Monday, March 31, 2008

The Lord's Prayer

Well, just had to post this. Hat tip to Denice, da nice, who shares all the good stuff.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

BREAKING NEWS THAT NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION

The Bush Administration is going to present a proposal for an overhaul of the Federal Reserve that will expand the power of the Fed. 

The Fed is the banker's and the government's bank. It is run by a Board of Governors appointed by the President, and answerable to no one. There are 12 regional Fed banks in major cities that act as agents of the U.S. Treasury (our currency). It is most popularly known currently as the controller of the roller coastering interest rates. And it is widely blamed for the current recession, that no one in power is willing to call a recession, that we are in.

Here's what Bush wants to do: He wants to increase the Fed's regulatory power to include the stock market  and the home mortgage industry and the insurance industry. The proponents will refer to the recent bail out of Bears Stern, the sub-prime mortgage debacle and who knows what with insurance, as the factors demanding that the Fed take these industries over. Oops, I meant to say "oversight" of these industries. 

Currently the SEC watches over the stock market; the states watch over insurance, banks and mortgages. Bush's Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson will try to demonstrate how the current conglomeration of oversight is just too cumbersome and this clumsiness is the sole author of the country's current financial woes. 

Whether or not you agree this is a good thing or a bad thing, one thing is certain. If this passes by Congress and is approved, the Fed will have extraordinarily, unprecedented increased regulatory power over all aspects of income, borrowing, investing and currency in this country, with no oversight. They will not have to answer to anyone. There will, then, be no recourse for any citizen who might be victimized by incidents like Bear Sterns, the Savings and Loan disaster (this new proposal will do away with all thrifts), insurance or mortgage issues in the future, should the newly empowered Fed decide NOT to provide a bail out.

I visited today with my friend the college professor while our kids played. He told me that his colleague, an economics professor, says that every indicator that was present just before 1929 is present today. And that there are investment houses much bigger than Bear Sterns out there that are having bigger problems than BS had before it collapsed and turned to the Fed for a bail out. I have not yet looked into this, but it sure resonates with what other friends in finance tell me.

If you agree that giving the Fed this much power over our money is a bad thing, then we all need to get busy contacting our Congressmen and Congresswomen to tell them not to approve it. 

Because Paulson is releasing the plan on Monday. 

This Monday. 

Yup. 

Time to start dialing and e-mailing.



Friday, March 28, 2008

A NEW FEATURE ON THE SIDEBAR

Just announcing a new sidebar feature here at PG. It's called "WHAT THE BONK IS REALLY GOIN' ON OUT THERE?"

There are some You Tube links to news reports and a parody (hat tip to Toby at Classical Presbyterian) that point to the path our society may or may not be on now. I'll add or subtract to it at will. Because it's my blog. You might find it interesting. Or not.

It's to ask questions. That's all. Ask questions. I, of course, have my opinions on these things. And these opinions do change based on what I read and watch. But it seems to me, lately, that whatever is really going on may be hidden one way or another. It seems to be getting harder to parse the truth out of the media. 'Nigh impossible sometimes. So I'm including older bits as well. Like the old debate between Buckley and Chomsky.

If you come across anything interesting, please pass it on to me.

Thanks.

I do feel sure of one thing: The organized societies that we live in now are fundamentally changing. And not necessarily for the benefit of the masses. And the iceberg tips of evidence to this appear, in my opinion, choreographed. As in: Artificial price hikes of gas. Which cause price hikes in everything else for one. And the cost out of our individual pockets for this is not at all artificial.

Then there is the religious view on all this. The modern day churches seem quiet to me on these issues, while vociferously piping in on the mid-east situation.

Curious world these days. Though we're likely well advised to study up on some more distant and recent history.

MILLION DOLLAR FRIDAY FIVE

Singing Owl writes: "Lingering effects of a cold have me watching more television than usual. There appears to be a resurgence of the old daytime staple--the quiz show. Except they are on during prime time, and a great many of them offer the chance of winning one million dollars. I think it started with Regis Philbin and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" but now we have a half dozen or so. My husband and I started musing (after watching "Deal or No Deal") about what we could do with a million dollars. I thought I'd just bring that discussion into the Friday Five this week. It's simple. What are five things you would want to do with a million dollar deposit in your bank account?"

I am assuming that we're talkin' post tax dollars here. Otherwise I'd have to keep half in a CD for my Uncle Samolians.

~First I'd buy a new car and get rid of my 100,000 mile car that has to use a walker.

~Next I'd set aside enough for Wonderboy's college.

~Third I'd invest the rest and supplement our income from the dividends to pay for the increased costs of gas and food.

Just three for me. I'm not real jazzy with lots of money.

(Correction: Add one more. Forgot about listing the tithe. That's before the others)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

APPARENTLY A LONG TIME A'COMIN????

I've tried to post this You Tube several times, but it has not worked.

After you watch it, perhaps you will understand why.

Watch it now before it's yanked off You Tube and post what you think about it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A BAD JOKE FROM MOM

This just in from my mom:

A young monk was assigned to help with writing translations of ancient texts in the beautiful calligraphy the abbey was famous for. He soon noticed that he and all the other monks were copying the works from copies and not from the originals. Concerned, he went to the head monk and said, "With all due respect, if we are copying from copies and not the original, a mistake in one will be carried forward for all time!"

The head monk acknowledged this and went to the basement where the originals were safely stored away to check for translation accuracy.

He was gone a very very very long time. When another monk went to check on him, he was found in the basement, grievously sobbing. He was asked what was wrong and he pointed to an old text and said......"All this time.....All this time.....And it was 'celebrate', not 'celibate'".......

Thursday, March 20, 2008

MEGA CHURCH MEGA MARKETING

Here it is, what pastors everywhere have been waiting for......."Preachers of Genius".....

Stolen from Real Live Preacher


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

HEY WHAT ABOUT ME??? by guest blogger: Cally the Main Cat


Dear humans who read this blog,

It is only fair that I get to have my say, after that extreeeeeeemely long post about the Evil Lucy. Do not be fooled by her soft meows. Do not be fooled by her silky, shiny fur. And do not be fooled by her snowy white whiskers! You can trust me. I am the MAIN cat. That means I was here first. By two whole entire months almost 14 years ago!

I work very hard in this house. You can tell by how very skinny I am. I work very hard to be first at breakfast, first in the clean litterbox, and first at treats time. In fact I am sometimes even an hour early for treats time, which makes me have to ask for treats AGAIN. I call it "Chinese dinner night". After early treats, you're hungry for them again an hour later!

And see where I am reclining? Not on the computer table. Noooooo. I am here, quietly waiting on the floor! The floor I tell you, below the tiny computer desk. This is because I am so much smarter than that Lucy. I mean, think about it. There are NO TREATS up on that tiny little desk. Not even any plastic.

Oh yes. I love to lick plastic. It's my number three hobby after breakfast and treats.

Always Talking Lady, (who I think of as my mom, and compliment her with this knowledge EVERY morning at 3:00 a.m., when I knead her chest, purr loudly in her ear and give her love nips on the fingers), NEVER puts me out of the computer room. Because I have very good manners. And I tell her so every single time I think about it. Unless I am asking for more food. Or needing some more special combing because of the hairballs. Oh! And I am soooo considerate that sometimes I even make sure to garp behind the furniture, out of sight and harms way. Lucy just garps straight onto the middle of the floor!

Lucy thought she was insulting me one day by saying that I am narcissistic. Ha! is what I said back. HA HA HA. I mean well, and why not? How else is it going to be all about meeee -- ow.

That is my say. Thank you for listening. Please leave a treat at my paws on the way out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WANNA BUY A CAT? CHEAP!


My cat, Lucy, is about to lose her also name of "The Best Cat". This is due to her very poor computer manners.

When I am sitting at the computer, working or blogging or writing or playing MahJong, Lucy will jump up on the tiny computer desk, walk behind the computer back and forth, walk in front of the screen, over the keyboard, until she either comes to a resting place - usually on my work papers, or slides off the desk entirely.

Or, sometimes she will jump up on the table, land on papers that rest partly on and partly off, miss and fall to the floor, along with all the papers, the telephone and a pencil or five. Or she might walk around the computer just to slide on papers. I sometimes believe she thinks my desk is a ski resort. And I am the employee whose job is to wait on her paw and foot.

....Then there is the jumping up on top of my chair, behind my head, while I am sitting in it, and poking me ever so gently (though very very sharply), with her foreclaw while meowing for scritches.

I have talked to her about this until I am blue in the face and it just does not do any good. She then demands MORE attention, until I have to banish her from the room entirely.

Here she is, with her evil golden eyes, plotting another paper ski run.....


When I pass to glory and get to meet Jesus, I am going to ask him to please give these creatures opposable thumbs. So that at the very least they can pick up what they knock off desks. And maybe be able to fold some laundry.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

???WHAT DO YOU THINK???

In the midst of organized religion's alleged demise in the Western World, and the hotly debated issues relating thereto, here's some things with questions. Just curious what folks are thinking about today:

~While I believe the church is made up of Jesus' lovers and followers and should be administrated even handedly and run the same way -  I'd like to do more at and through my church. But there is no support system provided to help me free up time to do that. Mostly I speak of what to do with Wonderboy in the time I would be participating. There is childcare there. But it is laughably compromised.

Should churches be expected to provide meaningful childcare for members participating in church programs? (ya know, it is an opportunity  for the church to witness to children, just sayin'). And should it be charged?  How do you empower your congregation to help each other in daily life? Or is that no longer the church's business and it's each person unto themselves to squeeze in what they can?

~While it is the entire church who is called to go and make disciples and do Christ's work in the world, not all of us are able to do this full time. So we have paid pastors (ah, you see where this is going?) 

What is the appropriate pay-scale for pastors? Do we fill their pockets to overflowing whether or not the church's business is paid for? Do we expect them to live as paupers, like Christ did, and make them dependent on the congregation for their life? (that would be rather humiliating. But then, is that the point of the call - to be humbled?) Should the measure be to pay them the average of the congregational community's pay to give them an "even footing" in the parish community? Does salary review for pastors turn the church into a secular corporation in terms of management? Would it be fairer to give the pastor a percentage of tithes received (a sales incentive plan!!)? 

What do you all think?

(P.S. It's the birthday of Douglas Adams (1952-2001) today! I will go up to my roof and stick out my thumb later.)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Who is YOUR Sovereign?

Yes, that was the theme of the sermon today. From Daniel, Chapter 4. King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the giant tree and Daniel's interpretation and admonition. Who do you serve?

And here was the real time counterpoint: A couple weeks ago the plea was made that everyone increase their tithing by 2.4 percent (not 2.3, not 2.5, but 2.4). Why? Why because of the continuing shortfall on the operating expenses. Now many staff have been fired. OOOOPS, I'm sorry, politically incorrect word: their careers have been re-purposed!! And the staff has all pitched in and taken on more tasks so the salaries portion of the budget can be downsized. And still and yet, there is a continuing shortfall. Thus a request for more ponying up to cover the monthly nut. All well and good and fine, you say? Well yes. Thus far, I would agree.

And then******This morning******..... A congregational meeting!! After the service. Voting in new elders. Motion carried. Adopting the Treasurer's report. Motion carried. No discussions. Until *dramatic pause* *sound of cymbals starting low and building high* the motion to change the terms of the pastors' calls. In other words: Asking the congregation to approve raises for the pastors.

Here are the givens: (and before you fine pastors who read here get your hackles up, please keep reading.....)
FIR: They have not had any raises for two whole years!!!! And they have taken on so many other jobs now.
AGIN: The church can't pay it's bills now? and you are asking to raise the pastors' salaries, retroactive to January 1st? AND, our pastors, before the raise, are the highest paid pastors in the entire Presbytery.
FIR: We have faith that the church will find a way. And while it's true they are far above in salary in the Presbytery, they are paid less than "comparable churches in the demographic". (funny, no one provided any kind of study on this)
ME: So THIS is why they can't afford a part time person to do their dramatic arts/filmed worship program. Aha!
AGIN: The full time salaries, BEFORE the raise, are six figures. Except for the part time pastor, who's just a quarter shy of six figures.

The spread sheet showing the salaries was not provided in the booklet that was handed out. It was shown on the video screen in numbers so small you had to squint and squirm to see them. The vote was called. There were "NO'S" in the vote. And an angry elder at the podium shot eye darts out as she said "Motion carried!

So I guess that the "sovereign" mentioned in the sermon was this one:



Here's more about sovereigns from the land o' plenty!!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Signs of Hope, Signs of Spring: FRIDAY FIVE

Sally writes:
"It has been a difficult week here in Dowham Market, and yet in the sadness there have been signs of real hope, young people, often criticised have shown us how caring and amazing they are. It has also been a strange week; it snowed for almost the first time this winter, and yet many of the spring bulbs are blooming, and the trees are blossoming! I believe that if we look carefully we can see signs of hope all around us.... as for signs of spring... well you tell me.... Bluebells in my garden, before the snow!"

What have you seen/ heard this week that was a :

1. Sign of hope?

Dreams

2. An unexpected word of light in a dark place?

"Have you lost weight?"

3. A sign of spring?

The sky stays light longer.

4. Challenging/ surprising?

If I could only tell you. Perhaps some day Diane Sawyer and I will chat on T.V.

5. Share a hope for the coming week/month/year....

Just keep swimming

Bonus play... a piece of music/ poem guaranteed to cheer you?

Here's a song
This one gives me hope
Because I had to repeat third grade this year

Monday, March 03, 2008

A CARTOON, NOT BY DISNEY

Jesus Loves You!! And a giggle for today.

(And a PS - I have to wonder how many people in the "civilized" world, have these exact questions...... hat tip to Mad Priest)