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


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Message- buy a ticket

Today I want to look at Psalm 22.  This is known as the suffering Messiah psalm, for good reason.  Knowing that I say this in the Grace of the Holy Spirit to see it, this song is such an exact description of what happened to Jesus 1,000 years later, so complete in detail, that I find it hard to believe that you cannot come to one of two conclusions.  One, either the NT story of Christ is absolutely true and faithful, or two, the entire Bible is one big made up story.  Even without the tons of evidence that destroys option two, as for me and my house, we will serve the lord.

But I want to actually subtract the messianic aspect, the prophetic angle, and look at a very powerful application for ourselves.  In the first two verses, David is in distress and believes that God has forsaken him.  He accuses God of being far away and not hearing.

But while he's not listening, God gives him an answer to this in vv3-5.  God is Holy; He cannot be otherwise.  He was faithful to David's forefathers, who trusted in him.  Therefore, He HAS to be right there with David- but David's so consumed by his miseries, he doesn't notice.  Much like I was getting at about myself last week- if you are too busy bitching, you're not busy enough praying.

In vv6-8, he goes through his "I am a worm, and not a man" phase.  Everyone is telling David he is a fool for trusting God, because God is "obviously not doing anything for him."  And David has begun to believe it.

But God answers again to the uncomprehending David in vv 9-11, which begins, "But You are He who took me out of the womb; You made me trust when I was on my mother's breast."  In other words, God is telling David, "I made you";  Like that old saw "God didn't make no junk," David is being told that his very birth and life are proof that he is a man and not a worm; and the hallmark of that manhood is the trust which David has had in Him from birth.

So twice God has actually answered him, and twice he's been too busy whining about it- so things are about to get worse.  He is surrounded by spiritual and physical enemies; he has "been delivered into the dust of death".  And at this extreme, David finally does what he should have been doing from the start:

He Prays.

Psa 22:19  Do not be so far away, O LORD. Come quickly to help me, O my strength. 
Psa 22:20  Rescue my soul from the sword, my life from vicious dogs. 
Psa 22:21a  Save me from the mouth of the lion and from the horns of wild oxen...

Nowhere before in this poem has he done anything like a prayer.  He's complained about God's invisibility, he's cried out about what everyone is saying to and about him.  But this time, this time he ASKS FOR HELP.

And what are the results?

Psa 22:21b You have answered me.

Period.  Done.  The rest of the psalm's 10 verses left describe his praise of God.  But not JUST praising God.  In vv 22-24 he declares his praise to the people of Israel; in vv 26-28, he takes his declaration of faith to the Gentiles and the ends of the earth.  He tells the rich and the poor, the living, the dead, and the generations to come.  Get that?  He not only tells all those he can, he leaves a legacy for posterity.  He sets up that stone that says, "Thus far the Lord has helped us" for the generations to see.  Now THAT is praise.  And it is what I try to do here as well.

Because I have just as much reason to praise God as David.  Just as many sins needing forgiven, just as many enemies (though less of a physical nature) surrounding me, just as many answers that I have ignored and ignored until I finally shut up and opened my ears.  AND SO DO YOU.  And it all starts when we remember three things:

1- Remember God is right there- and He never left.
2- Remember God made you- and had a good reason to do so.
3- And remember to PRAY.  It's like the joke about the blonde who three times came to God about her dwindling finances, begging Him to let her win the lottery so that her problems would be solved.

The third time, God answered.  "Help me out.  Buy a ticket!"

Our ticket is prayer.  Have you bought yours?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

2017 A to Z mashup Pt 2

If you don't know what this post is about, read this and come back.  For those of you who do know what's going on (relatively speaking), let's get right to the fun!

N is for Naam.   According to I Chronicles, he is a son of Caleb- yes, that would be the Caleb who went with Joshua to spy out the Promised Land and managed to return with his faith (some might say his manhood) intact.  His name, according to the Targum (basically the Jewish version of the Commentaries), was given him "because he purged his soul from the counsel of the spies"- apparently a comment on dear old dad.  HOWever, upon consulting my concordance, I found that the name CAN be interpreted as "dog" or "male prostitute".

O is for Obadiah.  The prophet of the same name, I found a handful of interesting legends about him.  Supposedly he was brought to faith by a descendant of Job's friend Eliphaz the Temanite.   He was the one that hid the 100 prophets God told Elijah about from Jezebel.  I Kings 18 explains how he managed that- he was a servant in Ahab's household.  And, better yet, when the king sent the three captains and their men to Elijah, and Elijah had God roast two of them, Obadiah was the third captain.

P is for Paarai.  In 2 Samuel, this gent was one of the third class of David's "Mighty Men".  In I Chronicles, his name is Naarai.  If we went by that, you'd have never met him.

Q is for Quirinius.  Quirinius, or Cyrenius, was a Roman functionary which Luke claims was governor of Syria during a census of the Palestine.  But historians have found a lot more excuses to disprove Luke's dating system than to try and prove it, go figure.  At debate isn't so much the timeframe, but WHICH of three or four censuses (censi?) is the one Luke means, and what exactly Luke defined as being "governor", since Quirinius floated in and out of the area in various roles for many years.

R is for Raamah.  In Genesis 10, we find he's the grandson of Ham and basically founded the civilization of south Arabia.  His son Sheba would be a ruler in Ethiopia, possibly starting the line of Solomon's friend the Queen of Sheba.  Both he and the next entry are brothers to the great king Nimrod.

S is for Sabtah.  And you pretty well have HIS story.

T is for Tabeal.  According to Ezra 4, this ratfink was one of the Syrians living in Israel at the time of the restoration, who got together and wrote a "They're being bad" letter to King Artaxerxes.

U is for Ucal. While his name sounds like a Californian utility, Ucal is named in Proverbs 30 as a student of a wise man named Agur the son of Jakeh.  Agur may well have been a name for Solomon, as Lemuel later on as well might be.

V is for Vajezatha.  This unlucky chap was unfortunately for him the son of Haman, whom got on the bad side of Esther and a gallows; later the next day, the 10 sons of Haman were served similarly.

W is for Wormwood.  The Bible doesn't give you a lot of w's, and the only name was this one, the symbolic name of the meteor that strikes the earth and  poisons the fresh water in Revelation 8.  Admittedly, it's an inanimate object, but an inanimate object with a name.

X is for Xerxes.  While those who want to dethrone the Bible by picking nits with dates debate this, Xerxes is the Ahasuerus who married Esther, promoted Mordecai, and turned Haman into a large Christmas ornament.

Y is for Yah. Short poetic form of Yahweh, the name of God.  Known by 70's music fans from the song Pass The Dutchie.

Z is for Zavan.  Cousin of previous entries Ebal and Jaakan (I Chronicles).  If not for that family, I'd have been screwed here.

And that'll close out my participation in the 2017 A to Z Challenge!  Tune in next time for more alphabetical obscura!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Time Machine co-ordinates VXVII42642787

"Yep, I c'n fix it."

"What went wrong?"

"Well, these here ve-hicles aren't meant for XET."


"Extra-era travel.  Y'all c'nt be goin' off around outside yer parameters like that."

"Can I re-adjust the parameters?"

Sure.  Take an extra week, though."

"So I'm stuck in 1987 this week?"



I took my musical Tardis into 1987- and I hit the worst trip in Time Machine History!  So this week is going to feature the three ways I tried to salvage something out of this trip to get to a new POTM- and the NEW parameters starting next week!  I hope you'll like them!  I am not so confident about this remaining week, though...

How about we start with the two debuts this week!  Our first, at #10, is from a classic band who, in June, will be releasing it's first new lp in 12 years!  From the upcoming lp The Mission, I give you- STYX!!!!


So, I came into this week thinking about doing an xth anniversary post.  I looked at how many top tens I knew in the anniversary years.  I found that this week in 1947 I knew ZERO.  In '57 it was 5, all ten in '67, 9 in '77 (that damn William Bell's Trying To Love Two again), 8 in '87, 2 in '97, and ZERO in '07, as well as this year.  As 1977 this week was still overrun by the Brothers Gibb, I opted somewhat foolishly to continue my "Journey outside the Martin Era" and go to 1987.

What I found there were 12 stations.  But 2 I had to eliminate because they were AOR stations; another was a Christian station; 2 of them were the same chart on AM and FM; and one, from Melbourne, Australia had a song so stupid I HAD to take it out and just feature it separately.  That left me with  7 stations- and all but one had different songs at the top!  Ironically, the worst song for me was the one at Cashbox's #1- and DIDN'T get one of the six Panel votes- the duet by George Michael (whom I really don't care for, sorry) and Aretha Franklin (whom I cannot fricking stand, sorry again) with I Knew You Were Waiting For Me.

The Panel votes went to 4 songs in the top ten (which I will get to in a bit), along with Club Noveau's cover of Lean On Me (which wasn't awful, but nowhere near Bill Withers level) at #12, and Kenny Loggins' Meet Me Halfway, which was only halfway up the chart at #43.  So obviously, the Panel was going to be no help.  Or would they?


I asked our POTM, the King, Elvis Presley, to do this next section about this act from the Aussie chart and their song.

He turned me down flat.  Even cussed a little.

So anyway, that song was by an American act, three brothers of the family Zone, in fact.  They called themselves Man2Men  (because, you know, there were three of 'em).  They were also decidedly on the gay side- in fact one brother died of AIDS-induced meningitis, after which they changed the name to Man2Man.  (Not making this up in the least.)  Their genre was called HighNRG- in other words, fast paced club disco-electronica with a lot of high hat.  The name of their "big hit"- which swept the world like the Spanish Flu- was called Male Stripper.  No I did NOT listen to it, nor do I intend to.  A few weeks ago, I made this pronouncement on TM:

  ...And though it isn't QUITE the same thing, I don't segregate songs out because the act is LGBT or Muslim or any other thing UNLESS it effects the quality of the song or is over the top offensive. 

For me, the second qualification has been hit here.  To each their own, but this just ain't for me.

Sorry, the Board of Voting Appeals will not hear your case.

So my second big idea was, let's just look at the national top ten, as determined by Cashbox, and see what we have to work with.

Two songs- #3 and #10- I really do like, and they will factor into my final attempt in a bit.

Two songs- the aforementioned #1 by Michael and Franklin, and the far-too-whiny-for-me Cutting Crew's I Just Died In Your Arms at #6- I cannot abide.

Four more enter my realm of "just OK" at one level or another- #2 Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now; #5 Jody Watley's Looking For A New Love; #7 Stevie Winwood's Finer Things; and #8 Madonna's La Isla Bonita.

And two I flat out just don't know- The # 4 by Prince, Sign O' The Times, and #9 Bangles' Walking Down Your Street.  Sorry, I was in my "country period" at this point.


At this point, I prolly should intro our second M10 debut of the week, coming in at #8.  You remember the Orwells from their previous hit here, Black Francis.  This is actually their third single from Terrible Human Beings- the last one just missed.  Here is They Put The Body In The Bayou.


Our little statistical features start with the #87 in '87.  This was a duet by Billy Joel and his idol Ray Charles- who suggested the team up after learning that Billy named his daughter Alexa Ray after him.  Despite critical acclaim, the song- Baby Grand- peaked at #75.

And, there was no bubbling under on CB this week, so we go to the #100 song- it was the last week on the charts for the Georgia Satellites and Keep Your Hands To Yourself.  They almost missed the hit- they had actually broke up between recording a demo and its release in the UK, which became a hit and got them back together for the lp that spawned their big hit, along with my personal favorite Battleship Chains.


So at last I said to myself, "Chris, how about this:  Pick out your ten favorite songs on the hot 100- find out which ones of them made the Panel's charts in ANY spot- and most chart spots wins!  That worked out well, and so, at long last, here are your candidates:

Crowded House with the week's #3, Don't Dream It's Over.
Restless Heart with a country crossover, I'll Still Be Loving You at #73.
Bon Jovi's Living On A Prayer, at #67.
Bruce Hornsby and the Range and Mandolin Rain at #26.
Speaking of Bruces, Bruce Willis and Respect Yourself, #82.
World Party with Ship Of Fools, #34.
An AOR crossover, Robert Cray's Smoking Gun, # 53.
Chicago with Will You Still Love Me, #93 on the way out.
U2's With Or Without You, #10.
And the #32, Kim Wilde's You Keep Me Hanging On.

And as usual, I'll help you out.  Eliminating the ones with 0 or 1 votes, that leaves you with Crowded House, Kim Wilde, World Party, Bon Jovi, and U2.  But hurry, the show's almost over!


The rest of this week's M10 coming up next.  But first, this is what I have decided on for future Time Machines.  I am readjusting to Martin Era 2.0.  The early boundary will be the debut week of the chart run that took Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock to #1- after 3 weeks worth of aborted attempts, this happened on May 14th, 1955.  The late date, the moment music changed, not for the better- at the debut of the first single from Saturday Night Fever.  And that was September 24th, 1977.  I will start with the early year and go up one year a week from now on- unless there is a DGR to "skip around".  That means next week, as we are one week early for the 1955 start, we will be going to 1956!  And, it means in two weeks we'll be doing a 60th anniversary celebration!


The Four Seasons, themselves here with a 52 year old song, drop 4 to #9 with Walk On By.

Easy Love moves up a pair to #7 with No One Like You.

Flogging Molly up 3 to #6 with The Hand Of John L Sullivan.

I told Laurie this M10 was full of surprises for me.  I hadn't expected the Orwells to sneak in, and I certainly didn't expect Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit to jump FIVE spots with Hope The High Road.

Nor did I expect Chicano Batman to slam on the brakes and hold #4 with Passed You By.

And quite honestly, the top three was a MAJOR battle.  One that the Old 97's came out on the short end of, and Good With God drops to #3.

And Melody's Echo Chamber is still at least a week away from making it a three way tie for "most words in the title of a #1 song", moving only to #2 with You Won't Be Missing That Part Of Me.

Hey, remember when you used to bust me all the time for "Hey, Won't You Play Anoth-"

Sorry, BJ, it's not a two-hour show.  Anyway, since I am the sole determiner of the M10, it shouldn't be a big surprise that I have a pretty good read on what will be a #1 song.  Now, there are a few that didn't quite get there, because of other songs in front (or I just overplayed it too soon), but I can tell you only five songs out of 47 have surprised me by exceeding my original thoughts and making it to #1.

Decemberists and The Wrong Year;
Ducktails and Headbanging In The Mirror;
Strawberry Runners and When We Were Good;
Sweet and Peppermint Twist;

and the new #1 this week....

...Real Estate and Serve The Song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And next week's POTM for the New Era Time Machine-

...Kim Wilde and You Keep Me Hanging On!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She got charts at #s 10, 14, 25, 26, 30, and 36- so if I'd done this on who charted the BEST, U2 would have gotten in with charts at #s 1, 2, 6, and 10- but would YOU rather look at Bono?  (Well maybe the ladies would but...)

And Kim will kick us off next week in 1956!  Be there!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Martin World News

ITEM:  How better to mark (so to speak) the return of MWN than with  the story of State Rep Jessica Farrar of Texas, party you'll soon be able to guess.  Her obsession is being pro-choice (see? I told you it would be easy), and that means she's hopelessly hooked to the philosophy of "my body, my choice", and never looks over her shoulder at the human once-life behind her in the trash can.  Since the whole thing is MBMC to her, it is not surprising her next "logical" step.  A bill (which admittedly she doesn't expect to be seriously considered) follows this trail:  If women are to be faced with all these horrible regulations (like her abortionist actually being a QUALIFIED doctor with hospital admitting rights, etc), then a MAN's part of the "oops, I've reproduced" process should also be regulated.  Thus, she demands that a man have to take classes prior to getting ED medicine, vasectomies, or a colonoscopy (?).  She also thinks a man should be fined $100 for masturbating (that alone would balance the budget faster than Trump can say, "Build that wall"), and doctors should have the right to refuse to do elective vasectomies and colonoscopies (again, ?) on "religious or moral grounds".

"Why colonoscopies? It's an LGBT thing..."

Proving once again there is no depth of stupidity you can reach if you just ignore that nasty problem of respect for human life.

ITEM:  In the ill-named city of Usuki, Japan, one Takashi Yamanouchi was arrested after being discovered living above a park's public restroom building.

He was discovered by an electrician making repairs, and apparently moved in after a previous "occupant" moved out.

He's thought to have accessed the relatively spacious loft space by climbing on top of the toilet stalls and squeezing through a maintenance hatch. A local authority employee who accompanied police said that the squat was "neat and tidy" with a gas stove, electric heater and clothing. 

But MY problem with the whole thing was the part that came next...

The only blot on the unwelcome lodger's copybook was 500 plastic bottles which appeared to be full of urine, police say.

You live above toilets, dude.  You couldn't at least just "hang it out"?

ITEM:  This next story isn't bizarre on its own, but....

Parents in Zimbabwe who cannot afford school fees can offer livestock such as goats or sheep as payment, a government minister has said.

My deal here is that certain of my FB friends would no doubt respond to this with a meme showing an ISIS fighter and a goat or camel, saying, "That's no fee- that's my WIFE!"

ITEM:  I had to laugh at the story of a feud developing between hard rock conservative Ted Nugent and com-symp leftist David Crosby.  Apparently one of the many thousands of hollywood types that can't stand someone having an opinion other than their own, Crosby greeted a picture of Nugent meeting President Trump in the White House with the tweet, “pair of “a--holes.”

Nugent, on the radio, returned fire in a much kinder, more respectful way:

“David Crosby, he’s kind of a lost soul, and he’s done so much substance abuse throughout his life that his logic meter is gone,” Nugent said during the chat. “His reasoning and his depth of understanding is pretty much gone, so it doesn’t surprise me, I feel quite sad for the guy.”

And in true far-gone-left style, Crosby refuted the claim:

“Nugent is a brainless twit ....I can out think him without even trying hard.”

Well, yeah, because you would go to CNN or MSNBC to get the latest liberal sound bite to reply with.  Unless you're having trouble spelling MSNBC or CNN, that wouldn't be hard at all.

"Yeah, well... how many times did it take YOU to spell MSNBC?"

Um, twice, because I forgot to keep my finger on the shift key for the SNBC part.

ITEM:  Finally, it seems the Russians have been fiddling with another foreign election.  Sunday, Emmanuel Macron was the leading vote getter in the first round of elections in France, and the center-left candidate, who beat 10 challengers (including one guy described as a "follower of conspiracy theorist Lyndon Larouche", and another who was a worker at a Ford plant who was fed up with politicians) will face far-right Marine Le Pen in the May 7 run-off.  But he was NOT the favorite of official Russia, it would seem... From a Moscow Times op-ed:

But the sad reality is that, during the campaign, Moscow did not exactly hide its preferences among the candidates, and Macron was definitely not one of them.

In fact, Russian media in both France and Russia attempted to assassinate Macron’s character. Richard Ferrand, secretary-general of Macron's En Marche party, claimed in February that Russian state-controlled media Russia Today and Sputnik had spread false reports with the aim of swinging public opinion against Macron. The campaign also accused Russia of hacking its computer network.

In early April, Sputnik even published a story suggesting that Macron was “a U.S. agent” and possibly “acting in the interests of the U.S. financial market in France.”

Moscow’s effort to use a social media campaign and a deluge of fake news to slow Macron’s surge in the polls since January has created bad blood between Russia and the likely French leader. Meanwhile, the Kremlin denied it was behind the campaign to discredit Macron.

My question is, why didn't they just HACK the Macron campaign?

"Simple, you idiot.  I don't have internet security through the DNC..."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend picture catchup

His Eminence playing peekaboo in the grass

Ton of RVs by the Plex- something going on this weekend!

First Jacks of the season

More evidence of an event- enough signage that even the idiots around here won't park where they shouldn't

Ah, THAT's what it is- all indoors too.  Good.

Thus was Friday night- then comes Sunday.

The Green Hole is now green

Down at the Duck Pond

And nearby, at the river

Across the river, family fishing fun

Doggie driving his truck

Wild strawberries in bloom

Got lucky on a butterfly mating dance

This is Buster and his daddy.  Much like Scrappy, Buster is an old man with back leg problems- he's even recovering from ACL surgery on one...

The Big Guy is finally starting to green up.

Couple of side notes next:

1- A while back I told the story of the dead possum by the barn, whose corpse disappeared the next day?  It returned, sorta, this week- at least a back leg and hip, spinal chord, and head did.

2- Scrappy got to play with his neighbor Ernie at the start of the walk.  Ernie, is big white and a bundle of joy.  He looked like he was trying to step on Scrappy.

3-  We are coming towards the close of the hockey season, and you may know that KC and I have teams picked out in 25 leagues across the globe, and this year Laurie joined us in picking one team in each and 2 in the NHL.  KC won championships in Hungary (DVTK), Latvia (Kurbads), and Denmark (Esbjerg).  Laurie won the Slovak league (Banska Bystrika) and was knocked out in the finals in Switzerland (Zug).  I took titles in Norway (Stavanger) and the UK (Sheffield), and lost in the finals in Germany (Grizzly Wolfsburg) and France (Rouen).  My teams are all done for the year thanks to the Blackhawks' amazing first round flop.  KC still has Pittsburgh, and HV71 in the Swedish finals;  Laurie has Nashville, and St John in the Quebec Major Junior League in Canada.

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!