Saturday, December 25, 2010

I don't think knowing the date of the birth of our Messiah is really all that important. I'm as grateful today for my Father's mercies and bountiful gifts as I am on every other day of the year. It sure is nice to have an excuse to get together with family, though. I have siblings visiting Florida from Texas and Tennessee and it sure will be nice to see them later today. I hope y'all enjoy your celebrations and have a peaceful and joyful time with your family and loved ones!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I'm in a very tetchy mood this morning. Quick to anger. I'm not really in a bad mood though - in fact, it was 29 degrees when I got up this morning and the frost in the yards looked beautiful. I was very grateful for working central heat and for a Florida winter that actually feels wintry.

The reason I'm tetchy is because I am really - ******* - tired of people that call themselves children of God worshiping America.

Our nation is not the bee's knees. Our nation is not the most moral nation on Earth. Our nation is not the Chosen One of God. Our nation is not the God-ordained judge, jury and executioner of any other given nation. Capitalism and democracy, no matter how wonderful someone thinks they are, are fallible systems designed by man not by God. Show me the damned moral imperative to spread a system designed by man to the rest of the world. Show me! Point me the passages in the Bible that back the belief that one nation has the duty to police the rest of the world, with aggressive war if necessary.


It would seem Desert Cat and I were thinking along the same lines but I liked the way he expressed it better. Go here if you're interested and make sure to read what he wrote in the comments as well. Good stuff.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


I really enjoy This place has a lot of fluffy, entertaining trivia AND some really truly fascinating articles on science, history, nature, etc. If history textbooks were half as fun as history articles, students would actually pay attention. (Admittedly, Cracked articles may contain inaccuracies but they'll expose you to stories you might never have heard elsewhere.)

Today I got a great deal of enjoyment reading these articles, all of which pertain to various manly exploits that took place during various wars. (As a warning to those bothered by such things, colorful vulgar language is frequently used.)

War stories

War stories II

War stories III

War stories IV

War stories V

War stories VI

Now, I'm not a big fan of war. It's going to be a good thing when warfare has ended and the swords are beaten into plowshares. Even so, these are epic stories and after reading them I just like you males more than ever. You add so much zest to life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What is wrong with this article? Take a gander:

Publicity or no, some predicted little fallout from the planned protest, with many travelers at airports Tuesday deriding the effort and saying the stepped-up security measures made them feel safer.

At New York's LaGuardia Airport, traveler Ted Shaffrey, cited the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as justification for more invasive screening.

"Tell all the people whining about getting patted down to remember 9/11," he said. "They're all whine-bags."

Marc Gruber, eating lunch at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport, agreed.

"I think there ought to be two flights," said the 53-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., "one for people who want to be scanned and one for people who don't want to be scanned."


AP writers Ted Shaffrey in New York; Cara Rubinsky and Kate Brumback in Atlanta; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; and Tony Winton in Miami contributed to this report.


That's right, folks. The insulting quote from a 'traveler' is in fact a quote from one of the writers credited for the article.

EDIT: By the time I posted my comment on the article his name had been yanked from the article credits. Looks like the Ministry of Truth was alerted to some truth that needed fixin'.

EDIT the 2ND: They also removed his quote from the article. Too late, AP, I have a screen shot.

(screen shot trimmed to remove excess browser detail)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Other people have an inner child. I have an inner angry senior citizen that looks like the guy pictured in the ad above. (On a not-unrelated note: ads from previous eras are a goldmine of hilarity.)

There's a forum one of my sisters convinced me to join. On the whole, this forum maintains a level of civility most places on the internet could only dream of.

Recently, one of the young women decided to take a ride on the Crazy Train, convinced that a general discussion involving an opinion contrary to her own opinion on a matter was, in fact, a personal attack that required action on her part. Enter angry verbal flailing.

Other women with more sense very gently and tactfully pointed out the errors in her logic and suggested she be more careful of how she handled her part in the discussion. They received responses that were the equivalent of fingers-in-the-ears while saying 'la la la I can't hear you!'

So, I stepped in, minus the tact. I told her, bluntly, that she was the one that had made the discussion personal, not the person she was accusing and being insulting toward. I gave a colorful analogy of her actions thus far. When she responded with more angry verbal flailing, I mocked her. There was a brief verbal spar which I felt rather ashamed to have indulged in with someone ten years my junior.

The result? She sent me an email acknowledging sometimes she takes things too seriously and thanking me for breaking the tension by giving her something to laugh about.

That made me feel like I'd taken her place on the Crazy Train. People aren't supposed to thank me for mocking them...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

He committed the murder.

I disposed of the body. He felt it was only fair.

We were both reluctant to take that step. We felt just a little bit of regret.

But it was necessary. Something had to be done.

What a creep she was. Those staring eyes and twitchy mouth, her fat, bulbous body atop scrawny legs.

She had never been invited but showed up anyway, and then she wouldn't leave.

You never wanted to turn your back on her, afraid you'd turn around and find her moving in your direction with that cold, blank stare.

She would sit in that corner for hours, so still, as though she might never move again.

We knew she was capable of violence. She was here for no other purpose than to kill.

True, she wasn't here to kill us. I didn't even like her intended victims.

But oh the revulsion we felt, staring at that door and knowing that when we walked through, she'd be somewhere on the other side.

If she had just picked another corner, maybe things could have ended peacefully. Why did it have to be a corner in our only bathroom?

The murder victim

Not the murder victim, but this is a good picture to show what size it was! Imagine that skittering over to join you in the shower. She had to go, I'm telling ya!

It disturbs me that I can put 'scenic wonders' in the google image search engine and get a picture of a naked man hiking.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I've generally tended more towards pessimism and melancholy than towards optimism and happiness. Whenever things seemed like they were going well, they would seem like they were going too well, and I would start to wonder when the piano was going to fall on me. The last month or so I've noticed what seems to be the start of a transformation in attitude - I'm living a life of peace and bounty and learning to be grateful for it without getting lost in the fear of when it will all be taken away from me. This might be Egypt's seven fat years, waiting to be devoured by seven scrawny years, but the expectation of trouble to come seems like more of a reason to appreciate what I have here, now.

My life might not seem overflowing with bounty to the typical Western observer. Our two vehicles are thirteen years old. Our house is an ugly cement block house from the 70's, located in a neighborhood of shabby gentility. Several unfinished do-it-yourself projects are currently messifying the interior. It was purchased one year before the real estate bubble burst and has probably depreciated in value by at least 40k. We don't have the latest in technological gadgets. I do most of my clothes shopping in thrift stores and my grocery shopping at the Super Wal*Mart five minutes up the road.

I know my life is overflowing with blessings. Over six years ago, my husband and I were facing two of the hardest things fledgling marriages can experience: bad finances and a new child. Our elderly vehicle had gone kapoot. We were living off his unemployment checks and food stamps. My husband spent most of his free time immersed in Evercrack, sleeping until the afternoon and making excuses about why he had missed another day of job hunting, excuses not really for my benefit but for his own. I spent my time adjusting to the demands of my new son, loving him more than I had ever thought could be possible, while high levels of stress kept a mixture of exhaustion, anger and resentment simmering just below the surface, always threatening to bubble up and engulf us. To top it all off, my husband had brought credit card debt into the marriage - it was not a huge amount, but to people with nothing, even minor debts become huge.

My son would refuse to sleep until six or seven in the morning, though he would be relatively content if I held him, so we would sit together in front of my computer in the wee hours of the morning, where I found Worldnetdaily, Vox Popoli, Ladies Against Feminism and a host of Christian bloggers, all of which helped me maintain my sanity and caused an awakening of sorts. I started to realize how selfish and pleasure-seeking my life was. It was not who God wanted me to be and it was not who I wanted to be. I realized that if I wanted to make a conservative marriage work that I would have to stop thinking like an egalitarian. I prayed, over and over, for God to help me honor my husband and treat him with respect, though I felt no respect for him.

We trudged forward, side by side and feeling very far apart, though we were closer in spirit than we realized, for God was slowly transforming him, as well. A friend's father offered my husband a temporary job with his surveying company. My husband began biking six miles round-trip, working often in the hot Florida sun and other times up to his hips in murky, snake and bug-infested swamps. It was a start. Later he found steady employment with a good salary and health insurance. He's had his job five years now and while he's grown to hate it, he keeps showing up for love of me and our children. While working full time he obtained his four-year degree, debt free thanks to tuition reimbursement.

I can look back over the last few years and see now that he loved me all along - not with kisses and trinkets and three words but with patience, forbearance, sacrifice and tenacity. He's not a Greek letter, or a Greek letter pretending to be other Greek letters. He's just an imperfect man that believes in God and struggles to maintain integrity in a world of sloth, apathy and corruption.

So here I am now, and it seems such an incredibly short time for such a transformation to have been worked in our lives. I have a husband I can actually feel respect for and three beautiful children who light up my life. I have a house and two cars. We're living within our means and our mortgage and bills are paid every month without having to use the whole paycheck. We eat our fill of food much of the world would salivate over. We have electricity and running water, two of the best inventions ever. I'm here, at home, with my children. I'm home-schooling, at least for this year, and grinning widely over the fact that my son is learning to read and that I am his teacher. Overflowing with blessings.

I've done nothing to deserve all this material comfort. But I am thankful for it and I will endeavor to be truly grateful for as long as it lasts.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dang it!

Why do you people have to link to web comics? They're like potato chips, you can't stop with just one...

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A very readable, concise post from Code Monkey Ramblings on why America is screwed.

(Mike, if you read this, I couldn't comment on your post because I got an error when trying to comment from my google account.)

Monday, November 01, 2010

"Mommy, this eyeball tastes delicious!"

Heard out of context, that sentence might raise an eyebrow or two, but it was just my six year old eating a selection from the Halloween candy he collected last night.

I find myself in an odd position. I was raised in a family that did not celebrate Halloween because my mother strongly disapproved of its pagan origins and focus on death and spirits. She still feels that way.

Now, I'm married to a man whose favorite holiday is Halloween. Though he's been scheduled to work for the past few years, his parents have always requested the children that night so they can take them trick-or-treating. It's a good thing I never shared my mom's strong feelings about the holiday. My husband would (understandably) take it personally were I to make a fuss and try to convince him to stop celebrating the holiday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bob Burnell

Jichuan Shan

I don't get this kind of gorgeous fall color in my neck of the woods, so I am glad I can find such lovely photographs of it. In a couple of days I will be heading for Tennessee to visit my family, which should give me the opportunity to see some fall color in person, for a change!

Photos credited where possible: the three in the middle came from random free wallpaper sites.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The debate on Calvinism continues elsewhere.

Those that support Calvinism or 'reformed theology' seem to believe that the idea of man being given free will is incompatible with a sovereign God; it makes man look powerful and makes God look weak and powerless.

This is what I wanted to post in response.


So explain how limited atonement and predestination before the forming of the world are any better than the idea of a poor, broken-hearted little God whose sovereignty has been taken away?

The God of Calvinism is indeed sovereign. Not only did He predestine a portion of humanity to come dwell with Him after death, He created billions of human beings in His image, with consciousness and a conscience and the ability to be aware of something higher and more powerful than themselves; predestined them to live out their lives on earth, both enduring the evil of others and inflicting evil themselves; afterward to suffer eternal torment, just to prove what an awesome God He is in the eyes of His elect.

That might be the God some of you see in the Bible, but it certainly is not the God I see.

Have any of you ever suffered? I mean really suffered - to the point that you wished you had never been born, or that you had the courage to kill yourself because surely that would be better than the mental, spiritual and emotional agony you lived and breathed?

Have you ever contemplated eternity? Being without time? Without an end?

If you have, you should be wondering how the God we're told is the God of love, whose greatest commandment is that we love Him and that we love our neighbors, would deliberately create billions of souls on purpose just so they can suffer torment for eternity. That's His 'better plan'? The plan of a good God?

I fail to see how a God that chose to give His creation a choice is no longer sovereign.

The God Calvinism paints is like a father that has ten children. Three he decides he will love and cherish and give an inheritance to; the other seven he keeps chained in the basement and pimps out to the local pedophiles.


I haven't yet posted this on the forum in question. I actually like the people there and think that perhaps this post is a little harsh. So I'll wait and reread the post later and figure out whether or not I should alter it or simply skip posting altogether.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Meet Hazel

Meet Hazel, a four month old mutt. It turns out that the Humane Society of a nearby town was much more reasonable about the need to find a home for the dogs in their care. They had no restrictions about indoor vs outdoor dogs, though they did recommend we keep her inside for a couple of months for the purpose of socialization, training and getting her used to the children. That made good sense to us so we'll have her inside with us for a bit. In addition to the $75 for purchasing the dog (already spayed and with all shots she is old enough to receive), they threw in two bags of dog food, toys, food/water dish and even a crate, free. Not only that, the volunteers were personable and they fudged their own rules for us. They had a notice stating puppies under six months old could not be adopted to families with children under six years of age, but they let us have her anyway. Sensible people (I'm sure it didn't hurt that all three of the kids were as good as gold the entire time we were there, and very gentle with the dog). So, that Humane Society gets high marks for the ease with which we were able to adopt from their facility.

“These two men are a disgrace to their badges, but they should not reflect on the hard working men and women in the police department."

Just a wee bit embarrassing for your force there, eh PPD?

Monday, October 04, 2010

This morning I noticed a new comment notification in my email. Normally I just delete them but this time I opened it and saw that it was on a very old blog post. I looked up the post and found 22 comments. Apparently, these are kindred spirits from multiple continents that share my loathing of the city and reached my blog by googling "I hate the city" and finding my post by that name. I wrote it five years ago. I'm humbled and gratified by the kind words expressed but also pained on their behalf. I hope they all find an open door through which they can escape their cage. We weren't mean to live this way. It isn't healthy.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Ahahahaha! I was right! I WAS RIGHT!

Okay, well, close enough. I had always said that I never saw what the big deal was with Monet's paintings. He didn't look like an impressionist, he just looked like someone that was nearsighted and needed glasses.

Well, it turns out I wasn't far off the mark.
His mercies are new every morning.

Earlier this year, my husband and I got in a heated discussion about spending money on household projects. We had three expensive items that needed to be updated: the A/C unit, the windows and porch doors, and the electric wiring and circuit/breaker board. He decided he wanted to replace the windows and put in a privacy fence - not just any privacy fence, but a pricey vinyl version. My priorities were the A/C and the wiring, particularly the A/C, which is at least 15 years old at this point and could go at any time, leaving us to face temperatures of 98 or more inside the house, with or without open windows. We'd already been having trouble with it last summer.

Well, he was set on his fence, and we'd already determined a long time ago that he gets final say on matters of large financial expenditures. So, I dropped it. I was pleasantly surprised to find afterward that he had at least opted for a compromise: the less expensive wooden privacy fence instead of the vinyl version. The fence was installed and we ordered our doors and windows from Home Depot and over the course of the summer he replaced them one by one, doing the lion's share of the work on his own.

The A/C, to my surprise, kept working. Replacing the old, leaky windows seemed to help take some of the burden off it and we were actually able to keep the house at 75 instead of the 78 of last summer. Well, yesterday, the A/C finally gave indication that it might be breathing its last. I spent the afternoon working on it, cleaning out the heavily clogged drip pipe and opening the front panel and clearing the sludge out of the drip pan and checking to make sure the pan was not fractured or rotted through. Afterward, the A/C seemed to be working again, but this morning I noticed that the temperature inside the house was rising in spite of the A/C being on.

That's okay though! This is not nearly the problem that it would have been at any point earlier in the year. When I checked the weather forecast, it shows that last night the temperature finally dropped below 70. We should be able to open the windows at night and hopefully keep the interior cool enough that we won't be looking at anything worse than 80-85 inside during the hottest part of the day. Do I know for sure that this was the hand of God? No, but I'm skeptical of this kind of 'coincidence,' and I'm going to give Him the credit for preserving the unit for just as long as we needed it. We've already been working on saving up for the next expensive project, and by the time next summer comes around we should have what we need for a new A/C.

I am so thankful for the mercies of my Father, who knows what I need before I even ask.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I was brushing my hair and a large amount of it was coming out with the brush. I decided this was something I could not ignore. Despite my dislike for doctors, I made an appointment to see one. I took the kids along. There were several people there waiting for appointments, including some family members. I had been waiting for a very long time and the children were bored so I left and drove to our second property to check on it.
I vaguely recall buying a second piece of property. Did we ever actually close on it? Has my husband been making payments on it? What was the price?
The place was a mess. Apparently we had purchased post-eviction, only they had never cleared the contents of the house.
Oh no, why did we buy this place? I think the whole floor needs to be replaced. They didn't even level the hilltop underneath when they built it, and I think the rooms are cock-eyed!
I ended up discovering a squatter. She was a nice young woman, living there with her boyfriend. I did not really mind, since my husband and I weren't using the place right now.
Am I liable if they get injured? Should I have them removed so I don't get in trouble?
I started looking for the children. I was having difficulty finding them and things were getting confusing. There were more squatters - virtually a community of them secreted away throughout this sprawling, tri-level house. One of them was the leader, a sinister man that looked a little like the terminator that was not Arnold. His name was John Connor. He did not like me, and I suspected something bad would happen to me and my children if I stayed. I gathered them together, thankful they were all unharmed, and headed for my car. Someone had changed the mode, and what had been a cross between an SUV and a mini-van was now a cross between a jeep and a convertible. I did not know what the correct controls were for getting it to change back, but I was scared so I just dumped the kids inside and drove off. The roof was malfunctioning and I couldn't see very well, so I tried to put the top down. This caused erratic driving and I saw flashing lights in the rear view mirror. I pulled over and tried to explain that I was having problems with my car. Yes, I know my kids aren't in car seats, we were in danger and had to get away!
Then I was back at the property, trying to keep my kids together, avoid John Connor, and try to find a way to bypass his sabotage of my vehicle. I did not succeed in avoiding John Connor, but fortunately before this dream could get any weirder or take even more sinister turns, the alarm went off.

As I explained to my husband, I think my brain was taking revenge on me for my lack of worry during an earlier conversation involving his application for another (less stressful) job that would involve a pay cut.
You're a woman! It's your job to worry and be fearful about the future! If you won't do this while you're awake, I'll do it for you while you're asleep!
I am glad that we do not, in fact, have a second house full of squatters to worry about.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I've been bouncing around the idea of predestination in my mind and here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

We know that both God the Father and God the Son existed before time and now exist outside of time. I believe that because of the union between Jesus and the church (those that accept his salvation) that God could indeed know before the beginning of the world which individuals would accept that salvation, because He knows His son.

I am not, however, willing to embrace the Calvinist view of predestination in which we are essentially puppets. It seems to create a picture of God in which He one day sat down and drew up a list and arbitrarily assigned part of the list to salvation and part of the list to wrath, and nothing anyone does matters because either they're on the one or the other, and nothing they do can change that.

Foreknowing what will happen does not have to negate free will. Knowing that Bob will get himself killed while jaywalking drunk through heavy traffic is not the same thing as handing Bob the alcohol and then pushing him into the road.

To put it another way - I believe that God created everyone, even knowing that many would reject Him, but I am not willing to take it a step further and claim that God decided for us which would accept salvation and which would not. I believe it is quite possible for him to know what the decision is without having to be the one to make the decision.

While pondering, I asked myself the question: what if the Calvinist view of predestination was correct? How would I know if I were destined for salvation or wrath?

Then I realized it would not matter or make a difference in the way I live my life.

Either I strive to live my life according to the precepts of God and I am destined for salvation
I strive to live my life according to the precepts of God and I am destined for wrath
I live my life according to selfish hedonism and I am destined for wrath

No matter what the eventual destination, I would be better off living my life according to the principles set forth in the Bible than in embracing selfish hedonism. My life is what it is because of God and the teachings revealed through the Bible. It is a life that gives me great joy and satisfaction - joy and satisfaction that could not be obtained by living a life revolving around the pursuit of my personal pleasure.

So, in the end, predestination means diddly-squat to me and I find that I am at peace.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Well, I've spent a couple of weeks brainstorming and have now finally started writing the first chapter. Unfortunately, while I thought the writing would be the easier part of the process, the opposite has turned out to be true. I can brainstorm and hammer out ideas while washing dishes, folding laundry or making lunch for the children. I cannot write while doing any of those activities. By the time approximately twelve hours of child care ends each day I've usually turned into a mental slug. Still, I'm going to keep working away at it, and I think if I start going to bed early and getting up an hour or so before the children wake up that I might manage to be more productive.

My sister thought I spent far too long picking out names for the main characters. I told her names are very important! After all, there is no way Twilight would have become so enormously popular had the main characters been named Hepzibah, Fernando and Billy. Not that I expect to write a bestseller. I'm not even sure I'll be capable of getting published. Still, I figure first impressions are important as far as publishers are concerned. And at least I feel like I'm doing something more productive with my time than playing computer games!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bieber Fever

The ignorance in this story is appalling. I'm no economist, but I can read and understand the basic gist of what has been happening. Painting the democrats as the hope for the future of young people is akin to painting Jeffrey Dahmer as the hope for the future of young homosexuals.

Orwell was a very smart man.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


So I'm online this morning and a pop-up materializes claiming my computer is infected with spyware and click now to remove blah blah blah... I have seen similar pop-ups in the past so I simply exited and tried to continue what I had been doing - only to discover that I could no longer use Firefox to browse the internet. Something called security suite kept claiming my computer was infected and that it could not perform the specified commands and would I please purchase their anti-virus program? It certainly was infected - infected with something called security suite which was on my toolbar and preventing me from doing anything online OR opening task manager. Fortunately my husband and I each have our own computers, and his was not infected. I located websites describing the problem and (very luckily) stumbled upon a user comment that told a fast way to fix the problem that did not even involve downloading new anti-spyware software. Someone named Anthony had left the following comment:

This is the easiest solution for Security Suite

Guys. I struggled with it a lot. Security suite does not infect any of the existing files. It is a separate application which runs and prevents other applications from running. It gives unnecessary pop ups making you believe that your system is infected with virus. Tried malware bytes and other clean up softwares. Security Suite appears as harmless to virus cleaner becuase it does not infect any files.

Here is how to get rid of Security Suite.

Open Windows explorer and got C:UsersYourNameAppDataLocal. If you are not able to open windows explorer, Go into safe mode and do it.
Find the newest ‘Date modified’ folder(s). Mine were: zsdxcxedw. They looked suspicious and were modified at the same time the virus started. If the Security suite virus started at the same time these folders were created/modified, chances are that’s the virus software. Delete this file and reboot your computer. You are done now.

Thank you, Anthony!

I tried his suggestion in normal mode first and then had to switch to safe mode. After clearing the files, which weren't too difficult to find (there were several) I connected my external hard drive and, while still in safe mode, backed up my documents, pictures and music. I sure am glad my husband kindly picked that up for me a few months back. After rebooting, I did find I had to fix the settings in Firefox, which the program had altered to run through a proxy setting. Now everything seems to be working smoothly again, and hopefully it will stay that way!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

I am both excited and nervous. I've determined to try my hand at writing a book and getting it published. After much consideration I have arrived at a setting, general plot and cast of characters that I believe would be marketable to a secular or Christian young adult market (allegory is a wonderful tool). Now comes the hard part: organizing my ideas into a coherent story and actually writing the thing.

I'm nervous because I know my track record of procrastination and dropping projects if they get difficult or tedious. I have good reason to go through with it this time though - my husband.

He hates his job. I know he isn't the first (nor will he be the last) to intensely dislike his place of employment and to feel stuck with it, but as it happens, he works in a very high stress field (so high stress that according to the collected statistics, men working 25+ years in this field are - with alarming frequency - dead within five years of retirement). At the moment, with the job market being what it is, he has not been able to find other employment with a reasonable rate of pay. If, however, we could speed up our payment of the principal of our mortgage and no longer have the expense of paying for the house, he would no longer have to worry about finding employment at his current rate of pay, as well as having the freedom to look outside our current state of residence.

It is not feasible for me to seek employment outside the home. We would not be able to successfully juggle schedules and still have family time and we both believe that our children receiving a proper upbringing is extremely important (they are our children; we are not going to pay someone else to raise them for us). At-home employment is not an easy proposition either. I have no particularly marketable skills or business savvy. I'm not particularly talented or gifted - except in one area: writing.

I'm aware that getting published is very difficult. The market is, from all accounts, glutted with would-be writers. But at least if I succeed in writing a book and then fail to find a publisher, the time will have been spent in a much more worthy endeavor than the two+ years I wasted playing World of Warcraft.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Every now and then my mother, one of my sisters, or some other random person will link a video and suggest having a kleenex handy. Pshaw, I think, I'm tough, I can take it. And then I have to get a tissue. Oh well.

This is very encouraging to watch and hey, if I'm going to cry, I'd rather cry over something that is good and reveals and celebrates our Father's love for us.
I haven't been reading World Net Daily all that much this year, but I clicked on it tonight and saw this article first thing. It just makes me sick. The treaty they mention is truly horrifying to any right-thinking parent that understands children need parental authority, boundaries and discipline.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I have stumbled upon many debates on evolution vs creationism or vs intelligent design. Very seldom do I add anything to these debates. I am a creationist. I am firmly convinced that the universe is crafted by God. I have at times in my life been assailed by doubts as to God's nature, and whether or not He cared what happened to His creation, but my belief as to the divine origins of the universe has never come under serious assault. I find that it would take a far greater leap of faith for me to accept evolution than to accept creation.

I am not sure exactly why I avoid the debates. Partly, I suppose, from lack of 'scientific' knowledge. From what I have seen, those that believe in evolution will cite studies that verify their beliefs and expect their opponents to do like-wise. I don't have a host of studies at my fingertips that call into question conclusions that supported the theory of evolution. I believe it is ultimately an ignorant house of cards, but that even if I were to push that house of cards over, the evolutionist would simply gather them up, rebuild, and refuse to acknowledge the collapse. No doubt the evolutionist would view creationists in much the same way.

I look at everything that is 'known' about science, and I see a field of study in which errors have been rife and sometimes enormous in scope.
They assume that certain conditions have been unchanging for X number of years, but either cannot or will not take steps to verify if that is the case. They'll claim they know the age of such-and-such, via this or that test. When it comes to light that the test in question was not accurate - and was perhaps grossly inaccurate because of missing data, they do not turn around and recalculate everything based upon those faulty time lines; they continue to teach as if the original conclusions were correct.

Each succeeding generation of scientists seems to take the attitude that mankind is near the zenith of scientific discovery and that soon all the secrets of the universe will be laid bare - and yet, each generation makes startling new discoveries that often cause more questions and show just how little we actually know.

I'm not an enemy of science and discovery. I find the universe and creation to be a thrilling place and everything that is revealed about the way the universe functions simply increases my awe at the power of my Creator. I slice into a lemon and I marvel at the way the thick peel preserves the contents, keeping them fresh and wholesome for weeks, but within mere hours of being cut, decay sets in. No matter how corrupted or degraded or mutated life has become, I still see the amazing hand of the Creator - in the growing bodies of my children, in the golden sunlight and the blue sky and the drifting clouds and the green of the grass and trees, in the wisdom of the Bible which remains as potent and true today as it was millennia ago.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow'r thru-out the universe displayed!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When thru the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze,

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Ignore this, just needed to be able to post the picture so I can link to it elsewhere.

As thoroughly entertaining as Jquip's suggestion was (and I can't say similar thoughts have not crossed my mind) my husband and I have decided that as long as they allow us to show pictures of compliance and drop the case at the hearing (we'll be reviewed by a 'special magistrate' - pretty fancy title for this little redneck Florida town) that we will also simply let the matter drop and try to push the lawn up on our list of priorities so as not to give the busybodies the excuse to set code enforcement on us.

I went out near dusk last night and tackled the first section of lawn - I discovered the street lights are actually bright enough to make mowing parts of the lawn after the kids are in bed feasible - though the mosquitoes are getting bad by that time of the day. Still, it will make the chore easier to accomplish until winter arrives and we barely have to touch the lawn until Spring.

As I mowed there was a weed that gave off a pungent but pleasing scent; oddly reminiscent of both citrus and pine trees. It still strikes me as humorous that we're getting in trouble for not performing a chore that I actually enjoy. I like yard work, and if our front yard were fenced and safe for letting the little ones run free while I worked, I'd be out there much more often.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I understand that we are not the most pleasant neighbors to live next to - if you care about appearance, that is. Our lawn is almost always overgrown and weedy and we have some construction materials stacked on our carport and against one wall, related to various DIY projects.

Even so we have done nothing, beyond an overgrown yard, to merit having code enforcement rammed down our throat. Apparently one or more of our neighbors are that most vile of creatures - a busybody. This morning I heard a knock on our door. It was the lady from code enforcement. I politely accepted the paperwork she had for me and took it inside to read it.

We were charged with the following violation (spelling and grammar preserved - my inner editor is peeved at being served papers with obvious errors):

Overgrown vegetation, trash & debris. Property presents a Serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare. Complaints of snakes. Rats, have increased because of the condition of this property.

I just about went through the roof. I was so angry that I did something just about unheard of from me - I called the lady from code enforcement and told her we most certainly did NOT have rats. We always keep our trash in the appropriate bin issued by the city. We do not have any fruit trees. We do not have anything in our yard that would attract rats. She did not want to hear what I had to say and instead made a snippy comment to the effect of "oh, well, if you guys don't want to keep your lawn mowed..."

Since she was unhelpful, and I was still seriously steamed, I called up city hall and asked for her supervisor. She was polite and sympathetic, at least, and not at all snippy - though not necessarily overly helpful either, bureaucrats seldom are. I'll have to call her back though, because after I talked to my husband he said I should obtain a copy of the corrected paperwork, either with the sentence about rats removed or properly noted that we have disputed that charge.

Ugh. Still steamed.

Update: I have been advised that if we feel the paperwork needs to be updated that we will need to speak to an attorney, because Vanessa, the code enforcement lady's supervisor, cannot (will not?) update code enforcement paperwork once it has been filed with the city - even if the paperwork in question included unfounded statements.

"So you can say that we have rats, but you can't say that we don't have rats?"

"I can't say anything..."

Bureaucrats, indeed.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Glass Houses

As a child I once built a lego house whose walls consisted of windows. As I admired my handiwork I realized that I would very much like to have a real glass room. I envisioned it as being glass almost floor-to-ceiling, but lined with low, cushioned benches that were also bookshelves. It would be set out in a pretty field somewhere and I would sit inside on rainy days and enjoy watching the storms. I've had that image in my head for somewhere around twenty years now and find it as appealing as ever. So, while I do not as a general rule appreciate modern architecture, I like the look of these houses.

This just makes me giggle. I don't watch or listen to Beck's show, and so know little about the man and what he is like, but I'm definitely getting a kick out of how much of a knot he's put in the knickers of the left.
Something marvelous has happened.

It's August in Florida and it's under 90 degrees outside!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Excerpts from 40 Years of Scotland Yard:

It is not good for the service when an officer is afraid to use initiative or accept responsibility. I believe that I was considered a disciplinarian and, indeed, I never feared plain speaking. There are slips that must be dealt with by a heavy hand. But official nagging never appealed to me. I have seen the hearts of too many promising men broken by petty routine. It is one thing to deal with a man direct--to tell him straight that he has been a fool; it is another to put on paper some portentous reprimand that will hang to his official record for twenty or thirty years.


In the end, every bit of evidence has to be proved by the spoken word of some witness--even a document or a bloodstain has to be sworn to. Human nature being what it is, witnesses will sometimes make mistakes, or consciously or unconsciously distort the truth. No witness is infallible, although there is a tendency among some people to think that a certain type of scientific evidence cannot be doubted. In fact, experts are no more immune from mistakes than other folk. I would much sooner accept the word of an intelligent and disinterested man in the street when he says that at a particular time and place a definite event occurred than that of a gentleman who asserts opinions and theories as if they were unchallengeable facts.


I have been often asked whether I made a point of carrying arms when likely to run across dangerous or violent criminals. In fact, I never worried about it, and even at the siege of Sidney Street I was unarmed. On occasions, when I have known colleagues of mine to be carrying pistols, I have, I honestly believe, been more scared of them than of any criminal. From a police point of view I think it is a mistake to carry any lethal weapon. It needs a very nice judgment to hit upon the exact moment when one would be justified in using a gun. In this country an officer would only be entitled to shoot when his life was in imminent danger. To pull the trigger a moment too early, or because of some misunderstanding, would almost certainly bring about a charge of manslaughter.


The truth is, it has been realized that vindictive punishments are not, as a rule, effective deterrents. Not quite as well appreciated is the fact that the only way to stamp out crime is to impress the criminal with the certainty that he will be caught and punished--within limits the amount of punishment does not matter.


I enjoyed this book immensely. It was very refreshing to read the memoirs of a man from an era preceding the blight of feminism and political correctness. Not that Mr. Wensley was offensive - quite the opposite. A hard-working man of courage and intelligence but also honest, scrupled and respectful of others. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that can manage to procure a copy.

Oh, and lest there should be any confusion, the majority of the memoirs were simply cases he worked on and the people he worked with - the philosophical musings, such as the ones I quoted, were a minor aspect but important in what they reveal of Mr. Wensley's character.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It was a busier Saturday than usual for us. My husband will be on day shift for the upcoming week, so he is working on readjusting his sleeping schedule now. In order to keep himself busy and awake we set out on errands - first to obtain a marble slab. For some reason our largely unassuming 70's cement block home has marble window sills, and one of them is broken and needs to be replaced as we replace the window as well.

After that it was off to the SPCA, as we now have a privacy fence around our back yard and the boys have been asking about a dog. This was our second time going and it seemed that they had more animals of a promising nature this time around. We found a two month old lab/golden retriever mix named Dexter with a very winning personality. He seemed to like us, we liked him, and so we filled out the paperwork and were told we would have to talk to an 'adoption counselor' before everything could be finalized. So, as they were rather busy, we waited at least a half hour, while the boys were as good as gold and happy with the prospect of finally getting a puppy.

Lo and behold, the adoption counselor tells us that we cannot have the puppy if we intend to keep him outdoors. Apparently the health risk to the dog is greater if they're kept outdoors before six months of age. Okay - well, we can keep him indoors for a few months and then move him outdoors. It's not ideal, but we can make do. At which point, said counselor informs us that to get a puppy used to being indoors in air conditioning and then sending him outside would be cruel.

This was obnoxious. My husband was immediately set on edge by her attitude but we asked to have a moment to ourselves and discussed the issue. We could always simply agree to their terms and then do what we wanted once we had the puppy at home with us - but neither of us wanted to set that kind of example for our children. Telling them not to lie or practice deception and then turning around and doing it ourselves was not acceptable. By this time, my husband was not just on edge, he was out-and-out angry - though keeping his temper in check. When the counselor returned, he had something to say - about the fact that the SPCA kept all dogs over six months of age in non-air-conditioned kennels and that if a puppy was not adopted prior to reaching the six month mark, they would be moved from air conditioning to no air conditioning by the SPCA - the same act referred to as 'cruelty' were we to perform it. The counselor said 'I don't make the rules' in a tone of voice that suggested she agreed with the rules and merely hid behind them so as not to seem personally responsible for refusing the 'adoption.'

My husband requested a comment card, and was informed they did not have any. He asked - and received - a piece of paper to write a comment on but was at the same time informed that rules were made by the board of directors. At this point I decided it was best to get the children loaded into our vehicle, but left my husband behind so that he could ask for the paperwork with our personal information on it. The lady he spoke to about that told him they did not usually return them, to which he responded 'well the adoption didn't go through, did it?' and was then given the form. Meanwhile, I had to explain to our oldest, who was questioning where the puppy was, that we were not allowed to have it. (Thankfully he took this much more gracefully than I was expecting.)

My husband and I both stewed over this as we left the SPCA grounds. We would never have taken the boys to the puppy room, and let them get their hopes up about a puppy, if they had informed us of that rule, or had it posted anywhere. Not once did the lady that took Dexter to another room to 'meet' us and then gave us the adoption paperwork ever mention the rule, even though we mentioned we were there to get a dog because we had a fenced yard now. Then there was the ridiculous hypocrisy involved since they would be moving puppies that passed the six month mark from the air-conditioned kennel to the non-air-conditioned kennel.

I rather disliked the SPCA to begin with, on general principle, so this certainly did nothing to change my opinion.

At least lunch and our next errand - a trip to a used bookstore - improved our moods. My husband even found what looks like a very interesting read: 40 years of Scotland Yard, the memoirs of Frederick Porter Wensley. It was published in 1935. He began working as a constable in 1888.

From the introduction:

It may seem an odd thing to say of a man whose record as a detective is second to that of none, but if I were asked to indicate the dominant personality quality of Frederick Porter Wensley I should say it was simplicity. He has no poses, strikes no attitudes. He looks men and things in the face and with a childlike logic strips them of all nonessentials. "Y'know" he will say, in that slow emphatic way of his, ramming down the tobacco in his pipe with his thumb, "the truth is all that matters. The single object is to get at the truth."

I'm greatly looking forward to reading this, as is my husband.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh come on! The Espresso Book Machine can be found in North Dakota, of all places, but the closest ones to me are Louisiana and North Carolina. =( =(

Florida needs an Espresso Book Machine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Police say it's 'very possible' attacks near fairgrounds had racial overtones

Sgt. David Murillo stated in a report on Friday night, "On-duty officers at the fairgrounds advise there was a group of 30 to 40 individuals roaming the fairgrounds openly calling it 'beat whitey night.' "

Gotta love how the headline and the content of the article try to downplay the racial aspect of the violence, presumably because it is not coming from an acceptable (white) source.
Neat technology news:

Hemp car

Machine turns plastic back into oil

the Espresso Book Machine

Scary technology news:

Connecticut school considers tracking devices for students

Prison guards test new 'laser' weapon


If anyone has noticed any other neat or scary tech feel free to provide a link in the comments.

Scary tech, for the record, is anything (no matter how neat) that has subtle or obvious 1984 implications.

Monday, August 23, 2010

From 2009:

As readers are aware, the Consumer Product Safety Commission yesterday advised thrift stores and other resellers and distributors of used goods to discard (unless they wished to test for lead or take other typically unpractical steps such as contacting manufacturers) children’s books printed before 1985 and a very wide range of other children’s products, including apparel and playthings.

Read the entire post here.

This is one of the most depressing things I have read recently. What a clever way to orchestrate a book-burning - and how much longer until adult books fall under the same restriction, and eventually the only people allowed to buy or sell books printed prior to 1985 are those specifically licensed and regulated to do so?

I cannot express how devastated I am by this news. Almost all of the books that I loved as a child were printed before 1985 and I had intended to collect them for my own children. Many of them are out-of-print. Or, if not out-of-print, only printed with a censored version that expunges non-politically correct attitudes of earlier eras.

It has been well over a year since it happened and this is the first I ever heard of it! I would have been in immediate contact with local thrift stores to see if they would allow me to retain the discarded volumes.

So depressing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge
John Everett Millais

Though I found many pictures that I thought very beautiful over at the Art Renewal Center, this I think is my favorite for the moment. I love the artist's style. The composition is beautiful and dramatic. But what I really like about this painting is the intensity of the emotion at play. On her face, fear, sadness and love. On his, gentle love and implacable resolve. This picture just seems to capture some of the essence of femininity and masculinity and the interplay between the two.

I'll admit that I am not nearly as conversant with world history as I could be and this picture inspired me to find out the story of the Huguenots and St. Bartholomew's Day. To my surprise, I discovered it is tied to the history of Calvinism. Despite my general laziness in such matters, I enjoy studying history; I just wish that I could be assured of finding relatively trustworthy, unbiased sources from which to learn.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mexican Police Help Murder Their Own Mayor

Since Calderon took office in December 2006, there have been an incredible 28,000 drug-related killings, it was recently revealed.

That is insane. No wonder Arizona took the steps it did if that violence has been spilling over their borders.

I wonder how much America's 'war on drugs' has contributed to the rise of the drug cartels and the staggering level of violence in Mexico. This just seems very reminiscent of the Prohibition and the violence during that era.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The plight of the fatherless

Mike of Code Monkey Ramblings linked to to a very thought-provoking post on the subject of race. The blog author did not write the essay, merely posted it to foster discussion, and the discussion (what I have read of it so far) is indeed very interesting.

Some of the responses truly are racist and hate-filled. Some are merely frustrated. Others are obviously trying to rationalize their disagreement with the essay and the sentiments expressed even as their own words and stories verify what it contains. The racist blame race - they see all blacks as savages regardless of where they come from. Some of the frustrated blame the welfare state. Some blame economic status. Some blame the culture.

I fall into the latter category. I blame a culture in which illegitimacy is rife, in which so many of the children are fatherless. Any honest individual that is married with children will see how children respond differently to the authority of the father versus that of the mother. The father's discipline and his boundaries are what make the deepest impression. This is true in my home as well. Despite the fact that I am not a softy I have to work harder to enforce discipline and our children are less likely to act up when daddy is at home and awake.

A few years ago my husband and I took the same sociology course, centered around criminal behavior. One of the most fascinating aspects of this course was the journey through theories of crime - such as the racial disparity in American prisons (blacks are a minority in the general population, but a majority in prison populations) and why some people become repeat criminal offenders (career criminals). Some theorized 'institutional racism' was to blame. Others theorized economic status was to blame. Some older, none PC theories involved IQ or race. All of these theories came up short, however. None of these factors were found to be wholly consistent. Then along came a study that yielded highly controversial results: they found that the single strongest correlating factor among repeat criminal offenders was a lack of self-control that dated all the way back to a childhood lacking in consistent discipline!

Why was this study so controversial? Why were the results largely swept under a rug? I think it is because it would mean that the disparate proportion of blacks in the prison population was not the fault of white racism, but was rather the result of a culture in which illegitimate, fatherless, undisciplined children are endemic. It would mean not only were blacks ultimately responsible for their predicament, but that they are also the only ones with the power to put a stop to it.

Edit: for the record, my own opinion of the essay in question is that the author seemed very bitter and jaded. I think it is possible that he exaggerated but I do not believe that he was lying. I have experienced some of the attitudes he referenced in a minor way - my husband, on the other hand, has a job that involves working with the demographic in question (poor urban blacks) and some of the behaviors mentioned in the essay are behaviors my husband witnesses and had spoken of long before I ever read this essay.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

various and sundry items

I was not expecting so many comments about Calvinism. I suppose I've been rather out of it on that subject; I had simply noticed that it seemed to be a belief gaining some popularity as of late.


My husband and I are slobs. We are getting better, slowly, but it is quite an uphill climb. Today, for instance, I once more worked on tackling the mountain of paperwork accumulated over the last three years. There is a box approximately 24" x 24" x 12" FULL of paperwork to be thrown away, not including the pile to be shredded, and I am not even done sorting. The credit card companies might as well just chop down a small tree and leave it on our doorstep with the words 'please spend your husband's money!' carved on the trunk. Once I get the mountain leveled I plan to sort and file paperwork on a weekly basis to make sure it does not get this out of hand again.


In light of the controversy surrounding Dr. Laura Schlessinger's use of the N-word* I've developed a theory - that blacks have actually given that word the offensive power it has today because they have tried to restrict usage. Had they simply embraced it, used it themselves, and shrugged off the genuine racists that tried to shame or anger them by using it, I expect it would have no more power today than words like redneck or yankee.

*I was going to use the actual word, but then it occurred to me that I've long refrained from using things like the F-word because I knew it would bother certain readers. Therefore I'll be courteous this time as well.


I've been browsing the Art Renewal Center and have discovered quite a few beautiful pictures. Also, lots and lots of nudity. Don't browse there if you're easily offended by nekkid people.

I think several of the most popular artists are highly overrated. I find Da Vinci's pictures boring. I'm also not convinced Monet was actually an impressionist - I think he was just very nearsighted, as his pictures look very similar to what the world looks like when I take my glasses off. =D Another observation: artists do not seem to like drawing happy, smiling people. Here's one of the exceptions though, and personally, I like her smile much better than the Mona Lisa's.

Monday, August 16, 2010

French toast is not as easy as it looks.

Also, I don't understand the deal with Calvinism.

At best, it is true, but being human, no one can know for sure if they are among those predestined to be saved by the blood of the Messiah. So faith is required for both the Calvinist and the non-Calvinist. Clearly whether or not one believes in predestination is not actually a matter of salvation.

At worst? It is not true and actually turns people away from the Kingdom of God and encourages lawlessness.

Even if the best case scenario is correct, it is still pointless to teach or spread as a doctrine, because it does nothing to further the work of the Kingdom.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sacrifice? What sacrifice?

A major study has found that "despite public opinion to the contrary" there is little evidence that having a working mother during infancy harms a child's mental development or adversely affects its behaviour. (Working mothers 'don't harm their children's development' major study reveals)

The study's authors acknowledge that their findings run against overwhelming public opinion to the contrary. Part of the myth's pervasiveness is self-justifying, of course. Mothers who relinquish their earning power and career status to provide the unpaid labour of raising babies are loath to admit that their sacrifice was made in vain. And who can blame them? (Ditch the guilt, working moms: the kids are all right)

It turns everything upside down when you shift from thinking about what set-up would be optimal for you, to thinking about what would be best for a child. (In Day Care, the Ends Aren't Everything response to the first two articles)

Sacrifice? What sacrifice?

Having children brought me to life. Motherhood thawed a frigid, selfish heart. It opened a whole new realm of understanding for me. I experience joy, daily, that I never experienced while working. There is so much more depth to my life now than before and I've grown considerably as a person. I cannot think of even one career that could possibly enrich my life as much as motherhood has done. There is no amount of money that could compensate for having to hand the hearts of my children into the keeping of someone that cannot possibly care for them the way I do. I am deeply grateful to my husband for his sacrifice, going to a job he dislikes more with every shift, so that I can have the privilege of staying home.

Sacrifice? Priceless gift!

I think God created the teenage years just so we'll always have reason to be humble later in life.

I just recalled that the first short story I ever wrote was a human/vampire romance. At least I have the feeble excuse of having been sixteen at the time (and it was well before Twilight). I wonder if I still have a copy of that stashed in my stuff? I'm not sure if re-reading it would produce more laughter or groaning.

Edit: found it. Embarrassing, indeed. And yet, my sister was correct: I could write romance novels. What kind of crappy talent is that?!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Excuses, excuses

Regarding Mrs. Obama's Spanish vacation: spending time with a friend whose father died does not justify spending the tax payer's money to do so. She could just as easily have fulfilled her promise at much lower cost to the tax payers by inviting her friend to come along on one of the other scheduled vacations she has planned this year.

I don't begrudge the rich their wealth. I do frown on our elected officials using our money to give themselves a good time.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


I was finally getting around to ripping my CDs so I would be able to listen to my music from my computer, when I heard what sounded like a mini explosion (sort of like when lit light bulb goes out, only much louder) coming from inside my computer.

My CD had shattered into many tiny pieces! My CD ROM is busted now and the tray is now only useful as a cup holder. =( I've never seen anything like that before, or even heard about it happening.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I first embarked on reading The Lord of the Rings around age twelve. I was so impressed and enthralled by Tolkien's tale that I cried when I came to the end, just because it was over, and promptly turned around and read it through again. I was never bothered by the dearth of female characters. Arwen, Galadriel and Eowyn were each graciously presented and given a place of honor - indeed no such inspiring portrayals of women can be found in modern fiction. Being a bit of a tomboy and hankering to be the sword-wielding warrior woman type myself, I was particularly drawn to Eowyn, the icy princess of Rohan.

Tolkien introduces her thusly:

The woman turned and went slowly into the house. As she passed the doors she turned and looked back. Grave and thoughtful was her glance, as she looked on the king with cool pity in her eyes. Very fair was her face, and her long hair was like a river of gold. Slender and tall she was in her white robe girt with silver; but strong she seemed and stern as steel, daughter of kings... fair and cold, like a morning of pale spring that is not yet come to womanhood.

The moment when Eowyn faced the witch king of Angmar, lord of the Nazgul on the field of battle, removed her helmet and delivered the line "No living man am I, but a woman" was one of my favorite parts. It gave me goosebumps.

I loved the ending Tolkien wrote for her - body healed, spirit unfrozen, setting arms aside to become a healer herself and marrying Faramir. She remains one of my favorite literary characters.

And this is one of the many reasons why Jackson's movie adaptions made me spitting mad. By casting the sweet, fresh-faced Miranda Ott in the role, Eowyn, ice princess, became Eowyn, hurt puppy. Cate Blanchett should have been Eowyn and Ott should have been Galadriel. I swear half the time Ott's Eowyn appeared to be on the point of sad tears, something that just about gave me an aneurysm. THEN Jackson further butchers one of my favorite scenes: in the confrontation with the lord of the Nazgul,
gone is the inspiring display of courage, where Eowyn staunchly defends the fallen king Theoden against a nigh-invincible foe that made even brave warriors quail in fear. Because Jackson failed to include an explanation in the movies about where Merry obtained the blade he used to strike at the witch king, we're left to believe that all that was needed to kill this amazingly powerful undead king is a uterus and a midget.

Thanks, Peter Jackson.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Speaking of image search: this is the Rio Caño Cristales, a river in Columbia. Amazing!

edit: missed one
We all have hobbies, right? One of mine just happens to be looking up pretty pictures of nature via google image search.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Recently on a forum that I am part of the question of Christians and alcohol was raised by a young man (a Christian) that typically drinks a glass of wine with his evening meal. He was rather shocked when a Christian family that had treated him like a member of their family found out he drank alcohol and refused to have anything more to do with him. He wondered how common that attitude was and how it had arisen within the church, to the point that some Christians were fully convinced Jesus had turned water into non-alcoholic wine.

People that responded had varying attitudes toward alcohol but in general agreed that it was not a sin to drink. As I perused the posts I began reading one that made me smile - I was considering commending the writer on their excellent satire when the realization dawned: it was not satire. I'll provide a snippet and perhaps you'll forgive me for thinking it was:

After my many years of intense investigation and research, I know with 100% certainty that Jesus drank unfermented grape juice.

It's not a matter of something to get over. It's just fact, sealed in stone, not an opinion. The evidence and documentation for it is, well, to be quite frank, overwhelming. I'm talking about exhaustive research into Hebrew, Greek, and the historical records.

In past threads, I have exhaustively provided the evidence. The problem is, when people read my stuff, naturally the temptation comes over them to glance over it. Unfortunately, however, it requires time and patience to analyze the material meticulously and thoroughly if one is going to grasp the full picture.

The full post was much lengthier and his arguments simply gained momentum (and length) as the topic went on. We were treated to a lesson in historical practices (the size of the wine cups, what level of fermentation existed and how potent the effects of ancient wine were), what the original Greek words meant, and quotes from Proverbs. We were assured that Jesus had never tasted wine, either at weddings or at Passover:

To imagine that Christ would sanction such ill-effects by personally offering a sizeable cup of alcoholic wine to His disciples, is tantamount to destroying the moral integrity of His character. Believers who truly accepts Christ as their sinless Saviour instinctively recoil from such a thought."

I embarked on a quick search via and it would appear that there is no general prohibition against drinking alcohol. Not in the Old Testament, and not in the New Testament. Plenty of advice against getting drunk, but not a ban on alcohol. In Acts 15, we find the apostles and other believers discussing what aspects of Hebraic law Gentile believers should be held to. When it was determined that it would be too much of a burden to ask them to practice the whole of the law, four things were selected, none of which included anything to do with alcohol.

I managed to rein in what I wanted to say and only wrote the following:

We don't have to do in-depth study of the original language in order to understand the ten commandments, or to understand the greatest commandment (Love the Lord your God...) or the second (Love your neighbor as yourself).

For those interested in further study on the matter, I recommend You can do a keyword search for wine to see what is said in Hebraic law (Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy) and the New Testament. I'd also recommend Acts 15 and Romans 14.

My intent was to encourage people to read up on the matter for themselves and a reminder of what is actually important. Afterward I found myself pondering. Had I handled things as I should have? This man, his obsession with this topic, had brought to mind the following passage:

As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
-Paul to Timothy

Should I have been more blunt and called him out for his arrogance presuming to bar Christians from an activity which God himself did not see fit to ban? Well, I seem to have found my answer in Matthew 15 when, after a confrontation with the pharisees, the following exchange takes place:

Then the disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?"

But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."