Friday, July 31, 2009


I'm intrigued by sounds that we can't make.

Sounds that a 2 year old routinely say are impossible for adult (or even later child) learners to master. The most obvious example are the click consonants found in some southern African languages, such as Xhosa, which I'm told are virtually impossible to master after infancy. Here's an example of such:

But there are other, less egregious examples that are nonetheless still hard for language learners. I was listening to a video this morning. A Dutch speaker was speaking in English pronounced "with" as "wis." The English "th" sound is one of those difficult for native Dutch speakers to master. (I'm reminded of a book I read in high school in which a native Dutch speaker, attempting to learn English spoke of having to exaggeratedly say, for example, "thee-ank you" to try to get the sound out).

But our friends in Amsterdam aren't the first, of course. Judges 12.5-6 recounts the first recorded such problem:

"And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The world as a mirror

"The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you. The world is what you are."

Thomas Dreier

The 3rd Bush administration

I tend to ignore random political comments from bystanders.

A woman pressed the issue this morning. Looking for something at Wal Mart, she said, "Everything's so expensive now!"

I grunted, or made some noise indicating that I'd heard the comment.

She repeated herself, and said, "Don't you think so?" The best response I could come up with was, "They're cheaper here than they would be elsewhere."

She continued. Don't get me wrong: she was a nice person, not a nut, and probably just being friendly. "What do you think they're going to do about health care?"

For me, the good news is I don't think they're going to do much of anything. In other words, their status quo will mean that we retain what parts of our health freedom we still have.

But I said something non-committal, like "I'm sure they're trying to do something," hoping she would be satisfied. She wasn't. She went on to the point of this discussion, "What do you think about what the president's doing?"

Sigh. I feel bad for the true believers. Month after painful month goes along, and this train wreck of a presidency continues to do nothing. But for the believers, it's hard to watch. It reminds me of the reactions of conservatives to the Bush administration. Action after action showed conservatives that Bush was not one of them, and had no intention of rewarding their support.

Now our friends who supported Obama have come to realize that this is yet another imperialist, big government, war-mongering administration. They desperately want to believe that what they're seeing is not true. Many of them imagined that Obama promised things he didn't (such as about the wars). Now reality is setting in. They keep thinking things will get better, that this administration will show a more progressive, enlightened face. It won't. But realizing that is hard.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Creativity, thinking, and guts

"Be creative. Use unconventional thinking. And have the guts to carry it out."

Lee Iacocca
Automobile Executive and Author

The flu and those who don't understand health

"The lottery, they say, is a tax on people who can't do math. Similarly, flu vaccines are a tax on people who don't understand health."

Mike Adams, The Health Ranger

(My only difference would be this: flu vaccines are attacks on people who don't understand health).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Habits of success

"You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event - it is a habit."

384-322 BC, Greek Philosopher and Scientist

Chlorine in Your Baby Carrots

"The small cocktail or “baby” carrots you buy are made using the larger crooked or deformed carrots which are put through a machine which cuts and shapes them into cocktail carrots. You might have known that already. But what you might not know is that once the carrots are cut and shaped into cocktail carrots, they are dipped in a solution of water and chlorine in order to preserve them."

Why are the Chinese Government and the US Drug Companies So Afraid of Facebook and Twitter?

"Following riots in the western region of Xinjiang, China’s central government has taken steps to block citizens from accessing foreign Web services. In addition to crippling Internet service in general, the authorities have blocked Twitter, removed unapproved references to the violence from search engines, and have now apparently moved to bar citizens from accessing Facebook."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dr. John Cannell: "Get vitamin D not the flu shot"

The presence of cheerful people

"You will find yourself refreshed by the presence of cheerful people. Why not make earnest effort to confer that pleasure on others? Half the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to say anything gloomy."

Lydia M. Child
1802-1880, Abolitionist and Writer

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Peggy Noonan: Common Sense May Sink ObamaCare

"This is big, what’s happening. President Obama appears to have misstepped on a major initiative and defining issue. He has misjudged the nation’s mood, which itself is news: He rose from nothing to everything with the help of his fine-tuned antennae. Resistance to the Democratic health-care plans is in the air, showing up more now on YouTube than in the polls, but it will be in the polls soon enough. The president, in short, may be facing a real loss."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Exercise Fights Fatty Liver Disease

"Currently, patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease are encouraged to alter their lifestyles, but the focus has been on weight loss through dietary changes. But when patients were encouraged to be active for at least 150 minutes per week, they showed improvements in liver enzymes and other metabolic indices, which were not connected to weight loss."

A Kidney Stone's #1 Natural Enemy

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oil Pulling is a Simple, Inexpensive Method to Improve Your Health

"(NaturalNews) How do we break the inflammation cycle and encourage the body to operate at a heightened level of efficiency? Ayurvedic practitioners employ oil pulling as a simple, but powerful means to encourage the body in this process. By swishing sesame oil in one`s mouth, first thing in the morning, one stimulates the digestive system as well as the blood to cleanse and feed cells of the various organs. In this way, the stress that inflammation places on these organs decreases."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Being serious

"The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous."

Margaret Fontey

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not with man's words

"But in all these speculations let our understanding have sufficient coherence with the rule of piety, and let us think of the Holy Spirit's words not as something that shines as a speech fashioned by frail human eloquence, but, as it is written, 'All the king's glory is within.' (Psalm 44.14 LXX - 45.13) and the treasure of divine meanings is confined, shut up within the frail vessel of the common letter (cf. 2 Cor. 4.7)."

Origen, On First Principles, "How Scripture should be understood"

What happens when you create

"When you create you get a little endorphin rush. Why do you think Einstein looked like that?"

Robin Williams

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Learn How Banaba Leaf Extract Can Promote Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

"(NaturalNews) Diabetes and insulin resistance have swept the nation - and with them, a growing list of pharmaceutical drugs that cause as many problems as they solve, if not more. Many diabetes drugs now carry warning labels about their dangerous side effects, which can include an increased risk of heart failure. There's no question as to why so many people are searching for natural alternatives, like banaba leaf extract, that can help them manage blood sugar."

Vitamin D Crisis Unfolds as Americans Live Indoors

"(NaturalNews) Seventy percent of whites and 97 percent of blacks in the United States have insufficient blood levels of vitamin D, according to a study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Colorado, and published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine."

Improving your aim

"When the archer misses the mark, he turns and looks for the fault within himself. Failure to hit the bull's eye is never the fault of the target. To improve your aim - improve yourself."

Gilbert Arland

Monday, July 20, 2009

Changing things

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

R. Buckminster Fuller
1895-1983, Architect, Author and Inventor

Friday, July 17, 2009

If you're worried about swine flu

Are you worried about swine flu?

Lots of folks are. Although the reality is that swine flu is no different from any other flu that millions get every year. Although that's not to take away how nasty flu is -- it's uncomfortable, it hurts, and under the worst circumstances, it can be deadly.

This is some very, very good advice for those concerned about this or any other flu.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What you want

"Beware what you set your heart upon. For it shall surely be yours."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803-1882, Poet and Essayist

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Making progress

"Behold the turtle: He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out."

James Bryant Conant
1893-1978, Educator and Diplomat

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

Walter Winchell
1897-1972, Journalist

Monday, July 13, 2009

What you are struggling with

"The forces you are struggling with, that you feel are holding you back - are illusions. They are not real - they never have been. See only the good that you desire in your mind."

Bob Proctor

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Researchers Find Caffeine Effective Alzheimer’s Treatment

"If you happen to be a heavy coffee drinker, you might be helping your brain protect itself from Alzheimer’s disease.

While a number of advanced Alzheimer’s drugs and treatments have been developed in recent years, University of Florida researcher Gary Arendash believes coffee drinkers -- and other caffeine consumers -- are not just protecting themselves, but actually treating symptoms that might appear."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Getting rid of the unwanted: breathtaking comments from Justice Ginsburg

"Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion."

Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Ginsburg

Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them

"A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem's Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cancer Screening: Does It Really Save Lives?

"(NaturalNews) Anne is a good patient. She sees her doctor for regular checkups, has yearly mammograms, Pap tests, and colon cancer screenings, and she even paid for a full-body CT scan out of her own pocket. She figures she's doing everything she can to make sure she doesn't get cancer.

Truth is, Anne is doing nothing to prevent cancer. Although cancer screening is billed as a preventive service that saves lives, the best it can do is detect disease in its early stages, when it is supposedly easier to treat. Nevertheless, every year millions of Americans dutifully line up for their screenings, completely unaware that they may be doing more harm than good."

Unvisited tombs

" ... for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

Mary Ann Evans (writing as George Eliot) in Middlemarch

Thursday, July 09, 2009


"To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can."

Og Mandino
1923-1996, Author and Speaker

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Becoming a saint

"Who is there who has escaped the belly of the whale that swallows up every fugitive from God but has been subdued by Jesus our Savior, that does not become like Jonah a saint filled with the Holy Spirit?"

Origen, On Prayer

'Shakespeare' by Another Name: an Amazon review

"William Shakespeare appears in history as a moderately successful businessman and theater promoter of whom relatively little biographical information is known. On the other hand, the plays, sonnets and poetry attributed to Shakespeare are well known, and still loved over 400 years later. What's difficult is connecting Shakespeare the man and Shakespeare the author and playwright. Mark Anderson (following in the path of many before him) posits that there's no need to try to connect the two -- because the author is, in fact, Edward de Vere.

This is a well-written and copiously footnoted book, a biography of de Vere which also makes the case for de Vere's authorship of the Shakespeare canon. In addition, the book gives a well-written and insightful view of late 16th century England and of life in Queen Elizabeth's reign. It's scholarly and entertaining -- a combination not usually found."

His Blood be on us

What sounds like a self-imprecation is more a blessing -- though those who said it probably didn't realize what they were saying.

Matthew 27.24-25: "When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children."

Compare this with Exodus 29.21: "And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him."

By the sprinkling of blood, Aaron and his sons were made holy.

So those in the crowd who begged for Jesus' death.

His Blood was on them -- and they were hallowed by it. Hebrews 9.22: "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."

(Also worth thinking about is Ezekiel 36.25, a passage showing a pre-incarnation example of Baptism: "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you."

What makes good things happen

"All I want to do is just go out there and play hard. If I do that, good things will happen. It's as simple as that."

Carlos Pena
All-Star Baseball Player

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Conflicting philosophies

"'Philosophies that are incompatible cannot debate one another. There must be some common ground, some problem of life which both accept as crucial and to which the philosophies offer different answers. Otherwise instead of a debate there is simply the revelation of different premises or different concepts of the function of philosophy.' Between Christianity and Marxism there can be no meaningful 'dialogue.' Charles Hodge, the great 19th-century Calvinist theologian, put it this way: the last issue of history will be the conflict between 'Atheism and its countless forms and Calvinism. The other systems will be crushed as the half-rotten ice between two great bergs.' Neither the consistent Marxist nor the consistent Christian can hope for a reconciliation between the two systems; it is a question of total intellectual warfare. Members of both sides are convinced that their ultimate triumph is inevitable. The issue is basically a conflict in the realm of faith."

Gary North, Marx's Religion of Revolution, p. 3


I suffered from math instruction throughout my childhood.

(In their defense, my teachers no doubt suffered more than I ever did. But that's another story. : )

But friend and aerospace engineer Dean Driver has come up with a system that perhaps makes math learning less painful for the math-phobic like myself. I'm not one to evaluate the merits of the system, but it seems like a good place to start.


The Most Powerful Health Recommendation of Dr. Andrew Weil

Those who are happy

"We deem those happy who from the experience of life have learnt to bear its ills without being overcome by them."

Carl Jung
1875-1961, Psychiatrist

'Life Force' Linked to Your Ability to Withstand Stress

"Your ability to withstand stress-related, inflammatory diseases may be related to your personality. Especially in aging women, a lack of the personality trait known as extroversion may signal that blood levels of a key inflammatory molecule have crossed over a threshold linked to a doubling of risk of death within five years."

Monday, July 06, 2009

Yesterday, tomorrow -- and today

"Yesterday is a canceled check: Forget it. Tomorrow is a promissory note: Don't count on it. Today is ready cash: Use it!"

Edwin C. Bliss

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Who blew up the London subways on 7/7/05?

Americans -- and the rest of the world -- continues to suffer from the shock of the 9/11 events. What we sometimes forget is that a similar incident occurred in London on July 7, 2005, when there was a series of monumental subway explosions. As with the events on 9/11/01, the official explanations of the 7/7 events have odd holes in the stories. This is a fairly good introduction to the anomalies of the 7/7 official story.

Conspiracy fever: As rumours swell that the government staged 7/7, victims' relatives call for a proper inquiry

Israeli authorities threaten demolition of 500 church buildings in Jerusalem

"Israeli forces have recently stepped up demolitions in the Old City of Jerusalem, in accordance with the Municipality's published E1 plan for the city, in which officials articulate a detailed plan to push out the Palestinian Christian and Muslim populations, while simultaneously increasing construction of Jewish-only homes and housing developments."

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Experience the many benefits of coconut oil

Why cutting calories isn't the answer to losing weight

If one of your goals is to lose weight (believe it or not, I'm thinking in terms of Independence Day here in the States -- declaring your independence from fat!), you've heard over and over that the secret to losing weight is to take in less calories than you expend in exercise.

That's a fallacy.

Here's why:

Friday, July 03, 2009


"Nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The greatest gift

"The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example."

Thomas Morell
1703-1784, Classical Scholar

Can Your Diet Prevent Depression?

"Depression is an established risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). Dietary factors resulting in lower levels of omega-3 fats not only increase CHD risk, but may also cause depression."

Agave: A Triumph of Marketing over Truth

"The popularity of agave syrup, also called agave nectar, is on a meteoric rise -- thanks in large part to clever marketing which positions the product as a healthy alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners."

Quick and (Almost) Painless Ways to Kill Distractions

"Are you spending more time dealing with emails, IMs, phone calls, and random stray files than actually working? Here are ten actions you can do right now to kill distractions and get back to work."

Learn How to Detox with a Coconut Oil Cleanse

"(NaturalNews) With fad detox methods around every corner, it's hard to know which one can provide a healthy cleanse without unpleasant side effects. A coconut oil detox is an excellent way to cleanse without using complicated formulas or living off nothing but water for days on end. Coconut oil is a powerful cleansing food that also provides plenty of natural energy during a detox."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

How to save more money on your cell phone bills

I've mentioned before about how you can save money on your cell phone bill. Here's another idea for cell phone savings -- and it's one you can use on your landlines, too.

800-GOOG-411 (800-466-4411) will also connect to businesses in Canada. (The programs asks for "city and state"; just give the city and the province for Canadian calls).

This is a good way to save if your cell plan -- like mine -- charges extra for calls to Canada.

(I'm not sure if 800-GOOG-411 can be dialed within Canada. But I did find that it works for calls to the country from the states).

The one who does something

"It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever - the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it."

Vince Lombardi
1913-1970, American Football Coach