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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Picture post

Into the canal, part 1:  Something he's never done before- go down the canal to get a drink...

Part 2:  Bound and determined there is something to sniff down there- or was

Later, across the bridge and over to the big wood pile:  No luck.

With the picture above it's time for another "Purdue cannot manage a forest" rant.  Here we see a log that has been laying there for at least four years that this winter "needed to be cut up."  This was an ongoing thing; the University combed the woods, and nearly any fallen object within five feet of the trail was cut to bits.  Too bad they didn't happen along a bear taking a nap.

"Still a little muddy here, pops..."

Back to Purdue:  Bad enough they cut these logs up and leave the debris where it lay... here's the wrapper to a chain saw blade they couldn't be bothered to pick up.

Meanwhile, we move on to Sunday morning...

Breaking the ice for a drink at the duck pond...

"Made it this far without falling on-camera..."

And up ahead, the tree that fell three years ago at the mouth of the ravine trail also gets cut up...

Because, anybody would rather see a bunch of cut-up logs just laying there rather than a fallen tree in its natural state..
 That's me, always willing- but never needed- to make Purdue look retarded.

And, if you squint your eyes, a bunny!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Message- responsibility

I have two electronic friends I want to start with today.

The first recently posted a challenging article on her blog, asking why, if God was going to put innocents in the Garden, why He would give them the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then tell them NOT to eat of it?  Now, this is no attack on her- she would go on to answer the question, answering with the next logical question, until she stripped the whole story down to Man and God, in fellowship in the Garden- and who made that fellowship come apart.

The second?  Well, I love her dearly, but if you follow her FB posts, you get the impression that she at the very least doesn't apply Luke 9:55 to herself.  Many posts attack evildoers- some spiritual, some political- with a lot of venom.  And on the rare occasion that a friend cautions her about the difference between the sinner and the sin, she makes it clear she has no intention of handing over the judge's gavel.

This is a story about responsibility.  The first friend started her story questioning God's responsibility; she ended it by application to a situation in her own life- where an anger at someone was stripped down to a pain SHE felt, an attitude she then cultivated, and when she took it down to her OWN responsibility in the matter, the whole thing just seemed to evaporate.

Does the other friend have something she needs to peel away- some responsibility in the matters she rails against?  I don't know.  One thing I do know, that as much as I would hate to quote a mind-addled atheist on a Sunday message, I'm about to.  My second friend should listen to a song I NEVER let play on my radio- Billy Joel's Only The Good Die Young.  In the midst of his musical poem about how terrible the Catholic Church is for not allowing indiscriminate sex, he says one line that makes an awful lot of sense:

Well your mother told you all that I could give you was a reputation
Aw she never cared for me
But did she ever say a prayer for me?

As I woke up Sunday morning I listened to part of a talk given by the President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.  In it, he first told a story about opening a legislative session with a prayer and a short devotion- for which he was given several instructions.  The second of which was, "don't touch on anything political."  He used that as his opener, asking, "Who among you WROTE that?"  He went on to question them on when it was that "they" decided that the biological fact of a baby's life, the biological fact of gender, or the Biblical requirement of marriage being one man and one woman, became "political".  In other words when reality became "debatable".  He had preceded that with another story on responsibility.

Apparently a chaplain at his school had preached a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13- the "Love" chapter- and afterwards, a student had let the chaplain know he had been "offended".  The President asked for a transcript, knowing that his chaplin wasn't the kind to be sarcastic or offensive, to see if there was any reason.  He found none.  He also writes an op-ed for a local paper, and in it he discussed the issue- mainly on the lines of, "You come to a university to be challenged" and "this is a university, not a day care".  In other words, life is tough, face it.  You may have seen the letter, as someone sent it to Glen Beck, and he released it over Thanksgiving that year, challenging everyone to read it in their homes before the meal.  It got 3 million FB views in a couple of weeks.

This is all about responsibility.  Why was the student offended?  The President surmised in his letter that it was the student's own conscience bothering him.  Perhaps he had not love, as Paul said.  But instead of challenging himself, asking himself what bothered him about it, he tried to silence the chaplain.  The lawmakers apparently didn't want to hear about their responsibility in people debating what is life, what is a man, what is a woman.  My second friend doesn't want to ask the question, "Did I pray for Stephen Hawking BEFORE he died?" (for one example).

My first friend?  She was honest enough to realize at the end, that every question was a finger pointing at herself.

As I prayed this morning, it struck me that God once again set an example in all this.    My friend could have easily turned her original question into, "Why, God, don't You take responsibility for all this?  After all, YOU put that tree in the Garden..."

And God would answer, "I DID.  I died to pay for it, so you wouldn't HAVE to."

He didn't stop at taking responsibility for His Own actions (which were righteous anyway).  He peeled back the layers to OUR responsibility- and STILL paid for it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Time Machine Co-ordinates VIXLV47831657

Today, we enter the Twilight Zone- March 16, 1957.  For it is said that something amazing happened today.  According to the tinfoil-hat brigade...

That's right folks, it's hard to believe it has been quite that long but sixty years (as of last year) has come to pass since the day everything changed when President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Vice President Richard M. Nixon met Valiant Thor shortly after he landed in Alexandria, Virginia on March 16, 1957.

And just who is Valiant Thor?

Believed to have come from Planet Venus Commander Val or Valient Thor was a Venusian who was sent to earth to stop humanity from wiping each other out by following a nuclear war since at that time Cold War was at its peak. 

 (T)he late Phil Schneider, a geologist and engineer who said he had level-1 security clearance in secret government projects...  said the alien had been working for the U.S. military since 1937. Thor had six fingers on each hand, an oversized heart, one giant lung, copper oxide blood like an octopus, an IQ off the scale (could be estimated as 1200), and could speak 100 languages fluently (including alien languages). He also said his lifespan is 490 years. He even proved to the audience once by speaking a fluent language which was not recognised as any language from this world.

And they bitch about the Russians these days....


I don't even know how to go about topping that one, so maybe let's just settle in and enjoy some good music, a battle to the death for the M10 #1, a somewhat tamer Panel battle, what Terry Gilkyson has to do with the Beach Boys, Mitch Miller, or Dean Martin, and much more!  Well, maybe not THAT much more; but it will be fun!  Well, I hope it'll be fun...

"You're starting to sound like me!  Well, maybe not LIKE me... maybe a little more like..."


Today, we welcome Kay Starr to the Panel mike!  It's good to finally meet you!

Thanks, good to be here!  Well, not good per se, more like...

Sigh, I see we have found our running joke for the day...

I used to know a brave named Running Joke at the reservation...

That's right, you were born on a reservation, your father was full-blood Iroquois...

Yes, that's right.  I got my big break at age 9 singing to the chickens after school!

And then, an aunt got you on a talent show, and you did great...

Well, for a little girl who sounded like a jazzed-up Alfalfa...

Thankfully, you didn't LOOK like Alfalfa.  Anyway, you know the drill here.  We have 14 stations this week, and 11 contestants- which means the votes are all spread out, and the winner won by a 3-2 count!  All right, here's the list..

Let's see... So I get to knock out two birds with one stone here... the song Butterfly is on the list twice, once by Charlie Grace, who was at 11 on Billboard, and Andy Williams, who was #9- but both together were at #5 on Cashbox.  

I have Jimmy Bowen and the Rhythm Orchids at # 17 with I'm Sticking With You, and... yes?  Do you have to go to the bathroom?

Er, no, but I have a story to shoehorn in here.  The Rhythm Orchids were a band of high school buddies that hit it big when they shared a gig with Roy Orbison, who knew a guy, etc etc.  The record here, which Jimmy sang, was actually the b-side to a tune that the other singer for the Orchids sang- that being Buddy Knox and the bigger hit Party Doll!

VERY nice.  Now our next song is Terry Gilkyson and the Easy Riders... um, I take it you have ANOTHER story?

Yes, ma'am.  The Easy Riders were a folk band, managed by Mitch Miller.  They were responsible for another couple of songs we know- last week's contestant Memories Are Made Of This from Dean Martin, and a cover of a 1927 song called Tell The Captain- which would eventually be worked into the Beach Boys' classic Sloop John B.

And that was a big song, too?

Yep, in about 8 years...

Then maybe we could stay on point, I do have a career to get back to.  The song they have on our Panel list was Marianne, which they and the Hilltoppers had at #2- Billboard had the Orchids at 5 and the Hilltoppers at #8-  I always liked that one.  "All the little children love Marianne... down by the seaside, sifting sand.."

Sounds great!

Oh, aren't you sweet!  Frankie Laine is next, with Moonlight Gambler at #15.

Then we have Perry Como's Round And Round at #7.  I vote for him- what a man!

Tommy Sands had Teenage Crush at #3.

Patsy Cline had Walking After Midnight at #14.

The Four Lads were at #12 with Who Needs You?

And Young Love- the Sonny James version- was at #1.  On Billboard he was at #4 while Tab Hunter's version was at the top.  And that's the list!

Thank you, Miss Starr!  And now, I give you our top 2 and a couple of ringers to pick the winner from.  Who captured the whopping 21.4% of the vote?  Was it Charlie's Butterfly, Andy's Butterfly, Sonny's Young Love, or Terry's Marianne?  Answer later!


Debuting on the M10 at #10 is an act that has had now 3 top tens- including the #1 Love Is... !  The very latest from Dinosaur Jr...


Our 6D victim was Elvis...

Not sure I'm likin' that, kemosabe...
  Not my fault, King; Too Much didn't get a vote.  I hit a Elvis  history page that brought up how it was that, sandwiched between Love Me Tender and All Shook Up, it became a "forgotten man".  But more interesting to me was the discussion about the guitar break...

Elvis’s vocal on “Too Much” is an energetic but simple, repetitive chant. What gives the recording its distinctive character, instead, is Scotty Moore’s unusual guitar solo. In the 1971 radio documentary, The Elvis Presley Story, Scotty recalled how it came about:

“I don’t remember now exactly what I had nailed down for the solo instrumental part. It was in an odd key … well, for most guitar players, I would say. When my instrumental part came, I absolutely just got lost. I didn’t know where I was at. But from the experience we had already gained in these months behind us, in playing on stage, you go ahead, you just keep on going, and this is what I did. And this was the take that was released.”

In his 1997 book, That’s Alright, Elvis, Scotty again described his guitar solo, this time attributing spitefulness to Elvis in his decision to use that particular take: “We did several takes, but on this particular one, I just got lost. I just kept chunking away. I didn’t make any mistakes, but it wasn’t the same solo I played on the other takes. Somehow I came out of it exactly where I was supposed to be.”

When the song was over, Elvis called for a playback. As he listened, he looked at Scotty with a grin. “He knew I had gotten lost, but he loved the way it turned out,” said Scotty. “When the song ended, he raised up and said, ‘That’s it,’ and he did it for damned meanness. He knew I had gotten lost and he knew damned well I would have to live with it.” (From Elvis History Blog)

Nice to know that I'm not the only one you crapped on, eh, Elvis?

You wait, I'll get you for this...

Prolly so, but for a while, we're even...


Second debut, this one from that new hotbed of music- Michigan, specifically Grand Rapids, home of the three-person act called Major Murphy...

No. 1 starts out at #9....


Stat Pack time!

Once again, I had 11 down out of the 50.

#50 belonged to Georgia Gibbs with Silent Lips.

The big movers were two- 11-notch movers Gone by Ferlin Husky (31-20) and Why Baby Why by Pat Boone (34-23).

The UK #1 was Tab Hunter's Young Love; Sonny's was at #14, while Moonlight Gambler was at #28.

And among the week's debuts were Little Richard's Lucille (#44) and the prototype doo-wop song, Little Darlin' by the Diamonds (#29).


The remaining M10:

We kick off with a pair of songs that drop 2 spots- Frankie Cosmos's Jesse to #8, and Decemberists' Severed at #7.

Which gives the Moondoggies enough space to actually climb for a change to #6, up 3, with Easy Coming.

And gives Dan Croll a lane to move up from 10 to 5 with Tokyo.

Holding at #4, Shilpa Ray and Rockaway Blues...

Holding at #3, Sunflower Bean and Twenty Two...

Holding at #2- just barely- Mikaela Davis and Little Bird...

And holding at #1 for a second week...

...Beach House and Lemon Glow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And who got the three votes?  Well, it was, no wait, it wasn't him, it was, no that's not right either...

Just kidding, this week's winner is....

Andy Williams with his Butterfly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Next week, we go to 1958... wanna ride along, Kay?  Kay?  Wait, here's a note...

"Left with Elvis.  Later. Love, Kay."  

Boy, you can't leave nothing laying around with him about...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday Message: Leviticus 3:16

This week, we move on to Leviticus 3:16...

Lev 3:16  The priest is to burn them on the altar, a food offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma. All the fat belongs to the LORD. 

Now obviously this is one of those verses that we need just a little more illumination...

Lev 3:14  "The presenter is then to present the gift as an offering made by fire to the LORD, that is, the fat that covers the internal organs, all the fat that is inside the internal organs, 
Lev 3:15  the two kidneys with the fat on them by the loins, and the fatty mass that surrounds the liver and kidneys. 
Lev 3:16  The priest is to burn them on the altar, a food offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma. All the fat belongs to the LORD. 
Lev 3:17  "This is to be a lasting statute for all your generations, wherever you live. You are not to eat any fat or blood. " 

So this is speaking about a sacrifice- specifically, but not crucial to where we are going, a peace offering.  Or is it?  We'll come back to that.  And now we see the specific fat- "the two kidneys with the fat on them by the loins, and the fatty mass that surrounds the liver and kidneys".  Not the fat that was marbled throughout the meat, but that which was SEPARATE.  

Immediately in considering this whole thing, I thought about Jesus.  The blood is poured "on and about the altar", then the fat is burned.  What about the rest?  From Ligonier Ministries:

The peace offering was the only sacrifice worshipers could eat. Only part of the animal and cereal was offered up, and the rest was left for the person bringing the offering and anyone else in the vicinity of the sanctuary to consume (Lev. 7:11–18). Being at peace with God is a special occasion indeed and worthy of celebration with a great feast. For many Israelites, this may have been the only time they ever ate meat.

So the rest was consumed.  One reason to look at the Cross on this- the only sacrifice worshipers could eat.  Or another way, the only sacrifice that the worshipper SHARED IN.  Just as we share in Christ's sacrifice when we accept Him as dying for our sins.  And the blood is fairly easy to understand.  But the fat had me going.  I think one thing about fat is, while we (the "meat") have some part of the Divine (the "fat") marbled into us no matter who we are, that believers share in a SEPARATE fat- the presence of Christ through the Spirit WITHIN us.

And here's the thing- though through the celebration of the Lord's Supper we consume the bread and wine, the actual body and blood of Christ WERE CONSUMED BY GOD ALONE.   This might be , er, food for thought for the Catholic audience and the debate over whether Christ "mystically is transubstantiated in the bread and wine", but that is for them to debate.  But where it took me was a comment- I have no idea where along my journey- that brought up Psalm 22:

Psa 22:16  For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of those who practice of evil has encircled me. They gouged my hands and my feet. 
Psa 22:17  I can count all my bones. They look at me; they stare at me. 

In this, the commenter saw that Jesus was showing that the FAT HAD BEEN CONSUMED on the Cross.  But I still wasn't satisfied that I had the full story.  And so I kept looking into references about the fat being consumed.  And I found this:

1Sa 2:15  But even before they burned the fat, the servant of the priest would come and say to the person offering the sacrifice, "Give me meat to roast for the priest. He won't accept boiled meat from you, but only raw." 
1Sa 2:16  If the man told him, "They must surely burn up the fat first, and then take for yourself whatever you desire," the servant would say, "No, give it now, and if you don't, I'll take it by force!" 
1Sa 2:17  By doing this, the sin of the young men was very serious in the LORD's sight because the men despised the LORD's offering. 

Now this was referring to the sons of the Priest Eli, who was righteous enough himself, but as he got old, he passed his duties not to a competent priest, but to his sons Hophni and Phinehas.  The KJV tells us the tale descriptively...

1Sa 2:12  Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. 

Sons of Belial.  In other words, sons of the Devil, but in specific a certain insulting epithet given to Satan- Belial, which is also a word for "worthless".  Hophni and Phinehas, for their disrespect of this law- and a violent disrespect at that- were considered worthless by God  (Curiously, the names can be translated as, "fists" and "mouth of the serpent").  And my lovely helpers at e-Sword clued me in to a set of other places where someone was called a son of Belial.  They included:

1 Samuel 10- the men who despised Saul, the Lord's anointed (keep that in mind, we'll be back)

1 Samuel 25- Abigail describing her husband, who had just despised the second Lord's Anointed, David (see?);

Deuteronomy 13- describing men who led Israel to serve OTHER gods;

Judges 19- for the men of Benjamin who, despite having the knowledge of what happened to Sodom, acted just like them (note: they got exterminated);

1 Kings 21- when men were brought in by Jezebel to give false testimony against Naboth, so she could take his field- think Jesus' trial...

And 2 Corinthians 6- where Paul rails against being yoked to unbelievers, "for what concord does Christ have with Belial?"

So look at these cases.  These were men who rejected God, rejected His Anointed, ignored several examples of why not to, and accepted lies in order to REJECT GOD AND HIS ANOINTED.

To eat the fat then, meant to reject God's plan of salvation- and just as it does now, it separates mankind into two groups in God's eyes- blessed and worthless.

And with that, let's return to the Ligonier article to sum things up.

...the peace offering, which could be given any time people wanted to celebrate the peace they enjoyed with God. The peace offering was given under three circumstances — for thanksgiving, upon the payment of a vow, or as a free expression of the worshiper’s goodwill (7:11–18). Freewill offerings were given in response to God’s unexpected or unsought generosity. A vow offering was brought to celebrate an answer to prayer after a person vowed to praise the Lord if He answered the worshiper’s prayer. The peace offering for thanksgiving is probably better translated as a “confession” or “praise” offering that was given when someone was in dire need of deliverance. All of these peace offerings are seen in Scripture. Hannah’s lavish offering when she dedicated Samuel to the Lord is an example of a peace offering given to commemorate the payment of a vow...

"God's unexpected or unsought generosity"... "Confession... when someone was in dire need of deliverance".  Sounds a lot like coming to the Cross for me.

Monday, March 12, 2018

It's a small world after all

With no desire to look at current politics, no interest from most of my readership on sports, and not enough recent pictures to make a post, I came up with the bright idea of, "What's news in the world's smallest nations?"  So this post will be both geographically educational and hopefully amusing, even though I have told myself, "whatever is on their news, we are going with the lead story."  But it still might be fun.  Let me slip the Musical Tardis, on "no music, just linear travel" mode, and away we go!

Working our way to the smallest:

10- Malta

Where: the rock you wash up on when you're a Libyan illegal immigrant and your boat sinks halfway to Sicily.

Size:  122 square miles ("9/10ths the size of Philadelphia")

Population: Under 500k ("0.01% of total world population")

News story:  The Deputy Premier told everyone to be cautious and not rush to judgment after a Bulgarian national apparently beat on 24-year old Zach Meli around bar time Sunday, causing him to be killed by a fall to the ground.  The expat Bulgarian was released on bail while the investigation goes on.  My question: if you are concerned about rushing to judgment, etc, why not keep the Bulgarian in protective custody JIC?

9- Maldives  

Where:  Left over chunks that God spilled after building Sri Lanka

Size:  115 sq. mi. (a little bigger than Honolulu)

Population: small (but about 7K more than Malta...)

News:  Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is in further hot water.  Under investigation for attempting to bribe the Supreme Court ( glad they haven't thought of that here) and trying to overthrow the current government, Maumoon has now been charged with trashing a cell phone the cops believe had evidence.  Didja think to check in Hillary's e-mails?

8- St Kitts and Nevis

Where:  The top of the "island ladder" running from Puerto Rico to Trinidad.  In other words, the north side of last year's "hurricane superhighway".

Size: 101 Sq Mi  ("1 and a half times the size of Washington DC")

Pop:  55K  (think Elkhart, IN)

News story:  A couple of 20-somethings were rushed to the hospital in police vehicles after being shot "Old Road in the vicinity of Winfield Road" Sunday night.  Runner up:  A PDF on how the Governor-General spent last week.

7- Marshall Islands

Where: One of the US's former nuclear testing areas and other little atolls halfway between Australia and Hawaii.

Size (land only): 70 sq mi ( not quite two Disney Worlds), spread over a water area three times the size of Texas.

Pop: 53K (keep thinking Elkhart; Jo-Anne, think Maitland)

News story:  Native Philmar Mendoza has returned home briefly as part of a group of nursing students from a nursing school in Chicago as she works towards her degree, and her goal is to graduate and return.  She was given the job of being the team's translator- which didn't sit too well.

She said she wasn’t satisfied with her role as translator with the mission and told the Journal she kept asking God if she had a special purpose for her second visit.

The answer to this question didn’t come immediately, but during the second week of the OBGYN visit, it arrived with stunning clarity of purpose — in the form of a seriously sick woman who had visited the hospital numerous times during the past seven months without receiving proper treatment to resolve her health condition.

Basically what happened was the mayor of one of the towns called her, begging that her team help the woman out.  She got the team (supported by Canvasback Ministries) to check her out, and lo and behold, removed a couple dozen gall stones!

Now, that's a GOOD story!

6- Liechtenstein

Where: stuck between a couple mountains on the Swiss-Austrian border.

Size:  52 sq mi (could fit inside Carlsbad Caverns Nat'l Park)

Pop: 38K (about 10 Leo-Cedarvilles)

News Story:  "The Liechtensteinische Landesbank Group increased its annual profit by 7.1 per cent to 111.3 million Swiss francs in 2017, announced the bank in a statement. 

 'We have succeeded in increasing our profit for the fourth time in succession' commented Georg Wohlwend, chairman of the Board of Directors.'Our focussed business model and the systematic implementation of our strategy are having a sustained impact' "

But what can you expect?  "Liechtenstein has chartered 17 banks, three non-bank financial companies, and 71 public investment companies, as well as insurance and reinsurance companies. Its 270 licensed fiduciary companies and 81 lawyers serve as nominees for, or manage, more than 73,000 entities (primarily corporations, institutions, or trusts)" says wiki.  It's basically a big ATM for mountain goats.

5- San Marino

Where: On a hill in the middle of Italy

Size: 24 sq mi (1/10th of Chicago)

Pop: 33K (Think "a good crowd at an LA Chargers football game")

News story: A woman judge, Valeria Pierfelici, was removed by the Plenary Judicial Council for releasing secret info on an investigation, which apparently led to other judges involved getting pressured by politicians.  Her replacement is  Lanfranco Ferroni , 68, Judge of Civil Appeal , as the new Magistrate Director of the Court .

This was a bit of a battle.  Of four news sites that alleged to be San Marino sites, one was all sports, one was "no longer available", one was in Japanese and talking about cars, and one was San Marino, California.

4- Tuvalu

Where: If you found the Marshalls, head due south

Size: 10 sq mi (4 times the size of President George W Bush's ranch)

Pop: 11K (New Haven IN on a Saturday night)

News Story:  As we get smaller, the choices I have for news shrink.  Here, I found an article from about the turn of the month in which New Zealand's air force helped search for an emergency beacon in Tuvaluvan (?) waters:

"At present, all we know is that a beacon has been activated in the vicinity of Tuvalu and we are helping Fijian authorities locate it."

A little more digging gave us another happy ending...

"The centre was informed on Sunday, March 4, that Tuvalu authorities received further information on the distress and that three fishermen from Nuilakita were confirmed to have had engine problems to their fishing boat and were drifting at sea. The Tuvalu Police dispatched a Tuvalu fisheries vessel FV Talamoana to the location of the distress," said Mr Tawake.

"At 5.39pm the centre received information from Tuvalu Maritime Police that FV Talamoana had sighted the distress vessel and was making it's way to their location. At 6.02pm the RCCNZ confirmed that they had sighted the FV Talamoana receiving the three fishermen from the distress vessel. The three fishermen were safely transported to Funafuti by FV Talamoana ."

3- Nauru

Where:  Go 1,000 miles NW from Tuvalu.  Wait, you overshot!

Size:  8.1 sq mi (1 1/2 LAXs)

Pop: 11K (see Tuvalu)

News story: The re-established Nauru Post (post office) was opened as a corporate body this week (5 March) along with the release of a commemorative coin and pendant as part of the 50th Independence Day anniversary.

At the opening event in front of the post office, His Excellency President Baron Waqa released the commemorative coin and was received by Madam Louisa Waqa.

The coin and pendant are both shaped like Nauru and features the theme and logo of Nauru’s anniversary, “Nauru progresses forward in unity with God.”

A commemorative stamp for the 50th anniversary was also released during the Independence celebration at the State banquet on Wednesday 31January.

Wow, a commemorative stamp for a post office you just re-opened...

2- Monaco

Where:  You're kidding, right?

Size: .78 sq mi (1/50th the size of Disney World, but 3X the size of DisneyLAND.)

Pop:  38K with an over/under of plus/minus 5,000

News story: PeaceJam Foundation, an award-winning peace education programme that has embraced more than 1.2 million young people, from 40 countries around the world, has just announced an impressive panel for the Second Annual PeaceJam Special Jury Prize at the Monte Carlo Television Festival.

The purpose of the award, which will be given on June 19, is to recognise outstanding Television Films that embody the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize. It is thus fitting that Nobel Peace Prize Winner  (From 1976) Betty Williams will present this award.

Nominations include The Barack Obama Story, starring Oprah Winfrey as the Obamas and Neil DeGrasse Tyson as Alfred Nobel's ghost...

"That might be a little politically incorrect..."

1- Vatican City

Where: the Pope's bedroom and den

Size: .17 sq mi (40 Manhattan city blocks)

Pop: A smidge under 800 depending on tourist season

News story: Regarding the magisterium of Pope Francis, Benedict writes that “there is interior unity” between his pontificate and that of Pope Francis, his successor. Pope Benedict’s letter was presented by its recipient, Msgr Dario Edoardo ViganĂ², during a press conference presenting “The Theology of Pope Francis,” a series of 11 books written by 11 different authors, and published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana. The news conference was held in Sala Marconi in the headquarters of Vatican Media.

Translation:  A lot of Catholics aren't exactly happy with some of the directions that Pope Francis is taking the Church.  This is former Pope Benedict putting his blessing on a massive "circle the wagons" effort.


Well, I hope you are entertained.  If not, at least I bookmarked two sites on world population and comparitive sizing of things, and can figure out what to do if I am hit by a Japanese driver in San Marino.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday message: off the mountaintop

Dr Martin's Rule #5 (I'm up to ten of them) reminds us that anytime we have what we might consider a "mountaintop experience"- You know, a great victory a la Elijah against the priests of Baal, or Joe Everyday doing that really blessed thing- prepare afterwards, for the fall is coming next.  Very few of us prepare to "come back down"- Elijah obviously didn't, and look how much HE prayed!  So this week, I had what I would term a "mountaintop moment" in prayer.  And today's story is about the aftermath.

You see, I DID remember Rule #5, and prayed accordingly.  But just being prepared doesn't mean you'll get smooth sailing, and it is foolish to think so.  I learned this long ago, from a verse that I mentioned before:

Psa 107 23They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
24These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.
25For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.
26They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.
27They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end.
28Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
29He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.
30Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

Notice the progression here- first comes the storm; then they cry out; He hears and calms the storm; then they are gladdened and praise Him; and THEN He brings them to their desired location.  Even so, praying to be prepared for the "off the mountain" experience may calm YOU- but it doesn't necessarily leave you where you want to be, just yet.

Now, I'm not going to take you to my mountain top- just like Mary "treasured these things in her heart" but didn't write a "Gospel of Mary" to share them, some things are meant to be just you and He.  However, I will share the lesson learned from the aftermath.

A very minor part of the "mountaintop experience" or MTE was a discussion on WHO does the praying.  Often, I feel when I pray, the Spirit guiding me where to go in it;  this is what Paul tries to explain to us in Romans 8:

Rom 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 
Rom 8:27  And He searching the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 

But sometimes, for me, the Spirit "takes the wheel" and the people and things He is praying about flash through my mind like He's flipping through a rolodex.  And while that is very helpful in times of stress, I offhandedly thought that that was a "lazy man's prayer" and would rather be connected more fully to MY prayers.

Note the stressed word there.

So the new day dawns, and the expected morning disasters at work occurred.  Didn't get through them QUITE unscathed, but certainly better than usual.  And I moved on to go through my morning prayer list as I always do, but the stresses caused me distractions- people, stupid things my mind wouldn't stop chewing on, etc.- and many times I would get to a point of "reading the list" rather than praying, and I would stop myself and say, "No, I can DO this."  I was so busy with the "DO", I wasn't noticing the "I".  And I was getting nowhere- and neither were the prayers I was managing to beat out from my mind.  Finally, I got to a point where I said, "I don't care WHAT you through at me, Satan, I WILL..."

And I saw the problem.

An article I found this morning on Cruciform Press Tells us wisely that there are three reasons the Spirit prays for us.  And their list is most effective in our narrative in reverse.  Their third reason:  Because God has perfect knowledge- the Spirit knows not only the issue, but the cause, and God's perfect will in a matter.  Second, because we are ignorant- and before you say, "Well, we know which one Chris is", this is talking about like Paul said, we don't always know what direction TO pray in.  For an example, how many of you pray for the Persecuted Church to be delivered from their persecutions?  I used to more, until I thought, "That prayer being answered would REMOVE form them the Crown they are earning in heaven! "  So now, I first pray that God will sustain and strengthen them IN their trials.  But the one I was dealing with, their first reason in the article?

Because we are WEAK.

The Spirit who resides within “helps” us. He comes to our aid, rescues us, makes our prayers acceptable to God the Father, and helps shoulder our heavy burden. This is the ongoing ministry of the Spirit in our “weakness,” our human frailties.

It is important for us to recognize that physical, emotional, and spiritual weaknesses reveal human frailty, yet are not necessarily the result of sin. 

I had gone from the one extreme- the Spirit's "rolodex" prayers- to the other, the "Me Alone" method.  And I sucked.

So I gave the job back to the Spirit.  Slowly, starting with merely reading the name on my list, I let the Spirit guide me, showing me where to add thoughts, which direction to go, and soon the prayer list was done and I was thanking God for His answers once again.

Last night, Tony Evans was talking about how God uses seeming contradictions to test us before something big.  He gave the example of Abraham.  He had four contradictions to face when he was told to sacrifice Isaac.  One, he was supposed to kill the son from whom the promise of descendents was given, and Isaac hadn't contributed any descendants yet;  two, he was going to have to go against God's law and moral law by murdering another human being;  third, he loved his son; and fourth, he was expecting to WORSHIP God afterwards, and as Evans said, "It's hard to want to go to Church after THAT"...

For me, the contradiction was, "Who's doing the praying here?"  But just as God solved Abraham's contradictions because Abraham had faith...

Hebrews 11 17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18it was he to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED.” 19He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

Once I showed the faith that God knew what HE was doing, it all worked out right.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Time Machine co-ordinates VIXLIV4773956

And we start over again, and find ourselves on March 9th, 1956, and about the best I can do for a news story is this:

Opononi George, or Opo (the ‘gay dolphin’), was found dead on 9 March 1956. The young female bottlenose dolphin had regularly approached the beach near Opononi wharf, Hokianga, to frolic with locals. Her playful antics attracted widespread media coverage over the summer of 1955–56, helping to attract thousands of holidaymakers to Opononi.

The Opononi Gay Dolphin Protection Committee was established to protect her; the government also made it an offence to ‘take or molest any dolphin in Hokianga Harbour’. In the end these measures failed to save Opo...

To add to this sad yet ridiculous story, some say fishermen killed her with gelignite (think dynamite, but stable).  The site that reported this also claimed the name was "Opo Jack" instead of George, either of which are fairly dumb things to name a female dolphin.  So enquiring minds want to know- how did they know she was gay?  Was she transgender, thus explaining the names?  Were the "fishermen" really homophobic construction workers who lifted the gelignite from their demo site?  Wait, what do you mean "gay" meant "happy" or "friendly" back then?  I'm trying to build a PC scandal here!


Anyway, we are back to that lovely era in Time Machine where the charts I have access to are limited- can you say "I had 7 charts for the WHOLE MONTH"?  So once again, I will be combining the Billboard chart with the Cashbox chart, along with the ONE chart that actually fell on this week (and wasn't a country chart) to give us a list;  I'll be going to the UK chart to get us a 6D victim; And that 6D will include a movie on the worst movie of all time list, starring a lady who goes on to be a worst new star of the year winner, and sang possibly the worst remake of a song that was already questionable in history (that last part is IMHO)!  Also, two 8 year old girls make appearances- kinda- and the M10 sets two new records and just misses tying a third- and none of them are good news for the top of last week's chart!  So put on your trunks, grab a beach house ball, and let's proceed!


So here's our dilemma- our POTM is Mary McGregor, and little Mary is 8 years old in 1956!  Mary, do you like music?

Yes, sir, I've been playing songs for a couple of years now...

Do you listen to the radio much?

Oh, no, sir.  My parents don't approve of all that 'rock and roll' stuff.

Hmm.  Okay, well, Mary, I found an interview of you when you get older...

How old?  Twelve?

Wouldja believe 68?

Wow, that must be as old as you...

Uh, not quite.  Anyway, it seems that older Mary wasn't any fonder of the song than I was...

"I never liked the song too much, and I still don't," said Mary. "There are just some songs I like, and some I don't, and this is one of them. Peter (Yarrow, her producer) and I had a very long relationship. We're both very emotional people, and whenever we got together it was a very volatile experience. Sometimes it was positive, sometimes negative, and on this particular song we had a lot of fights. Was it really good? Was it going to make it? We had a lot of discussions about this song.

"For me to sing anything, I have to get emotionally involved. That's what really makes it for me. I didn't like 'Torn' mostly because it was boring to sing. It's a real 'sleeper' kind of ballad. Peter thought it was a real statement, and he wanted it to happen. He wanted a woman to sing it, and he wanted that woman to be me."

The interview, which I found on SuperSeventies, goes on to explain what a poop sandwich it made of her life...

 Oh, little Mary, could you go in the other room for a minute?

Which one?

There are approximately 70,000 rooms on a Tardis.  Pick one.

Okay, now I can safely play this:

"Torn Between Two Lovers" began its rise in November 1976, finally peaking at number one in February 1977. It put Mary in the spotlight -- for the moment -- but ruined her career singing advertising jingles. 

Living on her central California ranch where she raises horses and writes songs, Mary looked back at her moment in the spotlight. She says the song ultimately proved to be a strain -- "not because I was sleeping with someone else, but because I was living with my career instead of with him (her husband, whom she ended up divorcing). But those things happen."

"Now I'm in a dilemma because I'm too well known to return to being an anonymous singer for a bank, but I'm not well known enough to get bookings. I never thought about being a success until 'Torn.' I was trying to make a career out of doing commercials. Now I can't.

"Success is so fickle," she warned. "You're only as good as you're next hit."

Okay, Mary, you can come out now.  Mary?  MARY?

I'm right..

YEOOOWWW!!!, I never left.  Am I gonna get a divorce?

Well, timelines are a funny thing.  Who's to say something wont change now? (Geez...)

Anyway, your job is to read- you can read, right?

I'm not a baby- I'm EIGHT!

Gotcha.  Anyway, read off these songs on the list- all three lists only had one change, so there are only 11 songs, and since we're naming a winner off best chart points, you can't read the chart positions- and when you're done, I'll let the people know which ones are the highest scorers.  Okay?

Okay.  The first song on the list is Don Cherry, Band Of Gold.

Not the one by the Honey Cone...


Never mind.  Go on, sweetie...

Next is the Platters, The Great Pretender.  I get to listen to that one...

Do you like it?

I don't know... (giggles)  The next song is Pat Boone, I'll Be Home.

Lisbon Antigua, Nelson Riddle.

Memories Are Made Of This, Dean Martin.  My Mommy likes him, but not daddy.  He says he drinks too much.  Mommy says daddy drinks too much.

Mor...Mor.. how do you say this one?

Moritat, by Dick Hyman.  From the 3-Penny Opera, it's basically Mack The Knife as an instrumental.

What's Mack The...

It's rock and roll, honey.  Nasty stuff.  Go on.

The Four Lads, No Not Much.

Les Baxter, The Poor People Of Paris.

Kay Starr, Rock And Roll Waltz.  Is that nasty too?

Well, I myself don't think so...

Bill Haley and His Comets, See You Later, Alligator.  I got to listen to that when Mommy wasn't around. (Giggles)

And the last one is Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, Why Do Fools Fall In Love.  I think Frankie is dreamy...

Aren't you a little young for that?

I'm not a baby- I'm EIGHT!

Oh, that's right.  So anyway, I put these songs through Ye Olde Point System and came up with just four of them that scored 20 or better.  You can choose your winner from Kay Starr, Nelson Riddle, the Four Lads, or Les Baxter.

What do we do now?

Now, you are going to put you head under this little memory eraser  music player for a little bit, while I play the folks out there a new song...


And that song is our M10 debut, clocking in at #10 from last year's lp Emerging Adulthood, here's the UK's Dan Croll...


So because I don't have anything to go off of to get a 6D victim, I decided to take the highest charter off the UK chart that wasn't on our list- and our #s 1, 4, 7, and 9 did, so we get the British #2 this week.  And instead of the usual backwards in time, let's follow this one forward. 

The song at #2 in the UK was Zambesi, an instrumental, as so many of these songs (3 of our 11) are back then.  Now, back in those days, several artists would put pout a song at the same time and compete head to head, and the same thing happened in Britain.  Zambesi was on the charts at #18 by Eddie Galvert, and at #2 by Lou Busch.  Busch ( who added the "c" later in life to class up the name) was another early starter, leading a band called Lou Bush and his Tickle-Toe Four at the age of 12.  He would go on to do a lot of themes and scores, including- pay attention, Laurie- the closing theme to What's My Line!  He often worked with one Milton DeLugg, including a low-light of scoring a movie consistently voted one of the worst of all time-

Yes, Santa Claus Conquers The Martians.  And one of the players on that movie...

...was a little 8-year old martian named Pia Zadora!  (the one on the right)  Pia, of course would go on to be a case study on what you can do with a (very) little talent...

...earning at least one critic's "worst new star award" for her role in the movie Butterfly in 1981.  She would also briefly dabble in music, actually getting to #36 in 1983 with her cover of what I regard as one of the dumber songs to remake of all time, Shirley Ellis' 1965 The Clapping Song.  I thought it was bad by Shirley (and not a lot better than The Name Game), and 50 shades of worse when Pia attempted it.  But it gets her a spot in next year's Beauty Contest, so there's that...


Stat Pack:

I was amazed to know an entire TEN songs on this week's top fifty- including the #50, Frank Sinatra's Love And Marriage...

"Jeez, Peg, we can't get away from that damn song anywhere!"

Among those ten also were two rather significant new debuts- Carl Perkins' Blue Suede Shoes at #28 and Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel at #26.

The big mover was a song I really thought got higher- Eddie My Love.  As Cashbox combined all artists doing a song back then, you had to ask Billboard where they went individually.  The combined effort of three acts- the Teen Queens (who Billboard would peak at #14), the Chordettes (also #14), and the Fontaine Sisters (#11)- would peak at 13 on CB, but this week it jumps the most, 15 spots from 44 to 29.

And the UK's top dog?  Dean Martin and Memories Are Made Of This.  (Dave King and the Key Notes also had this at #5.)  Also charting from our Panel were Rock And Roll Waltz (#4), See You Later, Alligator (#9), and Band Of Gold (#7).


And now, the violently shifting M10:

Well, except for the Moondoggies, who hold at #9 with Easy Coming.

Two years ago, the Strawberry Runners fell from the top spot to #9 with When We Were Good.  This week, the Voodoo Children just miss that, slipping from the top to #8 with Tangerines And Daffodils.

And sucked into the vortex just shy of being their biggest hit, Lucius falls from 2 to 7 with Neighbors. 

Frankie Cosmos, avoids falling objects and climbs a pair to #6 with Jesse.

Not so for the Decemberists, who tumble 2 to #5 with Severed- making the first time that ALL of last week's top three fell to #5 or below.  Two of 'em managed it 4 times, but never 1,2, AND 3.

Surviving the slaughter is a woman for whom the word survivor is an apt description for her life- Shilpa Ray, with Rockaway Blues up one to #4.

Sunflower Bean has their highest charting hit to date, with Twenty Two moving up 3 spots to #3.

Mikaela Davis makes the power move, going from #7 to #2 with Little Bird.

And at #1- at least for now- with their record-breaking FOURTH #1-

Beach House and Lemon Glow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the Panel winner?  Well, Les Baxter charted a 5, a 5, and a 3 to get 20 points- 4th.

The Four Lads got a 4, a 3, and a 5 for 21 points- third.

Nelson Riddle got a pair of 2s and a #1 (CB) to be the runner up with 28.

Which means the winner, with the remaining 1s and 2s- 

...Kay Starr, and Rock And Roll Waltz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YAY!  I'm glad she won!

What the..  Why are YOU still here?

Why AM I still here?  And who are you?