Saturday, December 29, 2007

The way it REALLY is

How much do you spend?

I got this from Ken this PM. Read the whole thing. Thankfulness would be in order.
What is eaten in one week

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

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Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
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United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (I really hope most American
families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.)

Food expenditure for one week $341.98

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Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09

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Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

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Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

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Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
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Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
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-------------------------------------------- -- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

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The Check with no Signature

Let's suppose you are given authorization to write checks on Bill Gates Checking Account. He has given you full authority. Why? because you are his wife, Melinda Gates. You have his name. He loves you. He wants only the best for you.

But you are out of town. You are not at this moment with Bill. In a far country.

Bill sends Melinda a letter, in it he says, the money's all there, please write a check. You have my permission, you have blank checkblanks, in fact I want you to. You are going to need this money to make it home.

Melinda sits on her duff and says, "If Bill wants me to have that money, he'll have to write the check for me."

This creates an impasse. He isn't going to write the check for Melinda. Melinda isn't willing to write the check for herself. The money's there. It's hers if she will just do what he told her to do.

Bill isn't going to love Melinda any less if she doesn't write the check. He's her husband.She is welcome home. She is his beloved.

But, she is missing out. She is operate at a deficit without the provision already provided. Getting home will be more difficult unless she writes the check. She could be waylaid. If you are Melinda and you write the check it will be more than enough, but you can't write a check for everything Bill has invested for your interest in the future. He simply wants to make a pledge, an earnest money, a down payment of his good faith toward you as evidence of his love and of your empowerment as his wife. It's what happened when he signed the marriage certificate along with you. He sealed you with his seal. You and Bill have now the same name, Gates. You are one in union. He is your (Melinda's) beloved and you are his.

If as an outside observer if you watched all this unfold you would be right to ask a question. What is the matter with Melinda. Why won't she just write the check? Pride? Stubbornness? Tradition (mom never had to write checks) or could it be that she simply doesn't believe Bill would allow her to access what he has laid up for her. You would think her pretty low in faith in her Husband to not take advantage of all He had for HER.

By now, if you got this far, you see this for what it is. A spiritual metaphor.

I really wonder about people who say, "If God wants me to have the Holy Spirit, if he wants me to Speak in Tongues, I'm open to it, but I'll wait for him to do it to me". Spiritually they have a check blank they are authorized, even encouraged to fill out and sign for themselves. But for reasons never understood by me and others
we live in amazement at resistance to this simple act of faith. I mean those who did sign the check our Husband, Jesus Hosea 2:16, gave us, received the earnest of our salvation, the full amount in the account, the seal, the anointing provided. We don't know how it is anyone anywhere would hold back the faith and trust in a Loving God to believe him faithful that if he promised us his Holy Spirit, he would be faithful. No stone, no snake, no scorpion.

Those who refuse to fill out and sign the check are no less husband, they have just chosen to ignore this part of Scripture:
2 Corinthians chapter 1:
20 For as many as are the promises of God in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ (the anointed one and his anointing) and anointed us is God,
22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
What are you waiting for, Write the Check! It's all there. God has soooo much more than you can possible imagine for you. Just go for it. IF you were to prayerfully read the rest of 1 Corinthians you would quicly see all that the Spirit of God manifests, particularly chapters 12-14. Is there any doubt that God wants to provide for you on this side of the age EVERYTHING you can possess. Stop living below your spiritual potential. Come up Higher says the Spirit of the Living God.

Heart Stopping Beautiful

I saw this picture today in a magazine ad. 2009 Maserati Coupe. Be still my beating heart.

They claim they would deliver this car to my front door for under $120,000.

I need this car.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Huck climbs

John McCain is creeping up in these Republican polls in a very big way. First, the Fox News national poll shows that he is in a three-way dead heat for first place with Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee.

In Iowa, American Research Group says that he in a strong second place ahead of Mitt Romney. And there are two New Hampshire polls, one by USA Today and another by American Research Group. ARG has McCain and Romney tied for 26% in New Hampshire.

Republican Candidate Fox CA FL IA IA IA NH NH SC
Rudy Giuliani 20% 25% 28% 13% 6% 11% 11% 16% 12%
John McCain 19% 12% 13% 20% 8% 9% 27% 26% 16%
Fred Thompson 10% 6% 8% 5% 16% 9% 4% 4% 15%
Mitt Romney 11% 15% 20% 17% 25% 25% 34% 26% 18%
Mike Huckabee 19% 17% 21% 28% 31% 33% 9% 11% 28%
Ron Paul 3% 3% 2% 4% 5% 6% 9% 4% -
Tom Tancredo 1% 1% - 1% 2% 3% - 1% -
Duncan Hunter 2% 3% 1% - 1% 1% 1% 1% -
Alan Keyes - - - 1% - - - 1% -
Other(vol.) 14% 18% 6% 11% 6% 2% 5% 10% 11%
Details Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link
Sources Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link Link

North Dakot a Empty Prairie Pictures

The National Geographic Article I posted becomes more meaningful when you see a pictograph of what the empty prairie really looks like. Look at the legend. It demonstrates less than 2 people per square mile for most of North Dakota. Great for hunting, lousy for economics. Get ready for much higher taxes. This bird won't fly.

The brighter yellow is 3-4 people. Still pretty sparse. Now look at the national map.

Dark blues means 13 or more people per square mile. Most of the USA is pretty dense. Only The great plains, Buffalo Commons, the rocky mountains and the deserts of the west are as devoid of people. This is not a great prognosis for the future of ND. But hope for the best and enjoy the wide open wasteland. It's going to collapse.

Finally some common sense on global warming

The truth will out. If we can just keep the crazies at bay long enough we can approach the situation with understanding and an open mind.

A French Scientist calls the global warming scare a religion and a fraud

CO2 levels are a symptom more than a cause

CO2 increases are natural not man made

Now, if the guppies who bought into the whole man made global warming scam would just read this. They won't. I can only hope.

10261 + Bhutto = 10262

Just so you understand what it's all about, the terror, murder, bombings and executions of radical Islam has a death toll since 9-11 of 10,262 people.

If you take 2 minutes to look at the religion of peace website it will tell you all you need to know.

Oh, and those who say western civilization is intolerant and murderous now and in the past should read this summary:

So, you think the Ku Klux Klan
and the Spanish Inquisition are bad?
So do we, but...

Put the Numbers in Perspective

More people are killed by Islamists each year than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition combined. (source)

Islamic terrorists murder more people every day than the Ku Klux Klan has in the last 50 years. (

More civilians were killed by Muslim extremists in two hours on September 11th than in the 36 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. (source)

19 Muslim hijackers killed more innocents in two hours on September 11th than the number of American criminals executed in the last 65 years. (source)

Bhutto's Death is Bush's Fault

So says Time.

Mainstream Media idiots.

They are without shame or brains. From the article:
The Bush administration is particularly culpable in creating the chaos in Pakistan because it forced a premature reconciliation between President Musharraf and Bhutto; it forced Musharraf to lift martial law; it showered money on Musharraf to fight a war that was never popular in Pakistan. The administration could not understand that it can't have both in Pakistan — a democracy and a war on terrorism.

The immediate reaction in the United Sates will be visceral: al-Qaeda killed Bhutto because she was too secular and too close to the United States, an agent of American imperialism. It will be of some comfort that the front lines of terrorism are thousands of miles away; that we are fighting "them" there rather than in lower Manhattan; that there are heroes like Bhutto ready to fight and die for democracy, moderation and rationality.

Hat tip to Rob's Say Anything

and, just so you know, this insipid article in Time was written by an Ex CIA operative who's sour grapes blames others for the intelligence failures and treasonous activities, remember Valerie Pflame?

If I were President Bush I would have gut the agency and put people who love America in.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I got my most recent issue of Forbes Magazine.

In it was an ad for jet airplane intermittent use. In that ad was a little dog.

Boy they could have used any dog except one that looks like this.

I miss Skipper sometimes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

North Dakota - Empty and Alone

I get in a lot of trouble with people I care about when I say what I'm about to say. From a distance North Dakota is pretty bleak. Oh, sure, there's Fargo, Bismarck, Oil Boom, and a few other towns. But mostly ND is on a huge downward slope.

Drive the
stretch up and down Highway 281 and 75 miles either side of that line and the stretch up and down ND highway 8 and there is a long way between Hamms Beer signs. Ghost towns and empty space.

National Geographic in the January issue has a pictorial of the whole scene. And a story about the emptied prairie. It's pretty grim.

I have argued for a long time about programs and plans that would work to get Small Town North Dakota back on the track. I think it's been deaf ears.

In today's Wall Street Journal there is an article how the Dakotas are trying to lure ex residents back. It's a good idea but you need to change the perspective. I can't and won't come back because the economics just aren't there. Sure, there are a few jobs that pay
OK. There is some economic development. But the depth isn't there. If you get fired from that 60 grand job your next stop is minimum wage at the C store. There is no employment depth.

In the Fall of 2002 I wrote a book and sent copies to Legislators. It's on line here. A free thinking book that asked the hard question, what could and should be done.

The conclusion of that book is this:
All economic development efforts are useless without people. People are the base unit of economic development. Do all you can do to entice people to move to ND no matter what kind of people. Ask the question, is what we are doing in this public policy driving people away are inviting them to come. That has to do with taxes, hunting policy, tourism, tuition, regulation and many other things.

This is a tough issue and the National Geographic didn't help. Don't expect them to. North Dakota is not an inviting place. It should be.

I guess those of you who still live in the state, Rob, Whistler and I don't know for sure who else It's time to ask some hard questions of policy makers. The future of the state relies on the decisions they are making.

December Blog-iversery

Three Years Ago, December 19, 2004 I made my first official post on this blog. Oh there was one before which said, "test test". That one is gone.

From that day to this there have been 1543 posts, 1544 counting this one.

How could any one man have so many words and so little to say? I knew you were thinking that so I thought I would head it off at the pass.

But, I'm there and for the 2 readers who still look at this electronic tome, I'm thankful and puzzled. Why?

So, in that vein, I wish myself a happy Blog-iversery.

Let's see if I'm still here in 3 more years.

Gallup could have saved money

Gallup says the most admired woman is Hillary Clinton and the Most Admired Man is George W Bush.

I'm there.

Oprah or Hillary? Hillary.

Condi or Hillary? Hillary

Angela Jollie? OK two out of three ain't bad.

Bush vs who? Billy? Nope.

So, I'm a good Gallup cross section. He could have saved money and just called me.

Been There Done that............................

From today's Wall Street Journal, It's lucky the instructions weren't in Chinese.

'Twas the Day After Christmas

"On the gridger board, align the zagenator, whindler and biceptor units 2.725 inches apart."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

The following instructions, coffee-stained and torn, were found in a box amid a jumble of tools and mechanical parts on the sidewalk outside a Manhattan apartment building along with discarded trees and other holiday trash. Just visible inside the box was a gift tag that read "Merry Christmas to Johnny. Love, Mom and Dad."

Congratulations! You are the lucky owner of the Model ZVZ156 Vangplotz High-Digenation Wide-Scringe Framulator, Series 7000, with fernillated quick-response Worzel™ and 20,000 zurlebytes of scringe-view quorms. Follow these simple instructions and soon you will enjoy untold hours of pleasure.

IMPORTANT: Begin by lifting out the plune-wrapped section marked "Lithinode Distrillitor" and refer to the blue-colored picrochit-regulator intensity chart on the side. If the chart has the fuchsia-colored code BRZ3434, your unit requires an AC4(x2z3) power influrger. Extract the influrger pack from the distrillitor's surge-protection splange and check the code. If you have an AC5(x3z4) influrger instead of an AC4(x2z3) model, or if the intensity chart is colored burnt orange instead of blue, then call your local Vangplotz "Speedy Geek"™ home service provider at 1-800-UONHOLD. (WARNING: If the intensity chart is colored silver with pink stripes, then your distrillitor must be activated in person by a Vangplotz lithinode technician within 48 to 72 hours. Vangplotz service centers are conveniently located in the Yellow Dog, Ala., industrial campus and the six-story Grendel Mall-City in Frozen Badger, N.D.)

Next, lift out the tray marked "Tools" and check the inclusions against the following list:

  • One 7 3/4-inch extenulator
  • Two packages of 3/4-inch fribbets
  • Four packages of 1 1/2-inch fribbets
  • One six-jointed revolving spangler
  • One Spurgel-head grommel
  • Six fandles
  • One swigel-headed flonge
  • One multi-pronged grallup
  • One soft-COR elasticized squiller
Unpack the main components: Scringe, MO-DOR qualblanz scrambler, disk-o-later insertion whindler, zagenator, gridger board, Wooflang biceptor, varnicle inhibitor, Worzel™.

Remove plune-wrapping from the scringe. Using the 7 3/4-inch extenulator, calibrate the number of inches spanning the scringe-gripper aperture on the MO-DOR scrambler. The ZVZ156 scringe must have a 14 7/8-inch aperture to successfully interflex with the MO-DOR picrochits. If the aperture exceeds 14 7/8 inches, insert and turn the soft-COR elasticized squiller. Upon completion proceed to:


First, insert the lithinode distrillitor pack into the scringe under the panel marked Varnicle Reflexelator Chamber. A flinged graffler at the bottom of the chamber will connect the distrillitor to the varnicle. Next, lower the scringe into the MO-DOR scringe-gripper aperture using the swigel-headed flonge to secure it onto the varnicle nodes, which conduct 20-zilihurtz magnifiers to the varnicles. Use the multipronged grallup to secure the pink wooplers to the orange varnicle nodes and the four triple-pronged green wires to the varnicle inhibitor. WARNING: Even one woopler-varnicle node misconnection will cause xurls to disrupt the scringe-view quorms once the framulator is plugged in.


On the gridger board, align the zagenator, whindler and biceptor units 2.725 inches apart, calibrating the distance with the extenulator. Place the gridger board on top of the units and secure with 1 1/2-inch fribbets using the revolving spangler. Stabilize the units by installing fandles using 1 1/2-inch fribbets.

Go carefully; this is a narrow space: Attach the Spurgel-head grommel onto the wronchle prong of the multi-pronged grallup and position it directly over a fribbet.

Next, extend the revolving spangler to the fourth joint, attach the bludgger head and release the sping-grip. With your left hand, carefully lower the spangler and clamp the sping-grip around the grommel handle while turning the spangler speed valve to "rapid" with your right, and pressing the oscillator button with your other hand.


Mr. Crabb is a writer in New York.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

For Kevin and Family - Christmas in St. Chuck

So you get a little of what you missed or didn't on Christmas in St. Charles, here's a pictorial. Peggy and I spent it alone. We made that choice. We had invitations but we wanted to just be together.

We decorated and did so in good German Style. Went to Church, ate a nice dinner, looked at each other, prayed and went to bed.

Our Christmas tree was smaller this year, but it's still pretty, Peggy does a great job decorating.

Even though it all pretty much melted, the snow was nice and made everything look all christmassy in early December. Now we have just the lightest of dusting of white on the ground.

These are the Roses I bought in Honor of Peggy's birthday. Yellow is a favorite color of hers. It's not fair to her that she has a December Birthday.

Birthday Roses from Tim and Raquella, very nice.

The Christmas Pyramid we bought at Kathie Wohlfarht's in Rotenburg an d Taube. Made in East Germany before the wall fell. Lit on Christmas eve.

This is the Schwibbögen we bought in Wittenburg before the wall came down. Also lit on Christmas eve.

The Greenhouse is blooming, glad we got that hot tub out of there (thanks Kevin) This is what it looks like Christmas Morning in full Sunshine and 40 degrees.

We are off to Friends houses this afternoon. I'm not excited. It's quiet here, the fire is in the fire place and I enjoy it all. Being friendly is such hard work.

Who Wrote This?

I know you could find this on the internet. But, before you do, read it in full and ask yourself the question, what modern faith teacher is declaring the activity of faith in a believer?

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. ``Faith is not enough,'' they say, ``You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.'' They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, ``I believe.'' That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn't come from this `faith,' either.

Instead, faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn't stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.

Faith is a living, bold trust in God's grace, so certain of God's favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God's grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they're smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do.

Maybe we need to revisit the nature of true faith and works once again.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas might Just save the World

I'm sure you have seen the picture of a man in Washington state who hung a stuffed Santa on a cross as a Christmas decoration. He was protesting the commercialization of Christmas and the excesses of the season.

I'm with him. SORTA.

There are excesses. People spending money they don't have on people they don't care that much about.

But there's always Dancing Santa. The Jolly Old Elf 10" high weaving back and forth to that holiest of carols, Jingle Bells. What makes it all really special is that Santa in that iteration is made in China. He sings in English however. I can almost smell the Figgie Pudding.

I heard a "Christmas round the world" report on NPR this morning. Christmas is being celebrated, trees, ornaments, Santa hats AND dancing Santa all around the world. Particularly in Muslim and Hindu countries.

This story about Christmas in Turkey and in India was heard by yours truly on NPR this morning. You can hear it too. The essence of the story is that Christmas in it's most commercial and most crass form is invading these countries bringing the worst and best of western civilization to people.

I know that Christmas is big in China . Believe me, I'm not a big fan of Christmas in it's pagan roots, in it's non birth of Christ foundation, in it's excess. But there is a witness in it all. Place your cursor over the dancing Santas.

Last night after Church Pastor Byrd and I were praying for a woman and a little girl who, if it were a Christmas story of salvation of a person under the Christmas tree, you would have thought we made it up. I don't know what will happen, but I have hope. I hope to see her hopeful, filled with joy, escaping fear and confident in her future. That's what the Christmas Carol Story was all about. Ghosts that haunt us and Spirits that give us Hope.

Maybe the common thread even in a commercial Christmas celebration has a worldwide bridge building effect of giving us a common foundation to dialogue from. And one dialogue I would like to have is, Why is there Christmas at all?

I think I might just be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within me.