* <<< Deep Thought >>> *

Salvation is by faith through grace, and not of works lest any man should boast.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Snow Day Blues

Well the snow today is thiker than ... ah ... Well a picture is worth a thousands words. So have a look. This shows just how much snow has piled up around here. I know it isn't much (compared to some places, but Idaho is a high desert. We "never" get more than a couple inches of snow. Two or three at most. But this morning, after having had a full 7 & 3/4 " snow fall earlier... here we are again with deep snow and it's still coming down. And what a time we have been having! I got pulled over and cited for 'wreckless driving'! The reason for this was because I'm prepared for the snow (most people are not.) I bought the Geo Tracker a few years ago, and it does very well in the mud and snow. This summer I put new tiers on it. So it has been so handy! I left Boise the other night, headed for home. The roads had been plowed, but there was still a boken snow floor. I tested my grip on the road and found that I started to get loose at about 60. So I dropped back to between 50and 55 and continued down the highway. Now a lot of people have forgoten a basic rule of the road around here. The "Drive Right, Pass Left" rule. [The reason we call the left lane, "The fast lane" is because slower traffic is required to move to the right.] I found that i was easily traveling faster than most of the other traffic. Not surprising since the Geo is light weight, four wheel drive and equiped with great winter snow gripping tiers! But all too often, lane hogs did not want to give up the left lane. Especially the four-wheel drive pick-up's! I don't know what is up with these guys and thier pick-up's, but no, they don't own the road and they need to learn how to share the road with the rest of us. The sun had gone down, my headlamps were on, so I did what anyone would do.. I politely asked to pass these road blocks by flickering the brights. Some people, even around here in back-woods hicksville, know what that means. To my dismay, an off-duty police officer, (and a pick-up driver) noticed me doing so and called the cops on me. So even after the successful navigation of 20 miles of iced-over roads, and that without slipping, slidding or any difficulty in maintaining my lane... I was cited for wreakless driving. Around here the cops take a dim view of flikering headlights. It's considered "agressive driving" And the fact that I could move along faster than everyone else, in the mind of the dim-wighted cop, just proves his case right? Nope. The truth is that the lighter weight vehicle had the advantage. Given the conditions, the broken-snow floor providing limited tracktion, a light vehicle does better than a big heavy one. This is an American prejudgice I think. We tend to prefer the huge tuna-boat cars, and sherman tank pick-ups. We think that bigger is safer. It isn't always the case! In simple terms the more wieght a car has, the more it resists any change is direction or speed. Remember when you were taught to drive, how they showed you that your breaking distance would increase if you drive a big truck, bus or van? That is due to its greater weight. So it follows then, that a mini-SUV like the Tracker which weighs less than most cars and trucks on the road, would be able to move along faster, and do so safely! The lighter weight vehicle can still accelerate, turn and stop in shorter distances than other, heavier vehicles.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dear Abby

Dear Abby,

I understand that you are being honored by PFLAG for your open support of
'Gay Marriage'.

The Associated Press reported today that you feel homosexuality is a genetic
property, and that 'gays' should either be afforded all the rights that
'straights' have or at least be given a huge tax break.

First let me say that I understand your position, however, I am unable to
agree with it. Now let me tell you why.

In order to enter into a discussion about these matters I find that it is
impossible to communicate clearly given the state of the current popular
lexicon. Words like 'gay' and 'straight' only seem to have clear meanings,
when in fact, they don't.

For example, when we say 'gay and lesbian', are the terms gender specific?
If so, then where is the push for homosexual women's rights? Why are we
only supporting the rights of homosexual men? Clearly that isn't the case,
and hence the confusion as to the exact meaning of the term 'gay'.
Personally I prefer such good and wholesome words as gay, used in many a
carol, not be dragged through the mud. Leave it alone. The term
'homosexual' is clear, concise, and non-gender specific.

Greater confusion exists where the term 'straight' is concerned.
Does this term include those who practice adultery as a way of life? Serial
relationships are not healthy whether they are of mixed genders or not.
I think of straights, I think of those people who are as straight as an
arrow, who marry once and make it for life, who never cheat on that marriage
and who did not play around even before the marriage. But the ambiguity in
the term is helpful to those who do not wish to deal with everything

So what words do we use? All the terms that come readily to mind are
already tainted by their other uses. The only option then is to add
clarifying modifiers to the terms we all know.

Pure Homosexual:
Abbreviated PHy; means a man or woman who is only attracted to the same
gender, and one who never engages in sexual relations with persons of the
opposite gender.

Pure Straight:
Abbreviated PSy; means a man or woman who is only attracted to the opposite
gender, and one who preserves themselves for marriage as a singular event.
They do not commit either adultery nor fornication as a rule.

Now that we have a clear vocabulary we can proceed. Your first objection is
probably along the lines that no-one lives like that. These 'pure'
definitions are unrealistic. Even so, bear with me awhile and I'll deal
with that issue at the proper time.

My first dilemma is this: There are two world views as to how life itself
came to be. Either we all evolved or we were all created by God. Now if we
take the first case, and up-hold the best of their traditions, (survival of
the fittest and all that,) then when we add homosexuality into the mix of
genetic mutation we have a problem. If PHy couples were evolved by the
process of genetic mutations, then how did the mutation spread? After all,
by violating the biology and not mating with the opposite sex, there could
be no offspring, and hence no means of introducing the genetic mutation into
the human gene pool.

If we take the second case, where God created us, and claim that God himself
made some people PHy, then we have a dilemma because the same book (or
collection of books) that tells us how God created everything, also tells us
that God condemns certain behaviors, homosexuality being one of them. Is
God unjust? That same book would declare such a notion, 'non-sense'.

So lets consider that my definition of a PHy person is too strict, that
no-one acts that way. If this is true then we still have a problem. It
hales back to the question of Nature or Nurture. Is a person like 'X'
because it is their nature, or was there something in their nurturing that
bent them toward it? If homosexuality is mostly nurture, then it is a
choice, and not genetic. If it is a choice then shame on everyone who is
promoting it. If given the choice between war and peace, no one in their
right mind chooses war. But given a choice between having social acceptance
or living in the midst of social upheaval, why would anyone want to be the
canon fodder on the front of social upheaval? Shame on you Abby and to all
those who push others toward that war!
Yet we see the measure of choice that is involved. If few people in reality
are PHy, in the strictest sense, then they are exercising a great deal of
choice in their lives, as proven by their actions. These patterns of
behavior clearly mean that God is not unjust, nor is genetics absolute. The
person has and can make decisions and choices and that is what they are
responsible for.

Marriage is a practice that is found in every culture, every religion,
to modern. In every case it is the simple equation of one man plus one
woman = offspring and a healthy developmental situation for their nurturing.

The Bible says that the two shall become one flesh. We see this concept
fulfilled in biology where an egg from the female and a sperm from the male
combines and instantaneously turns into a unique mixture of their genetic

In simplistic terms, such as those used in, 'It takes a village', if every
couple in a village is PHy, then the village is doomed to die off. There is
possibility for offspring to be born, raised and to propagate the village
through time. Even if the chief gave everyone his blessing and a special
'marriage talisman', the fact remains that the biology does not work that
way. There is no combining off flesh into one, there are no children.
Hence, in my mind, no real marriage, just an empty talisman!

In a village where everyone is PSy, marriages mean that children will be
born and the village will grow and thrive.

Who in their right mind would encourage anyone to join a village that is
barren and dieing? And so I say shame on all those who promote

At this point, need I comment on the Huge Tax-break thing? Well, okay, let
me just ask it like this; Why not give tax breaks to alcoholics? Or
rapist? Or prostitutes? Same reason!

This is my original thoughts and writing. Please address all comments to
the blog on which this was originally posted "Deep Thought" found at

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Diet Plan

About seventeen years ago I left the service weighing around 200 pounds and with a 38 inch waist. Through the years I put on weight and gained inches bit by bit. I started looking at all those diet planes and even tried a few. Nothing seemed to work for me. I did not want to get on the dieters roller coaster and end up worse off that I started. I did not want a starvation diet or anything that would be costly. I wanted a plan that was easy, effective and healthy. This year I finally achieved results. But I had to re-think a lot of the fundamentals. We get so wrapped up in the ideas of eating less and loosing weight. That thought process is just wrong-headed. Toss it out the window and I will show you the right approach. First, your game plan has to be customized to you and your situation. Everybody is different. What works for you (detail-wise) may not work for anybody else. That is okay. But even more to the point, is the fact that no-one else program, pre-designed menu, calorie counter or whatever is going to work either. Forget those things, they are nonsense and anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something. Second, the key is health. You have a health issue if you are over-weight. You probably have more than one. The best approach is to first do everything you can to promote the body's own ability to heal. It needs proper nutrition! Modify your diet not for the purpose of loosing weight, but for the purpose of eating healthy. Supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals. Try stuff. Most multi-vitamins I tried did little to nothing for me. But when I found a good combination, it reversed numerous 'chronic symptoms' I had been dealing with for years! The right diet allowed my body to make repairs, but I was still out of shape and still not loosing weight. Next step for me was to look at some of those diet pills. I even tried a couple of the them. They all ready very much alike. They claim to work if used in conjunction with diet and exercise, oh and you have to take them with a full glass of water. Perhaps it is more about the diet and exercise! Do you think you would loose the weight if you increased your level of exercise, limited your diet and drank more water? Sure you would, but it would only last while you were doing those things. As soon as you setteled back into your normal way of doing things the weight plus a few more pounds would come right back. It has to be more than that. So if you modify your eating habits, and not just go on a temporary diet, we have made an important step! This is a lifestyle adjustment, not a fad! Eat what you need. Eat what you enjoy. But eat to be healthy. Don't eat for unhealthy reasons, or unhealthy amounts. Don't be silly. It's not about the food, it's about leaning to feed the body the building materials it needs to be healthy! Listen to your body, it will tell you what is working, and what is not! Then it occurred to me that all these diets ask you to drink water. You need to drink a lot more water than most people are drinking. Drink More Water drinking more water, you will improve your health. More water can suppress those mid-night cravings, help clean out body toxins, reduce your chances for some types of cancer and so forth. And best of all, water comes out of the tap for free. This health tip costs you almost nothing! Bottled water isn't cheap, but it can be a much healthier choice than soda-pop at about the same price. There are also a lot of teas on the market and the sports drinks are also good. These are low sugar drinks and they have added health benefits that high-sugar carbonated drinks do not have. Send you money more wisely, drink healthy drinks too! And stay fully hydrated! You may find yourself running out of energy or feeling hungry because you are dehydrated, and not because you need a quick pick-me-up. Putting these several items together last year I was able to go a whole year without any weight gain. I stayed at 340 pounds all year without gaining anything more. That was a first! But I was not loosing any weight either. I still became winded on climbing a single flight of stairs! I needed something more. The third key to success came to me while watching TV. Remember that reality program called The Biggest Looser? There was a trainer on that program that worked from a simple motto. Build muscle, because muscles burn calories, fat burns nothing! That put it all together for me. This is why all those ‘diet’ products say they work. They are tested on people who are controlling their diet, increasing their exercise and drinking water. Boom! That is an important key! For me the final piece of the puzzle fell into place when I took a summer job. I went to work as an operations and maintenance man at a local water park. The park covers about five acres of ground. I did a LOT of walking. I wore out a new pair of tennis shoes in just three months time. To keep hydrated I would drink PowerAid and bottled water one right after the other. After working eight hours in the heat of summer, I’d come home and soak in the tub. My muscles would ache after all that work! I began to be able to climb stairs without becoming winded! I started to loose weight. I’m back into my size 50 pants and down to 320 pounds. It is working! In reflection about what finally made the difference for me, I thought back to what I had to change. Then it hit me. The PowerAid and water! I had stopped drinking so much soda pop and started drinking a lot of PowerAid and bottled water. Now that is ’diet’ food to me! When you are working out so much that you are able to drink (and sweat) three or four bottles a day, you’ll find that you are not hungry for a lot of food, you’re too full of fluids! This is what worked for me. I think the basic concepts will work for you too. In short, it’s not about limiting your diet to loose weight. Forget all that nonsense! It’s about improving your health. Learn to eat healthy. Improve your diet with supplemental vitamins and minerals as needed. Do some research and try what you think will help you. Then listen to your body! It will tell you if it is working or not. Cut back on soda, beer, coffee.. And any other high sugar drinks! Replace them with water, teas and sports drinks. Enjoy what you eat and drink, just don’t gorge yourself! Then start where ever you are and begin to ramp up the activity level. Walking is good! Park farther away from the grocery-stores front doors, and walk a bit farther. Take the stairs more often. Build up your muscles and keep active. This is not about a short term program. This is all about making better lifestyle choices and improving your health. Then the weight thing will take care of itself!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Deathly Hallows

The seventh Harry Potter book.

I just finished reading Rowlings final installment in the series. I was
fearing that things would get too dark and end badly. I am elated to report
that this was not the case! The final book is perhaps not her best work.
The story line drags a bit through the middle. In the first several
chapters, Harry looses a lot of things that were comforting to him. As
He-who-must-not-be named, AKA Tom Riddle, AKA Lord Voldermort, is on the
rise, Harry finds himself going into hiding, along with everyone else who
has been resisting.

My prediction that Dumbledour would have at least one Horcrux, and would be
able to return proved false, however, the shadow that he cast still has
great impact upon this book. In other words, he may not be coming back to
life, but then again he isn't exactly gone.

If you're worried about who lives and who dies, then let me tell you this:
none of the major characters die. You can be at ease on that count,
however, the list of "former friends of Harry" grows quite long by the final

Rowlings style continues to impress me. The story is imaginative, detailed,
and intriguing. There are the bits of human interaction that always make me
laugh, there is plenty of action and some mystery. She has drawn from the
vast well of details written into the previous six books, and made sense out
of them. A lot of otherwise pointless details come floating back and impact
us in this book.

And should you be wondering about moral issues, this volume is better on
that count than all the previous ones. I have often critiqued the first
book because Harry is rewarded lavishly three times for breaking the rules,
and on the one occasion that he attempts to right a wrong, he is caught and
punished. It is not a tale for young children who have no solid sense of
right-and-wrong. This book however, makes it clear that the way you do
things (meaning that your motivation) is important. At times it is even
more important than what was done. Your motives impact your method and the
final results of your actions. That moral is perhaps a bit complex, but it
comes through rather clearly.

In all, I have to say, "Thank you J.K. Rowling for so many laughs and so
many pleasurable hours of reading. Your work has been delightful,
imaginative and so true-to-life."

I'd rate the entire series PG-13 and give'm a confident thumbs up!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harry Potter and the Oder of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a movie review.

My daughters and I went to the midnight movie premiere of the Harry Potter
movie. I have been a fan of the books, and have read them all to date,
(more than once). However my review of this movie is less than
enthusiastic. In one word, the movie is 'incomplete.'

Yes it was a very long book, and there are a lot of details that the movie
script writers would have to gloss over, but the film version of this book
simply cuts out way too much!

To start with are the characters which should be on screen and are not; such
as Mundungus Fletcher, Rita Skeeter, Dobby the house elf, Freinze the
Centaur, and a very noisy portrait.

Then there are the scenes that have been left out: far too numerous to
mention; but for example…

*Harry receiving a series of letters in short succession… only gets one
letter instead.

* House cleaning in the house of Black, and how the twins pocket some of the

* Mrs. Weasley with the bogart.

* The sorting hats new song of warning.

* The visit to Mungo's Hospital, the spectar of Neviels parents and the man
who would be killed by Devils Snare.

* Harmiony's clever use of coins.

* The romantic date with Choe

* Quiddich. All of it! Nothing about Weasley twins and Potter getting
kicked off the team, Or Ron making the team. No "Weasley is our king" being
sung.. nothing!

In fact if the book had been written in the manner in which the movie
portrays it, I'd have lost interest in it altogether. These movie makers
are working at boiling down the story to it's essential plot elements, but
they miss out on the two things the J.K. Rowling has going for her in her
writing style. They miss the humor. These bits where circumstance and
personality play out in unexpected ways… are humorous! And they miss out on
the mystery. There is an element of mystery in every book, and all the
clues are in place in the details of the events. By cutting out so much
detail you loose the clues and foil the mystery element.

All that was retained was action and drama. As if, with films like Bourne
and Die Hard, the audience is staving for some action and drama.

Over all the film isn't bad, but in comparison… considering what they had to
work with… it is very very disappointing. See it if you must, but forget
what you think it should look like vis-à-vis the book version. It did not

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'm not sure what to make of this

It comes as no surprise to me. When I check my mail, I get everything sent
to me personally and my alter-ego 'Pastor Torch'. In my personal mail I
generally get various bits of spam and the assorted "you have to forward
this to every one you know.." type messages. Once in a blue moon I'll get
an actual bit of mail (that is what makes it all worth it.) But my
alter-ego is commonly sent virused messages. I know this because my web
service affords me a layer of protection against them, thus I receive a
notice in my e-mail about a potential threat that was sent.

It comes as no shock to me that some individuals out there can't see past
the word "pastor" in the name and would go to great lengths to cause such a
one harm. But I do not know what to think of this latest attack. You see
they came in the form of greeting cards... you may know the kind. There are
many web sites you can use to create and send a friend a special greeting.
The e-mail they receive provides them with a link to view the card you
created for them.. a very nice and thoughtful service, to be sure. So what
does it mean when the 'greeting cards' are blocked because they have a
virus? Did the sender infect it, or is that the web site admin's doing?
Who can you trust any more?

So if the thoughtful greeting card you sent was not responded too.. uh,
perhaps you could try using a different web-site?!

Once again I find myself wishing I had money. Several years ago I dreamed
about building an intra-net. Only back then I don't think the term had even
been coined. The idea was simplistic enough. Put a bunch of servers online
in such a way that you had to get in thru a gate way of some sort.
Everything behind the gate would be controlled. All content would be
filtered to meet three objectives. 1) Nothing would be pornographic,
fallacious or delinquent, in other words, it must be family friendly. 2)
All commercial content would be local. Chat, e-mail, the people you meet
online, if at all possible, would be local too. 3) Finally, the most
difficult part, organization. Content would be organized as in a phone
directory. Making research a lot more profitable. The key to maintaining
these characteristics is in the organization of it. Once it caught on,
other people would be allowed to connect and include their servers, and
their servers content would be added tot he service. If however any content
on that server was non-compliant, they would be given a short window of
opportunity to fix it or be literally un-plugged until it is fixed. Then if
they connect other servers to theirs...the same rules would apply. Any
non-compliant content found via their link would put them in jeopardy of
being cut off, thus they must exercise the same level of control over their
connections as the originating service does.

Alas, I never had the money to even build a server, let alone figure out how
to create a gateway.

In the mean time, I hope at least there is some truth to story that all porn
might be forced to use the extension .prn

That makes so much sense... on so many levels... for government to place
this regulatory stipulation on the internet and all of it's content. Think
of all the school's and libraries and businesses who would then only need to
block *.prn in-order to prevent porn from being accessed by their systems!
It would end the madness and errors they struggle with now days to filter
out the porn and maintain the educational web sites.

I could further dream that malicious virus ridden sights could be regulated
to *.vrs or some such, but then no one would be foolish enough to blunder
into their trap. Even when it comes in the form of a cute greeting card.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

So far this summer,

Gosh! May has melted into June already!

I'm not sure if it was the heat or the rain. Idaho's weather has been all
over the map. We have seen highs in the 60's one day and 80 to 90 the next.
We even had more rain-fall in one day than we usually get for the entire
month! (Maybe that will mean that the rest of the month will be warm and
dry? But don't count on it!)

The girls had a camping trip last week-end. They went up with the church
youth group and had a good time. They pitched tents in good weather and
packed things up in the rain. Needless to say they got back in dampened
spirits. They had hoped to have more fun than it turned out to be.

Pilar and I celebrated our 18'th wedding anniversary (on the day that it
rained all day) We had a wonderful time helping a friend pack all her
belongings and move them to storage. That is like a minus ten on the
romantic scale, but it was the right thing to do, even if the timing could
have and should have been better.

I drove school bus for a couple weeks (again) because the school year for
the local school district ended three weeks latter than my college classes
did. Meanwhile, I'd gotten an e-mail about a position open at a near-by
water park called Roaring Springs. I was interviewed and hired! This is
the answer to many prayers. It is a full time job that is seasonal and I
can return to it every summer until I'm finished with school. It will also
allow me some opportunity to apply the skills I am being taught.

I guess mom & dad have had a real trying time… ask her about their water woe's!
They hired a guy to come in and install a lawn sprinkler system. They knew
there was a tap for the water somewhere, but in all these years of living
there they had never been able to find it. After cutting the power and
phone lines to the shop and house, and digging up about half the yard I hear
they finally discovered that the tap was buried under their front steps. In
the mean time, their phones and internet access was down. Mom had to have
her lap-top set-up to run off my wireless here at home so she could keep up
with her work. She isn't allowed to return to work just yet since the knee
surgery, so she has done the mobile office thing and connects via the net to
her pc at work. That way she can still get her work done even if it means
putting up with being around her grandchildren instead of cranky office
co-workers; reclining on the sofa instead of bolt upright in a flimsy task
chair; having home cooked meals instead of fast food; and listing to some
TV, radio or water fountain gurgle in the back-ground as opposed to a lot of
chatter and telephone ringing and printers whirring and clicking. Rumor has
it that she just might be ready to get the other knee done about the time
the new school years starts up… ;-)

Pilar has been able to keep her time card filled. Maybe too much?! They
are two people short in a four-man office. In order to compensate they
shifted from four ten-hour shifts per week to five 8-hour shifts. The good
news is that they can cover all the days this way, the bad news is that they
can't get ten hours worth of work done in just 8 hours. It has caused her a
lot of stress. She is a very thorough worker. Leaving a job where only the
higher priority stuff has gotten finished is not her style. She has no job
satisfaction from a job like that! That, as well as the pressure to do more
in less time, has put a tremendous load on her.

Summers are always a blur of activities. The Mercedes is up for sale at a
local car lot. They took it on a consignment basis. A neighbor might be
interested in buying the trailer dad gave me several years ago. I told him
he could make me an offer. I would be just as happy with something about
half the size right now.

Well that is about all that is going on around here… what has your family
been up too? I'd love to hear from you too!

About Me

Student of all trades, not ordained by any church.