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Archive for October, 2010

Bread from Heaven

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I’m Stuffed

If there is one thing I feel sure about as a Christian, it’s this: if you want God to reveal things to you, you are going to have to spend a lot of time praying in the Spirit. The less I do it, the less I receive. The more I do it, the more I hear.

Yesterday was a remarkable day. I’m going through the Bible systematically this year, and right now, I’m working on Jeremiah. “Coincidentally,” Perry Stone has been doing a lot of teaching about hell. It turns out this stuff fits together in an impressive way.

The book of Jeremiah compares us to clay in a potter’s hand. It says that when we’re “marred,” God re-shapes us.

Jerusalem contains a valley known as the Valley of Hinnom. This is a deep spot where the ancients burned their trash. Long ago, it was the place where Canaanites burned their children alive as sacrifices to Moloch. God took Moloch’s holy place and turned it into a trash dump. Fires burned all the time in the Valley of Hinnom.

Judas hanged himself in this area. In all likelihood, he hanged himself near the top, and he fell into the valley, and this is what caused his intestines to burst out.

When Judas realized Jesus was not going to escape death, he tried to give his payment (silver, symbolic of redemption) back to the High Priest, but it was rejected as blood money. The priests used it to buy a place called “the potter’s field,” to be used to bury the poor.

The potter’s field was in the area of the Valley of Hinnom. Potters worked there. They discarded bad merchandise there, in the form of broken pottery, or potsherds.

The Bible calls us “vessels,” and it refers to “flasks.” The first miracle Jesus performed involved turning water into wine, at a wedding in Cana. That water was in seven vessels used to fill mikvehs (sanctifying baths). The Bible tells us the Holy Spirit has seven parts. Christianity involves receiving the Holy Spirit, which is referred to as “living water.” The Holy Spirit fills us and changes us. It’s an internal mikveh. At Pentecost, when the baptism with the Holy Spirit fell for the first time, people declared that they believed the recipients were “full of new wine.” The miracle at Cana showed what Jesus intended to do to his church.

The Bible calls proud people “stiff-necked.” When a flask or other earthen vessel is fired, it becomes impossible to mold it, and the neck becomes stiff.

In the Bible, the Valley of Hinnom is used as a symbol for hell. And it just happens to be a former center of Satan worship, where fire used to burn all the time, and where malformed vessels were shattered and discarded because they had become too stiff to repair.

Sometimes God paints a picture for us, and all you have to do is open your eyes and look. Hell is reserved for Satan. It will also receive people who are too hard to allow God to change them. And God gave us the Valley of Hinnom to prove this is all true.

This is a pretty good explanation for the phrase “stiff-necked.” Pride doesn’t make your neck stiff. People don’t respond to pride physically by stiffening their necks. But it makes sense when you’re talking about pottery.

Incidentally, Moloch worship was Satan’s imitation of damnation and the lake of fire. God does not want to cast his children into eternal fire, so what did Satan do? He created a form of worship in which people threw their babies into burning pitch, in the belly of an idol. Satan always parodies God, even when he doesn’t realize it. And as Perry Stone says, the modern replacement for Moloch worship is abortion. A womb is supposed to be a place of nurturing and growth, but Satan convinces women to turn their wombs–their bellies, just like Moloch’s–into slaughterhouses. Places where beings are destroyed. What could be more perverse or disgusting?

I’ll bet there are many women out there who have had abortions, yet who would not live in a house where a murder has occurred. If you kill your unborn child, aren’t you such a house? Strange.

In lighter news, I came up with a shocking improvement for my garlic roll recipe. I made kimchi a while back, and I realized it was full of lactobacillus (taken from a jar of kimchi I bought), so it might be a good source for bacteria to make bread. I put some kimchi liquor into a jar with flour and water, and a day later, I had sourdough starter.

I mixed some of the starter into a batch of dough, without yeast. I let it sit for a day, and then I mixed yeast in and made rolls. They were incredible. The texture was different; the rolls were more transparent and satisfying to chew. The smell of sourdough filled the kitchen as they baked. I love it. And while I was eating them, I realized I finally had a great way to make dough in advance. If you put yeast in dough, it’s hard to freeze it well because of the CO2 that escapes, but if you make dough without yeast, it will work great with vacuum bags.

I’m going to make pizza this way from now on. It will be incredible.

I credit God. He just drops this stuff on me. I also have a new way of assembling the rolls, which gives them a much more complicated and pleasing structure to pull apart and eat. I recently received two ideas along this line. I got one a few days back, and another improvement came to me as I was typing this.

Unfortunately, I am not going to be cooking for my church any more. They’re going to miss out on all my new creations. I’m sure God will show me what to do with them. It’s too bad, because the new dough will make prep extremely easy and efficient, and I would have been able to streamline pizza production enormously.

This week someone asked me to make one of my banana nut bread/pineapple upside-down cakes for her birthday, but I had to turn her down. The nature of the food I cooked was somewhat sensational. It always made a splash. I think that spark is gone from our kitchen now. The food will be good, but not exciting.

I have two new chef friends. These are real chefs, not sous chefs or line cooks. They compete in nationwide contests held by the company that employs them, and they’ve won expensive vacations. They go to my church, but they won’t go near the cafe. Very sad, because they both run commercial dining facilities for big companies. I know of three chefs who go to my church but avoid the kitchen, and now I’ve joined them.

When smart, unselfish Spirit-filled people avoid an enterprise, it’s not a good sign.

These ladies have all sorts of training and experience, but they treat me with respect, and I appreciate that. I know I don’t have their superior knowledge and training.

On Saturday, one of them is cooking for a bunch of people, and I’m invited. She just asked me to make rolls! How about that!

I finally have a decent mixer. A long while back, I recommended a Bosch Universal Plus for my church, and I’ve used it for pizza, rolls, and cheesecake. It’s so great, I got one for myself. I’ve never had a stand mixer before. It’s my understanding that a more conventional mixer may be better for cakes and so on, but the Bosch is unbeatable for dough. I’ve tried a Hobart Kitchenaid for dough, and it’s horrible. Throws flour all over, has a small capacity, leaves tons of residue in the bowl, and turns the dough into a fist that climbs up the dough hook. With the Bosch, you turn it on, turn it off, empty it, and toss the parts in the dishwasher. Bam, you’re done. And it has a lid that locks on. It even has suction-cup feet so it won’t wander around the kitchen.

I guess the one in my church will sit and rot in my absence. I was the only one who knew how to use it.

If you get a Bosch, I recommend getting the stainless bowl. It usually comes with a plastic job. The version I ordered comes with both, so I won’t have problems if I need to mix two different things. You can also hook a meat grinder to it. That would be fantastic. Homemade sausage is the bomb.

I better get off my butt and make dough. I have to be ready for Saturday.

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Gallery of sourdough rolls:

Come in my Office, Mr. Escalante

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Bring Your Keys

Recently I posted something about some problems that occurred at my church, and the way God was leading me through them. I decided to take it down. There is a 0.001% chance that someone from my church might read my blog, and if they did, they might find what I wrote divisive. I don’t want to risk it.

It’s hard to know when it’s okay to give your testimony regarding fellow Christians who cause you problems. It has value as testimony, but it can also inflame them and their friends against you. It can also come off as self-righteousness or schadenfreude, which is a tempting dish Christians are not allowed to touch. The Bible says God may turn his wrath away from your enemies if you celebrate their defeat.

I don’t cook at my church any more. Very sad, but there it is. My role was suddenly reduced to the point where it would have been foolish to do all that work. I used to sell 15-20 pizzas per event, but I am down to 9, and the display area has been sharply reduced, so it would have gotten much worse. It reached a point where instead of making the church $250 a day (or over $10,000 per year), I would have been bringing in 50 bucks. In order to do that, I’d have to miss working as an Armorbearer, and the leader of the Armorbearers would really like me to spend less time in the kitchen. The economics don’t make sense.

My participation in special events was cut out entirely.

On top of that, I suddenly became aware that the church has a paid chef running the kitchen. No one told me about this until this week. Last I knew, we were all volunteers, and I answered only to the pastor running the cafe. I was exceeding my authority, but I had no way of knowing it.

One of the fundamental rules of institutional cooking is that there has to be a single authority in charge of any kitchen. I was an unnecessary hindering authority, and I didn’t even know it. I had been trying for weeks to get information on what was going on, but I couldn’t get emails or texts answered, and there were no meetings.

I also learned that although I had been encouraged to increase the professionalism of the kitchen workers, I was going to be expected to stop resisting the lack of order. I would have had to work in an regime that conflicts sharply with my work ethic. When you take joy in doing things right, and you’re passionate about it, it’s extremely difficult to work in an enterprise where low standards are defended and promoted.

Maybe I expected too much. I hoped to be a kind of Jaime Escalante figure, helping people rise to meet greater expectations. Instead, I learned that we were expected to go along to get along. I think the fear was that if we pushed people to excel, they would simply go home. And maybe that’s right, but I’m not suited to work in that kind of environment. I felt like Howard Roarke would have felt, pasting Parthenon replicas to the facades of his elevations.

In a nutshell, I faced a constructive discharge, and I left in order to avoid adding to the entropy. And there are other reasons why I couldn’t remain, but I don’t think I should reveal everything.

It’s still a sticky situation, because before I found out all this new information, I talked to the head pastor. We agreed that I would cook for visiting VIPs from then on. I doubt he has any idea I’m out of the kitchen, and it’s not my place to butt in and let him know. He’s in charge of the whole church. His word is law, but he runs the kitchen through a subordinate, and that’s the person I was under.

I learned some wonderful lessons from all this. I knew that the supernatural battle has to come first, and I was trying to implement this knowledge, but I learned that you have to get reinforcements sometimes. We’re constantly taught that God, in us, is greater than the world. But I learned that no matter how good your prayer life is, Satan is still extremely strong, and sometimes you will need reinforcements. Many Christians would consider that a repudiation of faith, but it’s reality. You can get in big trouble fighting strong spirits on your own, even with God on your side.

Someone sent me to meet with our church’s prayer team over the cafe mess, and it was like going to a hospital after being pulled off a raft in the middle of the ocean. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was. They had the kind of worship the main services lack. There was no rap. There was no rock. There was real worship music. There was prolonged prayer. There was serious teaching of scripture, not just the soft stuff we serve out front. I had been hoping to find this kind of atmosphere somewhere in my church, and on Wednesday night, I found it. Or it found me. I’m going to join the team if they’ll have me. This is what I really wanted. Working with your talents is very nice, but it’s garbage compared to working with your faith and drawing near to God.

It’s funny; the temple had a main area where ordinary people could come and go, and then behind that, they had an area for the priests, and behind that, they had the Holy of Holies. Our church has a sanctuary for services, but the prayer team meets in a smaller room behind it, pretty much where the priests would be in a temple. That’s where I want to be. That’s where things happen.

I also found out that a person who seemed to be causing most of my problems was actually a relatively minor player. The biggest source of chaos and strife was someone else. I knew Satan liked to fool people and pit them against each other, but now I have new respect for his abilities in this area.

My involvement with the Armorbearers is increasing. I’m back where I’m supposed to be, and it feels fantastic. I can’t describe the relief. I got some great rewards from cooking, and I’m sure my time in the cafe was God’s idea, but I am loving getting back to my earlier calling. And there are so many unpleasant repetitious problems I won’t have to face any more. I go in, I do my job with a spiritual crew that understands responsibility and authority, and I go home. It’s like a vacation.

I’m planning to work with the prayer team to fix the cafe. Some of us are thinking of going in when the place is closed and praying the paint off the walls. That will be fantastic. The leader of the prayer team is taking the issue to God, so I don’t know if the plan will be put to work.

When I was with the prayer team, several of them kept telling me I needed to go back to the cafe. The problem was that I had already made a commitment to the Armorbearers, and my leader and I had prayed about it, and I had prayed about it, and leaving seemed correct. I came to the conclusion that returning as a prayer warrior was the best thing. I’ll still be there, and I’ll be doing something extremely important, but I won’t be in the way, cooking and imposing my standards in someone else’s kitchen. The chef has to put her stamp on the place, if she is to succeed and get any kind of respect, and for that to happen, I have to be gone.

Things keep improving for me. That’s how walking by faith is. You grow and improve and gain strength. My tool chest gets bigger and bigger, thanks to God’s generosity and patience.

Henry, Get Down on Your Knees and Pray With Me

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Eerie

I’m not going to say anything snotty, but I have to ask: am I the only one who sees the resemblance?

It’s like Nixon and Carter had a baby with Raj from “What’s Happening.”

News From the Dojo

Monday, October 18th, 2010

We Should Have a Pie Fight

Things are going great here.

Over the last few weeks, I started to feel I was doing too much work at church. That’s not really correct. I felt I was doing too little supernatural warfare, compared to the amount of mind-and-hands work I was doing at church. I was getting up and taking off for church without prayer, and I was coming home too late for prayer. I was letting natural work push supernatural work out of the frame.

I knew this was no good. It was driving me crazy. All my strength comes from prayer, study, fasting, giving, and worship. When those things slide, the foundation of my life collapses.

I felt like gluttony was trying to get ahold of me again, and I was generally dealing with a flesh uprising I wanted no part of.

I ramped things up. I started increasing my morning prayers and making time to pray in the afternoon. As an Armorbearer, I’m allowed to drink liquids like protein shakes while fasting, but I went back to water and unsweetened, zero-calorie liquids. I resumed taking communion. I made sure I read the word.

Things have improved greatly. God is really fighting on my side now. My flesh is taking the beating it deserved. My appetite is under control. The sensation of the Holy Spirit’s presence is strong. A week or two back, he surrounded me for a whole evening. I felt like I was full of codeine.

If you don’t believe in the baptism with the Holy Spirit, all I can say is, consider my testimony. I would not make my experiences up. What’s worse? Having to admit your church is wrong, or becoming a spiritual stillbirth? The Gospels tell us “living water” refers to the Holy Spirit living inside us, as a result of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. They say that expressly. Oral Roberts didn’t invent it. Don’t let the nuttiness of some Christians lead you to discount the most powerful gift God gave us.

The Holy Spirit is not Hitler; you can resist the improvements he wants to make in you. This is why some charismatics are so embarrassing. They’re not listening or improving. They use God as an excuse to satisfy their greed and lust. It doesn’t mean the baptism is a hoax.

It’s 2010, and people still think Christianity is about work. About being good. That’s not it. That’s not even a fair description of pre-Christian Judaism, which was much more work than any type of Christianity I know of. Christianity is about being inseminated with the Spirit of God and allowing him to grow inside you until you resemble the father. It’s conception and gestation. It’s supernatural change. That’s what it’s all about. You can’t improve yourself. You have to let God do it, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the mechanism.

If you have ears to hear, you will understand.

I feel like God is turning me into a supernatural wrecking machine. For some time, I’ve been very impressed with the importance of becoming a supernatural warrior. This life is war; our primary function is to fight. As my relationship with God improves and he crucifies my flesh and helps me behave correctly, I become more powerful. I become slippery to Satan; sins are the handles he uses to grip us. I can tell I’m getting a lot stronger, and I wonder what the reason is. I feel like God is preparing me for a major battle. Or maybe this is just how we’re all supposed to be, all the time.

I’m learning that persecution can come from within the church. I should have been ready. This weekend I realized that most of the persecution I recalled reading about in the Bible came from believers. People who believed in God delivered Jesus to the Romans and insisted he be killed. They slaughtered the prophets. Heretics in the early church persecuted Paul, who began as a persecutor and murderer. Sometimes the heathens got some licks in, but recall that David was more afraid of Saul than the Philistines.

I think God gave me a ministry involving food. He gave me fantastic recipes which were clearly better than anything a person of my background could be expected to create. He got my cookbook published. He gave me supernatural weight loss. He had his pastors ask me to work in a church cafe. He gave me a loyal following among the people at church. I can’t walk through the place without people telling me how great the food is. People tell me I’m the best cook on earth. I made cheesecakes for some visiting VIPs a while back, and some of them said it was the best they had ever had. This kind of praise has become routine, and it’s fairly obvious that the recipes are gifts from God. They should glorify him, not me.

Lately, as I let the supernatural part of my walk decay, I started having problems. People were opposing my work in the cafe. I don’t want to get into particulars, but it has been a real problem. I feel unwelcome, and I have to fight in order to donate my time and talent. That’s insane.

A little while back, we had a major event at church, and there was an effort to keep me from cooking for it, On top of that, my work area was buried under piles of supplies and equipment, and I was told I might not be able to get supplies to cook the following week. And I was treated very rudely when I inquired about getting the work area cleared. I couldn’t even get the person who treated me rudely to accept my apology, and I didn’t do anything wrong to begin with.

I didn’t lift a finger against anyone in the natural. I tried to get a little support from the people above me, and it didn’t work, and I felt led to stop. I felt that God was holding them back so he alone could deliver me. He came through so powerfully, it shocked me. I actually felt sorry for the people who had come against me. Now at least one of them thinks I planned it. I had nothing to do with it. I didn’t see it coming. All I did was bake two cheesecakes in order to help my pastor. As a result, I got promotion and honor, and things went badly for the people who opposed me. Their own efforts got a lot of criticism from people who attended the event. People–friends and mere acquaintances–have come to me unsolicited and criticized their work.

The people who worked against me should be on top. They have tons of training which I lack. But God put me over, like you would not believe. With no warning to me, he used me to chastise people who went to cooking school. My natural tendency is to feel that a self-taught cook shouldn’t cross swords with people who have studied, but I am developing a powerful reputation.

An anointing is a job. When God anoints you, it means he has hired you. When you hire someone, you support them. You give them what they need to get the job done, and you fight anyone who gets in their way. That’s what happened to me. It doesn’t matter whether I went to culinary school. God wants me to cook, and he is going to see to it that I do it. If I end up doing something else, it will be because God has something else for me to do. No one can take away what God wants me to have, and it’s a sin to try.

I don’t care whether I cook at church or not. I could use some rest, and I’m not anxious to pour more money into the cafe. If the people in charge decide placating the venal and arrogant is easier than backing the faithful and obedient, hooray. I’ll be an Armorbearer and continue helping the pastor write books. “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”

If I am asked to leave now, I will leave in victory. If I stay, I’ll be able to do more cooking for God. I can’t lose. God has gone before me and prepared my path.

The supernatural warfare has been incredibly helpful. So much so that I’m grateful for my enemies. How would I learn and grow without them? I can’t ask for life without conflict, because I was created to make war. That’s fine. All I ask is that God remain with me and fight for me.

PORK FROM HEAVEN

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Sandwich Idea Strikes

Don’t even tell me my recipes don’t come from God.

Months ago, I got the idea of making homemade pork sausage. I bought pork at Costco, plus smoked bacon to perk it up, and I made bulk sausage. It was incredible. Today I’m eating it; I thawed out a package because I needed to start rotating old stuff out of the deep freeze.

I was eating a delicious slice of this stuff when it hit me: BARBECUE SAUCE. I ran to the fridge and got some Sonny’s Smokin’ sauce and tried it on the sausage. BULLSEYE.

Here’s my idea. Fried sausage on a buttered, toasted onion bun. Add sauteed onions with barbecue sauce and butter, plus a few slices of thin dill pickle. OH YEAH! This will be far superior to barbecued pork, and I won’t need to smoke it!

Sometimes a Retentive Personality is a Good Thing

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Japanese Les Pauls Pretty Inside and Out

Today I had some fun putting Harmonic Design Z90 pickups in my History Les Paul clone. These are P90-style pickups, made to fit a humbucker hole.

I noticed a few things.

First of all, the Japanese use pretty dubious electronics. The potentiometers were very small, and the tone capacitors were super-cheap ceramics. I keep reading complaints about cheap tone capacitors. It’s hard for me to believe they make a difference, but you can get very good Vishay capacitors for about $3.00 each, so what’s the point in going cheap?

Second thing: the woodwork is even better than I thought. The guitar is a solid piece of very nice mahogany with a thick maple cap and a very thin piece of sycamore veneer. It’s not as expensive as a high-end Les Paul with a cap of fancy wood and no veneer, so I thought there might be some difference in the instrument’s performance. Now that I’ve seen the inside of it, I tend to doubt the veneer makes a difference.

The cavities in the guitar are finished very well, and they’re painted with what looks like shielding paint, and the plastic covers have metal foil in them. Most expensive guitars look pretty bad once you open them up. This one shows a surprising level of meticulousness.

The pickups did not work. At least the bridge pickup didn’t. Someone who tried the guitar a month or two back told me something about a problem with the selector switch, but I think the real problem was the bridge potentiometer. I tested everything as well as I could, and I believe the bridge potentiometer is shot. Maybe it’s corrosion from the Japanese climate. The other pot acts funny, too. The resistance goes infinite when you turn it to 10.

I went to a website and found myself some full-size American pots to replace the small Japanese ones. The cavity is big enough. I ordered four. Why wait for the tone pots to poop out? I ordered some Orange Drop capacitors, too. I’ll stick this stuff in the guitar, and I may fix the wiring so pickups can be switched without soldering. Might as well. I don’t think you need soldered connections in a guitar. After all, the cord is the biggest connector, and it has solderless jacks on each end.

This has taught me a little bit about Japanese guitars. If I were buying a new Les Paul clone, I’d order a Fujigen gold top off Rakuten for about a thousand dollars. At that price point, you get Japanese wood and Japanese electronics. American electronics add over $300 to the price. I’d dump the Japanese electronics and pick the American electronics myself. For $60, I’d have something better than the higher-end guitar. And because I’ve seen the guts of Fujigen Les Pauls, I think I could be confident that the instrument itself was top quality.

I’m not sure, but I think a person who did this would end up with an instrument surpassing a Custom Shop Les Paul, for under $1500. I don’t know enough about Gibsons to say. I do know Fujigen has better quality control, so when you buy one over the web, it’s not the crapshoot a Gibson would be. If you got one with a flamed top instead of gold, you’d have veneer, which (I assume) is not what you get from the Gibson Custom Shop, but with a gold top or a black guitar, who cares? I doubt Gibson is putting bookmatched flamed or quilted maple under gold and black paint.

I believe you have to go with the Custom Shop to get a Gibson with a properly set neck with a long tenon, but that’s not the case with Fujigen products. I think they find it difficult selling cheap woodwork to discerning Japanese consumers. This is the country where they used to buy American cars, take them apart, fix the problems, put them together, and THEN sell them.

I may be nuts, but it’s starting to look like a smart consumer buys Japanese wood and American electronics, unless he’s willing to pop for a used top-tier American guitar in great shape.

It’s sad that you have to become a luthier in order to make an electric guitar work, but I guess it’s better than the hassle and expense of paying other people to do the work.

Maybe I’ll post photos when I get the electronics fixed.

What is That Smell, Carlos?

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Que Va? Indians Must Have Moved in Next Door

I had a wonderful inspiration this morning before I got out of bed.

What if I took my Indian-style chicken curry recipe and added orange, tangerine, or clementine juice, along with zest strips? That would be fantastic, right? And I could also add chopped red pepper for texture and flavor.

It wasn’t long before I found myself at the store. Walking to get the ingredients. Walking past the canned fruit. Seeing the canned pineapple out of the corner of my eye. Turning around. Going back.

What if I fried pineapple chunks in olive oil and added them to the curry?

I grabbed a can of pineapple.

I also decided to use garlic slices instead of pureeing them with the other sauce ingredients. Anything to make the sauce less monotonous.

Now the curry is simmering, and I have a saucepan full of basmati rice going. I make it with chicken broth, Coco Lopez, carrot strips and golden raisins fried in butter, cinnamon, and butter.

This is going to be amazing. But will it be too much like Thai red gang curry? Truthfully, I don’t care. That would suit me fine.

Surely these ideas come from God. I’ve already tried the sauce, and it made me weak.

Maybe I’ll post a photo.

Photo

It’s excellent, but it would benefit from three things. 1. More habaneros (I can fix that). 2. A day of rest. 3. Chicken stock made with bones.

Tomorrow, after the flavors mingle, it will defy description.

New Challenge for Penelope

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Help Out

From Heather:

Penelope isn’t going home today. Urologists have been called in & now they want us to start using catheters’ on her. She has to have more tests done. Please pray that the Lord will heal this problem. The urologists say that children who have Spina Bifida usually have nerve damage causing their bladders not to empty. They don’t know that Penelope has this, but will be testing for it. She will have to be cathed every four hours for the rest of her life. We are devastated.

My recommendation would be to remember David, who fasted and prayed as long as there was a possibility that God would heal his infant son.

Beck Medical Issues

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Serious This Time

The news says Glenn Beck is having weird and scary medical problems.

I am putting him on the prayer list, and I hope you will do the same. I am not a Beck supporter, because I think he is basically an embarrassment time bomb waiting to go off on the GOP, but his medical issues sound very bad, and his work affects a lot of Christians. And he has already faced very trying problems in the form of alcoholism. He shouldn’t have to go through a second trial this severe.

I would also pray he becomes a Christian and receives the baptism with the Holy Spirit, so he will become what God really wants him to be.

Single-Coil Madness

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

New Pickups

I stuck new pickups in my Japanese “History” brand ES335 copy yesterday. Now I have to fire it up and see if I like them.

Funny thing: the potentiometers were covered with some kind of sticky foil. I don’t know what this stuff is. I assume it’s intended to block noise. If anyone can tell me what it is or where to get it, I would appreciate it. They also have strange black fabric tape on them.

Looks like I put the selector switch in backward. DOH.

Fujigen makes some really nice Les Paul copies at very reasonable prices. These are essentially the same thing as History guitars. They make several lines. The lowest two lines differ only in that the cheapest ones have Japanese electronics, while the next tier of guitars has American electronics. I’m not sure US electronics are a smart buy. The Japanese pickups in my Burny Les Paul are fantastic, and I have no reason to think the potentiometers and so on are any lower in quality. My guess is, a smart person would buy the cheaper Fujigen guitar and then customize as needed.

Not that I will do this. Oh, no. Not me.

The cheaper Les Pauls go about a thousand dollars. The next level is around $1350. After that, you jump up a few hundred bucks to instruments made with 200-year-old wood raised from the bottom of the Great Lakes. At this level, you get thick caps instead of veneer. You could conceivably spend up to $1800. Does that sound bad? Consider the Gibson alternative: a short-tenon instrument that costs $1900, with inferior workmanship and cheap wood. Hmm…Fujigen Custom Shop for $1800, or price-point bargain-basement Gibson for $1900. Indeed. Yes. A puzzle.

There is a stunning History guitar on Yahoo Japan auctions right now. It looks like a Gibson L5. I don’t know much about fat Gibson hollowbodies. Really nice to look at.

The fanaticism of Japanese craftsmen is hard to turn ignore. It’s a little neurotic, but you end up with wonderful products.

Time to switch on the amp. Hope this works.

Surgery

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

You Can Help

Heather’s daughter (born with spina bifida) is having back surgery. Please pray.

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Penelope’s surgery was finished about 4:30. We didn’t get to see her until about 5:30. The surgery was more complex than they initially thought, because her spinal cord was connected to the skin(something that didn’t show on the myriad of tests that she has had). However they did not have to severe any of the nerves they all remained intact(the ones that control the bowel and bladder). They were able to close the spinal cord. They did leave the little bump because it had fat in it, and they are using the fat to compress the closure and help it to seal.
She has to remain flat at least until tomorrow, to lessen the chance of a spinal fluid leak.
The nurses kept trying to get her to wake up, she would wake for a second or two and then go back to sleep. When she was moved to the PICU the nurses there wanted to feed her, but she had thrown up after initially coming out of the anesthesia. The PICU nurses were so concerned about her eating and the Doctor’s orders that she be kept flat, that they called him and asked what to do about her eating. The surgeon gave them strict orders to keep her flat and ordered a glucose drip. He also advised them to leave her alone and let her sleep, because if she is agitated there is a greater risk of the spinal fluid leakage. So they are giving her morphine and letting her sleep. After they gave her the morphine she was able to rest and she seemed more content. That’s when the nurse told us that we should probably go back to the Ronald McDonald house and get some rest because tomorrow would be so much harder in fighting with Penelope to keep her still.
So keep praying for her and us.
God Bless,
Heather

Forget BDS; B.I.G.!

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Support the Chosen & Offend the Nutbars

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews invited me to Washington in May to participate in the National Day of Prayer. It was a great honor to be included.

They sent me a photo in the mail. It’s a signed 8 by 10, featuring me and Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. The rabbi autographed it and wrote a short message.

I considered having it framed, but then I thought, “Do I really want to advertise my support for Israel in my home?”

A new wave of anti-Semitism is coming. It’s already very bad in Europe, and it’s starting to get worse here. Google “BDS” and “Israel” and see. Prominent leftist websites come up, admonishing us to boycott, divest, and sanction. Punish Israel for defending herself against over a billion enemies who intend to destroy the Jewish homeland.

We will probably see a day when American Jews have to hide. When that day comes, will you be able to help them if you’ve already identified yourself as a supporter of the chosen? When the feds start looking for “troublemakers,” I’ll be easy to find.

I guess the photo won’t make any difference. I’m already pretty obvious.

I had some thoughts about this today. What will the future be like for American Jews?

Religious Jews are city people. This is unfortunate. They have to have synagogues, they can’t hunt for food, and they can’t slaughter their own meat. America is full of rural land where they should be able to hide, but rural living would throw their lives into chaos. Christians can be extremely self-sufficient, but religious Jews can’t. What will they do?

I guess they’ll have to establish small religious cells where they can practice their faith below the radar. And they’ll probably be eating a lot of grain and vegetables.

One of my Jewish high school friends lost his dad in the Eighties. It turned out he had $900,000 of cash (unreported) hidden in the wall of his house. At the time, I thought it was just greed, but now I think there may have been more to it than that. Jews know they can’t trust the government or their neighbors. It’s strange that they consistently vote for big government, considering the way strong governments have treated them, but that’s how it is. Maybe this guy was saving for the day when America turned on him and his family.

We use cash less and less often now. What happens when the Nuremberg laws pop up and take effect, and you’re used to using credit and debit cards? If you use plastic, the government will always know exactly where you are, and the nature of the things and services you buy will tell them a lot about you. And the government will be able to turn your cards off. Not a good situation to be in.

I guess my friend’s dad was onto something.

I think Jews need to maintain reserves of cash and precious metals. The cash will work when the government turns on Jews. The metals will work if the currency goes bad. At the very least, a Jewish family will need enough wealth to get them to Israel.

The problem with cash and precious metals is that they attract thieves. Yet another reason for Jews to be armed, with guns Uncle Sam doesn’t know about.

I still believe silver will be the metal of choice. Gold is too hard to spend. You can buy bags of silver coins (90% pure) and hold them until you need them.

Because of Islam, the government’s surveillance capabilities are getting very strong. And the change is showing up in unexpected ways. You know those electronic toll things they have now? The government can use those to keep track of your whereabouts and your travels. Here in Miami, they scan license plates, and they send letters out to people who have problems with the toll system. I received such a letter. In order to make that work, they have to keep records, so obviously, they’re keeping records. This isn’t a big deal to me, but what if I were Jewish, and things were starting to heat up? How would I move my family around? I’d have to avoid every major traffic artery. Either that or borrow a vehicle.

Jews need to think about stuff like this. But 90% of them won’t.

It’s hard to believe anti-Semitism is getting this big. It’s mainstream in Europe now, disguised as support for “Palestinians,” and it’s considered very chic among American liberals. Today they attack Israel. Tomorrow they’ll be bold enough to attack the Jews themselves.

It’s strange that most Americans have never heard of “BDS.” Conservatives used to use this term to mean “Bush Derangement Syndrome,” but now it means “Boycott, Divest, Sanction.” Google it and watch the mainstream leftist blogs come up by the score. It’s the rallying cry of modern anti-Semitism.

How come there is no backlash? I think someone needs to start a “BIG” movement. “Buy, Invest, Go.” Maybe I’ll buy a domain.

Where are American Jews while all this is going on? Are they in a coma? Strange. They noticed Rick Sanchez, but they don’t say much about BDS. Which is the bigger threat?

It will be interesting to see how things play out. I’m glad I didn’t get caught on the wrong side, so I won’t face God’s wrath when the time comes.

Honey Catches More Flies, but Who Wants Flies?

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Home Pickling Adventures

I never cared all that much for sweet pickles, until I tried the ones my grandmother made. They were extremely crunchy, and they had lots of green dye in them, so they had an interesting appearance.

A while back I started canning my own pickles. I’ve written about it here. They’re somewhat similar to the ones Granny made.

I cranked out six jars of pickles today. They should be magnificent. I won’t know until I try one later in the day.

I also sliced two heads of cabbage for kimchi. I am crazy about homemade kimchi. I made my first batch last month, and it was stupendous. This time, I’m making it even hotter, with my horrendous backyard-grown Trinidad Scorpion peppers.

I used regular old cabbage last time, but the recipes I’ve seen call for Napa cabbage. I bought two heads for my latest kimchi batch. I will never buy it again. It cost me over ten bucks for two cabbages. I don’t care how good this stuff is. It’s not worth it. I believe the other cabbages cost 90 cents a head.

Pickling stuff is a pretty good deal. You don’t have to be insanely meticulous about sanitation and so on, because the acidity prevents botulism, and you don’t have to use a pressure canner.

It’s probably impossible to can kimchi. The bacteria that create it would make sealed jars blow up, and if you heated the kimchi to kill the bacteria, you’d end up with something pretty odd.

I wonder if I can do this with chutney.

The Buck Stops THERE

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Breitbart Calls Out Rogue News Organization Headed by Rival Breitbart

Am I the only one who noticed Andrew Breitbart piloting a bright yellow Greyhound over the remains of ACORN journopimp James O’Keefe?

I don’t even understand this story. It sort of looks like O’Keefe tried to mack on a CNN reporter, and if she came across, he intended to put the video on the Internet. That can’t be right. Can it? I don’t know if it’s good journalism, but it will definitely make it harder for O’Keefe to get dates with intelligent women.

It has the makings of a bad Matthew McConnaghey romance. Boy meets hot girl reporter. Sparks fly. Girl tries to sting boy on air to get ahead with her career. Boy finds out and tries to sting girl back. Boy gets fired. Girl quits job and starts working with retarded children in Vermont. Boy shows up in rented ultralight, towing “MARRY ME” banner in circles around yacht belonging to girl’s new beau.

Wow, that really DOES sound like a bad Matthew McConnaghey romance. Someone should work up a treatment.

You can see why I never go to movies.

Here is one thing I am sure of. The whole affair is an embarrassment. O’Keefe looks like an idiot, and since Breitbart spawned O’Keefe, the blood trail leads to his front door.

Breitbart has issued a statement condemning O’Keefe’s actions. Notably absent from his chaff field: any type of critical comment RE Andrew Breitbart.

I am reminded of a frightened squid taking off while expelling ink.

The weirdest part: Breitbart posted his statement on O’Keefe’s website, which is owned and operated by…Andrew Breitbart.

If you’re going to call for an explanation from someone who works for you, isn’t the normal thing to do it privately and then talk to the press in unison? And if you put a gun in a toddler’s hand, don’t you bear some responsibility when he shoots the nanny? It’s like Breitbart barely knows O’Keefe. Mr. Breitbart, if you want an explanation, walk across the hall. Are you seriously waiting for an employee to find out about your outrage by reading about it on the Internet? His number is programmed into your cell phone. Send him a text. Stand up and look into the next cubicle.

I understand the right’s desperate longing for heroes, but sometimes you have to take the long view and ask yourself how you’re going to feel about your new messiah in five years. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger. Does anyone still think that was a good idea? Well, sure. Dope dealers who’ve taken their millions and gone legit. But other than them?

When a Republican candidate smokes dope in a movie and defends it during his campaign, you ought to realize he’s not mainstream GOP material. This is not rocket science. Is it? Am I being unfair? Am I a genius because I picked up on Schwarzenegger’s creepiness? I don’t think so. I know most people are slow, but I don’t believe this puzzle required a Ph.D. in applied math. This is a mean, selfish person who cannot identify with traditional American morals. Go back and watch Pumping Iron. See for yourself.

Wow, this is amazing. I just Googled the term “chaff field” and learned it actually exists. Lucky guess on that one.

You can’t generate heroes on command. We tried that with Sarah Palin, and our success was limited. If we had been more patient, we could have had Chris Christie and avoided the whole Bristol/Playgirl thing. It seems to me that the Big This and That.com team is like a half-baked cake. It seems okay when you poke around the outside, but when you get into the middle, runny disappointment awaits.

And Glenn Beck…don’t get me started. Sooner or later the moment of revelation will come, and we’ll all claim we knew he was nuts from the get-go. Maybe he’ll back Donny Osmond for President. I don’t know. The hemorrhoid video should have been adequate notice. A lot of people have said, “My hemorrhoids are killing me,” but Beck is the only one who meant it literally.

There is no reason the right can’t have actual pundits. We have George Will, don’t we? I’m not sure why we had to have Breitman and the Boy Wonder. If O’Keefe really has the stuff, shouldn’t he read a few books and go work as a real journalist before we rest our hopes on him? Am I the only one who remembers Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice?

Someone help me understand what O’Keefe was up to. It sounds like he was trying to slap CNN down by marketing a sex tape featuring himself. I don’t get it at all. Maybe he’s been watching Kim Kardashian.

There are a lot of smart people in the blogosphere who could bypass the normal process and go right into big time journalism. Why Breitbart passed them up and bet on a kid is a mystery. Well, maybe it’s not. You want the people you hire to look good, but not TOO good.

Harry Truman would have loved this.

Nanking’s Revenge

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Epiphone Saves the Day

I can’t figure the guitar out. Tonight I tried to record a solo I’m working on, and my timing and intonation were horrible when I used my exquisite Fujigen-made History ES335. Then I picked up my $500 Epiphone Riviera from China, and I sounded worlds better. The pickups are too dull-sounding, but the guitar itself is great.

I’ll see if I can post an MP3. My timing is still pretty crazy, but I’m hitting the notes most of the time.

Tube Snake Boogie on Chinese Epiphone Riviera

I had to change the file after I realized I left like half a measure out of the first version.