lee.  This time, he had a song that would finish up at #23, called Where Were You On Our Wedding Day?  Not a question I'd want to ask- but wait, considering my ex, maybe I would...


The rest of the M10 as follows:

Barry Manilow dips 2 in his sixth week to #7 with the Medley.

Steely Dan climbs a pair from 8 to 6 with Come Back Baby- but don't get cocky, the Four Seasons did the same with Marcie last week, and where is THAT now?  Huh?

Well, at least they still have the former #1 Walk On By at #5, down a notch.

Chicano Batman tumbles from the top after 2 weeks to #4 with Passed You By.

I just told Laurie, "What's a week without Melody's Echo Chamber in the top 3?"  Since December 7th when I Follow You got there, 11 out of 21 weeks have seen Melody in the top three- where she sits at #3 this week with You Won't Be Missing That Part Of Me, up from #9.

Real Estate, saying, "Location, location, location, " remains located at #2 this week with Serve The Song.

And at the top?  M10 says:

The Old 97's, with Brandi Carlile, and Good With God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the winner of the POTM for next week, with 31.8% of the vote- good for a 13.5 point win....

Elvis and A Fool Such As I!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elvis gets his second term in office, so maybe I'll find something significant in the King's career to pick what year we go to... or maybe not!  I just don't know yet!  But you'll know next Friday!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Tuesday Afternoon...

The mid-size trees are greening up

Now we have Dutchmen's Britches too...

And more shoes in the trees...

WAAAAY up there.

We went to the Spot... and just upstream is a BIG BAD dam....

The amount of erosion every year is astounding... of course, the bank IS mostly sand...

The dam has  an "overflow " on the west side

This is Connie and Otis, who we had a nice talk with

Below the bridge.  It got a little goopy after this... we trekked across the ravine floor...

"Hey!  WTH are we?"

"And we gotta climb THAT?"

Whew!  Topside!

A stop at the Alumni Pond

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Everything's relative + more pics

So I tumbled onto an article on that I had to laugh at.  A while back, BBC ran an article on the ten greatest achievements of 2016.  This list included such scientific stunners as: the discovery of Einstein's postulated gravity waves; the arrival of the Juno probe at Jupiter; the possible discovery (again) of a ninth planet; a 99 million year old dinosaur tail preserved in amber; the new largest prime number, now out to 22 million digits; a tiny computer disc that can hold 360 terabytes of info and last up to 14 billion years; stem cell injections that can return motion to some stroke patients; discovery of a blind cave fish that can climb walls (and no doubt dresses in tiny red and blue tights); the landing on a barge of a returning rocket; and a chip that can return motion to paralytics.  All quite impressive.  But when the story hit newspapers in Jordan, Muhammad Abu Rumman of the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, decided he would make a list of his own- a list of the "accomplishments" of the Arab world in the same time period.  His scathing tongue-in-cheek compilation of the best the Arab world had produced lately included:

1- "The car bomb tactic";

2- The turning of any tool or device into the equivalent of a "tank or a lethal bomb" as in the jerks that keep hijacking vehicles to run into crowds or using household knives in lieu of other weaponry.

3- Brainwashing internet-addicted losers into "lone wolf attackers."

4- "Barrel bombs" dropped from planes.

5- "Successes in the field of ethnic cleansing".

6- Refugees.

7- Destroying and defacing antiquities and archeological sites.

8- "Our capabilities in the field of destroying our own people and structures."

9- Recognizing "the importance of tyrannical governments in stabilizing regimes".

And 10- "Rediscovering" the Shia-Sunni conflict.


A CNN article reminds us of what used to be an intelligent AND religiously faithful Arab science.  They gave us the first authoritative book on surgery; coffee; universities as early as 859; algebra; advanced studies in optics; the proto-forms of violins, lutes, and the common music scales we use now; hospitals; and even toothbrushes. They were expert astronomers and mathematicians, even inventing the numerals we use now.  The thing is, all of these ideas and discoveries came about by the year 1200; since then, they have contributed little more than genocide, brainwashing and slavery (or both, in the inhuman recruitment of the Janissary Corps).  By the time they took Constantinople in 1453, they were relying on renegade and mercenary Italians and Greeks for ANY innovations.  At that point, the leaders of Islam began to teach that more innovation was bad, essentially becoming Amish without the dedication to peace.  And now, 900 years later, one of their own wise men puts into perspective what a wasted faith they truly have.


And now, pictures from a Sunday walk, with the kids filling in for a worn out Scrappy, at Shoaff:

My son's stupid shoes, basically rubber socks with toes.  Jessica made him go home and change them first.

This frog was big enough he felt no need to move- till I poked him in the butt with Stick.

Jessica and KC (in more sensible shoes)

Papa actually hissed at us as the young'uns hit the water

The squirrel story was funny.  A lady had sprinkled corn on the ground around these two trees, and two squirrels were at each one.  As KC approached the pair in the topmost picture, the closer one ran up the tree.  The other one started, stopped, grabbed and ate one last piece of corn, and THEN ran up.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekend picture recap

Scrappy at the bark park with Reagan and  another buddy Wednesday...

"Dude, bad breath, man!  PHEW!"
Then a Friday walk...

Methinks we have a boardwalk failure here

Taking a break at mile one

The same old joke again- dip in the river

Owl down by the swamp

And a couple dozen turtles

Had to climb all the junk hills to look into dens

Mushrooms, anyone?

Hope the deer can read

Scrappy's first time off the leash to hunt down groundhogs

A good boy, checked every move with me and came back when asked

"Damnit, no one home!"

Saturday, our first trip to Shoaff this season!

My favorite spot- the little waterfall

And here's the FWFD water rescue team, hanging out

Scrappy spent a lot of time in the pond

They always get Dutchman's Britches there before we do

Doggie under the bridge