Saturday, July 31, 2004


Big Idea's Rumor Weed Posted by Hello

My friend WB spent the day yesterday hitting three buckets of golf balls trying to find his swing, and left alot of squirrels trying to find their teeth. I'm guessing that today after three buckets of balls he has discovered muscles long forgotten.

I made the mistake of doing something like that one time. It was July 3rd and my church was going to have its annual softball game the next day at the 4th of July picnic. Me and a couple of friends went to a local batting cage to find our swings. About 120 pitches later we had found them, but what we hadn't counted on was just how strenuous beating the stuffing out of a ball can be. The next day I could hardly move, let alone swing a bat! Oh well!

I spent several hours today pulling weeds from one of my flower beds. I knew that I was going to be in trouble when my legs were trembling when I got done. It is sad that I am so badly out of shape. I expect that getting out of the bed will be a real challenge tomorrow. I guess we'll see.

I kept thinking to myself, "This had better look A LOT better when I get done or I am going to be pissed!" Fortunately when I left the house to get some supper I could tell a major difference in the bed on the left side of the driveway and the one on the right. Whew! My bloodpressure didn't need that kind of a jolt today anyway! It has just gotten calmed down after a week of the Democrat's nonsense!

Well, that's enough for tonight. Have a great weekend!

Good News

OK, as promised I am going to take a little bit of time and try to explain how to enter the Kingdom of God. I guess that sounds a little churchy. Let me try to put it a different way. The object of this post is to help you understand how you can become a Christian. I will try to highlight some of the benefits of Christianity and also make clear what our obligations are. Fair enough? I'll also try to do all of that without using "Christianese." So here we go.

The first thing that an individual has to understand before the Good News will make sense is that there is actually some bad news that I have to tell you. The bad news is that we are born into this world in a state that is separated from God. It all goes back to the Garden of Eden when Adam (not Eve) chose to disobey God's only command to him. Ever since then Adam and his descendants have pretty well not been able to avoid disobeying God. This was the case even before God gave His law to Moses. The general idea was that if you wanted to be acceptable before God you would have to obey every law that God had given through Moses PERFECTLY. The chances are that you broke one of those laws before you were even old enough to understand them all. I doubt that I have to convince you that you are not perfect, most people that I know are all too aware of their shortcomings, but just in case you aren't let me run down the Top Ten laws of God. Here they are:

1) Never make anything at all more important than God. Anything.
2) Never worship anything besides God. (That includes Muhammed, Krishna, Allah, Buddah, Zeus, Moroni, BMWs, sex, food... in short, ANYTHING. He REALLY hates second place.)
3) Never use His name irreverently.
4) Never work more than 6 days a week.
5) Respect, honor, and obey your parents. (Probably got you on that one.)
6) Don't murder people. (This includes hating people and not forgiving them.)
7) Don't engage in unauthorized sexual behavior. (Don't even look at someone lustfully or you have blown it.)
8) Don't steal. (Not even pens from work.)
9) Don't lie. (Not even little white ones.)
10) Don't be greedy. Don't be consumed by things that you cannot have.

That's a pretty tough list in and of itself. However, if you managed those, have you ever eaten pork, shrimp, or rare steak? If so, you have blown it. If you are male are you circumcised? Have you been to Jerusalem every year to celebrate the festivals of Passover, First Fruits, and Rosh Hashana? If not, you have already blown your chance to receive God's favor by your good deeds.

I think that is largely the point of the part of the Bible that we call the Old Testament. It gives us a set of laws and shows us how nobody back then managed to live them out perfectly. The point is that we can't make it on our own. Left to our own devices we will blow it every single time. The Bible tells us that the result of our imperfection is death. I don't have to tell you how true that is. Life is largely futile. There are spots of joy along the way. Every once in a while there is some happiness, but largely everything on this Earth is in a state of decay. We see it all around us.

There is even more bad news. When our bodies finally die that isn't the end. Left in our imperfect state there is additional torment awaiting for us after we die. This is just a terrible state, but it is the state that all of us are in until something is done about it. Now let's get to the good news part.

Now we know some things about God. He is all powerful. He is all knowing. He is everywhere. He is love. He is just. He is merciful. He is GOOD.

God made us to be good in the very beginning too. In fact, He liked us so much that He made us the spitting image of Himself. He made us so that we could hang out with Him and enjoy each other's company. It was a great arrangement. However, Adam's disobedience changed all of that. Let's consider why for a moment.

The Bible describes God as light and says that in Him is no darkness. Before Adam sinned, He had no problem at all being in God's presence, but the moment that he disobeyed, his first thought was to hide himself from God's presence. Imperfect people cannot tolerate a perfect God. This was a problem and God set Himself to fix it. He did that because He is loving. God could not simply ignore man's shortcoming. It was the shortcoming that was keeping man from God. The disobedience also demanded punishment. Because God was both merciful and just He allowed man to cover his sins by letting him use the physical death of an animal as a proxy to satisfy God's justice. This prevented God from inflicting the sentence of death as a punishment for man's sin. However, God was still not satisfied because the death of sheep and bulls and goats still didn't fix man's problem.

God had a greater plan. This plan is pretty shocking when you think about it. I cannot fathom why He did it. The only thing that I can figure is that He loves you and me deeper than I have ever loved anything. What God did was take the form of a man and live among us. He lived His life perfectly and never once broke His own law. Then He let us sacrifice Him. This, of course, killed Him. They buried Him and three days later He rose from the grave! His name is Jesus.

Because Jesus was willing to die as our proxy and because He was sinless, God has allowed anyone who would ask Him to let His sacrifice pay for their sins be made right with Him. Absolutely amazing. The good news doesn't end there. Jesus also promised us that if we believe in Him we never have to die. Granted our body may die one day, but like Jesus, we will also be raised from the dead, get a brand new perfect body and go to live with Him one day.

There's more too! Because we belong to Him, He begins the process of cleansing us from our old sinful and disobedient patterns and he begins repairing all of the damage that our disobedience did to our lives. He heals our emotional wounds. He gives us joy. He gives us hope. He provides for our needs. He gives us courage. And He makes us good. That is why I can contemplate the worst that the world has to offer and have a confidence that it is going to be OK.

Now, what does He say that He wants from us?

First of all, we have to realize that we can't make ourselves good enough for Him. We have to recognize that we absolutely must rely on Him to make us good enough to be with Him. That's where we ask Him to save us from our lifestyle that is leading us to death.

Secondly we have to ask Him to be our King. Here in America, we don't really understand Kings. We think we have a vote, but with Kings there is no vote. You do exactly what they tell you to do. I can understand why this might be difficult for some folks. See, we were all serving another king when we first found out about God's offer. That other king is the devil. He is the one who has been doing his best to destroy us. So our only experience with an absolute ruler has been a bad one. Let me assure you that God is a good and benevolent King. He wants what is best for you at all times. There may be times when it doesn't feel that way, but trust me, it is all for your good.

Finally, we have to believe that God raised Himself from the grave. I have grown up hearing this since I was a child, so belief in it wasn't too bad for me, but if this is new to you it may take some processing to actually believe it. That's OK. He understands how hard that could be to believe, and if you will be honest with Him, He will be very patient with you and will help you to believe it for yourself.

If you do those three things your life will be unmistakably changed for the best, and you will wonder how on earth you ever made it before you found out about the plan that God has for your good! It isn't always an easy road. It is a road that is full of adventure and danger and excitement. There are many difficult challenges along the way, but it is absolutely worth it.

I hope that this little post has helped you to understand what I have been talking about. If anything isn't clear, please post a comment, and I'll attempt to clarify. Also, if you are already a Christian and you see that I have forgotten something please feel free to post those comments too.

Just Too Funny

Trey over at Alamo Nation posted a very funny story about Kerry's support amongst the US Marines. You gotta check it out.

Found a Really Cool Blog

If you are into American politics check out Alamo Nation "Trey" does a really good job with the site. My hat's off to him because as a conservative Republican he was actually able to stomach the entire Democratic Convention.

Anyway, his response to the "Honorable" Senator Kerry's convention speech was insightful.

You also ought to scroll on down the page to see his picture of Al Gore as Godzilla. Hilarious.

Here's another fun site WB told me about the other day. It has Dubya and Kerry singing This Land is My Land. I was rolling on the floor!

Anyway, this is all I'm going to post tonight. I'll get to the stuff I promised yesterday tomorrow. Sorry for the delay!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Hour of the Thief

And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
- God (Luke 12:39)

They say that ignorance is bliss. If that is true Michael Moore must be in a constant state of ecstasy. Actually, I don't believe that Michael Moore is ignorant. I could excuse him if he were. No, His Royal Haughtiness is something far more malevolent - he is a bold-faced liar and distorter of truth. The sad thing is that he is right about one thing: there are a lot of really stupid Americans. Let me take that back. I don't know how many Americans are really stupid, but I will say that there are a lot that are pretty ignorant. These people act like they have been hypnotized. They fall for everything that they see or hear hook, line, and sinker.

One of my greatest laments these days is, "Where have all of the thinkers gone?" It seems like way too many Americans checked their brains at the door of the hospital when they left the maternity ward. I lay much of the blame at the feet of the educators of this country. There is very little in the education of our population that actually challenges an individual to learn the basic principles of logic and reasoning. There are very few courses that require this sort of thought. Geometry and Trigonometry and some of the higher maths incorporate proofs into their curricula. These certainly train individuals to use logical thought to solve problems. Computer programming requires an understanding and application of logic. However, these courses are few and far between, and (with the exception of computer programming) few emphasize the logical aspects of the disciplines. If you think back on your education, I dare say that like me, you will have to admit that you were rarely ever forced to think logically. 90% of all education today doesn't require thought. It requires an ability to memorize, regurgitate, and apply. That is a far cry from real thought.

I guess I was one of the fortunate ones. One of my teachers in Junior High School began my logic instruction. Oddly enough it was my English teacher in 7th and 9th grade. Mrs. Emerson was a great teacher. I hated her in 7th grade because she actually made you work! Sheesh! But occasionally she would give our class logic puzzles to solve. They were incredibly hard! But eventually I began to get the hang of drawing accurate conclusions based on incomplete information. In college I actually had a course that applied logical principles to more abstract ideas like morality and ethics. Fortunately, my professor did not take advantage of this opportunity to force me to conform to any predetermined conclusions. (Thank you SO much Dr. Stalnaker! I am eternally grateful to you!) The two courses that I took with Dr. Stalnaker at NC State taught me like nothing else to follow an argument to its logical conclusion. They also forced me to look at the major issues of the day and form well conceived opinions. He also taught me to be consistent in my arguments to avoid contradicting myself. Perhaps the honorable Senator Kerry would benefit by taking Dr. Stalnaker's class. I would be willing to say that these two courses were the most valuable ones that I took in 5 years at the university. But I digress.

The point that I intend to make at some point this evening is that people like Michael Moore are trying to convince Americans that the events of 9/11 were either an aberration - a fluke, or that they are a fabrication of the great satan, President Bush. I am here to assure you tonight that neither assertion is true. Sadly, there are many who would prefer to live their lives like the proverbial ostrich with their heads in the sand. They have chosen denial because they cannot handle the undeniable truth that there is a rather large group of unreasonable people out there who hate America regardless of who is in the White House and have made it their mission and quest to destroy as many of us as possible.

My friend WB wrote an incredible post today entitled Woman With Possible Terror Ties Arrested that is a MUST READ. Folks, I am not kidding. You REALLY need to read this post. When I read it I was reminded that this war on terror is VERY real and isn't just being played out somewhere over in the Middle East. People, the enemy is here and is looking for an opportunity. READ THE POST.

After reading what he had to say a couple of things just jump out at me. First of all, it is evident that we don't hear about all of the potential terrorists that are caught by our law enforcement officers. I don't know who is covering this up. Perhaps it is the government. There are very good economic and security reasons to not let this sort of information get out. Perhaps it is the media. Most of them don't want us to realize that there is still an imminent threat to our country. That would go a long way to getting President Bush re-elected. I'm guessing that it is probably a combination of the two, but if I had to pick one, I'd probably lean more heavily towards the government. Neither of these stories were covered by the Drudge Report or Newsmax, two very conservative news sources. Secondly, we are very blessed to have such a great group of people protecting us. It has been almost 3 years since 9/11 and there hasn't been a successful major attack on America since then. With the type of activity that WB describes in his post that is nothing short of a miracle.

Folks, we need to get real about the threat to our country. The danger is very real, very clear, and very present. How many of the WMDs that the world was convinced existed in Iraq prior to the coalition invasion are now in terrorist hands inside of the United States or our coalition partners? (Yes, the WORLD. The US didn't make this stuff up! Stop believing that tripe that Moore tries to pass off as truth! The UN passed resolution after resolution and asserted over and over that these weapons were there. Why does everyone seem to have such a hard time remembering something that happened longer than 8 hours ago?) How many of the missing Russian "suitcase" nuclear weapons are hidden inside major US cities? If these weapons are used against us, they will make the attack on the World Trade Center look like a bad traffic accident by comparison. These weapons have the capability of destroying CITIES. They don't discriminate between Republican or Democrat, liberal, moderate, or conservative, white or black, male or female, young or old either.

Now let's consider this: who would the terrorists prefer to have in the White House? Would they rather have someone who thinks that we should get a consensus from the UN and especially from countries that are partners with the regimes that support terrorists? Or would they prefer to have a team in Washington that has proven that they are willing to take the fight to the terrorists even if we are the only country on the Earth with the courage to fight them, freeze their assets, and hunt them like the dogs that they are? Where do John Kerry and John Edwards fit into that picture? How about President Bush and Dick Cheney? Which one is the most likely to strike fear into the heart of the enemy? If you were a terrorist would you rather be treated as a criminal or as a combatant? Do you want to agree with a terrorist? Not me!

How about this: which of the candidates has demonstrated an ability to choose a course of action and follow it through to completion? Which of the candidates has actual foreign policy experience? Which team has the most experience actually governing the country? Is this a time for dual mindedness? The Bible says that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Is this a time for instability? Is this a time for on-the-job-training? I think not.

I know this is some heavy stuff. It is easy to become fearful when you think of the possible destruction that could be done by a single successful terrorist. I am here to tell you that there is hope though. If we had to rely solely on our ability to catch every terrorist and to uncover every plot against us, we would have reason to fear, but we don't. We can repent of our self-reliance and cry out to the God of our forefathers. We can turn back to Him and ask Him to protect and heal our land. The Bible tells us:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.
Psalm 28:7

O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle.
Psalm 140:7

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the LORD, my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down." Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. "With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation."
- Psalm 91

This is good news. I am so grateful to have a God who loved me enough to rescue me from my own wickedness by sending His Perfect Son as a sacrifice to wash away my sin and imperfection so that I could enjoy the benefits of knowing and loving Him. That is something the terrorists don't understand. I have a God who is into LIFE! He loves to give us life! Isn't that amazing?! We have no need to fear if we have accepted the sacrifice of Jesus the Christ to cleanse us and bring us peace with a just God. I don't have to fear the destruction. My God is more than capable of defending me and my life here on earth, but even if He chooses to let my body die, He has promised that I will live with Him FOREVER. If THAT isn't good news, NOTHING is!

If all of this is foreign to you, but you want to know how to gain this confidence it is really simple. Just ask God for it. He says that He will give the gift of salvation to anyone who is willing to ask Him for it, who will confess that Jesus is the King of their life, and who believes that God raised Jesus from the grave. That may still be hard to grasp so I'll try to lay it out in simple steps tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Voice of Reason

Terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength. They are invited by the perception of weakness.
- Vice President Dick Cheney

I find it amazing that the Democrats can't come up with anything so profound as this statement by Mr. Cheney. Certainly amongst them there is ONE person who truly understands where we stand as a nation. But then again, I am talking about Democrats.

Last night, in the thirty seconds before my blood pressure hit critical mass, I heard Dick Gephardt talking about how imperative it is for us to include such "world powers" as France in any of our efforts to rid the world of the terrorist vermin that have infected it. How ridiculous is that?

France is the world's greatest has-been. They have no military clout and they have no economic clout. France's economy has been wrecked by the "intellectuals" that have been running it (into the ground) for the past 30 years, and France hasn't been an effective military world power since Waterloo. Besides that, the French hate us. They have had a chip on their shoulder at least since we pulled their burnt bacon out of the fire in the 40s. (We did it again in Vietnam too, by the way.) If you want to see what America will look like if the Democrats succeed in creating a completely secular society, just look at France. Absolute chaos.

I think that all of the people that have been speaking at the Democratic convention have been taking mind altering drugs. That, of course, assumes that they would have something for those drugs to operate on, (which is a HUGE assumption) but one always does try to give the benefit of the doubt. One thing that does amaze me is the way that the Democrats regurgitate the same little sound bytes verbatim. You would think that there would be one of them that could figure out a way to restate the party line without quoting it word for word. I guess the benefit of the doubt is too generous.

I am not blind to President Bush's weaknesses. He is soft on illegal immigration. He hasn't taken advantage of the Republican controlled House and Senate to get his appointees put in place or to control the runaway spending in the Congress. And his policy regarding the protection of American industry hasn't produced the most impressive results. All of this is true, but I have to weigh that against what he has accomplished since he took office: terrorists are on their heels and haven't succeeded in attacking us since 9/11, two countries have been liberated from oppressive regimes, the economy has grown at its fastest pace since Reagan was in office, he has restored dignity and honor to the office of President, and he has cut taxes. That's pretty impressive. In addition to that, the President has made many decisive moves based on the information that was available to him and hasn't wavered from those decisions regardless of the opinions of vocal opponents. For all of these things he has my undying respect and trust. We haven't had many Presidents as honorable as George W. Bush and history will be very kind to him, regardless of his detractors around the world and in the Democratic Party.

Thank you, President Bush for helping America to find her spine again. Your policies echo those of another President that I respected greatly:

Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have.
- President Ronald Reagan

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
- President Ronald Reagan

The ultimate determinant in the struggle now going on for the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas-a trial of spiritual resolve: the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish and the ideals to which we are dedicated.
- President Ronald Reagan

To sit back hoping that someday, someway, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last--but eat you he will.
- President Ronald Reagan

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.
- President Ronald Reagan

History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap.
- President Ronald Reagan

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest.
- President Ronald Reagan

It was leadership here at home that gave us strong American influence abroad, and the collapse of imperial Communism. Great nations have responsibilities to lead, and we should always be cautious of those who would lower our profile, because they might just wind up lowering our flag.
- President Ronald Reagan

The Democrats may remember their lines, but how quickly they forget the lessons of the past. I have witnessed five major wars in my lifetime, and I know how swiftly storm clouds can gather on a peaceful horizon. The next time a Saddam Hussein takes over Kuwait, or North Korea brandishes a nuclear weapon, will we be ready to respond? In the end, it all comes down to leadership, and that is what this country is looking for now.
- President Ronald Reagan

We need true tax reform that will at least make a start toward restoring for our children the American Dream that wealth is denied to no one, that each individual has the right to fly as high as his strength and ability will take him. . . . But we cannot have such reform while our tax policy is engineered by people who view the tax as a means of achieving changes in our social structure.
- President Ronald Reagan

They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right. Winston Churchill said that "the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
- President Ronald Reagan

Folks don't like talk of being inconvenienced or of duty, they would rather be promised pie in the sky. The simple fact is that there is no reward without struggle, and it has been that way since Adam chose to sin in the Garden of Eden. Thank goodnes our Commander-In-Chief understands this and has taken steps to assure that the flag won't falter on his watch. God bless President George W. Bush.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I'm Baaaack!

Hey folks!

Sorry for taking so long to get back to posting. It has been a crazy couple of weeks. Between being sick and trying to get back into my house I haven't felt much like staying at the office until the large hours of the night. Hopefully I will be able to get the cobwebs out of my brain and start to do some good writing again.

I'm basically staying away from the Democratic Convention this week. I have found that the brazen lies and over the top arrogance of the speakers and analysts at the convention a pure catalyst to set my blood pressure at a boil in less than 30 seconds.

I still have some things to do around the house, but I have made some good progress. Hopefully this weekend I will be able to get some outside work done and clean up flower beds and my carport.

I have also picked up my guitar again. It has been a long time and my fingers are telling me all about it. They still remember where to go, but the padding on my fingertips is long gone. I am hoping to get my "chops" back by the end of next month so that I can perform at my parents' church. It feels good getting back into it.

Anyway, that is about all for tonight. Take care, and don't believe the hype.

Is It True?

A gentleman in the office where I work made an assertion yesterday that I found just shocking. He said, "It doesn't make any sense getting upset about politics. One day you'll realize that regardless of who is in office it isn't going to make a difference in your day to day life...."

I guess I am just too much of a romantic to believe that that statement is true. Perhaps I am too much of a realist too. I remember the Jimmy Carter days and even as a young child I knew that things weren't that great in our country. I have been told about gas lines and runaway inflation and outrageous interest rates. I also remember that during the Reagan years things got progressively better. So, fundamentally I just have to disagree with my co-worker's statement.

Perhaps once upon a time there was a period where it didn't matter so much who was in office. That time certainly isn't now. Let us consider the things that the Democrats stand for.

First of all, the Democrats largely favor gun control laws. If you don't believe it, look to Congress and see which party has proposed the lion's share of legislation regarding gun control. Look at the majority of people who voted for those bills. Look at the states whose gun control laws are the most restrictive - they are states that vote traditionally Democrat.

Secondly, Democrats favor tax increases. This seems to be a mantra of all Democrats. Of course, when Republicans want to lower taxes, Democrats moan that the tax cuts aren't fair: that they are only lowering taxes for a very small portion of the people. Oddly enough, when the Democrats are in power, they never lower anyone's taxes. Funny how it works that way.

Democrats are also in favor of big government. They believe that the government is better than anyone at anything. They can raise your kids better than you can. They can prepare for your retirement better than you can. They can spend your money better than you can. They can protect you better than you can.

The Democrats love to pretend that they are great champions of the little man too. However, is this self-testimonial true? Hardly. Democrats favor policies that keep the "little man" down. How many people have been set free or improved by the welfare system? Few if any. What does affirmative action tell a minority? If I were to receive a job or a position because of affirmative action I wouldn't feel like I had earned it. It basically tells minorities that they aren't good enough to make it on their own merit; they need a crutch. How about taxes? Who do taxes hurt the most? That's right. The little guy. And we know how often the Democrats lower taxes.

Another problem with the Democrats is their seeming enamoredness with the United Nations. The Democrats have bowed to the UN way too many times. Bill Clinton was willing to bring the United States under the jurisdiction of an international court. The rallying cry of the Democrats since the escalation toward hostilities in Iraq has been, “We need a UN resolution!” The UN is an evil organization that seeks to undermine the sovereignty of every nation on this earth. They make American politics and politicians look like worshipers at a church picnic. Anybody who would support the UN’s agenda is a borderline traitor if not a full blown one.

One of the things that I hate most about so many members of the Democratic Party is their overarching self-absorption. Democrats will do absolutely anything to benefit themselves. For instance, Bill Clinton accepted money from China for his campaigns. (Oddly, about the same time he relaxed trade restrictions that allowed China access to technology that gave them the ability to deliver long-range nuclear weapons – technology that China has sold throughout the world to our detriment.) John Kerry changes his mind about his position on everything depending on whom he is talking to. Al Gore called for how many recounts of the Florida ballots in the 2000 election? John Edwards uses his first term in the Senate to campaign for the Presidency. The list goes on and on and on.

However, the most offensive thing about the Democratic Party is its complete disregard for morality. Democrats support abortion on demand. They support partial birth abortion. They favor euthanasia. They oppose the protection of the family and the traditional definitions of marriage and family. And they lie with satanic ease. These things are absolutely unacceptable, and in and of themselves would be reason enough to not elect them.

You will never convince me that it doesn’t matter who is in charge of our country. If the governance of our country were left to the “superstars” of the Democratic Party, I would hate to see what would happen. I am sure that it would be ugly. I know that it is considered “old fashioned” to refer to the Bible about these sorts of things, but I don’t care. The Bible makes it very clear that the person (or people) who is in charge of a country DIRECTLY affects the destiny of the country. The ruler sets the tone for the society. Under David, Nehemiah, Hezekiah, and Josiah the nation of Israel thrived and was safe from its enemies, but the evil of Jeroboam, Ahab, Jezebel, and Ahaz brought death, destruction, and exile to Israel and Judah. The same thing will happen here if we don’t stand for what is right.

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
- Edmund Burke 1729-1797

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Public Service Announcement

Now that I have my water back on I will probably not be writing as much for the rest of the week. The house is in dire need of a cleaning. DIRE. On top of that the yard needs mowing, the carport needs to be straightened out, the evil squirrel that keeps ruining my tomatoes needs to be vanquished, my plants need to be watered and sprayed, and my flowerbeds deadheaded and weeded.

I still have tons that I want to write here. Hopefully I will be able to get to some of that soon. I want to publish that list that I talked about yesterday. I want to do some word studies on things like honor, freedom, liberty, duty, etc. I also have had this idea to discuss what the good news of Christianity is. As you can see, there is alot to talk about.

Perhaps the thoughts on those things will be able to hold you until I can begin to write on them myself. Hopefully I will be able to do that soon. Until then!


All day I face the barren waste without the taste of water

 Posted by Hello

Cool water.

Posted by Hello

Oh Dan and I with throats burned dry
and souls that cry for water.

Posted by Hello

Cool, clear water.

Posted by Hello

Yes! It is official! I have water!



Monday, July 19, 2004

Well THAT didn't work!

My apologies. I had included a great list of hyperlinks to some care package ideas for the troops. I just checked them and they don't work. Probably my bad.

I will go back to the source on those things and compile a new list and post it here soon. In the meantime you will have to be creative on your own.

I don't know if anyone else is having problems since the new interface upgrade, but all of the templates aren't working right for me. I guess I'll have to check with the support guys and see if they can help me fix the mess. In the meantime, all of my old posts are looking a little out of line!

So, until I can get this stuff sorted out, please bear with me!

Al - most - there!

WATER!!! Posted by Hello

OK, not quite, but we're getting close now. My plumber is MUCH more efficient than the beautiful, but slow, town of China Grove. As of today the water line is ready to be buried and attached to my happening new city water tap.

Ah, but you are wondering where I have been.

It is quite a story; sad, but true.

See, I had actually planned to write the next day and tell you all about whether my city tap had been installed or not. (Had I done so, I would have incorrectly accused the city of stealing a sign post of mine that I had put in the yard to show them where I wanted the new tap to be installed. As it turns out, the town didn't steal the post but they DID damage it. My dad found it in the yard and picked it up for me. But that is neither here nor there.) As it turned out, Tuesday at lunch I suddenly got an extremely sore throat. I tried to shrug it off, but as the afternoon wore on it got worse and worse and worse. The next morning there was no improvement, so I stayed home from work and went to see the doctor. I spent the rest of the week recovering from this sickness that had jumped on me like a tap dancing hippo at a polka festival. As you can imagine, you don't get over a tap dancing hippo at a polka festival quickly, and I'm still a little woozy from the whole thing!

Anyway, long story short, is that true to his word, Mr. Foreman had gotten my tap installed the very next day. (And there was much rejoicing.)

So, unless there are any unforseen problems I should be back in my house with water running by tomorrow evening.

I'll keep you posted.

It Isn't a Sunday Picnic

I got some sad news from my friend Kevin, a chaplain assistant in the Navy Reserve, who is in training now with his Marine unit in 29 Palms, California.  During a defensive driving exercise there were 2 accidents that critically injured several training Marines, killing one of them.  It was pretty difficult for the Chaplain and my friend Kevin.  They just didn't figure on having to deal with any deaths before they got to Iraq. 
I guess it is easy to forget how dangerous things can be in the military even if you aren't in a war zone.  We rarely hear about training accidents even though they happen all the time.  I suppose that it is just part of the package of preparing to place men in unbelievably dangerous situations.  To get them ready you have to put them in pretty dangerous situations.  Not many of us think about how much it may cost a young man or woman to just prepare to defend our country.  Some pay an incredibly high price without ever entering a hostile environment.  It really adds some perspective.
I really appreciate those who have volunteered to serve.  I never served in the Military and I often regret that now.  I wonder how different I would be now.  I can't help but think that it would have been a good thing for me.
Anyway, I have realized that I have been really slack about writing to my friend.  There are a couple of other guys that I know that are scheduled to go to Iraq soon too.  I've decided that I am going to pick a day every week to write to them.  I'll just make it my letter writing day.
Nobody ever writes personal letters anymore.  It's a real shame.  All you ever get is bills or junk mail.  I mean, why bother going to the mailbox, y'know?  I guess that is why email has become so popular.  It is instant and for a long time there was no junk mail.  Oh well, it was nice while it lasted!
Kevin's wife sent out an email with some good ideas of stuff to include in care packages that you send to soldiers.  Let me see if I can paste that stuff here.

Care Packages - everyone likes to get a package from their loved ones. But gosh darn it what do you put into the darn thing? Well, we have assembled some ideas along with a break down by zipcode of restrictions imposed by the prevailing authorities and created this section.These ideas are just that ideas. They have been assembled from various places, personal suggestions, past newsletters, and personal experiences. Feel free to use what you want, to experiment, and most of all make your service person remember what it was like before they left. About Food ItemsBefore contemplating what food to include in a care packages - REMEMBER be practical! It does no good to send something that your favorite person will either not have the means to prepare -OR- have to carry with them should they need to travel. It is a waste of money to send it, if it is unusable.You should also consider whether it will arrive in an usable condition. In other words - if it melts, spoils, or can be contaminated you may want to reconsider the selection.The identified items typically can survive long distances. (and like the old Timex slogan - they can take a licking and keep on ticking.) They should make it there fresh and shouldn't spoil and/or crumble (hopefully).
Comfort Items
Fun Stuff
Non-Microwave Meals


Packing it
Mailing it - The restriction informationMilitary Post Office Location List (MPOLL)

Here's some other stuff that would be appreciated:

New DVDs, CDs and Players
Disposable Cameras
AT&T Prepaid Phone Cards
Handheld electronic games
Puzzle, Word Game and Crossword books
Battery Operated Fans, Misty Mates or other cooling products
Commercially wrapped individual packets of Trail Mix, Beef Jerky, Nuts, Cookies, Energy Bars, Sunflower Seeds, Candy
Ready To Eat Tuna or Chicken Salad kits
Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies
Packets of Powdered Cold Beverages
Commercially sealed Lip Balm
Individual packets of moist towelettes
Packets of Stationary
Novelty Items
New Knit Hats and Gloves
New T-shirts (sizes Large and Extra Large)
Travel Size containers of Foot Powder
Tobacco Products
Unsealed personal cards and letters

John Michael Montgomery has a new song out now called Letters From Home.  It talks about how important it is to the soldiers out there to get that little touch from friends and family back in the States.  If you haven't heard it, I'd recommend it.  Anyway, I never realized how true it was until I got an email from Kevin thanking me for a dorky little card that I sent to him from my business.  I had written a short little personal message on it that was nothing great, but it meant alot to him.
So, I was thinking that I would include his mailing address here just in case you would like to write to him too.  Being a chaplain aide I am sure that he could put you on to some good Marines who could use a note.  I'm sure that it would brighten their day and make them feel a little better about the sacrifice that they are making to be away from their families and friends. 

RP2 Rumsey, H&S Company,Chaplain's Office, 1st BN, 23rd Marines, PSC 788505, Twentynine Palms,CA 92278

Please take some time and write him or the people that you know that are serving us and laying their lives on the line - even if they haven't left the USA yet.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Must... find... water...

Waaaattttttteeeeeerrrrrrr!!! Posted by Hello

The water saga is entering its fourth week. I'm sure that all of you are amazed at that. I am too, for that matter. The first week I was ticked because I didn't want to spend nearly as much as I was going to have to to get water restored to my house. I did something that I can do very well - I procrastinated. Of course it was for a good reason. I needed to find out how much my different options were going to cost me; that and the fact that I've been slammed the past four weeks at work. Thus week 1 is my fault. In fact, week one and 1/2 is my fault. However, two weeks ago tomorrow I went down to the town hall of China Grove, gave them a check for $900.00 and said, "Please install a tap to city water on my property." The nice young lady working there told me, "It should be installed by the beginning of next week." I said, "Thank you very much." and left with the confidence that I would only have to be away from my home for just a few more days....

JUST ...


......... FEW ...

............... MORE ...

..................... DAYS ...

Days have now become weeks. My parents have started using words that I've not heard in years: curfew, chores, rent. Now it is China Grove's fault. About Wednesday of last week I went down to town hall again to inquire (very politely and patiently) if they knew when my tap installation was scheduled. "After all," I informed the nice lady working in the office, "I've been without water for nearly three weeks!" She smiled and called the foreman that would be in charge of the installation of my new tap. He told her that I could expect for it to be installed early the next week....

That's this week. Today is Tuesday, and by any reckoning, early this week would have ended today. So I went by my house to admire my new city water tap. Of course (You can FEEL it coming, can't you?) when I got to my house no sign of my shiny, new city water tap. OK, it won't be shiny, but it had BEST be new! I decided to extend my trip and headed over to the town offices of the lovely metropolis of China Grove, where, apparently there has been a big run on city water taps!

I was greeted by the same nice lady at the front desk, who immediately went to another room and retrieved said foreman so that he could talk directly to me. I asked him (politely and with a smile, of course) when this week I could expect for my tap to be installed. He told me, "Well, this is Farmers' Day weekend. I won't be able to get that done until early next week."

Unfortunately all of those anger management classes hadn't kicked in quickly enough, because before I could restrain it, fire flashed in my eyes and I shot back, "That's what you told me last week." (Fortunately, they couldn't read my mind where I was thinking, "I don't give a tinker's DAM if the Pope is coming to town! I WANT MY $900 WATER TAP!")

I looked down, spread my feet to shoulders' width, took a deep breath, and looked Mr. Foreman in the eye and said, "That's not going to work for me. I've been without water for FOUR weeks now." Perhaps it was the maniacal glow in my eyes or perhaps it was the way I squared up like a linebacker that was about to take a wide receiver apart, but Mr. Foreman said, "You don't have ANY water at all? OK, we can get it done tomorrow."

DUH! No, I've got PLENTY of water. I'm just spending hundreds of dollars needlessly because you just can't get enough water! Y'know?

So as it stands, my tap is SUPPOSED to be installed tomorrow. If it is there will be much rejoicing, and if not, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I'm hoping for rejoicing. Then I get to wait a few more days while my plumber lines up a trenching crew, necessary permits, a crew to find buried cables and junk, and actually installs the new line from my tap to my house. Fortunately, my plumber is a bit more on top of things.

More tomorrow...

Another Funny Article About Kerry/Edwards

This one made me laugh out loud.

Kerry’s Eye-Candy Selection

Rice: No Plan to Delay National Election

Here's another article on the item that I posted yesterday on delaying the national election.

Rice: No Plan to Delay National Election

Monday, July 12, 2004

Should The US Postpone Elections In the Event of a Terror Strike?

I found a couple of articles today that you might want to check out.

Article I

Article II

Apparently, the government has started making contingency plans for the US election in the event that terrorists are indeed able to attack us between now and the election.

I'm not sure what I think about this. It seems like a Catch 22 for President Bush either way. If the elections are postponed the lefties will say that he "stole" the election again. If they aren't postponed and Bush wins they will say the same thing.

What do you guys think? I'm pretty hard headed. I plan to go to the polls regardless, but I live in a tiny little town that probably isn't even on the terrorists' radar screen. It is easy to swagger when there isn't much of a threat of anything happening here! I still think that I'd vote even if the stakes were higher, but that is all hypothetical at this point.

My personal feeling is that we should go ahead and have the vote unless the terror attacks happen on election day. If the attack happened on election day I would go ahead and postpone them or do a re-vote just to make sure that everyone got the chance to vote and to make sure that everyone's vote was counted.

Sound off and let me know what you would do. I'm curious.

Don't Mess With Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton Posted by Hello

Following the death of President Reagan there has been a good bit of talk about replacing Alexander Hamilton's portrait on the $10 bill with President Reagan's. Those of you who have read my posts surrounding President Reagan's death realize how much I think of him so it may surprise you to find out that I am not an advocate of the removal of Hamilton's portrait from the $10 bill. I do think that President Reagan is worthy of such an honor, but I believe the same about Alexander Hamilton too.

Most of us are victims of a public school system that has totally deprived us of an adequate understanding of our own history and the figures that loomed so large in it. Alexander Hamilton is one of those figures. Sadly, most Americans - even those of us who love history - have little knowledge of who Alexander Hamilton was or of his significant contributions to America's government and economy.

Daniel Ruddy has done an excellent job writing about this great man in an article published by It is called The Little Lion's Roar: Remembering Alexander Hamilton.

Please take a little time and get to know this towering figure in America's history, and spare him his place on the $10 bill!

More American Steel

USS Orion (Fulton Class Submarine Tender) Posted by Hello

My good friend Ward has made a post to his corporate blog today that just states so well where we are as a country. He eloquently nails it right on the head. This is a good thing because I simply don't have the time tonight to create a decent post of my own. Please check out what he has to say. It is true that freedom is never free. It is our turn to ante up.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Don't Feel Much Like Blogging

I'm not really in the mood today. I don't know why. I didn't feel like it yesterday either. I think that it might have something to do with staying in the office so much lately. Of course, it could also be that there is so much discouraging stuff going on in the world that I just want a change of scene. Maybe it is because it is so blasted hot. I don't know, but for whatever reason, I just don't feel creative and fun today.

I just got back from my first cousin (once removed)'s wedding. It wasn't much to write about. The couple was, shall we say, rushed into it by some choices that they made. You could tell that they were both scared to death. No real joy in it. No excitement - only fear.

That is NOT the way that I want to do marriage if I ever do it. Marriage is a serious commitment, a covenant - the most serious commitment that a person can ever make before God - but it should also be one of the happiest days and most joyous days in your life. On your wedding day you are declaring to the world that God has given you a fabulous gift that is so excellent that you are sure that a lifetime won't be enough time to discover all of its goodness.

Weddings always depress me a little bit anyway. I think that part of it stems from the fact that I have desired such a gift for a long time. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick." Still, I wouldn't want such a challenge as my cousin has set herself up for. That is more trouble than I believe in volunteering for.

Part of it also stems from the fact that regardless of all of the good intentions you have on that day, and all of the promises that you make, and all of the love that you have for that person a day is coming when you will (intentionally or unintentionally) hurt that person who is making you so happy. Morbid thought, I know, but true.

I'm heading to see the Durham Bulls play tomorrow night. It should be a good bit of fun. My brother-in-law will be working the plate. I hope they give us decent seats. It will be great to actually get to see an entire ballgame for a change. I rarely ever get to watch more than three innings it seems. Of course I am typically at the game with my nephew and/or niece and that means that you are going to be up and down for snacks, games, souvenirs, etc. Not to mention that you have to keep them entertained while the game is going on. They are playing Shrek after the game on the jumbotron. That should be cool. I doubt that I'll stay for much of that though. I guess it depends on how long the game runs.

I had the opportunity last night to go down and visit my old Boy Scout Camp. It was great. Alot of things have changed there. They have a new pool and there is a new dining hall. I kind of hate the dining hall thing. When I was a Scout there we had to cook our own food. Granted, you got some interesting dishes if you didn't supervise the cooks well, but you also learned how to do alot of things that these kids may not be learning otherwise. When I was at camp as a Scout you had to actually build a fire in a crappy woodstove that didn't draft right. You ended up missing breakfast alot of times, but you also learned how to build fires and how to cook.

The yellow jackets were always bad at camp. Being the innovators that we were, we developed a dandy yellow jacket trap. See, every morning we would get a jar of jelly for our toast or whatever. We would use a little bit of the jelly and then we would set the jar on the table with the lid off. Of course, the yellow jackets were attracted to the sugar in the jelly and would land in the jar. Once they did and were sufficiently occupied slurping up that sugary stuff, we'd clap the lid on the jar, tighten it down and shake it vigorously. This would leave the yellow jacket encased in the jelly. It was actually kind of cool looking when you had alot of bees entombed in the jar. Apple jelly produced the most visually impressive results.

Being down there at the camp really brought back some great memories and made me want to do some exploring to see what is new and what hasn't changed. I think that I'll take my nephew down there one night when they are having campfire and let him see what Scout camp is like. I think that he'll have a great time.

Well, that is about all for tonight. I have a couple word studies that I want to write about soon, but I'm not in the mood to try anything that ambitious tonight. Have a great weekend!

Even People In His Hometown Don't Like Him!

Here's another one:

Hometown Yawns as Edwards Runs

By the way, Edwards was born in SC, NOT NC. Not that it matters. They probably don't want him either.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

American Steel

Unreserved Posted by Hello

News reports today point to a terrorist threat leading up to the US election. No surprises there. They want to see if we'll tuck and run like Spain and the Philippines did. The terrorists are apparently betting that if they kill a few hundred people we'll all roll over and wet ourselves and elect someone who will leave them alone. I wonder who that could be?

If it were fifty years ago I could guarantee what the response to any combatant that would attack America during an election would be. First we would vote exactly the opposite of the way that the attacker wanted us to, and then we would go out and hunt down the people who dared make war against us. I'm not sure that everyone would do that now, but I think that there are still quite a few who would.

I would still go to the polls even if Al Qaeda terrorists stationed themselves around the door. Granted, I would stop a little ways away with my .308 until I had taken care of the problem. And I'm betting I'd have some help. Ain't the Second Amendment a grand thing!

I certainly hope that American voters haven't become such cowards that they would allow a terrorist act to make them run or dictate how they vote. I think that we're still made of much stronger stuff than that.

The 13th of March

Most of you probably have no idea just how bad things are in Cuba. After all, you hardly ever hear of Cuba except when people are talking about its cigars, rum, or music. Few people realize that right in our backyard there is a country that still practices Stalinesque acts of oppression, repression, deprivation, and murder. I have begun following the blog of a Cuban-American named Val Prieto. On this blog I have begun to learn about the atrocities that are being committed against the Cuban people. They sound just like the atrocities that I heard about under the Soviet empire and that I have heard about at the hands of the Chinese. The only conclusion that I can draw is that this is what communism does as part of its regular course of action. There are no communist countries that are not guilty of these sorts of actions.

Today there was an article on the Newsmax page that Val linked to. I would also like to direct you to this page. This isn't a fairy tale. It is real.

Castro's Tugboat Massacre

Fidel Castro was actually allowed to come to this country and was treated like a celebrity, a hero, a charming grandfatherly type of fellow that we have just misunderstood all of these years. Well, what the media showed us, and what the gullible Mr. Carter assured us was a big, fat lie. Fidel Castro is as much of a blood-thirsty animal as Saddam Hussein, Ossama Bin Laden, or Yassir Arafat. The free world will dance when that evil man dies. Oh, for a man like Phinehas of the Bible.

Didn't Believe What I Told You About Edwards?

Found several articles on John Edwards today that provide empirical data supporting my claims yesterday. Here are a few for your enjoyment:

In Desparate Move, Kerry Adopts Puppy - By Ann Coulter
Edwards's Glaring Weakness - By Jeff Jacoby
See Where Edwards Put His Money - By James Pinkerton

I particularly liked one that I got from a Newsmax email that stated that the Kerry/Edwards ticket is further left even than Ted Kennedy. Here are a few excerpts:

According to Americans for Democratic Action, the left's most widely cited arbiter of voting records, this year's Democrat slate is even more radical than the losers of 1984.

The organization, which has endorsed John Kerry for president, says, "Since ADA's founding in 1947, the Annual Voting Records have served as the standard measure of political liberalism."

According to that voting record:
· Walter Mondale's lifetime rating was 90 percent. Kerry's lifetime rating is 92 percent.
· Geraldine Ferraro's lifetime rating from ADA in 1984 was 79 percent. John Edwards' lifetime rating is 81 percent.

So much for all those bogus claims from the media establishment that Edwards is a "centrist."
At least the Boston Herald today had the guts to run this banner headline: "THEY'RE LEFT OF TED!" It quoted the Heritage Foundation's Tripp Baird as saying, "Anyone to the left of Ted Kennedy can't be good for business."
I read another article today that demonstrated Edwards' voting record on taxation. I wish I could find it again to link for you. He voted against every tax cut President Bush has passed since coming into office. If you feel something moving around in your pockets, you'd better check. It might just be John Edwards. I told you I'm not making it up! Edwards is bad news.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

One North Carolinian's Opinion Of Mr. John Edwards

Six long years ago my home state did a terrible thing. It ousted long-time conservative Republican Senator Lauch Faircloth and elected a pretty-boy Democrat named John Edwards.

Senator Faircloth never really came across as a particularly charismatic fellow, but he voted pretty much along the same lines as did Jesse Helms. I appreciated that about Senator Faircloth. And it must have been hard serving in the Senate at the same time Senator Helms was. It would have been nearly impossible to attract any attention in the press, because everyone in the press loved to hate Senator Helms. It doesn't really matter that philosophically they were basically the same; for some reason Senator Helms attracted attention like a shark in a kiddie pool. Mr. Faircloth would have had to have been a real pistol to have competed with all of that.

I suppose that Senator Faircloth's relative obscurity in Jesse Helms' shadow contributed to his demise, but another thing that hurt him was that he decided to run a mud slinging campaign against a South Carolina version of Bill Clinton. John Edwards smiled, ran a polite campaign and basically charmed his way into the Senate. There are many negative things that I can and will say about John Edwards, but one thing that I can't deny is that he is NICE. He is CHARMING. He is PRETTY. It is precisely for those reasons (and the fact that he is a Democrat) that I smelled a rat.

My suspicions were confirmed almost the moment that John Edwards was elected. It didn't take long before he was visiting other states and showing up in the news here and there. It became evident (in fact, he hardly hid the fact) that his only reason for running for the Senate was to provide a platform for him to launch a Presidential campaign. If you check his record (I have been watching him closely ever since he attained office.) you will find that Mr. Edwards has done alot of campaigning in his six years in office and not alot of governing. Talk of his aspirations for the Presidency surfaced almost simultaneously with his election.

Another aspect of Mr. Edwards' campaigning is his utter conformity to the Democratic Party line. Don't believe him when he is pretending to be a moderate. There is NOTHING moderate about him. If you check his voting record, you will find that he ALWAYS toes the party line. He never differs. EVER. Abortion? For it. Pornography? Must protect freedom of speech. Guns? Control them. Hate crime laws? Gotta have them. More entitlements? Pleeeease! Affirmative Action? It's only fair. Lower taxes? NO WAY! That would be irresponsible! I have written him concerning various matters, and his response is always word for word the same as the drivel that you hear the likes of Ted Kennedy or Tom Daschle spew forth. On an issue that the party hasn't defined a position yet, you can expect him to waffle. He and Kerry ought to get along swell.

Another problem that I have with Mr. Edwards is that he made his millions as an ambulance chaser. How is someone who made a fortune suing doctors for malpractice going to help solve the problem of out of control health care costs? Hint: he's not. I know that the lawyers aren't the only problem, but they are a big part of it.

My biggest problem with Mr. Edwards is that he has NEVER served North Carolina at all since he got to the Senate. Contrast what he has done there in six years to what Senator Elizabeth Dole has done in 4. There is no comparison. He is one of the most truant Senators on the Hill. He is a self-serving egomaniac who will do the same thing if he ever attains the White House. God help us if he ever does. I for one will do everything in my power to make sure that he doesn't. My greatest hope is that the Kerry/Edwards ticket will fall flat in November, leaving Mr. Edwards unemployed and out of the public eye for at least 2 years until Ms. Dole's term expires. Between losing the election and the 2-year exile, which should just about spell the end of his political career.... I hope.

Mission Accomplished

A damage survey was completed following the scorched earth campaign against the unwelcome residents of my lawn. It was a complete success. Now for the squirrels that have started raiding my tomatoes... a little C-4 should do the trick!

Don't worry little squirrel. It isn't plastic explosive. It's just your friends Mr. Bunny and Mr. Gopher! Posted by Hello

Don't Settle For a Cheap Imitation!

There is a difference...

I did some checking today and found out that my suspicions were correct. Cheerwine in the glass bottle contains pure cane sugar. Cheerwine in a plastic bottle or in a can contains corn sweetener and/or sugar. My friends, the sweetener makes a HUGE difference.

I told you before that Cheerwine is SEVERELY carbonated. Therefore, if you don’t get it sweet enough it tastes weird – like carbonated water. Imagine that!

Thus, if you want Cheerwine that tastes the way God meant for it to taste, go for the glass bottle!
 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Vanquished Foe!

Buh Bye!

In a nighttime scorched earth campaign the yellow jackets that had taken up residence in my yard met a fiery end. Daytime reconnaissance missions have not been undertaken to assure that the threat has been neutralized, but such a mission is planned for tomorrow.

I have been told that the only thing necessary to get rid of a bunch of yellow jackets is to pour petrochemicals down the hole to their nest. It is apparently not that important setting said petrochemicals on fire, but having done 8 years in the Boy Scouts of America, adding fire was a source of additional entertainment.

Few people realize that one of the main reasons for the existence of the BSA is to give boys a chance to play with knives and fire. If you don't believe me, just ask your average Boy Scout what they did to entertain themselves on their last camping trip. My bet is that knives and fire will figure in to the stories that you hear!

I decided to use kerosene for the nighttime raid because I had every intention of setting the stuff on fire, and I've heard too many stories about folks ending up like crispy critters when using gasoline for similar operations.

Of course, there was the one immensely humorous story that I heard on the John Boy and Billy Big Show a couple of years ago that described what happened when a fellow used gasoline to take care of a yellow jacket's nest that unbeknownst to him went all the way into his septic tank. According to the story, when he lit it, the resulting explosion of gasoline and septic tank gasses launched the lid of his septic tank nearly into orbit, (I think that they said that it landed a good distance from its place of origination.) and sent a fireball up the toilet where his wife was taking care of necessary biological needs. Seems like she divorced him for some reason after that...

Anyway, the kerosene seemed to do the job, but it wasn't nearly as impressive as some petro fires that I have witnessed before. I remember one summer camp when some fellas from my troop brought a jar of varsol (a particularly flammable solvent). At the time we had to do our cooking on wood stoves, and they were notoriously difficult to get started in the morning. Oddly enough, that year we didn't have any trouble at all getting our morning fires going without the varsol. Well, of course, we couldn't just take the stuff back home again. So at night we would get a fire going in the stove and the guys would pour the varsol down the smokestack. It was darn impressive. We'd have fire shooting about six feet beyond the top of the chimney! (And you wonder why the Parks Service is trying to get the BSA to pay for that wildfire that they started! I'm not surprised that it happened at all. I'm more surprised that we never caused one!)

I remember another summer camp when I was the head commissioner. For whatever reason, we were responsible for building the campfire for one of the camp wide campfires that we had. My staff and I went to work. By the time that we were done, we had built two of the most perfect log cabin fire lays ever. They stood about 4 feet tall on top of the altars that were in the campfire circle. The bottom logs were 6 to 8 inches in diameter and graduated slightly all the way to the top where the last layer of sticks was smaller than a pencil. On top of that we had nests of tinder. Sheer perfection.

I don't remember why we weren't at the campfire that night - for some reason we had to be away - but we were told that our fires cleared out the first 8 rows of seats! They had to bring in Indian Pumps to cool the fires off! Needless to say, we never had fire duty again! It was one of the proudest moments in my life!

It's truly a wonder we were never seriously injured in all of our Scouting exploits. We sure enough did plenty of stuff that should have gotten us killed! Chalk it up to some guardian angels that are going to have some words for us when we meet them in Heaven!
 Posted by Hello

Monday, July 05, 2004

The New Wave of Immigrants

The United States has been experiencing an unbelievable wave of Spanish-speaking immigrants from Latin and South America over the past decade. When I was in high school I never encountered any Hispanic people; however, by the time that I had graduated from college, Spanish-speaking people were not only common, but were becoming a significant element in the demographic composition of Rowan County and North Carolina. Apparently, this is a common trend throughout the United States – a trend that has many Americans concerned.

I am actually glad to see this wave of immigration. In a way it tells me that America is still doing something right. If it weren’t, people wouldn’t still want to move here in droves. America has always been a nation of immigrants. If you believe what the scientists tell us, even the Native Americans (that were here before Europe had figured out that the world really was round) immigrated across a great Asian land bridge.

Every generation or so, (at least since the discovery of the Americas by Europe) a new round of immigrants has come to our shores. They have come here for different reasons: some are trying to escape pestilence or oppression in their homeland, others sought the ability to worship as they chose, many desired economic opportunity, and thousands of others simply yearned for the freedoms that we enjoy here. Each wave of immigrants has brought with them many elements of the cultures that they left: foods, traditions, and ideas. Many of them also carry with them the vision of what America is supposed to be. They actually believe when they come here that it is a land of opportunity – that if they work hard and are creative they can live the American Dream. I read a great article, entitled What Makes America Unique, illustrating this very attitude on Newsmax today.

America would have never beaten the Russians to space or the Germans to the discovery of atomic power without the wave of German immigrants during World War Two. Indians have proven their ability in computer technology. And we have gained much knowledge through the Russian and Jewish scientists that have come to our country.

Just think of the foods that we would be missing without immigration! There would be no Chinese food and no pizza! Japanese steakhouses wouldn’t exist. What about the fabulous Jewish bagel shops and delicatessens that we would be without? Mexican food? It just wouldn’t be here without our immigrants. How about peanut butter? Without African immigrants, we may have never discovered one of my favorite foods! (Thank you, George Washington Carver!) The American culinary landscape would be far less interesting without our (relatively) new neighbors.

There are also holidays that we wouldn’t celebrate without our immigrants. Who would be interested in celebrating St. Patrick’s Day if there were no Irishmen in our American family tree? Would there be Cinco de Mayo celebrations without the Mexican descendants that live among us?

These waves of immigrants have also provided our industry and job markets people that have been willing to work hard for little money at jobs disdained by many - all for the sake of a shot at the American Dream. It has happened over and over and over again throughout our history as a nation. Whether it was Scots escaping the tyranny of British rule, or the Irish seeking to escape starvation during the potato blight, or the Poles, or the Chinese, the Hispanics, or even African slaves that were brought here against their own will; these people have brought their ingenuity and hard work to the American labor force.

America just wouldn’t be America without ethnic and cultural diversity. There is no escaping it – we would never have accomplished what we have in America without the input of people from all over the world that have bought in to our vision of freedom and opportunity.

Oddly enough, with each wave of immigration has come a resistance to that wave. I suppose that the primary cause of that resistance is people’s natural reticence regarding change. Just like a chemical equation, each addition of a reagent causes a change in the system – an instability that remains until equilibrium is reached. People like equilibrium, but aren’t too happy about instability. They are afraid that the changes will be bad, that the way of life that they have grown to love will be lost because of all of these newcomers and all of their new or foreign ideas. I recently watched a History Channel documentary about the Ku Klux Klan. This horrible organization was at its strongest during a period of significant numbers of new immigrants coming to America. In fact, they commented that it was fear of this wave of immigration that fueled the popularity and growth of the Klan during this period of our history. These fears were unfounded, though. The simple fact is that these waves of immigration have never changed the core DNA of the American vision.

I am more and more aware of similar concerns surrounding the current influx of Hispanic immigrants. The increased voicing of these concerns worries me because I believe that the conditions are becoming right for the return or emergence of an organization like the KKK to vent the fears and prejudices surrounding the Hispanic culture. This sort of racism and ignorance is foolish and unbecoming of Americans.

That is not to say that there are not valid concerns regarding the current immigration. In fact, I have several concerns myself regarding the differences that I see between this migration and the others that our nation has experienced.

The first difference that I see is that many of those who came in past immigrations came to our country legally with full intentions of becoming American citizens. When they arrived they understood that they needed to learn the language of this country and did. They also worked to become citizens. They took classes to learn about the American system of government and history. Sadly, many naturalized citizens know more about how America works than those who are born citizens!

I am not convinced that these same motivations are present in many Hispanic immigrants. Many are here illegally and seem to have no intention of becoming citizens. Few attempt to learn English. Assimilation into the American culture seems to be the last thing on their minds.

Secondly, There are many stories of these illegal aliens abusing medical, food, and housing entitlement programs only to return to their home country with American dollars without ever paying taxes on those earnings. There are also disturbing reports that non-citizen Hispanics are being allowed to vote in American elections. This is ludicrous! Why would anyone become a citizen if they were able to enjoy all of the benefits of citizenship without having to commit to the responsibility of supporting this country financially or physically through military service?

Granted, these problems are our own fault. It is evident that there is need for reform in many areas of our country. Immigration laws need to be enforced. Electoral policy needs to change, making it necessary to provide proof of American citizenship to vote. Laws need to remain firm that English is the official language of this nation. Welfare laws need to be reformed so that non-citizens do not receive the same level of benefit that citizens are entitled to.

I love Hispanic culture. There are many very praise worthy elements to it. The people are fun loving, hard working, and generous. Granted, there are negative elements to the culture too, but every ethnicity has undesirable characteristics, just as every individual does. I say, let us welcome this wave of immigrants among us, but at the same time let’s make it clear that this is America, and if these folks want to be here they need to do things the way that we do them. It's our country. Play by our rules. That means pay your taxes, learn English, be here legally and work towards becoming a citizen. It isn’t too much to ask. It is what every wave of people coming to America before has done.

What It Is All About

Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.

- President Ronald W. Reagan

Sunday, July 04, 2004

A Humble Prayer

Father God, thank You for this wonderful country that I call home. It is truly a land that has seen Your favor and Your protection. Thank You for the beauty that can be found throughout this land. Thank You for the resources that You have placed at our command. Thank You for the prosperity that You have showered on this country. I am grateful for the freedoms that You have given to me and my countrymen. It is wonderful to be able to criticize flaws in the government without fear of death. It is a blessing to be able to worship You freely without fear of arrest or punishment. And it is amazing to have a say in who governs me.

Thank You also for the wise men that You sent to this country to set the foundations in place for this society in which we live. I am grateful that so many of them knew and trusted You and sought Your wisdom as they wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the other laws that govern us. Please send us men of their character and wisdom today as we face challenges that were never foreseen by our forefathers. We need men of such vision, courage, wisdom, and piety to govern us again today.

I know that as a people we haven't always done the right things, and even today there are those who would even reject You from the place of honor that You have been given in our public life. Many desire to tear down the foundations and the pillars that hold our society up. Please forgive us for our failings and please cause these enemies to fail in their pursuits. Please help our country to truly turn to You and honestly put our trust in You. Let our land once again be seen as a city upon a hill. And let it be a place that gives You honor and serves You and brings You glory.

Please give our President and his staff wisdom and guide them as they govern us. Protect them and give them favor both at home and abroad and place their enemies under their feet. Finally, Lord, please protect our land and our military from our enemies. Thank You for Your good and holy care. Amen.

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

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Saturday, July 03, 2004

Cheerwine at O.O. Rufty's

A hometown favorite...

Earlier this afternoon I stopped at a small bait and tackle shop to get some gas and bought a bottle of Cheerwine. I just had to take some time and write about it. The taste of that drink brings back so many great memories.

Cheerwine is a drink that was born right here in my hometown. It is basically a cherry cola and has nothing at all to do with wine. Growing up, it was always funny to travel to different parts of the state and ask for Cheerwine. Folks would look at you funny and say, “We don’t sell wine here, son.”

I guess even that statement says a lot about the world that I grew up in. There were still blue laws on the books that prevented stores from being open on Sundays when I was a kid. There were also a lot of “dry” counties in North Carolina back then. I remember there being major battles to bring liquor by the drink to Salisbury. It was a very polarizing issue. And there are still remnants of those old laws on the books, preventing people from buying alcohol at various times. But I digress.

Anyway, Cheerwine has A LOT of carbonation. Back when I was a kid the only way to get it was to buy a carton of glass bottles (see the picture above) and these bottles had the pry off bottle caps. That saved a lot of headaches, because anyone who has opened a 2-liter bottle of Cheerwine can tell you that if you aren’t careful when opening its twist off cap you’ll likely be wearing it! The other caps seemed to prevent this unpleasant experience!

Cheerwine has finally expanded its horizons past Rowan County. Apparently, it is now available throughout the Southeastern United States. Sadly, in the years of its expansion the quality of the drink seemed to decline. I am not quite sure what the cause of it was, but the quality of Cheerwine was becoming sub-par. If you got it from a soda fountain it tasted right, but getting it from any other source was bound to be disappointing. Perhaps the soda sat around too long and wasn’t fresh anymore; or perhaps the formulation got changed. This was incredibly sad to me because when outsiders would sample my favorite soda they would blaspheme it, saying that it wasn’t good. It was like saying that America, baseball, and apple pie just weren’t up to snuff anymore!

A couple of years ago the company changed its bottles to match an older logo that had been used before I came along. This change seemed to correspond to the change in quality. Recently, the company has gone back to the bottles that I am most familiar with, and the quality has gone back up. The only difference that I have noticed is that the bottle touts real cane sugar as an ingredient. I wonder if that is the source of the difference in the taste of the drinks. Perhaps the company tried to substitute high fructose corn syrup for sugar. Well, whatever the problem was, I’m glad that they’ve got it fixed.

Cheerwine figured in to a lot of my childhood memories. I remember going to my grandfather’s home during the summer months to make homemade ice cream. My favorite kind was the homemade Cheerwine ice cream. It was just awesome! (As if the drink weren’t sweet enough, you go and add MORE sugar to it!) Those were good times. My brother and I would play as the preparations were made, and then we had to take our turn sitting on the ice cream freezer to hold it steady while my dad or grandfather turned the crank. It always took much longer than we wanted it to. I’m not sure which was the worst part: having a frozen behind from sitting on that melting ice, having to wait for the ice cream that was in the freezer, or just having to sit still that long!

Another memory that Cheerwine figures in prominently had to do with trips with my dad to O.O. Rufty’s General Store. The store had been in existence since 1905 and was an absolute wonderland to a kid like me. The front windows were full of all kinds of interesting things, many of them antique. As you walked into the front of the store there were seed bins with many varieties of garden seeds and plants on both sides of the entrance. Once inside the store you could find anything from farm tools to house wares, to clothing. The floors were worn wood with a heavy layer of dust and dirt, and the air had a smell that was a combination of machine shop and farm supply store. There was always more to see in that store than you could ever take in in a million years.

Even beyond all of that wonderment, my favorite part of going to Rufty’s with my dad was getting to go to the old drink coolers that they had there and get a bottled drink. I usually got a Cheerwine, but would sometimes break tradition and get a Brownie or a Sun Drop. It was a ritual with us. (Perhaps you have never seen the kind of coolers that I am talking about, but they are like a chest-type freezer. They had a sliding top and when you went to get a bottle you could tell what you were getting by looking at the bottle cap. I’m sure that is why you rarely ever see this kind of cooler anymore, they just don’t show off the bottles as well as the refrigerator style coolers that they have today.) Every time we ever went into Rufty’s we would get a drink before we left. Usually we would drink it right there in the store because there was a 10-cent deposit for the bottle that we could save by drinking it right there. I don’t remember a single time that we ever went into the store without getting a bottled drink. In fact, up until they sold the business, I would buy a drink when I went in there, even if I was by myself.

There was something special about those times. I am not exactly sure what it was, because I don’t remember a single conversation that we had while drinking those soft drinks, but there was something about it that was just like a Norman Rockwell painting or like the cracker-barrel in the old stores. If I had to guess what it was, I’d say that there was a sense of connection and acceptance between me, my dad and grandfather, and that place and the people around us. It was as if in those times there was never any feeling of being in the wrong place or the wrong time. Time, place, and personality joined in the lobby of O.O. Rufty’s in perfect harmony.

Sadly, the proprietors of Rufty’s have sold out to a new owner. I haven’t been to the “new” store yet. But somehow it just doesn’t seem the same.
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