I've moved to another two blogs, one on writing, and one on general stuff like this one. Please come visit! MY NEW BLOGS:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Would You Walk Down These Streets?

Edgar Mueller. Hard work: Together with up to five assistants, Mueller painted all day long from sunrise to sunset.

The picture appeared on the East Pier in Dun Laoghaire , Ireland , as part of the town's Festival of World Cultures.

He spent five days, working 12 hours a day, to create the 250 square metre image of the crevasse, which, viewed from the correct angle, appears to be 3D. He then persuaded passers-by to complete the illusion by pretending the gaping hole was real. 'I wanted to play with positives and negatives to encourage people to think twice about everything. They see,' he said. 'It was a very scary scene, but when people saw it they had great fun playing on it and pretending to fall into the earth. 'I like to think that later, when they returned home, they might reflect more on what a frightening scenario it was and say, "Wow, that was actually pretty scary"...'

Mueller, who has previously painted a giant waterfall in Canada , said he was inspired by the British 'PavementPicasso' Julian Beever, whose dramatic but more gentle 3D street images have featured in the Daily Mail.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Leonard Lance

This is a response from Congressman Leonard Lance, of the 7th District of New Jersey, to the passing of the Health Care bill in the House on 21 March 2010.

And here is a letter to one of his constituents. What do you think?


Dear :

Thank you for contacting me in opposition to the President's health care proposal. I appreciate your taking the time to share your views with me.

On Sunday, March 21 the House of Representatives passed a nearly trillion-dollar health care bill that cuts Medicare, increases taxes and does very little if anything to lower the cost of health care. The bill epitomizes all that is wrong with Washington: higher taxes, deficit spending, more government mandates and an arrogant dismissal of the will of the American people.

I joined nearly three-dozen Democrats and all 177 of my Republican colleagues in opposition to the measure. Specifically, I opposed the health care bill for the following reasons:

Tax Increases: The bill includes $570 billion in new tax increases, including tax increases on New Jersey's small businesses, working families, hospitals, senior citizens and medical device makers.

The sweeping legislation includes $17 billion in new taxes on Americans who do not purchase health insurance and $52 billion in new taxes on employers who do not provide health coverage approved by government bureaucrats.

In fact, there are so many new taxes that federal analysts estimate that up to 16,500 new Internal Revenue Service agents will be needed to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses.

At a time when the federal government should be encouraging economic expansion and job growth, this bill will kill jobs.

Critical Cuts to Medicare: The bill slashes more than $500 billion in critical Medicare services, with more than $200 billion cut from the popular Medicare Advantage program enjoyed by nearly 150,000 senior citizens in New Jersey.

Hospitals face cuts of about $112 billion, nursing homes about $15 billion and hospice services nearly $8 billion.

The President's own health analyst concluded these cuts will threaten access to Medicare services and may force health providers to stop accepting Medicare patients altogether.

Deficit Spending: The bill includes $1 trillion in new spending we cannot afford.

The new law adds $662 billion to our already record-high $13 trillion debt, creating a new entitlement spending program that, according to some experts, will cost $2.5 trillion once fully implemented.

What's more, the bill is chock full of accounting gimmickry. For example, the total cost of the legislation does not include the estimated $300 billion for the so-called "doctor fix" to ensure that senior citizens have access to physicians through Medicare.

According to the CBO, the House-passed bill combined with the increase in Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors would in reality increase federal deficits by at least $59 billion, and more likely $260 billion, over the next decade.

Backroom Deals: The House-passed bill is laden with pork, special deals and give-aways.

The infamous "Cornhusker Kickback" got "fixed" by expanding it to every state. The "Louisiana Purchase" sends an extra $300 million in extra Medicaid payments to the Bayou State. Tennessee will receive almost $100 million in extra aid. The "Connecticut deal" will give that state $100 million for a single hospital. The list goes on and on. It is no wonder the American people believe, accurately, that Washington is broken.

In conclusion, I pledge to work to repeal this misguided and unaffordable measure and replace it with common-sense health care solutions that lower the cost of health insurance -- not expand the size of government.

These include allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, establishing high-risk insurance pools, limiting frivolous lawsuits, allowing younger adults to stay on their parents' policy and prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions.

These are real reforms that lower health care costs without higher taxes, cuts to Medicare or growing government: the kind of fiscally responsible health care reform the American people deserve.

Once again, thank you for contacting me. If you would like to receive legislative updates, please visit my website at and register for my "E-Newsletter." As always if you have any addition comment or questions please telephone my Washington office at (202) 225-5361.

Best personal wishes.


Leonard Lance
Member of Congress

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jefferson's Prescience

Jefferson had some amazing thoughts that saw the potential of some of the problems circling our government right now. As our country recklessly careens towards a possible earthquake-type change in its reach into our lives, I will pray and ponder these thoughts. I hope you might also.


The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.


It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.


I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.


My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.


To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Health Care Debacle

I try to avoid politics on this blog, but Pelosi's spectacle on National Health Care currently going on in Washington is leaving me almost in despair of our country's remaining free of a socialistic system. Can you imagine? This Health Care bill was shamefully passed in the Senate on Christmas Eve through backroom deals such as Landrieu's "Louisiana Purchase" and Nelson's "Cornhusker Kickback" -- hundreds of millions (or potentially more) of taxpayer money that is being given to these individual politicians. Hey, I'm a taxpayer -- don't I get a say in the allocation of my funds? In the House, despite similar machinations (water rights in California, a ride on Air Force One) Pelosi isn't sure she has the 216 votes needed to pass this. Now she has ginned up the so-called Slaughter Rule, a special "rule" (named for House Rules Chairman Louise Slaughter (D.-N.Y.)) that would deem the Senate health care bill passed in the House WITHOUT AN ACTUAL VOTE ON THE BILL as required by Article I, Section VII of the Constitution.

Under Slaughter's plan, the House would pass a special rule governing debate on a budget reconciliation bill being crafted to make "fixes" in the Senate health care bill desired by House Democrats. Under this rule, the Senate health care bill itself would be "deemed" to have passed the House if the full House of Representatives subsequently passes the budget reconciliation bill.

If this Health Care bill is "deemed" to have passed the House, will it even be legal? If this bill is then given to the president, will this be an impeachable offense for Pelosi, and for Obama if he signs it since they are supposed to uphold the Constitution? I'm not a lawyer, but the Constitution seems pretty clear to me in its process for passing bills. This one is so far-reaching it is astounding that they dare try.

What part of "GOVERNING AGAINST THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE" do these people not understand??? Oh I'm sorry, they don't care.

In my view it is the Ring of Power from Tolkien's trilogy, the power of Sauron, that has seduced these politicians. How sad that this nation, the dream of our Founding Fathers and so many people of all countries in many generations, may be irrevokably changed through the aims of just a few people.

Of course we need health care reform. My point though: should we trust the government to do this? What system have they ever made better and delivered under budget?

This is not a bill that is being celebrated: it's being rammed through by one party, in secret, with many machinations and loud protests going on outside. It's not pretty. We can't even know what's in the bill: as the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says, we won't know "until it's passed."


Monday, March 15, 2010

Busy Writing...

I'm working for the Genesis deadline which is at the end of March. Will be back here on Wednesday. Hope you're well!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Celebrity Aging

These photos just reinforce that we are all human, and that our time on this earth is fleeting. See what you think.
Al Pacino:

Val Kilmer:

Jamie Lee Curtis:
Jack Nicholson:

Sharon Stone:

David Lee Roth:
Cybil Sheppard:

Elizabeth Taylor:

Kathleen Turner:

Brigitte Bardot:

Steven Segal:

Kirstie Alley:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dogs and Cats

How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb?

1. Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned out bulb?

2. Border Collie: Just one. And then I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.

3. Dachshund: You know I can't reach that stupid lamp!

4. Rottweiler: Make me.

5. Boxer: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.

6. Lab: Oh, me, me!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? Pleeeeeeeeeze, please, please, please!

7. German Shepherd: I'll change it as soon as I've led these people from the dark, check to make sure I haven't missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.

8. Jack Russell Terrier: I'll just pop it in while I'm bouncing off the walls and furniture.

9. Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? I'm sorry, but I don't see a light bulb!

10. Cocker Spaniel: Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark.

11. Chihuahua: Yo quiero Taco Bulb. Or "We don't need no stinking light bulb."

12. Greyhound: It isn't moving. Who cares?

13. Australian Shepherd: First, I'll put all the light bulbs in a little circle...

14. Poodle: I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.


How many cats does it take to change a light bulb?

Cats do not change light bulbs. People change light bulbs. So, the real question is:

"How long will it be before I can expect some light, some dinner, and a massage?"


Monday, March 8, 2010

INCIDENT by Countee Cullen

Countee Cullen (1903-1946) was an African-American poet of the Harlem Renaissance period. His works are thoughtful and sad and beautiful.
Here's one poem that I find wrenching:
Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, "Nigger."
I saw the whole of Baltimore
from May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friends of Irony

These are fun. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I'm Allowed to Love Myself

This blog entry is by Edwin Crozier, who works as *Evangelist* at Franklin Church of Christ in Franklin Tennessee. I thought it was very good, and received permission to re-post it. The original post can be found HERE.


What are the two greatest commandments? See Matthew 22:34-40.

1. Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, soul, and mind.

2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Look at that second commandment again. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I’ve often looked at the first three words–love your neighbor. But what about that ellipsis at the end? “As you love yourself.” What about that?

In my conversation this morning, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m allowed to love myself. In fact, more than allowed, I’m commanded to. If I don’t love myself, how will I love my neighbor properly?

Maybe this is nothing to you, but this was an epiphany for me. I spend most of my time hating myself. I see all my mistakes and sins. I know that I’m unworthy. I’ve trained myself to think that if in any moment I actually think I might be someone lovable, then I am being proud and arrogant. I’ve trained myself to believe I’m supposed to notice all my bad choices and bad actions. I talk to myself about them all the time. I call myself names. I’m one of those people who likes to express what is bad about me before others get a chance to. That way the hurt won’t sting as badly.

But look at what Jesus said. I’m allowed to love myself. I’m supposed to love myself. Loving myself isn’t selfishness. Loving myself isn’t refusing to love others. In fact, loving myself is the path to love others truly.

How do I love myself? I Corinthians 13:4-7 provides some clues.

Am I patient with myself? Do I realize that today’s mistakes don’t define me? Do I realize that God is still working within me? Do I know that He will conform me to the image of His Son in His time so I don’t have to hate myself today for my mistakes?

Am I kind to myself? Do I take care of myself? When I’m tired do I let myself rest? When I need solitude, do I seek it? When I need to eat, do I? When I need to express how I feel, will I? Do I speak kindly to myself?

Am I envious? I know this one seems to be about others. If I love them, I won’t envy them. However, I think I can see this about myself too. If I am envious of others, I don’t love myself. Do I see the gifts God has given me? Am I thankful for them? Do I love me for those gifts of God?

Do I boast or am I arrogant? This one lets me know that loving myself is not about personal pride. If I’m boasting in myself, them I’m puffing myself up. Instead, I need to boast in God, His grace, His love, His work in me.

Am I rude to myself? Sometimes I talk to myself in ways I would never talk to others. I miss a turn and start berating myself, “Idiot, moron. How could you do something so stupid?” This gets back to patience and kindness.

Do I insist on my own way? I’ve learned that the way that seems right to me ends in death. I need to follow God’s way. Loving me means giving me the freedom to surrender to Christ and follow His will.

Am I irritable? I’ve found that I’m most irritable or easily-provoked with others when I am irritated with myself. I think this goes along with patience and kindness. Can I accept that I messed up earlier without letting myself be bogged down for days in personal anger?

Am I resentful? Do I take into account wrongs suffered. If I spend my days keeping score of all the wrongs I’ve done, I won’t be able to love me. Here’s what I need to learn. God knew all the wrongs I would commit and sent Jesus to die for me anyway. That’s how much He loved me. Loving myself doesn’t mean ignoring my wrongs. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean keeping a running total of all the wrong I’ve committed to bring up when I might start thinking something nice about myself either.

Do I rejoice in wrongdoing or in the truth? This ties in with the resentful demonstrating that not keeping score of my wrongs does not mean I’m just allowed to do wrong without concern. Loving myself means learning to rejoice when I do surrender to Jesus’ truth. All too often, when I do have victories I don’t rejoice, instead I let past defeats tarnish present victories.

Do I bear, believe, hope and endure all things? Loving myself means recognizing that whatever I’m facing right now will pass. I don’t need to escape into fantasy. I don’t need to escape into sin. I don’t need to escape through death. I can sit in God’s arms, with Him as my refuge and face whatever is going on. I can know that I will get through this. I can know that whatever mistakes I’ve made, God will work it out for good for me and I can hang on.

What a revelation for me today. I’m allowed to love myself. Then I’ll be able to love you. I think I’ll start today.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New CPR Guidelines

ACLS guidelines now state that a witnessed person down should receive chest compressions for 2 minutes before receiving rescue breaths, since the blood probably contains enough oxygen to keep the brain alive, provided the brain receives the blood.

The guidelines for laypeople have also changed. Watch this 2 minute video -- it could save a life!