Tag Archives: history


I'm sitting in the shade, at a picnic table, with the ruins of an old cabin behind me. I have iced water with me, my iPhone, typing on my iPad.

To my left is an outcropping of serpentine. To my right, a eucalyptus tree. Down the hill is a rotary furnace, where men worked in the heat, extracting mercury from cinnabar. In front of me, Silicon Valley.

A few generations ago, there was a town here...well, around the bend, the ruins are still here.


There is no running water, no electricity. There is a church, a school, a barn. Down the hill...a cemetery. The cometary makes me sad. The thought of a woman, following a cart carrying a casket...a long, winding trail down the hill to a flat spot on the hill. This is a small cemetery, surrounded by a white picket fence. The gate is shut and the grass, like all the grass here this time of year is dry and crunchy. There are no grave markers.

No grave markers. Because the family of a miner couldn't afford it? Because nobody wanted to carry stone up the hill? Maybe there used to be wooden markers that have long since rotted away...

Above me...turkey vultures.

Around the bend, down the hill is a geocache. If I find it, it's my first one.


(yes, I did find it)


How to Destroy a Culture in 5 Easy Steps

This seems to work in both politics and religion...


On the "dominionism" paranoia (or worse)

from patheos...

Schaeffer condemned theocracy and found civil disobedience frightening?  OMG, that's crazy!!  Lizza and Knight need to realize that they are the ones on the crazy train, not Michele Bachmann.  It certainly is crazy what drinking that liberal Kool-aid does to the human mind.


Another dual category - history and religion (but I haven't read this article yet)

Four Myths About the Crusades


Do you think liberals will EVER care about "fast and furious"?


Screw Up, Then Cover Up...

and more...


A new word:  theophobe.


heh...WaPo (via NeoNeocon)

The Internal Revenue Service allowed undocumented workers to collect $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits last year, a new audit says, almost quadruple the sum five years ago.

From NeoNeocon

I suggest the following new and evolving nomenclature to further the cause (we already know about the one that goes “white conservatives: racists”):

thieves: undocumented owners

prisoners: unpardoned innocents

rapists: unsanctioned sex partners

embezzlers: unpaid workers

prostitutes: unmarried wives

terrorists: un-uniformed soldiers

I’m sure there are others you can add to the list.


No prayers at ground zero.




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I'm reading "50 People Every Christian Should Know" by Warren Wiersbe.  The first person is Katherine von Bora - Martin Luther's wife.

She had the "supporting role," yet was a leader as well.  She ran the household and the pet names that Luther had for her reflected that.

If it were not for her support, including the welcoming table that she prepared, Luther's "Table Talk" might not have been written...it was around her table that those talks took place.

Reading this short history, I was encouraged...someday, perhaps...I'll have such a supporting role.

1) Church...

We finally settled on a church.  Well, the kids like it; I settled.

I will not become a "member", but will become active in some of the ministries and studies.  There are issues, but this little church does seem to be the best thing going around here that is both acceptable to me and attractive to the kids.

2) College...

I took the fall off of college (and will take the winter off as well).  There's time to decide what to do with the rest of my life.
Right now, it feels good to reconnect with "me", not just barrel through classes.

3) Work...

I moved classrooms again.  Each time I move I dread it.  Each time I end up glad that I moved.  This time...the staff that I worked with last year tell me that I'm blessed that I got moved (I won't go further that that).  One of the staff that I worked with last year is the choir director; since I'm not in that room, I'm free to explore music options.  I'm starting a bell choir (I'm sure you'll read more)

4) Cycling...

I took up bike riding.  That feels good also.  I'm indoors for the winter, but I'm planning a few things for spring.

My philosophy for exercise is to do it the way my ancestors did;  they were in it for the long haul.  Before exercise was optional, people didn't run marathons, they walked across the country.  Life was less a matter of "let's go as fast as we can for as long as we can".  It was a matter of "let's go at a sustainable pace for as long as it takes to get there."

It makes more sense in that paradigm to ride at 12 MPH for 65 miles than it does to ride at 18 MPH for 2 hours.

As long as my heart rate is at a workout level, I'd rather go a little slower and enjoy the ride.

My plans are to take a few "overnighters".  Ride to my dad's house on the other side of the state - take a spin along the lake shore.  Maybe get the gear that I need to go camping on a bike:

the rest is minor.

4) Cars...

The last major thing is a new vehicle.

We went to Chicago to celebrate with my sisters-in-law and on the way there the transmission on my car "died".  We got there, but would not have gotten home.  I am related to a very special woman who made it possible for me to get a 2004 Honda Pilot with pretty low mileage and a lot of features that I like.

I really didn't want a car payment, but life makes it necessary.  With a 6-cyclinder SUV, my chosen summer life-style is much more possible.  I can put the bike in the back, I can pull the camper up a hill...

As with the bike, there are a couple things that will be added.

  • a trailer hitch is a must.  Stop by U-Haul.
  • an auxiliary adapter for my iPod.  (this one is an "anytime" - the trailer hitch is the biggie)

5) Fitness (diet, yada...yada...yada...)

Today I reboot the whole diet thing.  You all know the routine...

I'm focusing on one habit each week (my weeks start on Friday).  This week will be supplements.  Next week, water.

6) Socks...

The last thing I'm going to mention is something that only a few people will "get".  I think I figured out "the sock".

I'm tackling knitting socks for the first time ever and I broke my personal record for the number of times I started the project over again.

I'm using the "magic loop" method and I think what's making it harder for me to accomplish getting started is the fact that I'm left-handed so everything is backward.

But I think I've gotten it (until next time).

Tom is just hoping that he has two socks eventually.

[further note:  I've got way too many little blogs for record keeping.  Silly, but it works for me.  Little by little, as there's something to post, I'll post links.  Craft patterns (to keep track of what yarns and tools I use and where I buy stuff); diet logs (nobody here really wants to know what I had for breakfast); cycling information (just when DID I get those new tires and how long did it take me to ride to Sand Lake and back?)

Next post...2009 "goals and objectives" (we do not call them "resolutions", since they are very flexible)

A letter from Thomas McElhinney to his son, my great-grandfather

July 30th, 1876

My dear son,

You have of late occupied much of my thoughts.  Of my sons you are my first born.  My pride, my strength and it is natural that I should desire your welfare and happiness.  Allow me then to talk plainly, yet kindly to you.  I would not irritate you, but I would help you to escape some of the ills of this world.  The old proverb sounds "Thyself to know, make use of every friend and every foe."  What your habits are I know not, but this I know that men are known by the company they keep.  I know also that habits once formed are hard to break.  If a person has formed the habit of smoking, drinking, gambling or indulging any (propensity) passion or desire unlawfully it is very hard to overcome this trouble or evil.  The person becomes the slave of his own passions, the worst slavery in the world because ruin is its terminus.  If you have any habits it is time for you to assert your manhood and say that you in every respect govern yourself.

One thing is sure "You must govern your passions or they will govern you."  The brute, the animal is governed by his desires.  Man should be governed by his reason found on the Laws of God as revealed in His Word and in the wisdom of the wise.

...continue reading

Born July 10, 1509 in Noyon, France, Jean Calvin was raised in a staunch Roman Catholic family. The local bishop employed Calvin's father as an administrator in the town's cathedral. The father, in turn, wanted John to become a priest. Because of close ties with the bishop and his noble family, John's playmates and classmates in Noyon (and later in Paris) were aristocratic and culturally influential in his early life.

Like many (most) of the early Reformers, Calvin was born in the Roman Catholic church.  Like Luther, Calvin has a disagreement with his father over how his life would be spent.

By 1528 Calvin moved to Orleans to study civil law. The following years found Calvin studying in various places and under various scholars, as he received a humanist education. By 1532 Calvin finished his law studies and also published his first book, a commentary on De Clementia by the Roman philosopher, Seneca. The following year Calvin fled Paris because of contacts with individuals who through lectures and writings opposed the Roman Catholic Church. It is thought that in 1533 Calvin experienced the sudden and unexpected conversion that he writes about in his foreword to his commentary on the Psalms.

I recall that in the time of Calvin, "humanist" didn't carry the negative meaning that it does now.

(per wiki)

Renaissance Humanism was a European intellectual movement beginning in Florence in the last decades of the 14th century. The humanist movement developed from the rediscovery by European scholars of many Latin and Greek texts. Initially, a humanist was simply a teacher of Latin literature. By the mid-15th century humanism described a curriculum — the studia humanitatis — comprising grammar, rhetoric, moral philosophy, poetry and history as studied via classical authors. The early beliefs of humanism were that, although humanists knew that God created the universe, it was humans that developed and industrialised it.

And later...

By 1536 Calvin had disengaged himself from the Roman Catholic Church and made plans to permanently leave France and go to Strasbourg. However, war had broken out between Francis I and Charles V, so Calvin decided to make a one-night detour to Geneva.

But Calvin's fame in Geneva preceded him. Farel, a local reformer, invited him to stay in Geneva and threatened him with God's anger if he did not. Thus began a long, difficult, yet ultimately fruitful relationship with that city.

It was in Geneva that Calvin did the bulk of his writing, studying and teaching.  He remained there until his death in 1564.