Wednesday, November 30

On the last day of the 2005 hurricane season...

...some facts:

218,549
Number of homes destroyed

192,242
Homes left uninhabitable

465,000+
People who stayed in shelters

26
Number of named storms, breaking the record of 21 tropical storms set in 1933

13
Number of hurricanes, breaking the record of 12 set in 1969

HURRICANE DENNIS

Landfall: July 10 near Navarre Beach, Fla.

Strength at landfall: 120 mph (Category 3)

Insured damage: $1.1 billion

Deaths: 14

HURRICANE KATRINA

Landfalls: Aug. 25 on the Miami-Dade/Broward county line in Florida, Aug. 29 south of Buras, La.

Strength at landfall: 80 mph (Category 1) in Florida, 140 mph (Category 4) on the northern Gulf Coast

Insured damage: $34.4 billion

Deaths: At least 1,309

HURRICANE RITA

Landfall: Sept. 24 east of the Texas-Louisiana line, between Sabine Pass and Johnson's Bayou

Strength at landfall: 120 mph (Category 3)

Insured damage: $4.7 billion

Deaths: About 100

HURRICANE WILMA

Landfall: Oct. 24 near Cape Romano, Fla.

Strength at landfall: 125 mph (Category 3)

Insured damage: $6.1 billion

Deaths: 35

SOURCES: National Hurricane Center, Insurance Services Office, American Red Cross, Associated Press

Experts predict that next year could be just as bad. Hurricane cycles can run from 20 to 30 years long and there's the prospect that this is just the beginning of such a cycle. There's the mother-earth firsters who contend that this is all a result of our belching greenhouse gasses into the air and the christians who say we've sowed to the wind and reaped the whirlwind. Whatever the causes, many people trying to make lives for themselves in the affected areas and around the country still haven't found normalcy, and with the prospect of another hurricane season as bad as the last looming, what do they do for the future.

I detest how the respective governments have handled this, most especially the feds. Government doesn't function on the basis of ability. Politics runs government and government regards the masses while disregarding the individual. If, as is suggested, we're now in a 20 year hurricane cycle, does it make sense to expect government to come to the rescue over and over again in the future?

Catastrophic disasters over the last several years seems to have coaxed us down this path of expecting government help, embracing government handouts. I would expect to see more and greater disasters on the horizon with more and greater exposure to governments ineptitude as God detests idols.

Tuesday, November 29

Feelings

From an LA Times article about an abortionist comes...

He calls himself an "abortionist" and says, "I am destroying life."

But he also feels he's giving life: He calls his patients "born again."

"When you end what the woman considers a disastrous pregnancy, she has literally been given her life back," he says.

Before giving up obstetrics in 1991, Harrison delivered 6,000 babies. (Now 70, Harrison estimates he's terminated at least 20,000 pregnancies.) Childbirth, he says, should be joyous; a woman should never consider it a punishment or an obligation.

"We try to make sure she doesn't ever feel guilty," he says, "for what she feels she has to do."
I'm really sick of this "feeling" crap. Nobody gives a fart in the wind what anybody else feels unless it makes money. Of course, our culture propagates the abortion non-rationale for that very reason. Disasterous pregnancies? Childbirth, a punishment? Nonsense. It's never enough that killing the innocent one makes one FEEL better. There has to be an exchange of money somewhere along the way generating the explanatory justifications given.

Monday, November 28

Smoked Turkey

For future reference:

Shangy's Turkey Marinade

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup mustard

  • 1/4 cup chives

  • 1/2 cup sage

  • 1/2 cup oregano

  • 1/2 cup parsley

  • 1/4 cup thyme

  • 1 tsp minced garlic

  • 1 tbsp paprika


  • Thoroughly mix oil, sauce, juice and mustard, then add in the rest of the ingredients. Allow marinate to chill for at least 30 minutes before spreading on turkey.

    When smoking I've found it best to keep the heat up throughout the cooking time. This helps keep the juices in. When checking on the smoker to add chips, briquettes or water/apple juice, do so on as few occasions as possible, adding heaping amounts.

    On this occasion I soaked the hickory chips in apple juice (yes, apple juice) overnight before beginning cooking then strained off the juice and put it in the water pan. Something I've used in the past but didn't do this time was to soak the chips in soapy water (yes, soapy water) overnight. My experience has been that this makes the chips burn and smoke longer. If you think this to be a concern, I've done this many times and the turkey has been tasty without even a hint of a soapy taste in the food.

    Cherry or other hardwoods besides hickory work very well and give a distinctive flavor to the food, but they're just a little tougher to find.

    Actually, I both smoked and fried a turkey this year and each came out quite nicely. Kinda difficult to get them turkeys up to my lips though.

    Friday, November 18

    A knock at the door

    Read this account of Maj. Beck, a marine officer on casualty notification duty, and you'll never forget the military sacrifice made. You'll understand that the only way anyone can understand the depth of the phrase "freedom isn't free" is by the weight of a soldier's casket.

    From Blackfive

    Thursday, November 17

    God, save us from ourselves

    A report on religious freedom in North Korea released on November 15th called "Thank You Father Kim Il Sung" by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) gives some chilling accounts of religious persecution.

    The study recounts, for example, how in November 1996 in North Korea's South Pyongan province, a unit of the North Korean army was tasked with widening a highway connecting Pyongyang to a nearby port city. While demolishing a vacant house, soldiers found in the basement, hidden between two bricks, a Bible and a list of 25 names. Among the list were individuals identified as a Christian pastor, two assistant pastors, two elders, and 20 parishioners who were identified by their occupations.

    Hunted down at their workplaces by military police, the 25 Christians were rounded up and detained without any formal judicial procedure. Later that month, the parishioners and their clergy were brought to the road construction site, where spectators had been arranged in neat rows to observe the public execution of the pastor, assistant pastors, and elders. According to a report based on an eyewitness account, the five church leaders "were bound hand and foot and made to lie down in front of a steamroller," accused of subversion and of being Kiddokyo, or Protestant Christian, spies.

    The 20 parishioners were detained near their clergy, and watched, along with the assembled audience, as the five Christian leaders were told they could escape death if they denied their faith and pledged to serve only Kim Jong Il and his father, the first dictator of communist Korea, Kim Il Sung. According to the eyewitness, the clergy remained silent.

    For their steadfast belief, the Christians were executed. According to the report, "Some of the fellow parishioners assembled to watch the execution cried, screamed out, or fainted when the skulls made a popping sound as they were crushed beneath the steamroller."
    If anyone should wonder about my cynicism toward the present federal government of the United States, perhaps this will open minds to the fact that there is nothing but God Himself separating us, the US, from becoming this continent's religious gulag. It's apparently no big deal for the Michael Newdows of the country to exercise their legal prowess and manipulate the system to eradicate the only protection this country has left, God.

    It's pitiful to watch hurricane Katrina evacuees in their heroic efforts to get help from FEMA as they go through ridiculous, lab-rat paper shuffling only to be repeatedly denied, while people, who wouldn't know a hurricane from a toilet flush, skate by spending their "assistance" money on lotto tickets. We've become so conditioned to government education, government regulations, government protections and government assistance, is it any wonder our enervated christian churches have become no better than little karaoke centers. It's time christians understand that government is not our friend, never has been and never will be, no matter what the history of this land has been. The Constitution makes an impressive display in the national archives but do the people, let alone the lawyers, read it, understand it and, for goodness sake, abide by it?

    40 years ago, few would've expected the advancing tide of secularism to claim as much ground as it has today. If given another 40 years to propagate throughout the society, culture and government, what will American secularism look like? I contend that North Korea shows us that ultimate destiny.

    (Thanks go to Vox Popoli for the heads-up on this bit of news.)

    Tuesday, November 15

    Two kids...one gun

    David Ludwig and Kara Borden were probably what would be considered average kids, just like many others across the country. Homeschooled and apparently from stable, christian families, they had needs and concerns just as others their age do. David alluded to that in a blog entry of his...

    So yes and now today I shall be doing school and tomorrow I'm going to visit stupid York Tech school complemints of my loverly parents lol But yes now I must run and do school so ya'll have a good day. God bless!!
    Kara's blog bio reads like those of typical christian teenage girls I've read before...
    Interests: JESUS!! church,my youth group,other youth groups,family,friends,my doggie,KIDS,babysitting,soccer, bball,football,talking on the phone,food,eating, taking pictures,cooking,guitar,the beach,camp, taking walks,riding my bike,just being outside, having partys OH YEAH BABY,going to partys, making new friends,helping out,music,DDR!!CANDY,PUSHPOPS.shopping hugging
    Expertise: uhh...babysitting!!!
    Occupation: Artist
    Industry: Art
    Then something happened early Sunday morning to change all the earthly hopes and expectations. No one can know what was going through David Ludwig's mind as he gathered the weapons and shot and killed the parents of his girlfriend. For that matter, it seems, no one would've expected David to do what he allegedly did. Kara may have been complicit or simply confused. But what was a lust interest turned into something much uglier.

    I make no mistake calling it a lust interest. Were this a true love interest between these two it would've gone unnoticed by the media and two parents would still be alive today. When lust is at the core, then the entry of all sorts of evil is allowed. Why did David kill Kara's parents and take her with him? A couple of bullets may have physically ended the lives of those two adults but what really lead to a young man killing them wasn't his anger but selfish lust for something he should never have desired in the first place.

    I've been interested to read their MySpace and Xanga blogs to gain insight into their lives. The public reaction to David and Kara in the commentary (over 2600 comments and growing on David's MySpace and 600 on his Xanga, as of this writing) leaves me wondering. For instance...
    I cant believe that you would do this Dave, I didnt think I would ever imagine YOU doing something like this..but I guess I was wrong about you. You deserve to rot in hell for what you have done.
    There are many expressing this same shock and disbelief as well the majority being condemning of his alleged actions. As another example...
    The death penalty. That's all this animal deserves! He has destroyed 2 families and terrorized an entire community! How any of you can defend this creep when he murdered the father in front of his daughter and then chases down and murders the mother demonstrates how misguided you may be.
    Of course the anger and rage expressed in the commentary is much more severe toward David than I care to relate here. But there are also several sentiments such as....
    Burn in hell. And yes, I say that as a Christian, a Christian who believes in justice. Jesus himself was not compassionate on the moneychangers. And I am not compassionate toward you. I can't wait to see you in the pit of hell. If you think you are saved and going to heaven, you will be mightily surprised as the fires burn your soul to the core and where your worm is not quenched. You show no evidence of saving grace at all.
    Nothing unusual there. I expected to find this sort of thing, christians condemning christians. Unfortunately, christians aren't immune to the sort of mob mentality to consume their own. It is ironic to me that fellow believers would be quick to condemn when Christ stated "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:17) and given the many opportunities Christ had, never spoke in such terms toward His contemporaries. It's a peculiar indictment against christians claiming to be believers in Christ's Gospel that we should be found espousing the devil's doctrine.

    Whatever penality these young people find themselves facing is nothing compared to the unimaginable desperation of a life without God in an eternal hell. Maybe the reason David Ludwig and/or Kara Borden came to this point is that had their development not been arrested now there were worse things in store for them later in their lives. It's too easy for some to focus scorn and derision upon them for what's happened. The harder, better way would be to grant them mercy as God grants it to all of us. So long as anyone is alive, even if they're the personified amalgamation of Ted Bundy, Ted Kozinski and Ted Turner, there is hope they can find true salvation in Christ. After death comes the last judgment. "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten." (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

    Sunday, November 13

    It's about Jesus

    This world is corrupt and becoming more corrupt by the day. In the beginning, there was order and coherency. The tendency is to disorder and disintegration.

    All things consist by Him and for Him.

    Tuesday, November 8

    Who ya gonna call?

    News of how inbound 911 calls were handled for hurricane Katrina makes for interesting reading. From the article...

    While some communities boast sophisticated, high-tech centers with elaborate contingency plans, most cities have older systems lacking adequate backup measures for massive disasters.

    "People in our country have gotten to believe that no matter what kind of trouble you get into, all you have to do is dial 911," said William Smith, chief technology officer at BellSouth, which is the phone carrier for New Orleans 911 calls. "That's not necessarily the case."
    Apparently in the midst of this disaster, as the number of emergency calls ramped up, calls began to be routed to a police administration center already abandoned by rising floodwaters and outlying area emergency centers, one in Baton Rouge, LA, some 90 miles away. Emergency 911 centers catching the calls put together a seat-of-their-pants system to handle the thousands of calls that came in but nothing alerted them to the rerouting. There is no nationally uniform 911 system to handle calls. Each community has its own conventions. As the article states, "The 911 network is actually little more than a patchwork, subject to the budgetary pressures and technological whims of local and state governments,..." New York happened to have an advanced 911 system in operation at the time of the September 11th attacks which successfully rerouted calls.

    So the question becomes, if this is how the gulf South handled major damage to communications for an expected hurricane, then how will it handle unexpected, catastrophic damage to the communications infrastructure in the future. Another point is the fact that the hurricane was indiscriminate in its damage. Suppose someone or some group were to target the communications network. Modern day fiber optic networks make it possible to inflict huge service interruptions with simple tools from a hardware store.

    The populous has been lulled into believing that help is just a phone call away. What will they do when no one answers?

    Monday, November 7

    Requiem for a kitty


    We got back from our trip yesterday evening. This morning I find out that the IOK (Inside-Out Kitty) is dead; found in the street apparently hit by a car. The OIK (Outside-In Kitty) is still around, not exhibiting any loss due to the fact that they were both females and kept their space from each other, but losing IOK is unfortunate. IOK just couldn't stand to stay inside and made repeated efforts to escape the confines, so we gave up and let her have her way, hence the name IOK. She was happier and during the winters we would let them both inside at night to protect them from the cold.

    IOK was a pain in the rump sometimes. We adopted her too late in life, too late for her to be thoroughly comfortable with human touch. Still, I found that she enjoyed back massages and face rubs. Lately she would come to the truck when I came home from work, hoping she would get her noogie, which desire I usually fulfilled. She was a cat with a dominate attitude and whining about some degree of uncomfortability she didn't care to endure. I would tell that animal often about how fortunate it was to have us adopt something as ugly as she was. I don't think she understood. Tried as I might, she would still think she could go in and out of the place as she pleased.

    She was a frustratingly decent cat, bound by her own determined will and aloof to human interaction. Yeah, I know, I'll miss her.

    Sunday, November 6

    The way home

    After hours spent in malls and music stores, we make our way back. The Col. has his parents characteristic reluctance to spend money. The greater the price the longer the decision. He finally pulled the trigger and shelled out $300 for a used/new guitar. Manufacturers come and go and this guitar maker went over 20 years ago. I guess all that matters is that the body is in good shape, the neck is as straight as the strings and the tone quality is nice. Two and a half hours later, the proud "daddy" walks out the store with "baby" in hand.

    Other than that expense there wasn't any sightseeing. Chattanooga has many places to go, things to do, but this was intended as a do-nothing sort of getaway. Ironic it's been for us to scurry around to get going on a vacation, run from event to meal to interesting sight, and then come home exhaused from our time of relaxation.

    There was the viewing of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Neither Elsa or I saw the movie when it was originally released. Personally, I was so sick of Lucas' script writing from the previous two installments that I just didn't make the time, and if I didn't make the time I guess Elsa didn't care one way or the other. After watching the video my suspicions were confirmed. Only Sith talk in absolutes, indeed.

    It seems the fam wants to go back the way we came up here by way of Trenton. After reading a little of "The Civil war in Dade county Georgia" I've come to learn that the county didn't come back into the Union until 1945. That's right, no typo.

    Fall is in bloom this year. I need the drive back the way we came. The colors are therapeutic. The landscape inviting. The lay of the fields speak peace. The soul longs for respite from demands beckoning.

    Friday, November 4

    Autumn tripping

    This is the weekend we chose to take a getaway time. It's one of those times of the year when we enjoy the weather and change of scenery. South Louisiana has nothing on North Georgia in this regard. It's become my favorite time of year here. I planned to leave 11:00 this morning but, as we are wont to do, we pulled out of the driveway at 2:30 this afternoon. Leaving wasn't so much the problem for me as disengaging my Atlanta-rush-hour-traffic driving mode and downshifting into relaxation-travel driving mode. Once I was able to get out of this thinking things went better.

    The drive from Atlanta to Trenton, GA was a wonderful first for us. Instead of taking the mundane track of I-75 to Chattanooga from Atlanta with its stream of land-barges, we chose to wander through the quiet back roads to Dade county then enter Chattanooga from the west.

    The fall colors are in full blaze now. Highway 136 dips and sways its way from Resaca through Lafayette to Trenton, GA and meanders through valleys wide and spacious. Fiery walls of autumn color revealed at every bend of roadway. Many of the towns in Georgia in these areas away from the din of interstate highway traffic are wonderful places with small town charm. Lafayette certainly fits the description.

    Finally arriving in Trenton, we stopped at the local chamber of commerce contained in an apparent former train depot to get some tourguides and a copy of "The Civil War in Dade County" which I've been interested in having for some time. The history of the period has experienced a resurgence of interest. Slowly my goal is to put together the pieces of history from this conflict in this state.

    Yes, I'm aware of the recent 9th circuit court ruling regarding parents and schooling. I'm aware of the Libby arraignment and its apparent connection with the president's administration. Time has to stand still in my life. The evil, the corruption and degradation of natural life grasps my attention in a desperate attempt to quell my spirit-man. Time comes to still the voices of the pestilence in this present age and be refreshed.

    Wednesday, November 2

    Second lining to the ark

    I'm one of those who believes that the biblical story of Noah and the ark is factual. Yeah, I know. It sounds unbelievable. I used to wonder sometimes how those creatures willingly got on the ark. Now I think I know...

    Ms. Harris is a D.J. on DogCatRadio.com, a new Internet radio station for pets. Now dogs, cats, hamsters and parrots can keep the anxiety, the loneliness, the restlessness at bay while their owners are out. It is radio just for them, live 17 hours a day, 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time, and podcast for the rest of the 24 hours.
    Noah passed out iPods to the animals. There's your answer. Podcast radio just brought those animals in.

    This has got to be one of the dumbest wastes of time in our self-indulgent, over-affluent society. It's said that dogs enjoy watching TV and listening to music with their owners. What do I need a remote for then?

    Tuesday, November 1

    Thought of the day

    “The nature of responsibility is such that there can be no neutrality between duty and sin. He that is not with God is against Him. Hence, as there cannot be in any soul a non-Christian state which is not anti-Christian, it follows that any training which attempts to be non-Christian is therefore anti-Christian… To educate the mind without purifying the heart is but to place a sharp sword in the hands of a madman…There can be, no true education without moral culture, and no true moral culture without Christianity. The very power of the teacher in the schoolroom is either moral or it is a degrading brute force.”

    R.L.Dabney
    19th Century Presbyterian Theologian

    The words of Christ are true. "For he who is not against us is for us." (Mark 9:40) In the absence of the power of the Holy Spirit, education become a corrupting influence.