Saturday, May 31, 2008

Space Shuttle Lift Off

This might be old hat for many of you; but for my daughter Bonnie, it was a dream come true as she was able to fly out to watch it take off in person. The last time she tried there was something wrong with the fuel sensor or something; a disappointing trip that finally got worked out.

I stole this photo from the FoxNews website; I’m looking forward to the ones in Bonnie’s camera, the ones that will no doubt get posted upon her return.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tomato Garden Update May 29, 2008

I managed to come down with the creeping crud, some might call it a virus or a cold; anyway you slice it you don’t want it. There are some green cough drops with zinc that take all the fun out of eating food; but are supposed to help clear this up.

I do work when I’m not feeling well, not as much fun though. I just got home from a job and noticed a couple of tomatoes are in the process of turning red. These are about the size of tennis balls and should make great salad and sandwich tomatoes; anyway you slice them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Art Vs Abomination

This is a follow up to some articles which have recently been posted by others regarding the fine line between an expression of art and something which could more properly assigned the rank of an abomination. There are levels of expression all along the way which would travel from masterpiece to pure garbage; the so called “beauty in the eye of the beholder” or in some cases, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

First I wanted to acknowledge the work of my friend Probligo from the lands down under, where he went to great effort to make his point and I happen to agree, at least in part, that the intent of the artist sometimes is lost in the social storm surrounding otherwise innocent pieces of work. Probligo used as an example, the work of Norman Lindsay, an artist who painted with erotic abandon; creating quite a stir as he went about doing what pleased himself.

I guess if you’re a total prude then any form of nudity is sinful; but for those who wish to put every nude into the trash bin; Michelangelo’s Statue of David takes up a lot of space, and don’t forget Botticelli’s Birth ofVenus while tossing out objectionable material.

What about the use of children being depicted without clothing; is every instance of child nudity contrary to the moral ethic in presenting the human form as art? Some would claim Raphael’s Madonna as one of the most spiritual classics of all time; was it wrong for the artist to use some poor child as a stand in for the Christ Child? As you can see, the line which seemed to be clearly drawn is now just a blur, if it even exists to begin with; it all boils down to the intent of the artist, something which is difficult to extract when societal morality is in flux.

I happen to like the work of Frank Frazetta, hard hitting comic book style art with a definite tendency toward the erotic. I have some of his work on my bookshelf; but this is all readily available via the internet now where you can view nearly every canvas Frazetta every created. A word of caution appears on the title page for those who find the naked human body offensive.

The naked human body is not offensive and never has been; the sinful nature of man and the ability to pervert such a splendid creation, now that’s an abomination. Are we not made in the image of our God? Shakespeare captured the thought in Hamlet:

“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.”

My Church holds that, “If there is anything virtuous lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things”, from the 13th Articles of Faith.

The improper thoughts associated with the display of the human body are contrived in the deep recesses of men with no regard for the direct relationship man has with the Creator. While I’ve made little if any progress in determining the value of any particular piece of work; whether it be art or an abomination, hopefully there are those willing to give a little rather than blindly toss all forms of the naked human form in the trash bin.

In closing, I’ll borrow from something Douglas Callister said while addressing a group of young people.

“The images to which our minds are exposed are held in store, seemingly forgotten, even for years. But at the crucial moment they re-present themselves to influence our thoughts and lives. And so it is with the music, literature, art, media, and other images to which we are exposed. . . “Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you.””

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Almost Gone

I watched the Military History Channel most of the day and got to where I could take no more of the images shown. Try to imagine having been there in person; having to endure the Bataan Death March where 36,000 of 70,000 prisoners of war died from abuse, starvation, disease and execution. That was the last documentary I would watch today.

We are about to sit down for a family meal; hot potato salad, tomato and cucumber salad, a brisket which has been slow cooking all day, deviled eggs, ranch style beans, bread and later on a cake which is in the oven now. It’s difficult to keep my emotions in check as I picture starving prisoners in the bowels of death ships headed to Japan waiting for half a canteen’s worth of water ration and the slim chance at a handful of rice, all the while living in the stench created from their living conditions. What we have been given should never be taken lightly.

This last picture of my street with several American Flags gives me hope. A community which honors this day might have something worth passing along to our children.

Memorial Day 2008

Hardly anything beats seeing the American Flag waving on Memorial Day. Each year we’ve hung a huge American Flag from the beams on the second floor; the flag so large as to entirely cover the entry way to our house.

This year we’re doing something a little different courtesy of the local Boy Scouts of America. A couple of weeks ago while working in the yard I was approached by a young man wearing his Boy Scout Uniform, accompanied by his father, trying to raise funds for scout camp. They were seeking to have the opportunity to place an American Flag in my front yard four times each year on specific national holidays, Memorial Day being the first on the list. The scouts would come by and implant a flag holder somewhere in the front yard.

I was mowing the yard and observed where someone had spray painted a dot of orange on my grass and found the place where the flag would be placed. There was also a small dot painted on the curb for future reference. This morning Lucy looked out the window and was happy to see the American Flag waving away. She then looked down the street to see several other homes with flags standing tall in the front yards.

I remember listening to a WWII veteran being interviewed on the History Channel. He explained how tears would form at the sight of the American Flag while attending a baseball game during the playing of the National Anthem. In those moments he would be faced with the many lives it had taken to make our nation free from oppression and safe from our enemies.

May I suggest you take time today to ponder what that WWII Veteran was saying as we enjoy the fruits of their labors, their struggles and the terrors which remain locked away in their memories. Our gratitude can be expressed through the way we live our lives; if you haven’t already, go back and read the linked articles ( some are hidden in the title bars of the articles ).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tracy Drywall Highlighted in Houston Chronicle

The Sunday edition of the Houston Chronicle did a feature article on my son in law’s business complete with photographs. I wanted to link to the article but was unable to find it with the search engine provided in the Chronicle; perhaps it will show up in a day or so. I then scanned the page, two separate scans due to the size; but my skills in stitching photographs leaves room for improvement so I’ve shown them as individual units.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Ace of Aces - A Police Story

This falls into the category of Police Story, more specifically, what some night shift officers have done in the wee hours of the morning when things slowed down rather than call out to eat. I was looking at the monthly mail out of the Badge & Gun, the publication of the Houston Police Officers’ Union and noticed a friend of mine, George Shaw, had updated the photograph posted on the page with all the board of directors. George has been on the board for several years; but way back when, George was one of the rookies on my shift, not one of my probationary officers, but a very low seniority officer.

We used to square off with a “book game” called “Ace of Aces”, a thinking man’s game where each player has a book of strategies ( for Rush Limbaugh listeners, “strategeries” ), for dog fighting the enemy in WWI. As I recall we had an option of what kind of plane we would fly, which determined the kind of maneuvers it could make; but I’ve lost track of where the actual game has been stored so it really doesn’t matter.

Each page in the book had a visual image of what the pilot would see along with options which would be matched to the other player’s strategy and in turn would guide both players to the next stage of engagement. If you played the right strategy your guns would hit the other player’s biplane and after enough hits or the perfect placement of hits a winner would surface. These dog fights would last from half an hour to an hour depending how each “Ace” was able to out think the other “Ace”.

While thinking about George and wondering what he was up to I gave him a call to get his email address. I wanted to send him a copy of a picture I had along with a scan out of the note books we’d used to keep a record of our dog fights. An interesting coincidence occurred, if you believe in such things; after sending my letter I noticed the date on the side of the dog fight notes, it was May 23, 1984. We had played this game between 3 and 4 am twenty four years ago to the day. The proof remains; I shot George’s airplane out of the sky, totally flamed his butt.

Nationalizing the Oil Industry?

Maxine Waters, (D) California, had a “Freudian moment” during a hearing involving oil company top executives. Government will step in and take over if you can’t do a better job of pleasing the little guy who is paying too much for gasoline at the pump. I found this video on several sites, Glenn Beck, Stop the ACLU, Hot Air and; it should be on the front page of every news service, every newspaper and every ones lips. This is what lies ahead if we, as voters, keep electing socialist minded representatives.

Wake up people or before you know it America will look just like every other second rate Marxist country where the government is in charge of every aspect of your lives.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Almost Seven

A week ago Sunday I went to wind the clock, a ritual every week to insure the lovely tones which chime out on the quarter hour and then offer a full Westminster chime on the hour with each hour being properly chorded. This clock has been with us for many years and required only minor maintenance up until now.

While turning the winding key, I both heard and felt something come undone within the frame of the clock. One of the springs which drive the gears came loose and what little force left permitted the clock to tick on for a few more hours; the chimes no longer matching the pace of the clock. It finally quit altogether as the hands reached; but not quite achieved seven o’clock.

Interesting as it may seem with all the digital clocks around the house; two in the kitchen, one on the microwave and the other on the stove, and the one in our bedroom; we've come to depend on the antique workings of that mantle clock. Now it has become something of a joke to ask what time it is at our house.

“It’s almost seven.” Seven is a good time around our house; AM or PM. Seven in the morning is a good time to be up and about getting ready for a new day. Seven in the evening, “Astros baseball is on the air!”, as Milo Hamilton’s voice of the Houston Astros signals the first pitch is coming shortly.

I’m sure we will eventually have this beautiful time piece repaired and back to working order. We’ll enjoy the mellow tones as the chimes announce the passing of time and mark our progress by it. Until then, “It’s almost seven!”

Why There Can Be No Peace With Hamas

I read an AP story on the FoxNews website, one that explains why there can be no peace with Hamas. If this weren’t such a sad truth some might think it came from a Saturday Night Live skit intended to make Hamas look like a bunch of dumb-asses.

“GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Palestinian homicide bomber detonated a truck loaded with explosives as he tried to ram a crucial crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel early Thursday, militants said. There were no casualties besides the bomber.”

It gets better the more you read:

“Abu Thaer, a spokesman for Al Aqsa, said three other fighters on the mission were following in a jeep, and planned to enter the crossing after the explosion to spray the area with gunfire. But there was heavy fog in the morning and their jeep ran into a mound of sand and overturned, he said. They fled unharmed, he said.”

The purpose of the attack was to force Israel to accept a six month truce. In the next episode to be aired next Thursday, a squad of men with small table cloths draped over their heads and brandishing hand grenades as they pull the pins standing defiantly at the same location will shout at the Israeli army on the other side. The leader of the group will be Arwe ThereYet, who attended Al Ask, the local Palestinian school for truck drivers, a two hour seminar on how to get the seat belt secure while wearing an explosive pack on your chest. The guy on the left looks so much like John Belushi as to be his twin; and isn’t that tall guy next to him Dan Aykroyd?

“We demand you surrender. We’re giving you to the count of ten or we will throw these activated grenades and destroy all of you. One, two, three, four, five”… Kablouey. There is a large cloud of dust, several small indentations in the earth as the Israeli soldiers wonder how they can encourage similar skirmishes.

Further down in the article is the real reason there can be no peace with Hamas:

“Israel claims that Hamas would only use a lull in fighting to rearm, strengthen its rule and prepare for another round of fighting, and Hamas officials acknowledge that is one of their goals.”

Hamas, and the UN, are demanding that Israel give Hamas time to rearm in order that Hamas can resume its goal of wiping the state of Israel off the map. We need to give Hamas a fair chance to kill you, they’re running a bit low on explosives and other necessary forms of ammunition so just sign the papers; isn’t that what I’m reading?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tomato Plant Progress May 21, 2008

Looks like a good year, lots and lots of tomatoes hanging and growing. We noticed the slightest tinge of yellowing on a couple of them which means the ripening process has begun. Click on the image to enlarge it, you can almost smell the tomato plants. Notice the good use we put to torn stockings.

Termites and Government

Now there are two words you shouldn’t see at the same time, termites and government. Just for a moment I want you to stop reading, close your eyes and create an image of that; hold that thought and then continue.

Several years ago I noticed some flying bugs on edge of the front window of our house. I couldn’t figure out where they’d come from; but each morning there they were as if they had taken up residence. That was enough to scare me into calling my friend the “bug guy”.

We’d been lucky, so to speak, in that we’d caught them right as they’d decided to attack our house rather than later on when they would have wreaked havoc. Even so, in a short time they had gotten inside two of the wall supports next to the window. Those boards were removed, replaced and a careful inspection of the surrounding wood determined they had gone no further. Termite bait stations were installed to protect from further infestations and have been maintained regularly since then.

We’d wanted to do some home improvements in the dining room; this was the trigger to set all that in motion. Our beautiful living area is the result of acting on a threat and then making those repairs necessary. I posted on this here , here and here .

Enough about home repairs; Aurora over at The Midnight Sun recently posted an article which should remind us that America should be more aware of the threat from within rather than being overly concerned by external forces; not to say that those external forces should be ignored or taken lightly, only to say that our own worst enemy may be waving an American Flag. ( some of those flags have 50 stars while others reportedly have as many as 57 )

These warnings were given 140 years ago. The fulfillment is now. We are living witnesses, unless we are blinded by our own complacency and the craftiness of evil men. No, those aren’t my words and I normally would have put quotation marks around them to alert you; but they sound exactly as if I had said them so I led you down the garden path for just a moment. I “borrowed” that line from a talk, Watchman, Warn the Wicked, given and recorded by Ezra Taft Benson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, in July of 1973, more than five years before I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

There were so many similarities to the information found in that talk by Elder Benson; sentiments which I attempt to share here in my blog as to make me wonder how much influence my having read such talks has had upon my thoughts and my writings.

In the crisis through which we are now passing, we have been fully warned. This has brought forth some criticism. There are some of us who do not want to hear the message. It embarrasses us. The things which are threatening our lives, our welfare, our freedoms are the very things some of us have been condoning. Many do not want to be disturbed as they continue to enjoy their comfortable complacency.

I did it again, that last line should also have quotation marks; but they are no different than what I’ve been spouting all this time so I will claim them as if I’d said them; is that plagiarism or simply acquiring that which if desirable?

“We live in an age of appeasement—the sacrificing of principle. Appeasement is not the answer. It is never the right answer.

One of these modern Church watchmen has given this sound warning:

“A milk-and-water allegiance kills; while a passionate devotion gives life and soul to any cause and its adherents. The troubles of the world may largely be laid at the doors of those who are neither hot nor cold; who always follow the line of least resistance; whose timid hearts flutter at taking sides for truth. As in the great Council in the heavens, so in the Church of Christ on earth, there can be no neutrality. We are, or we are not, on the side of the Lord. An unrelenting faith, contemptuous of all compromise, will lead the Church and every member of it, to triumph and the achievement of our high destiny.”

I have to wonder about the crop ( alternate spelling is optional ) of elected representatives going hither and yon promising anything that might get them one more vote rather than standing upright; a better example of milk and water allegiance you will never find. Each time we elect one of these termites they eat at our foundations, the structures which hold America above the rest of the world.

Make no mistake; the rest of the world would dearly love to watch America fail. Their contempt for our abundance and our way of life must leave a terrible bitterness each time they are forced to swallow such a pill. What is it that makes them envy us?

"The United States of America has been great because it has been free. It has been free because it has trusted in God and was founded upon the principles of freedom set forth in the word of God. This nation has a spiritual foundation. To me, this land has a prophetic history."

"In the year 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French historian, came to our country at the request of the French government to study our penal institutions. He also made a close study of our political and social institutions. In less than ten years, de Tocqueville had become world-famous, as the result of the four-volume work that he wrote, entitled Democracy in America. Here is his own stirring explanation of the greatness of America:”

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

My thanks to Elder Ezra Taft Benson, posthumously, for speaking the truth and for standing up for what is right. May we all be Watchmen willing to warn the wicked, willing to share the simple truths which make America the greatest nation on the face of the planet. We, as a nation and individually, are only strong through our obedience to the laws of Heaven. Our integrity and our character make us who we are, all the rest is window dressing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Memorial Day Warm Up

I was flipping channels, an old term for channel surfing when there actually was a knob with numbers on it, and found the Military History Channel’s documentary on the sinking of the Indianapolis. There are many WWII events which could be mentioned as we mark with respect the cost of freedom; this particular tragedy wasn’t on the front page of the newspapers because it happened at the same time the Japan surrendered.

I have an old desk, a hand me down from my folks when they moved. One of the drawers has a collection of old newspapers; the day John F. Kennedy was shot, the day Challenger blew apart, the first landing on the moon and other import dates in history. Down at the bottom of the stack are the WWII editions, Victory in Europe and the Japanese surrender.

After watching the documentary on the sinking of the Indianapolis and the terrible ordeal and suffering by those surviving the original torpedo attack I wanted to read the newspaper account which I knew was within my grasp. Sure enough it was on the second page, almost a footnote compared with all the hoopla with Japan’s surrender.

The television documentary had interviews with some of the surviving crew members, their vivid memories along with photographs of their buddies, sometimes choked off with an overflow of emotions as they recalled shipmates who’d perished. The initial destruction of the ship happened just after midnight when two torpedoes devastated the vessel; about 12 minutes from impact to the ship going under. Those who made it overboard faced the elements as they floated in heavy seas for several days without fresh water, exhaustion and the added element of being in shark infested waters.

As you read the newspaper article, (click on it to enlarge), you will see a decided lack of information regarding the actual sinking; mostly references to a previous skirmish in which a Kamikaze suicide plane tore into the ship and several crew members were killed or injured. Times have changed in the way information from the war zones are reported; back then the public accepted the fact that some information should be held back until such time as was appropriate to release it.

Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us; rather than remembering the loss of the heavy cruiser Indianapolis or its historical mission of delivering major components of the atomic bomb which brought an end to the war, I'll be thinking of the individual accounts given by those interviewed on the documentary. I’ll try to hold my own emotions in check as I listen, in my mind, over and over, how these once young men had to endure under the most trying of circumstances, all the while watching life slip away and there was little they could do except pray to hold on a little longer.

May we live our lives in such a way as to honor the sacrifices made along the way, men who’ve paid in so many ways for our chance to be free from tyranny and oppression. War is a ghastly business which should be avoided; however, there are times when it is the only way to confront those who have no respect for our way of life and the freedoms we enjoy. There seems to be an endless supply of tyrants and hopefully, enough men of courage to stand up to them. Consider these thoughts as we bask in the light of freedom this Memorial Day.


I’ll make light of a terrible incident which happened in Hamilton (Ontario), Canada. I read this on the FoxNews website and had to wonder…

“The hand of the unidentified 23-year-old was hacked off Saturday outside the bash, Hamilton Police Sgt. Paul Lahaie told the paper.”

First off, perhaps a poor choice of words; first off, (really, that just came out that way, nothing intended), how is it the fellow is listed as “unidentified”? They have a man without a hand at a hospital and they have a hand that fits the arm; couldn’t they simply ask him what his name was? Here’s another idea, get the police to lift prints from the hand and see if there’s a match. Case solved; next.

Hamilton, Canada, was where Harry Chapin performed his “final concert”. This is the kind of story Harry would have had some fun with in his own twisted way. I was a Harry Chapin fan, still am even after he died so long ago. How many folks could make a cult hit out of a truck driver crashing 30,000 pounds of bananas in Scranton Pennsylvania? What about his song about a dry cleaner who sang while pressing cloths, or how time flies when the cat’s in cradle with a silver spoon?

At the time of Harry’s death he reportedly was working on a song about an elderly woman living in New York City. Her German Shepherd died and she needed to transport the rather large animal across town to be properly disposed. She didn’t wish to startle folks on the subway, carrying him in a suit case. Apparently there was a steep set of stairs the woman had to climb and a young man, seeing her inability to carry the heavy suitcase, volunteered to carry it for her; that was the last she ever saw of him or the suit case with her dead companion within as he ran off believing he’d stolen something of great value. What a song that would have been.

How would Harry have entertained us with a song about a guy at a party getting his hand chopped off and then later having it sewn back on? Anyone, please; a show of hands if you know?

“It was just after dark when the truck started down
The hill that leads into Scranton, Pennsylvania…”

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Does the 1st Amendment Cover?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The Supreme Court has recently decided to uphold a conviction against a Florida man which found him guilty of possession of Child Pornography images on his computer after he went to an on-line chat room and advertised that he had them to an undercover secret service agent posing as “Lisa-n-Miami”. Quoting from CNN’s article; but which I’m sure would be on every major new service:

“Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said Congress’ latest attempt to deal with this “threat” was legally “successful.”


“Child pornography harms and debases the most defenseless of our citizens,” he said. “This court held unconstitutional Congress’ previous attempt to meet this new threat, and Congress responded with a carefully crafted attempt to eliminate the First Amendment problems we [earlier] identified.”

Never mentioned, not once, which didn’t surprise me in the least, was any reference to God. So, what has God got to do with the 1st Amendment? Time to get back to basics; “Rights” come from God whereas entitlements, exemptions and powers are man made. Governments do not grant its citizens rights; our Constitution was an attempt to protect God given rights FROM government.

I’m letting the phone ring off the wall as the complaints come in regarding separation of church and state as pertain to God given rights; don’t waste my time. Those who wish to tangle up in another extended verse on that subject will have to wait; I’ve already said my piece and haven’t altered my opinion, not willing to step back even a little.

My line of thought regarding any right given to mankind by our Father in Heaven, the Lord, our Creator; call Him what you will, is fairly simple. I’ll use some scriptural references; those so inclined have already left, regarding anything scriptural as of no value.

“And he said: Thus saith the Lord God—Cursed shall be the land, yea, this land, unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, unto destruction, which do wickedly, when they are fully ripe; and as I have said so shall it be; for this is the cursing and the blessing of God upon the land, for the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” Alma 45:16

The Lord has not given us rights to justify transgressions or sins against that which he has already acknowledged as sinful. There need not be an entire listing of sins in order to understand what falls into the sinful category. A recent news article related how the Catholic Church had added to the list of known sins; but my understanding would be that such was not necessary since anyone in tune with the Spirit would know right from wrong; even a little child knows right from wrong.

Most of us are familiar with the original Ten Commandments, some would even know how the Lord was tempted as recorded in the Book of Matthew, chapter 22, starting in verse 36; but you could go up a couple of verses to verse 34.

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

You’ll find the Lord doesn’t go into great detail about what is sinful; leaving the fine points to each of us to determine. It’s interesting how so many of our Father in Heaven’s children have hardened their hearts to such a degree as would consider pornography as artistic license or more simply put, right is wrong and wrong is right.

“Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20

Now, back to the Supreme Court ruling, and for that matter, the entire false premise that laws against pornography violate the Constitutional declaration contained in the 1st Amendment, “abridging the freedom of speech”. There is no way to justify corrupt and debased intentions such as sexual misconduct as a God given Right; either in act or in the spoken word. Neither can there be a justification to engage in criminal activity and claim protection under such a condition.

Going back to CNN’s article:

“A coalition of free speech and commercial interests were supporting Williams’ constitutional claims, including the Free Speech Coalition, online media retailer and National Coalition Against Censorship.”

So, who are these folks who wish to include child pornography under the protection of free speech, the ones that call themselves the Free Speech Coalition? I looked them up on Google and found they are the trade association for the adult entertainment industry; not so surprising that a group of smut dealers would hope to sway the Supreme Court in favor of permitting Child Pornography as artistic expression. has repeatedly stood firm on its determination to distribute child pornography, calling any attempt to ridicule such sales as censorship rather than acknowledge certain material as patently offensive and remove them voluntarily. I wrote my thoughts on this subject last February, – Pedophilia is Objectionable.

The National Coalition Against Censorship claims to be a grass roots organization with the goal of protecting the public from government censorship when in reality they are a left wing element intent on removing any semblance of morality from our society through consistent attacks on anything which limits our downward decent into the gutter.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

There is a reasonable and prudent time for local, state and federal agencies of government to use censorship; not to silence a political foe, rather to protect society from agents of the Devil himself. I wish to remove child pornography as a form of entertainment for those deplorable enough to seek such a level of depravity while taking advantage of the innocents in their charge.

My thoughts regarding this most recent Supreme Court decision center more around the deception or ploy to use a God given right to justify contempt of those standards which are in conflict with God’s commandments. With God given rights come the responsibility to adhere to God’s laws of conduct; something which the Free Speech Coalition, and National Coalition Against Censorship would rather not bring to the table. If our society fails to recognize the difference between freedom of speech and rebellion against God’s laws then we deserve the destruction which surely will follow as we forfeit the blessing and protection of our Lord.

Resisting Change

I’d like to keep the original rights acknowledged by our Constitution, to include the right to bear arms in defense of my family’s lives and our property against any and all intruders. There are some who would deny me the right, all the while pretending to represent me. Thanks go to Jay at Stop the ACLU for posting this video clip.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Orchard Spider

I may have to take a muscle relaxing pill after having poured through hundreds of pictures of spiders on the internet trying to find one that looks like the one in my tomato garden. This one, a common Orchard Spider, came close, not exactly the same; but my skin was already crawling from too much spider viewing and I had to leave it alone. Years ago my back actually went out on me when I was home alone watching the movie, Arachnophobia.

I got out my old 35mm camera; but there was too much of a breeze making the spider and its web jump around as the tomato plants swayed and the level of light was too low to permit a fast enough shutter speed. I will try again tomorrow or the next day with some high speed film; for you young folks, cameras at one time used film for taking pictures. It was a long drawn out process which required taking the used roll of film to the store where it was developed and then printed in order to obtain an image. I’ll admit to being spoiled to the digital age of cameras. Maybe one day I’ll step up to the line and get a 35mm style digital camera.

Tomato Garden Progress Report

A spider has taken up residence in the middle of my tomato patch, a beautifully spun web in between the plants where it plans to catch something carelessly flying by. I tried to capture the image with Lucy’s digital camera but for some reason it just wasn’t clear enough after looking at the results. The spider is smaller than a dime, a pale greenish gray with a pair of iridescent orange patches on its underside.

I did manage to get several tomatoes as they are growing larger each day. These are Early Girls, a medium sized tomato which does well in the spring; a quick producer before the summer heat bakes the plants. The plants are between five and six foot tall with blooms and tomatoes enough so we should be able to share this year.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bench with Gnomes

Bench with Gnomes

Lucy wanted a replacement bench in the front yard for Mother’s Day; the old one’s wooden slats had reached the end of the line. I went looking around specialty stores, the ones which sell patio furniture and related items. I went into Chair King, the same store where I’d purchased the original park bench many years ago. I explained to the fellow what I was looking for.

“Are you here because of the advertisement in the newspaper?”, pointing to the ad sheet with his finger landing on a simple park bench on sale for $39.99, regularly $149.99.

“That’s exactly what I’m looking for.” He walked me over to the floor sample, wrought iron sides with wooden slats as I nodded in approval. “That’s the kind Lucy wants.”

“Have you sat in it?” I thought it an odd question; a park bench is a park bench, aren’t they all about the same?

“This one might last a year at best.” It sounded like he didn’t want to sell it to me, the standard bait and switch to a more expensive bench.

“So you’re telling me this is a piece of junk?” I must have hit a nerve as he explained that the other benches, the ones selling in the $300 and up price range would last a life time. I walked toward the front door as he walked to the sales counter. I think he was about to ring up the sale as I exited the front door without another word. If he’s willing to sell a piece of junk then I figured I better look else where.

I ended up at Home Depot where I had two styles of benches to pick from, one was $79 and the other was $89; the only difference being one had plain brick-a-brack lattice work and the other had a fancy one with large stars embedded. The young man said the bench would last a long time since it’d been protected with an oil based polyurethane coating; but that it would last forever with additional coatings as the years went by.

I took it home and put it together in the driveway so I could use the side of the house to act as my third arm while juggling the pieces until a couple of the wooden slats were bolted in place. I borrowed the strength of two high school students who’d just gotten home to move the old bench from the yard into the garage and the new bench took its place. “Someday” I’ll get around to replacing the rotten wood and have a second bench for the yard; that would be the same “someday” as with other projects stored in the garage.

The gnomes are for good luck and add color to an otherwise plain green yard. The plants growing under the bench are an assortment left over from when my folks moved away. Each winter we’d haul them into the house to protect them from freezing temperatures, the more hardy we left outside; they took root and have flourished.

Obama’s US has 57 States

I know this has gone around the blogosphere and come back twice already; but this morning I saw where somebody has actually created a lapel pin to go along with Obama’s gaffe on having campaigned in all but one of the 57 states. This might be the break out year for that enterprising individual, the unexpected cash cow that everyone will have to have. “I gotta get one of those!”, will be heard all over America.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Some Folks Aren’t Happy Unless They’re Miserable

I read on the FoxNews website where the Code Pink “ladies”, and that is more than they deserve, the Code Pink ladies are going to start casting spells on the U. S. Marine recruiting center.

“Code Pink — which was given parking and noise permits by the City Council and is allowed to protest during the recruiting center's business hours — has been protesting daily since September.”

Several years ago the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had an open house prior to the dedication of the Houston Texas Temple. I recall seeing several protestors standing at the intersection outside the grounds handing out anti-Mormon literature.

It was very warm and rather than ignore the protestors some of the volunteer workers who had been giving tours of the temple grounds took pitchers of ice water, lemonade and sandwiches out to them. The protests evaporated; it’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm of hate when those you hate make sure you’re taken care of.

Maybe the Marines could take the “Code Pinks” some MRE’s, a few canteens of stale warm water or offer them something to sit on; must get tiresome balancing on those brooms day in and day out. Strange land we live in; isn’t it?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A moment of reflection

Every now and then it’s a good idea to take a time out and adjust the rear view mirror, the side mirrors and make sure you have the map oriented properly. This might be the right time for me to “pull in my horns” as my mother would say. When I start writing “to get even” or in anger I’ve found this to be good council; I remembered a line, one which I often ponder from the movie, Harvey.

“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” - she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

This past week I forgot to be pleasant; I was downright ugly, for that I hope you will accept my apology. I considered removing the article since it really is not how I want folks to think of me; then recognized that it might serve better as a reminder, not to repeat such a mistake.

I have a dent in the side of my truck from one day when I tossed a broken ignition in anger. Instead of going under, as intended, it struck the side and left an ugly dent. I’m reminded not to lose my temper because of that ugly spot on an otherwise smooth and well kept truck. It isn’t often that I back down from being prideful; mostly because I’m right most of the time; there, feeling much better and more like my self.

This weekend we had Stake Conference, a chance to listen to our church leaders, both local and from the “home office” in Salt Lake. We had Elder Douglas L. Callister from the Quorum of the Seventy speak to us, a remarkably agile mind and tongue who appeared to speak without the aid of any prepared notes.

He was reminded of a young man from “days gone by” who had a wonderfully efficient student’s lamp, something which was a matter of pride and, from the account given rightfully so. He kept the wick trimmed perfectly, the chimney spotless and was able to illuminate his study area very nicely.

One evening while sitting on the porch at the beginning of his studies a salesman approached and commented on how fine a lamp he had, expressing the obvious attention and care which had been used to keep it burning with such a brightness. The young student accepted the praise as the salesman explained that he too had a very nice lamp for sale; but rather than insult the one the young student was using, the salesman simply said that he would light the one offered for sale and let its illuminating abilities speak for itself.

Upon lighting the new product it out shown the student’s lamp so that there wasn’t a place in the room which held its secrets, the light being produced from the much broader wick was aided by a much taller protective chimney; a good ten times brighter by comparison. There had never been a need to diminish the less efficient lamp as it became clear upon comparison how much better the newer lamp was.

As I listened to the crafting of words from Elder Callister my heart sank, reflecting on the words which I’d unleashed this past week. I had done nothing to show my admiration for those who held a different opinion; instead my words were angry, cold and unacceptable. There was no reason anyone would want to read constructive words which might be contrary to their own after my barn storming rant. Eating crow is a poor substitute for sharing a meal.

The next story Elder Callister shared had to do with a rich man who had all manner of worldly possessions. When he died it was determined there were no heirs and so his estate was dissolved in pieces to the highest bidders and what was left was given away in order to empty the large house prior to being sold.

There was only one book left, of all the items collected over years of acquiring great works of art, silver, gold and priceless treasures of the earth; only one book which was neither sold nor could it even be given away for free. It was a copy of the Book of Mormon, the only item which had value in the eternities.

This led to one more story which I’ll relate and leave you to decide whether or not these stories have any importance. Elder Callister in his younger years was a lawyer and he was approached by a fellow in the same profession, a man from a different faith.

“Do you really expect me to believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that a young boy actually translated this book and claims it came from God?”

Mind you I wasn’t acting as a stenographer during the time Elder Callister was speaking so the exact wording won’t be perfect.

Elder Callister turned the question around and asked, “Do you believe in the Bible?” The other fellow jumped in and answered, “Yes”. A discussion followed where the fellow explained how he’d grown up with the examples in the scriptures, stories from the Old and New Testaments were accepted from his earliest youth without question.

“Let’s say you were new to the information contained in the Bible, the parting of the Red Sea, walking on water, the dead being instructed to come out as was with Lazarus; wouldn’t you question the authenticity of such a book, just as you have with the Book of Mormon?” The other fellow had to pause and reconsider the information as it was presented.

Elder Callister took it another step, “When you hear the words of Shakespeare, you recognize the Shakespearean quality within the verses, When you hear Tennyson you hear the Tennysonian quality, with Emerson the Emersonian quality; so it is with the scriptures. You are able to identify the words which no man wrote, that could only come from God.”

Elder Callister waited a moment, “So it is with the Book of Mormon. You gain the knowledge that this book came from God as you read. The Spirit testifies that no man wrote these words; only God can touch your spirit in such a way.”

I apologize for not being as eloquent as Elder Callister; one of those, “You should have been there”, kind of talks. If you could compare speaking with dancing, Elder Callister just did a Fred Astaire from the podium and never needed anything, not even a broom handle.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Two Legs Lifted

After a steady diet of word warfare I thought a change was in order. I got this from the Houston Chronicle, “DVD pirates have dogged pursuers sniffing for phonies”.

“The two black Labradors are the world's first disc-sniffing dogs, working at ports and other locations around the globe to help stem the flow of pirated DVDs, CDs and video games into America. They've already located millions of bogus discs and so angered Malaysian pirates that a $30,000 bounty was placed on their hides.”

According to the article these dogs are not film critics, paws down for real stinkers while lifting a leg, so to speak, on future Oscar candidates. Here’s a hint for purchasing suspected pirated DVDs, if it has a yellow stain on the corner; leave it alone.

My daughter reminded me that tomorrow is Star Wars Celebration Day, “May the 4th be with you.” She gets that from her father’s side of the family.

Last on my list of light hearted enjoyment would have to be a YouTube video that I’m stealing from
Liberal Common Sense. Lisa Rene found how important engineers and their relations with cats are. So there you have it, dogs and cats proving once again we can’t live with out them. ( If the embedded link doesn't show, use the one in the title bar )

Friday, May 02, 2008

Pearls Before Swine

I wanted to get rid of some baggage and clear up a few points along the way after reading comments to an article written by a friend, comments by others who do not share my Christian faith and have some rather interesting variations regarding right and wrong. Some of the most basic information regarding our country’s founding has either never been taught or, in some cases, transformed into the most amazing things, some of which explain how today’s ultra liberal left justify their stance on almost anything.

There’s a book written over a hundred and forty years ago, within decades of the birth of our nation, by Benjamin Morris, The Christian Life and Character of The Civil Institutions of the United States, which underscores our heritage as a Christian nation founded by folks with a deep respect for the precepts taught by our Savior, Jesus Christ. None of the information is relevant, according to a handful of malcontents, as we live in a day of diversity and acceptance of anyone, regardless of religious belief and infinite moral agency not tied to the Bible or any other Christian belief.

I learned, through the comments of others, that America wasn’t founded on Christian principles and the Constitution was tossed in the trash after the Civil War in favor of some other unknown document which only resembled the original. It’s amazing what I learned after pointing out how America was founded; almost as if it were being generated on the spot.

I learned that “everything they ( the Founding Fathers ) wanted was mixed in with the compromises that they had to make on slavery.” The ideas defined in the Declaration of Independence must also be tossed because these concepts clearly were tainted, the ideas which define our being heirs and linked to our Creator, to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness I suppose are included in the need to ignore what the Founding Fathers wished to include as a basis for our country.

“Lincoln's New Birth of Freedom”

“Which meant that the old constitution was void. It still had some purpose - but mostly as background for the new Constitution, the one with the new amendments attached to the end.”

I left my comments to an article which was critical of a photographer and magazine which was exploiting a 15 year old girl, “It’s a sin and a shame that our country has been on the decline for such a long time as to permit the moral decay which now abounds. There is no intention on my part to cast pearls before swine or to teach them to sing either; the effort being without reward.”

I can see how such a remark might upset the swine, after all, those who reject the Gospel are not inclined to respect its teachings. Here are three variations of the scriptural reference:

Matt. 7: 6
6 ¶ Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
3 Ne. 14: 6
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
D&C 41: 6
6 For it is not meet that the things which belong to the children of the kingdom should be given to them that are not worthy, or to dogs, or the pearls to be cast before swine.

I’ve never met the fellow; but it would seem plausible to use these particular references, not to give that which is holy unto them; for these documents which America holds sacred are of holy origin and by his actions these have been trodden under foot. Is it not the intention of such folks to undermine the foundations upon which America stands, indeed, to “rend”?

This is not to say some of his points are without merit, the issue of slavery was clearly a heinous error which continues to fester until our present day; however, there are varied forms of slavery, some of which were justified such as indentured servitude, a practical means for accomplishing freedom on an installment program. The listed atrocities in our history while accurate, have little if anything to do with the original comment to an article regarding how a photographer and a magazine took advantage of a young girl in order to further a degenerate cause which has become prevalent in our day. The use of such a tangent only serves to minimize the focus of the issue at hand, that the moral signature of our nation is ever under attack.

It should be no surprise that I often refer to the agenda to destroy America from within, often called the Communist Goals or manifesto. These are listed in the official Congressional Record and are available for anyone with a desire to understand how American values have been constantly bombarded with the sole aim of destroying what had been established as a Christian nation.

I would say we have much to be concerned about as I review the collective accomplishments of the Adversary, going down the list on how to destroy what was once sacred in America. Simply turning off the television when a program which is unsuited for children comes on isn’t the solution as some have laughably suggested. The root issue is how to come to terms with the evil which has invaded nearly every facet of our society; don’t believe me, just put a check mark next to each item of the Communist Goal.

I suppose I was in error when I wrote, “There is no intention on my part to cast pearls before swine or to teach them to sing either…”, I should have included my inclination to classify them as communist sympathizer dogs as well.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tomato Garden Has Promise

This year’s tomato garden is starting to make me feel good, a reassurance that every now and then I get one right without having said a word. The blooms from last week are showing promise, little green orbs hanging here and there. I only have room for twelve plants, a place in my yard where they’ll get enough sun and they’re fenced in to protect them from the dogs.

I took the camera out there a few minutes ago as the light faded into evening. It’s been overcast most of the afternoon with a threat of rain which made these tomato plants look even more inviting, shadows to add depth to an otherwise small patch of earth. I took several shots attempting to capture the quiet appeal of evening shadows in the tomato garden; the first without the use of a flash.

I picked the first one, the one with the slightest hint of blurring because I liked the way it felt; that sounds interesting and yet a picture can have those qualities. The other photographs highlighted the small tomatoes, the color contrasting as the flash burst; but the subtle unimposing plants with the earthy tones trying to hold on to the last bit of natural light is how they look in reality.

You folks up in the colder areas of the country are just going to have to wait a bit longer; oh well. I heard where I-70 west of Denver was closed today after a snow storm made travel hazardous; you just keep enjoying that weather, I’ll take Houston with it’s early planting season.