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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chemistry at Midnight

Chemistry at Midnight

Kiddos start school tomorrow, and my daughter is finishing up the chemistry summer packet. I wasn't organized this weekend to do a blog entry, so just will post this to let you know, I'll be back soon. Hope you're well!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Advice from Bill Gates

I got this in my email. This is supposed to be advice from Bill Gates: a speech that he gave to a high school. I don't know if he's the author, but the advice is great, whoever wrote this.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and t hey'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Couldn't be any simpler than that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Gummy Bear Song

This one is guaranteed to make you smile! Happy Monday.

Friday, August 20, 2010

How Many Days Until November 2nd?

More and more citizens in this country seem to be turning away from the current governmental policies. Another turn occurred last week, when President Obama lectured the American people that all faiths should be respected and should have their places of worship. No one is arguing against this! It is simply that Ground Zero in New York City, the site of so much death and destruction, is hallowed ground. Polls state that about 70% of the people think a giant Islamic mosque should not be built here. As someone who attended the funeral of a serviceman killed at the Pentagon, for myself I cannot imagine anything so offensive. To me it implies that the Islamic faith, of which the terrorists claimed allegiance, would be celebrating its victory and ultimate dominance over this site. It would be as if we Americans built a mini-Statue of Liberty next to the Japanese memorial site in Hiroshima. No one in America took joy in bombing this city and Nagasaki, and we do not celebrate this action or wish to rub the Japanese noses into our victory. These bombings were seen as a regrettable yet necessary actions to force the Japanese to surrender and thus end a terrible war. We do not celebrate this action, as a memorial would suggest.

This is a great video that reminds me of our costly freedoms we Americans are in danger of losing. Now, how many days until November 2nd?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guarding the Heart

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God's will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness... We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it.

from CS Lewis, The Four Loves

Monday, August 16, 2010

Funny Edits

Here are some fun headlines --


Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter


Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says


Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers


Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over


Miners Refuse to Work after Death


Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant


War Dims Hope for Peace


If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile


Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures


Enfield ( London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide


Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges


Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge


New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group


Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft


Kids Make Nutritious Snacks


Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half


Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors


Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Heaven: The Ultimate Border Control

Last week a 23-year-old illegal immigrant to the US drove drunk, and ended up smashing into a car of nuns, killing one and critically injuring two more. This was apparently his third DUI. Deportation proceedings had been begun earlier but he was "released on his own recognizance" and thus still in the country driving drunk.

This incident was the springboard for my boy and I to discuss the problems of illegal immigration, and why it's such a thorny issue. On the one hand, we have many illegals in this country who work hard and are otherwise "good citizens," and it's difficult to imagine doing a complete purge. The countries they come from probably offer quite harsh conditions and real difficulties to even scratching out subsistence. On the other hand, there is a long line for LEGAL immigrants, who spend much money and time waiting for the honor of becoming an American citizen. Is it fair that others push ahead? Furthermore, most of the illegals are unskilled, and tend to utilize many of this country's resources: public schools, subsidized health care, food stamps, and on and on. Money they earn is often sent back to their country of origin rather than being recycled into the American economy. They often do not wish to learn English. Gangs, drugs, and crime are imported from a few of these illegals, causing an unsafe environment for the "natives" (Americans).

My son wondered what you do with, say, the kids who had nothing to do with their parents illegally entering the country? What do you do with the illegals who live quietly and positively work and contribute to this country?

Well, I'm not going to pontificate on a perfect solution because I'm stymied. Let's just say the problem is tangled and complex, and it got me thinking about borders in general. More specifically, about the border of another country, the permeability of which seems to be often assumed but not necessarily pondered.


A 2004 Gallup poll showed that about 80% of people believe in heaven, and about 70% believe in hell. Furthermore, a similar poll in 1988 indicated that about three-quarters of people who believed in hell thought they'd go to heaven instead.

Many people (and many movies!) seem to think that Heaven is simply something beautiful and a wonderful place to be. The concept of "God" isn't usually mentioned except as a diffused and passive presence, a Light that permeates all things. "Go into the Light," as they say.

Like the Gallup pollees I also believe in heaven and hell (although I WISH I didn't believe in hell). As a Christian I hold to Jesus' statement: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No one comes to the Father but by me. (John 14:6). Through a year-long research journey objectively studying the events surrounding the death of Jesus, I concluded that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. I moved from skeptic to Christian, and you can read something about my reasoning at my website HERE.

The beliefs of a Christian are quite specific. A Christian believes that God is Holy and cannot tolerate any sin, not even "little" ones. No one can possibly be holy as God is, and therefore cannot be in His presence. However, God is also a God of Love, and therefore sent/became Jesus, who was both God and man, to live a sinless life. Jesus was offered as a sacrifice on the cross so that He would take on our sin, and we could have His righteousness imputed upon us -- therefore, we CAN be considered righteous to be in God's presence. To become a Christian, one simply has to acknowledge that he cannot measure up to God's standards, then accept Jesus' sacrifice to cover his sinfulness.

Going back to the previous topic, some Americans are incredibly annoyed by illegals because they feel that illegals want to take advantage of the USA without contributing anything in the way of taxes or even learning the language. It struck me that many people look at Heaven this way also: they want all the "goodies" of God's presence (love, peace, beauty) without wanting to love Him or to bow their wills to His or otherwise learn to know Him.

The question then becomes, how permeable are Heaven's borders?

Monday, August 9, 2010

How to Find a Literary Agent

I've been reading some of Noah Lukeman's books. He is a literary agent and gives lots of advice to wannabe writers about how to edit, how to write query letters, and how to actually make contact with agents. He notes that some writers give up too soon, since they only approach maybe 3-4 agents, and those agents may or may not be appropriate for the work. Lukeman recommends approaching a minimum of 50 agents, more if you feel ambitious.

From his e-book, How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent, he recommends some free resources to find agent names. They include: -- a (free) daily newsletter that gives publishing news and publishing deals. Agent names with the works sold are reported here. There is also a paid version for this newsletter. -- a website that includes a search members link to find accurate contact information, links to the "Top 10" most visited agents, and general news etc. about publishing. Again, there is also a paid access area, but what's described here is free. -- contains a "deals" link, although the agents reported here will tend to be established and therefore less anxious for new clients, free articles and information, and a free weekly newsletter.

You can also do Google searches and Google Blog Searches to find listings for specific agents and editors. The blog search might be useful even for general terms such as "literary agent" or "literary agency."

Twitter: there are agents and agencies on Twitter. You can search for these using

You also can look through the acknowledgements pages of similar books. You can find more books that mention a particular agent by going to, then in the Search box type the agents name in quotes, and then the word "Acknowledgements." -- offers a free newsletter. -- has free articles and a free newsletter. They also do an annual list of 101 best websites for writers. -- companion blog to WD Guide to Literary Agents. -- has a free searchable database of agent and agency information. -- some resources


NOTE: This list was compiled from Noah Lukeman's e-book, How to Land (and Keep) a Literary Agent.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Two Competitions for Published Books

I've just learned of two competitions for recently published books that, considering your circumstances, you may want to enter. Here they are:


EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection) is holding its annual contest for e-books published between June 1, 2009 and May 31, 2010. You need to hurry for this one, since the deadline is August 15, 2010. EPIC was established in 1998 and currently claims "hundreds of professionals from all facets of the electronic publishing industry: authors, publishers, editors, artists, and others." The winners will be announced at their annual convention in Williamsburg VA to be held March 10-13 2011. There are also some good resources on EPIC's site that you may want to check out.


CSPA (Christian Small Publisher Association) Book of the Year Award is for print books (perfect-bound paperback or hardback). Books must be published and for sale in 2009 or 2010, and nominated by the publisher. The deadline is November 15, 2010. Books will be judged by Christian readers, retailers, and publishing professionals in February and March 2011, and winner will be notified by email on May 1 2011.

Good luck!

Monday, August 2, 2010


I'm back! Waking up after being on a westerly time for a week is tough, but slowly I'm readjusting. It's hard to believe that it's August already -- kiddos got out of school at the end of June, and they go back in about 4 weeks, but I'm just now starting to feel "summer-ready."

OK, it'll be slow but I'm hopefully refreshed and ready to start in again. I've been assessing my areas of expertise and options to move ahead with my writing -- and think I'm probably my own worst enemy when it comes to getting work done. It seems futile.

Doesn't Solomon in Ecclesiastes start out with this same idea? ALL is futile in this world, except for knowing God.

Heavy sigh. Hope you're all well!