Thursday, November 05, 2009

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Call your representatives and senators and let them know what you think while you still can.

There is a program going on in my nephew's and niece's school that is seeking to socialize every child with a bunch of ill-conceived psychobabble. The teachers are being forced to take instructional time away from class - EVERY class - to teach this rubbish.

If the teachers don't hang the posters for this initiative they can be fired. If they don't lead the class in the song and hand motions for the initiative they can be fired. ALL of the children are being forced to participate. Any child refusing to participate - even if they merely refuse to do the hand motions MUST be sent to the principal's office. If the teacher doesn't send them to the office the teacher can be fired. Complaints are met with reminders that there are plenty of people who would love to have the teacher's job.

This is the kind of crap that our government is trying to force on us. This is not the way America does things! It is the way the Nazis did things and the way that the Soviets and Chinese did things. If we don't learn to stand up and say, "NO!" then they will keep on pushing until they take every last ounce of freedom and dignity left to us.

But will we be courageous enough to be the first one to stand up and say no? Will we be courageous enough to join the others who have stood up against tyranny and suffer the consequences? Are we willing to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor? If we hang together, we won't have to hang separately. LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!!!!

Paying For Abominations

I discovered today that Nancy Pelosi and company have included a provision in the health care "reform" bill that has been dubbed "Obamacare" that would cover elective abortions under the so-called "public option," and that all subscribers to the public option would be forced to pay premium for abortions. See for yourself.

It would seem that the folks in Washington haven't learned a thing from the polls and from the town hall meetings of this past summer. Perhaps we can teach them the lesson better next October. The arrogance of the ruling party in Washington is stunning. It is time for a fanny smack.

Well, not just the ruling party in Washington. It is time for everyone in DC to get a wake-up call. Granted there are probably a few people doing a good job. I will do my homework and determine if the ones that I have a say over are or not and will vote accordingly next November. They can rest assured that if they have voted for this horrible bill or for cap and trade that they will not get my vote regardless of whatever else they have done while in office. Indeed, I will actively campaign against them. I may even run against them.

Here is what we are dealing with...

"Health, welfare, and defense?" Um, that isn't in the constitution. It is bad when a school kid doesn't know about the constitution. It is even worse when a US Senator doesn't. But the real problem is that even if he knew what it said, he doesn't care. He is interested in his own agenda.

The interview covers the penalties built into "Obamacare" for folks that don't have some sort of insurance. One thing that wasn't covered was the fact that there is provision for a person who refuses to pay such a fine to be jailed. Great. That's awesome.

So, how about people who are unemployed or underemployed? Are we going to force them to buy this coverage too? What that in effect will do is tell someone that they have to choose between putting food on the table, heat in the house, gas in the tank, clothes on their backs and going to jail. Brilliant. I just love Democratic compassion.

See Michelle Malkin's article on protests in Washington today.

Keep stoking the fires, y'all. Keep stoking them.

Nidal Malak Hasan

This is the name of the man who killed a dozen soldiers today at Ft. Hood. He injured 31 others. He was killed in the incident. It is an interesting name, Nidal Malak Hasan. We have been assured that this was not an act of political terrorism. Certainly they wouldn't lie to us. Would they? I hope not, but I know better. At least Nidal knew the difference between a combatant and a civilian.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured in this attack. May God comfort them and bring healing. My thanks are extended to all who honorably serve our nation in the armed forces. Today's tragic events are a reminder that whether home or abroad these folks put their lives on the line for us every day. God bless and protect the people of our military.

I Have Started

I have begun work on the next installment of the Spiritual Warfare series. It will be about being properly dressed for battle. There is a good bit of scriptural research to do on the subject, and it will probably take me a few days to process it all. It feels good to be working towards writing again. It has been a long hiatus.

This weekend I will be going to the One Thing conference at King's Park International Church in Durham, NC. I have been looking forward to going since I first heard about it months ago. It is hard to believe that November is already here.

I don't know what I am looking forward to specifically. I think that I am hoping for a supercharge - a shot of nitro - to propel me into a deeper pursuit of the Lord than I am experiencing right now. That is not to say that I am not pursuing Him, but it seems that my pursuit is lacking something important, and I hope to find some keys to help me kick it up a notch or four. I'm not hungry enough for Him right now. I need to be desperate for more.

I was so challenged by the One Thing '08 conference that I watched last December. Today I found two of the sermons that challenged me most online. The first was by Corey Russell. I watched it about once a week when they had it on their website during and right after the conference. I was really bummed when the International House Of Prayer took it off their website. But I was thrilled when I discovered it online today.

Corey Russell - The Call To Consecration

The other sermon was by Lou Engle and was just as powerful.

Lou Engle - Our Nazirite Calling

So I am hoping to hear at least one of these fellows at the conference this weekend. It is going to be great, but I wonder if I am as well prepared as I should be to receive from this conference. May the Lord meet us all there.

Lately I have been teaming up with a good friend to do some web design. It has been good, but challenging. I suppose that anytime you try to start something there is a decent amount of inertia to overcome. Unfortunately for us the resistance may have cost us some opportunities, but hopefully it will show us the things that we need to work on and will propel us to greater excellence. In fact, I need to keep this short tonight so that I can do some work on one of our contracts before my girlfriend calls.

It has been an interesting season. There is a lot in transition, and I feel to my core that some big changes are in the works - good changes! I felt when I turned 40 a few weeks ago that it was significant in a good way - that there was a coming out of the wilderness after a long time. I'd be lying if I told you that I am not looking forward to enjoying the fruits of the Promised Land. They have been a long time in coming. Now to figure out how to walk this out.

But even there my good friend, Bruce, has had a good word, quoting the passage in Joshua where the people are admonished, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God (representing God's presence and His glory), and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.... Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

That's what I am interested in - seeing the Lord do amazing things among us. But clearly the cost is a consecrated life. Am I willing to dedicate my life to His call that I may see Him do amazing things? I hope so. I have spent much time in His crucible. It would be a shame to become complacent after all of that. May the Lord continue to push all of us further in our pursuit of Him.

Monday, November 02, 2009


Sorry, the post didn't quite happen today. I'm still trying to figure out where the day went. By the time I had finished two phone calls and a visit it was time to go watch some baseball. Yes, I am putting World Series Baseball ahead of a blog post.

Not completely sure how I feel about the Yankees winning tonight. I'm still kind of ticked at them for firing Joe Torre. Not the players' fault I guess though.

Finished off the night watching a special on Fox News about the textbook industry. With each new piece of information I receive the chance that any future children of mine will be educated by the state continues to diminish. I am so tired of the propaganda, lies, and wrong-headedness being unleashed on this nation. Sadly, I'm pretty sure it will get worse before it gets better. God help us. It seems like the nation has been taken over by a bunch of tinfoil hat wearing freaks.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

No Really, I'm Back...

Greetings from the world's slackest blogger! OK, maybe I'm not the world's slackest blogger, but I'm a far cry from the posting that I did last year. Last year I had months that I posted more than I have all year this year. Hmmm. Don't know exactly why that is, but I think part of it is that I didn't have a goal this year of writing an average of one post a day. That was the difference between last year and this. All other activity has pretty much been the same otherwise, so that must be the cause.

Anyway, I hope to do at least one more post today - actually the next installment of my spiritual warfare series. If all goes as planned this afternoon I will be writing about the armor of God. After that I hope to tackle grace, and after that I intend to write on holiness. Hopefully you won't have to wait six more months to get those installments! I will say, though, that grace is a tricky subject to write about, and I have found in the past that it is hard to communicate in words the concept adequately. I guess I am in good company though. Paul's teaching on grace seemed to often be misunderstood. Indeed, I think it is often still misconstrued.

So that will give you something to look forward to! Keep praying for me if you are impatient and want these posts to come faster! I am confident that it will help.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

No One To Defend The Helpless

I don't know if you heard about the Muslim girl who converted to Christianity who has been (somewhat) in the news lately. She ran away from home because she feared that her family would kill her. Today I was saddened to read the following headline:

Judge Orders Christian Convert Runaway to Return to Ohio

My sister in the Lord is being forced back into a situation where she had reason to believe that she would be murdered by her own family. Perhaps the judge is grossly ignorant of the practices of Islam. After all we've been told that Islam is a "peaceful religion." But I've heard too many stories of Muslim converts to Christianity who find themselves "resting in peace" at the hands of those who should have undying love for them.

I am curious what grounds the judge had for forcing this young woman to go back. She is 17 years old - only months from her 18th birthday. Hopefully, those few months will not be her last. I will have to do more research.

The law is to protect the helpless, but in this country it never seems to. Where is justice? Where is the protection for the widow and the orphan? I am convinced that the state of our justice system makes God want to vomit.

I will be praying for this sister. I have been praying - but perhaps not diligently enough. But one thing is sure: God - the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Great I Am, The Sinner's Hope - will be glorified by this young woman's life.

Lord God,

I ask you to protect my sister's life. I ask you to give her courage and strength to face this unjust decision and to trust Your sovereignty and Your goodness. Defend her life, Lord, and soften the hearts of every lost soul that she knows to come to the knowledge of you.

Father, I know that this outcome does not surprise You, and I know that You have prepared her for this moment from before the foundation of time. Let Your Spirit hover close to her. Let her sense Your closeness and Your love. May Your angels encamp around her to keep her from even dashing her foot against a stone.

Fill her with Your word and help her to not worry about what to say or what to do, but to trust that You will give her the words to say and the courage to face whatever comes. Lord God, I place her into Your hands.


God be with you, sister. I will be praying for you.


In another article I read, the father says he loves his daughter and has no plans to harm her. I hope he is telling the truth.

But according to another article the young lady sure seems to think something else:

"If I had stayed in Ohio, I wouldn't be alive," she said. "In 150 generations in family, no one has known Jesus. I am the first — imagine the honor in killing me."

"There is great honor in that, because if they love Allah more than me, they have to do it. It's in the Koran,"

So who do you believe? I think you probably ought to err on the side of life. If it is possible that they may want to kill her then I think she should be allowed to protect her life. We'll see how it plays.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Good Article

Mike Adams is doing a series of articles this week that he is calling Profiles In Courage to encourage us that not all Americans are the moonbats that seem to be making all the headlines these days. You can read the first installment HERE. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Sorry I missed you guys during the month of September. A lot happened: I started dating a very special and lovely lady, I sorted through a lot of detritus from my past, I turned 40, started a men's prayer group in my house, and I began the process of dismantling the garden. I have been swamped. Thankfully, things in the garden are nearly at an end, so perhaps I can get the slackness out and start posting again. Thanks to all of you who have checked back to see if I am still alive. Your loyalty is truly appreciated. I will return to the spiritual warfare series and get things rolling with that again too.

Cover of The Three Battlegrounds by Francis FrangipaneSpeaking of spiritual warfare, an excellent book to check out on the subject (if you are interested) is The Three Battlegrounds by Francis Frangipane. I read it 20 years ago and thought, "Eh, it's OK." Now with some more experience and wisdom under my belt, I realize that it is a fabulous book. I am underlining about every other sentence. I re-read very few books. I'll probably start over in this one as soon as I finish it. Is that a strong enough endorsement? Get the book.

Well, it is late, so I will bid you good night, but I will be back soon. Thanks for your support!


Saturday, August 29, 2009


I can't believe it has been so hard to keep up my posting here lately. There are a couple of contributing factors though. My poor computer is in dire need of some attention - not nearly enough memory for what I am trying to do with it. This sad fact makes everything that I try to do with the computer take much longer than it should. The other major factor that has been playing in is the size of my garden. It has been much more demanding this year. Add to that a project that I have been working on at my parents' house to reclaim the basement from its oblivion as the world's largest junk repository and my participation in a new band, I guess it isn't too surprising that something had to give.

Speaking of the band...

If any of you are in close proximity to Rowan County today you should come out to Godstock. It is an annual festival that is held at the South Rowan YMCA on Kimball Road to raise money to help NC families with critically ill children. The money that is raised from Godstock doesn't go to pay medical bills, but is used to pay other expenses like car payments, rent, electricity, etc. for these families who have had to take a parent out of the work force to care for their sick child. It's a really good cause.

Today my band, which is for the moment called Crosswire, will be playing at Godstock from 12:00 noon to about 1:30. Our style is rock. Our music is mostly worship. I wish I had been able to give you a little more notice. I will, however post some pictures in the next several days and let you know how things went.

And with that I need to sign off and finish getting ready to go. I need to leave in about an hour and a half to get set up. In the meantime, I'll leave you with what I am listening to to get me psyched about today!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Interesting Point About President Obama's Legitimacy

This is a little dry, but it raises some issues that I hadn't heard about. I need to do some more research into her claims, but if what she is saying is true we have a real problem.

Part 1

Part 2

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake Instead

I just finished reading a very well-reasoned and argued article written by Steven Vasquez, the Interim New York State Coordinator for Campaign for Liberty, about why we should oppose any form of nationalized health care program. It is a long read but the arguments are brilliant.

Here are a couple of my favorite parts:

"When a government fails to obey its laws granted to it by the people, it loses its authority to exist."

"The idea that health care is a right is incorrect and immoral. Is housing a right? Is driving a right? Is fresh water a right? Are video games and toys a right? They are privileges earned through productivity, not consumption. The rights we are given are inalienable, and our government can not grant those rights and is prohibited from taking them away through the Constitution's Bill of Rights. We would no longer be a Constitutional Republic, but a Collectivist state, should this occur."

My biggest problem with this health care reform bill is that I see it as an overreaching by the US government in a massive power grab. The government can't run Medicare. It can't manage its own spending. It can't even run a ship disposal program. It has spent Social Security into oblivion and now they want to run health care? I don't think so.

People are very angry about this and the other things that are happening in our government with good reason. No one is listening to them. Is there any better example of gross negligence than the fact that our "representatives" are not even reading the bills that they are voting for? How can you adequately represent your constituents' best interests when you haven't even read the freaking bill? How well would that play in a malpractice lawsuit? "Well the patient looked pretty sick so the doctor just dove in and started operating without reading his charts or talking to anyone about the patient's history first."

And why is it necessary to have a 1,000 page bill ever? Who can possibly digest everything that is in it? And why the rush? If there is nothing to hide, then there should be no rush - especially on a bill that is thicker than an unabridged dictionary. Are people angry? Absolutely!

And instead of listening and slowing down, the administration and many senators and congressmen are ridiculing this anger. I fear that it will be to their own pain. I have never seen the people of this country as angry as they are now, and that is not likely to end well. The problem is the arrogance of the ruling elite right now. They are going to do what they have deemed the "right thing" to do come hell or high water, and anyone who refutes them is labeled "a mob" or "un-American" or "a Brown Shirt."

I managed to earn that scorn from a friend of a friend on Facebook this past weekend for venting a little bit about how utterly ticked I am. I find it funny that Brown Shirts seem to often characterize anyone who disagrees with them as a Brown Shirt. In truth it is the proponents of this bill that are acting the most like fascists.

Is it un-American to protest the loss of liberty that we are threatened with by this administration's policies? The left didn't think so when they were protesting President Bush's policies. I doubt that John Adams or Patrick Henry would have thought so. They both openly pushed for outright war with England! Talk about a rabble rouser! The founders would be appalled that the nation that they sacrificed so much to birth has come to this.

Most Americans have come to understand that the government doesn't listen to polite. It only understands passion - because passion is the only power that the people really have. When people get passionate enough they start acting, and that gets really unpredictable for politicians. Except the current group of Do-dahs that is up there now thinks that they'll be able to pull a Goebbels and repeat the lie long enough for the simple to believe it. And yet, even the President, master of rhetoric that he is, cannot avoid the truth that under his plan there will be certain points where treatment will be withheld.

I really wish I had time tonight to get into more detail about the problems that are coming out about this bill and about some of the alternatives that I have pondered, but it just isn't going to happen. Perhaps I can return to it soon and go into greater depth. Apparently Senator Burr from North Carolina has made a proposal of his own that I would like to read.

The bottom line is that the powers that be need to get a grip on reality, start listening to the people, pay attention to their anger, take them seriously, and readjust their thinking lest they, acting like Marie Antoinette, push the people too far and meet her same end.


The makers of Dove soap have begun a self esteem campaign for girls/women that is pretty cool. Their website contains some pretty amazing commercials that really show how Madison Avenue has negatively impacted the self esteem of millions of people the world over. One that really decloaks the beast is one called Evolution. It is definitely worth a watch. In fact, all the videos on the site are good.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Latest

It has been a while since I have published, and that is almost entirely the garden's fault - that and the fact that I have hardly been home in the past month. Tomorrow I am finishing up a house-sitting commitment that I made, and then I'll be back to my own bed. YES! You know, it is hard to beat sleeping in your own bed.

I overdid it with the garden this year for sure. Some things have been sadly neglected - like my purplehull peas. I'll be surprised if I get much from them at all this year. You do what you can do, and decide what to get done with the time that you have. Sadly, the purplehulls have taken a back seat to the limas, green beans and butter beans.

The green beans and butter beans have done better this year than I ever imagined that they would though. I have only picked the limas once and have already gotten more than twice what I got all season last year. The butter beans have produced well too, but I have discovered that they are the devil to pick. They are about 10x harder to pick than the limas - and I used to think that limas were hard to pick. I doubt that I'll be planting butter beans next year. I don't like them well enough to justify the work involved in picking them.

The broccoli has stopped and I need to pull it up, and my corn is coming along nicely. It is a little over knee high. I am still getting tomatoes too, but some of them have quit and others are starting to slow down some. My okra is doing nicely too. The green beans seem to be hitting their second wind, but I am leaving a couple rows for seed. The squash and zucchini are done, but my peppers are still producing very well.

Well, that is all I have time for right now. You can expect to hear more from me next week!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Counterattack

A funny thing happens when you begin to write about spiritual warfare - the spiritual warfare that you are experiencing gets more serious. Not long after I finished the article Choosing Your Ground I was hammered by the most intense battle that I have experienced in years.

Did I know one was coming? Yes; but I have to admit that it was far more severe than I had anticipated. It was like a wave that knocked me off of my feet and rolled me around under the water for a while. I am only now beginning to find the ground and get my feet back under me again.

While it is disconcerting that I was hit so hard, I was reminded yesterday by my pastor that, "a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity." Thank God that my righteousness isn't based on any goodness inherent in me, but is solely dependent on the perfection of Jesus Christ imputed to me by faith. God is certainly good!

The aftermath of the attack has left me pretty tender and wounded, but I see the attack as a good thing. In it the enemy was allowed to sift me and used a seemingly small area of darkness in my heart as the access point for his attack. He exploited this area of rebellion in my heart to his advantage to quickly open up a breech on a flank that I thought that I had thoroughly defended. Because of this attack I am now aware of an area where I had grown complacent and that needs to be submitted to God.

Another positive on the heels of this attack is that it would seem that the articles that I have written have struck a nerve with the enemy. That is a very good thing. Thus, I intend to continue writing. As I suggested in Total War, if he bloodies me, I have every intention of returning the favor.

The most disturbing outcome of the attack has been how long it has taken me to get back in the saddle. I'm not even sure that I'm back there yet, but I do seem to be moving that way. And as I return to the saddle, I will return to the offensive. I intend to write the next installment of the Spiritual Warfare Series in the coming days.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Garden Update

Things are going well in the garden. Yesterday I had some good help too. My nephew and my niece helped me pick cucumbers, tomatoes, banana peppers, onions, broccoli, and green beans. They also helped me to put out some more soaker hose for irrigation. And we also encouraged the purplehull runners to climb the trellis. My niece told me, "Uncle Jonathan, this is the most fun we have ever had together!" That did my heart good!

All told we picked about 2 gallons of green beans. They were some of the prettiest ones I have ever seen. I'm looking forward to tasting them soon too! My niece even helped me to string and break the beans last night. While we watched the Braves finish their sweep of the Phillies! Whoo! Now if the Braves can just keep it going for the rest of the season. Gardening is great because it gives me an excuse to watch baseball! You might as well do something while you are processing the harvest!

Some of the new tomato varieties that I grew this year are pretty good. I really like the taste of both the Celebrity and the Early Girl tomatoes. The Celebrity tastes a lot like the Better Boy whereas the Early Girl is really sweet. The German Johnson had a good taste too. We should have some other varieties to taste soon. I have been a little disappointed with the Roma tomatoes' seeming proclivity to bloom end rot. I haven't been able to get any Calcinit Tropicote on them this year and I am sure that it isn't helping matters, but I have only found the problem on my Better Boys and my Romas. I have been putting off putting out the CT because the pellets melted and have become one large block. I don't look forward to breaking that block up into a powder that will get all over my hands when I go to put it out. Blech.

Onions are hanging in there but I'll be pulling them up soon. I think they are about done.

I still need to sort some irrigation issues. I need to get some for my corn and some for the remainder of the purplehulls. My corn isn't up yet, probably because I haven't been able to get any water on it yet. I need to get that sorted quickly because I need to get it going. And I also want to do a couple successive plantings and that needs to be done soon. I'd also like to get some pumpkins planted soon.

Loving the summer weather this week. If it would stay like this I wouldn't mind summers at all. Keep me under 90 degrees and I'm a pretty happy camper.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Garden Update

Things are going nicely in the garden, although it is starting to get a little dry. I have started getting tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, broccoli, and peppers. All of my beans are blooming, the cantaloupe and watermelon are doing nicely, and the okra is finally getting going.

It is a pretty garden this year. We have put up trellises for the green beans, purplehull peas, and cucumbers to climb. Everything is nice and green. At least for now.

I'm still sorting out irrigation issues. I noticed my green beans starting to go a little yellow on me from the lack of rain and abundant heat over the past week so I went to work to make sure that I got irrigation to them today. I ended up putting 6 patches on one of the soaker hoses. It could have used 8, but I only had 6, so I cut out a bigger section than normal so that I could get the last two leaks repaired. I have two more hoses to get sorted out. I need to do so soon because I have corn in the ground now that I doubt will come up if I don't get some water on it. The purplehulls are going to be needing water too.

And that is your farm report!

A Quote For Today

Is it the role of the church to shape the culture or to merely reflect it?... Christians need to take a break from worshiping this culture and the idols it produces. We need to take a closer look at the man in the mirror.

- Mike Adams from his article The Advocate Of The Episcopal Church

Ubercool Picture

F-22 Raptor breaking the sound barrier.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Beach Pictures

Carl the crab
If you are interested you can see more pictures from Corolla on my Facebook page. I would post more here, but I don't feel like trying to resize each one! For some reason the small medium and large editor on Blogger isn't working. I will leave you this picture though. It is one of my favorites...

Awesome monster beach bus
What could be cooler than a monster bus that can drive on the beach? Awesome!

It is hard to believe that this has already been over two weeks ago!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wynton Marsalis On Integrity

Excellent interview. I really like the way Wynton Marsalis thinks. He is clearly a very intelligent man. I'd love to have a few hours to sit down with him and talk - and jam too! Too bad most of the folks in charge don't see things a clearly and reasonably as he does.

Friday, June 12, 2009

More From The Beach

Wednesday we ended up going over to the Currituck lighthouse. It is a very beautiful structure. I believe that it may be my favorite NC lighthouse now. The lighthouse is open for visitors to climb, and climb we did. I got some pretty good pictures all along the way. I would love to share them with you now, but for some reason, my friends' computer cannot find the driver for my camera. I blame Vista. We also looked around at the buildings around the lighthouse too. There were some very interesting details.

For instance, there was a two-holer latrine/outhouse out there. It was not in operation, but an inspection of the building revealed that there would be absolutely no privacy in the privy. If I can get pictures up, you'll see what I mean. I also saw what looked to be a double cistern and water collection system on the keeper's house. I have pictures of that too. It is a shame that they didn't have someone out there to explain what everything is and to give some background information about the lighthouse and grounds.

We also explored the old Corolla village and shops. It is pretty much all tourist boutiques. The one big score that we did get was a barbecue joint that was in the village. Excellent 'que. Their ribs were very good and everything that I tasted was, well, tasty. For Eastern style barbecue it was a pleasant surprise.

Wednesday night we took another swing at Triopoly - although we probably should have called it Dupoly? We took the top level off to help shorten the game. I was playing great and had lots of sets and had even built several skyscrapers, but once again the other players started boycotting my properties. It was very sad, and somehow I ended up being cash poor and going down in ignominious defeat. "The Godfather" seems to have lost his touch. Perhaps it is because we are playing the international edition instead of the original one! After Triopoly we did a little bowling on the Wii. Very fun night. I even managed to pull off a few of my niece's over the shoulder strikes.

Yesterday we went to get some supplies for fishing. We bought bait at one store, but they didn't have licenses and they didn't have the other tackle that we needed. Afterwards we went shopping for some gifts. I was generally underwhelmed at the offerings. I saw absolutely nothing that I couldn't live without. We finished up at another tackle shop where I was able to get my license and some flounder rigs. It was a nice shop and the owner was very helpful. I don't recall the name of the store right now, but it was in the same shopping center as the Food Lion. His prices were pretty reasonable too.

Our fishing expedition didn't go so well. I was fishing with an old Penn Number 9 baitcaster. I had never fished with it before. I guess it would probably be safe to still say that! I spent most of my time "fishing" trying to get backlashes out of the line. I thought a couple of times that I had figured out how to do it, but another cast using the same technique demonstrated (with a mighty snarl of 20 lb test) that I had not. I also had my license checked for the first time on the beach this trip. I thought that it was interesting that it was checked by a deputy instead of a Wildlife officer.

After a couple hours in which no one had gotten a bite (but a lot of fish had gotten a free meal) David's son was tired of fishing. So I left the baitcaster and went back to my more familiar Penn spinning reel. I did have better success, although not with the flounder rig. After about a half an hour of fishing with it getting no bites I decided to switch to a drum rig like we usually use in the fall. It wasn't long before I did get a really nice blue bite. However, by that point most everyone was ready to move on so we packed up and headed on up the beach to look around some.

We didn't see the horses this time, but we did see a wedding on the beach complete with a steel drum band. I have never quite understood the fascination with beach weddings. Not for me, thanks.

Last night we started trying to get rid of some of the leftovers that we have been amassing. Most of the dinner was veggies, although we did take the leftover grilled chicken and steak from earlier in the week and added them to salads. Mmmmmm. Very tasty.

Instead of a game last night we ended up working on development of a game that David and I am working on. It is an iPhone application. I added some information to the database and he did some coding. We also kept an eye on the Baltimore/Seattle baseball game. Tonight Baltimore is playing the Braves. I hope that we can watch some of that too.

Today we have taken our time and not done too much. David and his family went out to play some miniature golf and I have been enjoying the solitude of having the house to myself.

Tonight we will probably play some more games. I am hoping to play some Risk. I've only played it once before and want to take another swing at it. Of course we will also continue to play billiards too. David, his son and his dad are all pretty good. I rarely win against them, but I have managed to pull off some pretty cool shots this week, including a few jumped cue shots to sink a snookered ball.

Sadly, our time here at the beach is coming to an end. We have to relinquish this wonderful house and head back to reality. I'll probably go kicking and screaming!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Update From The Beach

Yesterday we drove out on the beach above Corolla. It was nice out there. The dunes are really cool. It is strange to see people out on the beach doing anything besides fishing... it has been so long since I have been at the beach during peak season. Usually when I'm here the only folks here are fishermen! The water is also much colder now than it usually is when I am here in November. I doubt the water is much warmer than 60 degrees right now.

I also got to see some of the wild horses yesterday. I only saw them from a distance, but two of the ladies from our group walked up the beach and were able to get pretty close to them. In fact they got pictures taken with them and autographs too.... OK there were no autographs, but there were pictures. My friend, David, drove up to pick up the ladies and he managed to get his picture taken with them too. We also saw some porpoises or dolphins, lots of pelicans, and something that I had never seen before - a whole flock (probably 40 or more) of Canadian geese sitting out on the ocean. They hung around until they saw the dolphins...

The SPF-40 seemed to do the job yesterday. No sunburn.

A big thunderstorm came up after we had been there a couple hours. That was sufficient to get us off the beach. It ended up raining most of the rest of the night. So to pass the afternoon we broke out Triopoli. For those who have not played Triopoly before it is a modification of Monopoly. But the truth be told it is probably not enough of a modification of Monopoly to have kept the creators from getting shut down for copyright infringement. It is almost impossible to find the game now.

But anyway the game is basically Monopoly on steroids. Up to 8 people can play and it takes hours. I have not ever actually finished a game to the bitter end. Instead of one board you have three concentric boards. I'll try to include a picture here in a little bit. There is a whole lot more property than in Monopoly and the stakes are higher. There are also two casinos in the game that can either save you or ruin you! They had almost saved me yesterday. I hit it big 5 times out of six with 100-1 odds.

Last night we enjoyed the best fajitas that I have had in a long time, got down with our bad selves to some 80s funk and 70s disco and played some billiards. A good time was had by all. David is the reigning billiards champ, but you need to look out for his dad who has been dubbed "the closer."

Today I'm not sure what we'll end up doing. Roughly half of our party has to leave today so we will probably go back down to the beach for them to get in one last huzzah before the long drive back home. There has been talk of going to see the movie Up. I'm looking forward to that. I've been wanting to see it ever since I first started seeing the trailers on Facebook. I'm also going to try to make my way over to see the lighthouse and the stuff around it today or tomorrow.

We also have two more games to play. My friend brought the Emergency! board game, which will have to be tried out. It doesn't look all that complicated, but well, it was my favorite TV show as a kid. I also brought Risk. I hope we'll take a shot at that too. I've only played it once, but had a good time even though I made the classic blunder - I got involved in a land war in Asia.

So that's what's new and exciting here in Corolla. I'll update again when there is something fun to report.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Some Time Away

Today I have headed down to Corolla with some friends, leaving things at home in the capable hands of my cousin, and my dad is keeping an eye on my garden for me.

This is my first time to this part of the Outer Banks. It is really different from the area around Hatteras, but I think it is prettier here than Hatteras is. There are some really interesting things close by that I am going to do my best to go see. Currituck lighthouse is within blocks of the house where I am staying. Definitely will go see that. I also passed by the place where the Wright brothers flew for the first time. Would like to see that too. It seems like I passed something else that I thought I'd like to see. Hmmm.

Gas is a lot cheaper down here than it is at home. It was $2.55 in Salisbury and I saw it for as low as $2.46 here. Never expected that. Not that I'm arguing...

I'll see if I can get some pictures for you. I don't know if I will be able to download pictures while I am here or not. If not. I'll post them when I get back! More later!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day Anniversary

Men storming the beach at Normandy June 6, 1944Today is the 65th anniversary of D-Day the invasion of Normandy. I want to honor the men who faced the horrors of those beaches. They sacrificed in ways that those who weren't there will never comprehend. Thank you, men, for your courage and for paying such a high price to win the war. Thank you for fighting for your buddies and for your families. May your sacrifices not be in vain. God bless you all.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

20 Years Ago Today...

Lone protester resisting Chinese tanks in the Tiananmen Square Massacre20 years ago today, the communist Chinese government violently crushed a peaceful demonstration by thousands of Chinese people at Tiananmen Square who were petitioning for democracy. Last year I wrote an article titled Remember Tiananmen Square! I think the words that I wrote back then are just as relevant today - perhaps even more so.

Since his election, President Obama has hastened our nation toward Marxism at an alarming speed, with many in the media nodding and applauding right along. It was telling when I overheard a report on the news the other day that people (I think it was in China, but I am not sure because I only caught the tail end of the segment) were asking the reporters if President Obama were a Communist or a Democrat. I've been wondering the same thing.

Leading up to the anniversary of the massacre the Chinese government clamped down on anyone who could possibly draw attention to the significant anniversary. According to an AP report today the Chinese government is taking a similar approach to Tiananmen as the Japanese have taken toward Nanking: they are pretending that it didn't happen, and have been quite terse with foreign governments that suggest that they should acknowledge what happened there.

But how could they acknowledge what happened? Acknowledging it would be to concede the wrongness of their response. To admit wrongdoing would cause the government to lose face and would preclude the utilization of the same response in a similar circumstance. It seems clear from the government's approach to this anniversary that they fully intend to reserve the option to use the same draconian tactics again. Little seems to have changed in the way that the Chinese government does business. It is too bad that the Chinese government hasn't chosen to lead the way by acknowledging what they did. Perhaps it would have helped to encourage the Japanese to acknowledge Nanking.

As for America, the clock is ticking. It is time for us to rise up NOW and begin to protest the theft of our freedoms and demand that the Bill of Rights be held sacred. If we don't have the courage to fight now while we are armed, will we have the courage to face our own tanks when we're as unarmed as the demonstrators at Tiananmen were? Wake up, America!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Law Or Justice?

I have been pondering an interesting thought this morning. It has occurred to me this morning that our nation's courts, judges, and lawyers are more interested in law than they are justice. Perhaps this is why I am so often flummoxed by the things that lawyers say and do. If this were not the case, how else could a lawyer get someone who is clearly guilty of breaking the law off on a technicality?

An acquaintance of mine is a law student and had the following question on an exam:

Assume that you finally have graduated from law school and have moved to the State of Nirvana, a jurisdiction which follows the general law of criminal procedure that you studied in this course. You have begun work in the Trial Division of the Nirvana Prosecuting Attorney's office and have been asked to evaluate a case in your office. Your task is to write a detailed and candid report to your supervisor, the Chief Prosecuting Attorney, determining the legal issues involved, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, and predicting the probable outcome of each issue at trial. Structure your report around the items of evidence that the Prosecuting Attorney probably will want to use against the defendant in this case. Following are the agreed-upon facts and procedures up to this point.

The defendant in the criminal case you are analyzing is Xiao-Ling (XL). XL is a 29-year-old woman and a recent Chinese immigrant with an only moderate command of the English language. At the time of the alleged crimes, XL was living in a small apartment at the back of her restaurant. XL is part-owner and manager of the restaurant, working there about twelve hours a day, every day.

Local Nirvana narcotics detectives have long suspected that members of the large local Chinese community were involved in the importation, sale, and distribution of illegal narcotics, particularly cocaine and heroin. The police believed that the narcotics were being brought in from a drug ring in Beijing, dominated by the Dong family. Police officers had no individual suspects locally but generally were watching the activities around the twenty-five Chinese restaurants in Nirvana, including XL's restaurant, in the hope that they might discover evidence of narcotics trafficking.

Two weeks ago on a Friday evening, undercover narcotics officers Able (A) and Baker (B), dressed in casual clothing, went to XL's restaurant at about 7:00 p.m. A and B had dinner and lingered at their table after eating. After a few minutes, A got up from the table and went back near the rear of the restaurant to the men's restroom. Meanwhile, B walked up to the front of the restaurant to talk with XL, who was sitting behind the cash register near the front door. B began to comment on the menu and asked XL how busy the restaurant had been lately. B then asked XL if she knew of the Dong family in Beijing, and XL responded: "Yes, we buy food from them." B then told XL that he was in the market for about ten kilos of high quality "Beijing coke" such as that available from the Dong family and asked XL if she could provide it to him. XL responded: "Tomorrow; noon; I have." B then left the restaurant.

As B and XL were talking up front, A left the men's restroom and looked across the hallway into the kitchen. Seeing no one in the kitchen at the time, A walked through the open doorway into the kitchen. In the far corner of the kitchen, A saw an unopened package addressed to XL and with a return address of "Dong Family; Beijing, China." Just at that moment, the cook came into the kitchen and asked A what he wanted. A mumbled something about looking for the men's room, and the cook directed A to that location.

Once out of the sight of the cook, A walked to the far rear of the hallway to the doorway to XL's apartment. An elaborate curtain covered the doorway, but by standing right next to the curtain and peering through the curtain's few openings, A could see into the apartment. On a table in the apartment, A could see a small weighing scale and small plastic bags such as often were used to divide up large quantities of drugs into small packages for sale to individuals. A wastepaper basket was sitting just inside the apartment doorway on the other side of the curtain. A reached around the curtain and grabbed a small paper bag out of the basket, noticing some sort of residue at the bottom of the bag. He stuffed the bag under his coat and walked through the restaurant and out the front door, joining B outside. The subsequent laboratory analysis of the contents of the bag showed traces of heroin.

The next morning, A and B applied for a search warrant for XL's restaurant and apartment. A and B told the magistrate that they had found the heroin bag in a trash can in the men's restroom, had seen the unopened package with the Dong return address on a table next to theirs in the dining area, and had seen the small weighing scale with white powder on it through an open, outside window into XL's apartment. The magistrate issued the warrant to search for illegal narcotics.

At noon, A and B returned to XL's restaurant with the search warrant but not telling anyone that they had the warrant. Not seeing XL out front in the dining area, B walked quickly back to the rear of the restaurant, pushed aside the curtain hanging at the doorway to XL's apartment, and stepped into the living room of the apartment. XL emerged from her bedroom and told B to wait for her out front. Instead of stepping back out of XL's apartment, B walked over to the table with the scales on it. B picked up a cardboard box from the floor, opened the top flaps, and saw plastic bags of white powder inside the box. B said "Is this the stuff I asked for?", and XL responded "No! Mine! Leave alone! Get out!"

Screaming in Chinese, XL stormed out into the restaurant where she encountered A talking with the cook. The cook had told A that the restaurant gets many packages from the Dong family in Beijing, and XL takes the packages back into her apartment. A approached XL and started to say something, but XL screamed at him: "I get lawyer!"

By then, B had come back out into the restaurant and walked up to XL. B read XL the Miranda warnings and asked if XL wanted to waive the rights. XL did not respond to B's question about waiving the rights but instead asked A and B "You cops?" B answered "yes," and XL responded "Then not talk!"

A and B then placed XL in handcuffs and put her in the backseat of a police car, along with the cardboard box full of white powder found in XL's apartment. Subsequent laboratory tests indicated the white powder was cocaine. A and B sat in the front seat of the police car and began driving down to the police station. B remarked: "Well, we finally found the Nirvana connection to Beijing's Dong family." A replied: "Yup, I think we hit the jackpot." At that point, XL said from the backseat: "Dumb narcs know nothing." B replied: "Sure, lady. We know all we need to know." XL then began to describe her involvement with the Dong Family. By the time the police car had reached the police station about 20 minutes later, XL had made several admissions as to her involvement in importing and selling cocaine and heroin out of her restaurant.

When they arrived at the police station, a retired real estate attorney named John who was a frequent customer of XL's restaurant was just walking by on the sidewalk. XL called out to John, and John came over to her and the officers. XL told John that she had been arrested and that her restaurant had been searched. XL then asked John whether she should be talking with the officers about all of this. John replied: "If you've got nothing to hide, you always should cooperate with the authorities. I'm sure this is all a big mistake and that you can explain everything." John then walked on his way, and XL and the officers entered the police station. XL then agreed to make a full, written confession to the police, which she did, taking over ten pages to complete.

You are now preparing the case for trial and have been asked by the Chief Prosecuting Attorney to write a detailed and candid memorandum structured around the items of evidence that the Prosecutor probably will want to use. The Prosecutor has listed the evidence which presumably will be used as follows:

1. "Yes, we buy food from them."
2. "Tomorrow; noon; I have."
3. Unopened package with Dong Family return address
4. Paper bag with heroin residue.
5. Cardboard box with bags of cocaine.
6. "No! Mine! Leave alone! Get out!"
7. Cook's statements as to packages from Dong.
8. XL's admissions while in police car.
9. XL's 10-page written confession.

Write your report.

Now I'm not a law student or an attorney, but based on the things that I have read and seen on TV, I would dare say that Xiao-Ling would stand a decent chance at getting off (with a good attorney) because of the unethical (and probably illegal) way that the police put their case together and handled her arrest.

That's not justice. That's law. Justice would demand that all of the parties that broke the law would be punished even if the evidence were not gathered legally.

Or for a more practical and common situation; is it just for people to be able to get out of a speeding ticket by hiring an attorney? What is just about that? That arrangement deprives the poor of the same "justice" afforded to the rich. Justice would demand that punishment be required of those who violate the law. No, our society does not love justice.

Perhaps this American mindset regarding the law is why so many have trouble understanding God's justice. God's justice is absolute and cannot be bribed. There is only one thing that will cause you to avoid paying the penalty for your crimes in God's court and that is the surrender of the lordship of your life to Jesus Christ. When we submit ourselves to Him and cry out for His mercy then He begins to advocate for us.

But even this advocacy isn't without justice, for Jesus satisfied the requirements of justice when He died for us. God poured out on Him the wrath that was reserved for those who ran to Him for mercy. But sadly, that wrath is still reserved for those who have not done so. If you have never surrendered your life to Jesus, please do so and hide yourself in Him from the wrath that is to come.

It Has Begun

Yesterday I spent a good bit of time in the garden. I was able to get some plants in the ground. I planted some more tomatoes, some jalapeño peppers, and cucumbers. I also transplanted some tomatoes that had come up volunteer and some green beans that managed to get out of their rows. I also got up some rocks and tilled one row to get the weeds out. I drove some stakes for the new tomatoes and tied the tomatoes.

I also dug six post holes. That was the toughest thing I did. On my next to last hole there was huge rock about ¾ of the way to the depth that I was digging. It would have been nice to have some dynamite.... After an epic struggle I finally managed to lever that thing out.

Today I plan to do some more work. I need to spray, get up rocks, and till. I'd like to get the rest of the irrigation sorted, but that is probably more than I'll get done today. I also need to fertilize, finish the trellis for the peas, get the peas up on the trellis, and weed the peas. Anybody bored today? Sounds like I have another day's worth of work to do. More later!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coming Soon...

I've begun thinking about the next installment in the Spiritual Warfare series. I think that it is going to be about grace. The trick is going to be figuring out how to unravel this very difficult concept. It is more abstract than the concepts that I have tackled so far and is something that I have been pondering for almost 20 years.

Yesterday I managed to write my first query letter and submit my first article for publication. I hope that I'll get a positive response to it. I should know something by the end of June.

I hope to head over to the garden for a little while this afternoon. I have some plants to set out and I will probably also tie up the tomatoes again. I don't think that I'll do any heavy work today because I am playing guitar tomorrow. I'm visiting a friend's church in the Charlotte area.

Now I am going to take a little time and practice guitar and figure out what I will be singing for tomorrow. I hope that you are all enjoying this beautiful Saturday!

Top Ten Things You Don't Want Jesus To Say To You

Here are 10 things you never want to hear Jesus say to you:

10.) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

9.) I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

8.) Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.

7.) Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'

6.) You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

5.) You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. You who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

4.) You wicked, lazy servant! Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

3.) Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

2.) I tell you the truth, I don't know you.

1.) Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.

These are some of the scariest verses in the Bible, and every one of these words was spoken by Jesus Himself. Do not deceive yourself by picking only the parts of the Bible that you like and that make you feel safe and happy. Partial truth isn't truth. It is the language of hell; for satan rarely ever tells a lie that doesn't contain some truth.

The Scriptures are truth, but they must be used correctly. The devil tried to convince Jesus to jump from the roof of the temple, using Psalm 91:11-12 to justify it, but because Jesus knew all of God's Word He was able to refute the devil's lie. Scripture interprets Scripture.

Do these verses sound like "gentle Jesus, meek and mild?" Of course not! We have tried to jam Jesus into a little box that treats Him like a glorified wimp. Nothing could be further from the truth as the aforementioned verses illustrate. Is Jesus loving? Sure He is! Nobody loves more passionately and deeply than He does, but Jesus is also a warrior who will destroy all the works of the devil. He is the King of all creation who will judge the nations with a rod of iron! I don't want to be working against Him when He comes back!

Our lives are so full of sin. Even if we get rid of all of the ones that are obvious, there are still plenty left to debase us. We must humble ourselves and submit to His rule in our lives. We have to stop arguing with Him about the things that He declares to be sin. He is King! He gets to make the rules! And whether we agree with those rules or not, they are still the laws by which we will be judged one day. Please submit to Jesus and His Word. I don't want you to face the terror of hearing Him speak any of this top ten list to you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garden Pictures

Hello everyone. Well, I was able to upload my pictures over at Mom and Dad's house today, and I thought I'd share them with you. To start out I thought I'd show you a picture of the garden from about this time last year.

Jonathan's Garden 2008

Here is this year's version:

Jonathan's Garden 2009
OK. Not only is the picture larger, the garden is too. In the top picture you will notice that the garden stops at that persimmon tree. This year the garden has engulfed the tree. Also last year's garden ended about where that soaker hose is cutting across the picture horizontally about ½ the way up the picture. I figure that I have probably added about 50% more area this year.

Jonathan's Garden 2009
I have rearranged things this year some. The row to the far left is where my okra is planted. Next to the okra are my tomatoes and my sweet peppers. Next to the tomatoes are my fordhook lima beans. And next to the fordhooks are baby lima beans. I also will be planting some jalapeño peppers next to the baby limas and may plant some Irish potatoes in that same row. I also hope to plant some white sweet potatoes on the other side of the persimmon tree in that row.

The section with horizontal rows is arranged as follows: in the section nearest to the camera are my various squash plants. I think I have 9 summer squash and 3 zucchini plants. Next to the squash are my cucumbers. I have six more cucumber plants to put out. Next to the cucumbers I have 5 rows of green beans. Next to the green beans are one section of my onions. There are two different varieties in that section. I really can't remember what they were though. (I think I had some Cherry and some Texas Gold and one other variety, but I really can't remember.) Next to the onions are my green peas. And beyond the green peas are my cantaloupe and watermelon plants. After that is my second section of onions (a third variety), which adjoin my broccoli, and finally 5 rows of purplehull peas (crowder peas.)

Everything seems to be coming up nicely.

Here are green beans a week ago verses where they are today:

Green beansGreen bean rows

I have a squash bloom now!

Squash plant with bloom.
Onions last week:


And now:

And peas:

Green Peas, not to be confused with the wacky environmental group of a similar name.
Broccoli then and now:

broccoli 1broccoli2

And Purplehulls...


The first picture doesn't show the plants that well, but it does show how much the garden expanded this year. It began on the other side of that tree.

And this is one of the bigger problems that I have to contend with - leaky hoses. The soakers do a pretty good job overall, but they tend to need a good bit of repair through the course of the season.

takin a leak

There are tomatoes coming on and blooms on lots of the plants. Everything is looking good. If it will stop raining for a couple of days I'll re-spray everything because it needs it again. There are some hungry pests out there. I also need to tie the tomatoes again and weed the peas and finish making the trellises. It's always something!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Might As Well...

Well, it is extremely late, but I still have the energy so I might as well give an update on the garden while I am writing.

Today saw me finishing up some of the work in my garden. I managed to finish weeding the broccoli, hoed in between the last two rows of onions, put out some soaker hoses, and applied an insecticide to the plants that the bugs have been so enthusiastically eating. I also tied the tomatoes for the first time.

Things are going well in the garden. The green beans all appear to be up. The purplehulls are about up, the baby limas are up, and the okra is poking its way through. The fordhooks haven't shown themselves yet, but I think that if I can get some irrigation to them that they will spring forth as well. I about lost my watermelon plants and a couple squash plants to thirst, but I think that I got to them in time.

The big challenge so far this year is trying to figure out how to water this large garden. I don't have nearly enough soaker hoses. At this point the budget for such things is tight, so my only option may be to move the hoses from day to day as things need to be watered. All in all I don't guess that would be so bad - just a little inconvenient.

Yesterday (Thursday) was a hard day in the garden. All of my onions needed weeding and I have a LOT of onions. First I needed to get the weeds out and then I needed to pull all of the dirt back away from the bulb of each onion so that only the roots were left in the ground. From all reports, this is the way that they like to grow. The only way to do them effectively was to either get down on my knees or to bend over and work on them. Some of the onions are really starting to come along. I am anticipating them to do so more readily now that they have gotten some fertilizer, water, and the other attention that they need.

I also drove all of the stakes for the tomatoes. It was a good shoulder workout!

Dad helped out by setting up trellises for my garden peas to run on. I really appreciated his help. We still need to do them for the purplehulls and the green beans. He also helped to get some of the soaker hoses put out, ran the hose from the wellhouse to the garden, and hooked everything up. He even patched a leak.

Speaking of leaks, one of the soakers that I put out today sprung a big one. Keeping them repaired is a constant process.

I believe that I should have some peas ready for picking soon, I have seen a couple small tomatoes on a few vines, and I noticed an itty-bitty head of broccoli forming in one of my plants.

Next week I need to finish tying the strings in the trellis for my peas, put up a trellis for my cucumbers, and finish my hoeing.

I took some pictures tonight of the garden and I'll try to post them here tomorrow. We'll have to see how it goes. I don't have that much memory on my computer, and I think that I took pretty high resolution photos. I may need to wait until I can download them at my parents' house. I should make it over there some time this weekend. I think that I got some interesting shots.

Hope you guys all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. In the midst of all of your recreation take the time to remember all of those who sacrificed their lives to protect our freedoms. God bless!

Lords and Ladies

If you would like a clear demonstration of where the policies of the Obama Administration and the Congress are taking our nation, you should read an article from the Associated Press about California. Here are some highlights interspersed with my running commentary (emphases mine):

The crisis is a sort of political comeuppance for Schwarzenegger, who took over a state with a projected $16 billion gap in 2003 and promised to end California's "crazy deficit spending." (I guess he didn't succeed.)

The gap has two primary causes: The state has been living beyond its means for years by spending generously on all sorts of programs that the voters, the politicians and the special interests wanted. (Hmmmm... where have I heard of this being done before? Oh yes, our Federal lawmakers have been doing this for the past 9 years, and from the looks of things they have finally figured out how to do it right!) And the recession has hammered California's economy....

...The governor's cutbacks could include ending the state's main welfare program for the poor, eliminating health coverage for about 1.5 million poor children, halting cash grants for about 77,000 college students, shortening the school year by seven days, (At least this one is likely to make someone happy and isn't likely to hurt the kids' education.) laying off thousands of state workers and teachers, slashing money for state parks and releasing thousands of prisoners before their sentences are finished. (Looks like the gravy train done left the station.) ...

...The drastic cuts that appear to lie ahead will, by accident, accomplish the stark reduction in state government that many Republicans have long advocated.

"We should have been limiting the growth of government for years," Villines said. (He's a Republican. Too bad they didn't do it. I wonder if anyone in Washington is taking notes? Not likely. Hey, isn't Nancy Pelosi from California?) ...

...A separate commission is expected to release a proposal to rework the state's tax structure, which is vulnerable to booms and busts in California's economy because it relies heavily on high-income earners. (But wait! I thought wealth redistribution was supposed to be a good thing. This must be a mistake! You mean the President was wrong about that too?) The state also has few limits on what state government can spend and a small rainy day fund that can easily be raided by the politicians. (You mean like Social Security?) ...

Let the hand wringing begin. And that is exactly where our nation is headed if the Federal Government doesn't reign its spending in HARD. You can't pass the largest stimulus bill the world has ever seen, add tons of pork to every bill, finance a war, and fly every senator, representative, staff member, and cabinet member everywhere they go and not see this happen on a national level. You want a warning? LOOK AT CALIFORNIA!!!! This is where we will be before the Obama administration has finished this term if something isn't done quickly to establish some restraint in our government.

Ask Zimbabwe, Argentina, and Brazil how much fun it is to face hyperinflation. Our nation could very well lose its influence in the world and its ability to project power if this is allowed to happen here. It scares me to think of what we may resort to as a nation to defend ourselves in that hour should it come.

The article also said that the state is approaching the Federal Government about a bailout. Great. Just what we need. (Crap, Nancy Pelosi IS from California. What are the chances she'll turn down the chance to throw some do re mi at her peeps?) And if one gets it, you can rest assured that every other state will have to line up for it. It won't matter anyway. All the states that try to exercise some fiscal restraint will likely be sucked down in the vortex created by the states that rush to grab the money first.

North Carolina is apparently in no better condition than California. We are about to close prisons, cut all state employees' salaries (except for our dear legislators and elected officials, bless their hearts), lay off teachers and a whole bunch of other stuff, and yet we have one of the higher tax rates in the nation. Ah, the utopia of the liberal agenda!

Am I the only one who is wondering where all the money is going? I mean we have a lottery that is apparently selling lots of tickets. (The powerball is up to 192 million dollars as of Wednesday night.) The roads aren't getting fixed. They've been bleeding the universities since Easley was governor. Where the crap is all the money going?! I think we need to get some IRS auditors in to audit the government. There's a hole in the boat somewhere.

I'm glad to hear that they have started investigating former governor, Mike Easley, for misappropriation of public money while in office and examining the audacious contract between his wife and my alma mater, NC State. Apparently they are paying her nearly $1,000,000 over the course of five years to arrange a few speakers to come and speak at the university. Bless her heart! I'd gladly do it for half that. Maybe even ¼ of that if I could telecommute. I'd be willing to bet she doesn't do $50,000 worth of work the entire five years. Well, the university need not send me any pleas for money while crap like this is going on.

I am so sick of people being payed far more than they or the job they are doing is worth because they are "connected." I am tired of the Mike Easleys and Nancy Pelosis of this world thinking that they deserve preferential treatment and perks on the public dollar when all they know how to do is serve themselves and run a nation or a state into the ground. I'm tired of CEOs making millions every year whose only skills are to take a viable, healthy company and bleed all of its assets off and know when to jump ship before the effects hit the balance sheet. This junk has to stop.

Our nation was never supposed to have an aristocracy. Where did we get all of these people who think that they are lords and ladies? I can assure you that not one of them works as hard as any of my grandparents did, and my grandparents probably never made as much in their lifetimes as these people make in a year - maybe even a month. I'm pretty sure that they aren't any smarter than my folks either. So why would these "aristos" be entitled to any more than my hard-working grandparents got?

And that is another thing. Why is it that when President Bush was in office his intelligence was constantly slandered, and yet when President Obama finds himself reversing what he promised in his campaign and doing and saying some of the exact same things that President Bush was doing that he is refreshingly intelligent? I am utterly sick of people who are not as smart as President Bush or Sarah Palin belittling their intelligence. Most of the people who are doing so are totally on board with all of the President's left wing policies and believe all of his, er, nuanced answers. How intelligent is that?

When this Administration and this Congress manage to put our nation in the situation in which California finds itself (for I have no hope that they will do otherwise) I am sure that there will be lots of blame casting between the Republicans and Democrats. I'm sure that this will all somehow become President George W. Bush's fault. But the bottom line is that it is "we the people's" fault because we failed to hold our elected officials, educators, and corporate leaders accountable for their malfeasance, self-serving attitudes, and incompetence. (I am not suggesting that all elected officials, educators and corporate leaders are guilty of these things. Certainly there are some who are doing a good job, but sadly the tide seems to be flowing hard against them.)

Regardless of what anyone thinks, all governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed. It would seem that as a people we have decided that it is OK to sell the freedoms and liberties and true prosperity that had been won and defended for generations, for a figurative bowl of stew - a little short term gain. Looks like there were lumps in the gravy.

I leave you with a selection from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Look to your foundations, America. They are crumbling. Think on that this Memorial Day weekend, and remember the many people whose blood helped to establish and protect them. Don't let their sacrifices be squandered. They deserve more honor than that.