Saturday, December 31

Year End...Year Beginning

Let this year end. The year of Terri Schindler's murder. The year of a hurricane called Katrina. The year of SCOTUS and lower court decisions hammering more nails in the coffin of a constitutional republic.

The outlook doesn't look any better for the future. Our progeny is being dumbed down in schools. Crime grows, principles vacillate and morals are sifted out of daily life. People can't even converse understandably with each other. Words like "family" and "marriage" mean nothing of what they once meant.

I don't care to know the future of this country. It is too uncomfortable to even imagine. One quality of life keeps me focused, Christ and His work. In this coming year, I can't imagine living a life without Him.

May He guide and direct your steps in the coming year...Amen.

Thursday, December 29

Depression depresses me

About 12 percent of youth aged 16 or 17 faced severe depression in 2004, compared with about 5 percent of those 12 or 13 years old. Among those age 14 or 15, 9 percent experienced a major episode.

"These new data serve as a wake-up call to parents. Mental health is a critical part of the overall health and well-being of their children," said SAMHSA administrator Charles Curie.

Treatment for depression among teenagers has been a controversial issue since a U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientist concluded in early 2004 that anti-depressants posed a suicide risk in youth. Another university-sponsored study also showed a link.

Since then the FDA has required drug manufacturers to disclose the possible risk on labels for anti-depressants. Some experts, including doctors, worried the warning would lead to fewer youths receiving treatment.
There are two professions for which I have a loathing distrust. One of them is lawyers. They speak as though they make love with their verbosity, in an apparent attempt to make up quality for quantity.

The other is doctors. Although my distrust for lawyers is greater, I've little regard for a physician who has spent the time they do getting an education when all they have to show for it is a license giving them permission to practice medicine...just practice. Pardon the pun but you knew it was coming, they're not all they're quacked up to be.

Psychologists/psychiatrists are the lowest of the lot in my estimation, right down there with the bottom feeding divorce lawyers. They seem to prey upon the lost souls more helplessly cogent than they to convince them to become equally as muddled and profoundly confused. Like many medical doctors they're about keeping people sick. After all, without the sick how will they make money? Which brings me to the article mentioned.

This is no wake-up call to parents. If parents aren't aware of the mental soundness of their youth, then they're not parenting. Those parents among the percentage of youth affected have either one of three choices to make. Either ignore the youth's issues that led to their having a problem or, just as worse, take them to a doctor to hash out their mental condition with drugs, or, the best and only sound alternative, parents must establish and develop relationship with their youth to help get them through adolescence. No, the wake-up call should go to the mental health "experts" to back off their Mengelean treatments. If more parents actually parented their youth there would be fewer youths receiving "treatment", spreading the worry and depression among the experts and doctors instead of the other way around.

Wednesday, December 28

Quote of the day

"Good government, and especially the government of which every American citizen boasts, has for its objects the protection of every person within its care in the greatest liberty consistent with the good order of society and his perfect security in the enjoyment of his earnings with the least possible diminution for public needs. When more of the people's substance is exacted through the form of taxation than is necessary to meet the just obligations of the Government and the expense of its economical administration, such exaction becomes ruthless extortion and a violation of the fundamental principles of a free government." - Grover Cleveland, State of the Union address, Dec. 6, 1886

I hate taxes, don't you?

Tuesday, December 27

Turning the corner

Before the Difster’s 2006 post, I had already begun to think about the oncoming new year. He sometimes posts something I’m thinking about before I manage to put words to it. Faced with his suggestive, “Forget the typical new year's resolutions, I'm thinking more along the lines of how you conduct your daily life, what changes you know are coming and what you would like to see happen.” I’ve thought in earnest and considered what year 2006 AD should hold.

Let’s indeed forget the typical, meaningless, wasteland of annual resolutions. They're only made to pacify the people that make them. In the long dark corridors of everyone’s minds are the same forgotten objects of lost resolve. This is just a convenient time of year, while taking the Christmas decorations down, to stumble down those corridors, and stub the conscience as the light of a New Year slowly dawns. I know because I’ve faced it before and every year my declaration was framed in the notion that “it’ll be different this year.” Dare I say it? Been there. Done that. And every New Year’s Resolution is a saying just as trite. I need to lose 50lbs but I won't be foolish enough to stick the staff of my personal integrity in the sandy soil of my discipline to draw the line and declare "this far and no further", for I know what will happen. I also know that I’m no different than the apostle Paul, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” [Romans 7:18,19]

No, I’ll make no resolutions, but with God’s help, I’ll change. And this blog will be a guide and reminder, a way to hold myself to that change. Today, I read an article Buying the Wal-Mart Jesus which I arrived at by way of A Youth Pastor Blog. In it the writer points to Wal-Mart as a metaphor of the bad changes in American Christianity. As he states: “…it seems to me that many Christians today have been infected with the same corrupting consumerism that has given rise to the Wal-Mart Supercenter. Their lives are no longer content with the eloquent simplicity of Jesus Christ and His Word, but now clamor for a wide variety of new and improved Christianized products to over-indulge their so-called faith.” Though I don’t agree with the entirety of the writer’s message, I do see his point of the corruption of becoming a “Wal-Mart Christian”. I’m concerned about losing the edge of the “eloquent simplicity of Jesus Christ and His Word.”

Difster’s The Best of Your Blog post also got me thinking about the future of this blog. The number of bloggers today is as great as it’s ever been. The subject matter is more varied than the bloggers themselves. As I think about it, if a blogger blogs about someone else who apparently doesn’t blog, they really need to write a book. (see Cedarford Sucks as an example) The bulk of the internet traffic follows a limited number of the more popular blogs. Beyond that the blogosphere could be characterized as being “without form and void.”

I never gave much thought to a cogent theme until the Difster mentioned it and I began to think about what it was I wanted to say in these lines. Others, can articulate views better than I. Politics, sociology, technology, etc. have been a concern to me as they impact the culture. But my heart is really at rest in Christ and so expect the “objects” in this “mirror” of a blog to become decidedly Biblically/Spiritually “closer” in the year ahead. Hopefully, this blog will help me to bring them closer than they appear for someone else. It’s where my heart really is and has been. No, I’m not a preacher and not much of a teacher either. I’m just a child of God who knows what I’ve found in Christ and will be less reluctant to write about it.

I leave with my customary salutatory.

“"No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory.” - Isaiah 60:19

Saturday, December 24

Merry Christmas

May the Gospel message of the coming of the Christ child bring peace in your homes and goodwill to all those you know.

Wednesday, December 21

Educational television

We have the Bill Clinton defense for oral sex not being sex. Now, we have the Justin Timberlake defense for lewd behaviour being costume problems.

A 38-year-old man who was arrested in Sanford, Fla., after being accused of fondling and exposing himself at a medical clinic filled with children said he was a victim of a wardrobe malfunction,...
Of course, everyone knows, people don't kill people, guns do. And television doesn't influence, it's just a reflection of what's going on in the culture.

What was that about a chicken and an egg?

The ultimate smackdown

To pray -- or not to pray -- in Jesus' name is the question plaguing an increasing number of U.S. military chaplains, one of whom began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House yesterday.

"I am a Navy chaplain being fired because I pray in Jesus' name," said Navy Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who will be holding 6 p.m. prayer vigils daily in Lafayette Park.

Official military policy allows any sort of prayer, but Lt. Klingenschmitt says that in reality, evangelical Protestant prayers are censored. He cites his training at the Navy Chaplains School in Newport, R.I., where "they have clipboards and evaluators who evaluate your prayers, and they praise you if you pray just to God," he said. "But if you pray in Jesus' name, they counsel you."

Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic chaplains are likewise told not to pray in the name of Allah, in Hebrew or in the name of the Trinity, he added.

But the Rev. Billy Baugham, executive director of the Greenville, S.C.-based International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers, says restrictions on other religious expressions have "yet to be tested."

"So, to what deity do you address your prayer to?" Mr. Baugham asked. "No one knows. And who gets to write the prayers? Once the government becomes the approving authority, the poor chaplain is forced to be an agent of the state."

It gets me pretty ticked off to read stuff like this, certainly because of the treatment of chaplains, but also for the way the chaplains themselves are handling the situation. I know everyone has a job to do, a duty to perform and an income to maintain. Jobs are hard to come by these days and losing one will cost you. I've lost jobs before and I'm still here, albeit poorer but wiser. Losing a job ain't no thang. Losing favor with God...now, that's a thang. It's a choice. Prayer vigils are fine, depending upon what's being prayed for. If it's just a little "comfort us" prayer, then forget it. If it's a "God demonstrate your power" prayer, then let's pray with a fierceness and determination the gates of heaven won't ignore. And instead of a hunger strike the White House will have a demonstration it won't soon forget.

It's true that we should pick and choose our battles wisely, but it seems to me this is the type of opportunity for God to demonstrate Himself to unbelievers and believers alike. The times will get tougher. Christians will increasingly be found by the choices they make, not the words they speak. Foolish debates over Christmas salutations will mean nothing. Christians will either believe or not, and the MSM or academia or government or society will no longer be able to hold reputations, livelyhoods or families for the ransom of compliance if they do.

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, "Is this you, you troubler of Israel?" He said, "I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and you have followed the Baals. "Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table." So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel.

Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men. "Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it. "Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God." And all the people said, "That is a good idea." So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it." Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, "O Baal, answer us." But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made. It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened." So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name." So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed. Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, "Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood." And he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water. At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. "Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again." Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."
[1 Kings 18:17-39 NASB]

If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. Choose, America.

Tuesday, December 20

Making sure it gets back from whence it came.

LAFAYETTE, LA -- Lafayette's Cajundome is looking for volunteers to flush more than 200 toilets in the building.

About 70 volunteers are needed to participate in the "Great Cajundome Flushoff" set for 6 p.m. on Dec. 27.

The Cajundome and Convention Center housed as many as 17,000 evacuees of hurricanes Katrina and Rita for 58 days ending Oct. 26. That many people in the facility 24 hours a day took a toll on the arena's plumbing system.

"We don't know what ended up in the (sewer) system," Cajundome Director Greg Davis said. But, operations manager Phil Ashurst said they have found items in the pipes like pieces of brick wrapped in a towel, a T-shirt and diapers.
What we need here aren't just volunteers but boys who need to become men and be taught the importance of flushing, as well as putting the seat down. If I could just get my clan to jettison the customary 1.6gal along with their bodily waste excretions after each use I could die a satisfied man. All the homeschooling will have been worth it.

At 1900hrs EST (1800hrs CST) on Tuesday, December 27th I may just go and flush the nearest toilet in a sympathetic sign of camaraderie. For FEMA, for Pres. Bush and his lies and for all the government "help", here's hoping it makes it to the Potomac.

Friday, December 16

Ecclesiastes: The rock version

Everyone dies
Everyone loves a fight
Nothing is sound
Nothing is right side right
Evening comes, when the sun goes down in red
Nothing is cool
When will all the fighting end
When will all the fighting end

Happy is a yuppie word
Nothing in the world could fail me now
It's empty as an argument
I'm running down a life that won't cash out (cash out)

Everything fails
Everything runs it's course
A time and a place, for all of this love and war
Everyone buys, everyone's gotta price, and nothing is new
When will all the failures rise
When will all the failures rise, rise!

Happy is a yuppie word
Nothing in the world could fail me now
It's empty as an argument
I'm running down a life that won't cash out

Happy is a yuppie word
Blessed is the man who's lost it all
Happy is a yuppie word (word)

Looking for an orphanage
I'm looking for a bridge I can't burn down
I don't believe the emptiness
I'm looking for the kingdom coming down
Everything is meaningless
I want more than simple cash can buy
Happy is a yuppie word
Happy is a yuppie word
Happy is a yuppie word
Happy is a yuppie,

Nothing is sound
Nothing is sound
Nothing is sound
Nothing is sound
Nothing is sound
Nothing is sound
Nothing is sound

Happy is a yuppie word
Nothing in the world could fail me now
Happy is a yuppie word (word)

So calm down, yeah!
So calm down, yeah!

-Switchfoot: Happy is a Yuppie Word

Wednesday, December 14

Evangelism bleg

I have someone in mind who seems to be groping for a spiritual answer. I say "seems" because it is difficult to know just where this person is on their spiritual pilgrimage, or if they're on a pilgrimage at all. Spiritually confused would be more like it. Actually, this person isn't saved in the conventionally christian sense and I doubt would be receptive to conventional christian answers. There's much christianese in the vernacular that this person wouldn't understand.

I would like to make it clear without seeming condescending. I would also say that this person has little regard for scripture. So I guess the question is, how do I respond to someone with a humanistic world-view? How would you serve the Gospel to someone who doesn't consider Jesus God without using scripture?

Monday, December 12

The empress' clothes

Aides also had concerns about [Louisiana Gov.] Blanco's physical appearance and discussed ways to make her look strong but compassionate. Their ideas, according to the e-mails, included having Blanco "put a few bags of ice in the hands of the citizens who need it" and stop "doing too many 'first lady' things."

"Gov. Blanco might dress down a bit and look like she has rolled up her sleeves," press consultant Kim Fuller of Witt Associates wrote in a Sept. 4 e-mail to aides including Bottcher, Mann and Kopplin. "I have some great Liz Claiborne sports clothes that look kind of Eddie Bauer, but with class, but would bring her down to level of getting to work."

"She would look like a woman, but show she is MOVING MOUNTAINS," Fuller wrote.

Former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown also was criticized for e-mails that showed him discussing his wardrobe during the crisis created by Katrina. Brown resigned amid questions about his disaster management experience.

The Blanco administration e-mails also reflected concerns about racial politics _ specifically, needing to appear sensitive to black evacuees.

"You send that many black folks out of state, we will have a perception problem," Blanco assistant chief of staff Johnny Anderson wrote in a Sept. 2 e-mail.
Oh, yeah, Liz Claiborne just says "I'm confident, businesslike. I'm too busy to cry over breaking levees 'cause I'm gettin' things done." Gucci is too snooty; "Water? What water? I've got to get my nails done." I wonder. If we've got the proper hurricane attire working, what have we got for decor? Martha Stewart?

Friday, December 9

Troubleshoot!

Today's cars have some intricate electrical circuitry. We've brought Bling Bling Soggy Pants' car over to a repair shop before to have them diagnose the problem and they charged almost $300 to troubleshoot it and another $75 to fix it. Well, it's apparently still not fixed and that's been months ago. It's the kind a problem that can be lived with for a time but ultimately has to be dealt with. The charging system will do its thing most of the time, with emphasis on most. It's those other times when its not that make driving the thing questionable. I'm one to try to find the source of a problem myself and realize just how time consuming it is to figure it out.

There's a short in the system somewhere. I just don't know where yet. Alldata has been a great site for automotive diagnostics and schematics. It helps but nothing substitutes for the process of eliminating possible causes until I get to the probable ones. The ELD (Electronic Load Detector) seemed to proved out good. Fusing in the underhood panel has some circuits contributing to the overall short but I'm still getting a 4 to 6 volt short left somewhere...somewhere. Argghh...

The Chronicles of Narnia

Just got back from a midnight showing of Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I'm thankful the redemption theme was kept intact. It was also great to finally be able to go see something of quality without vulgarities or obscenities. Refreshing. I give it 4 torps.

Thursday, December 8

Spam - Part Deuce

No, I really don't care to play golf and get paid for it, unless there are those who, for want of relief from boredom, would care to lay down good money to watch me make divots in a neatly manicured lawn as the groundskeeper looks on with machete in hand. I'd rather work my years away for "the man", renting my services for the same meager sum I'd get from playing golf. Why put myself through the frustration of chasing a little white dimpled ball around picturesque landscapes only to have to dig the thing out of some sandbox? And get paid for it? How 'bout they pay me NOT to play the game.

Wednesday, December 7

Random thoughts

Merci Bon Dieu: it was the title my father gave his boat. He built it himself, over a few months, as I recall. He never drew up a blueprint, or drawing of any kind to guide him in building it. His design came from memory as he started with the transom and just kept building upon that. It was wooden, with his inimitable techniques of lasting carpentry construction. He even covered the v-hull with a layer of fiberglass for durability and speed. The only drawback was the fact that he didn't consider his construction techniques, while being as solid enough to last generations, would mean he'd have to get the family a '72 Chevy C-10 to pull the thing because it ended up being too heavy for the Ford Falcon.

He could build things to last. We've still got shelving and a porch swing in great shape he built for our first house in Slidell, that's been more than 18 years ago. I wish I had his knack for woodworking but I didn't take it seriously to learn enough from him in those days. As I get older I've learned to appreciate such things, things that last and especially things cross my path for but a season. I don't mean to get all maudlin or anything but I when think of the things that change and the things that stay the same, it seems things are running backward.

After months of trying to get rid of the Ford Aerostar van, with its stick-shift (Yes, a minivan with a 5 speed manual. I've been told it was only one of two in the whole state of Georgia. No difficulty finding clutch parts for it last year, though, as I did a complete clutch overhaul.), we've finally sold it. That van has been all over the Southeastern part of the country, as well as Michigan, New York and Nebraska. Can I be sentimental over the thing? Why not. I've got some memories with it. It just wasn't worth keeping even though everytime I looked at it would bring back memories past herculean repair efforts and equally herculean cross-country endurance drives. Forgive me, I just get all weepy when I think about how much time I've spent in and under that thing.

Billy D at In Deo Veritas is apparently ending his blogospherical avocation due to that insignificant accoutrement of domestic life, earning a living, leaving him little time to speak from Sinai, or at least the blog equivalent of it. I confess that I've thought about quitting as well. No one else really reads this tripe except myself and Billy D. He's been my only consistent commenter and it gave me pause to check my blog to see if there was anything other than "comments (0)" at the bottom of a post. Not that I purposefully wrote about things I thought others would want to read but it was nice to know someone else did and thought enough to comment on it. Ah well, back to "comments (0)" for awhile I guess. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my own blog and reading others.

My problem is I'm not much on argumentation like those over on Vox Popoli, so I don't jump in and debate a position. Actually, I haven't had the time to do that either. I've written about things that struck my own interest and, for want of a medium, chose to post it to this blog mostly to keep a record of it, but also just to add my 2 cents. It's been good to just get to know some folks by reading their commentary and postings. Billy D has been entertaining and touching referring to his wife and "Things". What can one say about people like Nate and Bane? As little as possible, I guess. If it wasn't for Nate, though, there would be alot fewer real Southrons around, me included. From Andrea's family life to Morris' musings from down under, the blogosphere is filled with real people, real concerns and real living. I'm interested in it all.

Monday, December 5

I love words

It came to my attention through Col. Ghillie today that Merriam-Webster has a feature called the Open Dictionary. It's a kind of dictionary for the common folk with entries which can be submitted and words often conjured from common parlance or a particular vernacular. As examples:

narcleptomaniac (noun): A person who habitually steals others sleep.
At the tender age of one month, our daughter's nocturnal tendencies has established her as an accomplished narcleptomaniac.

pajaminate (verb) : To put on one's pajamas directly after arriving home from work or school. Sally, after working eight hours at the hospital, pajaminates, usually wearing her favorite blue flannel pajamas.


I do believe I shall pajaminate now before I become a narcleptomaniac by continuing this post.

Friday, December 2

Jingles and bangles

The internet has changed everything. From the exchange of political ideas to moving information to how companies do business, it has affected life in the 1st world. Even advertising is changing.

"We believe the Web site will ultimately replace the 30-second commercial as the central expression of the brand ... The TV commercial over time will become more of a way to simply send people to your Web site," said Brian McAndrews, chief executive of Internet marketing company aQuantive Inc.
The article points out that while television advertising accounts for two-thirds of a major companies' ad budget, it could shrink to one-half in three years with online advertising doubling its 8 percent ad share.

I remember the catchy jingles from TV ads decades ago. Some still stick in my mind. There's generations now who've never known a TV cigarette commercial and yet I remember "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should..."

Common TV advertising doesn't make the same lasting impact it once did. Every so often some TV ads catch our attention perhaps, like the Geico fake out, but with the proliferation of so many TV viewing choices and the advent of the internet, the law of diminishing returns has taken over. The Age of the 30 Second TV Commercial may indeed be waning. As attention spans have decreased, so have individuals become less patient to endure conventional television advertising. Internet advertising can be interactive, trackable, particularly suited to an audience and provide more information on demand. One thing that internet advertising can do that TV ads can't is make the sale. As the article points out, TV ads can but drive potential customers to internet sites. Online advertising provides the portal for a company to close the deal. The recent expectations of Black Monday, the day on which e-businesses would experience a swell of online traffic, turned out to be disappointing. The thinking was that people returning to work after Thanksgiving holidays would wait to utilize faster internet connections at work for buying transactions. To their surprise the swell in traffic showed up on Thanksgiving evening, indicating that the broadband revolution has clearly taken root in homes.

The latest stats on internet growth show a continued rise in broadband connections. Municipalities are looking into offering wireless internet connectivity. New Orleans recently announced it was beginning to offer free wireless internet citywide in an effort to attract business. The greater the availablility, the greater the effect of internet and the more sweeping its impact upon our lives.