Sunday, December 28, 2008


We are in Florida, and there is a Vineyard Community Church within walking distance of my parents' place. So, we awoke today at the early hour of 9:30 AM and readied ourselves for church. 

What I encountered was in some ways similar to what we know back home. But, to be really honest, we left feeling a little let down.

Don't take this as a reflection on the VCC in Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida however. They do things in much the same way as both the VCC and VWS (Cincinnati versions), and they do a great job. (More photos and such later)

But, why did we leave feeling like we missed something? Why the difference in experience? Why did I leave feeling more like a spectator and less like a worshiper and follower?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mom's Christmas

We are leaving for Florida today.

While I'd like to say that we are on an outreach mission, ... the truth of the matter is that we are traveling for the purposes of “in-reach.”

Me and Jennifer (my wife), Ethan (our son), Brian (my brother), and one of my dogs (Maxy), are all piling into a rented six-seater and hitting the road to see my parents. They are snowbirds. They live in Northern KY for about half the year, and then they follow the sunshine and warm weather down south. Our other hounds, (Johnny) Cash and Buddy (Holly) are staying behind with our two cats, Jordan and Pandora, to keep the house and fish (Puffer One, the Neon Twins, and the Pleco Bad Boys) company. Our babysitter, Sam, will be staying home with the rest of our pack/herd/school.

The purpose of the journey is to celebrate Christmas.

My mother is very ill. Close to four years ago, she was officially diagnosed with a disease called Myelofibrosis, and she has been in the hospital three times since getting to Florida, this last time for several weeks due to the complications of the disease.

For those unaware of Myelofibrosis, the Mayo Clinic talks of it this way:

“Myelofibrosis is a serious bone marrow disorder that disrupts your body's normal production of blood cells. Why these changes occur is unknown, but the result is extensive scarring in your bone marrow. This in turn leads to severe anemia — causing weakness and fatigue — and enlargement of your spleen and liver, hallmark characteristics of the disease. You may also hear myelofibrosis referred to as agnogenic myeloid metaplasia or idiopathic myelofibrosis. An uncommon disease, myelofibrosis can occur at any age, although it most frequently develops after age 50. There's no known way to prevent myelofibrosis, and risk factors for it are unclear. In most cases, myelofibrosis gets progressively worse. Treatment generally focuses on relieving signs and symptoms and may include medications, blood transfusions, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.”

Mom has suffered through all of the above treatments. She has gotten transfusions, has taken oodles of medications, and has reached her limit (according to docs) for chemo and radiation. Were she a younger person, one of the more radical treatments would be a bone-marrow transplant. Due to her age and health, unfortunately, this treatment was never allowed a place at the table. Her doctors have been clear in communicating that this particular option, … is not an option for her.

So, we’ve been treating her illness symptomatically, and for the most part we’ve bee successful. With that said, the disease has wreaked havoc on her blood quality, which has impacted her bone density and organs. The disease has caused numerous problems, including a huge increase in the size of her spleen and liver and a tremendous downgrade in her blood cells. The latest bout has been a spinal fracture that necessitated a rod to be implanted in her back. She’s been in a lot of pain, even before the surgery, and some of the treatment protocol has called for heavy-duty pain drugs (morphine and oxycotin), which has made things worse in many ways. My mother has lost close to one half of her normal body weight, and her spirit seems to be equally cut in half. Perhaps the worse part is that this woman, who never smoked, rarely drank, ate healthy, etc., is addicted to pain drugs.

Just a few words about Mom: She is one of the wisest, most spiritual, artistically gifted, and giving people I know. For many years, she practiced as a Jehovah's Witness but was excommunicated from her church for reasons unclear to me, … this years before she brought me and brother Brian into the world. She taught me about God in ways that Jesus might want us to teach about God. She walked His Story around without ever having to say a word. The lady taught Sunday school for years, and is very knowledgeable about the bible, but never pushed religion on me. Like most sons with their mothers, I could dedicate several blogs just to her missions, her vision, and her life. This woman is what mothers are, and more so, she is what good people should strive to embody.

Besides my wife, my mother is my best friend. We talk daily, although this has changed recently due to the story we both find ourselves in. Nevertheless, she has taught me to always walk with the light, … to take higher roads, … to always rise above temptations of the enemy, … to make sense of our own journeys in a way that raises others in their own walks, … all of which she warned me (and correctly foretold) that I’d do imperfectly and selfishly wrong most times.

She recently told me to not be upset for her not wanting to talk to me the last few weeks. It’s that she’s in pain and not feeling good, she said. I think it’s because she doesn’t want me to hear her being sick. This, I understand intellectually, spiritually, and even academically, … but this situation is still very, very hard to swallow.

In man’s world this is a sad story, so thankfully Mom taught me about the Other World. That is, in God’s World this journey, … my journey, … her journey, … and our journey, …perhaps your journey, … is something entirely different altogether.

We are hitting the road to celebrate Christmas with Mom, so please don’t allow this post to bum you out. This is not the intention. I believe differently, and so might you. Thanks Mom.

“Life is not about surviving the storm but learning how to sing in the rain”

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Monday, December 22, 2008


This video is funny, but I'm not posting it because I take the topic of addiction lightly. Rather, I am showing it here because it illustrates how an addict's support system works.  Few people are brave and selfless enough to do the unpleasant work of speaking truth into the addicts life. It's hard work. And the pay-off sucks. But it is these people, ... while they don't actually purchase the substance that is wrecking the user, ... they do support the destruction in other ways. In fact, the addiction would cease, ... would change, ... would halt, ... should the support system decide to stop lying and start telling the truth.  But this is hard, hard work.  Not a good job.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

what you say and what you do....

Who is really watching?

Friday, December 19, 2008

not necessarily dirty, just bad.

Have you ever watched "Dirty Jobs," the television show? The guy who is the star of this program also makes money by offering his voice to other television shows like "The Deadliest Catch," but that's not important.  What is important, or at least relevant to this post, ... is that the show is a good one.  It offers a glimpse of other people's realities in the form of "what they do for a living." As the title of the show indicates, you can understand what kinds of jobs are showcased.

Well, this post is about bad jobs, ... not necessarily dirty jobs.  Now that's not to say that bad jobs can't also be dirty, and vice-versa, ... but sometimes dirty jobs cab be good.  Like gardening.  If I could make a living from gardening (not to be confused with the much more labor intensive form called "farming"), I would be be OK with that.  On the other foot, bad jobs can be the cleanest of all. But, as with anything, it's all relative.

Now for bad jobs.  What is the worst job of your life?

I've had several different jobs, and they have been mostly legal in nature.  With that said, the worst job that I've ever had is:  (imagine a drum role or a jeopardy jingle or something here)

Soda Pop Stock Boy!

I worked for Pepsi for about, ... 4 hours.  At the time, I really, really needed a job, ... err, ... I mean an income, ... and somehow I ended up working for Pepsi Cola.  Now, it wasn't as if I drove around a big, cool truck, ... and had a uniform, ... or a hat.  No.  Rather, I was picked up by some guy in his own vehicle and we just showed up at the grocery store where the guy in the big truck, uniform, and hat would deliver the soda pop.  Our job was to bring the "skids" (that's in-speak for the wooden flats piled high with soda pop) from the back of the store, where it is delivered, to the "pop aisle" in the front of the store.  Our job was to stack it *neatly and orderly* after rotating oldest to newest, ... or maybe newest to oldest.  (There was an order to it that escapes me at the moment.)

This lasted about four hours, which included the time it took driving in the guy's truck to the store and he rigorously explaining to me in detail, while chain smoking, the rocket surgery behind the operation.

I excused myself for lunch, and I imagine this nice man sitting on a half full skid of Pepsi, smoking cigarettes through his yellow fingers that look like they've been dipped in hair-dye, wondering where I am.  He's waiting for me to get back.  And he's going to ask why I'm fatter and my lunch took so long.

If nothing else, those four hours of my life reminded me how important it is to find something you are passionate about, ... if you want to call it a living, that is.  

So, what's your worst job?

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I am so sorry to hear about the sudden and tragic loss at Crossroads Church last night. While I do not personally know Keri Shryock, I do know she has an army of people praying for her, her church, her family, and her friends.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This is for those stronger than me.

I appreciate you BFOP @

and The Dan @

... among the others revolving about the blog-sphere, ... those willing to take a risk toward making difference.

So much of this life is spent spinning wheels, and a refreshing perspective on global reality is always welcomed and needed.

Your acts of courage are inspiring, ...and my sense is that you know, ... more than us, .. how un-done you are.

My hope is that your courage extends and grows as your feet are planted back home.

Challenge, remind, and help deliver.

The people, ... all of us, ... need you and the stories of journey.

Through the light of The Son, let your stories be told and thus lived by others.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

over easy?

Four philosophical questions to make your brain hurt

It [was] World Philosophy Day - an opportunity to contemplate one's very existence and whether computer monitors really exist, says David Bain.

"People expect different things of philosophers. Some expect us to be sages. When these people meet me, my heart sinks, since I know theirs is about to. Others expect us to have a steady supply of aphorisms up our sleeves, such as that love is never having to say you're sorry (something no partner of mine has ever been persuaded of).

They too are disappointed when they meet me, especially when I say that the glass so beloved by optimists and pessimists is both half full and half empty.

Others expect of us not sagacity, but madness, or at least outlandish beliefs. And here, it must be said, some philosophers really have delivered. Thales believed that everything is made of water, for example, while Pythagoras avoided eating beans because he believed they have souls.

As Princeton philosopher David Lewis once said: "When philosophers follow where argument leads, too often they are led to doctrines indistinguishable from sheer lunacy."

But beware. this is the same David Lewis who believed that, for each of the ways things might have been but are not, there is a world at which they are that way, eg a world at which your counterpart is spending today with the world's greatest sex god or goddess.

And, reassuring though it can be to think that at least that counterpart is having fun, even those impressed with Lewis's towering intellect have often found these other worlds of his hard to swallow.

Not all philosophers pin such striking colours to the mast, but there is a good reason why people associate the subject with surprising views. Philosophy involves standing back and thinking - intensely and rigorously - about aspects of our lives that are at once ordinary and fundamental.

And when the surface is scratched, what you find below is extraordinary - or, rather, extraordinarily difficult to make good, clear sense of. Lying in wait are arguments that lead to, if not sheer lunacy, then bullets we're loathe to bite.

So, with World Philosophy Day upon us, here are some pesky arguments to apply your minds to:


Suppose Bill is a healthy man without family or loved ones. Would it be ok painlessly to kill him if his organs would save five people, one of whom needs a heart, another a kidney, and so on? If not, why not?

Consider another case: you and six others are kidnapped, and the kidnapper somehow persuades you that if you shoot dead one of the other hostages, he will set the remaining five free, whereas if you do not, he will shoot all six. (Either way, he'll release you.)

If in this case you should kill one to save five, why not in the previous, organs case? If in this case too you have qualms, consider yet another: you're in the cab of a runaway tram and see five people tied to the track ahead. You have the option of sending the tram on to the track forking off to the left, on which only one person is tied. Surely you should send the tram left, killing one to save five.

But then why not kill Bill?


Consider a photo of someone you think is you eight years ago. What makes that person you? You might say he she was composed of the same cells as you now. But most of your cells are replaced every seven years. You might instead say you're an organism, a particular human being, and that organisms can survive cell replacement - this oak being the same tree as the sapling I planted last year.

But are you really an entire human being? If surgeons swapped George Bush's brain for yours, surely the Bush look-alike, recovering from the operation in the White House, would be you. Hence it is tempting to say that you are a human brain, not a human being.

But why the brain and not the spleen? Presumably because the brain supports your mental states, eg your hopes, fears, beliefs, values, and memories. But then it looks like it's actually those mental states that count, not the brain supporting them. So the view is that even if the surgeons didn't implant your brain in Bush's skull, but merely scanned it, wiped it, and then imprinted its states on to Bush's pre-wiped brain, the Bush look-alike recovering in the White House would again be you.

But the view faces a problem: what if surgeons imprinted your mental states on two pre-wiped brains: George Bush's and Gordon Brown's? Would you be in the White House or in Downing Street? There's nothing on which to base a sensible choice. Yet one person cannot be in two places at once.

In the end, then, no attempt to make sense of your continued existence over time works. You are not the person who started reading this article.


What reason do you have to believe there's a computer screen in front of you? Presumably that you see it, or seem to. But our senses occasionally mislead us. A straight stick half-submerged in water sometimes look bent; two equally long lines sometimes look different lengths.

But this, you might reply, doesn't show that the senses cannot provide good reasons for beliefs about the world. By analogy, even an imperfect barometer can give you good reason to believe it's about to rain.

Before relying on the barometer, after all, you might independently check it by going outside to see whether it tends to rain when the barometer indicates that it will. You establish that the barometer is right 99% of the time. After that, surely, its readings can be good reasons to believe it will rain.

Perhaps so, but the analogy fails. For you cannot independently check your senses. You cannot jump outside of the experiences they provide to check they're generally reliable. So your senses give you no reason at all to believe that there is a computer screen in front of you."


Suppose that Fred existed shortly after the Big Bang. He had unlimited intelligence and memory, and knew all the scientific laws governing the universe and all the properties of every particle that then existed. Thus equipped, billions of years ago, he could have worked out that, eventually, planet Earth would come to exist, that you would too, and that right now you would be reading this article.

After all, even back then he could have worked out all the facts about the location and state of every particle that now exists.

And once those facts are fixed, so is the fact that you are now reading this article. No one's denying you chose to read this. But your choice had causes (certain events in your brain, for example), which in turn had causes, and so on right back to the Big Bang. So your reading this was predictable by Fred long before you existed. Once you came along, it was already far too late for you to do anything about it.

Now, of course, Fred didn't really exist, so he didn't really predict your every move. But the point is: he could have. You might object that modern physics tells us that there is a certain amount of fundamental randomness in the universe, and that this would have upset Fred's predictions. But is this reassuring? Notice that, in ordinary life, it is precisely when people act unpredictably that we sometimes question whether they have acted freely and responsibly. So freewill begins to look incompatible both with causal determination and with randomness. None of us, then, ever do anything freely and responsibly."


Let me be clear: the point is absolutely not that you or I must bite these bullets. Some philosophers have a taste for bullets; but few would accept all the conclusions above and many would accept none. But the point, when you reject a conclusion, is to diagnose where the argument for it goes wrong.

Doing this in philosophy goes hand-in-hand with the constructive side of our subject, with providing sane, rigorous, and illuminating accounts of central aspects of our existence: freewill, morality, justice, beauty, consciousness, knowledge, truth, meaning, and so on.

Rarely does this allow us to put everything back where we found it. There are some surprises, some bullets that have to be bitten; sometimes it's a matter simply of deciding which. But even when our commonsense conceptions survive more or less intact, understanding is deepened. 

As TS Eliot once wrote:

"…the end of our exploring,

Will be to arrive where we started,

And know the place for the first time."

David Bain is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Glasgow

Friday, December 12, 2008

297, 298, 299, ...

Someone in Cincinnati is wondering ... about ... who might be 302, 303, 304, .....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

did you know........

In 200 BC, when the Greek city of Sparta was at the height of its power there were 20 slaves for every citizen.

The first-known contraceptive was crocodile dung and was used by the Egyptians in 2000 BC.

The Hundred Year War actually lasted for 116 years – from 1337 to 1453.

The shortest war there has ever been was between Britain and Zanzibar during 1896. It lasted for a pathetic 38 minutes.

Everyone in the Middle Ages believed -- as Aristotle had -- that the heart was the seat of intelligence.

Fourteenth century physicians didn't know what caused the plague, but they knew it was contagious. As a result they wore an early kind of bioprotective suit which included a large beaked head piece. The beak of the head piece, which made them look like large birds, was filled with vinegar, sweet oils and other strong smelling compounds to counteract the stench of the dead and dying plague victims.

In England and the American colonies they year 1752 only had 354 days. In that year, the type of calendar was changed, and 11 days were lost.

The condom was invented in the early 1500's, and was originally made of linen.

In the Great Fire of London in 1666 half of London was burnt down but only 6 people were injured.

It has been calculated that in the last 3,500 years, there have only been 230 years of peace throughout the civilized world.

At the height of inflation in Germany in the early 1920s, one U.S. dollar was equal to 4 quintillion German marks.

In 1778, fashionable women of Paris never went out in blustery weather without a lightning rod attached to their hats.

During the time of Peter the Great, any Russian man who wore a beard was required to pay a special tax.

In 1892, Italy raised the minimum age for marriage for girls to 12.

Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats.

In ancient Rome, a runaway slave was considered a criminal because he had stolen himself (i.e. the property of his master)!

Roman women especially enjoyed when their husbands went to war against Germany because the naturally-blond hair of Germans captured in battle would be used to make wigs!

According to Juvenal, the streets of Rome were so noisy that people living near them would die from lack of sleep! (Hyperbolically speaking, of course)

The punishment of a Vestal Virgin who broke her oath of chastity was to be buried alive!

In early Rome, a father could legally execute any member of his household!

In May 1948, Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe, both in New Zealand, erupted simultaneously.

Does anyone in Cincinnati like Strange Historic Facts?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


So, while *working* I happened to find myself surfing the internet, where I found the following video by Levni Yilmaz.  While it is a humorous, interesting way to make sense of power (or lack of such), it does bring to the table an interesting question about how we get it and what it might be.

What is your power? Where do you find it?  What do you revolve around? What do the results look like?  

I find that when I try to attain power from earth-bound things, I get let down, frustrated, and depressed.  When I set my gaze a little *higher* ... then power becomes something more substantial. It is in these moments where my life makes a little more sense and I become a little more free.

If you make it through the entire clip here, by the way, you might like the others by Levni Yilmaz. I particularly like the one about "girls."

Saturday, December 6, 2008

the Chris Day effect: pay it forward

Someone on my street woke up today and shoveled their sidewalk and driveway because it had snowed. Then they proceeded to shovel the sidewalks of their neighbors to the right and left.

Well, guess what happened?

Another neighbor, after seeing this, decided to shovel another neighbor's sidewalk, ... and as I sit here writing this post, I can look out of my window and see other people shoveling other people's sidewalks.  

It is amazing how a simple gesture of kindness can provoke other gestures of kindness.

My neighborhood just became a little closer today.

Friday, December 5, 2008

why the tears?

Does anyone happen to know the *biological* or practical purpose of human tears?  Another blogger, The Dan (, has done a little research on eye-balls and tearing, and he reports that he cannot find any reason for emotional tears.

Now, we know that when something is in your eye, ... then tears can flush it out. But why do tears come when one is emotional (sad or happy)?  Like when one is watching a movie and is "moved," what purpose do tears serve?  When we are happy to see someone, why do our eyes get moist?

Anyone know?

Any theories out there?

digital living

This is an interesting video that kind of demonstrates the life of a typical UC student. If you have ever taken a Psychology course at UC, you will recognize the lecture hall.

Someone in Cincinnati wants to know where all the time goes.

Monday, December 1, 2008

whatcha make of this?

This is a video a stumbled across called "jozin from the bog." I've added the subtitle, "featuring red-bearded crazy-hands".  It reminds me how we shouldn't take life so serious sometimes. While there are serious moments, we should laugh too. Hopefully this helps you at least chuckle.

There is a person I know that used to work for UC that looks like the guy at the end of the vidoe ("mustache on pane of glass").

Someone in Cincinnati does not climb in his office window, ... yet.