Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ten Word Wednesday 6

Did you play one ol' cat, workup, stick ball? What?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

No Kidding

I'm purty well acquainted with that.

Monday, March 28, 2016


A part of my boyhood, a very small part because these "tax tokens" were worth a mill, or one-tenth cent up to five mills, or 1/2 cent.  That is, five two mill coins would be the equivalent of a penny. There were twelve states that issued tax tokens.  I lived in one of them.

The coins were variously made of aluminum, plastic, or even cardboard. The purpose was to "save" the customer from being overcharged when he paid the sales tax on small purchases, say a dime on which the tax at 2% would be two mills and paying a penny would lose the customer 4/5th cent.  Not paying at all would cost the state 2/5th cent, hence the creation of the tax token.  Different states issued different denominations, 1,2, and 5 mill values.

The use of these tokens prevailed throughout the thirties and into the forties.  Eventually someone figured out that the whole thing was too cumbersome, yet the government could not afford to simply eliminate the sales tax, so the bracketed tax was devised.  Say at 2% the table would indicate a tax on purchases of one to twenty-four cents would be zero; from twenty=five to seventy-four cents, one cent tax; seventy-five to $1.24, two cents, and so on.  This required the publication of sales tax tables for the merchant and the general public.  Which of course was not cumbersome..  Or perhaps it was, who knows?  This method is still being used in some states,  Except of course a two-percent tax is a long-dead dream.  Also some municipalities have jumped on the bandwagon and imposed their own sales taxes in addition to the statewide taxes.  In some states these now total as much as 9.45%.  Ours is seven percent except in certain cities where it is more, at least on some items.

And.  Some states have a tiered system in which the tax rates vary for different items purchased.

The mind of man is infinitely convoluted and forever seeking more ways to complicate our lives.

 Image:By $1LENCE D00600D at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Saving Jesus #T

We have come through what is known in the church as Passion Week.  We have observed the adulation of the crowds in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  We have seen the Master with his select twelve in the Upper Room at the Feast of Passover.   We have watched Jesus agonize in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane while his followers were unable to stay awake "even an hour."  We have seen the tragic betrayal of the Christ by one of his own select, the taking of this innocent man to be tried and falsely convicted and sentenced to die on the cross.  We have watched as a favored disciple, "Rocky," as it were, denied that he even knew this fellow.

We have watched the agonizingly slow dragging of the cross through the streets of Jerusalem, and finally collapsing, Jesus yields the cross to another to bear in his stead.  But the denouement, the nailing to the cross and the plunge of the post into the hole prepared for it; the tearing and ripping of the flesh of his hands; the crown of thorns placed on his head; the promise of paradise to the thief who dying beside him believes on Jesus as Savior; his cries, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  And finally, "It is finished!"    We see this even as his friends and his mother before the cross witness this unbelievably cruel death in which this man is literally suffocated as he is raised up on the cross. The Temple curtain tears in two. We see the soldier piercing his side and his removal from the cross.  We see him taken and entombed in a burial chamber belonging to Joseph of Arimathaea; the great stone slamming the entrance shut; the Roman guard placed on the burial site.

But now!  But now on this Sunday morning, this Easter Sunday morning, we celebrate the completion of our salvation through the death and resurrection, yes, resurrection of this Man Jesus who is the Christ, the Son of the Living God!

Is it any wonder that this day unrecognized by any government fiat is nevertheless my favorite Holiday of the Year?


 Tipton Presbyterian Church
March 2016
Samsung DV150F
Evening available light
f/6.3 1/60sec at 30 meters

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Solution to TWW #5

Here is a hint to the answer to this past Wednesday's question.

For further enlightenment, check Vees' comment on this blogpost from 2012.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ten-word Wednesday 5

Why did she put a nickel in her penny loafer?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tomorrow Will be Better

Finished therapy session.  Stopped by the doctor's office to talk with the nurse.  As I entered the building I took off the sunglasses, went ahead and took care of my business.

As I left the building I reached for my sunglasses.  Not hanging on my shirt; not in any of my jacket pockets.  Perhaps I left them in the car.  Nope.

Started car anyway.  Oh, well.  No!  Not gonna happen.  Spun around the lot and parked again, got out and went into the office.  No glasses on the receptionist's counter.  "I thought maybe I left my sunglasses lying here.  Guess not."
(This is what she saw.)
The lady smiled and said, "They are on top of your head."

"I feel like crying."
*slinks out the door*

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ground Nesters

Image from
Celebrate Urban Birds Project
Cornell Ornithology Lab

A few days ago Sharkey wrote about the mourning dove in her neighborhood.  Comments were made regarding the sloppy nest-building habits of the bird which got me to thinking about other birds I have observed whose nest building consisted of little more than scratching in the earth, if that.

The above picture of a killdeer with her eggs is a typical representation of a killdeer nest.  We had a pair of these birds directly across the road from our house for several years.  To their credit, the area in which they nested was surrounded by a six-foot chain link fence and experienced little traffic, human or otherwise. 

These birds usually pick a gravelly spot in which to place their eggs, for the camouflage of spotted shell blends nicely with pebbles.  Anyone who has observed these birds is familiar with the "drawing" activity and the "broken wing display" as the bird attempts to distract an interloper from the nest. 

The black skimmer is another bird that nests on the ground.  A few years ago we were privileged to spend part of an evening on a spit jutting into the Gulf at Rockport, Texas.  This area was inhabited by various shorebirds, but of most interest to us was the black skimmer.  I was lucky enough to snap a few shots that turned out rather well.

The birds lay their eggs on the ground, sand or bare earth, and some of the nests were practically in the road.  The creatures showed little concern for human company, perhaps skittering off a few feet but immediately returning to their posts after we passed.

Shapshots by vanilla,
Canon Sureshot A520
Rockport, April 2008

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sneaky Jesus #T

We have looked at the humor of Jesus on a couple of previous Sunday mornings.  As you read today's title you may have thought, "Vanilla is veering into deep waters, and perhaps waters he won't be able to navigate."  That's okay; I rather wondered about that myself.

Yet I submit that Jesus on occasion used a sort of subterfuge, not dishonesty, in the course of his interactions with others.  We see the earliest of these interactions when Jesus at age twelve, "sneaked" away from his parents, Joseph and Mary, at the time of Passover and let them head on home without him.  Jesus lingered in the temple to talk with and teach the scholars of the law.  When she found him, Jesus to his distressed mother said, "Don't you know that I must be about my Father's business?"  (Luke 2)
jesus preaching temple young boy

Yet the most striking of these incidents in my opinion is recorded in the Gospel of John chapter seven where we hear Jesus telling his brothers (who were not believers) at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles "Go on up to Jerusalem.  I will stay here for it is not yet my time."   Further he said, "It is always your time."  Shortly thereafter Jesus  goes into Jerusalem himself, undercover in a manner of speaking.

I think Jesus's use of the phrase "it is not yet my time" is interesting.  I think this is similar to the statement by the boy Jesus to his mother in the temple when he said, "Don't you know that I must be about my Father's business?"  Or yet the occasion at the wedding feast in Cana when he told his mother his time had not yet come.  In each of these three instances Jesus knew what those surrounding him did not.  I think he knew that it was not yet time, but yet I think he did not know exactly when that time would be, that he would recognize it when it came.

So we go with him to Jerusalem where we see him inserting himself into the crowd.  Then as the feast progresses Jesus appears in the Temple and begins to teach and testify of himself, that he is sent from the Father.  There were some who would have taken him but none laid a hand on him "because his time was not yet come."

In the eighth chapter we see Jesus teaching on the Mount of Olives where a woman taken in adultery was brought to him by the religious leaders, brought to him for confirmation of the stoning judgment.  Jesus, sneaky Jesus, said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone," bent and wrote with his finger on the earth.  We know not what he wrote, but when he looked up the woman's accusers were gone.

Later in chapter eight Christ reveals the promise:
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. --(KJV)
Then finally as the unbelievers sought stones with which to pelt him, Jesus hid himself and slipped out of the temple even through the midst of the throng.  How's that for a disappearing act?

His time was not yet come.

Friday, March 18, 2016

History, Again

Looking for an arcane historical fact to represent this date I found that Grandfather Opechancanough opened the Third Powhatan War on the Jamestown settlers on March 18, 1644.  It was in this raid that Grandfather John Woodson was slain.

I have touched on this incident in a couple of earlier posts.
Historic Jamestowne National Park Service
String Too Short to Tie  here and here.
Wikipedia Anglo-Powhatan Wars

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ten-word Wednesday 4

What was original use of these?
No, not interior design.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Depart, Winter!  This is what we have been waiting for.  Lay in my hospital room dreaming of the day I could walk in the gardens and see greenery again.  Behold, the dream has come true.

 The naked ladies, aka the resurrection lilies have broken earth!

The iris are greening up, even the ones left lying atop the soil.
 What better sign of Spring?  Daffodils in bud.

I hope you enjoy Spring as much as I do.
It is a wondrous time of year.

     "The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle* is heard in our land;"  --Song of Solomon 2:12 (KJV)

*Many translations read "turtledove."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pi Day

Today is National Pi Day,  3.14, get it?

Coincidentally it is also the anniversary of the birth of probably the most famous theoretical physicist of his time.  Albert Einstein 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955

To celebrate Pi Day, please have a nice slice of pie, fruit pie of course, and certainly the pie should be round.

Grace from Dragon's Alley sent us this sweet little pie song by:
Quincey Coleman

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Funny Jesus 2

In the Gospel of Matthew chapter sixteen we see Jesus asking his disciples "Whom do you say I am?" and Cephas answered, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God."

Jesus replied, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."

This, I think, is an example of Christ's sensitivity to the occasion to fun and the occasion to seriousness, for John 1:42 tells us Jesus had given Simon the nickname Petros, or Rocky.  This may well have been Jesus's playful way of telling Simon that He sees right through him, that he knows he is unstable, that is, not exactly a rock when confronted with difficult situations.

Yet here in a serious moment we hear Christ address Cephas as Simon Barjona, that is, Simon Son of Jona, a complete and formal designation of his identity.

Later in the passage we find that when Peter chastises Jesus for his foretelling of his own death, Jesus says, "Get thee behind me, Satan."  Here, in fine sarcasm, Jesus rebukes Peter, calling him Satan, not in a literal sense, but metaphorically pointing out that to deny the ultimate sacrifice He was to make is a ploy of Satan, and one that Satan uses to this day.

Jesus was witty, funny, and used biting humor to make his points.  Above all things he was sensitive to the moment and appropriate to the occasion, always loving and forgiving to those who accept his love and forgiveness.

Given what I believe about Jesus the Christ it would be impossible for me to think that he had no sense of humor, for while I believe he was fully God, I also believe he was fully human, and a human who was endowed with a sense of humor.  Humorless people do not relate well to others, for they lack a sense of nuance in personal interchanges.  More, I suspect such people may lean toward sociopathy.  I am not a psychologist.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday Extra

Out and about Friday afternoon, vanilla behind the wheel!  How sweet it is, this thing we take for granted until we can't do it.  We are both happy that I am now allowed to drive.  I was privileged to sit in the car while BBBH tended to a couple of errands.  This is what I saw along a back alley in Hometown.

No, they were not happy to be together.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Zoo on a Mountain

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo opened its gates to the public in 1926, thanks to Spencer Penrose.  The zoo has cared for its creatures and provided educational opportunities to the people of the Pikes Peak area for ninety years.  The zoo is on 140 acres on the side of Cheyenne Mountain of which forty acres is occupied by the zoo itself.  It is laid out in such a way that one hikes up the side of the mountain as he observes the creatures in their individual habitats, then continuing onward, turns down again toward the exit. 

Now a memory from the mid-40s when I was perhaps 11 or 12 years of age.  We lived no more than twelve miles from the zoo so it was an easy day-excursion.  My Aunt Bill and three of her children, then in their teens, were visiting us from Kansas, that magical Land of Oz.  On this day Mom, having prepared sack lunches for the gang, and Dad having insured sufficient gas for the outing, crammed the gang into the car, and off to the adventure!

The details of the day have naturally been largely lost in the mists of time, but a vivid episode imprinted itself upon my memory such that virtually every step for a few hundred yards, every word spoken as we made those steps, are still in my mind.  We had probably eaten our lunches in a rest area midway through the trek.  We no doubt oohed and aahed over the antics of the gibbons and monkeys, admired the plumage and overall beauty of the creatures in the aviary, were satisfyingly repulsed by the creatures that creep and crawl on the earth without benefit of external appendages.  Now we had made the turn, headed down hill, the enclosures for the beasts over the wall to our left as we descended.

We were almost within sight of the parking lot, but for a remaining turn in the road, when we came to a display representative of an African veldt which was populated with animals indigenous to that far-distant part of the world.  This included a few spotted hyenas, one of which seemed as curious about us as we were interested in it.  Here Cousin Ward said, "Make him laugh, Uncle Delbert."

Now my father was noted for his uproarious laughter when he was in a jovial mood.  Dad liked the idea and burst forth with his trademark roar, which did indeed resemble the call of the hyena.  "Now, Delbert, you ornery thing," my mother said as she headed on down the hill, insisting that the rest of us come along.  Ward and Dad stayed with the canids.  As we were rounding the last curve we could hear from behind not only Dad's laughter, but a response from the hyena.  What an uproar when its companions started barking as well.  Father's laughter turned from teasing to genuine out-and-out hilarity, the cacophony increased as the other inhabitants of the zoo joined in-- the screaming of the monkeys, the squawking of the macaws, the roar of the lion, and by the time the elephant trumpeting began Dad and his nephew had caught up with the women and children.  We all hastened to the car, somehow again fitting eight people into a vehicle designed to transport five, six at most, and departed the premises.

Image: Wikipedia

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ten- word Wednesday 3

Remember the game we played?
 No, not "spin the bottle."

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Revisiting John in the Wilderness

I really do on occasion entertain myself by reading a few of the posts of the past. Sometimes they amuse me and once in a while I bring one forward for your perusal. This one is a rerun from 2013. Oh, neither of the principals has changed his mind since the story was first told. 

 Louie, my brother in Christ, has been a friend for the past decade.  We enjoy discussing various facets of life.  We do not always agree, but we disagree in a most agreeable way.

A few evenings past, Louie and I touched on the ministry of John the Baptist in the wilderness.  In Matthew 3:4, we read of John, "his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey."  

I remarked that though the provision may have been monotonous, it was no doubt plentiful.  "Imagine," I said, "eating grasshoppers and robbing bees of their honey.  Quite nutritious, nevertheless."

When he recovered his equanimity, Louie said, "No, no. He never ate grasshoppers.  I heard a preacher who had visited the Holy Land many times explain that the "locusts" were the pods from the locust tree which is plentiful in the area."

"No doubt there are such trees, but he ate grasshoppers."  (See how agreeably we disagree!)  Well, we left the conversation with neither of us convinced that the other was right.*

Now I have eaten a few grasshoppers in my day, and I am told they are quite nutritious.  Also, I have read the Book of Leviticus (that's heavy sledding), and I found among the dietary rules this from Leviticus 11:22 "Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind."  And thus it is that I am quite certain that as we are told John ate locusts, John ate locusts.

A few days ago while walking the dog I observed a row of black locust trees.  I plucked some leaves and pods therefrom (see above picture).  I sent the picture along with the following to my friend:
Dear Brother Louie,
This afternoon I was in the parking lot at Aldi with the dog whilst JoAnn was inside shopping.  As I was walking around, I spotted a row of black locust trees along the west side of the lot, so I walked over and plucked a couple of leaves and some pods.  Come on over; bring the wild honey.  We’ll have a feast!

A bit of study shows that the locust tree of America is native only to the western hemisphere, but it has been widely spread by transplanting throughout the world.  It is believed that it was named “locust” by early Jesuit missionaries who mistakenly thought it to be the tree that “fed” John in the wilderness.   In reality, the “locust tree” of the Bible is  the carob, also called St.John’s bread, and its pods are edible and commonly eaten by mammals of the region.  John may have eaten them with his honey.  And I still think he ate grasshoppers as well.
Blessings, and bon appetit!


Ultimately, the point is God provided sustenance for John in the wilderness, and He provides for us as well!

*Louie holds his opinion still.  And I hold mine.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Phone Store

samsung galaxy s6-11 

The only part of this I truly understand is that when dealing with a cell-phone service provider you are going to be disappointed at the very best.  First on the pricing of the plan then sooner or later on some other issue.

My daughter told me this story:
I went to the phone store to upgrade to a new phone.  The contract offered an upgrade after three years of service.  I had the plan for four years and the phone was behaving erratically, so I took it in for an exchange.
The clerk poked a few computer keys, brought up my account and said, "I'm sorry, but you have already used your free upgrade."
"Say what?  I most certainly have not!"

" Yes, ma'am. It shows right here that you came in six months ago and got a new charger cord for the phone.  That's an upgrade."

The clerk was advised in no uncertain terms that I would be switching to another provider.  When I got in the car along with my twelve year-old grandson who was with me I noticed as I was snapping my seat belt that the boy was silently staring straight ahead.  I started the car, turned to him and said, "What's the matter?"

"Turn off the car, Grandma."  I am Nana, never Grandma, so I knew this was serious.  I turned the key, turned toward him and said, "What?"
"I don't want you to drive while you are mad."
I said, "Do you think I was rude back there?"
"A little bit."

I have heard or read many, many accounts detailing numerous ways in which the customer has been taken in the process of upgrading including the instances in which the "upgrade" lost them some features they had before; but of course, they could be added on for an additional cost.  

People wonder why the elders say things like "Oh, for the good old days."

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Funny Jesus #T

Much has been written about the humor of Jesus Christ, perhaps most notably the book by D. Elton Trueblood entitled The Humor of Christ.  I have been reading the Gospel According to John this month.  Most of the examples of Jesus's playfulness, his sarcasm, his use of irony, require a bit of background and understanding of the historical and social milieu of Christ's time here on Earth.

In the first chapter of John we see a striking example of Christ's humor.
 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the  Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”   
Come and See

Here we see Philip telling Nathanael that Jesus of Nazareth is He of whom Moses wrote and Nathanael responds sneeringly "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"  This would not be an unexpected response, for Nazareth was considered to be nothing more than a mere backwater, insignificant in the societal scheme of things.  (Is this akin to the denizens of our coasts referring to our area as "fly-over country"?)

Yet Jesus took no umbrage but rather said to Nathanael "I see that you are a true Israelite in whom there is no guile." (You are a man who does not dissimulate, who speaks his mind.)  This tells the new acquaintance that Christ has no resentment toward him, but more it tells him that Jesus was acquainted with him before Nathanael knew him.  Pretty convincing and all in good humor.

Then Jesus tells Nathanael as He is telling us all, " Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

We may pursue this topic further at another time.  Meanwhile, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."  --Philippians 4:8 (ASV)

Friday, March 4, 2016

227 Years of Self-rule

March 4, 1789  the first Congress of the United States meets in New York City, puts constitution into effect, receives proposed  Bill of Rights.

I'll save you doing the math: that was 227 years ago. 

We've come a long way, Baby.  The question is:  Are we headed in the right direction?

We've grown, we've seen many advances in technologies, many changes in the social fabric; we've engaged in many conflicts.  Old Glory has fifty stars and she still flies.  The question is: How long will she continue to wave?

We are given to "progress," to compulsions, and to deliberations, to argument, and even, alas, to outrage and insults:  The question is: Are these  the values by which we really want to live?

One could hope that the momentum of descent into  a morass, a quagmire, could be slowed, could be stopped before it is too late.  And the question is:  If that original set of congressmen of 1789, in their powdered wigs and frilled shirts could see us today, would they see the extension of the body and the nation as they envisioned it, or would they see an asylum run by the inmates?

The prayer is: God help the denizens of the USA.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Wedding Bands and Homemade Noodles

A wedding band does not a marriage make.  It is merely an outward symbol of an inward commitment.  The commitment can be made without the symbol.  It is how the individuals live and love that matters.  My parents celebrated 58+ years of marriage to each other and neither of them ever wore a wedding band.  It was the love and commitment, the continuous celebration.

Hard work?  Certainly.  No matter how much two people care for each other it requires effort  to make the relationship work.  Willingness to make the effort is the thing most often lacking in failed relationships.  "I don't love her anymore."  "He doesn't appreciate me anymore."  A thousand other excuses but underlying them all is a lack of commitment and failure to expend any effort.

If you don't love her now, then you never loved her enough to ask her to marry you in the first place. As Johnny and June sang to each other "We got married in a fever hotter than a pepper sprout."  A fever, lust, is a flimsy foundation for a marriage..

This started with the simple tableau that played out in our living room yesterday.  BBBH went to the kitchen and retrieved my wedding band which rested in a small cup since I went into hospital, the same small cup in which  she deposits her rings from time to time whilst she is kneading dough or making pie or noodles.  Neither of us feels unloved or unloving during these intervals in which the mere outward symbol is set aside, for the inner commitment continues to thrive.

My Beloved Beautiful Better Half brought the symbolic token to me and said,  "Let me put this ring on your finger again."

"If you had it to do all over again, would you still marry me?"

"Of course.  Just because I get mad at you doesn't mean I don't love you."

Then she lovingly replaced the ring on my finger.

  For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife.  --Jesus Christ

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

After 40 Days in the Wilderness

Home, that's where!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But being home is so delightful

Please continue to pray and wish me well.  I am a long way from where I would like to be, but I will get there.

Mention Something

bad, it will happen; mention something good, it will go away.

So I have heard it said.  I am not superstitious, but I am still not going to mention what I am hoping for today.

Happy March!