Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to get what you want

"There ain't no free lunches in this country. And don't go spending your whole life commiserating that you got the raw deals. You've got to say, 'I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can have it.' It's called perseverance."

Lee Iacocca
Businessman and Former CEO of Chrysler

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What to trust in

"It is a lesson which all history teaches the wise, to put trust in ideas, and not in circumstances"

Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882, Essayist, Philosopher and Poet

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pomegranate Juice May Stop Prostate Cancer Recurrence

"Pomegranate juice may slow the progression of post-treatment prostate cancer recurrence, according to new long-term research results being presented at the 104th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). Researchers found that men who have undergone treatment for localized prostate cancer could benefit from drinking pomegranate juice."

End the University as We Know It

"Graduate education is the Detroit of higher learning. Most graduate programs in American universities produce a product for which there is no market (candidates for teaching positions that do not exist) and develop skills for which there is diminishing demand (research in subfields within subfields and publication in journals read by no one other than a few like-minded colleagues), all at a rapidly rising cost (sometimes well over $100,000 in student loans)."

How night owls are cleverer and richer than people who rise early

I liked one of the comments posted on this article: "Has anyone noticed that night owls are also much more interesting than early birds?"

"It has long been held that the early bird catches the worm. But it is the night owl that lasts the distance, research shows.

It found that late risers tire less quickly than those who make a point of getting up at the crack of dawn.

The study is likely to be embraced by anyone tired of being branded lazy for their love of a lie-in."

Strengthening enthusiasm

"We often think of enthusiasm as caused by an external event. However, it can be generated from within, becoming an intentional action for transforming virtually anything in our lives. Enthusiasm can take the seemingly small, dull, boring, or unimportant and turn it into something new and magnificent. Learn to strengthen the muscle of your enthusiasm, letting the tiny become great, and you will reclaim your energy and passion."

Anat Baniel

Monday, April 27, 2009

Terry's 'Biblical Hermeneutics' online

Here's the full text of the book I just reviewed on Amazon. I naggingly keep pointing out that I don't care to read books online, but those without my 20th century peccadillos may find it useful. Especially good for reading enough of a book to know whether you want to purchase.

'Biblical Hermeneutics,' by Milton Terry: an Amazon review

"When I was a student at Moody Bible Institute, I asked various professors what books they recommended as the best of the best in several different areas. (Yeah, I was that kind of nerd).

One of the suggestions was a surprise: a book that was close to 100 years old at the time, and it was the suggestion for hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics is the art of interpreting a text. Since I was studying Bible and theology, the hermeneutics we were dealing with was the art of interpreting the text of the scriptures. And the suggestion was Milton Terry's Biblical Hermeneutics.

I am ashamed to admit that I didn't read this book for almost 20 years. It sat on my shelf, daunting and looking too large to read without a major commitment. Late last fall, I decided that it was time to either put up (read it, in other words) or give the book away.

So read I did. And true to my earlier fears, this book was a major undertaking. I read fairly quickly, and still spent close to 3 months digesting the close to 750 pages of densely packed and closely reasoned text.

And, you know, my professor was right. Nothing I've read on the question of biblical interpretation has covered all the bases of this sub-discipline like this book. The book is a master work, a methodical, but well-written overview. And given the academic quality of the book, it's surprisingly readable. Even, at times, enjoyable. And unlike some who believe the word of God, Terry doesn't avoid the hard questions of biblical interpretation, and deals at length with textual and interpretational difficulties.

Some can separate the biblical text from their faith. I can't. So I appreciated that Milton Terry has -- while being a rigorous scholar -- a concern that the text be not only correctly interpreted from an academic standpoint, but also that the text be properly interpreted to enable God's church to hear and learn God's word.

I don't agree with Terry on everything. No one but a sychophant even pretends to. But listening to the arguments of those we disagree with sharpens our minds and intellects. The slight weakness is one that could not be avoided: the book is dated in some areas. This could not be avoided, given that the book was published in 1898. A glaring example is Terry's dealing with the glossolalia. We hear such discussions in the context of the modern charismatic movement, a movement that gained its modern face beginning in 1901, and really coming of age at the Azusa Street revivals of 1906. But, of course, this is not an error, just something that the reader must mentally correct for when reading about the topic in the book.

This is a good, well-written, and worthwhile book. It is worth the reader's time and efforts, and will bear fruit in a renewed appreciation for the word of God."

Omega-3 Kills Cancer Cells

"Docosahexanoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oils, has been shown to reduce the size of tumors and enhance the positive effects of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, while limiting its harmful side effects."

What Makes Laughter the Best Medicine?

"Laughter has a real beneficial effect on your physical health, according to research. In the study, subjects were observed as they watched both serious movies and comedies. During the comedies, their arteries dilated and their blood pressure dropped, suggesting that laughter can in fact be a powerful medicine indeed."

Ubiquinol: Boost Energy Levels and Overall Health with Best Form of Co Q 10

"(NaturalNews) Still wondering what form of Coenzyme Q 10 to take? New research findings may help with the decision. Scientists have found that the ubiquinol, the reduced form of Co Q 10, dramatically improves absorption of Co Q 10 in patients with severe heart failure compared to supplements of ubiquinone, the unreduced form of Co Q 10. In other findings, the high antioxidant status of ubiquinol has allowed it to significantly inhibit inflammation. And to top it off, prices for the more effective ubiquinol have come down to levels commensurate with those of the unreduced Co Q 10 supplements in the ubiquinone form."


"Life is too short to waste. Dreams are fulfilled only through action, not through endless planning to take action."

David J. Schwartz
Trainer and Author

Friday, April 24, 2009

The gentleness of St. Peter

"Do you see what a great thing gentleness is, how it stings our hearts more than vehemence? It inflicts indeed a keener wound. For in the case of bodies that have become callous, a blow does not affect the sense so powerfully, but if someone first softens them and makes them tender, then a stab is effective. Likewise here one must first soften, and that which softens is not wrath, not vehement accusation, not reproach, but gentleness ... For notice how he gently reminded them of the outrages they have committed, adding no comment. He spoke of the gift of God, he brought in the grace that bears witness to the event, and he drew out his discourse to still greater length. They stood in awe of the gentleness of Peter, because he was speaking like a father and caring teacher to them who crucified his master and breathed murder against himself and his companions. They were not merely persuaded; they even condemned themselves. They came to a sense of their past behavior."

St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This generation

"What really distinguishes this generation in all countries from earlier generations - is its determination to act, its joy in action, the assurance of being able to change things by one's own efforts."

Hannah Arendt
1906-1975, Political Philosopher

Did you ever notice that the only kind of energy environmentalists don't mind wasting

... is human energy?

Environmentalists in the main genuinely detest devices (such as automobiles or dishwashers) that save human energy, and often (especially in such tools as dishwashers) save water and fuel energy. But I've found that environmentalists tend to have a sort of Ghandian vision of a world made up of small villages in which people work long hours on subsistence crops and live short lives. Tools that take us out of that sad vision are the ones they hate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What to give up

"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."

Kenny Rogers

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Case for Healthy Bowels: The Vital Connection Between Your Gut and Your Health

"The fact is that if your digestive tract isn't operating efficiently, you have more to worry about than just your colon. When you carry around too few friendly bacteria and an overabundance of the bad stuff, your body doesn't make use of all the nutrients you're feeding it."

Is Local Food Better?

In the midst of the current hysteria about "local food," this is a thoughtful and engaging article about the concept, and what it means to us.

"What's "Local"?

But what exactly is "local food" in the first place? How local is local?

One problem with trying to determine whether local food is greener is that there's no universally accepted definition of local food. Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, authors of The 100-Mile Diet, write that they chose this boundary for their experiment in eating locally because "a 100-mile radius is large enough to reach beyond a big city and small enough to feel truly local. And it rolls off the tongue more easily than the ‘160-kilometer diet.'" Sage Van Wing, who coined the term "locavore" with a friend when she was living in Marin County, California, was inspired to eat local after reading Coming Home to Eat, a chronicle of author Gary Paul Nabhan's own year-long effort to eat only foods grown within 250 miles of his Northern Arizona home. She figured that if Nabhan could accomplish that in the desert, she could do even better in the year-round agricultural cornucopia that is Northern California, so she decided to limit herself to food from within 100 miles."


"Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young."

Paul McCartney

Monday, April 20, 2009

Putin Warns US About Socialism

"Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin has said the US should take a lesson from the pages of Russian history and not exercise “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence”.

“In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute,” Putin said during a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.”

Commitment and accountability

"Commitment with accountability closes the gap between intention and results."

Sandra Gallagher

Sunday, April 19, 2009


"A daily dose of the 'wonder drug' aspirin can cause bleeding in the brain, researchers have found.

Brain scans on more than 1,000 patients revealed a 70 per cent higher incidence of microscopic bleeding among those taking the drug."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The immersion of tables in Mark 7

Most Baptists insist that Baptism in the New Testament was always by immersion: a submerging of the entire body under water.

I've written elsewhere that I think this is incorrect, given the instances in the Book of Acts.

But Mark 7 (4:b, "the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables") is another example of the problems such folks have.

The word used here ("washings") is elsewhere translated "baptisms." The English "baptism," "baptize," etc. are transliterations from the Greek.

I'm easily persuaded that cups and pots were immersed. But tables?

Steaming Hot Tea Linked to Cancer

"Drinking steaming hot tea has been linked with an increased risk of esophageal (food tube) cancer. A study found that drinking black tea at temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius or higher, increased the risk."

The Case for Healthy Bowels: The Vital Connection Between Your Gut and Your Health

"Chances are you have digestive issues. And you're not alone. According to recent studies conducted by the Dannon Company in 2007, nearly 90 percent of Americans deal with occasional problems with digestion.1 Seventy percent of women say digestive concerns negatively impact their lives every single day."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dogs are More Like Humans than Chimpanzees?

"Chimpanzees share many genes with humans, but dogs have lived among humans for so long and undergone so much domestication that they are now serving as a model for understanding human social behavior."

Big tasks and small

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

Helen Keller

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vitamin D Deficiency Related To Increased Inflammation In Healthy Women

ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2009) — According to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 75 percent of Americans do not get enough Vitamin D. Researchers have found that the deficiency may negatively impact immune function and cardiovascular health and increase cancer risk. Now, a University of Missouri nutritional sciences researcher has found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation, a negative response of the immune system, in healthy women.

Sharing and having

"The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have."

Leonard Nimoy

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm intrigued.

The last 2 (the latest this morning) visits from Jehovah's Witnesses were solo visits: one individual coming to the door.

I'd always been told that they came in groups of 2 for a number of reasons: safety in numbers, pairing a veteran with a newbie, and to avoid one getting lured away from their not-true faith by someone who could persuade them.

So I'm wondering: is this a new policy? A local thing? Just what?

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

While others growing up in the 1960s and 70s were experimenting with drugs, I was a boring nerd who never tried anything stronger than a Pepsi.

So people are sometimes surprised when the topic comes up and I tell them I'm interested in complete, total, unrestricted legalization of any and all drugs.

Not "decriminalization," not "lessened penalties," and not medical treatments for drug users: just a complete taking drugs and other substances out of any legal, governmental sphere.

Because the "drug wars" (to quote one of Nixon's many mistakes) has been such an utter, unremitting failure. And because it's time to admit that it was all a terrible mistake, and to stop what might be charitably called nonsense.

This is a good article, about drug decriminalization in Portugal in 2001. Decriminalization isn't what I'd like. But it would sure be a good start. I'd be willing to compromise on that.

On kindness

"Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind."

Eric Hoffer
1902-1983, Author and Philosopher

Common Peas Can Help Your Blood Pressure?

"Researchers have found that proteins in common garden peas can help fight high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD patients are actually at highest risk from the cardiovascular complications arising from high blood pressure associated with kidney malfunction."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Common Table Grapes Reduce Blood Pressure, Repair Heart Damage

"(NaturalNews) The consumption of regular table grapes may lower blood pressure and improve heart health better than drugs, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor, and published in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences."

What makes for happiness

"I am more and more convinced that our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves."

Karl Wilhelm Von Humboldt
1767-1835, German Statesman

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why was the stone rolled back?

"An angel descended and rolled back the stone. He did not roll back the stone to provide a way of escape for the Lord but to show the world that the Lord had already arisen. He rolled back the stone to help his fellow servants believe, not to help the Lord rise from the dead. He rolled back the stone for the sake of faith, because it had been rolled over the tomb for the sake of unbelief. He rolled back the stone so that he who took death captive might hold the title of Life. Pray, brothers, that the angel would descend now and roll away all the hardness of our hearts and open up our closed senses and declare to our minds that Christ has risen, for just as the heart in which Christ lives and reigns is heaven, so also the heart in which Christ remains dead and buried is a grave. May it be believed that just as he died, so was he transformed. Christ the man suffered, died and was buried, as God, he lives, reigns, is and will be forever."

Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 75.4

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The breaking of the legs

In John 19 (31-36) we read: "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken."

The reference is to Psalm 34.20 & Exodus 12.46. We're explicitly told that the Jews (presumably, the temple authorities) asked that the bones be broken. They would have known the prophecy, and by encouraging the breaking of the bones, would know that a break would vitiate the fulfillment in Christ. Given the hostility of the temple authorities, I wonder if this was behind the request to Pilate.

The earliest hermeneutic

Milton Terry, in Biblical Hermeneutics, proposes that in the history of biblical interpretation, Ezra (in Nehemiah 8.8) is the first explicit interpreter of the scriptures.

I'd suggest that the first interpreter is a bit earlier: Eve.

Eve (in Gen. 3.3) says to the serpent, "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die," interpreting Gen. 2.17b, "Thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

I'm not certain whether Eve was right in her interpretation. She goes beyond what we know of the explicit word of God. But whether the interpretation is correct or not, she was explicating it. So the first honors goes to Eve.

Empty Your Inbox in 30 Seconds

"Everyone wants to control the daily barrage of emails, but often the task is just too daunting. Before you give up hope, there’s an instant way to clear your inbox of old emails in about 30 seconds."

Friday, April 10, 2009

What the drug wars cost

Quick, easy, and logical. This is the best summary of the issue I've heard.

Wine mingled with gall

"When they had come to Golgotha, the Gospel says, 'They gave him vinegar mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he refused to drink.' This event was foretold by David when he wrote, 'They gave me gall for food, and they gave me vinegar to slake my thirst.' Take note of the mystery revealed here. Long ago, Adam tasted the sweetness of the apple and obtained the bitterness of death for the whole human race. In contrast to this, the Lord tasted the bitterness of gall and obtained our restoration from death's sting to the sweetness of life. He took on himself the bitterness of gall in order to extinguish in us the bitterness of death."

Chromatius of Aquileia, Tractate on Matthew 19.7

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Facebook and the 1990's America OnLine

I've been thinking some about how Facebook today resembles my (and a lot of other folks') first introduction to the internet: AOL. There is the sense of community, the interest groups, even the messenger capability. I'm wondering whether there's intentionality to it. AOL came to feel dorky after a while, but Facebook doesn't feel that way.

10 Ways to Instantly Build Self Confidence

"Self confidence is the difference between feeling unstoppable and feeling scared out of your wits. Although many of the factors affecting self confidence are beyond your control, there are a number of things you can consciously do to build self confidence."

A "super spice" for your diet

If you like Indian food, you know that curry's good for you: it just tastes so good.

But if you're not already a fan of Indian food, here's a health reason that might make you consider your diet. I'm not a fan of making your kitchen your pharmacy, but tumeric might be worth the switch. This is a good video about it.


"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true."

Richard Bach

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The crash of flight 93

An interview with a woman who claims to have been in the room when the order to shoot down flight 93 was given on 9/11/01:

"And what really fascinates me about this story is that what you’re saying is that you’re blowing the whistle, if I can use that term, on the fact that Flight 93 - it WAS shot down, which will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying any attention to this over the years."

The fruitcakes are coming

If you've ever participated in an online discussion, you know what happens: the nuts take over. (Ask me how I know ... :)

What I don't understand is the obsession some folks have with certain issues. Our local newspaper is an example. Almost every topic discussed online is somehow brought around to illegal immigration.

I think that immigration should be very open. I think it's good for our country, not to mention good for the folks who come in. I understand that folks differ from me, both in the mechanics of the situation (how we deal with newly-immigrated folks) as well as with the broader issue of immigration itself.

But the near-hysteria escapes me. Why is it people are so terrified of immigrants, legal or otherwise? I know it's not a recent trend -- the nativist bent in American thought is an old one. But I'm still baffled by where it comes from.

Which church to join?

I wish I could claim credit for having found this. But I must defer to my friend, colleague, sometime co-belligerent, but always thought-provoking (yeah, I'm using that phrase a lot today) Pastor Weedon, famed Lutheran and white theologian. (If we can name someone as a "black theologian," why not a white one? So there. And if you talk to him, tell him he's too skinny in this picture. Looks like somebody from a Schindler's List reunion. Tell him to go get a pizza).

"There comes a heathen and says, 'I wish to become a Christian, but I know not whom to join: there is much fighting and faction among you, much confusion: which doctrine am I to choose?' How shall we answer him? "Each of you" (says he) "asserts, 'I speak the truth.'" No doubt: this is in our favor. For if we told you to be persuaded by arguments, you might well be perplexed: but if we bid you believe the Scriptures, and these are simple and true, the decision is easy for you. If any agree with the Scriptures, he is the Christian; if any fight against them, he is far from this rule." -- St. John Chrysostom, (Homily 33 in Acts of the Apostles [NPNF1,11:210-11; PG 60.243-44])

Camille Paglia, redux

There are times when I'm eating alone (I work from home, and sometimes lunch by myself) and I want to read something entertaining but at the same time thought-provoking, and I often pull out one of Camille Paglia's books, open at random, and enjoy the repartee, the give and take of a caustic writer. Here's Paglia's latest piece from Salon. Always enjoyable, always thought-provoking, and always entertaining.

The greatest failure

"The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it."

Debbi Fields
Founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


"If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'good morning' at total strangers."

Maya Angelou

Monday, April 06, 2009

Where dreams are impossible

"The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking."

Robert H. Schuller

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The progress of doctrine

"Men never do understand anything unless already in their minds they have some kindred ideas, something that leads up to the new thought which they are required to master. Our knowledge grows, but it is by the gradual accumulation of thought upon thought, and by following out ideas already gained to their legitimate conclusions. God followed this rule even in the supernatural knowledge bestowed upon the prophets. It was a growing light, a gradual dawning preparatory to the sunrise, and no flash of lightning, illuminating everything for one moment with ghastly splendor, to be succeeded immediately by a deeper and more oppressive gloom ... Carefully, and with prayer, the prophets studied the teaching of their predecessors, and by the use of the light already given were made fit for more light, and to be the spokesmen of Jehovah in teaching ever more clearly to the Church those truths which have regenerated mankind."

Robert Payne Smith, Prophecy, A Preparation for Christ, 1870, pps. 304-305,

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The arrogance of dinosaurs: "Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause."

"Keller was speaking at Stanford University to dedicate a new building for the campus newspaper -- an event he likened to a "ribbon-cutting" for "a new Pontiac dealership."

The bombastic broadsheet editor went on to equate the keep-the-Times-alive movement to the cause of starving African refugees, saying, "Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause."

His humbling becomes our example

"He humbled himself, according to the Scriptures, taking on himself the form of a slave. He became like us that we might become like him. The work of the Spirit seeks to transform us by grace into a perfect copy of his humbling."

St. Cyril of Alexandria, Festal Letter, 10:4, on Philippians 2.5-11

The Queen's Ipod

Friday, April 03, 2009

Best day of my life!

"Many thoughts cross your mind one hour before the beginning of an Ironman Triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run). Can I finish? Was my training plan sound? Did I do everything I possibly could to prepare myself for the day? What if I get a flat tire on the bike? What is my nutrition plan for the bike and run? Self doubt is natural.

As I rode down the hotel elevator one hour before the beginning of Ironman Wisconsin, I overheard the following conversation between strangers:

Stranger 1 - "Good morning. How are you?"

Stranger 2 - "Best day of my life."

Stranger 1 -

Stranger 2 - "Young man, make this the best day of your life."

These simple 5 words from an anonymous stranger stayed with me for the next 11 hours 37 minutes and 12 seconds to the finish line. They were spoken without hesitation or rehearsal. They were spoken with wisdom, passion, and gratefulness. Ironman Triathlons have a way of magnifying yet simplifying life. There are only so many things in life you can control. You are 100% in control of your attitude. Your daily 'self talk' can be negative or positive. The choice is yours.

Stranger 2 turned out to be Frank Farrar, the former Governor of South Dakota and 79 year old Ironman Triathlete. Frank has competed in over 30 Ironman distance Triathlons and continues to compete. Thank you Frank for these words!"

Steve Muller

Steve Muller is the President of a Wisconsin automotive sales and finance company. He is a 3 time Ironman finisher and 20 time Marathon finisher.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


"Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no matter how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity but with it you can accomplish miracles."

Og Mandino
1923-1996, Speaker and Author

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The church in Russia

An insightful and well-written article in the April 2009 edition of National Geographic, about the state of the church in Russia.

(And written by no less than Serge Schmemann, son of Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann).

Heath and heathen

The word "heathen" is old -- dating from before the 12th century AD.

The word -- signifying to us an irreligious or unconverted person -- is probably derived from the English word "heath," meaning "an extensive area of rather level open uncultivated land usually with poor coarse soil."

So at some point in our past, at least in England, the heathen were likely country folks, those who lived out in the heaths.

The same is true with "pagan": "from Late Latin paganus, from Latin, civilian, country dweller, from pagus country district." The "pagani" were the hayseeds from out in the sticks.

We in America think of cities (especially very large ones) as being hotbeds of irreligion and vice, and the countryside as the dwelling place of strong piety. Not so to our ancestors, who knew that the last places where the old pagan religions resided was in the countryside.

Culture flows from urban centers outward. That's why St. Paul kept going to cities to preach the gospel: that's where the influence was. Jerusalem, Athens, and finally Rome, where he was martyred.

The voiced "H" sound

I've commented before about the "H" sound at the beginning of words in English. Here's another interesting example, again from the Authorized Version ("KJV").

Matt. 18.17 has "let him be unto thee as an heathen man," which seems to imply that the "h" at the beginning of "heathen" was not voiced. In other words, reading it in 1611, it might have been read "as an 'eathen man" (a long "e" sound, in other words).

Indoor tanning and vitamin D

I keep pushing people to get their vitamin D by sunshine. And when you can't get sunshine (as in the winter), using a tanning bed is a good alternative.

I am very excited to hear of this newest technology for indoor tanning. Check it out now:

Free speech shakedown: Canada, 1984, and the future

George Orwell's writings appear more prescient as the years past. His 1984, for years downplayed as a minor classic, may be just that. But his vision of a dystopia in which thoughts and intentions were ferreted out by government bureaucrats is coming true in many areas.

This article is an example of such an event, this time north of us in Canada. Americans should beware of smugly dismissing these happenings. We are facing similar bureaucratic insanity in our own borders.

"On Jan. 11, 2008, I was summoned to a 90-minute government interrogation. My crime? As the publisher of Western Standard magazine, I had reprinted Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad to illustrate a news story. I was charged with the offence of "discrimination" and made to appear before Alberta's Human Rights and Citizenship Commission (AHRCC) for questioning. As crazy as it sounds, I became the only person in the world to face legal sanction for printing those cartoons."

What's easy and what's not

"It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action."

Al Batt
Writer and Speaker