Funny but Pointed Immigration Video

I  posted this video some time back to Facebook, but finding something you posted on Facebook is next to impossible, so I wanted to put it somewhere I wouldn’t lose it again.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s a comical look at the ridiculous idea of our immigration policy being changed to allow lawbreakers (those in the US without permission) the right to become citizens.  As I have said before, if you came home and found a family living in your house without your permission, your first thought is not to ensure that the children have eaten, that the parents have a good job, etc.  Your first thought is to get them out of your house. And that is what we should be doing with people who are here without permission:  send them back where they came from.  Maybe give them a pamphlet telling them the legal process to become an American citizen, if they are still interested.

Anyway, here’s the video.

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Thanksgiving Carols

I enjoy singing Christmas Carols.  O Come, O Come Emmanuel is my favorite.  I guess that’s really a hymn, but here’s a secret:  I’m not a music major, so I don’t know the difference.

But why are carols limited to Christmas?  I don’t remember where I got it, but there was an article I read years ago that referenced Thanksgiving Carols.  I only remember one song, and a line from another, but in the interests of making sure these gems don’t disappear forever, I will reproduce them here.  If anybody knows who originally wrote them, please let me know so I can give proper attribution.

All I remember about the first song is that it is sung to the tune of “Good King Wenceslas,” and that the first line is “Good dish old coleslaw sat there/Once again uneaten.”    That’s pretty funny.  But the best song is the one I remember in full. It is sung to the tune of “O Holy Night” and it’s called “O Slippery Knife.”

O slippery knife, you slipped while I was carving
Now I’m in pain as my wife calls the doc.
O slippery knife, you skidded off the breastbone
I’m feeling faint, think I’m going into shock.
I now regret those hours at the whetstone
I now suspect I’ve lost at least a quart.

Press on the wound!
Cut off the circulation!
O knife so sharp!
O knife, my tendon’s shorn.
O knife so sharp,
O knife so sharp.

I hope this song can make you smile, as it has for me and my wife for years.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Ferguson

I suppose I should say something about Ferguson, MO. I suppose the eight of you that read this blog are interested to know my perspective on the events of the past few days.

I think it’s a tragedy.

I think that the sin of man knows no bounds, and this is perfectly illustrated in Ferguson. A man was killed, and in response to this man being killed, hundreds (if not thousands) of people are rioting, looting, and committing acts of violence. People are destroying businesses that don’t belong to them, stealing things that don’t belong to them, and acting as if the decision rendered yesterday somehow enables them to act however they want, with no brake except their own conscience.

These crimes are the inevitable result of the philosophy which states that either God doesn’t exist or that we are not accountable to Him for our actions. This is a demonstration of the lie of Satan in Genesis 3:5, that we would become like God, deciding for ourselves what is good and what is evil. You can’t tell me what to do, people yell. It’s MY body! It’s MY choice! I can have an abortion! I can end my own life whenever I choose! I can put whatever I want into my body and you can’t tell me it’s wrong. I can have sex with anybody I want, with any gender I want.

Well, the damage and destruction in Ferguson is the inevitable result of this philosophy of Hedonism (do what feels good). And it’s a tragedy.

The good news is that God is aware. God is in control. And the reckoning is coming.

I sang a song in the college chorale where I met my wife called “Things Done In Secret” and it refers to Luke 8:17 “For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” The song goes like this:

He will not soon forget your work of faith
And labor of love that’s done for His sake
A cold cup of water that’s given in His name
One day from the housetops the Lord will proclaim.

Many slothful shall stand ashamed that day
When all of their talents are taken away.
But oh what rejoicing the righteous shall know
When Christ shall return their rewards to bestow!

Though you serve in the shadows be faithful still
Your steadfast devotion to follow His will
Shall not be forgotten, it’s all written down
And one day your cross He’ll replace with a crown.

CHORUS:
Things done in secret shall be made known.
When with the saints we will bow at His throne
The books shall be opened, your name He will call
And things done in secret shall be made known to all.

I know that song is referring to the good works that we believers do for Christ, for which we will receive a reward someday, but every time I sang the chorus, I couldn’t help but think about how it applies to the unsaved as well. All the works of darkness are known to God, and nothing is hidden from Him. All the unsaved will be held accountable for their burden of sin. The greatest tragedy of all is that these people are going to go to hell because they rejected Christ’s free offer of salvation.

Ferguson is a microcosm of what happens when people’s sinful desires hold sway. The message we should take from these riots is this: DON’T follow your heart. Follow God.

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Watching Sports…or Not.

This is the twenty-first century. We have the internet superhighway. We have high-speed internet access, and more wifi hotspots than Starbucks stores. So why is it so hard to watch sports?

Case in point: I’m trying to watch football. The other four people in my house hate football, so when I watch it, they have to do something else so they don’t have to watch football. I think I caught one of them doing chores yesterday so she wouldn’t have to watch football.

I want to watch football, but I don’t want to monopolize the television either. We only have one television. The obvious choice is to purchase a second television and connect that to DirecTV as well. Unfortunately DirecTV tells me that in order to do that, I would have to pay them $100. I would also have to buy a second television. So we’re looking at about $300 any way you slice it.

I asked them, is there a way I can watch football on my computer? Can I get the second receiver and plug it directly into my computer’s HDMI port? That way I only pay $100. No, they say. That won’t work.

Then they mention that I could download a program called “DirecTV2PC.” With this program, they say, I can watch all the programs I have recorded on my DVR directly on my computer. Only problem? I downloaded it, and it gives me this error:

DirecTV2PC

Actual screenshot from my computer.

In case you can’t read that, it says “DirecTV2PC cannot display this video because your graphics card does not currently support screen capture protection for protected content. Try updating your graphics card driver or modify your driver settings.” I went to Nvidia (my graphics card manufacturer) and made sure that my graphics card driver was current. Then I tried running the program again. Same error.

So I did a google search for this problem and found out that people have been having this error for the past five years or so. Some people suggested certain work-arounds (like turning your theme to “high contrast black” which makes your computer look like a Goth version of Windows 95. None of these worked for me.

At that point, I decided to call DirecTV and ask them what to do. The third option is called “GenieGO,” which is a device that I could plug into my receiver and use an app on my computer or iPad to access my DVR’ed programs (including sports games). But guess what? It costs $135. So I asked DirecTV, “How can I get this DirecTV2PC program to work?” Their answer: try to find a third-party program to install that will allow you to use our program on your computer.

You read that right. They want ME to fix THEIR software problem.

I asked them, “Well, since your program isn’t working correctly, is there any consideration you guys can give me on the GenieGO device? Like maybe a reduced price or even free?” Nope.

There are four basic times that NFL games are played during the week: Thursday night, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and Monday night. You can watch all of them on television (every game, if you have NFL Sunday Ticket) or using a Verizon device (for me, that’s my cell phone). Monday night games can be seen on the above OR on WatchESPN.com or the Watch ESPN app if you have a cable provider that has an agreement with ESPN. DirecTV doesn’t.

Back to my original point: We live in the 21st century. There should be a way to have access to all of these games on any computer, for a price. There isn’t. Same thing happens with baseball: I want to watch Cubs games, but I’m in their blackout zone, so I can pay money to have access to all the live games I could ever want…..except for Cubs games. It’s asinine. All I know is that the NFL and the MLB need to get their acts together so people can watch their games.

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Logos Bible Software

LogosBibleSoftwareIn 1997 I purchased a software program called “Logos.”  That word is pronounced like “LAW-goss”, not “low-goes”.  It is the Greek word for “word.” and refers to the fact that it is a bible software program, the Bible being the “Word of God.”   I liked the software and used it, even though back then many of my friends were pushing me towards QuickVerse at the time.  When I became a pastor in 2002 I purchased the upgrade to their “Libronix” program, (along with a large amount of resources) which was essentially version 2 of their original program. I used this program all through my pastorate, and it was very helpful. Then I upgraded to version 3.  In 2010 I upgraded to version 4, because they said that if I upgraded, I would be able to access my library via my Bible app on iOS as well as their website biblia.com.  Both of these are very helpful, and I’m glad I upgraded at that point.

I think it was last year they started telling me I should upgrade to version 5, because it was faster, better, etc than version 4.  I held out, because in truth I don’t use the program very much in my work as a nurse.  It’s more for personal use, and for when I teach the odd Sunday school class or Wednesday night service.  But in April I caved and upgraded to the Bronze level of version 5.  In doing so, I have paid more money, but I can detect no noticeable difference from version 4. Just last week they announced version 6, which is supposed to be even better. The only consistent feature of these upgrades is that they get money out of me.

I looked at the new system, and there’s only one benefit I can see: they are including the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia in the base package.  This means that if I wanted to get rid of the four giant volumes on my bookshelf and buy the digital version, I can either pay them $80 for the ISBE resource, or I can upgrade to Logos 6 for $80.  Well I don’t have $80 right now, so I’m going to hold off until I do, but I got an email today from Logos with glowing reviews of their new version, and it prompted me to write my own review.  Here it is:

You want a product review? I use Logos about once a week to read books that have been published for years or (in most cases) decades or centuries. Every time I open the program it wants to download an update. Then it wants to spend time indexing, installing the update, restarting, indexing again, and generally takes me about five minutes to get it to where I can start using it. My computer is not slow. Just so you know I have a PC with an i7-3630QM CPU at 2.4 Ghz and 8gb of RAM. This should be more than fast enough to run Logos, and yet the indexing, installing, and restarting takes about five minutes for some reason, when all I want to do is look up a Bible verse or read a section of a commentary. I don’t know why it takes five minutes to download a 50 megabyte update, because my connection speed is about 20 megabits per second. According to my math, a 50 megabyte update should take approximately 20 seconds.

The funny thing is that your website biblia.com and the “Bible!” iOS app are more helpful to me than your actual program, because they provide instant access to my resources. I upgraded to version 5 this spring with the expectation that this would make the program faster, but it didn’t. I can see no noticeable change, and the main reason I upgraded was to get access to a Hebrew Interlinear Bible, which I was promised when I upgraded, but still have not received access to.

For your information, I opened Logos the moment I started typing this email. It’s been 11 minutes, and now it’s going to start indexing. I’ll let you know when it’s done, and how long it takes.

I wish I could give a positive review for your product, but the ease of use doesn’t really allow me to do so. It’s like you sold me a really good car that has all sorts of features, but you have to start the car and let it sit there for 20 minutes before you can ever put it in drive: not practical or particularly useful. 16 minutes now and indexing is 25% done.

I do like the program once it gets done with the preliminaries, but if I could go back, I would have simply stuck with Logos 4, which allowed me access to the books via your iOS app, which is the last positive benefit of upgrading I have experienced. 17 minutes 30 seconds and we are 33% indexed.

Another problem that I’ve been having is that on my iPad, when I open the Bible! app it now includes the footnotes, which take up a large percentage of the bottom of the screen. I would like to go back to the old way, where I could tap the footnote indicator and read the footnote as a popup instead of viewing all the footnotes at once, but I don’t see any option to hide the footnotes. In other words, I’d like the app to be more customizable. 20 minutes in, 45% complete.

It just finished. 25 minutes after I started your program, it is fully updated, indexed, and ready for me to do a bible search for “patience.”

This is the message I get when I try to open the program.

Tell me about it.

Do I recommend Logos? Yes.  But as I said, it has issues.  I would give it three out of five stars.

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Color Me Apathetic

I was torn between the title for this post that I ultimately chose and the alternate “Six of One, Half-Dozen of the Other.” You, the reader, can tell me if I made the right choice.

If you listen to the Democrats (minus Joe “Whistling in the Dark” Biden), today is the day of doom. The day that the Democrats will almost certainly lose control of both houses of Congress, ensuring utter destruction for at least the next two years until the country comes to its senses again, and votes them back into office.

If you listen to the Republicans, today is the day that we retake Congress from the hands of those who shoved Obamacare down our throats, waffled on immigration, and allowed the President to do pretty much whatever he wanted.

I submit to you that, Republican or Democrat, today will largely be the day that follows yesterday. That’s pretty much the whole significance of the thing. Why do I feel this way? To paraphrase my friend Steve Deace (because I can’t find the actual quote), “Before America tries a three party system, we should try a two party system first.” He was saying that there really isn’t much difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. They talk a big game, but most of them are only interested in two things:

1. Getting to Washington DC.
2. Staying there.

I’ve heard some Republicans rejoicing at the forecasted Republican takeover of Congress, which means, according to them, that we will finally secure the borders, stop illegal immigration, repeal Obamacare, end abortion on demand, etc, etc, etc. To these people, I have one question:

Why didn’t the Republicans do those things before?

They controlled the White House for 8 years (2000-2008). They controlled the House of Representatives from 1994-2006. They controlled the Senate during those same years, except for two years in 2001-2002 when Jim Jeffords, RINO-NH, gave control of the Senate to the Democrats. What does that mean? It means that for FOUR YEARS the Republicans held both the Executive and Legislative branches, and for TEN years they held both houses. Did they solve the illegal immigration problem? No. Did they balance the budget? No. Did they decrease the federal debt? No. Did they end abortion on demand? No.

The Republicans have even controlled the House of Representatives for the past four years. DO you know how many bills the House has passed in the past four years to repeal Obamacare? 54 times (knowing these bills would die in the Democratically-controlled Senate, making them largely symbolic). Do you know who is in charge of what gets spent in this country? The House. Do you know who voted to fund Obamacare for the past four years? The House of Representatives. So they could have defunded Obamacare, but they didn’t. They tried, I’ll give them that, but when the Senate threatened government shutdown, the Republicans caved.

You see, when liberals defend their position, it’s called principled leadership. When conservatives defend their position, it’s called partisan bickering. The siren call of “bipartisanship” draws the Republicans onto the rocks every time.

So excuse me if I don’t get giddy when, tomorrow at this time the news agencies announce that this January Harry Reid will give up his gavel to Mitch “Bad Votes” McConnell.

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LED Light Bulbs: Get Some!

A week ago I attended a talk by Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson at the University of Indianapolis. He discussed current events in science generally, and astrophysics specifically. He was very entertaining, and I enjoyed the lecture immensely. He only mentioned evolution during the Q&A time at the end when someone asked a related question.

But one thing he said stuck with me. He was talking about how the United States is lagging behind other countries in science innovation. As an example he mentioned the three men who won the 2014 Nobel prize for Physics: Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura. Notice anything about those names? Dr Tyson’s point was that they are Japanese, and the Japanese (and Koreans) are outpacing us in science innovation by leaps and bounds.

But that’s not why I am writing this blog post. My post has to do with the REASON they won the Nobel Prize, specifically, “”for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”.”

You see, when they came out with these Compact Fluorescent monstrosities, I was alarmed, because they said, “To improve the environment, you need to stop using those light bulbs made from glass and carbon, and start using glass and poisonous mercury. For the environment.” I didn’t want the things in my house. “But they’re more efficient” they said. “They’ll last longer” they said. Phooey on you, I said. I don’t want to have to call the EPA every time I break a light bulb.

But here is the answer to that problem: LED light bulbs. They use a fraction of the energy, save money over time, and are better for the environment. Dr. Tyson asked us all, “Does anyone here not have LED lights in their home, raise your hand. You’d better not raise your hand. Get your butt out there and get some! These are highly efficient sources of light, they give off hardly any heat, and they discovered it.” Evidently the invention of blue LED allowed scientists to develop white light LED light bulbs.

I had never heard of LED bulbs. After I got home I did some quick research, and found out that, while an LED light bulb is way more expensive than an incandescent bulb, it is also way more efficient and way longer lasting. The average incandescent bulb lasts about 1200 hours and will cost you $328 per year to keep lit. The average LED bulb will last about 50,000 hours (41 times longer) and cost you $32 per year to keep lit.

Today we bought our first LED bulbs. The bulbs do cost more. We paid about $6 for one bulb to put in our front yard (our HOA demands that each house have a security light post with a light bulb and a light sensor so it stays on all night). That light is on 10-12 hours every. Single. Night. And now my electric bill is going to go down. As we replace more bulbs, the bill will go down even more. As the following chart shows, these bulbs are more efficient, more durable, and better than the incandescent bulbs.

LED Bulb chart

One correction: this LED bulb now costs $6, not $36, so it’s even better!

Their only drawback: they probably wouldn’t work anymore if you ever got hit with an EMP. So, barring nuclear war, LED is the way to go!

If you see this, your light bulbs will be the least of your problems.

If you see this, your light bulbs will be the least of your problems.

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