Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Government Can...

VideoKudos to Tim Hawkins for telling it like it is.

Direct video link.

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Maddy's Cancer Battle

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bad Manners At The Gas Station

Food Marts
As posted at, where the writers are.

I am becoming increasingly convinced -- sold, actually, on the fact -- that the worst part of being a motorist in America is going to convenience store gas stations (i.e. Speedway, 7-Eleven, and the myriad of other gas station food marts popping up on every street corner). Not because of the high price -- and it seems to get higher for no reason, but that's another topic -- of gasoline. Not because of the jockeying for pumps, or trying to fight my way out of the parking lot. Not even because the city of Indianapolis seems to force right hand turns our of every corner station by putting large concrete dividers in the road making it impossible to turn the way I really want to turn when I leave.

All of those are highly annoying things -- yes, more annoying than being cut off on the highway for this frustrated motorist -- but none so annoying as standing in line at practically any American gas station food mart. A very recent experience comes to mind, but this could easily have happened to any person in any city at any gas station on any day -- it really is, I'm convinced, that common. If you live in one of the thirty Powerball states in America, you will no doubt relate to the situation.

As I headed out of the house tonight to satisfy my wife's craving for a cold Coke Zero and a salty snack, I drove to the nearest corner gas station cum food mart. It could have been a Speedway, one of British Petroleum's AM/PM shops, a Thornton's, or practically any of the other cookies made from the same cutter, but in this case it was a GasAmerica. I entered the store and began browsing for a salty snack that my wife and I both would agree upon. I chose two -- we just can't agree on some things -- and headed for the fountain to grab a couple of Coke Zero's to drink.

With two large bags of chips and to 44 ounce styrofoam drinks in my hands, I headed for the checkout line. This is where my frustration multiplies. Every time I get in line at any one of these gas station food marts, on the rare occasions when they actually have more than one (which, actually, means exactly two, since there are never more than two) cashier, no one seems to know what to do. Do you form a line at each register, like you're at a grocery store? Or do you form a single line with the next customer in line always advancing to the first available register? (if you have an opinion, share it with me)

I am of the opinion that one line should be formed, with the next person in line advancing to the first available register. I seem to be the only person in America with this opinion, as no matter what gas station I go to, or which line I stand in, the other register is always faster, and other bad mannered patrons walking in long after I did always approach the other register before I can make a move. Is this what our society has come to? Are Americans in such a huge rush that we have lost this last, most basic thread of common decency (there's a paradox for you)?

As I stood in line tonight, hoping not to drop my super sized beverages or crush my chips, I clearly stood in the wrong line once again. My first clue should have been the guy who bought four lottery tickets -- two for the Hoosier Lotto and two for the PowerBall -- followed by the second guy who purchased the same plus a selection of scratch off tickets. That's another annoyance for another time, but if I didn't have my own moral oppositions to playing the lottery, I would be opposed to it just for the amount of waiting time it adds to gas station checkout lines.

As customer after customer displayed their bad mannered tendencies (and apparent impeccable timing) by walking in and straight to the counter at the other register just as it came open, I waited. And waited. And waited. Until finally a customer nodded at me to go ahead, as if doing me some great favor that would secure her a special place in eternity.

Happy to escape from there with my chips and drinks intact after what seemed like thrice as long as it should have taken, I tell myself I would have been better off going to a grocery or department store -- as long as it isn't Wal-mart, but I won't go into that one right now. It would just be bad mannered of me.

Your comments?


Maddy's Cancer Battle

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Patriot Humor: ObamaCare

Patriot Humor

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What could possibly go wrong with ObamaCare:

The phone rings and the lady of the house answers, "Hello?"

"Mrs. Sanders, please."


"Mrs. Sanders, this is Dr. Jones at St. Agnes Laboratory. When your husband's doctor sent his biopsy to the lab last week, a biopsy from another Mr. Sanders arrived as well. We are now uncertain which one belongs to your husband. Frankly, either way the results are not too good."

"What do you mean?" Mrs. Sanders asks nervously.

"Well, one of the specimens tested positive for Alzheimer's and the other one tested positive for HIV. We can't tell which is which."

"That's dreadful! Can you do the test again?" questioned Mrs. Sanders.

"Normally we can, but the new health care system will only pay for these expensive tests just one time."

"Well, what am I supposed to do now?"

"The folks at Obama health care recommend that you drop your husband off somewhere in the middle of town. If he finds his way home, don't sleep with him."

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Review: Velocity by Dean Koontz

Book Review Whomever said you can't judge a book by it's cover obviously never read Velocity by Dean Koontz. One thing that never happens in the book Velocity is a lull in the action. From the opening page to the final chapter, Koontz's characters in Velocity deliver a fast-paced tale of intrigue, mystery, and horror (or, more accurately, terror).

When Billy the bartender leaves work one night to find a note on the windshield of his SUV, he is thrust into a game that he has no choice but to play -- a deadly game.
If you don't take this not to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher somewhere in Napa County. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have six hours to decide. The choice is yours.
What would you do if faced with such an ultimatum? On one hand, you could rush to the police and show them the note, essentially signing the death warrant of a sweet little old lady. Or you could shrug it off, assume it's just a hoax, and hope not to read about a murdered young blond woman in the morning papers.

* * * SPOILER ALERT * * *

When Billy is faced with making the choice, he finds that action and inaction are one and the same, as he learns from his friend, Deputy Lanny Olsen, that a young blond schoolteacher has been found murdered. Having chosen not to decide, Billy decided to let the old woman live and the young woman die -- in what is only the first move of a deadly game of cat and mouse that leads to shocking revelations, for both Billy and the reader.

* * * END OF SPOILERS * * *

Velocity, released four years ago, is one of Dean Koontz's most compelling books ever. Packed with action and suspense, this book is likely to steal hours of restful sleep from you. Will you keep reading, or put it down until tomorrow? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

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Maddy's Cancer Battle

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Joe Show 94 - Simple Worship 2

Average Joe Radio presents
The Joe Show
Average Joe American

Episode Ninety Four: Simple Worship 2

Free MP3 Download

Featuring songs from Scot Longyear's new album,
Simple Worship 2, as well as from his first album, Simple Worship.

from Simple Worship | Soul Believe

from Simple Worship 2 | Tired

from Simple Worship 2 | Lost

from Simple Worship 2 | On Your Mind

from Simple Worship 2 | More

from Simple Worship | His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Catch Scot's first interview, plus more great music, on Episode 25.

Direct video link.

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Maddy's Cancer Battle

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Review: Dean Koontz's Frankenstein Book 3: Dead and Alive

Book ReviewFinally, after waiting more than three years, Dean Koontz delivers with Book Three of his take on the classic Frankenstein tale. From my earlier review of Books One and Two:
Imagine if Mary Shelley wasn't a novelist at all, but rather an historian. If she had penned her hit book Frankenstein not from her own imagination, but rather from actual events that occurred in her lifetime. If not only Doctor Frankenstein had really existed, but also his monstrous creation.

If such a thing were true, then it's not much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that this giver of life had found a way to ensure his own mortality. Or to believe that the monster he created is still alive today, hiding and waiting.
Dean Koontz does indeed come through in the long awaited, greatly anticipated conclusion(?) to his Frankenstein trilogy. In Dead and Alive, Koontz builds upon the foundation he laid in Books One and Two, with a fast paced, action packed, page turning frenzy of a monster tale like nothing you have ever read -- like nothing you could possibly prepare yourself for.

* * * SPOILER ALERT * * *

As Doctor Frankenstein (aka Victor Helios) prepares to mount his final war against the Human Race with his New Race, he quickly finds his empire collapsing around him, as a rebellion of his creations, led by his first -- the Frankenstein monster first made famous by Mary Shelley, known here as Deucalion -- mount an elaborate ambush and take the famous Doctor down, along with all (or very nearly all) of the abominations he has created.

* * * END OF SPOILERS * * *

Set, as the first two books were, in New Orleans -- though this time as Hurricane Katrina is approaching the city -- Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Dead and Alive will make you think twice about just what science can achieve. You won't want to read this book in the dark -- which is challenging, because you're likely to find yourself reading it into the wee hours of the morning, as the dark closes in around you, and every little bump and shuffle that you hear will have the skin standing on the back of your neck.

My greatest disappointment about the trilogy? That it had to end. Or did it?

Your comments?


Maddy's Cancer Battle

Sunday, August 9, 2009

SOAP: Dealing With Doubt

SOAPSCRIPTURE: John 1:29-35 [NLT]; Mark 6:17-20 [NLT]; Matthew 11:2-3 [NLT]; Matthew 11:11 [NLT]; Matthew 11:4-5 [NLT]; Matthew 11:6 [NLT] {link}

OBSERVATION: Even John the Baptist had doubts.

APPLICATION: Dealing with doubt can be quite difficult. Life itself is full of trials and hardship, and even for the most devout followers of Christ, it can be difficult.

John the Baptist was one of the most devout Christians to ever live. The cousin of Jesus Christ, he came before Christ to announce his arrival into the world, to prepare the way of the Lord. Though he didn't know who the Lord was until he saw Him, he was prepared to make the announcement when the time came.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the One I was talking about when I said, 'A Man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for He existed long before me.' 31 I did not recognize Him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that He might be revealed to Israel."
32 Then John testified, "I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon Him. 33 I didn’t know He was the One, but when God sent me to baptize with water, He told me, 'The One on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' 34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that He is the Chosen One of God. John 1:29-35 [NLT]
Full of faith and without a moment's hesitation, John the Baptist proclaimed the Son of God.

Herod was king at the time, and he trusted and respected John. He knew that John was a good and holy man, but when Herodias -- Herod's sister-in-law / niece / wife (yes, really) -- wanted John arrested, Herod obliged her.
17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip's wife, but Herod had married her. 18 John had been telling Herod, "It is against God's law for you to marry your brother's wife." 19 So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod's approval she was powerless, 20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him. Mark 6:17-20 [NLT]
Herod had John the Baptist arrested and thrown into the deepest and darkest of his dungeons, where Herodias would hopefully be pleased, but John would still be safe, regardless of his lack of freedom.

John, at this time, was going through the greatest trial of his life. He had done the work of the Lord, going before Jesus and preparing the way for Him, Baptizing in water in the name of God, and proclaiming the Messiah when Jesus arrived. John even Baptized Jesus Christ. Why, then, would God do such a thing as to have him thrown into prison by Herod? Had John been wrong? John began to doubt.
2 John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, 3 "Are you the Messiah we've been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?" Matthew 11:2-3 [NLT]
"Are you the Lord? Are You out there, God?" In his moment of doubt, John called out for God.

What do we do in our times of hardship? Do we pray, "God, get me through this. Just get me out of this, and make everything okay." Are we so centered on ourselves that we can think of nothing else? Or do we pray, "God, I can get through this. If this is Your will, I can do it. Just tell me why, Lord. Why? I just want to understand why I'm going through this." As if God owes us any kind of explanation. It is not our place to understand His ways, but maybe we ask Him anyway. Or do we find ourselves wallowing in doubt, as John did, and say, "God, why have You abandoned me? Are You there?"

John sent his followers to Jesus with that very question, because he had his doubts. Maybe he was wrong when he proclaimed Christ as the Messiah. Maybe this was his punishment. So his followers went to Christ and asked Him, "Are you really the Messiah?"
4 Jesus told them, "Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— 5 the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.Matthew 11:4-5 [NLT]
Did God answer John's request the way he expected? Did He say, "Yes, I am the Messiah?" Did He explain to John why he was suffering such hardship? Of course not, because it was not John's place to understand the ways of the Lord.

But Jesus did answer John's request, just as God always answers our prayers. Jesus, through John's followers, told John the Baptist to do three things.

Look Back: Jesus says, "Look at all that I have done for you. Have I not always been faithful to you?"
11 "I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist...Matthew 11:11 [NLT]
"There is no one greater than John the Baptist," Jesus said. This was no punishment for making a mistake.

Look Around: Jesus says, "Look all around you and you tell me if I am the Son of God."
4 Jesus told them, "Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen— 5 the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.Matthew 11:4-5 [NLT]
"Have you every known anyone who could do such things? Surely I am the Messiah."

Look Ahead: Jesus says, "Look to the future, for today is just a fleeting moment in time."
6 "And tell him, 'God blesses those who do not turn away because of Me.'" Matthew 11:6 [NLT]
"Do not lose faith," Jesus says. "For those who remain faithful will be blessed."

The month of July and this first week of August has been a trying time for me at work, with frequent visits from Vice Presidents in the company and the termination of my own supervisor. Many long days and longer weeks. Through it all, the Lord has been faithful. He has given me the stamina to push through the hardship and succeed. He has been with me -- very near to me, in fact -- and He continues to show me the way. I started this trying time with the first prayer I mentioned above, "God, help me to get through this." Though I also prayed for my now unemployed former supervisor, my thoughts were very much on myself and my family. But thankfully, I never turned to the second or third prayers, "God tell me why," and "Are You really there?" My prayers progressed to things like, "Please, God, be near, and help me through this. Use me as an example of Your grace," and then, "Thank You, Lord, for being so near to me through this."

That's not to say that I've never had doubts in my life. We all have doubts at some point or other. And God knows that we will. He doesn't tell us that we will be punished for our doubts. Quite the opposite, in fact, He tells us that He "blesses those who do not turn away." It's a wonderful, frightening, humbling experience to feel God so near. I don't deserve it, but am so thankful for it, and so thankful that I didn't turn to doubt.

Look back. Look around. Look ahead. How do you deal with doubt?

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for being with me and guiding me through this difficult time in the workplace. For being so near and so faithful. For humbling me. For giving me the wisdom to turn to You instead of turning to doubt. Use me, Lord, and my experience, that others might come to know such nearness to You.

Your comments?


Maddy's Cancer Battle

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Book Review: Offworld by Robin Parrish

Book ReviewThanks to the folks at The Christian Manifesto, who have frequent contests featuring books by great Christian Fiction authors, I recently had the pleasure to read the latest offering from Robin Parrish, Offworld.

Offworld is one of those rare books that you can read and enjoy and never even realize you're reading Christian Fiction if you didn't already know.

* * * * SPOILER ALERT * * * *

The year is 2033 as an unlikely team of American astronauts are about to return from the first manned trip to Mars. After living two-and-a-half years on the red planet, away from friends and family, away from civilization, away from everything that they have already known, this unlikely crew of four eagerly anticipates returning home -- expecting not only a welcome from those they left behind, but also a hero's welcome as the first to walk on Mars.

But when the crew and their ship the Ares are barely two thirds of the way along their return trip, things go terribly, unpredictably wrong when the Ares loses contact with Mission Control in Houston. Upon crash landing on their home planet, they find that loss of contact with Houston is the least of their worries. What follows is a fast-paced ride aboard a rickety roller coaster with no restraint as Parrish weaves a captivating tale of suspense, intrigue, mystery, and even terror.


I must say that at times I found Offworld a bit confusing -- meaning I wasn't quite sure what the point to the story was, where it was headed, if it even had a destination. Maybe that's one of the things that kept me eagerly turning the pages late into the night, anxious to learn just what was going to happen to America's future heroes next.

Whether you're a fan of science fiction, mystery, or thrillers, Offworld will entertain and satisfy. It's a must read across many genres. And you'll never look at the space program the same way again.

Your comments?


Maddy's Cancer Battle

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