Website of Daniel Boyd – Author and Blogger

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There are two thing of potential interest here... my blog and my teaser page for my upcoming book, currently being written (as is the page).

Recent Blog Posts

Childhood Likes Lost

Do you find it depressing when your childhood likes are lost?  You know, like when you used to love to eat marshmallows, but now, could care less?  Or you liked to roll around in the grass, but now it just makes you itch?  These are pretty lame examples, I admit, but how about that TV show that you loved to watch growing up, but now when you see it, you have to look away because it is so bad?

I’ve recently realized that one of my almost childhood likes is definitely lost.  When I was in my late teens, I would every now and then catch an episode of Bill Nye, the Science Guy.  It was fun to watch because he made the topics he addressed fun and interesting, even to an almost 20-year-old.  I was glad to see someone make science interesting, because all of the science shows I grew up with during my actual childhood were BORING! (Disclaimer – I don’t truly know now if they were actually boring, or if I was just not interested, or didn’t have the patience to watch them).

But now, every time I see Bill Nye, I just have to close my eyes and put my fingers in my ears, because he spouts more nonsense than science these days.  As I look at the profile of his late 90s show on IMDb, the summary describes him as a scientist/comedian, but I would argue that those should be switched.  He was entertaining and based on his recent appearances in relation the Earth Day and the “Science March” and a nasty “discussion” on CNN where he attempts to belittle a climate change skeptic, I have to say he fits right in with most “entertainers” with his shockingly leftist ideas and methods of dealing with opposing viewpoints.  Let me cite some examples to prove my point:

He publicly said that climate change skeptics (he calls them “deniers”) should be removed from scientific discourse.  Fair warning, the link goes to salon.com, so be sure to get your waders on tight before walking into that muck.  Sounds like a leftist idea to me – just silence the opposition because they don’t adhere to MY set of “facts”.  This grinds against the very core of scientific inquiry.  We should never be content with today’s “facts” or today’s technology or today’s “accepted” ideas.  Why would anyone serious about scientific inquiry and research ever say this?  The rest of the article is as alarming and gloomy and leftist as you can imagine.

He claims, like many leftists, that we just haven’t spent enough money to acheive our goals.  We hear this all the time right?  Spend more money on public assistance, on unemployment benefits, on food stamps, on any leftist ideal-pick one you like, and eventually, once we’ve spent enough money, we will solve the problem.  How much is enough we ask?  The answer – Keep spending until the problem is fixed.  Seriously?  He claims that we haven’t spent enough money on alternative energy to make it work efficiently.  Translation – the government hasn’t invested enough taxpayer dollars in failing alternative energy companies (usually owned by people who are politically well connected) to find the one company (if it even exists) that can make solar and wind power viable alternatives to oil, coal, and natural gas.  Look, if these energy sources were truly able to compete with fossil fuels, why would a company need government (actually, your) money to make them financially successful?  There would be investors beating down their doors to get in on the certain financial windfall from such a success.  He rambles on in the Salon article referenced above about not only investing more in the tecnologies, but tries to imply that all of the problems with them are solvable, with more money.  If more money was invested we could figure out how to not kill birds and bats with wind farms, and how to make better solar cells, blah, blah, blah.  But we should just go ahead and invest the money because these technologies will pay for themselves AND create millions of jobs if we just sink enough money into them.  But it won’t happen, because wind and solar, without major technological breakthroughs, cannot provide the raw amount of power needed for our technologically advanced nation.  Which leads to the next point.

Bill Nye, along with others, also claims that the fossil fuel companies are deliberately holding back progress on alternative energy source research because they are afraid of losing their monopoly and profits.  What bunk!  All major fossil fuel companies are also researching alternative energy sources.  They already know how to produce, process and deliver energy sources, so why would they not continue to research other means of providing energy?  See this article from climatechangenews.com from last year citing moves by the companies they call “big oil” (That’s not a term of endearment).  Read the article with your eyes, ears and mind open, as it takes an alarmingly negative slant to the news that “big oil” is investing in renewable/clean/alternative energy and cites ulterior motives like (gasp!) making money, as the main drivers of this “change”.

Nye also claims that climate change skeptics “cherry pick” data to try to disprove climate change alarmists, but this is nothing compared to the behavior of multiple “scientific” studies of climate change by otherwise reputable organizations.  From NOAA’s manipulation of raw temperature data to the IPCCs “hockey stick” graphs of temperature readings designed to exaggerate the increase in temperatures, to the Climatic Research Unit’s hacked emails that implied an inability to gather the specific data (increasing temperatures) they were looking for based on their models and what they could do about that.  The assumption was always that the data that supported their models was there, but they didn’t know how to collect it.  Right… You would be wise NOT to rely on Wikipedia’s articles on these controversies as they are decidedly skewed, which is a sad state of affairs for a supposedly “neutral” information source.

Last, our friend Bill is less informed about the Constitution than he is about science.  He has repeatedly taken Article I, Section 8 of our founding document wildly out of context.  He rambles on about how the government is charged “to promote the progress of science and useful arts”.  “Useful arts” in this context, according to him is actually engineering and design.  I disagree with this definition and you will see why shortly.  He seems to think that this is grounds for demanding money from the government for research and other scientific efforts, but this interpretation is SO WRONG.  Bill conveniently leaves out the rest of the sentence, which puts this statement into proper context – “by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”.  This allows the government to make laws concerning patent and copyright.  It is not a mandate to support unwarranted or unpopular research, or for that matter to support crude art in typical National Endowment for the Arts style.

It is hard watching Bill Nye be so wrong about so many things with the disturbing confidence he displays, and at times the abrasive and rude condescension he shows to anyone who disagrees with him is stomach-churning.  The end-all, be-all arbiter of scientific knowledge he is not, particularly on climate change (even though he wrote a book about it), but he makes a great acolyte to, and defender of, the religion of man-made climate change because he’s so polite when he insults those who disagree with him.  His understanding of the constitution is even less comprehensive and unfortunately, no one has called him out on this.  Alas, I feel all icky inside thinking I once thought he was cool.

The Return of Chess Game Analysis!

This post marks the return of chess game analysis!  I used to do this, a LONG time ago on my site when I was running Joomla as my CMS.  Then I switched to WordPress, and didn’t have a cool plug-in to post my games anymore, then I quit playing chess on a regular basis and the every other week chess game analysis article disappeared from my site.  But it’s back now, and it’s about time.

The goal of this article is not so much to show off a brilliant game, which this is not, or to wax eloquently about strategy, or position, or other such high commentary.  No, this is designed to let me pontificate about my in-game thoughts as an amateur chess player.  I run my games, wins and losses, through strong chess engines to see where mistakes were made, where better moves could have been played, and where games turn to wins or losses depending on the moves made.  I then look at the comments from the engine and try to remember what I was thinking when I made the move.  It is these thoughts that I present in my articles.

On to today’s game.  This was a standard rated game, thirty minutes for each player, played on the Free Internet Chess Server, my favorite place to play since I can use my favorite interface, BabasChess, to play games.  Yes, it hasn’t been updated, to my knowledge, since 2007, but it still works great, even running under Windows 10.  My opponent’s ELO was roughly 150+ points higher than mine (Many times I have reflected on the cruelty of this transparency.   I hate the fact that I can see my opponent’s ELO – it makes me nervous and hesitant to play some opponents, but if I met them face to face over a chess board, I would sit right down and play, blissfully unaware of their ELO), so I started cautiously, as you will see.  I am playing the black pieces in this game. Click on the first move to see the chessboard navigation window. You can then move through the game with my commentary. You can also click on any move to skip to that stage of the game.

Some general notes on the game.  My opponent did not effectively utilize all of his pieces.  The knight on c3, the bishop on d3, and the rook on a1 were not used in meaningful ways (the bishop did finally eliminate a threat to the king at move 35) and may as well have not been on the board.  The rook on a1 never moved.  The only useful thing it did was protect the other rook when it moved back to h1 (the blunder).

I’ll admit that I do not have a clear understanding of the nature of the blunder, other than the fact that the rook could not participate in helping the queen protect the king.  I’ll keep looking at that, but if you have an insight, please, put it in the comments.

And yes, I missed a mate in 1.  Shame on me.  Again, tunnel vision.  I had been tiptoeing around the white pieces and when I looked for a safe square that also put the king in check, I saw d2 first and stopped processing possibilities.  At least I kept my head together and finished with the point.  I was a piece down and starting to fear that my attack had fizzled like a North Korean missile.

I’m no master, I just enjoy playing chess.

I hope you liked this glimpse into my frantic chess mind.  I plan to post more games in the future, assuming I continue to play on a regular basis.

A Whole Lot of Lunacy

There’s a whole lot of lunacy out there folks, and it doesn’t get much loonier than an article posted recently on the South African instance of the Huffington Post, a website that never fails to either offend or amuse me every time I temporarily lose my sanity and visit it.  They really should dispense with all of their myriad categories of blogs, articles, and posts with cute names like “Voices” and label it all “comedy”, or at best “satire”, but I digress, back to the article at hand.

Feminist and philosophy student Shelley Garland penned an article titled “Could it be time to deny white men the franchise?“.  I hesitate to recommend you follow the link and read the article, but as long as you have someone around to pick you up off the floor after you pass out laughing, go ahead and read it – that way you can see first hand how crazy the premise of the article is.  I warn you – this is top-shelf feminist ranting and it is so oblivious to its own failings of logic that I have no real need to tear it apart here.  But I needed a topic to write on and this one jumped out at me full force.

Where to start?  If you spared yourself the pain of reading the article, here are the author’s main points:

  1. Men, particularly white men, have dealt the “progressive cause” the biggest blows, apparently since the beginning of time.
  2. Everything wrong with the world was caused by white men.
  3. White men are violent, reckless, and toxic.
  4. White men should “temporarily” lose the right to vote, but don’t worry, only for 20 or 30 years.
  5. The loss of voting rights will allow everyone else the freedom to make laws to redistribute the wealth of white men, whether they legally and honorably obtained it or not.
  6. White men owe the world a “debt” for slavery, colonialism and war.  Taking their wealth and distributing it to others who didn’t earn it would repay this.
  7. Individual responsibility is a bad thing.
  8. White men own everything and almost always get their wealth through theft and violence.
  9. The unfairness of denying white men their vote is a small price to pay for a more perfect world, where everyone has more stuff.
  10. White men suck.

Ready to vomit yet?  It gets better – after a massive backlash to the article, the editor-in-chief of the South African edition of the Huffington Post tripled-down and said that not only was there nothing in the article that should have shocked or surprised anyone, because feminists have been talking about this for decades, but then proceeded to suggest that those who were surprised or shocked just didn’t read the article correctly AND, get this, the ideas in the article, particularly those concerning “undue power”are “blindingly obvious”.  Herein lies the very reason I ascribe no validity whatsoever to anything on the Huffington Post.  Hang on – I’ll be right back after I throw up.

I’m going to refer to a well-circulated set of sayings attributed to Abraham Lincoln, although I’m not positive that attribution is 100% correct.  They’re called “The 10 Cannotments”.  I only need six of the ten to make my point, although the others deal with personal responsibility which apparently is also a terrible thing in the eyes of the author of the article.

Cannotment number two says “you cannot help small people by tearing down big people”, while number three follows up on that by stating “you cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong”.  Setting aside the connotations of “big” and “small”, let’s put this in terms of people, who by either luck, providence, or planning, are successful in the eyes of the world versus those whose status in life is not as well off.  The main idea of the article is that the best way to help everyone else (all those who are not white and male) is by weakening and tearing down the strong and successful, specifically by taking away their right to vote.  This is a silly idea and not only unjust and unfair, but it violates the very core idea of representative government.  What good it would do is debatable as even the author of the article states that white men are only a small percentage of the world’s population.  So how does denying them voting rights help everyone else?

The goal behind white men losing the vote is apparently to make laws to redistribute their wealth to those who have less.  This will, of course, make the world a better place, because it will be much more equitable.  Cannotment number four says that “you cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer”, and number five says “you cannot help the poor by destroying the rich”.  How very true in both cases.  Where will wages come from if the person who pays them no longer has the means to do so?  I know, this assumes that people should earn what they are given, which is such a backward, conservative idea.  Surely it would be better just to forcefully take money from the rich and give it away to those in need.  Right?

The author drives home the fact that all of the problems of the world are the fault of white men, which is not only demonstrably false, but racially biased.  Cannotment number seven states that “you cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class/cultural hatred”.  This idea of class division, effectively used by our previous president, does nothing to further cooperation between different people.  It only manages to instill distrust and apprehension of others.

Finally, the ninth cannotment states “you cannot build character and courage by taking away a person’s initiative and independence”.  Taking away rights from a class of people will not help improve their behavior or demeanor, nor will it promote a more equitable and just society.  Disenfranchising a group of people will only cause the seed of anger and resentment to grow and finally blossom into a potentially disturbing reaction once those rights are restored.

Full disclosure – I have to mention, for those who don’t know, I am a white male who, shockingly, has no power beyond that afforded to him by those he cares about, by his employer to do his job, and given to him by his government to cast his own vote in favor of the people and policies he believes in.  I’ll ask that you not suggest I lose any of that power.

A Mixed Bag of New Year’s Resolution Success

I certainly have a mixed bag of success with my New Year’s resolutions.  I know, some of you have already forgotten what your resolutions were, never mind the fact that you blew them before the end of January.  We go through this cycle every year – brand new year, brand new ideas, brand new goals, spectacular failure.  I know, not everyone fails in keeping their resolutions, but most do.  Some people, like me, do well with some resolutions and not so good with others.  I admit, I am batting under .500 on my resolutions, but at least three of the ones I have not kept yet involve either long-term work, like to finish writing a book, or are dependent on other people, like teaching my son to drive, which is not so much a resolution as it is a to-do, but it is on my list of stuff for 2017.

One particular resolution I have failed in is posting at least two blog entries here a month.  My last post was February.  You would figure I could at least find a reason to post something in March, since my birthday is in March, but I didn’t.  Not that I had a depressing or disappointing birthday.  It was actually really great.  I am typing this blog post and all future ones using my birthday present, a mechanical keyboard.  For the non-geeks out there, mechanical keyboards are prized by video game players and those of use who like audible and tactile feedback when we type.

I hope to get back on track with my blog posts, maybe I can turn this one around and average two a month by the end of the year.  Twenty-four posts.  I’ve done that in a month before, so surely I can do it in a year.  It is hard to believe that was over a year ago, in February 2016.  A lot has happened since then and I have to wonder if there was some higher, even spiritual reason I experienced everything I have in that time.  If there is, I can’t see it yet, as I still have made little progress toward finishing a book.  I didn’t even participate in last November’s NaNoWriMo event to start a new book, even though I had at least two different ideas I could have run with for 50,000 words.  I believe that I should be writing, both blogs and books and even the occasional short story, but sitting down at the computer and doing it has eluded me for quite a while.

Don’t get me wrong.  I can sit down at the computer with the best intentions, but an hour or so later when I get up and move around, nothing has been accomplished except viewing a few more YouTube videos or trying my hand at some chess tactics over on Chess.com, or worse, just slogging through the news sites, getting angry and frustrated with people behaving badly and society in general (but not enough to even bang out a short blog post).  The fire, the passion to write is just not there and I usually end up retreating from the computer and doing something else.

It is absolutely frustrating to my soul, but I haven’t found a way around the massive writer’s block I seem to have run headlong into over the last few months.  Maybe this post, this simple blog post that reads more like a diary entry, will be the start of something.  If I want to succeed at one of my 2017 goals, I will need to get busy soon.  Finishing a book will take at least two more months of first draft writing, then who knows how many months of editing and revision.  I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, so I really need to finish before November 1st if I am serious about publishing before 2018 roars in.

Happy April, everyone!  This year is now officially 25% over.  I hope that thought keeps you working toward your 2017 goals and resolutions, if you haven’t forgotten them already.

So Much To Write About

There is so much to write about, I can barely figure out where to start.

I guess first and foremost, with this being the day after the Superbowl, congratulations to the New England Patriots for their amazing win, even if it was at the expense of my preferred team the Atlanta Falcons (not that I am any kind of NFL football fan).  Tom Brady is a football magician and obviously doesn’t crack under pressure.  Now if he could just find his jersey from the game…

I want to thank Lady Gaga for not turning a sporting event into a political grandstand.  While she may have performed “Born This Way”, she refrained from making ridiculous comments and ruining the evening.  Sadly, she got a hefty amount of disdain, outright criticism and ugly comments from leftists on social media who felt that she should have taken advantage of her performance to peddle leftist propaganda.  Those who commented represented the most reprehensible aspects of the current leftist derangement.

This was a disappointing year in Superbowl commercials.  Between the overt politicization and sleazy themes, this was definitely the worst I’ve seen in a long time.  I particularly find the NFL’s own commercial “Inside These Lines” to be the most ridiculously ironic commercial of them all.  The racial profile of the NFL is so far from being representative of our country as to make the entire commercial a parody.  With around 70% of NFL players being “men of color” (black, African-American, pick whatever label feels comfortable to you), their desire to be “all inclusive” was hilarious.  I’d say they are good to go as far as including everyone.

The T-Mobile ads that had a Fifty Shades of Gray vibe to them were appalling.  What poor taste and terrible presentation.  I literally forgot they were T-Mobile ads, which means the commercials failed the most basic tenet of advertising – make the viewer remember what company the commercial was about.  All of this politicizing and distasteful, poor advertising placed into thirty second spots costing over five million dollars each, not counting the production costs.  Enough about the Superbowl, let’s move on.

President Trump has had a wild first few days in office, but I agree with those who say that he thrives on the turmoil and hysteria of those who oppose him.  Never mind that the things he has proposed, supported and said are not wild, alt-right madness, but actually are very, very centrist ideas.  This just shows how far left the country has been pushed, manipulated and driven in the last eight years.  If he can get the economy going and achieve better than 3% growth (or even just 3%), which never happened under Obama, his “crazy” (not really crazy, just not loony left) ideas will be vindicated.  It would be hard for folks to argue if the workforce participation percentage rose to pre-Obama levels.  Forget about the unemployment numbers, they’ve been massaged to make it look like Obama did something good for the economy.

The mainstream media, fueled by the ridiculous hysteria of those who don’t understand the difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration, will continue to bash the building of the wall on the southern border.  They will pick apart every sentence, tweet, nominee, and facial expression of Trump for the next four years, ever hoping that the next tweet, executive order, confrontation, or speech will be the downfall of our current president.

Strap in, conservatives (and even some of you centrists, when you figure out that President Trump’s ideas are your ideas also, even if they are presented in Trump’s one-of-a-kind style), it is going to be a wild ride!

Inauguration Eve Thoughts

January 2017 has been here for nineteen days now.  The inauguration of President Donald Trump happens tomorrow, most likely amid a circus of protests and nonsense.  It is good to know that with the absence of sixty or more Democratic Representatives there will be more room at the inauguration for people who actually care about the peaceful transfer of power.

Am I a huge President Trump fan?  Not really.  Did I think he was better than the alternative?  Definitely.  Do I think he can “make America great again” as he promises?  Don’t know.  I do know that the country was was off on the wrong track under the outgoing administration.  Gallup polls tend to agree with me.  Check out the numbers here.

The area he made the greatest positive impact on affects a small minority of the population.  In the next highest topic, energy, most gains were made in spite of him, not because of anything he did.  Climate change, whatever.  The economy, which he should have been able to improve by leaps and bounds, was basically a wash (+6 percentage points).  There really wasn’t anywhere to go except up with it.  The fact that he only squeaked out six points is telling.

Healthcare was evenly divided, no loss or gain.  Even with his signature healthcare bill, rammed through Congress on party lines, he made essentially zero impact.  Sad.  Yes, more Americans have insurance, but so many lost doctors and healthcare plans, things they were promised over and over by the outgoing president that they could keep.  Not so much…  Also, that $2500 the average household was supposed to save – that didn’t happen either.  The bill should be repealed mainly for being a pack of lies and a giant financial blight, with a lot of deceptive math used to explain how it would be financially sound.

In the rest of the criteria, public perception is that America has lost ground in every other category.  This includes race relations, including the situation for blacks, America’s world standing, massive debt ($20 trillion dollars – twice as much as when he went into office – it would probably have helped to at least present a budget to Congress, he didn’t bother to do that most years – it obviously interfered with golf, vacation, and hobnobbing with unsavory celebrities), the rise of terrorism, and to crime in general.

How can such a “great president” fail in some many areas?  I write it off to the fact that I never felt he cared much about anyone other than himself.  His “wonderful speeches” were filled with self-reference, no matter how well he presented them.  The fact that most of what he said, particularly in reference to his signature healthcare law, was proven false eventually, diminished my ability to even listen to him drone on in whatever affected speech pattern he may have chosen for the occasion.

All of this to say “good riddance” to the outgoing administration and “welcome” to someone who, if nothing else, will do something different, who will defy the norm, knock down some governmental idols and sacred cows, and maybe, just maybe, get something accomplished in the swamp that is Washington D.C..

 

Here It Is December…

Here it is December and almost Christmas at that.  I haven’t written a post in ages.  I just haven’t been up to it.

Things are a little better now and I feel the pressure of words building up in my head, so here I am, for at least one more post in 2016.  I don’t know how many words will tumble out here, so I am just going to start with an announcement or two.

First, I’ve found what I believe to be a good plugin to display chess games, so I’m going to post one or two sometime soon (after I play a couple worth showing to anyone else).  I’ll annotate with my own thoughts and also with the help of a chess engine or two.  If I can get the cooperation of my opponent, I’ll add their thoughts also.

Second, I want to post a couple of scenes from my upcoming novel, which is as far behind schedule as it has ever been.  It is so far behind schedule that my site still says “future home of The Daedalus Solution” and I’m not sure when that will change.  But I’ll get some scenes posted here and offer a taste of what’s to come.

Third, I want to post a few commentaries on political and social issues, and hopefully a couple of “reflection” style articles about particular Biblical passages.  For those who need a trigger warning, it will be pretty obvious from the title what the content will be (I need to write about those, also).

Big plans, I know, especially considering my total absense from my site since August, but I want to get moving on some content, post some articles, get some real comments from my readers (not spam promising to dramatically increase my traffic, or selling jewelry, or some other nonsense), and have real discussions.

Keep checking back, and I’ll be sure to tweet out when I post.  If you want, sign up for my mailing list – I promise it is not high volume, nor will I send you spam.  It should be available somewhere on this page!

In case I don’t post before then, I hope you have a Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, and an incredible New Year!

Why God Doesn’t Mind Us Owning Guns

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted here.  Life took a very unexpected twist at the end of June and I have been unable to write much of anything beyond simple emails since then.  I also haven’t sung much of anything since then.  I’ve hummed a few bars of some songs, half-vocalized the lyrics to a couple of favorite songs, but opening up with a full voice has been beyond my mental and emotional capacity.  I can’t even write about what I learned on the 29th of June of this year, at least not yet.

I have another topic in mind, and the grains of thought for this post have been sifting around in my head for a while.  I’m going to explain why I think God is OK with us owning guns, not just for hunting and fun, but for self defense.  I would not have given the idea two thoughts except I ran across either an article or a tweet somewhere that caused me to be interested enough in someone to subscribe to his email list.  I don’t remember his name and it isn’t really pertinent to what I have to say.  I remained on that list approximately two hours, terminating my subscription immediately after reading a post on his site that argued that we are selfish and are not trusting or faithful enough in God if we feel like we need to own a gun for self defense.  He cited verses that spoke of putting our faith in and trusting in God for everything, because He would protect us, and, even if he didn’t physically protect us, it was all still good because our salvation was secure.

His arguments reminded me of the following old joke, which I will embellish to some degree to emphasize my point.

There was a God-fearing, Christian man who, when the rains poured and floods began to overtake his house, put his faith in God to save him.  As the waters rose to his porch, a large four-wheel-drive truck came by.  The truck stopped and the people in the back offered him a ride.  “Come with us to safety,” they cried.  Confidently, he replied, “No, you go on, God will save me!”  The evacuees pleaded for him to escape with them, but he waved them away.  The truck drove on.

Later, as the waters rose higher, a boat came by.  The people in it who were escaping the floodwaters cried out to him, “Come with us!  We’ll get you to safety!  It is going to get worse soon!”  The man, sure in his faith, replied, “No, you go on, God will save me!”  They begged him to escape with them, but he waved them on.  The boat moved on.

The waters rose and the man was forced onto his roof to escape the flood.  Some time later, a helicopter flew over.  It hovered and dropped a ladder.  “Climb up the ladder to safety!  The waters are rising even more!”  “No!” the man cried, still convinced that God would intervene. “You go on, God will save me!”  He waved them on and the helicopter flew away to safety.

The waters rose higher and the man was eventually swept away and died as a result of the flood.  Being the faithful Christian that he was, he indeed went to heaven and as he approached God on the throne, he fell down and cried out to Him, “Why, God?  I had all my faith in You.  Why did you not save me?”  God looked at him with love, chuckled, and replied, “Child, I sent you a truck, a boat, and a helicopter.  What more would you have me do?”

You might find that joke a little sacrilegious, but I see some real truth there.  While I put my trust in God to protect me, I also use what I feel is some basic common sense.  As much as the man in the joke should have considered that God was saving him through the actions of others, I feel that I should use some common sense about how I should interact with others, particularly those that intend me harm.  I am commanded to love my enemies, but does that mean that I allow them to harm me or my family?  I am commanded to live in peace with others, but does that mean I don’t take basic precautions when going into high risk situations?

You can wag your finger at me and proclaim I need more faith, and that I should trust more, and you might be right, but I see no sense in simply throwing my life away when attacked by someone who wants to do me harm.  I see God giving me the resources to defend or save myself, whether that resource is a truck, a boat, a helicopter, or even a gun.  It must be said that I am referring to situations where there is a simple reason that someone is threatening me.  That person just wants to do me or my family harm.  I see no verse in the Bible instructing me to allow that to happen.  Feel free to correct me, I am open to any attempts to show me how I am wrong.

With that said, I want to in no way take away from the concept that if someone is attacking me or my family because of our faith, we should count that joy, as Paul relates to us in Acts.  If I or my family are attacked because of our faith, there is something gained regardless of the outcome.  Am I as ready as Paul was in Acts 20?  Probably not.  Is it my goal to be that ready?  Sure, but that will be a long process because I am a fairly selfish person and I love my family every bit and more as much as myself, so if I am not defending my faith through trust in God, then I trust that I am to take on the responsibility to defend myself and my family, through whatever resources and tools God provides for me, even if that tool or resource is a gun.

I’m serious when I say, “Prove me wrong.”  Show me that God is OK with me allowing harm to come to me or my family when our faith is not in question.  I don’t claim to know everything, and I definitely don’t claim to understand most of what I know.

God be with you.

 

 

 

Life happens…

This has been one of those times in my life where I have just sat back and… life happens.  I have been consuming much more than I have been creating.  While it is easy, in a way, it is wasting a lot of time I could have spent writing.  Every night for the past few weeks I have gone to bed with a pile of regrets for what I could have done that day versus what I actually did.  It has annoyed me greatly and caused some lost sleep (which for me is a great tragedy – I value my sleep – it is my chance to recharge).  I’d get up the next day swearing to do better, and every now and then I did, but for the most part, I did not.

Here it is, the first day of June and I am in actuality no closer to being done with my sci-fi book than I was in January.  Sure, I have developed some characters, clarified some plot points, revised some scenes (a very bad idea), and tried to make sense of my fuzzy and fragile time line, but real, readable words on a page have been mostly absent.

How to I correct this?  How do I steer back onto the road?  How do I find my way out of the darkness of writer’s block and lack of motivation?  I think I have found the answer.  By bringing November to June.  June has thirty days, just like November.  By crafting roughly 1667 words a day for the next thirty days (including today), I can be at critical mass and begin to do some real editing and revising.

So that is what I am going to do.  Starting today, I am writing 1667 words, minimum, every day, just like I do in November.  It is going to be harder, because I must fill gaps in my story line, so I will struggle, and most likely I will simply average 1667 words per day at the end of the month.  That will be OK; I’ll take what I can get, because if I ever want to finish, I MUST complete the first draft.

I haven’t decided what my incentive will be if I make it.  I’ll buy myself something if I do get to that magical number of 50,000 words in thirty days, I just don’t know what that will be.

With that said, I am signing off, probably for at least thirty days.  Wish me luck – I am going to need it.

Nine days…

Nine days.  It has been nine days since I last posted.  How the time gets away from you (or me, to be more precise).  There has been much on my mind during those nine days, just not a lot of time to sit down and record it all (or when I had the time, I found something else to do).  I still grieve for the state of our nation’s politics, both current and future.  More on that later.  I find myself watching old TV shows again, from the very beginning of the series, already knowing what will happen, but drawn into the story even so.  I figured out why and I’ll explain that in a bit.  I see madness and confusion everywhere, and I’m not sure at times what can be done to slow down, much less reverse, the direction in which our culture is barreling headlong.  So here goes another “random thoughts” post.  Buckle in, it’s going to be bumpy.

Here in the middle of May, 2016, the country is saddled with over two hundred more days of President Obama’s reign.  That’s bad enough, but as we look to November and the choices that will most likely be put before us, the outlook is bleak and foreboding.  It is pretty much accepted that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat nominee for the most powerful position on the planet, and… and, that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee.  I choke and cough as I type this, because this country has so many better candidates than these two (and no, I don’t mean Bernie Sanders, as socialism has decidedly proven its inability to maintain stability and order many times over, plus as a bonus, when everyone else’s money runs out, things tend toward the chaotic, as those who were living off others complain loudly that the gravy train has stopped running).

Why can’t either side offer better candidates?  I weakly argue that the Republicans did present much better choices, but the tour de force that is Donald J. Trump derailed them all.  The only other contender on the Democrat side besides Hillary is a professed socialist, as I can’t remember ANY of the names of the other Democrat candidates.  Shame on both parties for not producing candidates that are not loathed by a high percentage of the electorate.  At this point November looks like a toss up, with a slight edge going to the as-yet-to-be-indicted Hillary Clinton.  Her supporters can mumble all they want about precedent and “can’t prove anything”, but it is fairly obvious to the truly logical that Hillary Clinton violated law during her tenure as Secretary of State.  Of course, even if she is indicted, she could probably still get elected.  Such is politics in this day and age.

So, I’m watching One Tree Hill again, from season one, episode one.  I’m in season four at the moment.  Why, you might ask, am I watching that show?  Am I nostalgic for high school?  Nope, not really.  Do I like to wallow in drama and pain?  No, definitely not.  Do I love how music is used in the series to frame every scene, every montage, every climactic scene?  YES!  I discovered some great music on this show and I was reminded how great some of the music I already liked and listened to really was.  When I hear The Cure or Switchfoot or Foo Fighters or even Fall Out Boy behind scenes that were already skillfully designed to shock, surprise, hearten, or disgust, it amplifies the impact of the scene and weaves that music a little more tightly into my psyche.  When I hear music I discovered on the show like Matt White, The Wreckers, Michelle Featherstone or Trespassers William playing behind these same kinds of scenes, that music gets embedded into me a little deeper because of the associated images and situations, even though those situations are completely fictional and merely portrayed by actors and actresses delivering lines dreamed up by a screenwriter somewhere.  That’s why I am watching the series again.

Some of these situations mirror real life issues.  School shootings, teen sexuality, homosexuality, relationships, both good ones and bad ones, the unfairness of life, evil seemingly triumphing at every turn are all things we are dealing with every day.  It’s called life and we’re stuck here until we’re not.  Things do seem a little worse now.  No one in the fictional town of Tree Hill was at all confused about what bathroom to use, nor did Karen, the proprietor of Karen’s Cafe, get sued and put out of business because she refused to serve someone.  Pretty much everyone, even Dan Scott, the father everyone loved to hate, could look at a situation and evaluate correctly what was wrong and what was right, even if they didn’t do the right thing.

Just a few short years after the end of the One Tree Hill series, we have a world where evil is called good, good is called evil, and the rights and safety of the majority are disregarded in favor of the minority.  We have the federal government using its power to trounce on the rights of states and municipalities to decide what is right for their community, as long as some victimized minority is involved.  The government has no problem allowing states and municipalities to declare themselves free of the need to follow immigration law by designating themselves “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary states”, but by no means can a state decide that a biological man can’t go into the women’s restroom.  Hey, if he feels like a woman, then he should be allowed to use the women’s restroom, right?  But who’s checking his transgender credentials at the door to make sure he’s not just some deviant looking to make trouble?  Oh, wait, we can’t force them to prove their gender dysphoria.  Wait, it’s not a dysphoria anymore is it?  It’s all about how they feel and it is of course, perfectly normal.  We’ve moved from calling this issue “gender identity disorder” to “gender dysphoria”, to simply “transgenderism”, completely erasing any potential stigma.

But this issue is not even about the truly transgendered.  I bear no ill will to anyone who is transgendered.  My faith demands that I love my neighbor as myself, regardless of that neighbor’s condition or their feelings toward me.  I understand transgenderism is a legitimate issue, granted, one that has been brought to the attention of the entire country due to some fairly radical activists.  The real issue is what everyone likes to call “unintended consequences”, or what I generally just call “collateral damage”.  The collateral damage of this push to allow anyone to use any restroom they please is the potential abuse by those who are sexually and socially deviant.  I don’t want my children to be exposed to someone who willfully takes advantage of whatever rules and laws are the result of this activist nonsense.  You know it will happen.  Expect the number of transgender diagnoses to go up significantly – wait – that doesn’t even have to happen – as I said before – there is no one checking anyone’s transgender credentials at the door of the restroom.  The best thing that businesses can do is eliminate the large, multi-stall bathrooms and replace them with “single hole” bathrooms that either sex (biological or “chosen”) can use.  Congratulations activists – you have just increased the cost of doing business, but don’t let higher prices and expensive construction costs stop you from making the world a “fairer” and “more equal” place.

Enough ranting.  I’ve gotten this off my mind after allowing it to percolate for several days.  I feel better now.

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