July 2015

Well, we made it.  All the anticipation and planning and practice finally came to a date.  It was Saturday evening, and spouseinbox and I performed Snapshots of Samson for a small group at church.  This was the entire presentation with all the props, costumes, backgrounds, etc.  The equipment behaved and all the music and lighting operated without problem.  There were distractions, however.  We spent 2 hours loading the car and truck with all the stuff from the house and driving to church.  Towards the end of the trip, I noted a peculiar smell that led me to open the hood and stem my curiosity.  The air conditioner clutch was smoking.  Not a little puff.  This fellow had picked up a bad habit.  So while trying to get the other items forgotten on the first trip, we stopped at a car parts place to see if they would have a belt I could use to go under the compressor and still use the truck.  They did not.  They did have a dummy pulley which could be used in place of the compressor with the current belt.  I said, “OK,” and picked up the pulley.  There was no more time left prior to the performance to get the truck fixed, so I chucked the stuff on the seat and concentrated on the items in the church.  One of the projectors had decided to show dark images.  This was one in which I had placed a new bulb.  Stink.  There was a power point made which was to show like the advertisements in front of a movie.  We had pictures from the making of Samson as well as questions concerning the story to provide a little education prior to the show.  We finally took down the projector and left the laptop running on the table at the entrance door.  I don’t know if anyone paid it any attention at all.  Oh well, just another idea attempted.

Our sound guy apparently forgot about the date and Casper manned the controls.  That being the case, I told the crew there that we would do the first number and ask for their evaluation of the sound.  That is actually what is done.  The first number is utilized to allow stragglers to get into the performance, singers to warm their voices, and the sound guy a chance to get the settings where they need to be.  I had tweaked the settings earlier, and with discussion of the group, they decided that it was fine post the first number, so – on with the show.  The story of Samson was made into 14 songs with lighting and backgrounds to provide more details.  For example, if you look at Judges 13, Samson’s mother and father meet with an angel and are told that a boy is coming.  This angel goes back up to heaven in the smoke off the alter.  I had to figure out how to make this happen on stage.  To start with, there were only two of us.  Next, how would we get someone to fly up into the air?  That problem was solved with a back projection screen and video we shot at a town about 90 miles from here.  We had to go there as there were burn bans at all the closer counties at the time.  We set up a 14 foot 2×4 and had the costume from the pantomime character placed on a blow-up doll connected to fishing chord and pulled up the blow-up doll.  On video, with a chop edit from the pantomime to the doll, it actually looked fairly decent.

We did a similar video with the water coming from the donkey’s jawbone.  This was another I had to figure out how to do, as the church would not be happy to have a stream coming down their platform.  With the video there, I timed the video and turned on water to the hose buried under the model jawbone.  All that had to be done from that point was match the emergence of the water to that point in the song.  The appearance worked well, and the stage stayed dry.  Win. Win.

All liked the show and one mentioned receiving a message from the story, so it was received well.  We are on tap to perform to an open show in a couple of months and have at least three areas that need some attention.  One was the abrupt change between the interim song and start of the next number, and there were a couple of spots where the memory burped, so a bit more practice is needed.  All in all, I would give a praise the Lord for the evening.

As for the truck, I went to another parts place and found a belt which would fit the engine bypassing the air-conditioner compressor, so can use the truck until that compressor is fixed.


I have been spending time in Psalms and Proverbs lately.  I see how they describe real life and some of the emotions I have especially related to the present evil in government.  This chapter describes some of that perfectly.


On those moments when I feel down while considering the state and direction of things, I can consider and remember there is a wider perspective.

I have been working with a garden this year and have weeds.  If there is a patch of dirt and something growing that was not planted – it’s a weed.  They are the most prolific growing things out there.  I think of Adam’s curse many times.  On that note, just a thought, most consider creation done in the 6 days, but there were no weeds then.  They were created later.  Anyways, the weed seed initially puts its root into the ground, then starts to grow with the first task being that root, the second is creating new seeds.  We have spiny weeds here in Texas, so it is very apparent when there are young ones growing their offspring.  The weeds put down their roots, suck nutrients and water from the ground and inhibit other plants from growing in that area.  Pulled weeds that aren’t completed removed tend to grow from the root left in the ground, so complete eradication of the root is required to get that particular plant from growing again.  This can be in the form of digging around the root and pulling out the unit, or utilizing a chemical treatment to kill the while plant.

While pulling weeds, it has occurred to me how similar they are to the liberals and progressive philosophies.  Their first task is to establish a root and start reproducing.  Hence, targeting children who have no to very few defenses.  I was in school prior to sexual education.  There were these peculiar things called families.  There was discipline and expectation of behavior in public.  There were jokes about shotgun weddings because it was understood that certain behavior required certain consequences and subsequent behavior.  Children were able to expect certain things from adults and in return adults had certain expectations of the children.  Was it ideal in all cases?  Of course not.  That argument is thrown to try and diffuse the observation that family life was much better then.  The statistics bear me out.  To paraphrase Thomas Sowell, the only reason to teach sexual education for twelve years is not to impart knowledge.  It is to change the training of the parents.  The idea was to start young, when defenses were nonexistent or minimal and keep chanting the refrain.  Our society shows the weeds that have grown from this seed.  Planned Parenthood is just the logical extension of the line of reasoning starting with sex having no consequences.

A similar thought can be applied to each philosophy espoused by the left or liberals or progressives, or socialists.  Pick your title, it works as there are only shades of difference between them.  Speech codes are on campuses now, not to “protect” the students, but rather to remove any concept contrary to what is being presented.  Compare the reaction of a terrorist going to Columbia to the reception given Ann Coulter.  (By the way, I found the links by using a search engine and typing in “terrorist speaking at Columbia” and “shouted down ann coulter campus.”  The links were numerous.)  Note that the one who has espoused destruction of a country, threatening nuclear attack is treated with dinner compared to one who has spoken truth.  I know Ann can be a bit abrasive at times, but she has never advocated annihilation of an entire people.  Note the treatment between the two.  The academic institutions have clearly chosen a side, and it is the one of violence and destruction.  Just like weeds, anything decent is starved of nutrients and space.

What can one do?  When planting a garden, I had to look for the seedlings and pull weeds that were growing around them.  I kept this up until the plant was big enough to cover the foot path I had left.  Once the plant was big enough, my weeding activity lessened.  The young “minds full of mush” as Rush Limbaugh describes them, need to have the weeds removed from their immediate vicinity to allow growth until a time when they are big enough to cover that territory.  In other words, it takes parents dedicated to their childrens’ growth.  Hence the attack on the family in general and fathers and marriage in particular.  Hang tough, we truly are in a war.  It’s not a shooting war, its one in the culture fought by those trying to control the narrative – the concepts by which the culture behaves.  We can engage it by blocking weed growth – turning off the TV and not patronizing movies, and instructing the young in proper etiquette, and interaction with each other.  Real history instruction would also be helpful.  When the kids bring home propaganda, point it out as such.  It wasn’t 5 years after the impeachment, that kidinbox brought home a textbook noting that the Republicans were against the president.  Nothing about obstruction of justice or purgery.   I got to instruct the real history.  That is the activity of which I am speaking.  The philosophical weeds can only be abated if we each keep working in that space.

We have had a tiny crop of peaches and nectarines this year.  I’m hoping that the number trend will continue, and that will make next year fabulous.  Anyways, there was a peach left from our first rescue from the bugs and I enjoyed it for breakfast yesterday.  Here’s a pic;

Peach The phone camera made it a bit blue.  There was nothing blue about the flavor.  I can’t fault the bugs for trying.  Hopefully the powder I tried to use to cover the rest will keep the bugs at bay until the remainder are ripened.

We went to a small town near Big City, Tx over the weekend.  When doing such a trip, I have found some assistance through a name your price site.  This usually works well with big cities, and doesn’t work at all in small towns.  We were near a big city and decided to take the chance.  After all, we had received several good referrals previously.  The winning bid led to a discount chain which happened to be on the highway we were using to drive to Small Town.  Super.  Normally, we just walk in, show ID, provide debit for additional expenditures and get the room.  This time they demanded payment.  Blink. Blink.  We already paid.  I ended up looking at the bank statement to verify and found the appropriate entry.  Yes, payment was taken, but this place stated they had not been paid and no room was to be had without a card.  I called the name your price site and actually received a representative.  This was discussed and the representative stated he would call to resolve the issue.  The phone rang.  The staff ignored it.  It went to voice mail, and no message was left.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Two more times.  We get a text that he has tried three times to get in touch with them with no luck.  I texted back that the phone rang, and they ignored it.   Well, after a bit more of this, they decided it could not be solved at the texting level and gave me a link for a phone call.  I took this out to the car and spoke with the first individual who was wholly unhelpful and finally sent me to a second individual who stated she would call and resolve the issue.  I even requested that they just send us to another location in the area that would accept the payment.  No comment on that idea was made.  Finally, about an hour and a half into this I received word that payment was accepted and we could have a room.  Yea?  So, we went back in and signed the papers, and received the towels and washcloths.  Yes, they handed them over the counter.  This was billed as a two star hotel.  Once in the room, I noted the entire contents of this two star room consisted of: bed and linens, a handful of hangers on a rack, TV on a stand, table and 2 chairs, refrigerator, extra roll of toilet paper, and one bar of soap.  The lights in the bathroom didn’t work.  Joy.  We went back down stairs and noted the counter was closed.  There was a phone to notify of issues and I called.  Excuse me, the lights in the bathroom don’t work.  “OK.  Just turn them off for about 10 minutes.  If they don’t work after that, I’ll have to come and change the light bulbs.”  What service for this two-star hotel.  We can’t forget the coffee.  Yes, that was available as well.  The coffee maker was available for purchase – $30 and a note that afterwards “it was yours to keep”.  There was no word on supply of coffee or filters.  I also noted was this was a unit which could be purchased for about $15 from the store we would have to shop for the coffee and filters.  They also had internet – for an additional $10.  There were dishes for the “kitchen” – for an additional $30.  I tried to keep in mind that the place was clean.  At least there was a little trophy for the night.  All we had to do was ignore the hallways where the smokers apparently breathed.  Yes, the halls were fairly strong and I noted the nonsmoking rooms were bordered on each side by smoking rooms.  So at least on our hall, I didn’t check the rest, there was no place where the nonsmokers were removed from the smoking.  The room itself was decent.  The smell stayed in the hall, so I am trying to give credit there.  We went out to eat, then returned to discover one of the two bathroom lights actually did work.  No further work was done towards the second.  We decided to survive the night and make a mental note of the place.  One can say that there are ways to look at new experiences where gladness is always a part.  In some cases, one is glad for the new experience and thankful for the meeting and interaction.  In other cases, one is glad for the new morning and the opportunity to place miles between you and it.

I ignored the first alarm this morning and rose at the second an hour later.  A little extra sleep was warranted.  By bedtime last night the physical and emotional states had been through the ringer and had walked past the exhausted road sign a few miles back.  Yesterday started at an early 0300 with a formula mix for our little charge who barely took 1/2 teaspoon.  We had agreed to take her to the vet and per working environments, spouseinbox took her.  The vet weighed her at 0.8 pounds.  They kept her in the office and said they would work with a warming pad, fluids, and eating and let us know.  The call came a little after lunch.  She had passed.  I went over to the office of spouseinbox and we had a cry.  A few minutes of recovery, and work beckoned again and we completed the day.  Post work, there was the bed used as a carrier sitting there in the car.  Memories flooded again.  After another recovery time, home welcomed and Batman bounded out to check the tote.  So many memories in so little time.  What can I say?  Love hurts because it is love.  Ambivalence would have no emotional baggage.  We know the separation and feel the loss because there was love.  At least Mercy received some on her last couple days with us.  And yes, I’m crying again writing this.  We both knew she was in poor shape when we found her.  The physical signs were not good, but Spouseinbox commented last evening that it was worth all the effort.  I agree.

My optimism has taken a nose-dive.  The kitten spent the last day sitting up and being alert between naps, but there was no bowel movement, and after attempts to push fluids, we had a single wet spot in her bed last night.  Three AM was the time we heard the little cry again, and I got up and made a teaspoon of formula to try and keep the fluids moving.  Spouseinbox has decided to seek counsel of a vet in the morning.  (Technically, it is morning, but let’s say later in the morning – about 0800.)  One interesting observation to this endeavor is the amount of attachment created in two days.  The idea of her not making it past this problem leaves a void on the inside.  My psychology side wants to examine the reasons and basis for such a reaction, but humanity just recognizes there is emotion involved, and this little creature is a victim of circumstances beyond her control.  We are doing our best to assist her circumstances as much as our abilities allow.  You know, it’s amazing how easy destruction is compared to maintaining life.  There is real effort involved in keeping life alive.  It would be easy to do a religious/political comparative here, but I will not do so.

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