Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Opus 2016-231: Middle Class Morality: Prohibition

Middle Class Morality (MCM) frowns on the abuse of alcohol.  Immature males tend to look at drunkenness as a joke.  That is not MCM.  It also often condemns its use as a beverage.  Part of the heritage historically is Prohibition.  Another attempt to regulate booze were the blue laws which made it illegal to purchase alcohol on Sunday.

Most people have heard of Prohibition.  This was a time when the Constitution was amended to make it illegal to sell alcoholic beverages.  The time gets a lot of bad press.  A lot is made of the rise of organized crime that came as a result.  What you don’t hear about is the way in which the non-front page news got better.  Physical abuse of wives and children decreased in that time.  I would imagine if there were statistics they would show that traffic deaths declined.  The many ways in which alcohol undermines civil society were curtailed.  But people want their booze so all you heard was what the press wanted you to hear.  Some things never change.

The basis for all this was Biblical teaching.  For example,
(Proverbs 23:20 KJV)  Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
That is just one example in Proverbs.  Much more is found at the end of the chapter and other places in scripture.  While having a glass of wine at dinner did not seem to be a problem, getting drunk was a clear sin.
(Proverbs 23:21 KJV)  For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Another interesting part of this that I find in Proverbs is the insight that alcohol is a drug to dull the pain of the lower classes.
(Proverbs 31:6-7 KJV)  Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
So if you are hopeless and have given up, drink up.  If you believe in the future and the power of God to change and redeem then abstain.

Viva la middle class morality.

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Opus 2016-230: Headlines: Bias Spoken Here

You gotta love the myopia of journalists.  An English newspaper, The Guardian, declared Trump’s poll numbers were falling, even among NASCAR fans.  That was interesting since I had just read another article at another site that said Trump had improved a few points.  Both admitted he was behind but one declared he was going up, the other, down.

What was the basis of the gloom or glee that the Guardian had?  They interviewed people visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  I saw four quotes.  One was in favor of Trump.  The other three were against Trump.  That sounds pretty bad unless you actually read the entire article and engage your brain.  The one who was in favor of Trump was a local boy.  The three that were against him were from New England, an area not known for its enthusiasm for Republican candidates.  The article admitted they were not being scientific, but really? 

At this point the polls do show Trump behind but I think at this point they showed Reagan behind.  The polls are only as good at the polsters and their attempt to find trends.  Often they want to make trends.

Keep reading between the lines.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-229: Discernment Watch: The Hope(less) of the Future

I think that youth should be labeled as a handicap status.  I am so tired of younger people acting like I can’t do things because I don’t like new things.  What a farce that is.   In reality they don’t have enough experience to know what is new and what is just recycled failures.  When you have been down the sidewalk a few times you begin to realize that “new and improved” often means “since you are too young to remember what we tried to pull ten years ago, we will try again”.

Young people are severely handicapped by their lack of experience and surplus of ignorance.  Their lack of real education has doubled down on that to make them easy victims.  They can be manipulated and controlled.  Think of the masses of millennials who idolized Bernie Sanders and his failed Communist dreams.  Most of the children I know think that all the government needs to do is print more money.  They can’t understand why we would all starve to death if food was made free.  They need to Google “Venezuela” and do a little reading.

Unfortunately they are too busy trying to master Pokemon Go.  Meanwhile someone is stealing their liberty and limiting their future.  Or is it the other way around?

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Opus 2016-228: Headlines: Progressive Capitalism in Action

When I saw the headline I had to read the article:
“Restaurant owner offers free large pizza in exchange for guns”
The writer obviously thought it was a great move but on reflection didn’t seem like it would really work.  Think about it.  I have not priced guns recently but I am guessing that the cheapest piece of junk would come in at over $200.  If I am a street thug who is hungry am I going to trade a $200 piece of equipment that helps me make my living for a pizza that might cost $15 or $20?  As a businessman I can see how this could be profitable, but for the thug?

And the businessman would have to ask himself what kind of people this would bring into his restaurant.  What if he brings friends who don’t like pizza?  Would they then use their guns to rob him of the gun he just traded for?

In the article it seems that the pizza parlor owner had been robbed before.  It would seem to me that if he had been armed himself the thief might have gone down the street for tacos instead, but who am I to judge.  It says he has been in business since 1980.  With decisions like this I wonder how he has lasted that long.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-227: Thanks Thoughts: Think Thanks

As I was going through my morning breakfast ritual over bread and coffee I again looked at the Last Supper.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-4 KJV)  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
At this point Jesus knew that He was to be betrayed.  He still gave thanks.  That set me back on my heals a bit.

How often do I complain because I have been wronged or something has gone wrong?  Too many to count?  I was reminded that part of the reason God came to earth as a man and went through all the trials that we go through is to demonstrate how we should live.  Since I claim to want to be like Jesus there is a lesson for me here.

I need to be thankful in all situations.  It doesn’t take long to think of blessings in my life.  All I really need to do is check the headlines and be glad I wasn’t in a certain airport or shopping mall.  Even closer to home I can look up and see someone having a hard time standing straight or walking.  I am sure that those people would be able to find something to be grateful for if they would look.

I am not a Pollyana.  I am aware that my “problems” are all first world.  That doesn’t do away with the principle.

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Opus 2016-226: DEFCON: Banking the Fire

One thing that is growing more rare at DEFCON is the sense of rebellion against an oppressive government.  I have noticed this developing over several years.  I makes me sad to see but it is the normal process of life. 

Young people are short in vision and lacking in understanding.  They see something wrong and want to fix it, now.  Often what they see as being wrong is what keeps them from satisfying their self-centered wants.  If that can be presented in such a way as to sound like it will benefit all of mankind it is a win/win for them and a potential disaster for everyone else.  The enthusiasm and idealism of youth can be refreshing and can motivate change.  That is good.  Since they don’t get the big picture it can also have the opposite effect.

Young people grow up.  That is happening at DEFCON.  Many are marrying and having children.  Many are buying homes and gathering some wealth.  Most are in jobs that pay well and allow them to live their dream of techno-toys piled in every corner.  All of that means that they now have something to lose.  It is one thing to defy the government when you still have peach fuzz on your chin, live out of a backpack, can’t buy your own booz, think you are immortal and have mommy drive you to DEFCON.  It is another thing to defy the government when they can get you fired, put a lien on your house, and put you on a no-fly list.  It is hard to call for revolution when you have a mortgage and two children looking to you for security and support.  It is a natural process.

At the same time I miss the sense of correcting evil and not knuckling under to the man.  More and more often they are looking to the government for answers instead of seeing the government as the limiter of freedom.  There are fewer sessions at DEFCON involving politics and warnings against loss of liberty.  There are more calls for redistribution of wealth instead of destruction of regulations.

I will keep attending as long as my son is willing.  I will continue to see the potential of the hacker community.  I will continue to hope.  I will mourn the loss.

homo unius libri

Friday, August 26, 2016

Opus 2016-225: Moody Feet

My feet go through constant changes.  This occurred to me as I was striding across the parking lot after my bread and coffee.  To an observer I am sure I looked like an old man tottering but I felt like a teenager on the last day of school.  I walked with vigor.

I contrasted that with what happens when the alarm goes off at 5:00 A.M.  When I tell my feet to get out of bed they argue with me.  When I finally get them to move they wonder what they are supposed to do with the hard surface under them.  They continue to grumble and stumble as I begin to make my way through my morning routine.

By the time I get to work they are awake and moving with anticipation.  They forget how old they are.  You have heard about having a spring in your step.  I can do that, in the morning.  I move through the day with energy.  I have been told I don’t act as old as I am.  Of course I have also been told that I am really old, but I choose which to believe depending on the time of the day.

When the final bell of the day rings it is like my feet have developed ears and have the anti-racehorse syndrom.  From the clips I have seen on TV when a race starts a bell rings and the barriers in front of the thoroughbreds pops open and they are off.  They are conditioned for that.  The “anti” of that is that when the bell rings and the doors pop open my feet give a big sigh and start saying, “Are you sure you want to do that?”  The arguments begin again. 

As I walk to the car no one has ever accused me of being energetic.  My feet seem to have developed magnets that are in love with the earth’s core.  There is so much resistance that I sometimes turn around to see if the bottom of my shoe has been pulled off.  It is my afternoon version of sole searching.

So far I have made it to the car but if my wife ever calls and asks where I am you might check the walkway outside the science rooms. 

I can’t complain.  The feet still do their job, but I think they are looking forward to retirement.

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Opus 2016-224: Critical Mass: Litter

Society has many bumps and potholes.  What happens when those potholes become sinkholes?  What happens when a small blip reaches Critical Mass.  Today I want to talk about litter.

Daily experience:  I walk across campus and see strategically placed trash cans.  At no spot are you more than a few feet away.  Guess what is all over the ground.  Cups, wrappers, apple cores and things that defy imagination. 

Daily experience:  It is impossible to walk to the school building without walking on the black spots that signify “gum was dropped here” and not cleaned up.

Daily experience:  You pass a sign on the highway that advertises what business has adopted that segment of highway to pick up trash.  The business seems to have gone bankrupt.

Daily experience:  I am at Panera for my bread and coffee.  As I walk to the seating area I am forced to pass several table because the previous occupant has left their trash on the table.  It would be no problem if they left a tip, but they don’t.

One person dropping a gum wrapper is no crisis.  An entire school of children who throw their gum wherever they feel like it is a coming disaster.  The adult population that modeled that behavior is a disgrace.  Forget how unsightly it is.  Don’t worry about the spread of germs and disease.  What does it say about how these children will live in a society that demands responsibly and cooperation in order to allow liberty?  We already have laws and penalties for littering.  Are we going to need Gum Police to enforce that law and keep our streets clean?

Have you seen the movie “Idiocracy”?  It was released in 2006 and is a scary film.  It shows what I see happening at school every day.  When the hero wakes up in the future one of the visual effects is a city almost covered with piles of trash.  Picking up after yourself is a sign of good home training and responsibility.  It is a sign of higher culture.  If you don’t believe me drive through Los Angeles and watch the sidewalks.  When you go from one neighborhood to another you see dramatic difference.  One has pristine sidewalks and gutters.  The next has trash and weeds in the gutters and trash and gum on the walkways.

Which future do you want to see?

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Opus 2016-223: Discernment Watch: The Key to Modern Brainwashing

Everywhere I go I see the correlation between dumbing down, mediocrity and the departure from a Christian world view. 

I saw it again at our opening faculty meeting.  I wrote about the balloon game earlier.  When we got to the “serious” material we were given a lesson on how to collaborate.  No, I don’t mean co-operate with the Nazi’s who occupied Paris.  Only people with an education and a sense of history would understand the baggage of the word.  These are teachers we are dealing with so there is no worry on that score.

Collaboration means group work.  We were divided up into groups of four and told to discuss and record our understanding of the steps of collaboration.  The first group got ten minutes to discuss what it meant to “pause”.  They handled it well.  Our group had to delve into the depths of “paraphrase”.  We were awesome.  After we were done one of our group had the serious responsibility of “sharing out” what we had uncovered.  Then an administrator, who is paid the big bucks, wrote our wisdom on a big sheet of newsprint for us all to admire.

The final point of collaboration:  Assume that everyone has the best intentions.  This is where the difference between a post-modern world view and a Christian world view hits the road.  Before that it was just being silly.  Christian theology teaches that man is sinful by nature.  He will do that which is self-seeking rather than what is right.  His nature is in rebellion to a holy God.  The pagan educators have been saturated with the nonsense that the inner core of all human beings is good and will do what is right if given a chance.

So, when my little criminals in training deliberately say something stupid or offensive, I am to assume that their heart is pure and they have the best of intentions. 

Good luck with that.  If you believe that then not only do you need to assume that Hillary has the best of intentions, but also Donald. 

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Opus 2016-222: DEFCON: Hacking Minds

I have attended DEFCON, a convention for computer hackers and security specialists.  I saw  the results of public education all around me.  You might think of public education as a case of mental hacking:  Getting into the software of a person and making it believe a reality that does not exist.  I saw it at DEFCON in what they called the Biohacking Village.

The Biohacking Village was a venue of smaller sessions in rooms off to the side.  It is one of several that are designed to give new ideas a chance to grab hold and grow.  The concept shows that DEFCON is trying to expand and include more people with different interest.  Biohacking has to do with the attempts by modern science to change the human body.  I only attended two sessions so I can’t set myself up as an authority on the subject. 

The first session was called “Oday for the Soul”.  I Googled “Oday” and got a lot of people with variations of that name so I remain in mystery to the reference.  The young lady in charge had some very eclectic religious views.  She was amazed that the child of a “parson” could become a geek and thought we would be amazed also.  Not really.  I had been a parson and my son was a geek.  She said part of her rebellion was converting to Catholicism and then proceeded to joke about the wine she was drinking being sacramental and kept repeating that what she said was against her religion.  In summary:  A standard confused millennial.  She repeatedly bragged about her IUD and called it biohacking.  She equated makeup and breast implants with the chip she had in her arm.  All were biohacking to her.  She had fun and made no sense, at least to me.  I am open to the problem being in my ears, not her mouth.

The second session was on biohacking ethics.  I felt like I was at a faculty meeting.  The speaker was a medical doctor.  He obviously had an education with a diploma and everything.  Being taught the benefits of group work by his teachers he spent most of the time having us share our thoughts and feelings with the person next to us.  In the last five minutes he got to ethics but most of it was a rant against “the man”.  When someone questioned him he laughingly accused the guy of being “the man”.  He called for the redistribution of wealth because of greed.  I wanted to ask him how much of his doctor’s salary he was donating to the local soup kitchen but since I wanted to get out alive I remained silent.

So I sat in a session that demonstrated biohacking of the minds.  Unfortunately it was the minds of the speakers who had been hacked and they didn’t even know it.

homo unius libri

Monday, August 22, 2016

Opus 2016-221: Election 2016: Endorsing Hillary

I am puzzled at the continued attacks on Donald Trump by the conservatives in the country.  It isn’t like we have a choice.  He has already won the Republican nomination.  He won it fair and square.  He is the alternative.  The other is Hillary.  Having said that I still don’t know if I can vote for him, but the more evil that comes out on Hillary makes the choice of Trump the only one that has any possibilities.

Are these talking heads trying to push a third party?  Although I might end up voting that way I don’t see it as having a chance of winning.  They need to look a little at history.  Third parties that start at the top only make the loser into a winner.  They have never elected a president.  The Whig party that eventually replaced the Federalists stepped into the breach after the Democrats had a choice of four people with no opposition.  The Republicans came to the presidential election with a slate of governors, senators and representative under their belt.  They made a good showing in the election of 1856 and when the Whigs self destructed they were positioned to step into the breach.  They also had a clear message of free men, free land and free money.  They did not band together to stop Stephen Douglas from becoming president because he was too short.

So Glenn, Ben and everyone else who is bad-mouthing Trump:  Grow up and move on.  If you are serious, get a governor elected or, if it is all you can do, a mayor of some small town.  Then move on to saving the country.

Until they are ready to show me they can win they should be putting their time into getting the right congress elected so that there are some guts and principles in Washington.  It doesn’t matter whom is elected president.  They will need to be controlled and reigned in.  Both will need to understand that impeachment is a real possibility.  They will only respond to fear.  Stop making Hillary a done deal and work on getting back to a balanced government.

They can make it a twofer.  Where they have a responsible Republican, get him elected.  When the Republican candidate is a whoosy Rino, get a third party candidate elected.  If Hell freezes over and you can find a Democrat with principles, then get behind that candidate.

The future of our country and the world is at stake.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Opus 2016-220: Basic Beliefs: Providence

Alistair Begg was preaching about providence.  That is a word we don’t hear much any more.  It was common in the early years of our country.  It was a word that could be used by Christians and deists.  It spoke of the controlling hand of God in the affairs of men. 

What Begg was trying to do was get us to notice the mundane ways in which God works though our world.  I can’t remember if he used the term or I came up with it but I find I need to hear about “God in the ordinary” today.  Most Christians will understand that God created the world even if they tend to think in terms of a guided evolution.  What we often fail to remember is that God holds all things together. 
(Colossians 1:17 KJV)  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
God’s hand is still active in our world.  We don’t always understand.  We wonder about terrorism and earthquakes.  I wonder about you as you wonder about me.  Why is my life so blessed when I see others in so much pain?  I expect to understand more tomorrow and possibly a lot more in eternity.  I will keep thinking and asking.  Until I figure it out I am secure in the awareness that there are answers and reasons. 

I don’t need to know how my body figures out antibodies but I do need to get enough sleep.  I don’t understand why some learn to read and it remains a mystery for others.  I would like to think my children have turned out so well is because I am an awesome father, but I know that isn’t enough. 

It is Providence.  It is grace.  It is the hand of God.

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Opus 2016-219: “Hillary’s America” Worth Seeing

I think a lot of people have seen “Hillary’s America” and have had their thinking stirred but are not giving the movie credit.  An example of this is the blog Obama Cartoons and the way in which it points out that the Democrats are keeping American conditioned blacks on the plantation.  You might enjoy the cartoons on this post.

I would recommend that you go see the movie and I would double that recommendation if your history foundation is weak.  It is a movie with three points to take away.  First it gives a warning about how Dinesh D’Souza was railroaded and persecuted by a corrupt judicial system for daring to criticize the Obama Administration in his previous documentary “2016:  Obama’s America”.  That part alone should put a chill in your back.

The most important part is the dramatic review of the history of the Democratic party as the party of slavery and black oppression.  He traces the way in which the Democrats have been advocates of the inferiority of the black race from Jefferson, through Jackson to the Civil War, the Amendments that ended slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, Margaret Sanger and eugenics and how they worked to stop the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Most of this I knew but had not seen it put together so well.

The third is how Hillary will continue this tradition by keeping the lower classes in their place:  On welfare and jumping when the Democratic overseers say “Jump”.

It may not change your mind but take a friend who still thinks the Republicans are the bad guys.  It might get them to think and face reality.  Or maybe not.  To rearrange the words:  A wasted mind is a terrible thing too.  And hard to change.

Go see it.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-218: Firsts: Cooking with Gas

I am a novice cook at best.  I can boil and scramble eggs.  I can heat a can of soup.  My adventures are confined to chili and what my family calls vegetable soup, both of which I make from scratch if using canned tomato sauce can be considered from scratch.

So I am still learning.  Up until now I have been confined to electric ranges of different qualities and have gotten used to electricity’s slow response to change.  Recently I was using a gas stove and looking forward to its advantages but I quickly discovered one disadvantage:  Gas stoves develop hot handles.  I discovered this before I burned myself but the first time I took the handle in hand was a bit of a surprise.

It is logical.  The heat from the gas flame moves up the side of the pan and passes the handle.  No insulation between handle and pan will help much.  I did not give up.  I soldiered on.  Even as a novice cook I am aware of hot pads.

My oatmeal seemed hotter but I am sure that is just my imagination.

homo unius libri

Friday, August 19, 2016

Opus 2016-217: DEFCON: We Were Not Alone

DEFCON was held in two connected casinos, Bally’s and Paris.  As I was walking to my room I passed a screen that announced what was going on in the casino.  I noticed that they had gotten our name wrong.  They had the activities listed of the Association of Professional Piercers.  I figured that most attendees were paid, thus professional.  They penetrated security to do their hacking, thus they were piercing.  After a few days I realized that this was another conference going on side by side with DEFCON.

I Googled it and it is real.  The APP is just what it says it is.  They were having their 21st  annual conference.  They are almost as old as DEFCON and from the looks of some of the geeks they could be attending both conferences.

If you are at a meeting and a bit bored you might read up on the APP.  Expand your world.  I will put it at the bottom of my bucket list.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Opus 2016-216: Crusades Go Two Ways

If you read Gorges’ Grouse you know he is serious about linking articles he likes.  Sometimes I check them out and bookmark them.  Sometimes I ignore them.  One he linked was interesting because it went into the history of the conflict between Islam and what used to be Christianity but is now referred to as the West.

As I read something occurred to me.  I am sure it is not a tremendous new insight but the parallels were clear.  What Islam is doing is going on a Crusade. 

The Crusades, for all of their mixed motives, were an attempt to drive the Muslims out of an area that had been predominately Christian until Mohammed’s armies began to spread his religion by the use of the sword.  An early conquest was the Holy Land.  The loss was endured until the Turkish culture took over the administration of the area from the Arab culture.  The Turkish Muslims made it very dangerous for Christians to travel to the holy sites in Jerusalem.  As I think I said in another post, the Roman Catholic church believed that a trip to the Holy Land gave a big step up for people seeking salvation.  To cut the pilgrims off was not just a political gesture for temporal power but a spiritual attack to keep people from eternal life.  The Crusades were a holy war.

Just as the Christians of the Middle Ages wanted to retake the Holy Land so Muslims want to retake what they once controlled.  As the article stated, Islam believes that once they have conquered an area it is theirs forever.  If it is lost then the moral and right thing to do is attack.  Since Islam at its height reached half way through France and to the northern border of what used to be Yugoslavia there is a lot of territory to reconquer.

So understand that the war will not go away.  They are out to get us and as long as there are devout and committed Muslims, the killing will continue.  There might be a hiatus while they reload, but they will be back.

Conversion, slavery or death are your only options when they win.

homo unius libri

Monday, August 15, 2016

Opus 2016-215: Tax Dollars at Work: We’re Back

School is starting up all across the country.  Current thinking is that teachers are ignorant and lazy so they need to be brought in for what are called “in service” meetings to train them properly.  We have just gone through one day in which our district was in charge and one day in which the local administration was running things.  I thought you might be interested in how we spent our first day on campus.  No?  Then think about it as how your hard earned and easily stolen  tax dollars are at work.

The morning was spent “building community”.  This means all kinds of activities that are designed to get us to share about ourselves and communicate with each other.  It was a nonstop series of ice-breakers.  At one point a room full of college graduates were crowded together bouncing balloons in the air.  There was one balloon for each adult.  If they touched the floor they were out of play.  We were then asked to share what we had learned by this activity.  I am proud of myself because I kept my mouth shut.

Then we each again took a balloon and popped it.  Inside was a piece of paper with a question on it.  We were then to find someone we didn’t know well and share the questions and answers.  My questions was, “Who do you look to as being an important influence on your life?  Why?”  Now my first response was, “Shouldn’t that be ‘whom’?”  I think I was the only one in the room that realized the illiterate nature of the typist. 

We also wrote what I think was called a “life poem” which had open ended statements that we were supposed to complete like “What I fear...” and the next one was “what I am afraid of....”  We also had a pair of questions, “What I dream....” and “What I want....”  Originality and creativity were not in the manual they got this out of.  (Yes, I know you are not supposed to finish a sentence with a preposition.)

The afternoon began with a speaker who was supposed to go 25 minutes and went an hour.  I guess we got more bang for our buck.  She was talking about children in Foster Care which was a timely topic but all she did was tells us we have a lot of them and they have issues.

We also spent time signing papers we sign every year about child abuse and emergency numbers.

All in all it was a waste of your tax money and my time.  I at least have the comfort that I got paid for the day.  For the lowest paid, first year teacher that came to $233 of your money.  As an old horse on the team I got even more.

Thank you.  188 days left.  Dig out your wallet.  Sorry, I temporarily forgot that they take it out of your check before you see it.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Opus 2016-214: Defining Danger

A post at Gun Free Zone quoted a news article about another highly trained police officer letting of an “accidental” live round on a school campus.  We have all seen the video of the cop who fires off a round in front of a class.  In this case the gun was supposed to be loaded with blanks but evidently no one bothered to check before pulling the trigger.
The line that set me to laughing was,
“Rockwood Police Chief Danny Wright told 10News. ‘Nobody was ever in danger.’”
Now let’s review a few details.  A cop had a loaded gun.  He pulled the trigger in the hallway of a school.  Just how is it that the police chief knows that nobody was in danger?  If the trained officer was so negligent that he didn’t check his loads before he pulled the trigger I would suggest that everyone on the campus was in danger.

These are the people who want to disarm the population and let the police keep us safe.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-213: Headlines: Laugh Line

The New York Sun had an interesting editorial on Israel’s response to the Iran deal.  The general point was that they were not happy.  As I read I came across a sentence that made my eyebrows go up.
“No one has suggested Mr. Obama is an anti-Semite or disloyal to America.”
Really?  I would have to disagree with that totally.  I guess it is possible to do everything you can to undermine Israel and not be anti-Semitic but I think they tend to be two rails on the same track.  On the second idea, it seems to me that President Obama has done everything he can to make America weaker, undermined out allies and shattered our alliances.  If that is not disloyal to American I am not sure what would qualify.

Even people that seem conservative can have their heads in the sand.  Maybe we should institute ear checks to see if any got in. 

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Opus 2016-212 Headlines: Higher Taxes

I didn’t bother reading the article.  It said the Hillary was calling for higher taxes.  I think there is a way we can find a compromise that will work for us.  Start taxing tax-free foundations.

In this country we have many foundations like the Clinton Foundation.  You have the Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and those are just from the first screen when I Google “foundation”.  One of the newest is the Clinton Foundation which, according to Wikipedia, has raised $2 billion as of 2016.  Multiply that by the other giant foundations and hundreds of smaller foundations and you have a nice chunk of change that is changing hands and being removed from the tax roles.  If you want to give people a tax deduction for giving to a non-profit I can live with that but I think it might help the economy if we taxed the foundations income. 

I confess that most of the large foundations are putting their money into progressive causes that are on the left side of the political spectrum.  I want to cut off those funds.  This law would also hurt the conservative foundations but I am willing to accept that to level the playing field.

So can conservatives be in favor of tax increases?  Can conservatives be in favor of taxing the big rollers?  As long as the playing field is level it might be a thing to do.  Don’t, however, hold your breath.

homo unius libri

Friday, August 12, 2016

Opus 2016-211: Discernment Watch: McVeigh Christianity

Have you noticed how often the media portrays Timothy McVeigh as a “Christian terrorist” and yet refuses to link Islam to terrorism?  I did not follow the McVeigh trial closely but I don’t remember him making any claims to be motivated by his love of Jesus.  At the same time the Orlando terrorist made clear claims to support ISIS and declared “Allah Akbar”. 

Don’t the journalists and politicians that play this game realize that if Islam and sharia law every get control of this country they will be at the front of the beheading line?  I guess they could convert and continue belittling Christians but they might not survive that long. 

When you read an article about an atrocity you can assume that if it does not describe the perpetrator or give much detail they are not white Baptists from a small town in Kansas.

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Opus 2016-210: Firsts: Computer Repairman

My son is a geek.  I turn to him for all things computer.  When a key broke on my laptop I asked him for solutions.  I had a key sticking and I took it off to clean under it.  I have done this before but this time I could not get the key to go back on.  I handed it to him.  There are times when for no known reason computers will behave in his hands.  We figure they are afraid of him.  But in this case his touch didn’t work.  On examination one of the tiny plastic clips had broken off.  It refused to be healed.

He discovered that a replacement keyboard was only $16 and found a video that showed how to do it.  Two days later it arrived and he told me to try to do it.  After a few false starts I had it done.  I, the original Mister Thumbs, changed the keyboard on my laptop.  It works so much better I am wondering if I should change it every year.

This old dog learned a new trick.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Opus 2016-209: Headlines: Be Glad You Are an American

My last post was about an incident reported in the Washington Times.  A World Vision executive,  Mohammed El Halabi, was arrested and accused of siphoning funds to Hamas.  There was a statement in the article that I found interesting.
“Mr. El Halabi, who has been detained since June, was officially charged Thursday at a court in Beersheba
The benefits of being an American pop up all around us and we don’t even think about it.  It is now August.  He was “detained” in June.  We have at least a month of incarceration with no charges being filed.  It could have been two months.  The family claim they have not been able to visit him but he does have a lawyer.  In theory this could not happen in the United States.  The Constitution declares that we are supposed to be arraigned and charged with a specific crime or set free.  In most states that must happen in a few days, not months.

So be glad you have a lot of rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution even when you are not paying any attention.

homo unius libri

Opus 2016-208: Headlines: Well, Duh

The headline in the Washington Times said that a Christian aide director had been arrested and this would imperil Palestinian charities.  The accusation was that Mohammed El Halabi had been taking money donated to help Palestinians out of poverty and funneling it to Hamas for terrorist activity.  This was possible because he was “the chief executive of World Vision and one of the most prominent aid executives in the territory”.  We are not talking about pocket change.  If you put together the details he was passing along around seven million dollars a year.

Is he guilty?  Time will tell what kind of evidence will be presented.  I have a question based in common sense.  Notice that his first name is Mohammed.  That would indicate to me that he is probably a Muslim.  Although a significant minority of Palestinians identify as Christian I don’t think they would name their children after the prophet.  Why would a Christian organization pick a Muslim to run their work in this area?

Time will tell.  It used to be that people thought it was safe to make donations to organizations like World Vision.  Maybe they are getting too big and too successful.

homo unius libri

Monday, August 8, 2016

Opus 2016-207: DEFCON: Black Hat/White Hat

Computer hackers are people who have a desire to find out how computers work and look for holes in the software that might allow activity that would damage the owner of the computer.  They also look for flaws in the software that could cause you problems.  Most of the time they wear a white hat.  They do it because it is fun.  They may get into your computer and cause a message to appear on your screen to let you know they have been there.  They found flaws in the Tesla electronics and told the company about it.  Sometimes they are listened to, sometimes not.

Sometimes they wear a black hat.  It is possible for hackers to cause a lot of problems for others.  One of the concerns of the white hats is the vulnerability of our electrical grid.  There are hundreds of ways that it can be attacked by malicious individuals or countries and bring us to our knees.  It is controlled by computers.  Many of the decisions being made are being made faster than people can think.  What would happen to your morning if a few select power managing stations were hacked to deny you power.  It has already happened in sections of the country.  Think of the millions being lost by banks and corporations because hackers get into the system.  Think of all the parts of our society that are dependent on the GPS systems.  Hackers can be criminal and destructive.

Fortunately most of them are not out to destroy you, just annoy you or get the ego trip of showing you how you are open to manipulation.  This causes them to have a flexible code of ethics which means that sometimes the hats are gray.  It is often a fine line between curiosity and criminal.  The hackers that I met years ago were concerned about the freedom to push the limits.  They were concerned about government control.  They wanted to see what was possible.  This tends to make them have a sense of right and wrong that is a bit myopic.  They often tend to think that an action is okay for them but wrong for others.  For instance, they see no real problem with having access to your computer if you leave it unprotected but they overflow with righteous indignation if the government does it to them.

They can make the world a better place.  They can bring it to its knees.  Let’s hope the white hats win.

homo unius libri

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Opus 2016-206: DEFCON: Mouse Traps

One of the sessions I attended yesterday involved the vulnerability of cordless mice.  To hackers vulnerability means that there is a way that the device can be used or controlled by a person who has no right to mess with it.  For instance if you have an electric outlet on the outside of your house anyone with a plug can use your power without your permission.  If you had a phone jack on your back porch someone could come into your yard with a plug in phone and make calls.  You are vulnerable.

Wireless mice have that little gizmo that you plug into the USB port on your computer.  It is designed to receive the signals from the mouse you bought with it.  Evidently there is a simple way for a hacker to send a signal through that gizmo and make the computer think you are typing on the keyboard.  Think of the fun you could have in a classroom with teachers that leave their computers on all the time. 

I don’t understand the tech.  I am not a geek but my son and I have begun to make it a habit to pull the gizmo out when we are not using our laptops.  We have over 30,000 hackers and wanna be hackers at this convention and the odds are that some deviant person is trying the tricks that were shared.

Be alert.  They are out to get you.

homo unius libri

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Opus 2016-205: Do You Have Any Allergies?

Something has changed.  When we went to dinner we were asked at least three times, “Do you have any allergies?”  We have been to the restaurant before and were not queried on this topic.  My guess is that someone tried to sue them when they had an allergic reaction.  I hope it was thrown out of court.

I understand that allergies can be serious.  I understand that they can lead to death.  I don’t think that the entire world needs to be on alert because an individual wants to live in denial.  If you have a reaction to something that is common to everyone else around you they should not be forced to remove that from their lives.  If you start down that road we will be limited to the most boring diets and have no variety in life.  Think about all the things that some people are allergic to from peanuts to shell fish.  Will we need to eradicate bees too?

My wife has issues with certain spices and it is a litany we go through every time we eat out.  The burden is on us to be alert, not on the Mexican restaurant to leave all types of chili out of their dishes.  The burden is on us to ask.  They are quite willing to work with us.

Pray for sanity to return.  Being considerate is foundational, expecting someone else to do your due diligence is selfish. 

homo unius libri

Friday, August 5, 2016

Opus 2016-204: Crap Shoot

What do you do when life dishes out more crap than you can handle?  We all have been there.  Where nothing is heard but discouraging words and the skies remain cloudy all day.  You have choices.

You can dig a new outhouse.  I guess you could try to relocate.  Find a fresh group of complainers and rain clouds.  I am not sure it would do any good but if you can it is worth a try.  Maybe change jobs to something that is not so demanding.  Of course the salary might be less than impressive which will bring a fresh bunch of issues to the wife’s attention.

Recycle.  How do you recycle crap?  The same way you recycle garbage:  Pass it on.  Forget turning the other cheek and the golden rule.  Sometimes if you can find someone below you to dump on it might make you feel better.  It violates every standard of Christian behavior but if God knows your thoughts you won’t be any worse off, will you.  Rationalize that you are helping the minion to become a stronger person.

Let it pile up.  Just ignore it.  Since all things change it will either go away or get tired and need a rest.  Maybe if it piles high enough someone else will deal with it. 

The hardest is to change yourself.  Maybe you are the problem, our should I say, maybe I am the problem.  First you need to acknowledge such an unlikely possibility and then motivate yourself to do something about it.  You might decide it isn’t worth the effort.  You would rather be yelled at for always being late than to get up five minutes earlier.  I understand.  Just give it a moments thought..........okay, lets move on.

The second hardest is to change the world’s diet.  If your chili is too hot you might leave out the cayenne.  If your neighbor has a dog that barks at bedtime you might want to ask him to take it inside.  You might also take legal action or buy some big speakers to blast praise music back at him.  Use your imagination.  You could change the way you vote.  You could change the way you drive.  You could change anything that might effect the world around you, including turning the other cheek.  You have heard it, read it and maybe even talked about how silly it was.  Now might be a time to try it. 

Take your pick.

homo unius libri

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Opus 2016-203: DEFCON: Long Lines before It Starts

It is time for DEFCON again.  DEFCON is a convention for computer hackers and computer security people.  It meets every year in Las Vegas.  This year it is taking up the convention space in two hotels, Paris and Bally’s.  The sessions run from the extremely technical, which I avoid, and the political landscape, which I try to get to.

The adventure began with the trip this year.  The voice of Google told me the traffic was light and I could make the trip in under four hours.  Even when I was sitting in the middle of a 2 ½-hours-to-go-10-miles traffic jam Google kept telling me the same thing.  I have never been so locked in before.  There is only one route to follow and a couple of huge trucks had spread themselves all around the landscape.  It looked like a war zone and it makes you wonder how they were able to totally destroy the cab of an 18 wheeler.  My bladder held out but I was starting to worry about my radiator.  Engines are not designed to idle for that long in 95̊ heat.

I was still 45 minutes away from the single lane being allowed through and I could see the cars stretched behind me as far as the eye could see.  Eyes can see far on a clear desert day.

I hope this is not an indication of the lines at DEFCON.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Opus 2016-202: Critical Thinking Skills

It is really easy to get carried away when evaluating other people.  Jesus warned us about the tendency when He uttered what has become the mantra of millennials, “Judge not”.  The problem He was addressing was the way in which we are critical of the faults of others while we ignore our own weak points.  It would be like a blind man criticizing the hearing of a deaf man. 

What areas do I find a need to practice humility?  What areas do I find myself being critical when I don’t have a leg to stand on?  The problem is that we rarely see our own weak spots because, well, they are weak spots.  So where do I start feeling self-righteous?

I start feeling holier than thou when I see people who have not lost weight.  I watch them struggle to walk or driving their little electric carts.  I am probably a bit jealous because the electric carts look like fun.  So far I have been able to ignore that fact that my weight continues to creep up.

I feel very spiritual when I see people watching TV.  I don’t watch TV and that makes me superior.  Of course my wife, who does watch TV, points out that I spend a lot of time on my computer and when she catches me with a You Tube segment wants to know what is the difference between that and TV. 

That brings up another point of superiority.  I don’t answer stupid questions, specifically questions that question my superiority. 

I am sure that other people are aware of many other areas I need to develop humility.  For the moment I have enough to work on.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Opus 2016-201: Firsts: Uber

Been there.  Done that.  Because of a number of circumstances that made it seem like the best option and the encouragement of my geek son, we took an Uber home from the airport on this trip.  For those who have not had their TV off this month, Uber is a company that allows people to use their spare time and their empty cars to haul the masses around like taxi’s have been doing for years. 

It has the advantages of the taxi.  You can call at the last minute and have someone there to pick you up in minutes.  You don’t need to crowd in with a lot of people you don’t know.  If you need to stop at a bathroom it can be done.  You go straight home.  None of these can be used to describe a trip on a bus, train or shared ride like Supershuttle.

It also has the disadvantages of the taxi.  It is expensive to my taste.  The fare is determined by the distance, which doesn’t change, and also the time.  In rush hour it costs more because it takes longer.  We had a long way to go and it was rush hour in Los Angeles.  When I can plan ahead and travel by myself I can get a shared ride van to haul me home for $21.95 plus tip.  Since my wife was with me and other needs we took an Uber and it cost us $122 including a $20.00 discount.  Ouch.  Double ouch.  Actually it is almost sextuplet ouch.

I salute the men and women driving Uber.  It is a successful company and their flexibility might make me use them in a crisis but that experience was a bit rich for my blood.  I was worried about connecting with the driver.  With the Uber App and a smart phone it was no problem.  I knew the price would be high so I did not have a stroke.  More power to them but I don’t want their success to be built on my blood.

Uber, a first, and I hope, a last.

homo unius libri