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Archive for December, 2009

Miami Man Mistaken for Nigerian Hijacker

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

“Quiet” Tool-Obsessed Neighbor Amassed Arsenal of Lethal Peppers

I decided to torture my virus with more hot food. I hit the store and got ingredients for doro wat. The plan was to make it even hotter than the curry I made a few days ago. I picked four habanero golds plus one big Trinidad Scorpion to season it.

Now I have the stew bubbling on the stove, but it seems like the virus just went away. My head opened up, and I feel much better. Maybe it was the fumes from the burning onions, toasting spices, and minced peppers. Or maybe I’m really cured.

I have to ask myself: do I still want to eat this stuff if I’m not sick?

Of course I do. Let’s not kid ourselves.

I’m planning to make rotis instead of injera. I can’t help it. Rotis are better. And I bought sour cream to wrap up in there with the doro wat.

Tomorrow I may have something that makes a virus seem pleasant.

More

Ohhh…that was amazing. My brain actually melted and ran down my throat. I can’t say I miss it. I haven’t used it since 1996.

Take my word for it. Rotis are ten times better than injera. Dump a big pile of doro wat on one, make sure there’s a boiled egg in there somewhere, add a big blog of sour cream, fold it up like a burrito, and GO.

Cash Poisoning

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Ancient Ailment has Only One Cure

I just read about Rush Limbaugh’s health problems. I think he needs to get his personal life in order, but I doubt he has sufficient incentive.

Imagine the celebrating, if he dies. Only a few Republicans danced in the streets when Ted Kennedy died. Fringe nuts and kids, generally. But disrespect, cruelty, and schadenfreude are three of the pillars of leftism, so if Rush died, the situation would be very different. We’ve seen what happens when prominent conservatives die; the remarks from the left could not be more despicable were they written by demons.

Monetary success can be a poison. It’s an especially effective poison, because it convinces you everything is fine, and it makes you dread its own antidote. I was thinking about this today, in connection with addiction. The one thing that will beat any effort to help an addict is money. An addict with money can afford to refrain from working. He can afford to alienate his friends and family. He can buy everything he needs to maintain his necrotic lifestyle. He can pay attorneys to fight anyone who tries to help him.

One of the best things you can do for an addict in your family is to write a will and cut him out. It sounds cruel, but it’s not. Most people don’t have inherited money, and they survive. Refraining from giving someone unearned money is not the same as forcing him to live in poverty. And Uncle Sam is always there to catch him if he falls.

To get back to Rush, he does not seem like a happy individual. He spends his workday criticizing people, and then he goes home to an empty house. His fulfilling hobbies: golf and cigars. I’ve been a curmudgeon and a critic, and I think it leads to dissipation and regret.

My pastor talks about money a lot, and he says the reason he does so is that every time he talks about money, he is crucifying the god of this world. I think that’s true. In the physics of human relations, money is analagous to energy. It’s a protean substance which can be transmuted into nearly anything. Sex. A convincing imitation of love. Shelter. Food. Blessings for your friends. Harm to your enemies. It’s the closest thing we have to pure power. We trust it more than we trust God, because it’s faster-acting and requires no faith or virtue to put it in action. It’s a little bit like the dark side of the fictional Star Wars force. It will get you quick results, but later on, you may find that the benefits it appeared to confer were actually curses.

Money is like the tongue. The Bible says life and death are in the power of the tongue, and that no man can tame it. The things you say and write can do great harm, or they can do great good, and it’s extremely difficult to control your words in order to maximize the good and minimize the bad. The money you spend (or retain) can do great good or harm, and unless you’re fit to have money–unless you have enough character to use it correctly–harm is more likely. Developing that control is a great challenge. I believe it’s impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit.

I belong to a branch of Christianity which promotes the idea that failure and lack are curses. It says we are not supposed to be poor. I think that’s correct. Some of the Apostles had employees. Jesus’s father was a skilled tradesman who had at least six children, and Jesus himself was part of the family business. With regard to wealthy people living in God’s will, Jesus said that with God, “all things are possible.” The Old Testament is full of passages that clearly indicate that God rewards people with prosperity and good health.

I believe in prosperity, but I also believe God doesn’t give us scissors and sharp sticks until we promise not to run with them. In other words, I don’t think God would proactively assist a person financially if he knew the money would be spent stupidly or sinfully, toward the person’s own destruction. I don’t think he would give it to a person who would respond by becoming arrogant or overly independent. We are told that if we ask for good things, God won’t give us serpents and scorpions. Money may seem like a good thing, but to some people, serpents and scorpions would very literally be less harmful than cash. Venomous animals can hurt your body, but they can’t do much to your soul.

If all this is true, I guess you have to ask who gives people monetary blessings that later turn out to be damaging. Is it God? Probably not. Not unless God has a purpose in the damage.

I think some charismatics worry too much about blessings and not enough about becoming worthy of blessings. A blessing is not a blessing if you turn it into a stumbling block. Every blessing comes with obligation and responsibility, and the supernatural improvement in character that makes good stewardship possible is a greater blessing than the blessing of which you are the steward. A material benefit is fleeting. An internal improvement is permanent and continues paying dividends forever. The weirdest thing about all this is that God himself will make the internal improvements, even though he later gives you the credit. It’s a pretty good deal.

Clever Blog-Entry Title to Follow Shortly

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Bedeviled by Sean Connery’s Catchy Mantra

Here’s a near-paradox. I love sleep, but I hate rest.

I felt pretty cruddy when I got up today, so I decided to do two things: rest, and stay warm. I think it was a mistake to be active yesterday. And the hotter I get, the better I feel. Except for smelling and sticking to things.

What do you do when you rest? I hate lying around watching TV. I don’t have enough character to do something productive while I rest. This is one of those times when the Internet is actually good for something.

What can I blog about? Here’s something fun. I never, ever redeem my credit card points, and they keep expiring. The stuff you can buy with them is usually not very interesting, so I forget to redeem them, and I lose them.

This year I decided to redeem them for a Sears gift certificate and see what I could find. I decided to get a Fein Multimaster.

This is one of those tools no amateur buys for himself, because they’re insanely expensive for what you get. But when you have a pile of old credit card points and nothing else to do with them, putting them toward the price of a Multimaster seems almost justifiable. It beats not using the points at all.

I have no use for it, as far as I know. Detail sanding, I guess. Cutting things in awkward spaces. That’s about it. I think it’s one of those tools that come into play at random moments, when nothing else works. Like a Dremel.

Maybe I should go lie on my back and listen to religious CDs. I actually enjoy that. If you’ve never had an experience you considered supernatural, this kind of thing can be boring or silly, but when you’ve seen a few kooky things, it’s comforting to hear other people talk about their own manifestations.

What else can I do? No cooking. I’ve gained two pounds. Was it the holidays? Partly. Mainly, I’ve been eating too much because I feel sorry for myself. If I can’t do anything or go anywhere, I should at least be able to eat ice cream, right? That was my line of reasoning. But I am not willing to gain weight, so I had to quit.

I could practice sight-reading, which is like studying Harry Reid speeches while eating liver and waiting in line to have your driver’s license renewed. I’ve decided I’m going to do one of two things: learn to sight-read and give keyboards another chance, or give up the whole keyboard dream. A cousin of mine is married to a famous trombone virtuoso, and she suggested sight-reading as a way of compensating for my deteriorating musical memory. Can’t hurt to try. If I can make myself do it, I might at least be able to compose efficiently, even if I never become a good pianist. Composing was my original goal.

I’m working on improving my memory. I memorize scripture and I am fanatical in my efforts to get enough sleep. And I’m losing weight. I have this idea that being fat is bad for the brain. I’m also taking B1 again.

God gave me a big pile of gifts, and so far, my biggest achievement has been creating the world’s best cheesecake. I realize that’s a major feat which, on its own legs, justifies my elevation to sainthood. But I can’t help thinking I should be accomplishing more. “Cheesecake” makes for a short resume. I hear such beautiful music in my head; surely I was intended to write some of it down.

Christian music was great for a few years, but it seems to be in a slump. Some of the songs they play at my church are so monotonous, you wonder why anyone bothered paying for the copyright registration. If I wrote a song like that, I’d delete it from my hard drive without telling anyone. Christians ought to have quality music again. We don’t want to spend eternity busing performers in from hell whenever we have a party.

I could practice. Or I could go look at YTMND.com for six hours.

Wait Till Ahmadinejad Gets his Hanes on You

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Don’t Shop at Mohammed’s Secret

Wheeeee my brain is still floating in a viral mist. I may go back to the doctor today to see if he has better drugs to help me breathe while I sleep. The virus is doing what they so often do. It’s touring my body, with a different stop every day. First, the throat. Then the bones. Then the sinuses. Then the lungs. I suppose I’ll get well when it runs out of new places to go.

I have to wonder if I’m one of the lucky people who get the flu in spite of being vaccinated. I don’t think so. I haven’t had much of a fever. But this is no cold.

I think I made a mistake yesterday, getting up and fooling with tools. Maybe doctors really mean it when they prescribe rest. I thought they just said that so they could feel like they were helping.

I’ve looked at the news, and it appears that we will all have to expose our genitals to airport screeners from now on. For some this will be a degrading nuisance. Others will think, “Finally, I have an excuse.”

No one ever listens to me. I solved the screening problem a long time ago. We need an express line for people willing to eat a slice of ham in front of airport employees. People who eat pork don’t blow up airplanes. And it’s not racial profiling. Oh, no. It’s DIETARY profiling. Totally different.

I know I’m eccentric, but I can’t shake this mysterious hunch that says terrorism is somehow connected to Islam.

It’s disturbing how underwear has evolved into an offensive weapon. First, the Unabomber tried to kill himself with his underwear. That wasn’t so bad. Now underwear is going tactical, and they’re using it to kill other people. Do you know what this means? We’re all carrying concealed weapons now. Except for hippies who don’t wear underwear.

Sensible underwear laws NOW! Where is Sarah Brady when you need her? We need an advocate to take a stand before people start going to underwear shows and using loopholes to buy armor-piercing cop-killer underwear. Studies show that over 99% of violent crime victims have underwear in their homes. Even more disturbing, very few of them store their underwear properly, in underwear safes.

Don’t make me connect the dots.

I posted my new terrorism remedy on Twitter. Are you ready for it? Here’s how we punish terrorists from now on: exploding underwear activated by calls from Dick Cheney’s cell phone.

We’re going to have to refine our jargon. From now on, going without underwear will have to be referred to as “NOT going commando.”

We’re going to have to ban assault underwear. That much is clear. And we’ll have to come up with classifications, such as automatic and semi-automatic underwear.

I estimate it will be about three days before we hear about an anonymous porn message board featuring backscatter photos of attractive tourists. It would be wise to prepare. The next time I fly, I plan to sell ad space on my belly. For the right sum, I’ll get glue and sequins and spell out “This Bud’s for You” or “Palin 2012.” How about, “Ask me About Herbalife”?

I’m trying to figure out what Muslims could to to humiliate us further, but I’m drawing a blank. Well, that’s not true. I forgot about the butt bomber. Remember him? He hid his bomb in a very unfortunate location. When his specialty gets popular, we’ll have privacy invasions that make backscatter scans seem about as offensive as passport photos.

Here’s a theological question. If a Muslim wears exploding underwear on a plane, but he sits next to Mitt Romney, who is wearing magical Mormon underwear, which underwear wins? Will the magic underwear prevail? I hope Mormons never get into terrorism (beyond producing Harry Reid). Their underwear is so big, one pair could take out a city block.

I foresee a day when no American will be able to go anywhere, for any reason. When that happens, Muslims will walk to your house and blow their underpants up when you open the door.

You know who must be embarrassed today? The guy who made the Flight 253 underwear bomb. His pal trusted him to give him a nice clean blast, and instead, the terrorist is now basically a lady. Fat lot of good 72 virgins will do him now. How do you apologize for a thing like that? I’ve had friends let me down, but generally it involved things like failing to repay small loans. When a buddy char-broils your entire crotch, de-friending him on Facebook doesn’t really express the extent of your hurt feelings.

Stay in on New Year’s Eve. I think it’s safe to assume there will be an exploding-underpants flash mob at every celebration in the United States. I’m glad Dick Clark isn’t alive to see this. Oh, wait. He is alive. Hope he has ear plugs and a polycarbonate face shield. As the premiere rock and roll impresario of the Fifties, he is very familiar with the sight of flying underwear, but in the past, it usually contained hotel keys and love notes, not homemade napalm.

Hey, I just realized who we need to call to fix this crisis. Tom Jones! If anyone knows how to deal with airborne underpants, it’s Tom.

I’m eagerly waiting to see what fanatical Islam can do to make air travel more disgusting and ridiculous.

A Sense of Proportion is no Vise

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Rube Goldberg Drills a Hole

I think it is just barely possible that I ordered the wrong drill press vise.

Here is my cross slide table, which I finally installed today. I had to make those slabs of aluminum from a 4″ square bar. Then I roasted a new countersink trying to make holes for the bolts that attach to the sides of the table. Apparently 1000 RPM, while fine for a 1/2″ 2-flute end mill, is not a great speed for a zero-flute countersink. Fortunately, there was a bigger one in the set, which I did not roast.

Here is my ancient Home Depot drill press vise, which probably has 2 1/2″ jaws. It’s too small.

I figured 4″ would be about right. But check this out:

I guess I can make it work, but it looks a lot like the Grinch’s sleigh on the way up Mount Crumpet.

Maybe I should see about a 3″ vise.

I’m very pleased with the mounting job. It was not easy. I had to saw the slabs out. Then I had to mill them to size. After that, I had to drill the holes, and then I had to do the countersinking. I had to go to the hardware store to find bolts and stuff that would work. The cross slide table is designed as though the engineer who created it knew someone would try to put it on this type of drill press, and he was determined to stop them. I had to sink bolts into the aluminum slabs from below, because there was no way to go through the drill press table without cutting into it.

A more suitable base for the cross slide table would be a viable and useful project, but I’d need a big chunk of steel, and if I screwed up once, I’d have to trash it and start over.

The more I worked on this, the more I understood how much I needed a drill press. Drilling on the mill works extremely well, but you have to play around with a four-foot-long table and a gigantic vise. It would be much faster on the drill press.

I received a VFD for Christmas, so I’m going to slap a 3-phase motor on this puppy. I can’t live without reverse. I just can’t. You understand, right?

I feel like the king tool stud of the universe. And it will be nice to have this junk on the drill press table instead of scattered around the garage.

Killing Heathens Gets Less Expensive

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Plus Boring Virus Whining

I guess people think I’m dead because of the gap in my blogging. Sorry to disappoint you. The virus has left me in a strange mental state in which I sort of drift around like a cloud. I just don’t feel like doing anything.

I’m not complaining. The soreness went out of my throat yesterday, and I haven’t had chills or aches since Saturday night. I’m caught up in a dreamy state in which I lack motivation. And I don’t feel like exerting myself mentally. This must be how liberals feel every day.

I’m so happy I can swallow and breathe, I don’t care much about anything else. I can almost taste food.

My doctor says about 4% of sore throats are strep throat, and the remainder are mostly viral. I tested negative for strep, so I guess I’m in the majority. I had both flu shots, and I haven’t had a high fever, so it’s probably not the flu.

The medicine I use causes much of my suffering. I loaded up on Afrin night before last, and after I got up in the morning, I had the notorious rebound effect, so until about nine p.m., I felt like I had rudder-box packing stuffed up each nostril. I also had problems with 12-hour Sudafed waking me up at three in the morning.

I decided to try guaifenesin. It’s supposed to loosen things up. Seem to work, but not all that well.

The guy who runs security at my church sent an email to everyone who works with him. An organization that trains security people will be having a two-day seminar in Fort Lauderdale in January. I think it would be great, but the $300 price is a bummer.

I think our church needs to have a few members packing heat at all times. We’re in the ghetto, and we collect cash offerings. Besides, being unarmed is almost never a good idea. Remember Jeanne Assam. Better yet, remember the people who were killed before the gunman ran into his first armed Christian.

Whenever I go into the building, I have to leave my carry piece in my truck, where it can be stolen by crackheads. I’m unarmed, the church has one less potential defender, and the crackheads have a chance to steal a nice pistol. This is not a good situation for anybody, except the crackheads. Plus, it’s a pain.

On the subject of guns, allow me to bring you good news. Federal FMJ 9mm ammunition is back down to $9.95 per box, where it should be. What a relief. You can find it at Outdoormarksman.com. They also have Wolf 7.62mm x 39 for $200/thousand. That’s helpful, if you need to sweep your church’s parking lot with a Vz 58. That will learn the heathens respect.

If I can make myself stand up long enough, I may finish my Saiga 12 conversion today. I would be really embarrassed if a burglar showed up before it was finished and all I had to offer him was a 1911.

I try to be a thoughtful host.

Get me Some Sour Cream and a Can of Pipe Dope

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

My Nose Hairs are Smoking

I think I killed my digestive tract. I’ll have to replace it with PVC.

The chicken curry was magnificent. I was actually able to taste it through the viral infection. I used three habanero gold peppers in 2 pounds of chicken, and it was perfect. Any hotter, and I would not have been able to eat it. Any milder, and it wouldn’t have gotten the job done. I needed something to scorch my sinuses and open up all the little holes in my head, and this stuff did it.

I wish I had some chicken fat to add to it. That would make it even better.

Trinidad Scorpion Antiviral Curry

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

I Attempt to Melt a Slotted Spoon

I found a doctor who works on Saturdays. This guy is open twelve hours a day during the week, plus Saturday mornings. Crazy. Seems like a good doctor. Very efficient. I commented on his schedule, and he says his friends can’t make a living because they don’t want to work.

He says I have a viral throat problem, so I have to avoid people for a few days. Unless they are people I want to kill. He also said you should always see a doctor when you have a sore throat, to make sure it’s not strep, which can affect your heart. This is pretty much why I showed up.

My blood pressure bordered on high, so he gave me a sheet of dietary instructions. I took a look, before giving it to Marv to chew on. He could have just said, “You know what you do all the time? Stop it.”

My diet is actually pretty healthy these days.

Last night was a fun ride. It started with a scratchy throat. Then it got worse, and I got unbelievable bone pains. I got so cold I could not get warm. I put three blankets on the bed and cranked the heated mattress pad to its highest setting, and my hands were still like ice. The air temperature in the room was 75, but it didn’t matter. Then, of course, I woke up frying. I slept about fifteen minutes.

I can’t drive for the church tonight. I guess they’ll find someone else to drive people from the shelter.

There’s one nice thing about being sick. It gives me an excuse to make blistering-hot food. When you have a cold or sore throat, spicy food and ice cream are the only things that taste good. I have to decide what I want. I’m thinking curried chicken.

The great thing about this opportunity is that I don’t have to share this, so I can make it so hot it glows. And I’m going to pile sour cream on it.

Soon the viruses will wonder what hit them. This body will not be a pleasant place in which to make a home and raise little viruses.

I feel pretty good today, except for the throat and a little mental fog.

Leper

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Stand Upwind

My throat feels funny and I have a fever of 99.4°. You are advised to shun me until further notice. If you are female and therefore already shunning me, you may disregard this message.

What’s a good cocktail based on Nyquil? Can I make a frozen daiquiri from it?

I Know What Christmas is Really About

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Don’t Try to be This Holy at Home

PRIME RIB! PRIME RIB! PRIME RIB!

Time to put the roast in the Showtime oven!!!!!

Not Surprised by Latest Surprises

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Another Miracle? Ho Hum.

How many times do I have to write a blog post that begins with me saying that God has freaked me out?

I guess I’ll never stop.

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, for the people who just want to read about tools, food, and politics), I can’t say much about the things that are freaking me out this week. They involve problems another person is having. I am working on a solution to some debilitating, life-ruining difficulties in another person’s life, and as he so often does, God is hammering me with one “coincidence” after another. And this time, my dad has a front-row seat. He can rationalize nearly any move of God away, but this one will be a special challenge. Man, I wish I could blog it.

My church is having a ten p.m. service tonight, and I would rather die than stay up past 9:30, but I’m going to go. I want to be there to show my gratitude for the things that are happening to me and around me.

I walked by faith back in ’84, when I lived on Kibbutz Geva. I never knew what I was doing as I made my way across Europe and to the kibbutz, but I found that as I continued putting one foot in front of the other, things simply worked out. When I returned to the US, that all stopped. I started to get it together about 20 years ago, but I abandoned ship because I got offended. Lately, I’ve been getting back on track. And once again, God seems to be right over my right shoulder, steering me around obstacles and opening doors. This is what life is supposed to be like, but it’s hard to make your mind up to live this way.

Yesterday a guy asked me if I wanted to write a book about his life. This happened as a result of the problems I mentioned above. I was in his office, trying to get help for someone else, and he dropped this question on me out of the blue. In front of my father! Incredible. I want to do it. I’m sure it’s a good project. I don’t know if there is any cash in it, but it’s exactly the kind of thing I want to do with my life from now on.

The person with the problems doesn’t know it, but a “perfect storm” of God’s contrivance has developed. Circumstances and timing are arranging themselves in such an extraordinary, odds-defying manner that this person will have no choice but to make a defining decision that will either end the problems or lead to perdition. Either way, the boil is coming to a head, and the collateral damage–the torment that has bled outward onto other people–is going to be cut off abruptly.

Day is going to break for me, and it will probably break for my father, because of the effect this spectacle will have on him. The only doubtful issue is whether it will break for the afflicted person. That depends on free will. God can be extremely persuasive, however, so I am not losing hope. God blinded Paul in order to wake him up. He has penetrated some very bony heads (mine included) and crushed many revolting egos. Defiance requires effort and strength, and God knows how to weaken people who need to be humbled. He put Lester Sumrall on a deathbed when he was in his teens. He has put many people on the floors of rehab facilities and jails. He has twisted a lot of arms in order to turn people around, and it often works. It’s a mistake to overestimate the impregnability of free will.

The other day I saw an Internet video where some guy was asking Kari Jobe questions, and she grinned and said God was “just wrecking” her life. I know what she meant. When God moves powerfully and quickly, it can be like an episode of Extreme Makeover, only without the ensuing foreclosure and divorce and arrests, because God does a better job than ABC.

If I will just listen, my life will be on rails from now on.

Dinner was fantastic. The pig was gorgeous. Everyone loved the flan. And Val’s aunt made ambrosia, which is…a COINCIDENCE…because Mike was asking me for a recipe yesterday. Maybe I can get her to spill the beans.

Talked to Val’s wife Maggie again about visiting church. I’m going to get them. And their little dog, too. Wait and see.

I have to poke Marv before I get in the truck. Merry Christmas Eve.

I Laugh at Your Turkey

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

This Year’s Noche Buena Pig

I write a lot about tools and religion. Today I thought it might be interesting to talk about medicine. Here’s a look at the latest advances in prostate surgery. First, the surgery itself:

Second, the patient relaxing with a caring OR nurse.

I guess some of you realize this is not really prostate surgery. It’s the pig Val Prieto is cooking for tonight’s Christmas Eve feast. I helped him for a couple of hours, and during that whole time, I didn’t see a single kitchen implement, other than a spoon. It was all tools. Isn’t that how cooking should be?

This year he’s doing a small pig at his parents’ house. That’s a 50-pounder. And he cheated by buying congri instead of having me make it (thank you, Lord).

I know this does not photograph well, but here are some shots of the pig prep, in case you want to try this yourself. He got the pig at Winn-Dixie instead of the matadero, and he said it smelled fresh and was very clean. Until we got ahold of it.

The older gentleman in the photos is Val’s dad. The younger guy is his nephew, whose name I can’t spell. The OR nurse is Val’s sister.

There is some seismic instability in the pig, so I may have to run to Home Depot for some hardware cloth or chicken wire.

I prepared two pans of coconut flan, which I delivered this morning. Here’s a tip: if you cook your flan in disposable aluminum pans, put a heavy dinner plate on top of each one to keep it from floating in the water bath. If it floats, the flan will flow to the lower side of the pan, and you get a flan that is tall on one side and short on the other.

If you use my recipe, you might try adding an additional cup of half and half and maybe a tablespoon of sugar. I think I may have made the version in the book slightly thicker than it should be, and the added half and half will loosen it up.

Today is my dad’s birthday, and I got him a crappy fanny-pack-type thing for concealed carry. It’s perfectly nice, and it will be a great convenience, but it was cheap. He’s always telling me not to spend money on him, so I figured I’d let him see what happens when he asks for things he doesn’t really want. TOMORROW, on the other hand, he gets something better. A Glock 26 with Tru-Glo sights. I figure 24 hours of suffering are enough for him.

He’s 78 today, and I know he probably won’t live forever, so I figured I’d get him a gift to remember. On Father’s Day, he gets a pair of socks. Second quality. On sale. I am not made of money.

I know he’ll like the Glock, because he shot mine when he went shooting with me and my Christian buddies, and he loved it. I’m hoping this will give him incentive to keep shooting with us. I remember telling him we should take my pastor fishing, and he said, “I’m afraid he’ll get the Holy Ghost on me.” Maybe the same thing can happen at the range.

I have a prime rib roast in the fridge, for tomorrow. I salted it down and covered it with butter and mashed garlic. I’m hoping some of the salt will get into the meat. This will be the first time I’ve used a roast with the ribs cut off and tied back on. It will also be the first time I’ve used my dad’s Ronco Showtime rotisserie oven to do prime rib. The unknown variables scared me, so I called Mike for a consultation. He says he puts a little additional twine on the roast to reinforce it. That will keep the ribs and the meat from separating and falling apart.

He told me he likes to make prime rib and slice off a big portion of the fat and the underlying meat. You know the part I’m talking about. The extra-fatty meat around the outside of the cut. He likes to eat a sheet of that, basically. I was amazed to hear it, because one of my dreams has been to cook this and call it something like “filet of prime rib.” It’s unquestionably the best part of the meat.

I asked Mike what his wife and kids get when he does that, since it pretty well butchers the meat. He says A) he doesn’t care, because he does all the work and therefore makes the rules, and B) they don’t mind, because for some insane reason, they don’t want the fatty part.

Mike is a storehouse of that sort of manly wisdom.

Hope you and yours are having a fine Christmas Eve.

I Have Growthed Up

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Entry Removed

I decided to take down the post I wrote last night because I have a long list of things of which I am repenting, and one of them is mocking people. If I keep cutting back on speech and writing that offends God, there may be little left for me to say or write, but I want to be serious about changing. Sorry your comments had to be dragged down with the entry.

I’m about to get in the car and help Val Prieto put together a pig roast. I’m also delivering two delicious coconut flans. No time to blog.

Slack

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Pre-Christmas Gift

This is a beautiful day.

Yesterday I did something stupid. I slipped a little. This morning I was afraid it would interfere with my walk with God. Instead, I had a remarkable morning prayer session. I felt surges of new faith with regard to issues with which I needed help. I got mercy.

This makes sense. The Bible predicts this kind of thing. The 32nd psalm says, “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.” And there are other passages that make it clear that God will overlook missteps when you are earnestly and habitually seeking to do his will.

I worked on memorizing that psalm today, and this part turned out to be particularly significant: “Thou art my hiding place. Thou shalt preserve me from trouble.” God doesn’t speak idle words. He means everything he says. This verse is not just something he told us to make us feel good. It’s a contract more reliable than the US Constitution (especially under the Obama administration). I thought about this verse today while I was asking for God’s protection, and I felt waves of faith telling me that today, God is preserving me from trouble. I don’t know what’s up, but I know he is looking out for me, and that I’ll be protected.

This psalm is extremely instructive. When I first started working on memorizing it, I didn’t really understand it. It’s about protection and forgiveness, and that’s obvious, but what it’s really about is the necessity of admitting guilt. It says God may make you completely miserable while you pretend you have no sin, and that you will get relief and protection if you confess completely (without guile) and ask for forgiveness. It elaborates, saying God will teach you and guide you, but only if you allow yourself to be taught. Otherwise, “many sorrows.”

“When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring, all the day long. For day and night, thy hand was heavy upon me. My moisture is turned into the drought of summer.” That means a person who won’t admit fault before God will suffer and will not receive mercy.

“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a day when thou mayest be found. Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come near unto him.” Confess and be forgiven, and God will stop afflicting you and begin protecting you.

It disturbs me when people I know tell me they haven’t sinned. What they say is that they haven’t sinned, but what I hear is, “God, punish and frustrate me until I want to die. Make me poor, let me be alone, take my house, and give me diseases. Give me neurosis, anxiety, depression, and conflict. Make me unable to enjoy the good things in my life; turn them into liabilities. And let me lose to people I should beat.”

I believe God deals with us the way caring people deal with addicts. We get a certain amount of slack, and if we don’t repent, God backs away and lets us fall. The 141st psalm says, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.” Sometimes punishment is literally better than gold. In fact, material success can be the worst poison there is. It robs you of the incentive to change and confirms your self-destructive inclinations. Look at Elvis and Michael Jackson. If they had hit bottom instead of being inundated with money and power, they might be alive today. Look at Chris Farley and John Belushi.

It’s always tough to know how to deal with rebellious people. We’re supposed to intercede, and we’re not supposed to be like Jonah, who wanted bad people to be punished. But Paul turned a rebellious man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, and Elisha cursed his servant with leprosy for conniving to take money from a man Elisha healed. Sometimes standing between another person and punishment is actually evil.

I am grateful for many of the bad things that have happened to me. I’ve learned a lot from them. It won’t hurt others to go through similar things.

Mercy is wonderful, and I’m glad whenever I receive it. But a lot of people have been saved by a good dose of God’s belt.

No One Should be Sick on Christmas

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Holiday Prayer

I just had a visit from Val Prieto. He was borrowing a cooler to marinate this year’s lechon for Noche Buena. His mom is having health problems, including a hernia. If you would like to offer a prayer, he would appreciate it.