Friday, October 29

666 For Kerry

An inexplicable ABC News snafu, snapped by an observant observer who
has seemingly surmised the Satanic scenario surrounding the John
Kerry campaign.

Luna Tune

Nothing like a rare natural occurence to get out the neighbors,
binoculars and telescopes. And the cameras. My little digital had
more than it could handle, overexposing a bit and commanding a big
blur when I tried to zoom and handhold (I had the video on the tripod.)

Our neighbor tried out his untried telescope with zero results. It
was given to him, complete with a half dozen lenses or more. But no time
to read the instructions, and again, no tripod.

Across the street, young Eduardo had set up his LONG telephoto lens for
a look and maybe some pictures, I never asked him.

The three elementary school age girls next to him were huddled together
gaping in the almost dark front yard.

Nothing really exciting to watch, but it beat watching the last Red Sox
game for a half hour.

Saturday, October 23

Affording the Past

A rainy morning goose chase to the downtown Farmer's Market yielded
a quick ten minutes of realizing this wasn't your regular fare Flea
Market as advertised in the newspaper a few days ago. I wasn't looking
for Asian vegetables and 40 different varieties of fish. I was looking
for the old, crusty, vintage STUFF most people call junk.

It's the Grandma Skinner 'buy it cheap' and 'buy it if it might be worth
something someday' and 'boy, that's cute' gene. They're right: It's usually
junk to me, too. So I look for the esoteric, the hobby-connected, or "I'm
going to the Paso Gathering - might need a western belt buckle" items.

Today's fare included looking through another grandmother's stuff. Estate
pickings. San Francisco addressees. Lots of kitchen, old books, knick-
knack items. And they were pretty much giving the stuff away, so I picked
up two books by John Skinner, Scottish Episcopal Church defender of the faith,
for $1.00. Add value in the author's name (same as mine, of course)
and the 1788 publishing date for one of them. They'll look nice in my relic
laden living room for awhile.

Later went to a local Mustang Car Show with my neighbor. My first visit.
Lots of restored cars, along with a few mid 60's Falcons, a Shelby Cobra and a dragster.

This is a picture of the compact and muscular Cobra. Not my choice if I
had choices. But I was shocked to see an old Sunbeam Tiger all fixed up.

Hadn't seen one in years, and it brought back the old college days in El
Paso. My best friend had a Sunbeam Alpine that we terrorized the streets
with. A real little sports car, for sure. It lost its appeal when we drove
it to California once. What a ride! Sardines in the sardine can, loaded
hand gun in the glove box, and zipping across the desert like a little bug
on the asphalt.

Value is placed on everything we see. We're connoisseurs of all, weighing
things by past and present experience, what we've been told and believe,
and hopefully and most importantly by what God says about it. "Vanity of
vanities, all is vanity," said the ancient king. Solomon had it all, saw
it all and did it all, yet pronounced the things of this world as passing,
unfulfilling and not worth getting worked up about, especially since you
came in naked and will leave with nothing as well.

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone
loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in
the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of
life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing
away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
I John 2:15-17.

Pretty sobering considering our passionate affair with all that is STUFF in
the world. Lord, replace these desires for a pure and lasting desire to love
You and others before anything else.

Tuesday, October 19

Pretty Little Angel . . . Ears

Yeah, that's the Angel Bunny laughing while Grammy folds underwear
on the T.V. Or didn't you know about the new sitcom starring the
world famous B.S. Skinner? That's Barbara Sue, not what you were
thinking. Shame on you!

We were flooded today with an afternoon deluge. You couldn't see
across the street while the rain pounded our poor little hovel. The
perils of Providence.

Liz's store was robbed a few days ago by a 400 pound woman with a
butcher knife. She and her accomplice loaded up on Big and Tall pants
and other items. Over $1000 worth before heading north and robbing
another place using the same tried and true method. Thankfully, the
staff at the other store got the license number, so they were soon
apprehended. And thankfully, Liz wasn't working when it happened, but
had to deal with the police and DM right afterwards. (Assistant Mgr. stuff).
The manager was on a cruise. Good work, Elizabeth!

Thursday, October 14

National Stop Shaking Hands Day

It's unofficial. With the rationed flu vaccine, the experts are advising
everyone to stop shaking hands and give a salute instead. This will be
easy for present and former military people, but rather difficult for the
touchy-feely crowd.


* Try shaking or squeezing each other's left arm.
* Try the ancient custom of kissing each cheek.
* Try giving the other person a modest hug. That's
where only the shoulders touch.
* Just raise your right hand, like you were in court.
* Just smile and say something stupid like, "My doctor
doesn't want me to touch anyone."

Or if you just have to shake hands, always
have a packet of handiwipes with you. Pull one out after each
viral exposure and clean those digits up.

Saturday, October 9

Blue and Gray

The old '63 Chevy blue is slowly being replaced by
Pep Boys Varsity Gray Primer. It's still both blue
and gray, like my Civil War great-great grandfathers.
One fought for states rights, the other for big
government. Big government was against slavery. That's
the side I'll choose. Not big government, but freedom
from owning other people. Equality.

"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said,
'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very
religious; for as I was passing through and considering the
objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this
inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

'Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him
I proclaim to you. God, who made the world and everything
in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell
in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's
hands, as though He needed anything; since He gives to all
life, breath,and all things.

'And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell
on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-
appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so
that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might
grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of
us; for in Him we live and move and have our being.'" Acts 17:22-28

You can't get inequality from a common ancestry and common blood.
In God's sight, "all will appear before the judgment seat of God"
for "all have sinned." That's equality. Equally guilty according
to Paul's letter to the Romans, chapters 1-3. God doesn't judge by
outward appearance. He judges all sin without prejudice or favortism
using perfection as the yardstick. Only His Son, Jesus, has lived that
perfect life.

Where does that leave me, the imperfect sinner? Under God's judgment.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were
still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been
justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
Romans 5:8,9

The sin penalty has been paid by the only One who could pay it, the
Son of God. I can't pay for my own sin, even though I spend an eternity
enduring God's wrath. Only Christ can make a substitutionary payment
on my behalf that satisfies God's demand. Love and grace defeating
sin, death and eternal darkness and separation.

Yes, we are all 'free' and equal in an earthly sense. We all bear God's image.
But in a spiritual sense, we are all slaves. Slaves to sin. Slaves to
despising God having any rule over us. Slaves to thinking life is all about
me and God's way be damned. Deaf to the truth of God's word and the joyful
life He promises to those who turn to Him in faith and love. Blind to the
beauty of His holiness.

Lord, open eyes, ears and hearts to receive You even now.

Delta Blues

Today's photo excursion:

This summer's levee break in the Lower Jones Tract flooded the island with
about 9' of water. They're supposed to have it all pumped out in November.
The delta area directly west of Stockton has had more than its share of
problems, including the decades old problem of eroding levees. They think
this one was caused by an over-energetic beaver. Crops, property and lots
of dollars are lost. Most of the levees were built by the original land
owners about 100 years ago, which explains part of the problem. You can see
the flooding in the distance, below Mt. Diablo. In the foreground you'll
see another huge problem, a Water Hyacinth epidemic.

Introduced from South America in the 1800's, "Water Hyacinth grows profusely, forming dense mats that can spread across water surfaces eventually choking the entire water body. It can destroy native wetlands and waterway and kill native fish and other wildlife. Furthermore, it causes high evaporation rate and loss of water and degrades water quality.

The fast-growing Water Hyacinth soon becomes a noxious weed outside its native habitat. Plants interlock in such a dense mass that a person could walk on a floating mat of them from one bank of a river to the other. The presence of Water Hyacinth disrupts all life on the water. By shading the water, these plants deprived native aquatic plants of sunlight and animals of oxygenated water. As the mats decay, there is a sharp increase in nutrient levels in the water, which spark off algal growths that further reduces oxygen levels."

It's beautiful stuff, but has been a cancer to the Delta waterways. Herbicidal
spraying is the main course of action locally.

Another headache for Delta lovers is the abundance of trash. This morning I saw
everything from bagged newspapers on land to a partly filled quart oil can floating in the water. Discarded shoes, food containers, clothing, metal, lumber, concrete,
and much more, all within 15' of where these pictures were taken. Even an old
picture frame.

Civilization's mandate of having "dominion" over this good earth includes a
mandate to keep it beautiful and ecologically in balance. God's glory is to be
reflected in creation. His love and providential care should be reflected in
how we treat it and use it.