May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Day (off) in the Life

It's amazing how my day off went so quickly and so much was done, and how complete I feel. I couldn't sleep last night, so I napped fitfully in my recliner until about 5 am. Brewed some great Trader Joe's Free Trade coffee (I like and support the free trade concept) and read a few chapters of an incredible book, "The Gospel According to Paul". The author lays a great foundation of the rabbinical traditions over centuries that the Apostle Paul drew from, and was trained in. That's layered into what the Middle East and Mediterranean was like two thousand years ago. This book so captures the heart and foundation of ancient Judaism and the early Christian church. I'm loving it. I read several chapters this morning and made a lot of blog entries. Taking a couple weeks off from writing created some inertia, but I think I'm back on.

On to the dentist and got some bling for my choppers. Porcelin crowns crack, so now we have a gleam of gold.

I went and saw "Slumdog Millionaire", which is so amazing and wonderful. Great story and well told.

Later I talked awhile with my 80 year old aunt that lives in Oregon. More stories of the days of her early life. How it took about five months, when she was a kid, to move from Nebraska to Oregon, often camping out to save money. Stories of growing up, and her grandma and aunts. She'll be sending me some quilts and other things made by great great grandma's and great grandma's and aunts, and some old photos from the thirties and forties.

The rest of the day chores. We have a dozen ironed shirts, all laundry, cleaning, vacuuming. bills paid, letters written, Facebook and MySpace...done.

A productive, entertaining, informed day.

I liked it.

Eric Holder’s Law Firm and Gitmo Detainees

This is the man nominated to be US Attorney General, to represent US CITIZENS! His past doesn't show much interest in that.

"[A]s nearly 100 of the remaining detainees are Yemenis, reflecting that country’s refusal to assure security for repatriated Yemenis, note that AG nominee Eric Holder is a senior partner with Covington & Burling, a prestigious Washington, D.C. law firm, which represents 17 Yemenis currently held at Gitmo. From the C & B website:

'The firm represents 17 Yemeni nationals and one Pakistani citizen held at Guantanamo Bay. The Supreme Court will soon review the D.C. Circuit’s ruling that ordered the dismissal of a number of habeas petitions filed by Guantanamo detainees; some of our clients are petitioners in the Supreme Court case. We expect to play a substantial role in the briefing. We also plan to petition the Supreme Court to hear our Pakistani client’s appeal from the D.C. Circuit’s order dismissing his case. Further, we are pursuing relief in the D.C. Circuit under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 for all of our clients. On a separate front, we filed amicus briefs and coordinated the amicus effort in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld in which the Supreme Court in the summer of 2006 invalidated President Bush’s military commissions and in which we have obtained favorable rulings that our clients have rights under the Fifth Amendment and the Geneva Conventions.'

Covington & Burling’s Gitmo bar roster has included some of the most radical detainee advocates; see David Remes, who peeled down to his underwear at a press conference in Yemen to draw attention to his clients’ plight and Marc Falkoff, who published a book of detainee poetry and who, in the book’s intro, compared their heroic struggle to the Jews held in concentration camps and Japanese Americans held in internment camps during WWII. [One of Falkoff's "gentle, thoughtful" young poets--a Kuwaiti "cleared for release" and repatriated in 2005--blew himself up in a truck bomb in Mosul last March, killing 13 Iraqi army soldiers and wounding 42 others.]

The fact that Mr. Holder, while Deputy Attorney General, pushed for the release of 16 violent FALN terrorists against the advice of the FBI, the US Attorneys who prosecuted them and the NYPD officers who were maimed by them, suggests that he was perfectly willing to put politics before the national security interests of the country. He is not suited for the job of attorney general, which is central to the issues surrounding the disposition of war on terror detainees."

Thanks to

One Party Rule in Amerika

The Democrat Party now controls Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive branches of government. They also have the mainstream (leftstream) media repeating everything said by our new government without question or investigation. When things go wrong, I wonder how they'll blame the Republicans? It'll be tough because Republicans have been complicit in much of what has gone wrong, and have no power, but the blame will be successfully laid nonetheless.

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." --James Madison

Obama's Inaugaration Speech Translated

Selected excerpts from our analysis for your
BHO: "My fellow citizens," Apostles and disciples of hope and change,

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear,
unity of purpose over conflict and discord." Disagree with me and you must
be racist or ignorant, or both.

"Our Founding Fathers ... drafted a charter to assure the rule
of law and the rights of man ... and we will not give them up for expedience's
sake." But we will overwrite them with judicial diktats until my rule is the
rule of law.

"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us
for so long no longer apply." Our founders are dead and so is their vision for our nation.

"In the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things." Disagree with me and you are in violation of Scripture.

"We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every
end of this Earth..." Let's not offend anyone with the simple and undeniable truth that our national heritage rests on a Judeo-Christian foundation.

"Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and
irresponsibility on the part of some..." Blame our badly weakened economy on Wall Street greed and irresponsibility rather than Democrats in Congress.

"The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and
we will act ... to lay a new foundation for growth." Government growth...

"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too
big or too small, but whether it works." More government growth...

"Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for
good or ill ... but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the
market can spin out of control." We must not only grow the government, but also ensure that it regulates every aspect of the economy.

"The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous." Darwin had it right, except in regard to human nature and free market capitalism.

"A new era of responsibility..." An era in which the
fiscally responsible will bear an ever-greater tax burden for those of us who
are not...

"Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of
confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable,
that the next generation must lower its sights." The crisis of confidence and propagation of fear was the staple of my campaign rhetoric, and it was largely responsible for my election.

"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off,
and begin again the work of remaking America." I will remake America into Amerika.

"We will restore science to its rightful place." Global warming hysteria is a great catalyst for expanding government control.

"The world has changed, and we must change with it." Outwith national sovereignty and in with the New World Order...

"Power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as
we please." Appeasement works...

"Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force
of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint."
Appeasement really works...

"To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual
interest and mutual respect." To the Islamic terrorists, we seek to appease you.

"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." Except for my mentors Frank Marshall Davis, Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, and my colleagues in the Democrat Party, the Socialist New Party, the ACORN crowd, Rod Blagojevich, Richard Daley, Saul Alinsky, Father Michael Pfleger, Khalid al-Mansour, Kwame Kilpatrick, Louis Farrakhan, Rashid Khalidi and Raila Odinga. You guys can just keep up the good work.

"This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny." I am calling on you to follow me.

(Thanks to 'Best of the Web')

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Friend Asks Why Her Child Suffers So

There are no words of comfort that will suffice for something so terrible as a parent's suffering child. I've never thought anyone exempt from human suffering. I've experienced and seen too much of it; by all of us. Putting, possibly, in some perspective, Peter writes: "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God."

Oswald Chambers addressed the suffering of the sanctified, a child: "The sufferings of the sanctified are caused by growing into the idea of the will of God. God did not spare His own Son, and He does not spare His sanctified ones from the requirements of saintship. A child is a perfect specimen of the genus homo, so is a man. The child as it develops, suffers; it is a false mercy that spares a child any requirements of its nature to complete the full stature of manhood, and it is a false mercy that spares the sanctified child of God any of the requirements of its nature to complete 'the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ'. We do not evolve into holiness, it is a gift - we evolve in it, attainment after attainment, becoming sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus. That is Paul's meaning in Philippians 3:12, 13, 'reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal'.

A child in the natural world is not fit for life unless it is perfectly healthy; sanctification is spiritual health, 'perfect soundness'. May the God of peace sanctify us wholly so that we are no longer sickly souls retarding His purposes, but made 'perfect through suffering'. Oh, that from every heart may rise the yearning longing, as from the apostle Paul."

I grieve for my friend, and her suffering child. I grieve for any suffering. I grieve too, for the suffering of Christ, and that we all fall so short of His sacrifice that will provide for us if we but fully embrace and accept it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Some Thoughts on the Eve of Obama's Coronation

We’re experiencing the worst economic set back since the Carter administration, and Obama is spending an estimated 170 million bucks. The actual swearing-in ceremony will cost $1.24 million, according to Carole Florman, spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The federal government estimates that it will spend roughly $49 million on the inaugural weekend. Most I hope will be going to security. The Bush inauguration cost less, and there was a downturn in the economy then too. The Democrats and their spokesmen in the mainstream press were just outraged! by such extravagance then.

This near hysteria about what he brings is frightening. He brings no experience to the table. He’s a college professor and social activist (I too in my Marxist days was a fan of Saul Alinsky) that was promoted to power by the most corrupt political machine in America. Change will be negligible. He’s rehired the Clinton administration. His nominee for Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, didn’t pay his FICA (Social Security and Medicare) tax from 2001 through 2004. Other tax issues also surfaced during the vetting, including the fact Geithner used his child's time at overnight camps in 2001, 2004 and 2005 to calculate dependent-care tax deductions. Sleepaway camps don't qualify as deductions.

Amended tax returns that Geithner filed recently include $4,334 in additional taxes, and $1,232 in interest for infractions, such as an early-withdrawal penalty from a retirement plan, an improper small-business deduction, a charitable-contribution deduction for ineligible items, and the expensing of utility costs that went for personal use.

So here’s a Democrat, the pro-tax party, gaming the system, and was caught lying about it; the same press and political party that attacked Joe the Plumber for being about five thousand dollars in tax arrears. He is a private citizen that was attacked by the press and the state of Ohio. Geithner is given a pass and promoted, because he’s a liberal.

Then there’s Attorney General Nominee, Eric Holder, that has a lot of legal baggage including the pardon of tax evader and gun runner Mark Rich, as well as the freeing of some terrorists.

I see no change coming from this administration. Race? Obama spent twenty years in a vile racist anti American church. It is in that very racial hatred and hostility in which Obama has been steeped, particularly by mentors such as Jeremiah Wright. Part of the corrupt Illinois political machine is the race machine. Chicago was not only a denizen of racial hatred but the violent black supremacist movement was born there. Martin Luther King said, "Those who are associated with 'Black Power' and black supremacy are wrong."

I see no hope here. I do hope that he tells Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers to stop talking about wanting to bring criminal charges against Bush and Cheney for their political decisions. I see no change here. I see politicians being politicians and taking away the peoples’ money and power. That an African American is elected is a good thing. That he comes with no life experience, only book learning, a Marxist ideology, and is already awash in corruption, concerns me. Obama ran as a projection screen, and his voters projected whatever change and hope they wanted on him. Now he has to make decisions, and be specific. In the morning prayer yesterday in service, our pastor prayed for Obama. I pray that this country survives his administration without so much damage that we can't recover without a lot of national pain; and that includes a homeland terrorist attack if he successfully dismantles, as he promised, the security structure Bush put in place.

Sermon Without a Word

Sermon Without a Word


A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him.
It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his preachers visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.
The preacher made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.
The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.
Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow,once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.
As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, 'Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday.'
We live in a world today, which tries to say too much with too little.
Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Don't Mess with Seasoned Citizens

Shown below, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86
old woman. The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it
published in the New York Times.

Dear Sir
I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I
endeavored to pay my plumber last month.
By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his
presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed
to honor it.

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire
pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only
eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of
opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty
for the inconvenience caused to your bank. My thankfulness springs
from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my
errant financial ways..

I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and
letters, --- when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the
impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your
bank has become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal lwith
a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer
be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by check, addressed
personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you
must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other
person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application
Contact which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry
it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or
her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note
that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by
a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial
situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied
by documented proof. In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue
your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings
with me.

I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have
modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my
account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is
the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further.
When you call me, press buttons as follows:

#1. To make an appointment to see me
#2. To query a missing payment.
#3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.
#4. To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping
#5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.
#6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home
#7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my
computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later
date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.
#8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through 7.
#9. To make a general complaint or inquiry. The contact will then be
put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.
#10. This is a second reminder to press* for English. While this may,
on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for
the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an
establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. May
I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mississippi Squrrel Revival - Ray Stevens

Fall out your chair funny!!!

Romance III

Before my media detox, I was caught up in political arguments, news analysis, some sports (more during football season), my overwhelmingly stressful job and divers other things. Even though I worship and sing God's praises, these other things sometimes took center stage; I would loose the sense of God's romance, His love. I see it in others too; in religious, churched people. I have friends, when talking religion, talk scripture, chapter and verse. The Bible as a manual for living; like it's a rule book. I went to breakfast with a friend, and when I finished the blessing for the meal, I was admonished that I should quote scripture at part of the prayer. Say what? It's limiting. If we want to bring others to Christ, we should romance them, like God romances us. There is love and mystery here in our Christ story, and it's shared sacrifice, mystery and love. From Frederick Buechner's "Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale":

"It is a world of magic and mystery, of deep darkness and flickering starlight. It is a world where terrible things happen and wonderful things too. It is a world where goodness is pitted against evil, love against hate, order against chaos, in a great struggle where often it is hard to be sure who belongs to which side because appearances are endlessly deceptive. Yet for all its confusion and wildness, it is a world where the battle goes ultimately to the good, who live happily ever after, and where in the long run everybody, good and evil alike, becomes known by his true name.... That is the fairy tale of the Gospel with, of course, one crucial difference from all other fairy tales, which is that the claim made for it is that it is true, that it not only happened once upon a time but has kept on happening ever since and is happening still."

In this year I never want to set God aside in the narrative of my life. I want the Romance to mature. I want my life to remain a matter of the heart. I want my heart to sing in perfect harmony with the song of God's heart. I want this to be an epic Romance. I want to share this Romance, with all my heart, mind and soul.

Romance II

Love can't be forced. God could force it, create it in us, being God. Then it wouldn't be love. We wouldn't love Him with all our heart, mind and soul. God is about choices, giving us choices, so we can be genuine. God has a problem. He's omnipotent. How do you love someone that powerful? How is God going to court us, romance us, and win our hearts? From Soren Kierkegaard, "Disappointment with God":

"Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dare breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist-no one dared resist him. But would she love him?

She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequeal can be made equal."

In the story, the king renounces his throne and presents himself to her as a beggar.

Just as God sent His Son. How much love can be offered that so much sacrifice is made? God entered his own creation and suffered for us and with us. The result of that love? From Romans 5: "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His won love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

How great is this Love, that such a sacrifice is made, with no assurance of returned Love. This fills me with His Love. My heart sings. I hear His song.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I had removed myself the last two weeks of this past year from news and analysis, even from my favorite blogs. I called it a detox from the world, and it was. Nearly four weeks have gone by. I’ve just recently started again watching and thinking about the conflicts, lies and hatred that is constantly washing over nearly everything we experience. I missed church too the past couple Sundays, and choir practice, because my back spasms were so bad that often I couldn’t stand up straight, and the pain was intense. The past few days the results of the media detox became apparent, and I felt overwhelming Love, the Love of God. In church today I was so full of His Spirit I felt I was vibrating. I felt so much of His Love for all in the church, and most especially for my fellow singers in the choir. The joy was inexpressible. The source of this is the Romance of God, knowing that he loves me ever so much, that he loves us all so incredibly. That Romance comes out of this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, with all your mind”, and I do. Acting on that “…and your neighbor as yourself”. Here’s a realization that God has come to us, he’s asking us for our love. This is a matter of the Heart. God is touching our Heart. He romances us, not us him. “So long as we imagine it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about-He is looking for us.” (Simon Tugwell) I have so many times not recognized this love,or responded to it. God so loves me, and when I recognize it and accept; I so much more love others. Here’s the thing; as many times as I’ve gotten caught up in activities that distracted me, God still pursued me. The whole of what Simon Tugwell said: “So long as we imagine that it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about; He is looking for us. And so we can afford to recognize that very often we are not looking for God; far from it, we are in full flight from him, in high rebellion against him. And He knows that and has taken it into account. He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape him, we run straight into his arms. So we do not have to erect a false piety for ourselves, to give us the hope of salvation. Our hope is in his determination to save us and he will not give in.” What came out of my weeks of media detox, and busyness, was this recognition of God’s Love. It’s a Romance. It’s sacred. There was courtship. He was patient. I was in my mid-40’s when I re-joined the Church and got baptized. The last fifteen years of that courtship, I spurned Him, and He loved me still, and was there. Since that time, the Romance has grown and matured. I get distracted sometimes, and lose sight of Him. But I turn and He’s there to comfort and support me. All of us God has romanced. Since before time he loved us. He loves us all for who we are and not what we do. Think of the time you were in love, (and for the fortunate few that fell in love and remained in love), how you felt (feel) toward that person. Your heart sang. God’s heart sings for us. We just need to hear the song.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Asturias - Isaac Albeniz

This is John Williams

A Prayer by Pastor Jack Hayford

Lord God, Creator of all, Maker of my heart ... I bring it to You this morning.

My heart ... which at various times has been lifted in praise to You, rejoices over Your goodness and giving to me.

My heart … which also sometimes cowers in fear before people and problems—when I forget You are bigger than them all—has been stained by mediations unworthy of a child made in Your image. It has been lifted up in pride over attainments accomplished by Your hand alone.

And, Lord, my heart is often hardened as well. I bring my heart to You this day for softening...

… like a child's, softened to forgive quickly, easily, without judgment, prejudice, bitterness, or resentment;

… like a field, softened to receive seeds of Your truth, that the fruit of Your Holy Spirit might be produced through my life;

… like clay, softened, that I might be shaped today more completely into the man or the woman You want me to become.

Forgive my hardness of heart when it results from my own disobedience, neglect, or outright resistance to Your ways.

Deliver me, lest my heart shrink by reason of this dryness and hardening. Flow the rivers of Your life over my heart, and bring it to renewal, O Lord.

And where my heart is hardened simply by the heat of duty, the weariness of work, the attack of enemies, the slings and arrows of the inconsiderate or crude … at those points, give me a vision of Your heart today, Lord. For although I have wounded Your love by my failures, You have never hardened Your heart against me.

So, dear God, let my heart be softened today in the same way as Yours toward any who have done to me as I have to You. Deliver me from all temptation to smallness or hardness of heart, and fill my life this morning with Your will and Your Word.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Life Expectancy Calculator

This is pretty cool...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Foghorn Leghorn Swoggled-1948