Archive for May, 2016

Hope You Enjoyed the Free Lunch

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

Here’s the Check

Once again, I am very glad God got me off of social media.

In case you don’t know, the social media tyrants are mounting a new initiative to censor “hate speech.” The obvious issue: who gets to define “hate speech,” and who holds them accountable? The answers: the social media tyrants, and no one.

The article I linked to says the point of the initiative is to “combat the use of social media by terrorists.” Comforting, right? Not really. This is the same excuse George Bush and Barack Obama used to erase the Fourth Amendment and destroy the privacy of every American citizen. It’s the reason your vehicle is tracked every time you drive in an American city or on a major highway.

Uncle Sam’s rationale seems to be this: you can’t limit government surveillance to terrorists unless you know who the terrorists are, and the only way to find out who the terrorists are is to direct government surveillance at everyone. Instead of netting the fish you want, you net everyone, scooping up their private information in wholesale fashion, and then you look at the information and other factors to decide who deserved the intrusion.

If you look at the article, you will see that the initiative was spurred partly by a lawsuit filed in France by a French group dedicated to protecting Jews from hate speech. They didn’t just complain about anti-Semitism, though. They complained about “homophobic” speech, as well as “racist” speech.

Who decides what “homophobic” means? Is it homophobic to say you believe what the Bible says about sodomy? Of course it is, as homophobia (a new word designed as a weapon) is now defined. Who decides what “racist” means? Is it racist to use the word “illegal” to describe aliens who are inside the US illegally?

The lawsuit was filed in France, but the social media tyrants operate all over the world. Are they going to have different standards in different countries? If I live in the US, will I be allowed to tweet, “Sodomy will ruin your relationship with God,” on a platform that will be seen in France?

It’s amazing how blind we are to Internet trends. We can’t see the obvious. We didn’t anticipate the corporate takeover of blogs. We didn’t see the liberal conquest of the Internet coming. Now we don’t see that social media sites are going to be used to destroy free speech.

Back when Myspace and Facebook were minor players, people blogged and used independent forums, or they avoided the web altogether. They advertised in the Yellow Pages and newspapers. They didn’t need social media.

Now, people who used to have their own independent Internet outlets are abandoning them for outlets that are controlled by small groups of godless leftist technocrats. And the worst thing about these outlets is that they have no accountability. They don’t charge, so they don’t owe us good service. They don’t work for the government, so they aren’t obligated to tolerate diverse opinions. They can throw you out or delete your writing whenever they feel like it, fairly or unfairly, and they wield their power very arbitrarily. Twitter seems to be the holdout, but they’re part of the new initiative.

It seemed like a great deal when we were given Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and the other outlets, free of charge. They let us advertise for nothing. They let us air our views without the need for hosting. People became addicted. There are companies and individuals that have integrated all this free stuff into their operations, to the degree that they might fail if they were expelled.

Think about that. Imagine what it would be like to wake up one day and learn that your company’s Facebook site, Youtube ads, and promotional tweets were gone forever, because you expressed your Biblical opinion about gay marriage. What if you also lost your LinkedIn and Google contacts? What would you do?

It’s going to happen. Don’t fool yourself. People who are financially dependent on these services are going to be faced with abrupt, bitter choices. Want to make payroll? Disavow the things you said in good conscience. Retract the things the Holy Spirit told you to say.

Most Christians will cave in, just like the Jews who rejected circumcision in Greek-occupied Israel.

If you have your own blog, and you don’t use social media to make money, you have a little freedom. It won’t last, but for now you can say what you like. There is no safe haven, but when a ship sinks, it’s a good idea to run to the part that sinks last.

I wonder when the ghost of Nuremberg is going to make its formal debut. Right now, it’s hiding in the wings, waiting for its cue, teasing us by exposing a foot or a hand. The stage has to be set. Pretty soon it will leap out in all its glory, and we’ll see how leftists and God-haters really feel about mercy and tolerance.

The devil suffers from fear of the truth, also known by the recently coined term “alethophobia.” The truth is that his ideas destroy people. The more power he has over communication, the better he can hide the truth. He coats his poison with candy, and he doesn’t want anyone to pull back the curtain and show him at work. Always the angel of light, with God always the punisher and mad dictator. Control of the Internet will be a huge coup for the supernatural propaganda machine.

The people who run our world used to go after people who were building bombs and amassing weapons. Now they’re starting to go after people simply for disagreeing with them.

It’s a wonderful end-run around the First Amendment. Entities that aren’t part of the government aren’t barred from restricting speech, and the Internet oligarchs aren’t part of the government. Not officially, even though Mark Zuckerberg visits the White House so often he probably has his own dresser drawer in the Lincoln bedroom. Now that a large percentage of public speech goes through social media, powerful, legal restrictions are possible.

I’m not going to worry about it (or about anything else), but people should be made aware. You have to have your prayer life together. You have to pick a side, because to refuse to pick a side is to pick the devil’s side. The one that loses.

It’s sad to see the great wealth and technological advances of the current age come with such a cost. Human beings find ways to ruin everything.

Thank God for the Absence of Satan

Friday, May 27th, 2016

The Stink Will Dissipate Eventually

The more I learn about God, the less use I have for preachers.

I suppose that sounds trite; lots of people use their complaints about the religious as justification for refusing to attend church. It may also sound proud, as though I’m saying I’m better than the preachers I know of.

Sometimes when you’re right, you sound a lot like people who are wrong. When Jesus stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and announced that he was the Messiah, his friends and neighbors immediately tried to murder him, because he sounded like the many impostors who had come before him.

People who don’t know God make guesses about him, or they repeat the guesses other people have made. Eventually this garbage becomes doctrine. Then if you come to know God personally, you find that he is not much like the God other people described to you. Then you look at the people who believe nonsense, and you marvel at their willingness to pass it on to others.

My last church had a “house prophet.” I have probably written about him before. The pastor gave him the title. I’ll call him Carlos so I have a temporary handle for him other than his real name.

Carlos is a nice guy. He is nice to the extreme. When he “prophesies,” he almost invariably says nice things. He says the pastors are on the right track. He says the new building is about to be given to them. He tells people great things are about to happen to them. A couple of years back he took me aside and told me about the wonderful wife God was about to give me. He told a childless couple they were going to have twins.

If he comes out with anything that sounds corrective, it’s always about staying the course, supporting the pastors, never saying anything critical, and so on. In short, it’s a lot like the stuff the communists used to say in Russia and China. “Keep your head down. Do your job. Say everything is wonderful. If you complain, you are an enemy of the people.”

The reason he sounds like a socialist mouthpiece is that he gets his material from the same place: Satan. Satan loves controlling information. He loves making people afraid to tell the truth. He loves convincing them they’re doing everything right, so they stop looking for the correct way.

I used to think Carlos was the real deal, but I kept praying in tongues every day, and revelation kept coming, and I realized he and the pastor “prophesied” a lot of things that didn’t happen. I also realized they had serious pride issues, and that they hated correction.

Carlos shows up to church late. He misses services. He misses prayer-line sessions. But he is honored nonetheless. He is always ready to ask for the microphone, and once he has it, he hangs onto it for quite some time. The pastors love him because he always tells them they’re wonderful, so he gets lots of stage time.

Why pick on Carlos? Because he’s an example of a person who speaks for God without getting to know him.

Carlos does a lot of harm. He prevents people from examining themselves and asking God what they’re doing wrong, so he encourages them in destructive error. He predicts nice things that do not happen, so people who hear him come to distrust prophets. He is probably also convincing people God isn’t real, and that church is just a social event where people go to make themselves feel good on their days off from their menial jobs.

Carlos also “corrects” people when they’re right, so he is making them drop the treasures God gives them.

The harm he does justifies criticizing him on my blog, no matter how nice he is. It could be worse. God told Moses to kill people like Carlos.

I’ve learned a lot of things from prayer, and they go against the craziness I heard from preachers. Let’s see if I can list a few things.

1. God is not your fairy godmother, and he has no obligation to make your life wonderful. In fact, the only major obligation he has ever had toward you was the obligation to kill you and put you in hell. There was no way around it, so he took the punishment on himself. Now you think he has to make you rich and help you do stupid things he didn’t tell you to do? Think about that.

2. The purpose of prayer is not to make you feel good; it’s to transform you and help you do what God wants done. It’s very common for people to think prayer went well because they felt good when it was over. That’s not right. It didn’t go well unless you were improved. Sometimes prayer is unpleasant, because it requires confession and repentance. God will open your eyes to your horrible deeds, words, and traits. You’re supposed to admit fault and work through it; that’s the correct path to peace. Simply bathing in God’s presence as though it were a hot tub is not helpful.

3. The presence of God is the best thing there is. We need it. But we limit it by allowing the presence of other spirits. It’s not enough to know you love God’s presence. You should also hate, hate. hate Satan’s presence and the presence of lesser spirits that serve him. Their presence causes things like worry, depression, fear, and disease. God’s presence is peaceful and healing. God removes stress. If you’re not fighting the spirits that compete for space inside you, you are limiting God’s presence and his help.

4. We owe God, and we are far, far beneath him. We are ugly and vile. We are not his buddies. We have to approach him with respect and patience, not an attitude of entitlement. Sometimes we have to wait on him. You wouldn’t go to the Oval Office and demand to be seen instantly, and God is infinitely better than a President. If you’re treating God like your best pal, you’re pushing him away.

5. We have to praise God in order to approach him. You don’t just open your mouth and start begging. He is humble, but he is still God. He has to be honored, just as you would honor a judge. If you spend time praising him before you get into the rest of your prayers, the power will jump up a notch.

6. God does not want your money. He will not reward you for giving backward preachers money. Your prosperity offerings are gone forever. God wants all of you, starting with your heart and mind.

7. God wants to do the heavy lifting for you. He will help you in ways you wouldn’t expect. You can ask for faith. You can ask for humility. You can ask him to help you spend more time in prayer. He knows you’re a bad person; he does not expect you to do everything with your own strength. If you’re striving every day, I have good news: you’re doing it wrong. He wants to put you in a place where his strength goes before you and makes things easier. He is more interested in your submission than your hard work.

8. God lets evil spirits deceive people and destroy their faith. Look it up. The Bible says he sends the spirits. You may wonder how that can be true, if he isn’t willing for anyone to perish. The fact that he wants you to avoid hell doesn’t mean he can abandon justice. A rebellious person is subject to all sorts of curses, and unbelief is a curse.

9. God does not want to help you accomplish your own plans. God is like a husband or father. If you have a wife, you will understand this: part of a man’s job is to show his wife what she actually wants. Women are more confused than men, and they get crazy ideas. A man can help a woman channel her desires correctly so she doesn’t waste her life. We do this for kids, too. God does the same thing with human beings. He knows what will really please you; you don’t. He wants to show you, through the Holy Spirit. Once you’re on his program and not your own, he will start to help you. You can’t expect him to assist you with your own bad ideas. It’s like sending your son to college and then agreeing when he asks for money to quit and become a drug dealer.

I learned things like this by going to God repeatedly, over a period of years. I didn’t read it in a book some preacher wrote to make money. I didn’t pay Rod Parsley to tell me. I didn’t ask for the Pope’s advice. I didn’t read the writings of St. Augustine. I did not consult poor Mary, who must be horrified at the worship she receives. God is here right now; you don’t have to go to intermediaries.

Jesus came to me a couple of times, and I knew who he was. I could not see him, but I knew exactly where he was; I could sense his location and feel him near me. I knew he was not the Holy Spirit. For a long time, I’ve wondered why he would feel different from the Holy Spirit.

This week, I realized something. I knew he wasn’t the Holy Spirit because he was not inside me.

The presence of Jesus, when he’s in the room with you, is a field of peace, joy, love, and protection. It’s indescribable. The Holy Spirit is not as intense. I believe I know why. It’s because the Holy Spirit is supposed to be inside us, and very few people have cleared out sufficient room for him to manifest with any kind of power.

You’re full of other spirits. The Holy Spirit has to take a number. When you start to get delivered, his influence increases. Eventually, what you feel inside you starts to feel more like the presence of Jesus. This is what we should be shooting for, instead of begging for money and healing.

I experienced this by myself. I have never heard a preacher talk about it, and the reason is that it hasn’t happened to them. They keep pushing false doctrine. They don’t have faith in God; they have faith in uninformed people who have told them about God.

So yes, I have less use for preachers than I used to. They pull people backward and waste their time. They don’t fill people with knowledge; they fill them with lack of knowledge, which causes them to perish. Crazy.

If I were “submitted to authority” in a church, I would have to give all this up. Everything God has built up in me would have to be abandoned. No way am I going for that deal. Benny Hinn will just have to find someone else to buy him helicopters and purple suits.

Don’t quit. Get to know God personally. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t go your way immediately; you should expect to wait on him. Be glad he’s willing to deal with you at all. Maintain your prayer life. Ask for God to correct you. Praise him before you pray. Confess everything you can think of.

This stuff works. If you don’t like it, I’ll send back every penny you paid me for it.

Beware the Leopard

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

We Live in Beeblebroxian Denial

Herodotus’ Histories is not a book. It’s a maze. You enter through the front page, and you never get out.

The Columbia University Lit. Hum. syllabus says to start with pages 1-140. I believe I’m on about 120, and I have really been trying. It is slow work, unless you skim it and let the confusing things lie.

The print is tiny, the margins are small, and I keep running into things I have to look up. For instance, there was an ancient nation that used swipes for irrigation. That’s not even in the dictionary. It’s a counterweighted crane operated by a miserable, but very buff, peasant.

One interesting thing about Herodotus is that he draws connections between Egypt and Greece. I suppose every educated person has heard that the Greeks stole their culture and technology from the Egyptians, but most of us haven’t troubled ourselves to dig into the matter. Apparently, the Greek “gods” were worshiped in Egypt at the time of Herodotus (fifth century B.C.), and if Herodotus is to be believed, many of them were old Egyptian “gods” with new names.

Isis, for example is sort of like Hera, the wife of Zeus. She is also conflated with Aphrodite to some extent. This is the same failed angel or whatever that was worshiped alongside of Yahweh by the ancient Jews. They called her “the queen of heaven,” and they put little Isis/Ashtoreth/Hera/whatever altars in their places of worship.

Zeus is apparently our old acquaintance Baal (or Bel), which means he’s really the devil. The Egyptians called him Amun and Amun-Ra. There was an Egyptian city called Ammon, and Zeus had himself an oracle there. People went to give him offerings and have their fortunes told.

Zeus is an interesting character, because he is the supreme god (I will give up the annoying quotation marks) of the Greeks, and he is strong enough to fight all the others at once, but he is the grandson of the first supreme male god. He had a beginning. His grandfather was Ouranos (Uranus to you and me; Greek for “sky”), and his son was Kronos (Greek for “time”). Gaia, the earth, was the wife of Ouranos and the father of Zeus. She got angry at Ouranos for some reason I forget, and Kronos sided with her and castrated Ouranos. The organs and drops of his blood landed in the sea and became various peoples, Aphrodite, and/or assorted giants, depending on whom you ask.

Kronos fell out with Gaia, and Zeus overcame him and replaced him.

It’s all very interesting, because in reality, the battle between Satan and God is about reproduction. It’s genocidal. Each one is working to exterminate the seed of the other. Satan’s greatest desire is to emasculate God and replace him, and to replace God’s children with his own.

Herodotus is full of accurate pagan prophecies. Modern scholars discount these, saying the prophecies were made up after the events they addressed. Who is to say, though? False religions have real power; talk to a Haitian some day if you don’t believe it.

Herodotus writes a lot about Croesus, the ancient king who is known for his wealth. Supposedly Croesus sent messengers to a bunch of oracles, and he told the messengers to go to the oracles on a certain day and ask what he was doing. On that day, says Herodotus, Croesus put turtle meat and lamb together and cooked them in a bronze pot. The oracle of Delphi spoke of turtle meat and lamb cooking in a bronze pot. After that, Croesus was a major fan of the Oracle of Delphi, and he donated all sorts of treasure.

Are any of the stories true? I don’t know, but I suppose some of them are. The fact that a religious person serves a false deity doesn’t mean his practices don’t work.

Back when I was an armorbearer at Trinity Church, I worked alongside a very reserved, serious Haitian man. He told me about an event he had been to in Haiti. A woman who was a servant in a house presided over it. She was a priestess.

They built a bonfire, and the woman started dancing around it. As things progressed, people became more and more emotional, and she got more excited. She danced closer and closer to the flames. At the end, according to my friend, she was dancing in the fire, unharmed.

This was a guy who talked very little, never gossiped, and never tried to impress anyone. I have no reason to doubt what he said, and I can’t pass judgment on the tales Herodotus passed on. Herodotus made lots of mistakes, and he handed down a lot of gossip. That is true. On the other hand, he went out of his way to distinguish rumors from facts.

My guess is that many of the prophecy stories are true; particularly the ones about Cyrus. His rise was predicted by Jeremiah. He truly did depose his grandfather, as predicted by a heathen. He truly did defeat Croesus and become emperor.

One of the unfortunate things about technology is that we use it to convince ourselves the supernatural doesn’t exist, and that we don’t need God. We can’t seem to measure the supernatural with instruments. When we try to document it, it slips out of our hands. Our earthly power keeps increasing. We cure more and more diseases. We find better ways to protect ourselves from nature. We have decided that we are gods, or if not gods, close enough to gods to justify reliance on ourselves.

We think we’re stronger than we are, so we have stopped looking for help. That’s sad, because the supernatural realm is where all the power and answers are. And our beliefs don’t change God’s order. When you die and find yourself dealing with supernatural beings, you won’t be able to escape judgment by saying you’re an atheist.

I’m glad I’m reading these crusty old books. As I’ve said, I have a couple of huge books about the early church, and knowing a little bit about the world from which the church emerged will surely help me understand them.

I’m also glad I’m not reading on the Columbia University schedule. They give people seven days to cover all the readings in Herodotus. There is no way to do it justice in that time while keeping up with other courses. But that’s how college is. It’s like a bus full of Japanese tourists at the Eiffel Tower. Have you seen what they do? Everyone assembles outside the bus. One person runs forward and takes a picture of the group. He rejoins the group. Then another person does the same thing. When everyone has taken a picture, they get back in the bus and leave.

I always feel lucky to live in a time when we have things like air conditioning, fairly good medical knowledge, and power tools. But when I look at Herodotus, I see him referring to “ancient” people, and he lived 2400 years ago. His “modern” is our “primitive.” That means we are primitive, too. We just can’t see it. I always think it would kill me to go back and live in an age of lesser technology, but I suppose the age I live in is also pretty bad. We can cure a toothache or burn off a wart, but the world is still full of hardship and agony.

I feel like Arthur Dent, who lived in a world surrounded by astounding space ships he couldn’t see, yet thought his own crappy digital watch was pretty cool.

Now I’m bummed. I think I’ll fix a steak.

If You Didn’t Want me to Film You Naked, Why Did You Shower That Way?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

We’re All Exhibitionists Now

I did my time today working on Quickbooks, and then I relaxed with Herodotus, after which I flew the drone. People probably don’t believe me when I write about my thrilling life.

Accounting is still a horror. I’ve gotten to the point where I understand it well enough to enter things in Quickbooks, and I will be glad to have the skill and knowledge, but once again, I am reminded of one of my dad’s courtroom stories. His client passed out in the street drunk, and a man backed over him and broke his leg. The defendant’s lawyer testified that the man had no damages because a broken bone that has healed is stronger than a bone that has never been broken at all. My dad asked him how much he would charge to break the other leg.

That which has not killed me has made me stronger, but it definitely has not put a smile on my face.

Herodotus is surprisingly entertaining, but after Homer and Sappho, the phone book would be entertaining, so my perceptions may be distorted. I have the Robin Waterfield translation, and I would describe the tone as “folksy.” When you read it, the voice you hear in your head is like an American talk radio host. Somewhat irreverent, not altogether serious, and very informal.

I have been reading about the rise of Cyrus, the Persian emperor who helped the Jews. In case you don’t know, a prophet mentioned Cyrus by name in the Old Testament. I am too lazy to look it up, but the prophet spoke long before Cyrus was born.

I don’t know if Herodotus ever mentions the Jews, but he mentions lots of figures who are either in the Bible or separated from it by only one or two degrees. Sennacherib, Ashurbanipal, Darius, and a bunch of others.

Herodotus wrote about Cyaxares, a Median emperor who married a daughter off to Nebuchadnezzar II, who happens to be the guy who sacked the temple in 586 B.C. Cyaxares was the grandfather of Astyages, and Astyages was the grandfather of Cyrus. Herodotus says Astyages had two dreams that indicated that Cyrus, whose father was a Persian, not a Mede, would depose him and take his empire. Astyages told his consigliere Harpagus to kill the child, and Harpagus delegated the job to a herdsman. You can guess the rest. It’s a lot like the stories of Jesus and Moses. A deliverer is promised, so a heathen ruler tries to kill children.

Cyrus reminds me of Donald Trump. He was extremely bold and decisive, and things went well for him, as though a higher power had given him extraordinary favor. Of course, that’s the correct explanation.

I cant’ say I approve of Cyrus, any more than I completely approve of Trump. Cyrus was not a good person, but he served a purpose, and he did a job.

Herodotus is incomprehensible if you just read what he wrote; you have to look at external sources. I use the Internet to explain things and fill gaps. I use it to put dates beside things. For example, the Scythians ruled the area the Medes later ruled from around 553 B.C. to about 525 B.C., until Cyaxares got them. If you put dates next to things, you get a picture of what was happening outside of Israel when various things happened in the Bible. The dates are highly dubious, but they’re better than nothing.

I don’t know if I would call Herodotus a historian. To me, he’s more of a gossip. He can’t verify what he says, and he admits it, but he passes it along all the same.

It’s a funny coincidence (if that’s what it is), but a good friend of mine generously sent me two huge books about the Revelation, at about the time I started going back over the books from Columbia University’s Lit. Hum. course. I’ve written about this. Evangelist Rick Renner wrote the books, and they’re stuffed with information about the ancient world.

The neat thing about going back over the torment of Lit. Hum. is that it will help me understand Renner’s books. Herodotus will not cover the time period of the early church, which appears to be Renner’s focus; Herodotus died in the fifth century B.C. But he provides a lot of groundwork on the ancient world that provided the foundation of the world that existed in the time of Jesus and the disciples.

After the Greeks and Virgil, Lit. Hum. shoots directly to Augustine, who lived in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D.

I don’t know how anyone learned anything before the Internet. It makes this stuff so much easier.

Abusing my brain with accounting and ancient literature has to be countered with pleasure, so I keep working on my drone skills. Sometimes I’m able to stay aloft for maybe 20 seconds now. The drone doesn’t drop out of the air as often as it used to. Maybe something in the power trains has loosened up.

I made a fourth drone purchase. Revell, a company that makes the kind of plastic airplane models we all used to set on fire when we were 12, makes drones now, and they have a neat one with six props. It has lots of lights on it. Clearly I needed it.

Once my second drone arrives, I’ll have the ability to fly more or less continuously for maybe 15 minutes (my flights are lengthened by frequent pauses to retrieve the drone from behind furniture). That will help me practice efficiently. When I have four drones, I’ll be able to practice considerably more than I want to.

Some day I’ll get a drone with a camera. Sounds extravagant, but you can get all sorts of cool ones for under a hundred bucks. I don’t have any neighbors who sunbathe naked (as far as I know), so I don’t think I can be condemned for operating a camera drone.

Of course, I may get a surprise when I fly it. Hmm.

I think the most annoying thing about camera drones is that the punks who use them to torment us have put us on the defensive. When people complain about drones in their yards, the punks will actually say things like, “You can always stay inside and draw your blinds.”

Technology is going to get incredibly cool, and we will lose all semblance of privacy and liberty. Then Jesus will return. That’s my guess. So I feel like I need to get my droning in while I can.

As I have said before, I don’t think God will tolerate the destruction of privacy and free will. Without them, you can’t have judgment or reward. A world like that serves no purpose.

I’ll put up a Youtube of the hexacopter. I hope you like it. After all, we bought these toys with the rights we held precious.


Monday, May 23rd, 2016

I Wish I had a Deformed Cat

Yesterday I got curious and looked around the web to see how hard writing is for other people. When I worked for my law school paper, I saw people lock up when they were asked to write a couple of hundred words, and when I was blogging and dealing with bloggers who wanted to write books, I knew people who couldn’t get more than a few pages done. Clearly, my situation is not like that.

On the web I saw people talking about the goal of writing a few hundred or a thousand words per day. It was like they were talking about learning to run ten miles per day; they seemed to consider it difficult enough to make achieving the goal unlikely.

This Saturday, I cranked out something like 3000 words just to relax. If I had to write 4000 per day as a 40-hour job, I would think nothing of it. I once wrote a 48-page legal brief in a day. I believe it was 48. Anyway, it was over 40. It made the judge mad. It was too long.

I wonder what the purpose of this facility is. The fact that you have an ability doesn’t mean you know what to do with it.

Whenever I’m with my dad, and we hear Rush Limbaugh on the radio, my dad says the same thing: he can’t believe a person can talk for three hours a day without running dry. Someone who used to have a radio show once complained to me about this. Apparently, this person dreaded having to come up with material.

It wouldn’t be a problem for me. There is always something to say or write. Life is a constant flow of experiences, insights, and ideas. You can’t say you lack stimulation.

You can’t choose your talents. If I had been given a choice, I would have held onto writing, but I would have traded cooking for something else. I have really enjoyed cooking extraordinary food, but it’s not an important gift. It’s trivial. And you can’t use it all the time. I get up every day and eat the same boring stuff: homemade vegetable soup. I almost never cook anything good for lunch. I grab a protein bar or a sandwich. If I really cooked, I would weigh 400 pounds, and it would slice two hours out of every day.

I am fairly good at a number of things, but the older I get, the more it looks like writing and cooking are the only areas where I really shine. It’s like being good at theoretical physics and tiddly winks. One gift that can have an impact on the world, and another which is more or less a novelty.

I envy people who have gifts that guarantee them a livelihood. Songwriters, in particular. If you write one hit song, you can retire. Even if you go into a coma right after you publish it, the money will continue coming in, and your heirs will also be able to benefit from the copyright.

Doctors are also fortunate. Their incomes may wax and wane, but no one will ever tell a doctor his job has been rendered obsolete. And doctors are welcome everywhere. Back when Haiti was in an uproar over the earthquake, people I knew were going there as volunteers, but I stayed here. I figured the Haitians could do anything I could do, just as well, except for practicing law. What was I supposed to do over there with my legal skills? Sue people? If I had been a doctor, I would have flown over and made myself useful. There would have been a purpose in it.

I can write, but cashing in on it is not that easy. I got some silly books published, but they did not make me rich. I have worked as a copywriter, but that kind of work comes and goes. I used to write for a newspaper magazine, but even if I had done that full-time, I would have pocketed a maximum of $800 a month.

To sell books, you have to write books people want. There has to be a waiting market. That’s not hard if you write novels; people will always want something to kill time on airplanes. But other types of books are harder to sell. And of course, editors are buried in complete garbage. People who absolutely cannot write refuse to stop sending their horrible manuscripts, so it’s hard to rise above the noise.

It’s not easy to cash in on cooking, either. Restaurants are a nightmare to run. There is a ton of regulation. There are piles of paperwork. You have to deal with cooks and waiters, who are right up there with musicians when it comes to honesty and responsibility. You have to deal with things that are totally unrelated to good cooking. Then when you get the business running, you gross $3 million per year and take home $30,000, working 15-hour days, six days a week. And even if your food is great, the public may simply get tired of it.

Lots of people get rich in the restaurant business, but you have to be a fool to risk your capital on it. Even with hard work and talent, it’s a lottery ticket.

I always hope God will arrange it so I will never have to practice law again. The responsibility is just too much, unless you’re the kind of person who doesn’t care. If I represent you one time, I am responsible to you for the rest of my life. And I can be sued for malpractice, at 90, for something I did when I was 40. The statute of limitations is short, but there are ways around it. In continuing legal education, I was taught that you should pay for malpractice insurance for as long as you live! How would you like to do that? You could easily pay out a third of what you earned in your career. Or you can trust your former clients to be nice to you. Yeah. That’s a sure thing.

The other day a friend asked me for legal advice, and I told him what I tell everyone: no way. I don’t care if they get mad. I’m not going to put myself in a position where I have to look over my shoulder for the next thirty years. Friends don’t sue friends, but then friends don’t stay friends, either. Former friends sue lawyers for malpractice every day.

Seriously, I think there is nothing like royalty income. You don’t have to manage property and be abused by tenants. You don’t have to buy and sell securities, risking a beating every time you trade. You don’t have to go to work. You can’t get fired. And copyright royalties are the best, because they never expire. Among copyright royalties, songwriting royalties are probably the best, because you don’t have to perform or promote, once a song gets noticed. You sit back and take money from other people. They do the performing. Their promoters do the promoting. You sit around at home, eating Cheetos.

Oh, well. I can write and I can cook. That’s how it is.

I could go ahead and write a book every three months and see what happens, but there’s a problem. I’m a Christian. You can’t just spew words out for money when God isn’t behind it. You have to wait for him. On top of that, what if I wrote a popular Christian book? Could I take money for that? If God gives you something for nothing, should you charge for it, especially when it’s possible to put it on the Internet and give it to billions of people free of charge?

You can say the laborer is worthy of his hire, but is that really apt, when you have almost no expenses? If you have to give up your job in order to serve God, you should be paid, but what if you don’t?

I think about that when I read Christian books. The writers have a conflict of interest: God versus Mammon.

Some books cost a lot of money to write, but most don’t. If I wrote a Christian book, it would cost me nothing, except for ISP fees. I wouldn’t have to travel or take photographs or pay for a cover design. Even before the Internet age, Paul wrote books, and all he did was dictate while someone scribbled. Worked out pretty well.

I should teach Marv to do something entertaining. Have you seen Grumpy Cat? I saw a news story that says he pulls in $50 million per year for his owners. God help those people if a dog gets him. I would keep him in a safe.

I won’t complain about what God gave me. It’s nice to be able to write, even if I have no idea what the value of it is. The cooking, I’ve pretty much given up on, but I will always want to communicate. And it’s going great guns. Like 50 people read this blog now.

I guess I’ve written enough; I’m procrastinating because I don’t want to study accounting. I better get in on it.

I’ll be back. You can count on that.

I Continue to Drone

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

My Trove of Useless Knowledge Increases

I feel like regaling you with more tales of my drone adventures.

Yesterday I spent quite a long time trying to fly my new Sky Viper M200 Nano drone. I learned a whole lot, but I did not fly all that well.

The most obvious reason is that I have no skill, but there is another reason. This drone doesn’t work.

The drone kept quitting and falling, usually when I tried to reduce altitude. Sometimes it quit when I was doing other things. I could not figure it out. I saw various “solutions” posted on the web.

One guy said the controller was weak, and that it was overwhelmed by nearby 2.4 GHz signals. That apparently includes things like cell phones, routers, and your neighbors’ routers. I put neighbors’ routers in a special category, because you can’t turn those off. You can turn off your phone and router, but there is nothing you can do about the fat guy next door who spends 19 hours per day beating nine-year-olds at Worlds of Warcraft or whatever it is they play now.

Doesn’t matter; it looks like that explanation was wrong.

Another guy claimed the batteries weren’t soldered correctly. I reject that explanation, because the dropping problem is pretty much universal. They can’t be doing all the batteries wrong.

The third theory is that the props are no good.

I don’t know a whole lot about drones, but I know that even the little ones are highly sophisticated. Think about it. How would you like to balance something in the air using four fans? That takes some electronics. Drones sense various things, including increased current draw due to prop obstruction. The drone I have shuts down when it thinks the props are stuck.

My guess is that under certain conditions, bad props will behave in a way that makes the motors quit.

Anyway, a Youtube guy who calls himself Frequent Flyer RC had trouble with the Sky Viper M200, and the problems stopped when he put different props on it. He uses props from a drone called the Hoverdrone Nano, and he says you can also use certain other props. He has a video where he flies an M200 all over the neighborhood.

I’ll put the video up. Look at the tiny space where he flies that thing…without losing it!

The M200 I bought dropped and dropped, and finally one engine quit.

I took the drone back to Toys R Us and got a new one. I am being careful with it. It drops like the other one, but I ordered new props from China, so I expect it to work eventually. If not, Toys R Us will eat it.

In the meantime, I found a better drone: the Cheerson CX-10.

The Cheerson is even smaller than the M200, and it flies like crazy. It comes in colors other than lost-in-tree-camouflage green and black. Best of all, you can get it for twelve bucks, delivered, on Amazon. There is a newer version which has something called “headless mode” (?), and it’s more expensive. The original is supposedly better.

The CX-10 is supposed to be very good for indoor flight, due to its yaw rate, whatever that is.

I ordered TWO Cheersons. I mean, come on. Twelve bucks. That’s lunch money. And I got orange ones because they show up well when you drop them in foliage.

The CX-10’s colors are pretty bad, but you can’t have everything. Not for twelve bucks.

I ordered one from China for twelve dollars, and I ordered one from the US for a few dollars more. The Chinese one will take forever to get here. I figured I would get one fast so I could use it and then have the other as a backup/relief drone when it arrives.

Too cool.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get a full-size drone. They cost hundreds, and I have nowhere to fly it.

While I wait for the Cheerson, I am practicing with the M200 at very low altitude, like under three feet. I don’t want it to bang itself to death.

I can’t believe I got here starting from an argument about cordless tools. What’s next? My own nuclear sub?

I will now post a couple of videos, and I’m sure someone who sees them will be just as immature as I am. Someone will buy a Cheerson.

Keep it away from your pets. They do not like drones, and the props can injure their eyeballs.

Everybody Must Get Droned

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

For the Next Five Minutes, I Own the Skies

Everyone knows I’m nuts, so I suppose it will do no harm to provide further evidence. I bought a drone.

I hate drones. The whole point of drones, for most people, is to take naked pictures of women through their bathroom windows, and they are also useful for violating the sanctity of your neighbors’ yards and generally making an intolerable ass of yourself. But I don’t plan to involve myself in the primary uses of drones, so I felt like it was okay to get one. I wanted to see what the fuss was about.

I got myself a Sky Viper Nano, which is about the smallest drone you can buy unless you’re the CIA. It’s literally the size of two Hot Wheels cars side-by-side. I knew it was small when I saw it online, but when I bought it and opened the box, it still gave me a jolt. In my yard there are grasshoppers bigger than this thing. No exaggeration. Look up “lubber.”

It was nearly charged when I bought it, so I barely had time to read the totally patronizing and unneeded instructions.

Okay, I did read them. I just hate instructions, on general principles.

When you buy this drone, you get the drone itself, a video-game-style controller, and a USB charging cord. That’s about it. You charge it until the LED on the cord turns green, and off you go.

The controller is pretty cool. It takes AAA batteries. It has two joysticks, four trim buttons, and a “stunt” button. One joystick controls the direction in which the drone is turned; it can spin it while the drone hovers in place. It also controls the speed of the props, making the drone go up and down. The other joystick tells the drone to move in whatever compass direction you choose, at whatever speed you choose. The trim buttons adjust it so doesn’t run off or spin when the joysticks are in their home positions. For example, if you lift off and the drone spins, you push a trim button until it stops.

The stunt button makes the drone turn over once. If you’re going forward, it does a barrel roll.

I figured I would destroy it if I took it outside, so I tried it indoors. It was impossible. I could get it off the floor, but then it really liked to scuttle sideways or backward. Then it would go under furniture and sulk, or it would simply bang into things and stop.

With effort, I got it to where I could make three-foot trips that were not very uneventful. At that point I got brave and took it outside. About ten minutes later, it went straight up about sixty feet and disappeared behind me, over the roof.

I probably had something to do with that.

I looked all over the neighborhood. This drone is tiny, but it will fly 200 feet before losing the signal and stopping. I no way of locating it. They don’t beep when they’re lost.

If you’re shy and you want to meet your neighbors, buy a drone. Sooner or later, you will have to knock on their doors and ask if they’ve seen it.

I finally got a ladder and got on the roof, where I saw that a new herd of bees had moved into my soffit. Great. Time to call the bee people again. Oh well. Free honey.

I found the drone and took it back indoors. I had to go somewhere earlier, so I stopped playing with it, but now I’m back, and I’m determined to get it under control.

A few things surprised me.

1. It goes a very long way. Theoretically, you can fly this thing throughout an imaginary 400-foot hemisphere, with you at the center. That’s bigger than a football field, with a ceiling that reaches 200 feet when you go straight up.

2. It really moves. It seems like it goes about 30 miles per hour horizontally. That’s probably an illusion related to its small size. But there is no way a human being could run and keep up with it. And it flies straight up in a big hurry. When it went over the house, I had about a second to react, and clearly, that was not enough.

One reason I picked this drone is that I saw people talking about 7-minute and 10-minute flights. That may not seem like a lot, but its competitors are said to check in at 3-4 minutes, and I knew that would drive me nuts. Every time it stops, you have to charge it for maybe 20 minutes. How much can you learn in 4 minutes? Not a whole lot.

I had some problems with the drone quitting suddenly. I think that was because the props were pushed on too far. They’re held on by friction, so it’s up to you how far onto the shafts they go. I think they were rubbing. It stops automatically when it thinks it’s obstructed.

I wanted to give this thing a try so I would have some tiny acquaintance with the technology. I’m not a fan of drone users; they’re like the creepy people who get thrown out of restaurants for filming people with Google glass. But drones are not going away, so I might as well learn a little bit about them. It’s even conceivable (barely) that I might one day have a use for one.

Also, I wanted one because it was cool, and hey…30 bucks.

If I get comfortable with it, I may blow $80 on a bigger drone with a built-in camera. I found a model with a phone mount on the controller. You put the phone on the mount, and you watch the camera video while the drone flies. Hilarious. I’ll bet all sorts of punks have used that rig to watch startled women reaching for their tops beside their swimming pools.

It looks like you need a big field and a calm day to really enjoy a drone, and you definitely don’t want to be near a swimming pool. One more reason to find a piece of land far from other human beings.

Under current law, you can fly your drone all around your neighbor’s house and look in the windows, and there is nothing she (it’s always a she) can do about it. That’s unfortunate. I think you should be allowed to shoot down anything below, say, 300 feet. Anything a shotgun can reach. Maybe the law will change. On the other hand, you don’t want to be the drone equivalent of the grumpy old man who won’t give the basketball back because it rolled onto his grass.

Technology is fun and dreadful, all at the same time. It has stolen our privacy and our power, but it has given us all sorts of crazy abilities we enjoy but don’t need.

It may be a long time before I get a new toy this interesting. If you have nothing better to do, run down to Toys R Us and get one for yourself. If you can’t shoot your neighbor’s drones down, at least you can go on the offensive. Maybe he’ll back down after you Youtube a few videos of him sitting on the toilet.

Let me Shower You With Wisdom

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Soap Scum and Ancient History

I have all sorts of fascinating wisdom and knowledge to impart, so gather around.

I know all five of my readers are wondering how things went with my homemade daily shower spray. I am finally ready to pronounce it a success.

I probably should have told you to sit down before reading that.

The recipe is dishwasher rinse agent, dishwashing liquid, scrub-free bath and shower cleaner, and water. I already posted it, but anyway:


6 ounces no-scrub shower and tub cleaner
1 tbsp. dishwashing liquid
1 tbsp. dishwasher rinse agent, like Jet-Dry (exactly like Jet-Dry, since that’s what I use)

Put it in a 1-quart spray bottle, fill with water, and use. If you start with a Tilex Daily Shower spray bottle, you will be glad you did, because they suck from the bottom of the bottle, so you won’t have a spray that quits when you still have a pint of stuff left. Tilex molds a suction tube into the bottle itself, and it goes all the way down.

The shower is magnificent. Even the Florida-limestone scale is coming off of things over time. I use the spray on even-numbered days, and it lasts maybe ten days. Cheap and effective.

The bathroom is now a cinch to maintain. I never, ever scrub the shower now, so three-fourths of the work of cleaning the bathroom is gone. A couple of times a week I mop the floor and toilet with water, bleach, and dishwashing liquid, I use toilet cleaner inside the toilet, and I clean the counter with various things. I wipe everything down so I don’t get water spots and so on, and I’m done.

Except for the hairs. I seem to shed about a pound a day. I got a stick vacuum. It helps, but I never get ahead of the game.

Note to self: in future, buy flooring materials the same color as my hair.

Another major improvement: I finally got decent bathroom rugs.

I guess that will not impress female readers, but I am a man, so I don’t think in terms of luxury all that much. To me, it’s a big change. If the bathroom floor is clean, I’m happy. I had a crummy old cotton rug, and I thought it was swell, but it started to give out, so I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and got some fluffy synthetic rugs that look and feel like sheepskins. You can bleach them, because the fuzz is basically plastic.

Now whenever I go in the bathroom with bare feet, the pleasure of the sensation of the rug against my soles reminds me how stupid I was all my life. I should have gotten these rugs sooner.

Thank God for blogs. Without them, the world would be deprived of paradigm-changing posts like this one.

I finished The Odyssey. I’m very happy about that. It was a lot shorter than The Iliad, but it still took a long time. I read much faster than most people, and I still took days to get it done. It makes me wonder how college students survive, with their relatively tight deadlines.

More than ever, I feel certain I didn’t read it in college. Mr. Cliff, you are a foul temptress. You stole my education. Like glancing-eyed Circe, you drugged me and robbed me of my ambition, and I found myself dwelling among the lotus-eaters.

My verdict: The Odyssey is much, much better than The Iliad, and not just because it’s shorter, although that would suffice. The Odyssey has a plot. It has a limited number of characters. It has structure. It’s like a real book, whereas The Iliad is like a dull blogger live-blogging a dull war.

I still say every character in both books is a jerk. Odysseus is a murderer, pirate, thief, human trafficker, and Zeus knows what else. He deserves to suffer and die, and he deserves to lose his wife and his kingdom. But Homer is so full of utterly vile characters, you find yourself rooting for the merely despicable, so it works.

I don’t have a lot of boring deep insights about the book. Odysseus takes twenty years to come home from Troy, and on the way he kills all sorts of people, and then he gets home and kills even more people. That about sums it up.

It’s a lot like a Steven Seagal movie, now that I think about it. Steven Seagal is an enlightened semi-Buddhist pacifist cop who has also dedicated his life to learning how to murder and maim people. He has a partner/wife/dad/war buddy who gets killed, or someone puts him in a coma, or someone kidnaps his family or something. He spends roughly 80 minutes plotting against the people who wronged him, and then he exacts his unbelievably vicious, sadistic, gory Buddhist pacifist revenge.

I can see the trailer now. “Odysseus IS…MARKED for DEATH.”

I guess scholars will fume and fuss if they read this. Yes, okay, Homer is important. I read it, so leave me alone.

Today I started the next reading, which is the first 140 pages of Herodotus.

The book started out with a surprise. I probably knew this already, but I tend to forget boring things: Paris and Helen were real people, and so was Priam. The sacking of Troy actually happened. If Herodotus and his sources are right.

Reading Homer sets you up to read about the Persian Wars by telling the story of the woman-stealing that started them. Paris (AKA Alexander) was part of it. A bunch of Arabs stole a Greek princess, and the Greeks reciprocated, and eventually things got so bad, Alexander figured wife-stealing was acceptable behavior, so he stole Helen.

There is a certain amount of dispute as to whether “stealing” is the right term, since it is not unheard of for women to be sluts. It may be that some of the women actually ran off (one may have done so in order to cover her pregnancy) and then blamed their “abductors.”

No, that could never happen. A woman would never sleaze around and then claim she was forced. Women never blame men for their sexual indiscretions. Oh, no. Impossible!

Maybe Tawana Brawley or a Duke Lacrosse player will leave a comment here.

The funny thing about Herodotus is that he says the Persians, who were caught up in this mess, would not have started the wars themselves. It had to be the Greeks. The reason? The Persians didn’t think it was a big deal if a woman was stolen. Apparently they felt it was like having your dog kidnapped. Annoying, but you don’t go to war over it. You buy a new dog.

Don’t get mad at me. This is the Persians talking.

I guess the profs at Columbia University thought about all this when they put the Lit. Hum. syllabus together. They thought about the way Homer connected with Herodotus. In their off time from burning American flags, blaming Islamic aggression on Israel, and vilifying capitalism while occupying chairs endowed by capitalists.

For a few brief moments I thought about this stuff today, and I thought about the Hellenizing influence of reading all this Greek nonsense. I thought about the tension between Hellenism and the followers of Yahweh. It seemed to me that even today, the Western world is fundamentally Greek and Jewish.

If you walk down any street in any American city, what do you see? Roman architecture and Roman letters. Modern people use eagles as the symbols of their nation, just as the Romans did. Roman culture is all around us.

If we’re surrounded by Roman culture, why mention the Greeks? Because Roman culture is Greek culture (which may be Egyptian culture). The Romans stole Greek ideas. Roman temples look like Greek temples, and all over the US, we have buildings with ridiculous bits of Roman temple architecture tacked onto them. Ayn Rand made fun of it in The Fountainhead.

We have republics, just like the Romans. We have civil rights codified in law, just like the Romans. We have a moronic, idolatrous obsession with sports, just like the Romans. We even have their dangerous welfare system!

Opposing all this, we have Jewish religion. Jews don’t like to hear it, but Christianity is fundamentally Jewish. It’s not the same, and we have filled it with pagan ideas, but the God of our religion is Jewish. Our Messiah is Jewish. The underlying concepts are Jewish. We believe the Jewish Bible is true. Jews don’t like Christianity, but let’s face it. It entered the world as an entirely Jewish sect, founded by a Jew and spread by Jews, and centuries later, the connection can’t be erased.

Christianity is more Jewish than Islam. Jews think otherwise, but it’s true. Islam is cruel and silly. It’s carnal and juvenile. It denies the truth of the Jewish Tanakh. The Jewish and Christian notions of the afterlife are much more alike than the Jewish and Islamic notions.

So many centuries after the deaths of Jesus and Homer, westerners still have tension between Jewish thought and Greek thought. We are like the Jews of Greek-occupied Israel, who renounced the dietary laws and tried to undo their circumcisions. The Greek-influenced world pulls at us all the time, and we give in. Every day we cede more territory. This is why America is lost. We ceded too much.

Interesting stuff. But Homer is still boring.

I feel another Steven Seagal trailer coming on. “Paul IS…ABOVE the LAW.”

That’s all I have time for today. I have to go to Toys R Us and buy a drone. I’m going to my godson’s birthday party later.

Okay, I am trying to con you. My godson is two, so he can’t use a drone. I want one for myself.

As part of my online scuffling about the worthlessness of cordless tools, I Googled around and learned about drone batteries, and somehow I found out that you can get drones for thirty bucks. I didn’t know they were that cheap. I would like to get one and see what all the fuss is about.

I don’t plan to use it to film my neighbors naked, however. This is where I part company with most drone users. I just want to fiddle around with it and learn a bit about RC technology. “RC” means “radio-controlled,” although it also means a fine brand of cola which Pepsi and Coke have destroyed through predatory marketing practices.

Here’s how I see it. I know I’m going to spend the rest of my life shaking my cane at young punks and criticizing them and their technology. That’s a given. So I might as well learn a little bit about their technology, if only to insult them in a more insightful and scathing way.

Enjoy your Saturday. Even if it is named after Saturn.

You’ll Get a Charge Out of This

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Tools Renewed

A few days back, on a hobby machining forum, I made an offhand remark about cordless tools. I said the more I used them, the less I liked them.

People adore their cordless tools, so my statement provoked a torrent of emotional argument, as though I had said people’s kids were ugly. I didn’t say cordless tools were bad, or that no one should use them. I just said my own infatuation with them was wearing thin, and I can back that up.

I believe the first two cordless tools I had experience with were screwdrivers. One, which was really primitive, was from Brookstone. The other, which came later, was a Black & Decker. They were nice to have, but the batteries didn’t last long, either short-term or long-term. They didn’t run very long on one charge, and they gave up the ghost completely after relatively short lives.

After that, I believe my next tool was a Panasonic impact driver. It came with a drill, which was silly, because once you have an impact driver, you don’t need a drill. You need a HAMMER drill, sure, but not a DRILL drill. The impact driver does everything the drill can do, better, while using less energy. Impact drivers run longer on a single charge, because of the way they generate torque.

I think I used the drill one time. I only bought it because the combination of the drill and impact driver was cheaper than the impact driver by itself.

The impact driver used NiMH batteries, which stands for, “Lame and Destined to Die Real Soon.” Okay, it doesn’t. Clearly. But it should. NiMH batteries don’t last long, and they have a memory effect, which means that if you top them off, you can end up with a situation in which the batteries will only hold a partial charge. Something like that. Look it up, because I’m on a roll right now.

I thought the impact driver was the greatest tool in existence. It magically turned fasteners without imparting the torque back to my wrist (drills can’t do that). It applied more torque than a drill. It gave much better control, so I didn’t have problems driving screws too far into things. It was much harder to strip screw heads with the impact driver. It ran longer than a drill. It had pretty LED’s.

I would have felt differently had I known the batteries were going to conk out while I was still getting to know the tool.

Before too long, the tool would only run a short time after a charge. I looked up the price of new batteries. I believe they are still sold, and they run about $85.

I also got a hammer drill. It was an 18-volt Bosch. I loved it. I used it to drive a 5/8″ bit through 12″ of aged concrete (concrete gets harder with time) without stopping. It was wonderful.

The drill had Nicad batteries. Like NiMH batteries, Nicads have serious issues. They die young, and they also discharge quickly when you’re not using them.

My love affair with the drill ended when the batteries stopped holding a useful charge. I can still use it for brief periods, but the batteries are not well at all.

Since then I have bought other cordless items. I got a top-rated hand vacuum for kitchen messes. It runs maybe four minutes, so you really need to have your sweeping planned out when you pick it up. I have a leaf blower. It runs long enough to blow crap off the porch, and then you’re done. It’s pretty weak, so when you use it, you have to choose your battles.

I got a screwdriver and a Jobmax as well. I also got a corded Jobmax. I don’t think I would have gotten the cordless one had I thought about the corded one sooner.

My newer tools have lithium-ion batteries, which are better than NiMH and Nicad, but they will still die and need replacement.

With this experience behind me, I will explain why I don’t love cordless tools.

1. They cost three times as much as real tools, and that doesn’t include replacement batteries.

The drill cost about $275. When I replaced it with a very good Bosch corded hammer drill, I paid about $90. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t really know what hammer drills cost when I got the cordless one. The Panasonic combo cost me about the same amount as the Bosch drill. I replaced it with an infinitely superior corded Makita for less than half the price.

2. Real tools are often better than cordless.

The Makita impact driver I bought is a lot stronger than the Panasonic it replaced. It doesn’t have as many toys on it, but then they’re not actually useful. You pull the trigger, and it turns. The corded hammer drill I bought has a real chuck, unlike the cordless one, with a real key. I paid less and got more.

3. In order to make cordless tools useful, you have to become a battery nursemaid.

You are things you can do to screw up tool batteries. You have to be careful. If you want to be safe, you have to make sure they never discharge too much. Also, you can’t tell how much time a charge has left on it by looking at the battery. You have to guess. A dead battery looks like a fresh one. So if you forget to charge a battery, it’s easy to get ambushed. You have to make sure you charge the batteries all the time, but not too much, because too much cycling wears them out.

If you screw up, you can find yourself holding a tool that insists on a 30-minute nap, right when you need it to finish a job.

The solution to this is to buy more batteries. That’s not cheap, and they’re heavy.

4. Tools use batteries that are incompatible with each other, so you have to have lots of batteries and chargers.

If you’re really confident that every one of a single company’s cordless tools are what you want, you can buy a huge combination kit that comes with two batteries. They won’t be the company’s best batteries, but let’s pretend that’s not true. You can get six tools, two batteries, and a charger for a grand or so. What if the kit comes with tools you don’t want? Tough. You take what they offer. What if you want the super-duper high-capacity batteries? You have to buy them separately, so instead of a grand, think about $1400.

If, like most people, you want a grinder from this company and a drill from that company, you will be stuck with incompatible batteries and multiple chargers. You won’t be able to prepare for a day of work by charging all four of your Milwaukee batteries. You’ll have to charge three Milwaukees, two Dewalts, a Ridgid, and four Bosches. You will have to keep all the chargers plugged in, and they will suck up room.

5. The need to buy new batteries will never, ever go away. Ever. Even if you break it down over time, it doesn’t feel good, paying $25 per year in perpetuity to use a tool worth $90.

Here is how corded tools work:

1. They are always, always, always ready to work, even if you just spent the last week in jail and could not get home to charge them.

2. They do not stop working because you forgot to feed them.

3. They almost never become obsolete.

4. You will never, ever have to worry about not being able to get new batteries or support from the manufacturers.

5. They generally work better.

6. They are lighter.

7. They cost a third as much. Not 75% as much. A third.

Does that mean I hate cordless tools? No. It just means I don’t need them badly enough to put up with the crap.

If I had to work far from electricity several times a week, I would get cordless tools. If I were a professional construction worker, I would get cordless tools. If I could deduct the prices of the tools and the never-ending cost of replacing batteries on my taxes, I might get cordless tools. None of those criteria apply to me. I do everything well within reach of electrical sockets, preferably with the air conditioning on and the stereo playing.

So anyway, I got the cordless guys going, and they seemed to feel like I was saying all cordless tools are evil and that no one should ever have one. Nuance. You know how that goes.

I will probably buy another cordless screwdriver if the one I have dies, and I do like the Jobmax, but I’m not in a hurry to get anything else.

With all that said, listening to the pro-cordless crowd got me thinking, and I decided to poke around on the web and look into cost-effective ways to save the drill and impact driver. I knew there were ways to get around the high cost of new batteries, so I Googled.

I saw some interesting options, so I got out the charger for the hammer drill and plugged it in. Nothing happened. So right away, I was off on a detour.

The charger is a Bosch BC130. I believe it’s the second one I’ve bought. They have a tendency to drop dead for no reason. There was no way in hell I was going to put down fifty or seventy bucks or whatever for a charger for a drill that doesn’t work, so I tried to find out what was wrong with it. I will relay that information here in case anyone else has the same problem in the future.

The BC130 has a resistor between the big main caps on the circuit board. It burns up. It’s said to be a 1/2-watt 180K resistor, and the solution is a 1-watt (minimum) resistor.

I’ll tell you what you need to know to get it fixed.

First, the case is held on by five Phillips screws. Take them out. Now you will find that the case sticks at one corner when you try to open it. Relax. There is a smaller circuit board that holds the charging prongs, and it’s attached to the upper part of the case. It is held in place by three black 20-gauge wires that are way too short.

You can pry the small board down out of its place. It’s held there by two plastic pins, and friction is the only thing that keeps it from coming off. Just pry carefully.

Don’t touch anything until you discharge the capacitors on the main circuit board. They hold lots of charge, and they can hang onto it for quite some time. The only sure way I saw to discharge them was to short their leads with a wire.

To get access to their leads, you need to get at the underside of the board. There are two plastic tabs you have to push back with a screwdriver, and they will release the board from the case bottom. The big problem here is that when you do this, you may short the caps with your fingers, so try not to do that, because you will die.

If your resistor is fried, you will probably see charring and so on when you examine it. To release it, you can attach a hemostat to one of the resistor’s leads and pull on it from above the board while you heat the soldered connection underneath the board. The lead will come out, and then you can do the other one. Don’t use too much heat, because the foil traces under the board are easy to melt loose.

Now all you have to do is stick a new resistor in there.

Unbelievably, I did not have a 2-watt 180K resistor, so I made an assembly using two 150K’s and a 470K. It comes out to almost exactly 180K, and because there are three resistors instead of one, the heat is spread out more. Hopefully it won’t fry like the resistor Bosch put in there. It was bigger than the old resistor, so I let it stand up on the leads in the space between the caps. I was thinking this might allow it to give off heat better, since it won’t be against the circuit board.

You might want to increase the lengths of the 3 black leads that go from the main board to the secondary board, to make reassembly easier. I didn’t have to.

That’s it. Hopefully your charger will work.

I did this today, and I charged up the old drill batteries. It may still be useful for short jobs.

I also looked around and found a Youtuber who has a video on replacing the guts of Nicad batteries with lithium. I may try that, just for fun. If I can have new batteries for $20 each instead of $100 each, I may want to keep the drill.

I don’t know much about lithium batteries, but supposedly they die permanently if you let them discharge too far. You can prevent this by monitoring the voltage while you use them. The Youtube guy found little meters that cost a few bucks each, and he stuck them in his modified batteries. Pretty cool. I suppose it would be bad if he dropped the tool and broke a meter; you probably lose some of the original battery’s toughness.

If you have the same batteries I have (Bosch BAT181), you may find them hard to open. The nice damen und herren at Bosch have decided that opening the case is VERBOTEN and NICHT for das konsumer. Because, hey, if you can open it, you can fix it, and then they can’t charge you a könig’s ransom for new batteries.

Bosch closes the battery case with five Torx screws (so intimidating, *yawn*). They try to make it look worse than it is by covering one screw with a piece of plastic that looks like metal. If you drill a small hole in the center of it, you can insert a sharp tool and yank it out. Then you can get at the Torx screw.

Good luck.

One more thing. I found out that Nicads often lose capacity due to whiskering. Because the green lunatics have gone way overboard in ridding the world of lead (one of the world’s most useful metals), electronic devices tend to grow metal whiskers on their soldered connections. These whiskers create shorts and do bad stuff.

Some brave people de-whisker their batteries using high currents. You find yourself a decent current supply at a fairly high voltage, and you apply it to your battery’s terminals. There may be stuff you have to bypass; I’m not sure. Anyway, if you have whiskers and you get rid of them by running jolts of current through them, you may find your batteries work again. You don’t want to leave the current on for a long time. You just want to whack the batteries briefly. Just pop them.

Speaking of “pop,” the down side is that sometimes the batteries explode. So you could die or be blinded or horribly disfigured. Things to think about.

I may try this on my batteries, after hiding behind a garage door.

You never know what I’ll do when I get bored.

Maybe this will be useful to someone. It kept me amused for a couple of hours.

As for cordless tools, yes, they have their place. But I’m glad I’m not sitting here trusting my work to a cordless compu

Housecleaning Tips

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Keep the Rats on the Porch

The further I get into the process of becoming Spirit-led, the better things get.

For a long time, I’ve been trying to get better control of my flesh. I had given it all sorts of power over me. The thing that was supposed to be my obedient mule was telling me what to do, and it was a stronghold I could not break without help.

I’ve understood that for years, but progress has not been as fast as I would have liked. I have been very interested in getting God’s help with this problem, but I have not been not all that interested in giving myself to him completely, and I believe this slowed me down. Whether I admitted it to myself or not, I always thought more about fixing my problems than service to God. I worked in church, and I tried to clean up my life, but parts of the equation were missing.

Things are improving, and as usual, they are improving in discrete steps, not just gradually. As God shows me things and helps me to put them to use, I move from plateau to plateau.

You are like a house. In the house, there is only so much room.

Right now, your flesh and spirits that hate God are taking up most of the space. You may not want to hear that, but it’s a fact, unless you’re an extremely rare case. For this reason, God is limited. He gets the little bit of room you haven’t already filled. This cuts off his power, not to mention his motivation. You can’t expect him to keep giving up the dignity and honor he is owed. Going to the cross was a tremendous gift, and it required him to associate with beings that are vile, and to allow them to mistreat him. He has already humbled himself as much as anyone could want.

It’s not enough to go to church or give money or volunteer. I’m not sure giving money is necessary at all; at least not for everyone. Anyway, you have to treat God like God. You have to praise him before jumping in and asking for things. You have to pray in the Spirit to build yourself up. You have to agree to give yourself and everything you have to him.

When you start to see things this way, God is able to act without degrading himself or going against his principles.

God wants to give you control over your thoughts and emotions. In Judaism, it was a sin to commit adultery or fornication, or to violate other laws, but God didn’t give people the power to lose their tormenting desires. In Spirit-led Christianity, God puts the Holy Spirit inside you, and he gives you the potential to change your inner self. This is why Jesus seemed to hold people accountable for their thought life, not just their actions and words. He was foreshadowing the new powers he was going to buy for us with his life.

It’s good not to fornicate. It’s better not to ogle women. It’s even better to be able to stop thinking about them. The same principle applies to any sin. The more you give yourself to God, the more power he will have inside you, and you will be able to alter the way you behave internally.

Sins are generally born as repetitive thoughts we can’t help rolling around inside ourselves. If you can prevent that thought process from happening, it’s as if the sin is a baby, and you’re aborting it. You’re preventing implantation and gestation, so delivery is impossible.

Over the last day or so, I’ve been telling God to take more of me and to help me trust him. Trust is the fundamental issue. If you truly trust God to give you a blessed existence, you won’t hesitate to give him your keys and passwords. We hesitate because we’re afraid of what our lives will become if we let him take over.

Maybe you gossip. Maybe you steal. Maybe you overeat. Maybe you’re cruel. Whoever you are, you have some inner temptation you can’t get away from. Maybe you can avoid giving in, but the battle is inside the house, not at the gate, so you don’t have peace or true control.

Spirits are like salesmen. They put a foot in the door, and then they persuade, and first thing you know, they’re on the couch drinking coffee, giving you the full spiel. If you can keep them outside the door, you will be able to hold onto your peace, and God will be able to expand inside you.

I believe this is what the Psalms refer to when they say, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” It’s not a good thing when your enemies come to your gate, but if you can keep them there instead of letting them in, you will be fine.

I feel a lot better than I did last week. I have more ability to keep stupid desires and drives outside of me. I hope it continues.

You really have to have a zero-tolerance policy. You have to slam the door fast. You can’t say, “Come in and show me your products in order to entertain me, and then you have to leave.” It has to be black or white. If you think in terms of shades of grey, you’re giving in to black.

If you understand this, it will help you.

The closer I get to God, the more I realize the world is a disaster. It’s not a place which is flawed but basically okay, where God runs things and watches over us. It’s a filthy, doomed slum, from which God has been evicted. He only shows up here and there, to pluck out people who can be saved or, better, repaired. Satan really is the God of this earth. It’s not an exaggeration. Jesus meant what he said.

The world is going to be destroyed, and it will never treat true Christians well. You might as well quit chasing the carrot now. You will definitely pay for it later, even if you don’t go to hell.

I will keep passing on anything that seems good. Let me know if it helps.

Filth is the New Righteousness

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Thoughts From a Boiling Frog

Over and over, I am surprised to find out how far I am from God. He gives me a revelation, and I think I get it. Then a week or two down the road, he tells me the situation is even worse.

It reminds me of dealing with house renovation. The contractor comes in and says he can fix your house for $60,000. Then work starts. A month later, you have a $15,000 surprise. You keep going. Two weeks later, another $20,000.

Contractors do it because they miss things at first, and because they’re dishonest. They like to hook you with low prices and then jack the cost up later, when you’re too committed to say no.

God does it–I think–because we can’t handle all of the truth at once. His criticism is life-giving, but receiving too much at once would be like injecting yourself with a whole bottle of insulin. You would be crushed by despair and self-condemnation.

Modern America is not as far as we think from the kind of corruption that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. We are extremely filthy these days. We are cruel and obsessed with sex. We are very arrogant. We lack empathy and patience. We celebrate sadism and abuse.

I want to think I’m above all that, but that is not the case. I participated in it with enthusiasm for decades. I worked to make myself prouder and less kind. The whole time, I felt I was a better person than I really was.

You can’t undo that process in a minute.

Israel’s Muslim enemies know that the Messiah is supposed to enter Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate, also known as the Golden Gate. They also know Elijah is supposed to be his herald; he shows up first. In a childish gesture, the Muslim ruler Saladin bricked up the Golden Gate, and the Ottomans established a Muslim cemetery just outside it. They believed a Jewish priest could not pass through a graveyard, and they apparently thought Elijah was a priest. No Elijah, no Messiah.

This is a classic physical illustration of what the Bible calls “a stronghold.” Strongholds are barriers that seem impregnable. They are big and intimidating. They defeat people who have no faith.

The devil uses strongholds all the time. Slavery in Egypt was a stronghold. Jericho was literally a stronghold; it was a massive walled structure designed to prevent enemies from coming in and taking over. The other walled cities of Canaan were strongholds.

For Jesus, death was a stronghold. Satan killed his flesh, and he thought the job was done. The barrier between the dead and the living is a pretty serious barrier. Satan didn’t realize it was impossible to keep a sinless man in hell.

Satan–with our eager participation–builds strongholds in us. He causes bad things to happen to us, and he gets us to blame God, so we will never turn to him and be saved. He tempts us to do evil, and then he convinces us God will never want us, or that God has given up on us. He puts filthy habits in us to grieve the Holy Spirit. He makes salvation and victory seem impossible.

Over a period of decades, you can build walls of petrified filth around yourself, so deep and so high you can’t see any way past them. This is what I did. I am still in the process of getting free. I still slip. I still do things I hate.

God is wonderful after I fail. At the very moment when I think he will surely give up on me and let me be destroyed, he comes to me with more power than usual, as if I had just done something that pleased him greatly. The process continues. It can’t be stopped. It’s very strange. It’s hard to get used to receiving that kind of charity.

Our values and our knowledge of God are not adequate. We are very backward. We are lost. We are jaded. We aren’t disturbed by things that should shock and disgust us. We’re in our necks in sewage all day; we think it’s normal. When we make a few small moves in God’s direction, we think we’ve done a great deal, and we wonder why he’s still distant. We wonder why things go wrong. We don’t realize we’re still standing on the dock, in a land across an ocean from God.

People–especially liberals–use the term “slippery slope” with contempt in their voices, the way they used to say “domino theory.” Christians say our values and beliefs move gradually toward depravity. We say abortion cheapens life. We say condoning perversion will lead to the approval of things like incest and bestiality. We’re right, but our enemies can’t see it.

I was driving on I-95 the other day, and I saw a sign advertising something, and in big letters, it used the common slang term for testicles. Like that’s okay. Kids ride past the sign in cars and see it. No problem.

When I go to serious news sites on the web, I see sexual clickbait. Fox News and The Daily Mail, to name but two of many such sites, have little photo links with sexual content. A current Fox ad says, “Wardrobe whoopsies: On purpose, or an accident?” It shows a woman’s rear end in a see-through dress. A Daily Mail ad says, “Leggy blonde Victoria Silvstedt struggles to control her flirty mini-dress and flashes her behind as she boards a boat in Cannes.” Another Fox ad says, “Khloe’s wardrobe whoops.” Thanks to major news organizations, grandmothers now know what “nip-slip” means.

Imagine yourself in 1975, when things were already pretty bad. Try to picture news organizations and advertisers behaving this way back then.

If you could move someone from 1975 to 2016 instantly, he would be shocked and disgusted. We made the journey gradually, so we became acclimated.

We can’t even imagine how God-fearing people are supposed to live. We’re completely unfamiliar with their mindset. We eat excrement and think it’s caviar, because our frame of reference has shifted.

I am part of this. I can’t claim to be exceptional. When I slip, and when things go badly for me, I have to admit that I still belong to the class of people who live filthy lives. I am not a finished work. I have barely started. The walls of the stronghold are thick, and I’ve barely scratched a depression in them.

I write this in order to understand my situation better, and to give hope to other people. It may sound strange, telling people they’re filthy in order to give them hope. But it means there is room for improvement and increased victory. How would you feel if I said you were doing everything right, and that this is as good as it gets? That’s not a blessing. It’s a statement of despair.

My advice is to give up the idea that you can belong to the world and still get along with God. It’s the fountain of youth. It’s a perpetual motion machine. It’s a mirage you will never reach. TV ministers keep dangling the carrot in front of us in order to get our money and admiration, but it’s a lie. It will never, never happen. It never has.

Being filthy is bad. It’s terrible to know that the things you’ve done can never be undone. But think about it. If you’ve risen above it, how can it harm you? It’s terrible if you call yourself a Christian, yet you’ve beaten your wife or you’ve used prostitutes. But what if it’s behind you, and you can say so with certainty? Whatever you used to be, you don’t have to be ashamed of it if God has given you victory over it. That’s possible, and it’s something to pursue.

It would be painful to have to tell people you’re a junkie, but telling people you used to be a junkie wouldn’t be so bad.

I plan to keep going forward. Things are being removed from my life; it’s as if God were digging up the bodies outside the Golden Gate. The more things are removed, the better life will be. I don’t have to be perfect or even very good right now, as long as I keep going. As God has told me many times, location is nothing; direction is everything.

I think this will help you if you apply it. It is certainly helping me.

I’ll Have the Sparkling Water

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Rum Wears Out its Welcome

I had a lot of fun fooling around with tiki drinks this week, but I think I’m done for a while. I’m starting to think there is something poisonous in rum.

When I was in college, I thought drunkenness was a good thing, and I worked at it. It was very unusual for me to get sick, but I managed it a few times. I also got sick once after I graduated from law school. The two worst hangovers I ever had were from dark rum. It won’t just make you sick the day you drink it; it will make you sick for half of the following day.

I had some Jamaican friends when I was in law school, and one of them told me they don’t drink dark rum. She said it was for the tourists. I guess the Jamaicans know something.

Anyway, I had maybe four rum drinks this week, which is not exactly binge drinking, and today I feel sort of off. I really think there is something in that stuff, apart from alcohol, which the body does not like.

I didn’t use dark rum; I used Flor de Cana golden rum, which is about the color of brandy.


I had a few days of nostalgia, and I really enjoyed cooling off after working on plumbing and so on, but I would not want to drink this stuff every week.

A lot of Christians are very worked up about alcohol. I don’t worry about it. Every once in a while, I have a drink. On rare occasions, I have two. I think I’ll be okay. I would not encourage anyone else to drink, if it’s a problem.

Some people rewrite history. They claim Jesus was a teetotaler who drank fresh grape juice and called it wine. Yeah, okay. And for five bucks I’ll sell you a keychain made from a fragment of the cross.

I used to brew my own beer, and it was wonderful, but I don’t do it any more. When you barely drink, what do you do with five-gallon kegs of beer? They sit and go to waste. The extra fridge takes up space.

The down side of giving up brewing is that it’s nearly impossible for me to get a really good beer. There are a few beers that are good; I like Flying Dog Snake Dog ale and Dogfish 60 Minute IPA. But it’s nothing like having four or five utterly magnificent beers on tap.

It’s not a big sacrifice. I don’t care much about it.

I did a lot more work on the house yesterday. I removed a lot of useless PVC from the pool pump, and I replumbed it. I broke down and bought a reciprocating saw, like a Sawzall. I got a DeWalt. They get good reviews. It did a wonderful job of hacking pipes out so they could be thrown on the trash heap.

I’m still bummed out that I can’t find anyone competent to take my money. I would be satisfied with work that is merely good. It doesn’t have to be fantastic. Good is too much to ask in Miami. Everything is done to the Latin American standard, which is very low. There is a reason why BMWs are made in Germany instead of Honduras.

Call me a racist if you want. Cultural differences are not imaginary. Defending your stupid culture is a sure path to loserhood. Admitting its faults is the beginning of improvement. If you want to hear some heavy criticism, ask me about the backward, defeat-oriented culture I came from.

Yesterday one of my Cuban friends used vile language in a text message to tell me how much he hates Miami. He has plans for bookshelves, and he can’t find anyone who can build them. Ridiculous.

I’m trying to figure out what to do about the pumphouse’s electrical ground. There is a bar hammered into the ground outside the pumphouse, and there’s a big wire next to it. It’s not connected. Is that because some idiot knocked the clamp off, or is it because it’s bad for the pumphouse to have its own ground? I’m trying to find out. I’m tempted to call an electrician, but then I think about all the potentially deadly electrician errors I’ve found and fixed.

As far as I know, there are only two wires connecting the house and the pumphouse, and neither is a ground.

I am Googling around, and it looks like the ground rod should be connected. I think I’ll hook it up and see if anything explodes. I would rather have grounding than no grounding, even if it causes some comparatively minor issue with the electrical service. When I say “comparatively minor,” I am using “instant death on the pumphouse floor” as a reference.

The plumbing is not right. The pipes are generally on the floor or close to it, inviting breakage. People step on things. Also, the pipes are not supported. I looked it up, and PVC at 100 degrees has to be supported every five feet. I’m going to figure out how to do that. Whatever I do may not be the recommended method, but it will work, and it will be better than nothing.

Things keep going well in my prayer life and personal development. God keeps moving me to higher levels.

I’ve started to get a better feel for the degree of brainwashing mankind has experienced. We feel self-conscious about God. Why is that? Why don’t we think God is cool? He creates galaxies. He confers invulnerability and power. He is in charge, and if you’re aligned with him, you’re in charge, too. Why do we think that’s something to be ashamed of?

Being right is cool. Being powerful is cool. Not wasting your life is cool.

Our perceptions are completely warped. But with time, prayer, and submission, it changes.

The longer I live, the more I realize the people around me are idiots. I suppose that doesn’t sound Christlike. Look at this place, though. We run around in circles, doing things that don’t matter. We devote our lives to things God is eventually going to burn. We love man’s temporary, cobbled-together solutions to problems. We hate God’s solutions, which are perfect and come without regret. This place is horrible. It’s like Sodom. We can’t do anything right. We hate the very notion of doing things right.

I can’t respect humanity. It’s too much to ask. I was a mistake to try. It was a rabbit trail. People have a lot of knowledge, and you shouldn’t ignore all of it, but it’s stupid to put human beings on pedestals. As far as we know, Buddha is in hell. Alexander the Great is in hell. Albert Einstein. Aristotle. All sorts of human beings we think of as superhuman. You can push respect way too far.

We ruin everything down here. The worst part about it is that we destroy human beings.

I thought about that this morning while I was watching a show about technology. They were talking about a special ship that upends itself and turns into a research platform. It reminded me of an experience I had when I was a kid. Don’t ask me why.

My dad represented the Alcoa aluminum company. They had a special aluminum ship which was built for research. It was docked in the Bahamas or somewhere–I forget–and they invited my dad to bring me to see it. They took us on board and gave us a tour.

Today I thought about how little I got out of that experience, which should have been very rich.

When I was a kid, I was afraid of everyone. I had no self-confidence. I could not talk to people. I had been raised in a house of abuse, and my response was to wilt and hide.

Some kids are not like that. They choose to be as aggressive as their abusers. I believe Freud called this “aggressor identification.” You could also call it a generational curse or a cycle of abuse. Kids decide it’s better to be the abuser than the abused, so that’s the path they take. My sister went that way.

I couldn’t cope with life. Mainly, I wanted to be left alone. I was so used to losing, I was highly motivated to avoid trying. A lot of my encounters with my dad consisted of him verbally abusing me until I gave up and left him alone, which was what he wanted, so you can imagine how I felt about approaching people. He actively, deliberately worked to make me back down, feel bad about myself, and leave in fear.

I think this is why I love tools so much. Tools represent power and success. They counter feelings of being unable to cope.

Parents are supposed to prevent kids from growing up to be as I was. When a kid falters, his parents are supposed to notice it and take him aside and teach him how to stand up and respond to life’s challenges. I was afraid of my dad, and my mother was not much better off than I was, so I just sat back and decayed. When I was in my twenties, I started trying to compensate, but change was extremely gradual. The chains we put inside ourselves are heavy, and it takes a lot of time to cut them and push them out.

My dad didn’t seem to realize he was supposed to do anything to help me or my sister in life. As long as food was on the table, he felt like his job was done and that everyone should be grateful and obedient. It’s strange, because his own father was not like that.

I wonder if the men on the ship noticed the destruction in me. I notice it when I meet kids who can’t engage. I wonder if they tried to interest me in the ship and the research and then pulled back, realizing I had been ruined.

I don’t think shyness is normal. I think it’s a flag that exposes abuse. No matter how much you pretend in public, if your kids are shy, there has to be a reason, and you’re probably it.

You can have sympathy for other people’s kids, but usually, your ability to help them is limited. If you want to help, you have to look for opportunities to do or say something effective. Vigilance is important.

We ruin our children. We don’t submit to God. We put our flesh in charge. Our flesh puts Satan in charge. The result is that we become poisonous to people we are supposed to help.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot today. I can’t undo my childhood. I have been able to help a few younger people, though. Maybe that’s an acceptable exchange. Satan screwed up my youth, so I am being used to screw up his plans and help several other people. His evil is being multiplied back to him.

Interesting stuff.

I should have done better, but here I am, as I am, so I work with what I have.

Today I plan to make some adjustments to the pool pipes and put a clamp out the pumphouse ground. After that, I think I’ll relax and knock off some more of The Odyssey.

I have to say, I’m disgusted with mythology and the characters of Greek literature. People like Odysseus and Achilles were the scum of the earth. They were pirates, and “pirate” is not a flattering term. They were murderers, rapists, thieves, and slave masters. They were sadistic. They were greedy. They thought nothing of pitching babies off of city walls. It’s strange that we see them in a positive light. If there is a significant difference between these characters and the drug gangs in Mexico, I am hard-pressed to see it. The more I read, the more I root for them to lose.

I hope you’re enjoying your Saturday. Go easy on demon rum.

There is no Accounting for my Taste

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Some Concepts are too Small for the Brain to Cope With

I have been studying accounting today, and here is my conclusion: if you have a choice between poverty and studying accounting, choose poverty.

It is astounding to me that anyone can stand this stuff for more than half an hour. They say dentists and lawyers have the highest suicide rates. How can that be, when there are accountants? Maybe accountants drop dead spontaneously from boredom, before the urge to commit suicide can come to fruition.

As readers who are up to date know, I had to take over my dad’s bookkeeping, and that means using Quickbooks. You can’t use Quickbooks if you have no idea what the little words in the windows mean. You have to know something about accounting.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I found a guy who runs a website that helps rental property owners use Quickbooks, but his PDF that “explains” accounting is pretty horrid. I had to find something super basic, so I went to and signed up for a free course. I found a nice old guy who explains accounting by drawing bad cartoons on a whiteboard. This is more my speed.

I’ve probably sat through twenty minutes of the course, and to my credit, I haven’t put a firearm in my mouth even once.

I have a B.S. in physics, plus some graduate school. That means I had no problem with advanced math. Unfortunately, accounting is all addition and subtraction, and it uses filthy ARABIC NUMBERS, not clean little variables. I hate addition and subtraction. They are the toilet-scrubbing of math. Keeping track of endless pluses and minuses drives me nuts. So tedious. It’s like digging your way out of the Chateau d’If with a teaspoon.

There isn’t one single interesting concept in this mess. It’s all first-grade math, combined with the hassle of keeping signs straight. If you have any kind of a brain at all, accounting is paralyzing. If the Nazis had captured Oppenheimer and Einstein, they could have used accounting to torture them into revealing nuclear secrets.

It reminds me of a story my dad told me. He was in the army, and he and some other men were sitting around. A sergeant showed up and asked if any of them were college graduates; he said they had a special task for educated people. My dad raised his hand, expecting to get a cushy job. He and the other graduates were led away and forced to unload a huge truck full of typewriters.

Love that blue collar humor.

All that being said, this will be a good experience for me (when it’s over), because everyone should understand basic accounting. It would have been nice if I had realized the importance of accounting when I was in college. I could have made my dad foot the bill for a couple of leisurely courses. Sadly, I didn’t realize it until I was older, and when I did, I learned as little about it as possible. Now I have about a week in which to catch up.

How do people stand it? It must be a mental illness, like the one that makes some men want to be wrestling coaches. “Now, Tommy, put your fingers under my butt cheek and pull forcefully.”

Over the last few days, I have experienced a sudden need for big fruity alcoholic drinks. That his how badly accounting has damaged my brain. While I’m studying this horrible stuff, I have to have a big fruity drink at the end of the day to unwind. It’s either that or go to a doc-in-the-box and get a prescription for Xanax.

I might as well post the recipe for the drink I invented yesterday. I am not recommending drunkenness to anyone, but one nice cocktail probably won’t kill you.

I started with my friend’s creation, the chupacabra. That’s Mountain Dew and light rum, with a lime slice. It’s much better than it sounds. I like it a lot, but I felt like it needed the tiki treatment, so I went to work. I still don’t have a name for the drink I came up with, but you won’t believe how good it is. You have to like girly drinks in order to enjoy it. If all you drink is straight bourbon mixed with kerosene and your own chest hairs, it won’t do a thing for you. If you aren’t ashamed to be seen holding a pina colada (while caught in the rain), you’ll like this drink.


1/2 shot pineapple juice
1/2 shot lime juice
1 shot (maybe a little more) Flor de Cana rum
2 teaspoons Coco Lopez
2 teaspoons grenadine
Ginger ale (Seagram’s, which has less sugar than most)

You start by dumping the Coco Lopez into a tall glass. Then add ice. Then mix the lime juice, pineapple juice, and rum and pour them in. Then add ginger ale to fill it up. Put the grenadine on top. I added four raspberries and a lime slice, too. Pineapple chunks would work.

This thing will blow your mind. It’s like chewing a whole roll of tropical fruit Lifesavers. When you’re done drinking it, you can scoop the bits of congealed Coco Lopez off the bottom and eat them along with the fruit.

I had two whole drinks yesterday. For me, that’s practically a binge. That’s how much I hate accounting.

It looks like I have a gift for inventing mixed drinks. I don’t plan to pursue it, but it definitely made this week less painful for me.

In two weeks, I will be either an accomplished accountant or a hopeless alcoholic. One way or the other, this ordeal will be over.

Sling is Slung, da Grass is Riz

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

I Wonder Where the Crab Rangoon iz

I guess I’m going to have a Singapore Sling every day until I decide I’ve gotten it right.

Today I made some progress, so I will pass the information along.

This drink is shaken, but because it contains soda, you can’t add the soda until after you shake it. That means that once you’ve shaken all the red ingredients and the gin, you have to strain it into a glass with ice in it, and then you have to get the soda in there. If you add too much ice or too much soda, you have problems. And it’s important to make sure the red stuff and the soda are mixed up a little, unless you like soda on top of a layer of cough syrup.

I took a pint glass and put around 4 ounces of ice in the bottom. Maybe 5. Then I added a mandatory skewer loaded with fresh fruit. Then I shook the red stuff and poured it and the soda into the glass simultaneously. That way, the ingredients mixed, and I was able to meter everything so I didn’t end up with too much soda or leftover red stuff.

Yesterday I said the red ingredients tasted a lot alike. Today I did a little research, and it looks like I was not imagining it. The stuff we call grenadine is supposed to be pomegranate syrup, but it’s really cherry syrup. Look it up. You can get the real thing at a Middle Eastern grocery, but since bar owners are cheap, it probably won’t be what they use, and it won’t have the taste you know and love.

Bartenders have a longstanding practice of using the juice from cherry jars in recipes calling for grenadine.

Cheap creme de cassis tastes a whole lot like cherries, too, and so does cheap sloe gin. It’s probably the same basic batch of chemicals and natural flavors.

Real sloe gin and creme de cassis exist, but you will have to look for them, and again, they may taste nothing like what you expect.

I decided to go with bottled lime juice this time because I wanted to see if it was any good. I used Mrs. Biddle’s key lime juice, which must be made with real key limes, because it says “key lime juice,” not “Key West lime juice” or some other such nonsense. Key limes are a little bitter, so that’s something to consider. I think fresh Persian lime juice would probably be better, but not a whole lot better, because this is a big, sweet, sloppy drink with lots of stuff in it.

I used Gordon’s gin. Last time, I used Boodle’s, which is light and full of flowery flavors. It was slightly better, but it costs over twice as much as Gordon’s, and I am not so dedicated I’m willing to put $25 gin in a tacky tiki drink.

I bought some skewers, fresh pineapple, and Maraschino cherries. I took a skewer and put several chunks of pineapple on it, along with three cherries and two lime slices. I stuck that in the glass before I poured the drink.

Here is the current recipe.


1.5 ounces gin
0.5 ounces cherry Heering
0.5 ounces creme de cassis
1 tablespoon grenadine
1.5 ounces key lime juice (bottled)
0.25 ounces sloe gin
club soda
fresh pineapple
fresh lime slices
Maraschino cherries
cold club soda

Put everything except the soda in a shaker. Put 4-5 ounces of crushed ice in a tall (I used a pint) glass. Skewer some fruit and put it in the glass. Shake the red stuff with ice. Strain the red stuff into the glass while pouring club soda in from the other side.

That’s about it. It’s really nice. Not the classiest drink in the universe, but very pleasant.

05 11 15 singapore sling

Tomorrow I plan to make one with a spoonful of Coco Lopez in the bottom.

I wrote a big long blog post about the challenges of taking over my dad’s responsibilities, but I decided to trash it and post this instead. I think I’ll be having one of these drinks every day until I get on top of his taxes.

Give it a Name

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Trump Needs a Visit from Mr. Shhh

Yesterday I wrote about Trader Vic’s, the famous tiki bar and Polynesian restaurant. When I was in college at Columbia University, my friends and I used to go there and get obliterated on sweet drinks with fruit in them.

I do not miss getting obliterated, but for some reason, yesterday I felt like I needed a tiki bar drink. The stress of instantly taking over my dad’s taxes and real estate was getting to me, and the weather here was heating up after a wonderful, relatively cool April, so I felt sorry for myself.

It was hard to decide what to do. I didn’t actually know how to make tiki drinks, or as Jimmy the Saint used to call them, “boat drinks.”

I found some help on the web. It turns out Trader Vic was a real person. His name was Vic Bergeron, and he wrote a few books. Some are useless, because the drink recipes say things like “2 parts Trader Vic’s Prefab Zombie Mixer” instead of the real ingredients. Others have information that can actually be helpful. There is also a forum dedicated to tiki bars, and when you Google, some good information comes up.

My repertoire was not completely empty. A friend of mine came up with a surprisingly good drink which he called a Chupacabra. Very simple.


Flor de Cana light rum
Mountain Dew
Juice of half a lime

That’s about it. You pour it over ice. The proportions are up to you. Flor de Cana is very smooth, unlike the ammonia-like products of Bacardi.

You can dress it up with things like Grenadine or creme de cassis. You can add a splash of coconut rum or Grand Marnier. It’s much better than it sounds.

Yesterday I made something sort of similar, using ginger ale and pineapple juice, along with a small amount of Grand Marnier. It was okay, but not ideal.

I decided to try my hand at a Singapore sling. Today I went out and bankrupted myself buying ingredients. It requires gin, sloe gin, grenadine syrup, Heering cherry liqueur, and creme de cassis. You mix it with lime juice, shake it, and top it off with club soda. I’ll be trying that later.

Vic called his version the Trader Vic’s sling. I think he served it with a rock candy swizzle stick, but that may have been the sloe gin fizz. It’s amazing that I remember any of the drink names, given the condition in which I usually oozed out of the building.

I found the recipe online. Is it authentic? I do not know. But here it is.

Singapore Sling

1 1/2 oz. gin
1/2 oz. cherry brandy
1/2 oz. creme de cassis
1/4 oz. sloe gin
1/2 lime
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 tbsp. grenadine
club soda to top

Lovingly pour each ingredient except the club soda into your cocktail shaker with some ice. When shaking is over, pour into a collins glass and top off with club soda.

I could not find any high-end brands of sloe gin or creme de cassis around here. I don’t think that matters, because I very much doubt Trader Vic went out of his way to get the best.

I brought home my red ingredients and tried them, and they all tasted pretty much the same. The cherry Heering is fierier than the others, and either the creme de cassis or the sloe gin has a scary aftertaste, but they all taste more or less like a mixture of black cherries and pie cherries. I think you could eliminate two of them without changing the drink at all. I would keep the Heering and grenadine.

Later on I’m going to mix up a sling and see if it’s any good.

I barely drink these days, so if I manage to finish one of these things, it will be remarkable.

It would be neat if they had a Trader Vic’s down here. Once a year I’d like to go and enjoy the tacky decor and the weird appetizers.

I learned something interesting. The bartender my friends and I knew as Buck was actually named Shek Gong. I guess he didn’t actually invent the Buck’s Fizz. Or maybe he did, and it’s really the Shek’s Fizz. I read about him in the article I found which detailed the disgraceful way Donald Trump (the real-life Man With the Plan) ejected Vic from the Plaza’s basement.

walken buckwheats trump trader vics

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get Quickbooks working, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be able to face the day without even thinking about Tiki Puka Pukas and Kama’ainas.

Buckwheats for Trump, though. Definitely buckwheats.


I just completed my experiment, and I concluded a few things.

First of all, it’s a real trip back to the past. The flavor is right on. Wonderful. But there are a few things to fix.

The recipe I quoted says “1 T grenadine.” I assumed “T” meant “teaspoon,” but after I tried the drink, I realized that was wrong.

The purpose of the grenadine is to cover up the dubious flavors of the other ingredients. It smooths them out. Cherry Heering is not exactly Hennessy XO, and Hiram Walker creme de cassis is not that great, either. So I concluded “T” means “tablespoon.” When you increase the amount from one teaspoon to one tablespoon, it tastes like the drink Trader Vic’s used to serve.

Also, you need to stir the soda into the drink, or else you get a drink that’s pure soda on top and cough syrup on the bottom. Stir it gently once or twice. It doesn’t have to be thoroughly mixed. Just make an effort to blend it slightly.

What else? I used lime juice instead of lemon. Lime juice is fragrant and complex, and it brings out the complexity of other ingredients. Lemon juice is kind of dull. I used a fresh lime, not a bottle.

Final thing: I think it would be best to add some fruit to this. I used a lime wedge, because that’s what I had. In the future, I would spear one or two chunks of fresh pineapple with a lime wedge or slice between them, and I would put a cherry on top just for laughs. That would be great. The rock candy swizzle stick I dimly recall from Trader Vic’s would work great, but you would need to work fruit into it somehow.

I may have imagined the rock candy swizzle stick. Fair warning.

It was very nice. I think tomorrow I’ll have another.