Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Principles and Ants in yer pants

I remember hearing Carl Armeding (from Regent College, Vancouver BC) speak about the believer and doubting. He was speaking at the old assembly NW Bible Conference in Portland. It was Labor Day '80 or '82. His message has stuck with me because I had recently gone through a season doubting that had even made me physically ill.

Dr Armeding asserted that a degree of doubt is a natural (re)occurence for the believer and helps us to know and reaffirm first principles of our faith. The quote I remember (and use with delight whenever I can find an excuse -- it just rolls off the tongue) was for the believer in Christ "doubts are the ants in the pants of faith."

A favorite passage from that time I still return to is II Peter 1:16-21 Read it.

You catch that?
v16 "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales...
...but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
v19 "So we have the prophetic word made more sure,"

Peter's belief in scripture was the foundation for his belief in Jesus Christ. However, that belief was "made more sure" by his experience.

He didn't start with his experience or feelings and try to understand questions of faith and eternity. He started with "the prophetic word," aka the Old Testament Scriptures.

Put differently for the fans of big words: his faith and message was based in objective truth of scripture and validated by his subjective experience on the Mt of Transfiguration (and I'm sure the rest of his personal experience with Christ).

I believe (and cling to) Peter's testimony because Peter believed even to the point of dying for his belief. I believe he was a rational man. No high falutin' private college education for Peter. Just a hard man of the sea with hard hands who dealt and lived with hard realities -- not fantasies. I have no reason to believe Peter was a nut job of the sort who believed 9/11 was an inside job.

Jesus Christ Son of God Savior. ixthus to you

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Polish Sausage

Everyone is in a hurry to scream 'racism' these days!

'In what aisle could I find the Polish sausage?'

The clerk looks at him and says, 'Are you Polish?'

The guy (clearly offended) says, 'Well, yes I am.

But let me ask you something.
If I had asked for Italian sausage,
would you ask me if I was Italian?

Or if I had asked for German Bratwurst,
would you ask me if I was German?

Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog.
would you ask me if I was Jewish?

Or if I had asked for a taco,
would you ask if I was Mexican?'

'If I asked for some Irish whiskey,
would you ask if I was Irish?'

The clerk says, 'Well, no, I probably wouldn't!'

With deep self-righteous indignation, the guy says,
'Well then, why did you ask me if I'm Polish
because I asked for Polish sausage?'

The clerk replied, "Because you're in Home Depot."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Better Part of Wisdom

Thank you John Lott. That just about nails it -- numbers and all. A perfect echo of conversation earlier in the day with my wife.

Some perspective is needed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seasonal flu infects 28 million to 56 million Americans each year. Of these, 100,000 are hospitalized and about 36,000 die. This averages out to almost 150 deaths a day during the eight months of a normal flu season.

Perspective indeed. That's something sorely lacking and is perhaps the better part of wisdom.

I reckon it (lack of perspective) explains why people continue to play the lottery.

Well, that and the fact that the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.

Virtue Mine Honour

Went to hear the Son&Heirs band play Friday night at Church youth group annual battle of the bands. He had borrowed a t-shirt from the lead guitarist. The sleeves were torn off and exposed his rib cage.

Surprise, surprise Sgt Carter. His mom noticed that the young man has got himself a largish tat on his ribcage under arm area. He's been hiding it from us since his 18th b'day last October!


I've always tol' him, "You're old enough for tattoos, you're old enough to pay room and board." Guess he decided to call my bluff. Sure hope he finds a way to pay for his eats at Cal Maritime next year. :-)

On the upside he's got good taste in artwork. It's a one color family crest (McLean of Duart).
That explains why his great concern last fall about determining exactly which of the many McLean crests was ours. His 86 yr old Uncle Tommy, who immigrated as a wee laddie and goes back to McLean reunions, gave him the straight gouge on which crest was which.

...and to think I held off all those years in the Navy so as to be a good example to my kids.

Paying tribute to Tripoli

$891M from Qualcomm to Broadcom, the latest winner of the California Lottery. LINK

Good news for both parties. Cash in the bank for Broadcom and massive distraction and stock price fear eliminated for QCOM.

Check back in 3 years and see how Broadcom's doing. Only time will tell if they do better than the typical lottery winner with their "found" money.

If you can't innovate you gotta litigate.

Check back in three years and see who else has decided to sue Qualcomm. Piracy seems to be all the rage these days...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pool Deck Pour

What a day. Started early with re-bar still not all done. Wrong mix ordered. Pumper couldn't handle it. Had to scramble for extra wheelbarrows and run a bucket brigade.
Yeah, the chute couldn't get up high enough to directly fill wheelbarrows. We had to shovel most of that load off the ground into wheelbarrows.

Then up the plank 3 steps high and across to the back side.

Yes it was warm and dry and the mix sat in the truck waaayy too long. Yeah the slab's already spider cracking in spots. Oh well, least I won't be upset about first earthquake and those inevitable cracks.

Paid over $200total wait time and the Jefe' ordered too much mud (~5 yds too much) in shortload to finish up. At least I was able to dump ~2 1/2 yds as retaining wall backfill. That's some expensive fill. My achin' wallet.

oh my achin'...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Is there a problem Officer?

Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Traffic Cop: Yes ma'am, I'm afraid you were speeding.

Older Woman: Oh, I see.
Traffic Cop: Can I see your license please?

Older Woman: Well, I would give it to you but I don't have one.
Traffic Cop: Don't have one?

Older Woman: No. I lost it 4 years ago for drunk driving.
Traffic Cop: I see...Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.

Older Woman: I can't do that.
Traffic Cop: Why not?
Older Woman: I stole this car.

Kinks T-Shirts

Traffic Cop: Stole it?
Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.

Traffic Cop: You what!?
Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.

The traffic cop looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car while calling for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.

Officer 2: Ma'am, could you step out of your vehicle please! The woman steps out of her vehicle.
Older Woman: Is there a problem sir?

Officer 2: My colleague here tells me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.
Older Woman: Murdered the owner? Are you serious?!

Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please. The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.

Officer 2: Is this your car, ma'am?
Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers. The traffic cop is quite stunned.

Officer 2: My colleague claims that you do not have a driving license. The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer. The officer examines the license quizzically.

Officer 2: Thank you ma'am, but I am puzzled, as I was told by my officer here that you didn't have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner!

Older Woman: Bet the lying son of a gun told you I was speeding, too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It pays to do pricing exercise

Short on blog activity. Hustling to make next major milestone on the pool -- pouring the flatwork and steps Saturday morning. Last minute drainage mods, backfilling, leveling today.

Met up with finisher as supply yard today, paid for 1000' of #3 steel and had him drop it at the lot. Crazy the difference in pricing. At the supply house it was $181 with the sales tax. Less than a mile away at Home Depot it would have been ~$500.

Ouch. Glad I checked around about rebar pricing.

Tomorrow? Compacting, tweaks to forms and lay the steel.

After the flatwork it's the required pool security fencing and gates. Then we can call for final inspection. Hopefully we'll get signed off first try and be able to get to plaster and fill.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


3 daughters. 2 into theater. All into makeup. One a licensed esthetician and really serious about makeup professionally. All in need of models for practice occasionally. Esp the budding esthetician.

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy... The things I do for love.

I don't work with the boys. I used to be one.

Don't even THINK about going there...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shaping up

Or forming up if you will... Around the pool deck and steps.

Got some help with this. A man with skills but no tools and not enough work right now. Well let's make a deal says I. Plenty of my tools handy and his hourly rate sounded good.

He worked fast. Should finish it up in a couple hours tomorrow and be ready for filling, tamping and steel. If this looks good I'll see about having him help with the drive apron and stairs out by the road.

Hot today. North of 100F. Set some records locally for the date.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

One busy night with the Coroner...

Three dead bodies turn up at the mortuary, all with very big smiles on
their faces. The coroner calls the police to tell them what has

The Coroner tells the Inspector, "First body is a 72 year old Frenchman.
He died of heart failure while with his mistress. Hence the enormous

"The second body is an Irishman, 25 years of age. He won a thousand
dollars on the lottery and spent it all on whisky. Died of alcohol
poisoning, hence the smile.

The Inspector asked, "What of the third body?"

"Ah," says the coroner, "This is the most unusual one. Nancy Pelosi,
Speaker of the House, 66, struck by lightning."

"Why is she smiling then?" inquires the Inspector.

"Thought she was having her picture taken."

Drill Baby Drill -- NOT!

This from the LA Times today,

Reporting from Washington and Nuiqsut, Alaska -- A federal appeals court dealt a blow Friday to oil and gas industry efforts to allow drilling in the fertile energy-producing regions in the icy seas north of Alaska.

The Bush administration had started to auction off leases in the Arctic waters along Alaska's coast, which are expected to produce billions of barrels of oil. But a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel in Washington ruled that the Interior Department had failed to properly assess the environmental impact of the leases. The court halted the program pending a full review...

...Since taking office, Obama's Interior secretary, Ken Salazar, has overseen lease auctions for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. But the department also froze another five-year Bush administration plan to open even more areas -- including potential swaths of the California, Atlantic and Gulf coasts -- to drilling. Salazar instead called for months of public comments and launched a four-state listening tour on offshore energy issues, which wrapped up in San Francisco this week.

Government of the people, for the people and by the people. /heh

Supply vs demand = pricing.

Maybe I'll hold on to that XOM and BP stock after all.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pucker Power

Well let's give this a try...

Now that's a Potful of Pure Pucker Power

It's Friday! Somebody KISS ME!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

There's got to be a morning after

funny how a 30+ year old tune will ring in your ears sometimes...

In this case the morning after tax day. I finally got it wrapped up after dinner last night. Then later in to the evening helping the 2 oldest kids through theirs. What me hurry? /heh

Got nailed with some heavy AMT but thankfully still a bit of surplus so I didn't have to write any checks.

Ahh, sweet relief. Stayed up late to welcome a friend in from the airport to crash out our place. He's out to see his Marine son in the Naval Hospital.

Woke to signs of progress in front lawn -- and an "oops."

Tore out an old sprinkler line and didn't realize during all the rerouting 6-7 years ago I'd left it still charged/pressurized.
Didn't do too much damage when the sprinklers ran this morning but made things a bit soggy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yard Mine Sweepers

During the "Big One" (WWII) Daddy went to sea. He was a plankowner on YMS 315.
Recently he sent along a couple scanned photos of his boat.

He eventually left the boat somewhere between Australia and New Guinea as an MM1 with orders to the V12 program at MIT. There's some great stories in his oddessy hitchhiking on Liberty ships and troop transports back to San Francisco. That was a zig zag trek by way of places like Bora Bora and Guadalcanal where fighting was often still going on.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A mushroom walks into a bar

The bartender said, "We don't serve your type."

"But," said the mushroom, "... why not? I'm a fun guy!"

I can see for piles and piles

We're on the cusp of getting forms and steel set down below for the pool deck and then on to the pool fencing needed to get the final Inspector signoff.

In the meantime we're taking advantage of a good helper to take the lawn out up top for to make a patio in the front of the house. I shut of the water and nuked it with Roundup a while back so it's deader 'n a doornail.

Hoping we can get it all in one dump run.

Once the grass is gone we'll haul off topsoil to allow room for gravel base and concrete. The soil will come in handy down below in a couple planting areas along the new retaining walls.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Teen trouble

Well, technically not a teen til the 30th of this month.

What happened? Seems like I just blinked one day during her kindergarten year.

Now she's 5'9", packed and ready to roll for overnight trip with girlfriends to 6 Flags Magic Mountain.

Bravo Zulu and say hello to Davy Jones for me

...pirate scum.

It turns out no Decatur or Enterprise were involved but the spirit of Decatur (and Bainbridge) lives on.

Bravo Zulu to the SEAL team members who went in harms way and sweet justice that they sent 3 of 4 pirates to Davy Jone's locker.

MOMBASA, Kenya — An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday and three of his captors were killed in a daring rescue by U.S. Navy Seals that ended a five-day standoff between the world's most powerful Navy and Somali pirates in a lifeboat far off the Horn of Africa.


I'll settle for Bainbridge's name being linked to this. Yeah, that'll do pig. That'll do.

It's equally apropos and chock full of historic and poetic justice for dealing with pirates.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Jimmy Carter, Term 2

Lots of talk, lots being written, tactics discussed/imagined, prayers offered up for the captive Captain and I expect to see it reported soon that peanuts sales to the White House are up to a 30 year high.

All I got for you is two words, and one question.

"Stephen Decatur" and "Where's the Enterprise?"

Friday, April 10, 2009

Of revival and grace killers or...

...growing in grace and truth (knowledge) of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Growing in knowledge may well be the easier part for those of us who are of the so called "Brethren Assemblies." Many in our likeminded fellowships are both justly and dangerously proud of the knowledge brought to this church age through the scholarship of JN Darby. However, the truth of the matter is we in the Brethren Movement are almost universally afflicted in some measure by the harsh spirit of Darby. That spirit that led to the great split is sadly one of Darby's most lasting legacies.

Growing in grace? Do I hafta? Isn't enough for me to be right?
Grow. In. Grace. (?) (!) ungggghhh

A young(er) missionary brother posted a (frustrated?) letter to us attempting to stimulate us and some churches across the country toward revival. His letter/blogpost had unintended/expected response of some readers feeling hurt or offended.

(begin long quote from dialogue that consumed much of the last coupla' days):
him to me: The elders back home and in many places we have visited have echoed the same problems.

my response: There's sin in the church? It's endemic? Shocked, I say. Shocked. I wonder why so little is said of it in the NT.

But of course it's ever before us, heavy on our hearts as Elders and dominates my prayer list for individuals in fellowship at Laurel and is at the top (2nd line actually) of my personal prayer list.

The question is what to do about it, how to effectively lead a flock, without dispersing the flock to the weeds and losing ability to shepherd individuals. The question for a shepherd is, "What works?" (hint: how did Jesus Christ speak to his own? In his sternest correction of Peter or the James/John?).

him to me:
They have seen the need to repent and follow Christ, but in general don't know how to proceed.

my response: Well we have a wee bit (and I don't say that to be self deprecating -- it is indeed a very very small bit) of understanding of that. We've been there ourselves. For years. Decades.

It's a work of the Holy Spirit, "Not by might or by power but by my Spirit saith the Lord."
It will happen in his time and by his power. It won't happen at any point in time when we're positioned so that we can get any credit for it.

God. Will. Not. Share. His glory.

In LBC's case revival started individually in the Elder's lives. Leadership does matter. Imagine that. /heh

pick a platitude. they fit:
The fish rots from the head down.
You will only be followed as far as you've traveled.

In my case it was incremental starting in '95 at a Promise Keepers event in LA Coliseum. The major point of revival began years later when I started praying for the Lord to help me name the strongholds (allusion to clearing out Canaanite pockets in lsrael) in my life and for him to breakdown those fortresses.

I knew they were there, He knew they were there. I had to name them.
Ooooohh, the pain....
Then came the hidden strongholds. And the hits keep coming and strongholds keep being revealed...

Further back and of greatest importance was with women during a dark, dry time at Laurel in the mid 80's who started praying by 2's and 3's. They continued for years and do still to this day. Revival didn't really come until 20 years later but much groundwork and foundation work was done in the intervening year.

A recurring theme from the elders in our pulpit has been the pattern of revival in Kings I, II.
Removal of sin
Return to the Word
Restoration of Worship

Again and again.

Him to me:
The Scripture is full of admonition, reproof, and speaking out against sin wherever it is apparent.

My response: What moves the flock along is not loud barking by an unfamiliar sheepdog or shepherd. Regardless of your intent that was the effect. (Selah)

That's the beauty of expository teaching front to back through a book of the Bible.

(editor note for the reader: they've been surprised/confused/intrigued/mystified? by the approach we take as an Elder/Pastor team in praying over, agreeing together planning out long in advance our weekly pulpit ministry. Also this is the first church of our ilk(aka "Brethren Assembly") that they've seen proceed front to back teaching through a book -- as opposed to asking a brother to take a week or series of weeks and "teach on whatever he's led to by the Spirit."

Those passages dealing with sin and purity naturally occur in context. The flock doesn't feel put upon but is much more receptive to it. In our experience the work of the Holy Spirit in prepping individual lives to coincide with the arrival at a particular passage in sequence on a given Sunday is nothing short of miraculous. That's not to diminish the value of topical speaking just to bear witness to the fruit we've seen and the openness to the the "tough stuff" when approached in sequential expository teaching of scripture.

Careful about a strident voice (I can testify to that). It moves sheep along. Along to other churches or out of church entirely.

Paul to Timothy, "teach, exhort, reprove" and to do it with patience. It's absolutely a shepherds responsibility. No dodging it. However, the progression there is worth keeping in mind: teach, then exhort, finally reprove.

Reproof is a last resort following much prayer, and patience in personal engagemegnt.
(end quote)

...comes to mind Titus 2:6 often with these situations where a younger brother is really earnestly "feeling it" and wanting help effect change but unwittingly miscommunicates or is misunderstood by some in the church.
"older men teach the younger men to be sober (temperate)..." Titus 2:6

Temperance. Grace.
That's the tougher part for "Assembly" folks like us.

May we "Brethren" be equally known for the grace of Jesus Christ shown in the life of Robert Chapman as we are for the teachings and translations of JN Darby.
May we like Robert Chapmen be remembered for having been Agape Leaders.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring break 'n busy

The Son&Heir used a good portion of senior spring break day #1 to help out with the pool retaining walls. Hired a hand (Alfredo) for the day too. Man he really turns and burns like he's got a family to feed or something (he does).

We hauled a couple more loads of block from Home Depot (about 70 in all at 65lb/ea.) Have it all in place now save one last back corner and a short run up behind the hottub.

The backfilling is hot and heavy work -- more so without a front loader. Though much of the fill is banked up above so we just shovel that portion downhill. It's takes a pretty good effort to compact that much area using a tamping foot on a 60# electric jackhammer. Glad to have help. No way I could do more than 5-10 minutes of that work without being laid up a couple weeks.

Maybe would have come out ahead on labor if I'd rented a Wacker for the day. In any case on the home stretch for the walls. Next up? Gravel fill, level, steel & forms for the patio, walkways and steps.

In the middle of it all the red, white and blue truck of happiness with something simply rugged from Wasilla, AK. More pics of that later.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Unexpected delights...

Dropped the Divine Miss M off for dinner outing with girls group from Church and found myself alone in the car with my one and only. Well hey, we haven't eaten, the sun's not set yet, we're halfway to the bay, all dressed up, what's a fella to do?

Pier Cafe at Seaport Village fit the bill nicely, thank you very much.

Being the gentlemen I am, gave m' lady the sunset view.

Magnificent ain't she?!

I got the view south to Coronado Bay Bridge. That seating arrangement had the added benefit of sparing me the view of a large haze grey bird farm named for a famous actor cum President.

Odds are something inappropriate for a date night would have happened with a prolonged view of CVN-76. A recovering sailor could have flashbacks -- or worse.

Like being tempted to tell my date a sea story. Or comparing the memory of Ronaldus Magnus to "The One." Yeah, that woulda broke the mood for sure. /heh

Spring planting & pruning

Busy morning in the yard left us with piles and trash cans full of weeds, branches and clippings ready to haul off. The citrus trees got sprayed with insecticidal soap in anticipation of warmer weather and white flies. While I was at it I cleaned up a older navel orange on the lower lot that's had some tough years and accumulated some deadwood. It's recovering nicely since I modified our water run off -- it was too consistently damp most of the year. Citrus likes to go dry between watering.

It was a treat to collect some nice fruit off the young lemon I planted just a couple years ago...

The tomatoes I started inside this winter (a bit early) were getting a bit tight in the potting cups. This spot is getting plenty of light now that the sun is moving back up in elevation as we start spring. The bermuda is all coming out for a complete makeover of this lawn area into a patio garden area. Nuked it with Roundup a couple months ago and it's time to start getting it out. For starters I just spaded up a planting strip for the tomatoes. My bride and I made a date of it (romantic, eh?) -- got down on our knees and went through it by hand picking out all the grass roots we could.

And there they sit. 11 soldiers in a row. All Romas. Let's see how many make it.

I still puckered up for pickles. That's next up. Plenty warm to get those seeds in the ground now.

Friday, April 3, 2009

This from Leno last night...

Obama’s like a rock star in England. They’ve never seen anything like him. A 47-year-old man with a full set of teeth in England?

...and this from Letterman

The Obamas are visiting Buckingham Palace. Michelle Obama was involved in a bit of a scandal when she met the queen. She gave her a little rub on her back. I guess you’re not supposed to rub queens. Not even Prince Philip gets to that.

so do I laugh?

or cry?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Understanding Engineers

Did I already post this one? Worth repeating if I did...

An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him
and said: "If you kiss me I'll turn into a beautiful princess".
He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog
spoke up again and said: "If you kiss me and turn me back into a
beautiful princess, I'll stay
with you."
The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned
it to the pocket. The frog then cried out: "If you kiss me and turn
me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want."
Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into
his pocket. Finally the frog asked: "What is the matter? I've told
you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you and do
anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"
The engineer said:
"Look I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a
talking frog, now that's cool."