Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holy Night Video

This is a beautifully made video of the birth of Christ. Christ is -- or should be -- the center of the Christmas celebration. Enjoy!


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baa We're Lambs

Many of you will remember this song with different lyrics and a different group of singers. This is cuter.

Baa We're Lambs

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

My Veterans Day post is on Jan's Funny Farm. Just a few photos from this morning's local ceremony.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monk the Kingdom Dog

We love this video of Monk the Kingdom Dog. What a wonderful lesson in obedience, something seldom taught nowadays.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cory the Well Driller

You've heard of Joe the Plumber. Now meet Cory the Well Driller, a man who has invested 25 years of hard work and sleepless nights in building and running small businesses. The outcome of this election will not only have a profound effect on his life but also on the lives of any present or future employees.

I have become a bit cynical about such messages because they generally check out to be written by someone other than the name attached to it and/or rewritten to reflect the views of someone other than the author. So I googled the well drilling company mentioned and wrote a message asking if this is, indeed, written by him and if so, is it okay to post it on this site.

His response was, " It is indeed authentic, and I have attached a Word document of the letter with this reply. Feel free to post it in entirity anywhere you want."

So please take a few minutes to read this letter, a story of one American businessman's journey, as he addresses his concerns about how Senator Barak Obama's proposed economic changes could put him out of business(es).

Mr. Obama,

Given the uproar about the simple question asked you by Joe the plumber, and the persecution that has been heaped on him because he dared to question you, I find myself motivated to say a few things to you myself. While Joe aspires to start a business someday, I already have started not one, but 4 businesses.

But first, let me introduce myself. You can call me "Cory the well driller". I am a 54 year old high school graduate. I didn't go to college like you, I was too ready to go "conquer the world" when I finished high school. 25 years ago at age 29, I started my own water well drilling business at a time when the economy here in East Texas was in a tailspin from the crash of the early 80's oil boom. I didn't get any help from the government, nor did I look for any. I borrowed what I could from my sister, my uncle, and even the pawn shop and managed to scrape together a homemade drill rig and a few tools to do my first job. My businesses did not start as a result of privilege. They are the result of my personal drive, personal ambition, self discipline, self reliance, and a determination to treat my customers fairly. From the very start my business provided one other (than myself) East Texan a full time job. I couldn't afford a backhoe the first few years (something every well drilling business had), so I and my helper had to dig the mud pits that are necessary for each and every job with hand shovels. I had to use my 10 year old, 1/2 ton pickup truck for my water tank truck (normally a job for at least a 2 ton truck).
A year and a half after I started the business, I scraped together a 20% down payment to get a modest bank loan and bought a (28 year) old, worn out, slightly bigger drilling rig to allow me to drill the deeper water wells in my area. I spent the next few years drilling wells with the rig while simultaneously rebuilding it between jobs. Through these years I never knew from one month to the next if I would have any work or be able to pay the bills. I got behind on my income taxes one year, and spent the next two years paying that back (with penalty and interest) while keeping up with ongoing taxes. I got behind on my water well supply bill 2 different years (way behind the second time... $80,000.00), and spent over a year paying it back (each time) while continuing to pay for ongoing supplies C.O.D.. Of course, the personal stress endured through these experiences and years is hard to measure. I do have a stent in my heart now to memorialize it all.

I spent the next 10 years developing the reputation for being the most competent and most honest water well driller in East Texas. 2 years along the way, I hired another full time employee for the drilling business so that we could provide full time water well pump service as well as the well drilling. Also, 3 years along the path, I bought a water well screen service machine from a friend, starting business # 2. 5 years later I made a business loan for $100,000.00 to build a new, higher production, computer controlled screen service machine. I had designed the machine myself, and it didn't work out for 3 years so I had to make the loan payments without the benefit of any added income from the new machine. No government program was there to help me with the payments, or to help me sleep at night as I lay awake wondering how I would solve my machine problems or pay my bills. Finally, after 3 years, I got the screen machine working properly, and that provided another full time job for an East Texan in the screen service business.

2 years after that, I made another business loan, this time for $250,000.00, to buy another used drilling rig and all the support equipment needed to run another, larger, drill rig. This provided another 2 full time jobs for East Texans. Again, I spent a couple of years not knowing if I had made a smart move, or a move that would bankrupt me. For the third time in 13 years, I had placed everything I owned on the line, risking everything, in order to build a business.

A couple of years into this, I came up with a bright idea for a new kind of mud pump, a fundamentally necessary pump used on water well drill rigs. I spent my entire life savings to date (just $30,000.00), building a prototype of the pump and took it to the national water well convention to show it off.

Customers immediately started coming out of the woodworks to buy the pumps, but there was a problem. I had depleted my assets making the prototype, and nobody would make me a business loan to start production of the new pumps. With several deposits for pump orders in hand, and nowhere to go, I finally started applying for as many credit card as I could find and took cash withdrawals on these cards to the tune of over $150,000.00 (including modest loans from my dear sister and brother), to get this 3rd business going.

Yes, once again, I had everything hanging over the line in an effort to start another business. I had never manufactured anything, and I had to design and bring into production a complex hydraulic machine from an untested prototype to a reliable production model (in six months). How many nights I lay awake wondering if I had just made the paramount mistake of my life I cannot tell you, but there were plenty. I managed to get the pumps into production, which immediately created another 2 full time jobs in East Texas. Some of the models in the first year suffered from quality issues due to the poor workmanship of one of my key suppliers, so I and an employee (another East Texan employed) had to drive across the country to repair customers' pumps, practically from coast to coast. I stood behind the product, and made payments to all the credit cards that had financed me (and my brother and sister). I spent the next 5 years improving and refining the product, building a reputation for the pump and the company, working to get the pump into drill rig manufacturers' product lines, and paying back credit cards. During all this time I continued to manage a growing water well business that was now operating 3 drill rig crews, and 2 well service crews. Also, the screen service business continued to grow. No government programs were there to help me, Mr. Obama, but that's ok, I didn't expect any, nor did I want any. I was too busy fighting to make success happen to sit around waiting for the government to help me.
Now, after manufacturing the mud pumps for 7 years, my combined businesses employ 32 full time employees, and distribute $5,000,000.00 annually through the local economy. Now, just 4 months ago I borrowed $1,254,000.00, purchasing computer controlled machining equipment to start my 4th business, a production machine shop. The machine shop will serve the mud pump company so that we can better manufacture our pumps that are being shipped worldwide. Of course, the machine shop will also do work for outside companies as well. This has already produced 2 more full time jobs, and 2 more should develop out of it in the next few months. This should work out, but if it doesn't it will be because you, and the other professional politicians like yourself, will have destroyed our countrys’ (and the world) economy with your meddling with mortgage loan programs through your liberal manipulation and intimidation of loaning institutions to make sure that unqualified borrowers could get mortgages. You see, at the very time when I couldn't get a business loan to get my mud pumps into production, you were working with Acorn and the Community Reinvestment Act programs to make sure that unqualified borrowers could buy homes with no down payment, and even no credit or worse yet, bad credit. Even the infamous, liberal, Ninja loans (No Income, No Job or Assets). While these unqualified borrowers were enjoying unrealistically low interest rates, I was paying 22% to 24% interest on the credit cards that I had used to provide me the funds for the mud pump business that has created jobs for more East Texans. It's funny, because after 25 years of turning almost every dime of extra money back into my businesses to grow them, it has been only in the last two years that I have finally made enough money to be able to put a little away for retirement, and now the value of that has dropped 40% because of the policies you and your ilk have perpetrated on our country.

You see, Mr. Obama, I'm the guy you intend to raise taxes on. I'm the guy who has spent 25 years toiling and sweating, fretting and fighting, stressing and risking, to build a business and get ahead. I'm the guy who has been on the very edge of bankruptcy more than a dozen times over the last 25 years, and all the while creating more and more jobs for East Texans who didn’t want to take a risk, and would not demand from themselves what I have demanded from myself. I'm the guy you characterize as "the Americans who can afford it the most" that you believe should be taxed more to provide income redistribution "to spread the wealth" to those who have never toiled, sweated, fretted, fought, stressed, or risked anything. You want to characterize me as someone who has enjoyed a life of privilege and who needs to pay a higher percentage of my income than those who have bought into your entitlement culture. I resent you, Mr. Obama, as I resent all who want to use class warfare as a tool to advance their political career. What's worse, each year more Americans buy into your liberal entitlement culture, and turn to the government for their hope of a better life instead of themselves. Liberals are succeeding through more than 40 years of collaborative effort between the predominant liberal media, and liberal indoctrination programs in the public school systems across our land.

What is so terribly sad about this is this. America was made great by people who embraced the one-time American culture of self reliance, self motivation, self determination, self discipline, personal betterment, hard work, risk taking. A culture built around the concept that success was in reach on every able bodied American who would strive for it. Each year that less Americans embrace that culture, we all descend together. We descend down the socialist path that has brought country after country ultimately to bitter and unremarkable states. If you and your liberal comrades in the media and school systems would spend half as much effort cultivating a culture of can-do across America as you do cultivating your entitlement culture, we could see Americans at large embracing the conviction that they can elevate themselves through personal betterment, personal achievement, and self reliance. You see, when people embrace such ideals, they act on them. When people act on such ideals, they succeed. All of America could find herself elevating instead of deteriorating. But that would eliminate the need for liberal politicians, wouldn't it, Mr. Obama? The country would not need you if the country was convinced that problem solving was best left with individuals instead of the government. You and all your liberal comrades have got a vested interested in creating a dependent class in our country. It is the very business of liberals to create an ever expanding dependence on government. What's remarkable is that you, who have never produced a job in your life, are going to tax me to take more of my money and give it to people who wouldn't need my money if they would get off their entitlement mentality asses and apply themselves at work, demand more from themselves, and quit looking to liberal politicians to raise their station in life.

You see, I know because I've had them work for me before. Hundreds of them over these 25 years. People who simply will not show up to work on time. People who just will not work 5 days in a week, much less, 6 days. People always looking for a way to put less effort out. People who actually tell me that they would do more if I just would first pay them more. People who take off work to sit in government offices to apply to get free government handouts (gee, I wonder how things would have turned out for them if they had spent that time earning money and pleasing their employer?). You see, all of this comes from your entitlement mentality culture.

Oh, I know you will say I am uncompassionate. Sorry, Mr. Obama, wrong again. You see, I've seen what the average percentage of your income has been given to charities over the years of 2000 to 2004 (ignoring the years you started running for office - can you pronounce “politically motivated”), you averaged of less than 1% annually. And your running mate, Joe Biden, averaged less than ¼% of his annual income in charitable contributions over the last 10 years. Like so many liberals, the two of you want to give to the needy, just as long as it is someone else’s money you are giving to them. I won’t say what I have given to charities over the last 25 years, but the percentage is several times more than you or Joe Biden… combined (don’t you just hate google?). Tell me again how you feel my pain.

In short, Mr. Obama, your political philosophies represent everything that is wrong with our country. You represent the culture of government dependence instead of self reliance; Entitlement mentality instead of personal achievement; Penalization of the successful to reward the unmotivated; Political correctness instead of open mindedness and open debate. If you are successful, you may preside over the final transformation of America from being the greatest and most self-reliant culture on earth, to just another country of whiners and wimps, who sit around looking to the government to solve their problems. Like all of western Europe. All countries on the decline. All countries that, because of liberal socialistic mentalities, have a little less to offer mankind every year.
God help us...

Cory Miller
just a ordinary, extraordinary American, the way most Americans used to be.

P.S. Yes, Mr. Obama, I am a real American... meet me at: www.cmillerdrilling.com and www.centerlinemanufacturing.com

Friday, September 26, 2008

Are You Listening, God

An article in the Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution titled "Pearly Gates open to anyone?" was an attention getter. At least it got my attention.

According to a survey from Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion conducted by the Gallop Organization of 1,648 U. S. adults in 2007, "heaven is no longer viewed as an exclusive place by many Americans."

Fifty years or so ago, heaven was viewed as a place only Christians could go. Now they merely have the "inside track." From the responses, many think "half or more" of Average Americans, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and even nonreligious people will go to heaven.

I find that sad. It seems to me that Christ condemned the actions of the religious. So religion can't be what gets you into heaven. Americans, average or otherwise, didn't exist in Christ's time so nationality isn't one of the requirements.

What I do remember is that one must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, be in Christ, have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, obey (now there's one human beings have a problem with) Christ's commandments, and persevere. Did I miss anything?

Obviously God needs to make some changes to accommodate those who participated in the poll, those who initiated it, and those who harbor similar beliefs. After all, this is a democracy and the majority rules. (Ha!)

So, are You listening, God? Americans want to know when we can expect the necessary revisions to Your word to fit the modern view of heaven.

I've never been to seminary and I'm not even a college graduate, but I'd dare an educated Biblical guess -- Never!

God is not swayed by polls or public opinion. Perhaps modern religionists should spend less time trying to "rewrite" the Bible and more time reading it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Day America Cried

September 11, 2001. It was a horrific day for Americans, a day of great sadness and loss of life. It will not -- and should not -- be forgotten!

The song in this video is "The Day America Cried" by Johnny Van Zant.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Starting from Scratch

Last year I wrote a review of Patty Kirk's novel Amateur Believer, which was about her journey to faith. Several months later I was asked to review her new book Starting from Scratch:Memoirs of a Wandering Cook (publisher: Thomas Nelson) I assumed this book would have a similar theme of faith, but as you can tell by the title, it doesn't.

Unfortunately, I don't read through a book as quickly as I did when I was younger, and when I did finish reading it, the book kept disappearing under a mountain of "to do" projects.
There is, however, no excuse to be so late.

Patty Kirk, like most of us, likes to eat -- freshly prepared, savory, sensuous, delectable food. And from childhood, she has enjoyed cooking.

This is a story of Kirk's memories from childhood and her travels around the world as she improves her culinary skills and reminisces of meals gone by. At the end of each chapter, she includes recipes from her collection. Some are simple, some are tempting. There is something for just about anyone.

Apricot or Plum Dumplings.
Fricassee of Fowl
Mamaw's Buttermilk Biscuits
Stir-fried Tomatoes with Ginger and Onions
Sauerkraut with Pineapple

You can read about the world through the eyes and taste buds of Patty Kirk before she married and settled down on a farm in Oklahoma. And then you can try a few of her favorite recipes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Team Hoyt

Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team from Massachusetts who together compete just about continuously in marathon races. And if they’re not in a marathon they are in a triathlon — that daunting, almost superhuman, combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling, and 2.4 miles of swimming. Together they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America.

It’s a remarkable record of exertion — all the more so when you consider that Rick can't walk or talk. Read the rest of the story here. From "Racing Towards Inclusion" by David Tereshchuk.)

And then watch the video of this amazing father and son team.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

White Gloves, Black Light

This is a white gloves/black light performance. (UPC Conference Church 2006 De Bron, Who Am I - Casting Crowns/ Performed by the Oslo UPC Youth Group.)

Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Russian Bar Acrobats

There are a number of short videos of bar acrobatics but I have not seen any as expertly performed as this one from the Circus Festival of Monte Carlo.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Ministry of Assault & Violence

This is the second time I have come across a video of this Todd Bentley, a popular faith healer. I have heard some strange tales of faith healers, but never did I imagine one could be so cruel and downright stupid! Yes, in my opinion, this was stupid! And he did it in public. The video is on YouTube.

I hope the man he "healed" comes to his senses and sues Bentley's socks off. Jesus did not inflict such pain on those He healed. Nor did His disciples.



And since this video is labeled Worst Assault at TB Raging Revival, I checked out part 1 and 2 and I'm still in shock. He is actually bragging about doing violent healings" such as kick-the-old-lady-in-the-face and leg-drop-the-pastor. And his audience is smiling and laughing.

Excuse me but this type of violence would get you or I arrested. Why are people flocking to his healing revivals to get abused? How low have Americans sunk, that such a rampage could be considered the work of the Holy Spirit?

I am including Parts 1 and 2 below in case you would like to view them. They're short. Feel free to not watch them. But do pray for those who are being deceived.




Part 2

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Molly the Shetland Pony

I love a story with a positive ending and this one is so good, I'm posting it twice. Yes, this is exactly as posted on my pets' journal, Jan's Funny Farm.

******************

We received an email today with a wonderful story and photographs. We can't post it because Jan says we are supposed to use links, not use someone else's story/pictures without permission. And since so many emails are nothing more than someone else's work "borrowed" (a polite way of saying "stolen") without permission, they don't contain contact information or identify the source.

But this story is so good we just have to post it. So we did some research. First we went to snopes.com and checked to verify the story is true.

Then we read several blogs and sites on the subject. We searched the videos at YouTube. And now we are ready to post the story.

Molly the pony was left behind during Katrina. Eventually, she was taken to a rescue farm. There she was severely injured when attacked by a rescued pit bull. She survived, but lost a leg. Have you ever heard of a 3-legged pony ... wearing a prosthesis?

You can read some of Molly's inspirational story on The Jurga Report. The Jurga blog entry announces the book, Molly the Pony, but don't let that deter you. It gives you some background on Molly.

When you have read a little about her and how extensive her initial wounds were, her story becomes even more amazing.

This is a video made by the LSU School of Veterinarian Medicine and Molly the 15-year-old Shetland Pony is the star. It is well-worth taking a few minutes to watch.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Come on down to the farm

You might have noticed MAP posts have been few and often far between for some time and some of them have been little more than a video. This one will include a video too, but since I've been deliberating for several days whether to post it, there is something I want to say first.

If you believe the modern teachings that God is whatever you want to make him, that there is no such thing as truth, that sin does not exist, that the purpose of our existence is to feel good, or that sex outside of marriage has no consequences, I respectfully disagree.

I believe there is a creator God, the Holy Bible is His written word, and in His word we can find certain dos and don'ts for our ultimate good. One of the most controversial through the history of the world is the directive that sex belongs within the framework of marriage and that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's almost illegal to say that today, but society can not dictate to God what does or does not constitute sin.

That said, here is a tongue-in-cheek truth from the word of God. The song is performed by Lewis & Lewis.

Monday, May 19, 2008

POD vs Amazon.com

I have a friend or two who has gone the POD (print on demand) route, so this email from Angela Hoy of Writers Weekly caught my attention. If you are considering self-publishing and have a dream of seeing your book for sale on Amazon.com, you might want to read this message. Click on the links to read the related material.

***********************

BookLocker Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon.com

This article may be quoted and/or reprinted in its entirety. If you'd like to comment on this situation, please visit.

BookLocker has filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon.com in response to Amazon's recent attempts to force all publishers using Print on Demand (POD) technology to pay Amazon to print their books.

You can read the complaint here.

Amazon began their clandestine effort earlier this year by phone (nobody there seemed to want to put anything in writing), approaching POD publishers, and telling them they must pay Amazon to print their books or their active "buy" buttons would be turned off at the Amazon.com website. What this means is Amazon customers won't be able to purchase those books directly from Amazon.com (and would not qualify for free shipping), but only through third-party resellers on the site.

Under the Amazon/BookSurge contract, Amazon:

* Controls the printing price of the POD books - The prices can change at anytime, at Amazon's discretion, with 30 days notice.

* Controls the retail price of the POD books across the board - Publishers would not be able to sell their books for a lower price through "any other channel" (including other bookstores), and would not even be able to sell their books for less to their own customers under any circumstances.

* Controls the wholesale price of the POD books - Amazon's new contract demands a 48%-52% discount (different contracts have been sent to different publishers). Many small, independent publishers can't afford to offer this discount to bookstores and would be forced to raise their book prices, which will ultimately hurt book buyers.

* Controls the digital setup and scanning fees for each POD title - After the initial dump of current books, publishers would be charged approximately $50 per title (again, different publishers are receiving different contracts) in setup fees and/or varying scanning fees payable to Amazon/BookSurge. These fees can change at anytime, at Amazon's discretion, with 30 days notice.

* Controls the formatting specifications - Many publishers can't absorb the massive number of man-hours required to reformat every single book interior and cover file in their inventory to match Amazon's specifications.

* Controls the quality of the books - Refer to THIS ARTICLE for details and links. It's no secret that BookSurge has a poor reputation for quality, including complaints about pages falling out of books, upside-down pages, and more. If a publisher pays Amazon to print their books, their reputation could suffer due to any possible BookSurge quality problems with that publisher's books.

* Attempts to control the public's knowledge of who has signed the Amazon/BookSurge contract, along with the details of that contract, through a confidentiality clause, so that publishers signing it may feel they can't talk about it at all.

* And, Amazon controls the golden nugget - that coveted "buy" button that book buyers want (so their order can qualify for free shipping).

In a public statement Amazon offered only one alternative to publishers, which is their "Advantage Program." However, they did not divulge in the public statement that the terms of the Advantage Program are even worse than their printing contract. The Advantage Program requires POD publishers to give Amazon 55% of the list price, pay them $29.95/year, and pay the shipping costs for books going to Amazon.

STRONG DISSENT FROM INDUSTRY REPRESENTATIVES

The Author's Guild, the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), The Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), YouWriteOn.com (the U.K.'s leading writer's website) and the National Writer's Union have all issued strong statements denouncing Amazon's attempted power grab of the industry.

OUR STORY

After hearing rumors of Amazon's alleged activities, we spoke to an Amazon/Booksurge representative by phone on March 26th. You can read what transpired that day here:

After reviewing all the materials presented to us, and after talking on- and off-the-record with publishers, authors and industry representatives at all levels of this controversy, it is our opinion that Amazon may be positioning itself to directly print and control every book it sells. By forcing publishers to sign their extraordinarily oppressive contract, Amazon gains the power to charge publishers whatever printing and distribution costs it desires, as well as controlling the retail, discount and wholesale prices of the books it prints, and, through this contract, automatically positions itself to control the market.

We cannot say for certain if what Amazon is doing is legal or not at this point; that is for the Federal courts to decide. However, in our opinion, the seemingly covert manner in which Amazon has conducted itself in this matter seems to make their actions highly suspicious.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Amazon has already taken control of publishers' ebook sales on the Amazon.com website by requiring ebooks to be available for their ebook reader, the Kindle. Now, Amazon is attempting to take control of the printing of all POD books. We wonder if traditionally published books are next. Some are speculating that Amazon won't stop until they are being paid to print every book they sell.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

You can read more information about this situation here including a time-line of the events that have transpired.

You can comment on this situation here.

ARE YOU AFFECTED?

According to Amazon's public statement, ALL POD books will be affected. If you are a POD publisher (this includes self-published authors who publish their own POD books through a printer), or a traditional publisher using POD technology for some or all your books, and would like more information, please contact:

Angela Hoy, Publisher
Angela Hoy
Booklocker.com

Interview requests can also be directed to Angela Hoy at the email address above.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hand in Hand

A friend sent a video. After watching it, I searched YouTube in order to post it here and share it. It's an inspiring ballet. Please, if you aren't a ballet fan, watch it anyway. It might surprise you.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Exercise Chair

Americans are shortcut-oriented. We are always looking for the easiest means to accomplish a task - any task, especially exercise! So now there is an easy way to exercise on the job.

I'm not sure who would actually be crazy enough to try this in front of co-workers and office brass, but in case you're looking for a way to stay fit without investing any time or energy, this is the office chair for you. Good luck!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Already in His Heart

Cruelty is a subject that arises way too often. Recently I did several posts on Jan's Funny Farm regarding the U.S. Marine who was videotaped throwing a puppy off a cliff and laughing about it. There are other videos online of U.S. military abusing animals and laughing.

This is a quote from my post, Hodgepodge, March 16:

"On our behalf, Jan wrote this in an email to the Public Affairs Office of Marine Corps Base Hawaii (email address in the post URMC Responds to Video) regarding the puppy throwing video:

"This incident concerns me greatly, as does any act of violence against a human or an animal. It is a well-documented fact that animal abuse and human abuse are closely entwined. What I believe is that anyone who would commit such a horrible act as was demonstrated in the video and to laugh at it is not a newcomer to violence. And I'm not referring to what he learned while at war."

For the most part, our troops are young when they enlist, but a person with a propensity for abuse going in is very likely going to come out even more abusive. The correlation between animal abuse and human abuse is well-documented. I have a great respect for our military but the service is comprised of humans, with all their flaws and mentalities.

Some of our troops overseas rescue stray cats or dogs, and now laws are being changed to allow some of these animals to be shipped home to the US to be waiting on the returning serviceman or woman. The answer to why one soldier tortures and another rescues animals can not be explained away by temporary circumstances. Each reacts to what is already in his heart.

And the same for anyone in the military who rapes a fellow officer. I believe the disposition for violence was already present before basic training and deployment. Yet, since the military brass are male and little or nothing is done to punish the perpetrator, one cannot help but wonder if the men in command are egging on those with abusive tendencies by dehumanizing women in their training of recruits. They certainly do not stand for the victim.

It saddened me to read the latest story on rapes committed by fellow soldiers. These are just two articles: "Rapists in the Ranks" and "Sexualized Violence Against Female Soldiers Going Largely Unpunished."

Here's a recent story involving the upcoming generation. "Cops: 3rd-graders aimed to hurt teacher." And the number of animal torture and killings by young children is rising. Children are our future military recruits. They are also our future leaders.

I have serious doubts any animal abuse/torture case will garner any more of a punishment than does rape within the military. For one thing, the "boys will be boys" (even though they are old enough they should act like men) attitude is still prevalent. And for another, I believe the Bible - violence will not only continue but grow worse until Christ returns.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Oprah and Friends

As a television personality, I like what little I know of Oprah. She has a reputation of being generous and kind. If she endorses a product, folks rush out to buy it. If she endorses a book, sales rocket. If she endorses a religion with a god who loves everyone and gives us everything we want without regard for Biblical truth and without the God of creation, authority and holiness, millions listen and many embrace it.

However, let's face facts. Oprah might be a fantastic entertainer, but God has not elected her His spokesperson. Nor has he given her permission to alter His word and teach a different gospel. She is outspoken about being very spiritual (remember, this word means different things to different people and religions), but what kind of spirituality is she hyperbolizing?

Oprah has said Marianne Williamson, a long-time friend and author of many spiritual books was the reason she began her Book Club. Ms. Williamson has been on Oprah and Friends Radio. (I checked the radio schedule.) So has Shirley MacLaine. Some of the past shows deal with Taoism, Buddhism, past lives, etc.

Oprah has also had Esther Hicks on to discuss the secret behind The Secret, a very controversial book. Ms. Hicks didn't write that book, so who is she? She is an inspirational speaker and co-author of a book titled The Law of Attraction:The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham. But she is not writing about the Abraham of the Bible. She "dialogues with or 'channels' a group of spiritual teachers collectively known as 'Abraham.' Esther refers to the material that she channels as 'Abraham-Hicks.'"

I don't know about you but these endorsements set off Spiritual alarms for me. These teachings are in direct conflict with the Holy Word of God.

I don't write this to put down Oprah, but to shed some light on what she is endorsing. Many are drinking it in as enlightened truth. If you would like to read more on this subject, click here. This is not an endorsement of the books being sold on this link page. I have not read any of them. This is merely the link that set me searching to find the information in this post.

Don't allow yourself to be led astray by anyone - friend, relative, pastor, entertainer, etc. Read the Word and stand firm in His truth.

www.mercyandpercy.com

Friday, February 01, 2008

Hotel Glass Expose

There is no place like home. Familiar surroundings, familiar routines and even familiar germs.

But stay at a hotel - even a swanky hotel - and you might come down sick from drinking out of a hotel glass. How can this be? They wash those glasses! Don't they? See for yourself.

Click here to watch the hotel drinking glass expose video. It's short, surprising and disgustingly educational.

Yes, there's no place like home.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dog Dancing

There is a special bond between pets and humans. For some with physical, emotional or mental handicaps, a pet can help a person find a reason for getting up in the morning. After all, everyone needs to feel needed and essential. Friends and even family might forget you, but a pet never does. He might let you sleep in occasionally, but feed me, walk me, scoop my litter will get you out of bed and moving on even the worst of days.

And he'll make you smile - even laugh - when you don't think laughter is possible in your circumstances. He can be a dog, a cat, a guinea pig or another type of furball. He's your friend, your companion, and/or your exercise partner throughout his lifetime. At times he might be your patient, needing special care, as he ages or goes through an injury or illness.

Those who don't have pets don't understand this and they miss a lot of happiness.

Carolyn Scott not only knows about this bond, she exemplifies it. For a number of years, Carolyn danced in competitions with Rookie, her Golden Retriever. To watch one of their numbers is to marvel at the way they work together, Rookie's eyes continually on her as he leaps, wriggles and prances through their routines. His enthusiasm and love for what they are sharing is obvious. It's more than a well-trained dog performing. They are both having fun!

To watch them together, one would never guess Carolyn was paralyzed with childhood polio when she was four years old. Today, Rookie is 15 years old, retired from competition and battling cancer. Carolyn is no longer able to compete either, due to aftereffects of the polio and its treatments. Post polio sequelae (or the late effects of polio) has left her with diminished balance, which could cause her to fall.

Land of PureGold Foundation posted this video clip of Carolyn and Rookie in action on YouTube. In late 2008 they hope to have the full video "Gotta Dance" available. It will feature Carolyn's story in her own words, dance routines and commentary on what these two have accomplished. If you haven't seen them dance before, you are in for a treat.



Here are a couple of links for Carolyn and Rookie. Land of PureGold Foundation and Canine Freestyle.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wafa Sultan Video

Many have seen this video of Wafa Sultan speaking out on the clash of civilizations. She is not a Christian; she is a secular psychologist of Arab-American heritage. This interview aired February 21, 2006 on Al-Jazeera TV.

If you haven't seen this before, it is well worth the time to watch and listen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Christians in Pakistan

This is posted at the request of a Christian minister in Pakistan. It was delayed a couple of days because I wanted to be absolutely certain he wanted it posted here. Things are not going well in many places of the world and Pakistan is certainly one of the hot spots at present. Please read the following message and pray for Pakistan. There are devout Christians there.

Bhutto was assassinated on Dec. 27th in a suicide bombing and shooting. This has left Pakistan in a lot of political turmoil and unrest. Most of the cities in the country are burning. There have been at least 60 deaths reported as a result of the street violence and protests. There is chaos all around us.

Bhutto was the only politician who had a soft corner in her heart for the (Christian) minority. May God be with her family and give them strength, at this very difficult time of grief.

This has brought us to the point that we can not keep the office of the ministry, in the house.The upper floor of the house is being used as an office. According to the recent developments, we have to move it away for security reasons. We feel that it should be done soon.

We have visited some places in the suburbs that could be safe in the future during the street protests.
Please pray for this immediate move, and lift it before the Lord that he takes us to the right location. We believe, that the Lord will provide the required finances needed to buy the property.

Pakistan is 97% moslem and the 2.5% Christian is under persecution.

Blessings,
Altaf
ArkHaven,Pakistan

And blessings to you and your family, Altaf. Our hearts and prayers are with you.