Plastic Surgery and the Gene Pool

So, I was thinking.  Girls get an enormous amount of elective plastic surgery in order to look sexier.  Breast enhancement, butt implants, liposuction, Botox, lips, eyebrow tattoos.  Even in social media, it’s common for girls to photoshop in a little breast expansion, butt expansion, even smooth out moles and birthmarks.  Guys do it too.  Those extra pounds and beer gut get squished.

Historically, sexiness is a way to attract a mate, and a method for members of the opposite gender to produce strong, beautiful, and healthy children.

But in today’s fake and plastic world, it’s fairly common for women, and to a lesser extent men, to get surgery to increase their chances with their artificially beautified counterparts.  This must inevitably lead to kids that are genetically predisposed to be fat, ugly, and asymmetrical who will require plastic surgery to make them look like the Olympian gods their parent’s were sculpted to look like.

That is, if the woman elects to stretch her body with childbearing rather than order kids from the internet.

Ah, vanity!

Share This:

Clever

Sometimes I feel clever.

That’s why I have a blog.

To share it with nobody.

Share This:

The People of Earth

Wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6).

By and large, the people of Earth want to live their lives, raise their children, and put away something for their golden years without getting it snatched away by tyrannical government.

Governments on the other hand, spend all their waking hours (and pay lackeys while they are asleep at the wheel) thinking about the consolidation of their own power, their accumulation of wealth, and presenting a public image that will aid them in getting re-elected perpetually.  For them, war and the threat of war is a valuable tool that aids them greatly in that cause.  It’s much safer to ply the people with pick me or the Huns will slaughter your goats than it is to go on about the subtle nuances in your economic policy.

International war and aggression happen when the leadership gets so caught up in their own rhetoric that they have no option other than to escalate. If they don’t escalate, they are viewed as impotent blowhards and liars, even if the public does not want war beyond maybe going over there (wherever there is) and blowing some shit up.  The whole notion that Muslims for instance ‘want us all dead’ cannot possibly be true, or the world would be in open combat in nearly every country, province, and city.  It’s just not remotely possible that so many people are waiting secretly in the background until we are least expecting it.

I therefore posit that the leaders of governments are the ones who desire (and benefit) most from ongoing war, international aggression, and wildly overblown propaganda about perceived enemies (as well as enemies among us).  This is true of ISIS, Washington, Moscow, London, Beijing, and Jerusalem.  The ones who want never-ending aggression are the leaders, while the citizens mostly wish it would all end, so they can raise their families.

There are two possible approaches to deal with this disparity between the people of the world and warmongering governments.

  1. Refuse to listen to their bullshit and throw the bastards out.
  2. Let them live in their own political world while we live at peace in ours.

The latter only works well, however until they call us up and take our kids to go die in some hellhole to secure their power.

Share This:

Lies, Damned Lies, and Adware: Auslogics Disk Defrag

I got a new machine, I had to install my go-to apps that I cannot live without.

One is Auslogics Disk Defrag.  If you’re still waiting 17 hours for Microsoft defrag, STOP.  Auslogics is way better.

HOWEVER.

No Adware, No Spyware, No Toolbars

No Adware, No Spyware, No Toolbars

It’s a quick download, but it takes you to an adware page when done…

Auslogics2

…and in the course of the install, pushes Yahoo at you like a pimp.

If you don’t click custom install, you’ll have to reclaim your browsers.

I don't know what BoostSpeed is, but I know it's not what I came here for.

I don’t know what BoostSpeed is, but I know it’s not what I came here for.

I unchecked BoostSpeed, and…

Tricky.

Tricky.

This one threatens to change your homepage to the ancient dinosaur Yahoo, but LOOK CAREFULLY.  If you uncheck and click Agree and Install, you still get Yahoo shit installed!  CLICK DECLINE!

But the ADWARE is NOT DONE YET!

More Adware?

More Adware?

No, I don’t want yet another “scanner”.  It claims in the mouseover that it wants to install BoostSpeed. Uncheck and finish!

The crapware tab

The crapware tab.

Now notice the new, integrated crapware tab!

So for a program that boasts No adware, no spyware, no toolbars, The only one we can’t confirm here is the spyware.  The rest is a total lie.  I’m starting to wonder if there may be spyware as well.  I mean they had no regard for the truth on the other 2 points.

Now I know it’s hard to monetize free software.  But – and I have always said this – If you’re going to offer something for free, make it free!  If you think people might also like some other crap that goes with your program, then offer it on an opt-in (not hidden, tricky opt-out) basis only!  If you want to get paid, then tell people they have to pay.  But this lying crap has to end.  You’re not building up any goodwill with the client base.  I know I will never donate to any company that uses bloatware, adware, and/or spyware to monetize its products.  Ever.

Share This:

Windows 10 fails

After I looked at the GWX or Get Windows 10 nagware, and it assured me that “All my software is compatible”, I told it to go ahead and install.

First Fail, gwx refuses to run.

First, the little slinky balls twisted around twice, and the “Get Windows 10” box closed without explanation.  I retried this about 10 times.

Second Fail, slow slow slow.

So I went to Microsoft and found the full install.  It took many hours.  It took all night to “download” and get to 96% “preparing”.  it seems to stick for many hours in one place, but GIYF, and I read that you just have to wait for it.

Now, hard drives are of a finite size.  You’d think that if I can image the whole drive in an hour, what takes Microsoft installers 15 hours to run – and I mean AFTER the download is complete?

Finally it was installed!

Third Fail, your apps are NOT compatible.

Office 2010 refuses to accept my old license.  The phone activation does NOT work.  This is not a recognized product.

Visual Studio 2013 FAILS to launch (this app is my bread and butter, I design websites and software for a living).  I tried repairing it twice (2 hours each time) and now I am reinstalling.  I hope I can somehow get my ages-old activation code from… somewhere.

NDAS software (my shared external drive) failed, but Ximeta had fixed drivers, and that worked itself out.

GIMP works, LibreOffice works, Firefox works, even Thunderbird works.  Note that it was mostly Microsoft stuff that failed.

I looked at getting Office 2016, but they want a monthly subscription.  Screw that.  Most months I don’t even USE office products.  I have one client that requires Outlook, but for the rest I am a LibreOffice fan.

Update 8/23

I rolled back to Windows 7, but because of all my mucking around with the .NET Framework, I still cannot use Visual Studio.  It loads, but there are many frameworks “missing but not missing”.  The installer for 4.5.1 refuses to install because I “have a later version installed”, yet I cannot use 4.5.1 in my 4.5.1 projects.

At this point I strongly caution computer owners to never upgrade from one Microsoft OS to another.  Period.  There is just this random chance that you’ll lose your ability to use your machine.  I would have thought that since the upgrades of bygone years going so disastrously, that Microsoft might have learned to test things a little better (actually a LOT better).  I was horribly wrong.

Share This:

Tagged ,

Star Trek: Beyond

As usual for the rebooted Star Trek franchise, ST:B was a fun romp.  But the story lacks cohesion.  Those of us who remember the original Trek recall that the stories at least tried to be about something other than seeking out and blowing up new civilizations.  It’s almost like they saw the roller-coaster ride of Star Wars and decided to ditch their cerebellums and fly fast by the seat of our pants.

The Small Universe Error

This has become a mainstay of Trek movies.  I have railed about it before.  “We got stuck in a nebula, so we landed on a nearby planet.”  That might work if there were rogue planets in nebulae and if nebulae were a couple hundred or thousand miles across.  But when you land on such a planet there would be no “sunlight”, save maybe a faint colored glow.  There would certainly be no way such a radiation-soaked planet could support the ancient, defunct civilization that had apparently lived there, let alone Kraal and his bunch.

Disposable characters

“Hi, I’m sweet and innocent and needy.  Please come rescue me!”  So we’re all geared up to think she’s a damsel in distress but as we all know, any damsels you meet in the first act must by the laws of drama turn out to be evil.  And she did.  And promptly got smooshed by an improbable starship fragment.

“Oh, hey.  I am a cute girl with a lobster head.  There has never been one of me in Trek before, but just don’t look at me too close”.  You get the impression Jim has been intimate with this crewman – or at least flirted with her enough to get her to open up.  And by open up, I mean her incredibly unlikely back-of-the-head-fingers, a-la Sarris from Galaxy Quest.  Cool and faithful as she is, *poof*, she’s gone.

Antagonist Logic Errors

Ok, now.  We have Kraal.  A human Mako from ST:Enterprise days.  He’s a soldier, so he sees the universe in warrior terms.  The universe wants us dead, and humanity is too fat and lazy to kill them back.  So if I take out a major peaceful federation settlement, surely that will terrorize all of humanity (maybe even the whole Federation) into becoming what?  A warrior race like the Klingons?

But we all know humanity better than that.  It would be a tragic terror act for a week, then the news cycle would flip over to the unexpected tribble infestation on Rigel IV.

WTF Errors

So Kraal crashed on Nebula Planet 400 years ago.  He somehow got lizard face – maybe he life-sucked some lizard aliens.  But what about the throngs of lizard faced cronies around him?  Are they his original crew of humans from the crash?  So they are all life-suckers now?  Not that we need to care, because even with 400+ years of combat experience, 4 starfleet officers and a homeless girl wipe them out en masse.

Ok, Homeless Girl.  She was a kid, watching her daddy get vaporized in an escape attempt.  She scuttles off to find a crashed starfleet ship and – as a kid – figures out how to reboot the C:/ drive, learn English, invent a cloaking device, stay alive on a planet with no above-ground life or water.  Apparently the energizer bunny runs the ship because 400 years later the XBox consoles still work.  Also, why bother cloaking the ship from Kraal?  IT WAS HIS SHIP!  He knows where it is!  It’s not like the swarmer bees are going to come in after searching for the tasty little girl and this would happen…

“Uh, boss, you know that starship we crashed in?  It’s gone.”

“Wha..?”

“Yeah, it was there yesterday and now… just rocks.  We think that little girl who got away might have fixed it and flew off”

Also, if the minions are the old crew of the Franklin, nega-kudos for all the crewmen who didn’t stand up to the captain and decided to spend 400 years luring starships to their deaths.

Then there’s This ship was designed to be built in space, not flown in an atmosphere.  Unless you press these 2 buttons: there, and we’re off!  And that maneuver where you plunge downward to restart an engine is from one of the Airport movies I think, where forcing enough airflow over the turbines may cause enough spin to restart the engine.  Except that this starship was not designed to ever be in an atmosphere!

Oh, and the much larger Enterprise crew – what’s left of them – vastly outnumber the Franklin crew.  I guess they killed just enough of them to crew the Franklin without leaving 50 guys standing on the rocks.

I guess the term “artificial gravity” just covers all the illogic of the Deep Space: Yorktown design.  Except when Kirk and Kraal are duking it out in the zero-g part, where landing any kind of punch would be physically impossible.  Throwing your fist forward would push the rest of your body back.

Oh, and Big, loopy, curvy habitats in a glass ball.  Just sayin’.  Did anyone else besides me get Futurama flashbacks over this?

Also, the starships seem to be made of some gawd-awful strong stuff, because they can slice off the side of a cliff at the cost of some broken windows and hull scratches.  If you tried that in the space shuttle, you’d be toast.  So big, heavy-metal starships would require enormous amounts of energy to move around, but I guess “antimatter reactor” just covers all that engineering nonsense.

Oh, yeah and somehow Kraal is angry about being left for dead on Nebula Planet, but he has a fleet of swarm ships, subspace contact with Yorktown, and Jim’s band of refugees fixed his old ship in an afternoon!

Share This:

Tagged , , , ,

The Detective Part 1

The Detective

The detective pulled into the lower-middle class neighborhood, and rounded the corner.  His shiny black car looked a little out of place among sea of SUVs that studded the curb.

Junior – his fresh, green partner – newly assigned out of the academy a week ago, was busily writing every annoying nonsensical detail in his PDA.  When the detective stopped the car and was unbolting, he caught something on the screen about a “burnt orange sunset”.  Just the kind of nonsense they teach the rookies to jot down.  Rookies!

They extracted the car and stood on the sidewalk a second.  Junior took a couple of steps up the crunchy lawn, and stopped when he noticed the detective wasn’t walking, he was noticing things.  That’s what he did.  And any junior police detective that didn’t want to learn this was not going to last.  So Junior stopped and looked around, trying to guess what was so interesting about this unkempt middle-class home.

“Look at this, junior.  The lawn is wet, but brown and crunchy.  It’s like he hasn’t watered all summer, then today he did.”

“Sure enough.  I wonder why today.”

“Look at that TV antenna.  It’s the only house that has one  But it’s leaning over and pointing down and east.”

“What do you suppose that means?” Junior stared at the antenna cluelessly.

“A lot Junior.  First, that antenna has slipped it’s mooring, so that mast is digging a hole in the roofing.  Next, the reception has to suck on that thing, but he hasn’t gone up to fix it.”

“Maybe he has satellite.”

“Nope, no dish”

“Cable?”

“Maybe, but I don’t see it.  Let’s go in.”

“What does it all mean, Boss?”

The detective stopped a few feet short of the door.  He looked at Junior like he was expecting him to figure it out on his own.  There was a pregnant pause.  It was octuplets.

“It means that this guy had given up.  He saw no reason to keep up appearances, to maintain his world, to go on living.  He’s still alive but his world is dead.  This guy has lost all hope.”

“You got all that from brown grass and a tilted antenna?”

“Yup”

Share This:

Hopelessness

Hopelessness needs love, friendship, a kind and encouraging word, even commiseration and ice cream.

Hopelessness never benefits from trite cliches and bumper-sticker psychology.

If you truly cared, you’d take the time to help.  Spewing cliches is just tossing the hopelessness back in the other person’s face.  It doesn’t help them, it helps you.  It’s just a way to exonerate you from helping any further.  It would be more helpful to be honest, and tell the person you don’t care enough to help.

Sorry, I only see you once in a while at church: I don’t really want to take the time out of my stuff to listen to you today.

Honestly, I can’t stand it when I see you because every time I ask “how’s it going”, you actually tell me.  All I really want to hear is “good” or “fine”.

You see, that kind of honesty may seem brutal, but I contend that it is a win-win because

  1. you are not leading a hurting person into a false impression that someone cares,
  2. and because they will learn not to bother you with stuff you don’t really care about.

Also, no one in this Earth has the bandwidth to really, really care about more than say 5 people.  Most only care about themselves.  The lucky ones have someone who cares about them.

I imagine that people who have a caring friend don’t experience a lot of hopelessness.  It stands to reason that this kind of real relationship would stave the isolation and sorrow off – if not all the time, then most of it.  I think that this kind of mutual nurture is rare.  We are a very individualistic species after all.

 

Share This:

Winnowing

Luke 3:17: His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

I know that sounds like the good people will be gathered to heaven, while the evil people will be cast out, but I have always believed that the winnowing process is also one that goes on in ones own life.  For instance, you may find yourself lying to your friends and family about something, and the constant work of the Holy Spirit in your life is there showing you with increasing personal discomfort how this is a problem for you in your life.

Some people are instantly convinced and turn from their errors right away.  Others take a vast part of their lives to learn that the thing that they desire so badly is the cause of their problems.

In my case it’s not a massive sin or anything, it’s just a long time nerdy addiction to video games.  I have recently come to the realization that those games exist solely to waste my time and prevent me from forming real, healthy relationships with other people.  Real people.  This addiction held me back greatly in business, family, and social life.  Frankly, I’m glad to be rid of it.

But, now it’s NOW.  What do I do with the 30+ hours of my week I was wasting?  It’s not like I have other things I was pursuing.  It’s not like I have any real-life friends to spend my time with.  It’s not like I have any other hobbies.

Winnowing has left me empty.  I have no desire to go back, I actually view the games as life-eating monsters, but what now?  I have been filling my time taking care of some things I had been putting off, and I have tried my hand at a few things I had always wanted to try.  But sadly, I have the feeling that my life has already largely passed me by.

So I fill my time with Netflix, and goof around with the dog.  I know that what I have lost is the dead weight of my life, but I’m just waiting for something to come fill me up.  And I have this dreadful fear that my something flew past me decades ago and I never even noticed.

And of course where do I share this but on a blog that no one reads?  I guess I just needed to type it in to make myself feel better, to help me endure the waiting.

Share This:

My Presidential Platform

Economy

The primary thing this economy needs is freedom.  Freedom from overtaxation and overregulation.  Freedom from government meddling.  Here are the highlights of my plan.

  • Flat tax. 9% of your paycheck.
  • No Deductions.  Stop using tax code to influence people’s behavior
  • No Child deductions.  If children are a good thing, the tax code should not influence people who are on the fence about it.
  • No Mortgage deductions. If you can not afford a mortgage without help, don’t get one.
  • Everyone can skip one year in 10 and not pay any taxes
  • No more death tax.
  • No more Corporate tax.
  • No more capital gains tax.  You took the risk. You deserve the rewards.
  • No more minimum wage. You are free to enter into any financial arrangement with your boss that works for you.
  • No more government worker unions.  The government has no skin in the game like a company does, and there is no impetus to keep costs down in negotiations.
  • No more bailouts. If you’re too big and failing, file for bankruptcy.  Like the rest of us.
  • No more TARP.  That’s just seizing money from wise people who paid their bills and didn’t get in over their heads, so you can give it to stupid or deceitful people who made all the wrong choices.
  • Roll back and phase out all socialist safety net programs that redistribute earnings from the working to the lazy.  These programs feign compassion by assuming that Americans will not rise to the aid of the needy unless we take it from them by force. If you don’t think tax money is taken by force, try refusing to pay.
  • Start with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and anything the Federal government is doing that isn’t specifically called for in the founding documents is out of the budget
  • Close every federal agency that is not called for in the Constitution.
    • The EPA
    • The National Endowment for the Arts
    • The Department of Education
    • Department of Transportation
    • Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms
    • Homeland Security
    • Transportation Safety Administration
  • Veto any budget that includes Bonds or Borrowing
  • Veto any bill that addresses any issue which is none of the federal government’s business.
  • Repeal all bills that are founded on Climate Change Religion
  • Repeal all Environmental laws and regulations.  Not the federal government’s job.
  • Sell all national parks, nature preserves, game reserves.  Not in the Constitution.

Foreign Policy

My Foreign policy will be guided by these principles

  • Aid our allies and adhere to our treaties
  • Do not aid our enemies
  • Get out of the UN
  • Anything happening in a foreign country that does not affect the US, they have to work it out for themselves.
  • The US is not the world’s police
  • International terrorism will result in bombings.
  • The borders will be protected.
  • Illegal immigrants will not be tolerated, educated, or allowed onto the welfare rolls
  • Children of foreign nationals who are born here are NOT citizens.
  • Foreign indigents who require emergency medical services will have those services paid by their home governments or families, not the American taxpayer.

Social Issues

  • It’s not the government’s business who anyone sleeps with or marries.
  • There should be no difference in taxes for married and single taxpayers (just 9% of your income)
  • Anyone should be able to decide who makes their end-of-life decisions
  • Nothing anyone says, writes, or gesticulates in sign language should land them in jail
  • The government will not require any particular kind of product to be purchased, rented, leased.  All private financial transactions must be made freely and voluntarily.
    • this includes baby car seats
    • and health insurance
    • and CFL light bulbs
    • and low-flow toilets
  • The government shall not monitor anyone’s movement, communications, transactions, or associations without a properly executed warrant.
  • The government shall not intervene in the affairs of any major league sport.
  • The government shall not limit the ownership of firearms, other than keeping them from convicted felons.

If we are careful and diligent, we can turn back this oppressive ogre of government intrusion, taxation and suppression before we become the next Soviet Union.  The problem I see is that we have about half the people who have given up on earning their own way and well, since the idiots are handing out money, I’m getting mine! – and the other half are just sick of being told they are evil by the socialists with both hands in their wallet.

Frankly I don’t care what thieves want.  I know that there are many many voters who love to have their government rob their hardworking neighbors for them.  After all, it’s far too much work to steal it themselves.  I do not plan to represent those people, except to try to rehabilitate them and wean them from their debilitating dependence on socialism.

Basically,  you get to keep what’s yours, and any ‘charity’ you choose to engage in will be voluntary.  If you are smart and play your cards right, you’ll do well.  If you have close friends and nurture your family relationships, you’ll have recourse when you fall.  If there is a big, megacorporation you hate, you don’t have to do business with them.  The government will not interfere with anyone who dares to compete with them.

Freedom.  Liberty. The things that make the USA great.

Share This:

How Not to Get a Web Site Done.

Initial Meeting

Client: When can you have a website done and what will it cost?

Nerds: We don’t even know what you want yet.  Will there be a simple home page? eCommerce? Do you have images and copy ready to go on the site?  What are your color schemes?

Client: Look, forget all that.  You’re supposed to be the experts at this, YOU do all that.  But first give me a flat rate cost, and tell me how long it will take, a day?  Three days?

Nerds: Well, this is not enough information for us to quote on, but a small website can be brought online in about a week, and cost about $800, plus domain registration.

Client: What?  A week and $800?  Are you insane?

Nerds: Think about how much you’d pay your people to create a website in-house.  This is a very reasonable price and time frame for a small website…  Unless you want us to set you up in WordPress or Drupal so you can create your own pages.

Client: No!  I don’t know the first thing about computers.  I’ll pay $500. No more.

Nerds: Well, we’ll have to cut corners, but OK.  Get us your logos and ad copy and some idea of your color/layout ideas and we’ll get started.  Have you thought of a domain name yet?

Client: Yeah.  I want Google.com.  That way we get more traffic.

Nerds: Haha, but no, you can’t.  It’s taken.

Client: Ok, then Business.com

Nerds: Also taken.  Tell you what.  Here is a website we use to register domain names.  YOU register one and let us know what the name is.

Client: OK, I’ll have a guy in the mailroom do that.  He has a smart phone, he’s pretty techie.  Now Go. Get my site done.

Day 1 Call

Nerds:  Look. we really need the domain name, images, logos and ad copy for the site.  We have a framework ready, but the whole thing is blank.

Client:  Geez, I thought you guys knew this stuff.  I’ll look around for the last print ad we did.

Nerds: OK we can use that.  Email it to us.

Client:  Don’t you have a fax?

Nerds:  No, besides if you fax it, we have to pay someone to type it all in again!  You already talked the price down so much we can’t do that.  Can’t you send us a Word file?

Client: OK, fine, we’ll send it.

Day 2 Call

Nerds: We still have a blank site.  Please, we need the domain, copy and logos!

Client: Yeah, I am getting Stan.  He was our ad guy back when we made the ads in 2002.

Day 3 Call

Nerds:  Stan?

Client: Oh, yeah he never called in.  You gotta cut him some slack.  He’s retired.

Day 4 Call

Nerds: Look, Stan sent us a Word Doc, but it’s just a scan of the print ad!  We still have to pay someone to type it all in!

Client: Isn’t that what you wanted?  You said you wanted a Word doc.

Day 5 Call

Client: You guys done?  Where’s my site?  You’ve had a week!

Nerds: Look, we paid someone to type in the text from that crap-quality fax Word doc you sent in.  Right now it’s at http://temp.webdesignersheaven.com/ because you never registered a domain name.  Give that a look.

Client: OK, hang on.  H-T-P-P-D…then what?

Nerds: No… I sent you a link – check your email.

Client:  OK, so I copy this… what’s the copy thingy again?

Nerds: No, just click it.  Click the link in the email.  It’ll open a browser.

Client: Click… Copy…

Nerds: No. Not Copy .  Just click it or double click it.

Client:  So, cut then?

Nerds: No. Just double click the underlined link.

Client: Oh, Shit!  Oh God! What is this CRAP?  I am NOT paying for this!   You need to fix this!  You damned thieves, you expect to get paid for THIS?  Where is the purchase button? Where is the slick cool webby stuff?  You guys suck!  My 8 year old son can do better than this with crayons, scissors, and a Cheerios box!

Nerds:  Sir, we did the best we could with the nothing you gave us.

 

Share This:

Wind: an Haiku

Windy Windy Wind

Blowing, howling, furious

Where’s my garbage cans?

Share This:

Tagged

Julie Ransom

Share This:

Julie Ransom stopped. The street had been noisy and bustling and the twilight had been bright, but she had turned the corner at Height Street leading up to her apartment, and suddenly everything had gone quiet and dark. Have I been so tired and distracted that I lost track of time? She looked around. Height is a street, but it’s small and narrow, more of a glorified alley. Most of the buildings that abut it’s sidewalks face another more major street, so it’s a brick and steel canyon with just a little microbrew bar casting light onto her cement and asphalt. In fact The Rusty Nail was the only building with an address on Height itself. A popular center for locals to drink hard, be loud, and seek a meaningless hookup.

But it wasn’t loud tonight. The lights still shone, but the music was off and there were no voices coming from the open doorway. Maybe that’s why she stopped in the first place. Only one other time had there been silence from the Nail, and it was when Bert, the friendliest bartender ever had keeled over from a heart attack during the day.

She started walking – slowly – down toward the Nail. She suddenly realized that the sound of her stilettos were making a LOT of noise. More than anything else in the alley. In fact there was no sound at all coming from the city. Not a bird, not a car horn, nor engine even. The constant din of the city just wasn’t there, like when you pull your head under the blankets.

Her breath began to shorten. What if there are terrorists or armed robbers in the bar? They could have everyone down on the floor till they clean the place out! If they are – in all this quiet they will hear me coming because of my loud shoes.

Ten feet from the door she kicked off her heels, stuffed them into her work satchel and walked in her nylons up to the opening. She reached into her purse for her phone – just in case.

Slowly, Julie peeked in around the door jamb into the main dance area of the bar. There was no one there. The lights were all on, and the register was closed, and the booze was all in its place on the shelves, there were just no people.

Maybe the robbers have them all locked in the basement. She slipped inside as silently as she could, and headed for the back room, convinced that any robber could hear the sound of her heartbeat and panicked breathing. Yet, nothing stirred, so she pressed on, ready to hit the emergency button on her phone and run for it if necessary.

The back room light was off, but the door was open so she could see the door to the basement. She crept over to it, and twisted the knob. It was unlocked.

If I call out, or open the door, any robbers will know I’m here. I can’t fight robbers on my own! Bravely, silently, she opened the door to the basement. She flipped on the light. Shaking, she started down the stairs and called out… “Hello? Anyone here?”

No one was. She breathed a sigh of relief and started back up the steps and made her way back into the main bar. For the first time she looked around. There were no beers on the tables, the chairs were down, not stacked up on the tabletops. It looked like a normal day at the bar, there were just no people – workers or patrons – there. The tables were clean, the bottles were all in order, it was odd – no, wrong – to see the place like this on a Tuesday night. The big-screens were off – thank God – they were usually always running some Euro Soccer match at full volume when she had been in before.

I should call the police. The place could get robbed all opened up like this. She pulled out her phone and thought to call 911, but there was really no emergency here, so she opened Siri and asked, “Siri, what is the police non-emergency number?”

“Using location services… The police non-emergency number is 555-5010. Would you like me to dial it for you?”

“Yes.”

Julie turned the volume down as Siri answered, partly because in her mind there might still be robbers, but also because in all the silence, it sounded like Siri was screaming. She sat in a chair and fished out her heels again as the police number rang. And rang. And rang.

What’s up with this?

Julie hung up and then just dialed 911. This time there was no ringing at all.

What the hell?

The Power of the Word of God

Tonight I watched the ancient rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s kinda campy and idealistic, but it contains powerful and direct quotes from the Word of God.

For years now, my life has been spiraling down into a very dark and hopeless place. Relationships are hard for me, work is meaningless and unfulfilling. I have let myself drift into a reef of Netflix and video games. I dislike what I have become, but I feel powerless to change it, because of the hopelessness.

So I got the BluRay of Jesus Christ Superstar, and though the entire musical is a flawed representation of the gospel, I found myself on the edge of tears, and having a visceral reaction to the scenes in the play.

The Apostles are clueless hippies, who keep chanting how everything is going to be OK, and expect Jesus to lead them on a siege to take Jerusalem back from the Romans. You have Judas who is constantly baffled by the way Jesus stays to help the low and poor, and doesn’t want to advance His own political movement. Of course the religious leaders and the Roman puppet government all trying to give Jesus any and every opportunity to speak even one word to save his own life.

Then there is Jesus. He walks the line between challenging every error people are stuck in, but in a way that shows love and understanding. He agonizes over the call to the cross, but accepts it willingly, not knowing whether His work would make any difference or not.

As I sat there and saw the Gospel – the good news – I got so very uncomfortable. You see, I have tried to add the things of this world to my life in an attempt to put off the feelings of uselessness and unhappiness that I feel every day. These things are not bad, per se, but they are not helping either.

Imagine your life as a long walk. Sometimes you walk happy and free and your eyes are on the things God has set up for you. But sometimes – like I am now – you start bolting things to yourself. Little things at first, you think that adding them to your life will enhance the beauty and joy you feel following God’s plan for you.

But before long these extra things – each enjoyable in its own way – they sum up to a great and immobilizing mass. They are too much for you to push along. Your life stops moving, and you sit there bolted to your add-on enhancements, but the basic truths of your love for God have no more place in your mind. You’ve distracted yourself. You party instead of living, rather than to celebrate living. Play becomes the new work. It’s a life of all cake and no meat.

When I was watching that BluRay, I got an image. Let’s call it a vision from God. I was sitting in a road, bolted to an immense metal box. It was like one of those big metal air conditioners you see on a office building. The word of God came like a crowbar and tried to pry the box off me. But I liked the box, and my mind and body tried to stay attached. Time and again, as the songs were sung, I felt the wrenching of that crowbar but my heart felt like it would break if I lost all that stuff.

Jesus in the garden:

Take this cup away from me, for I don’t want to taste its poison, feel it burn me.

He’s pleading with His Father to find some way to save us without the suffering of the cross. Then:

God, Thy will is hard but You hold every card
I will drink Your cup of poison
Nail me to Your cross and break me
Bleed me, beat me, kill me, take me now
Before I change my mind

And I am sitting there, thinking that He – the perfect man – accepted the cup of poison for me. Not for the me He had planned – the perfect me that might have been – but for the me that is! This wretched, distracted failure that has let all this play bog his life down beyond repair. It wrenches my soul to think that He did that for me and I am doing this in return.

It actually hurt to see the passion of Jesus play out. It challenged my heart – to the point where I felt it physically.

That is the power of the Word of God. It challenges the heart of the righteous and the sinner, and it gives hope to those in despair. I am far from fixed, ask my wife if you doubt me – but one thing I do know. There is power in those words – more than can be attributed to paper and ink.

Share This:

Thoughts that make me happy

003There is a finite number of weeds in my lawn.

Share This: