Wayne’s World

Ah, the joys of domesticity.  Today, in anticipation of the weekend barbecue, I am working my way down Camera Girl’s list of chores.  I have swept and mopped the front deck, washed the windows, cleaned the lawn furniture, bought a new toilet seat, bought some stuff I needed to install a couple of air conditioners, bought some stuff to clean the cars and dug out my ladder to clean the first-floor gutters.

Yesterday unexpectedly, the roofer, Wayne, showed up out of the blue after three weeks of radio silence and said he was ready to look at those couple of shingles that had come loose during an EF5 tornado that had moved the house onto my neighbor-across-the-road’s property.  The neighbor’s been real good about us living on his land.  Of course bringing the plumbing and electrical services under the road cost me a good deal but I was looking for more interaction with the neighbors anyway so it’s been a great experience, all in all.

Anyway, Wayne (by the way all roofers in my experience are named Wayne) came over with the ricketiest wooden ladder I’ve ever seen and set it down against the house.  Now, the spot where he wanted to climb slopes at about a 45-degree angle and he proceeded to even it out by piling a couple of boards under one of the ladder’s feet.  I’m looking at this and thinking, is this guy insured?  Wayne’s assistant has the job of putting tension on the rope attached to the ladder.  Looking at this I’m trying to form a diagram in my head of the forces at play in this little scene.  Wayne’s weight, Bob’s tension on the line, the frictional force between the boards and the soaking wet grass underneath them and the absurd angle of the ladder and the ground and the force of my blood pounding in my veins watching this insanity.  I felt like I was participating in a Three Stooges routine in real time.  I suspect I was Moe but I wasn’t completely sure.

Miraculously every one walked away alive and intact including my repaired roof shingles.  Wayne charged me a paltry eighty bucks and I felt like I had gotten off easy in the lottery of life but vowed to find another Wayne in the future.  Unfortunately, Wayne’s perambulation on top of my house woke up my granddaughter who was taking her mid-day nap and this didn’t endear either myself or Wayne to Camera Girl.  We already had a previous roofer named Wayne that she despises due to various offenses against the code of acceptable contractor conduct.  So this only reinforced her hatred for contractors in general and specifically roofers named Wayne.  I will say in defense of the earlier Wayne that he is a staunch fan of Donald Trump and even placed an enormous Trump sign on the side of his work truck.

Of course the danger with outside work in New England is you invariably discover some new and worse damage to home and environs.  I am always fighting a losing battle against snow and moisture damage.  I recently replaced and painted some external woodwork (stairs and railings) and already I saw rotted sections.  But not being someone who quits easily, I am formulating a plan that involves wrapping these areas with waterproof tarps during the winter months.  This seems kind of crazy but the alternative is to replace the wood with something impervious to snow and rain.  I’m guessing concrete or stainless steel are the only sure bets and that would be very expensive.

And walking around the yard I noticed the deer finally put me out of my misery by eating every last one of the daylily flower buds that were growing in one of the more remote beds.  Blah, blah, everyone has to eat, blah blah.  I’m going to move those damn things this autumn and put them within stone throwing distance of my house.  I hope they bring wolves back to New England and they eat these deer into extinction.  Yes I do.

So today was a useful day.  And doing outside work kept me from thinking of Dementia Joe and how badly our country has been damaged.  Tomorrow I’ll return to contemplating the end of western civilization.  But today I got the chores done.

14JUL2021 – OCF Update Mid-July Report

This will be an outrage free day.  Even though Bastille Day is not my idea of a holiday worth celebrating today is a joyous occasion in my house.  I will therefore accentuate the positive.

I think I will initiate a series of posts devoted to various facets of Western Civilization.  I’ll range over history, culture, ethnography and geography.  I’m tempted to start from ancient historical and geographical facts about the region and then move forward through time introducing the various actors as  they appear on the scene.  Now do I start with the Neanderthals?  Finding out they were red-heads means the Irish may want to claim then for their own.

I will include information on the Yamnaya who appear to have been the mythical proto-Indo-European tribe that expanded East and West and spawned the languages that now dominate half the planet.  Not bad for a bunch of bronze age horsemen from the steppes.  I’d like to touch on especially some of the lesser known nations of Europe, the Georgians, the Lithuanians, the Letts, the Finns and others.  this will serve the dual purpose of allowing me to produce interesting and upbeat content and at the same time satisfy my curiosity about things I’ve always wanted to know.

But just to show I’m not an Indo-European chauvinist, (well actually I am), I’ll include information on the Basques.  These seem to be the descendants of the oldest inhabitants of Europe from a time before the Indo-European ancestors came on the scene.  Or at least before their languages began to dominate.  And I won’t neglect our neighbors to the east.  The river valley civilizations of the Near East were the source of agriculture that was the basis for organized human life on the planet.  So I’ll throw the Sumerians in just to show I’m a sport.  Do I have to include the Egyptians?  I guess I might.  Without them we wouldn’t have had those mummy movies.  Well, we’ll see.

And I mean to trudge on through the third season of Star Trek.  I’ve been dragging my feet because it is a terrible season.  But I’ve promised myself I’ll finish it.  As I’ve mentioned I intend to review Jackie Gleason’s classic 39 episodes of “The Honeymooners” series.  But I probably need to at least start into the Star Trek work to allow myself the reward of watching something fun like the Honeymooners.

The endless rain here in New England continues.  I’ve adapted to the annoying reality of it but I do hope that the second half of July returns to the normal hot dry summer I prefer.  Well, we’ll see.

So this may be a slow day.  I’ll write what the mood provides and enjoy a dinner out for once.  I’m bringing Camera Girl to our favorite Chinese restaurant and we’ll embrace the Orient for a change.

12JUL2021 – OCF Update – This ‘N’ That

Another very rainy day!  But I decided to make necessity a virtue.  Camera Girl has given me a list of chores to get done before the party on Saturday (or else!) and first thing was bring out the trash pails to the road.  Apparently, the holiday weekend caused us somehow to miss the pick-up last week and a mistake now would be catastrophic, so out I went.  I had rain pants, rain coat and rubber boots.  After moving the trash and putting the mail in the box I was free (for the moment) and outside of the reach of the female of the species and took the grand tour.  I have never seen the grass and the shrubs so green in the middle of July.  I feel like I’m somehow in Brazil along the edge of the Amazon jungle.  I half expected a caiman or an anaconda to spring out of the undergrowth and clamp its jaws on my shin.  The world smells warm and alive and I expect the rabbits and the deer will take this occasion to eat some more of my daylilies even in the middle of the day, curse them.  I went looking for that young mantis I saw near the pool, but he was gone.  The rain seems to be keeping the deer fly from attacking me or maybe that’s just the rain gear.  Either way it was peaceful and invigorating to be out in the pouring rain.  Camera Girl’s vegetable gardens are lush and growing.  Some of the plants could probably do with a little more sunshine but so far nothing has drowned.

My attempt to grow elecampane (Inula helenium) from seeds three weeks ago may not have failed after all.  I put a packet of seeds in two different gardens and in five or six cardboard flower pots in a raised bed.  None of the seeds on the ground did anything and I presume they are dead.  But I think two or three of the little pots may be growing something.  It’s a big yellow (of course) flower that I’ve wanted to add to the garden for years but could never find for sale.  But with the advent of the internet, things like obscure plant seeds are just a mouse click away.  It turns out elecampane is a “medicinal herb” that can cure evil humors if applied to the patient by a Gaian shaman or crone.  “¡Ay Chihuahua, cuantos Apaches, cuantos Indios sin huaraches!”  But anyway, they may be growing after all.

The blueberry bushes are actually weighted down with unripe berries.  I fear that the deer are just waiting to swoop down and devour the whole crop just as it ripens.  Ah well, as Camera Girl says, “Everybody’s gotta eat.”  Whatever.

I was reading the ZMan’s Monday posts at his site and Taki’s.  They were depressing takes on bugmen like David French and their pernicious embrace of critical race theory in the schools.  It made me think that what will be needed is instruction in the true story of Western Civilization.  Parents and grandparents and uncles and aunts who are interested can point children to older books that reflect the actual story of how we got here.  The history books from two generations ago are full of the true stories of our ancestors and the adventures and tragedies that make up western history.  The Greeks, Romans, Celts, Germans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and the other peoples who have collided and mixed and fought and produced Michelangelo and Mozart and Newton and Maxwell and Edison and all the things that they have created.  Biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, medicine, electricity, engines, nuclear weapons, space travel and computers.  Imagine being ashamed of the people who made these things.  The absurdity of the midgets who want our children to prefer the cultures of people who lived in mud huts and ate each other for dinner.  We should be ashamed of ourselves for even tolerating these people who are ashamed of the civilization that made their lives rich beyond the imaginations of people only a hundred years ago.  I’ll have to start identifying old books that can be used as resources for teaching the young.

Anyway, it’s going to be a busy week.  As I say I have a list of chores to perform before the party and Camera Girl will brook no nonsense from me.  She’s not concerned with my crusade to save America.  She wants the porch swept and the chairs cleaned off.  My ambition is to clean off the grill.  I have some rib-eye steaks to cook on Saturday and I’d like them not to taste like old hamburger grease.  But I promise not to neglect the site and I’m sure I’ll have outrages to comment on and sage advice to distribute to the world at large.

High Summer Triumphalism Collides with Amateur PVC Plumbing

I woke up this morning with a song in my heart.  Midsummer Day, blue skies, ethereal luminous landscapes, birds singing, flowers blooming, all that crap.  And as I dawdled over my coffee and bagel Camera Girl did what all wives do best.  She toppled the towers of my fairy tale castle.  Report from the kitchen was that the repair I did to the drain line of the sink had failed catastrophically.

I was outraged!  Just a week ago I had disassembled this piece of pvc pipe and its associated o-rings, gaskets and nuts, cleaned it up, inspected the parts.  And finding them good, I reassembled it and using a very satisfyingly heavy monkey wrench I socked the brass nut down on the iron sink drain with authority.  This failure irked me.  So, I gathered my righteous wrath and got my tools out of the garage and descended on that drain line like Thor.

But the brass nut was now a brass ring and a threaded cylinder.  The damn thing had split apart.  It was almost as if someone had overtightened it.  Knowing this to be impossible I explained to Camera Girl that defective Chinese brass was the culprit.  I sighed a manful sigh and after shutting the water valves to the sink and collecting the spool piece and its attendant fittings and specialty items I headed off for replacement parts.  I was going to go to my local hardware store but since this pvc stuff only came on the scene thirty years ago I thought maybe I should try the plumbing supply place that I had seen nearby.

And it was lucky I did.  The friendly and competent employee behind the counter eyeballed the wreckage of a fitting and instantly handed me a new one.  But when I tried to install it on the pipe, we discovered a very strange situation.  The guy who owned the house before me was a very do-it-yourself kind of guy and what he had done was capture the nut between the flange end of the pipe and a tight 90° elbow that he glued up behind it afterward.  Because the old nut split apart, I could get it around the elbow.  But the new nut wouldn’t get by the elbow.  I grumbled some very uncomplimentary remarks about my predecessor but the hardware professional was unphased.  He noted that the pvc nut that tightened the other end of the pipe in place would fit over the elbow with only light violence and I could use my new metal nut on the other joint.  I thought about this for a second.  Metal to pvc?  Sure, why not?  The worst it would do was loosen and I’d put some Teflon tape on it.

I thanked him and asked him how much for the nut.  He said free.  I said, “I can’t just get it for nothing.”  He said, “Think of it as a sales pitch and come back again next time.”  I assured him I would and it wasn’t a lie.  That guy knows how to run a business.

I got home and sure enough the pvc/iron connection fit like a glove.  I made a point of not socking it down with my wrench and determined to check it periodically to see how much it loosened.  The other metal to pvc joint was equally clean fitting and wouldn’t give me any trouble.  I cleaned up the sink area and returned it to Camera Girl’s jurisdiction with noticeable gratitude on her part.  Hail the Conquering Hero.

In celebration, we took a walk around the gardens and admired the Black-Eyed Susans and roses that were blooming.  And just at that time the guy came returning my lawn tractor from repair.  I wasn’t expecting it back for at least two more weeks so this was definitely manna from heaven.  Even with my 20” push mower working again having the sit-down mower would save me four hours of sweat on a hot July morning.  So, things were really going my way now.

Knowing that good things always come in threes I checked the news to see if maybe President Trump had been recognized as the actual winner of the 2020 election while I was busy.  No soap.

Well, it could’ve been much worse.  Trying to get a plumber in my neck of the woods is difficult.  Leaving Camera Girl without a reliable and convenient kitchen sink would be suicidal.  So, this was indeed a best-case result.

So Midsummer Day was interrupted but not ruined.  Now where was that summer idyll I was dreaming of at breakfast?

O mio babino caro!

The Sorrows and Further Sorrows of Small Engine Repair

So, I have this relatively new lawn tractor that I drove over a big damn rock and knocked off half of the blade.  Since it was vibrating awfully, I sent it to the professionals to fix and they said they’d be keeping it for the better part of the month.  So, I figured I’d fall back on Plan B, my old 20” Murray push mower.

I used it for about a half hour and it sounded like it was running out of gas so I headed back to the shed for more gas.  But when I looked in the tank there was still plenty of gas.  So, I topped it off and pulled the cord.  Nothing.

So, I’m stumped.  This was the first use of the year and I’m trying to guess if maybe the gas had some water in it.  But I’m thinking, “It ran for a half hour.”

But a simple mind likes a simple story so I go twenty minutes each way to the gas station and buy some dry gas.  I put it in the tank and try to start it.  Nothing.

Okay, not the gas.  But maybe the old gas over the winter has clogged the carburetor.  So, I started taking it apart and then I realize I don’t know what I’m doing.  Plus, maybe it’s better to just buy a replacement.  So, I do what any red-blooded American man would do.  I check for a YouTube video on my carburetor.  And what do you know there are several.  So, I watch them and become an expert.  I take the thing apart and clean out the jet and disassemble the hinge on the float and clean the plug.  I reassemble the carburetor and reattach the fuel line and the linkage and close it up and it actually coughed into life and then stalled out again.  But it wouldn’t start after that.

So, I took off the top and checked the action on the rotor.  It moved smoothly.  Next on the agenda was the spark plug.  But I didn’t have a spark plug wrench so I headed to friendly neighborhood hardware store and an hour later I was pulling the plug and sure enough it was covered with carbon and corroded.  So off to AutoZone and an hour later I have a new plug and install it.  Nothing.

Now I’m starting to get annoyed.  This has been a very aggravating process for which I have made exactly zero progress.  Plan C buy a new push mower.  But I notice that these formerly cheap machines now go for two hundred and fifty bucks and that seems ridiculous since I have one in front of me.  Plan D is buying a reel mower and remove the yearly ritual of winterizing the mower and worrying about the vicissitudes of small engine repair.  But overnight I decide that maybe I didn’t do everything I could have done with the carburetor.

So, the next day I take the stupid thing apart again and clean it till it looks brand new.  And then after I reassembled, I tried it again.  Nothing.

So I did a little experiment.  I checked to see if the spark plug was wet with gas after trying to start.  It was dry.  Now I was stumped.  With the carburetor clean it should at least get gasoline to the spark plug.  Now I was sure I must have put the carburetor together wrong.  I was ready to give up.  Plan D sounded about right.  A hundred bucks would get me a reel mower that would last for twenty years and give some exercise too.  But just for luck I decided to try starting it one more time.

So, I primed it three times, put my hand on the stop bar and pulled the cord.  Nothing.

But then by accident I looked down the stop cable and notice that the cable looked screwy.  It had a couple of strands of the cable sticking out and the plastic cable cover was bent at the linkage at a funny angle.  So, I played with the bar and realized that plastic cover was cracked and caught against the frame and the wire strands were also interfering with the mechanism.

I fiddled with it to free the cover from the end connection and bent the loose wires out of the way.  Then I primed the gas, held down the bar and pulled the starter cord.  And it started up with a roar.  I got my wire cutters and cut those strands away and got my black electrical tape and made a temporary repair to the cable cover and started it up a half dozen times and the repair held and worked.

There was great joy among the peasants and a holiday was declared.  Meanwhile I ordered the cable from my local dealer and it should arrive in about a week and a half.

Now you may be asking what the moral of this story is.  Well, the only one I can think of is that if you really need something fixed stick to a professional mechanic.  But I will say that when I finally did get the damned thing fixed, I felt like Wiley Coyote, Super Genius.  And I’m already thinking about what my next project should be.  I’ve put in an order with ACME and between giant magnets, rockets, giant magnifying glasses and roller skates I think I’ll be able to achieve cold fusion by the Fourth of July.  Hail the conquering hero.

In the Merry, Merry Month of May

This week and next are the last two stay at home weeks left for me.  After that I’ll be half time in the office.  And since Monday is Memorial Day I’m feeling very lazy and am looking for an excuse to think about non-political subjects.  So today I made a point to take a little time and be at play in the fields of the Lord.  I noted that the birds of the air were quite active.  In particular I noted that some swallows have appropriated the bluebird house.

This accords with the low opinion I have developed toward the bluebirds.  To borrow a phrase from the President they’re low-energy losers.  But we have had some indigo buntings around this week.  They are even bluer than the bluebirds and I think much more heroic.  I noted a number of hawks flying above the fields and saw how this disturbed some of the smaller birds.  I assume they were worried about the hawks attacking their nests.  A couple of rabbits were spotted frolicking outside the former goat pen.  What with the circling hawks I thought this surprisingly bold.  Possibly they read Watership Down and took it to heart.

I noted a goodly number of frogs and salamanders drowned in the swimming pool which we opened last Friday.

The idea of amphibians drowning in water also leads me to a low opinion of their fitness to survive in the highly competitive future that we know is over the horizon.  A number of years ago we had some blue spotted salamanders around the property.  They’re good sized and I’d love to see them again sometime.

A very large snapping turtle was cruising around the pond and I was wondering if the mallard family might be at risk of losing a duckling if they weren’t careful.

The painted turtles were all hanging out on a fallen tree and looking fairly useless.  I wondered if maybe they were afraid of the snapping turtle too.  But more certainly the bull frogs and small fish were likely on the menu for grandpa snapper.  I went to inspect the remains of the beaver dam that was abandoned when that buck toothed rodent disappeared last year.  Well, it’s all gone now.  And the pond is at a low ebb.  More like a puddle than a pond.

There were a goodly number of deer travelling through the woods in the last week or so.  They were grazing on the stringy weeds that cover the shallows of the pond but none of them were around today.  Neither did any of the turkeys wander by as they have been lately.

After that black bear or Lovecraftian monster or whatever it was flattened our bird feeders last week I’ve been using the game camera to see what’s going on at night.  The only thing unusual was a red fox.  Last year we had grey foxes but this is the first red one I’ve seen.

Southern New England Gray Fox w/ Sony A7 III w/ Sigma 150 – 600 mm Contemporary lens on Sigma MC-11 converter, at 150mm focal length

After finding that hatchling milk snake I moved my tin to another location in hopes of finding some snakes near the rock wall.

Eastern milk snake, Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum

The garter snakes I’ve been seeing near the retaining wall have disappeared.

The warmer weather must have allowed them to disperse from their winter hibernaculum in the wall.  There was a northern water snake near a vernal pool last year but he wasn’t around today.  I’ll hope to find him again this year.  What I’d really like to find are some larger snakes, a black racer or even a black ratsnake.  But we’ll see.

Insect-wise we have plenty of bees around.

There are the usual honey bees and bumble bees but also the always annoying carpenter bees.  Because of the very extensive wood work on the structures on the property I am at perpetual war with these bees.  We have had our first butterflies.  There have been a number of painted ladies and today we had our first tiger swallowtail.

Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens on Sony A7 III

I noted with pleasure that the three small Giant Sequoias got through the winter well.  They join their older and larger cousin in the southwest corner of the property.  My own personal grove.  The two metasequoias have also grown tall in the last five years.

Minolta 200mm f\4 macro

The bristlecone pine tree I planted last fall unfortunately hasn’t done as well.  It looks dead and I’ll have to replace it soon.

The Compound Attacked by One of the Great Old Ones

Last night abysmal horror stalked the home base.  A Lovecraftian abomination was on the move unleashing its mind shattering power on my corner of New England.  It was Cthulhu or maybe one of the Deep Ones.  The horror, the horror.

Just see the damage caused by its irresistible strength and titanic weight.  Behold!

 

UPDATE!!!!

We cowered in fear during the night time attack.  Finally this morning I gathered my shattered sanity and my courage and I ventured out to assess the damage.

I found this massive print

And finally I found this titanic creature lurking in the near by swamp.

Do not be fooled.  Those green growths are actually massive pine trees that the monster crushed with it’s cyclopean bulk.  What you are seeing is Ralsa Whateley, the hybrid spawn of a human woman and one of the batrachian Deep Ones.  Grown tremendously large from ingesting all of Camera Girl’s bird seed he now rests before once again attacking humanity with the ferocity only capable by one of the Great Old Ones.

 

Man and God – Part 1 – The Existence of God

I want to preface this by saying that I have no formal training in theology, church doctrine or divinity other than twelve years of Roman Catholic schooling and the associated doctrinal education that entails.  Nothing I say can be construed to be orthodox doctrine within any sect of Christianity.  I’m sure that several of my beliefs would be considered heretical by some Christian theologists so don’t assume anything I say is dogma for any church you might belong to.  But it is what I believe and I think it’s time people start connecting the dots with what their scriptures say, what they understand it to mean and what the clerics in their churches say and do.

For all of recorded history and as far back as we can discover, man has tried to understand his place in the universe.  Earth Mother, Sky Father, elemental forces, spirits of animals, ancestors, natural objects like mountains, rivers, stars, planets, the sun and moon, all figured into the speculations and rituals of the humans who have inhabited Earth for countless generations.  Even our predecessors, the Neanderthals had burial customs that may have had a religious meaning.

But since the Age of Enlightenment the elite of our civilization has told us that God is dead.  But by that they mean that he never existed in the first place.  And within our lifetimes organized efforts have been put in place to stamp out belief in God.  The Soviets did everything they could to enforce atheism throughout the Soviet Union and the satellite nations that they controlled.  The modern academy inculcates a hatred of Christianity that borders on the monomaniacal.  And the LGBTQ mafia and their government allies confront and persecute any traces of orthodox Christianity wherever they can.

So, it is no wonder that church attendance is plummeting and surveys polling religious belief show a growing trend toward atheism among the young.  Sensing their ascendancy, the Left now asserts that religion and specifically Christianity has been discredited and will soon disappear, being completely displaced by the godless social justice cult that they adhere to.  And as if to prove their mastery of religion they now claim to be able to observe on brain scans the phenomenon which believers experience when communing with God in prayer.  From this scientific result they deduce that humans are confusing a natural neurological phenomenon with a supernatural experience.

This is the attack on the faithful from without.  At the same time, forces within the religious community are also wreaking havoc on the position of religion.  The monstrous horror that is the Catholic Priest Pedophile outrage has done more to discredit the Church than anything its enemies could have ever hoped to do.  I include in this of course the cover up of this horror by the complicit Church hierarchy which only serves to hammer home that the Roman Catholic Church has ceased to represent the traditional religious views of its hundreds of millions of adherents.  And the other Christian denominations to a greater or lesser extent have also lost much of their legitimacy through advocating almost exclusively a message of social justice and adopting a spirit of “tolerance” that effectively eliminates the tenets of their faiths.

I don’t paint a rosy picture.  And I don’t intend to.  Because I don’t have to.  Belief in God is not a delicate thing that has to be nurtured.  The need for God is one of the fundamental psychological needs of the human mind.  What has to be done is eliminate the mistaken information that confuses the minds of people.

As an example, the problem of pain.  Countless people have wrestled with the idea that somehow God could eliminate pain and suffering but chooses not to.  When confronted by the reality of innocent children suffering and dying from agonizing medical conditions or through brutal cruelty, they deny the reality of a loving God who would allow such things.

I have thought about this often myself.  The paradox is that of pure goodness and omnipotence juxtaposed with unjust suffering.  As an answer I’ve heard that free will prevents God from stopping evil men from inflicting pain on the innocent.  Of course, this doesn’t explain why natural disasters are allowed to occur.  So, we are stuck with a paradox.  But the answer is simpler.  How do we know the limits of what God can and can’t do?  If you read doctrine of the various churches, they state that God is omnipotent.  Well, what does that mean?  Human beings have no experience of any absolute.  We live in a world that we interpret with our senses and our very limited brain.  God may be so powerful that we cannot even fathom what he is capable of but that doesn’t mean he can control every drop of rain and every quake of the Earth.  It is my belief that the concept of omnipotence is the major stumbling block to belief in God.  Omnipotence sets up this idea of a game that’s rigged against us for no reason.  That is the problem that I think needs to be removed.

But what do we know about God?  What is clear from scripture is that God loves us.  That he says over and over again.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

So, if God loves us, he does not want us to suffer.  If nevertheless we do suffer innocently then it’s because it can’t be prevented.  To me that’s clear.  Whether that means there is a malevolence like the devil or a cold lifeless random universe outside of God’s purview then that’s what there is.  But I don’t have to understand everything.  I just need to know that I’ve got someone out there who cares for me and mine.  And who has interceded to provide help and knowledge and maybe even tip the scales a little in our favor whenever he can.

To me that’s the nature of a personal God.  He is a father to us and we have some of His spirit in us too.  And that’s not all that different from feeling the influence of the parents and grandparents that raised us and taught us and gave us understanding when we needed it.  And that is like the ancestors who passed along the laws that we live by.  God’s spirit allowed them to see how his people must live and so they wrote down these laws and provided the leadership needed to teach the people how to live.

Today many people will say that all of this can occur without God existing, that a tribe will coalesce around a leader whose mind naturally resonates to the needs of his people and will formulate the laws they need to thrive.  I know no way to prove otherwise.  But that is unimportant to me.  I do not seek to convince anyone.  I believe that there is a force in this world that impels us to do good.  And what seems like a proof of its existence is that it works against the flow of the world, the flow of which, if it does not actually work to achieve evil at the very least is completely unaffected by the suffering of humanity.  Countless stories exist of individuals laying down their lives to save a stranger from harm.  This impulse is a direct contradiction of animal nature which except in the case of parental love would put self-preservation ahead of any other consideration.

God’s exact nature can only be inferred by His effect on those that experience Him.  But I think that where genuine communion is experienced the effect is remarkably positive on the individual involved and even for the surrounding community.

The problem we are experiencing today is the lack of actual Christians in the churches.  Many of the leaders of the churches are not Christians.  They do not actually believe in God and their congregants sense this and are confused and angered by the hypocrisy.  And for the young this is amplified by the atheists that they meet up with in school and elsewhere that ridicule faith and accuse it of bigotry.  These young people are under enormous pressure to denounce Christian morality in order to avoid condemnation by the LGBTQ gatekeepers in school and the workplace.

But the first step is to re-establish the existence of God.  That takes two things.  First, convince yourself that there is no logical reason that precludes His existence.  That I’ve tried to provide above.  Then find belief in God within yourself.  That you have to find yourself.  But it’s definitely something that should be explored.  As I stated earlier there is a strong urge in humans to find the force in the universe that resonates with our happiness.  If you find a quiet spot and look inside yourself you might be surprised what you find.  Start out by not calling it God.  Start out by looking inside yourself to see what’s there.  Then take it from there.

 

Images from Camera Girl’s Annual Christmas Cookie Project

Christmas cookies account for a full 30% of my annual weight gain.  Oatmeal, chocolate chip and Grandma cookies (or white cookies as one of my brothers calls them) are sinfully good with a mug of coffee.

 

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

 

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

 

The only ones that don’t tempt me are the sugar cookies.  With their sweetness and the colored sugar crystals adorning them I think of them as a snack for young children who haven’t yet developed a more discerning palate (to each his own).

 

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

 

Camera Girl is revered by all who can get their greedy hands on any of these treasures and the short time that they last is one of the high points of the culinary calendar.

That Damn Beaver’s Dam (and Lodge)

Since absconding with my game camera the Rodent of Unusual Size has been unobserved.  He probably sold it on ebay and used the proceeds to fund a vacation in Cancun.  Well, partially funded anyway.  But the puddle has remained at its elevated level so I decided to venture into the swamp and see what I could see.

There was no sign of the waterlogged rat anywhere but his handiwork was all around.

Here are some photos of his tree chopping abilities.

Beaver chewed branches, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

 

Beaver chopped sapling, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

And here is a mess he left while chewing the bark of sticks.  I should turn him into the Staties for littering.

Branches stripped of bark by beaver, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

 

Branches stripped of bark by beaver, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

 

Branches stripped of bark by beaver, Sony A7 III, Sony 50mm f\1.8 lens

And here is his Lodge (what a dump).

Beaver lodge, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

 

Beaver lodge, view from above, Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens

And here is the much vaunted dam.  Well, as a fellow engineer I can only say he’ll have to do a lot better than this if he expects to get his P.E stamp.

Downstream view of beaver dam, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

 

Downstream view of beaver dam, Sony 35mm f\1.4 macro lens

 

Downstream view of beaver dam, Sony 35mm f\1.4 macro lens

And here’s a close-up of his handiwork.

Downstream view of beaver dam, Sony 35mm f\1.4 macro lens

 

Disappearing like this leads me to believe either he has been eaten by one of his woodland brothers (coyote would be my guess).  Or he’s gone completely nocturnal.  I could test this theory out if I still had a game camera.  Oh well, maybe Santa will come through.