Monday, December 31, 2007

Christian/Christ Follower #2

This is #2 in the series. Do we display our faith with bumper stickers and stacks of all the right books or do we just live it?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christian/Christ Follower...

This is more from I debated about posting this here because the comments on GodTube have been varied. There seem to be two camps: Love it or hate it. I love it. It makes some important points about how we approach our faith and how we portray it to others. Is it genuine and heartfelt or is it superficial? Do we go to church to be seen?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

NHL embraces religion, but keeps faith more private

NHL embraces religion, but keeps faith more private, the Detroit News

A great read. Sometimes I wish hockey players would express their faith more publicly but I can understand the reasons for not doing so. Its good to know that the players take their faith seriously, even if they don't make a big deal out of it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Whyyyyyy? my 1-1/2 year old daughter's favorite new thing to say. It doesn't matter what I say to her, she responds with "Whyyyyyy?" in her cute little baby voice. It could be something like "We're having Hershey bars and ice cream for supper". She'd ask why. The best part is I can answer with "Because I said so" and she'll just say "Ok" and go on her way.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pearl Harbor Day

Today we remember the attack on Pearl Harbor that occurred December 7, 1941. My grandfather was there aboard the battleship U.S.S. California. The California was sunk that day, but was raised, repaired and returned to the fight. Let's all remember the brave men and women who gave their lives for freedom that day and let us also remember to be vigilant for threats to our freedom in the future.

Just before my grandfather passed away, my dad got him to talk about Pearl Harbor a little. Here is the account:

The first hand account of 22 year old, John B. Smith, Gunners Mate 2nd Class:

“ I was in turret #1 -1st Division. We lived in those turrets. Slept on folding cots which we stored in an immersion tank, a pit in a 14” gun turret with 16 inches of space.

We had a crazy 1st Lt. who was always holding drills. I was pressing some whites to go ashore. General Quarters sounded. We all thought it was that crazy Lt. holding those drills.

My battle station was the upper powder handling room in Turret #1. Deck hands and other gun crew members were coming in, it takes 75 guys to fire a 14” gun. 10 were on the training deck, we thought it was a drill. By the time we got our phones on and checked in with the turret Captain the first torpedo hit. It felt like the ship ran aground. She felt pushed aside then another torpedo hit.

We were tied to a Quay on Ford Island. We were the battle force flag ship and had a four star Admiral aboard. We got a couple of bomb hits aft.

We had a mechanical cow on board and it made ice cream. Worst ice cream I ever tasted. We called it the Geedunk stand. One of the bombs hit the room it was in and blew it up. It was the best thing about the whole raid.

Fire and damage control people were fighting fires. The ship was listing to port. We made a mark on the water immersion tank and sure enough, the ship was listing to port.

The Captain and Staff and the OOD, (Officer of the Deck), said to train all turrets to starboard to counter-balance the list. Turret #1 tore right thru the canvass covering at 17 degrees. The turret relief valves were at maximum and they yelled for me to dog, (tighten) them down but the power went out and the guns never went any further.

The Chief Ship-Fitter went down and opened the flood valves to counter flood the list and it did so.

During this week and next we were going to have a landing force inspection. All the man hole covers were off. That’s why we ?? and sank like a rock. A battleship is a maze of water tight compartments, all were open.

About this time the word came to take my crew down four decks below the water line to a 5” AA magazine to hand pass the ammo as the electrical hoists were out. Water was slopping around us when we went down.

I had 12 men when we started out and arrived with 8. We nearly had the magazine emptied when they said Abandon Ship. We started up but then they said go down again. We finished the magazine. No others would come. I said to go back to our battle stations. I went out by a hatch near turret #2 with the rest of my men. 50 to 75 guys who went the other way were trapped below and drowned when the 50 ton main hatch cover was closed and locked. It was made of 5 or 6 inches of grade A steel.

Norman E. Scott was a machinist mate and a friend. He later got the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was supplying air to the 5” AA guns from an air compressor. I said to him, “Scotty get out of here, he said no. as long as they want air to the guns I’ll stay here. That was the last I saw of him, he died at his post.

The old 5” AA shells had to have the fuses set by hand. Some of our shells were landing in Pearl City and exploding. They reported they were being bombed, some shells hit like bags of sand.

We jumped out of the hatch by turret 2 and I landed on a pile of wooden Church chairs. Banged up my knees and legs. A bunch of our guys lay dead on blankets on the deck. I took ?? guy burned all over with crisp ??? to the turret. We had ?? tubs of grease and I covered him with it. I went back to get another but they had removed them.

The ships Doctor came along and took me to a large bomb hole in the deck and we pulled out the torso’s only, arms and legs of the guys killed. Then they said abandon ship. I ran forward to turret #1. Jessie Pike, turret Captain said, “where have you been, they are all gone. I have been waiting for you. Get your shoes off and lets go.”

I jumped over the side. The water had oil on it, some of it burning. Boats were nearby but I waved them off and swam 50 yards to the beach on Ford Island. Pike and I had oil all over us. Some Hawaiian girls on the beach had buckets of kerosene and helped us get the oil off.

They took us to a hangar and we got clean clothes. Jessie and I got 2 browning machine guns from a plane and we set those guns up with plenty of ammo. 3 or 4 sailors helped us.

I was bleeding when I came ashore and they sent my parents in Beaver Crossing a telegram that I was wounded and then killed.

The dumbest thing those Jap guys did was sink the ships in shallow water. If they had waited until we were underway they could have gotten everything.

We stayed with the machine guns a couple of hours. A Coke machine was nearby as we were getting thirsty but we had no money. We opened it with an iron bar and I had a Dr. Pepper but I have never had one since.

The Arizona blew up behind us, the Oklahoma rolled over.

As soon as it got dark they said anything coming down the channel will be unfriendly. Two planes came down and we shot them down.

They hauled us over to Honolulu and fed us baloney, sardines and beans. When we went to chow there were powder grains lying all over the island from the Arizona. She blew up so fast these grains did not have time to explode. There were pieces of iron and angle iron blown three to four miles.

A man on the Oklahoma escaped through a 14 inch porthole. He was a lot larger than a 14 inch port hole.

The ships Chaplain, (Lt. William J. Kergaly), a good friend – a great cribbage and checker player was the bravest man I ever saw. He had a set of phones and described the attack like a football game to the crew below. The men idolized him. He survived.”

The image at the top of the post is from the National Archives. It provides a dramatic picture of what was going on that day.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Looking Elegant

My real life wife and I enjoy exploring the virtual world of Second Life together. Here is her avatar recently looking mighty elegant:

Elegant Tamar

What a babe. But then that's one of the many reasons I married her.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Howstuffworks "How Second Life Works"

Howstuffworks "How Second Life Works"

This is one of my favorite ways to unwind before hitting the sack at night. Second Life is what a resident makes of it. It can be positive or negative. There's a lot of envangilism that is being done in Second Life but there's much more to be done. As in real life, the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few. To find out more get a free basic account and head over to the Eternal Creations beach and talk to some of the residents hanging out there.

Court Sets Its Scope on Handgun Ban -

Court Sets Its Scope on Handgun Ban -

Read this for a really nice summary of what the case is about and the questions to be considered.

Taking The Second Amendment To Court, The Supreme Court Prepares To Examine DC's Right To Ban Handguns In The Context Of The Constitution - CBS News

Taking The Second Amendment To Court, The Supreme Court Prepares To Examine DC's Right To Ban Handguns In The Context Of The Constitution - CBS News

The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted the case. Keep an eye on it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Supreme Court may take up D.C. handgun ban - 11/09/2007 -

Supreme Court may take up D.C. handgun ban - 11/09/2007 -

No matter which side of the issue you come down on, this bears watching. Whichever way the Supreme Court decides will have far reaching implications. No rant, just a recommendation to read the article and keep an eye on this.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Found this gem today and I just had to share it here:

Enron Capitalism

Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

Communism: You have two cows. You must take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

Enron Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt-equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred through an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The Enron annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

From the Political Joke Archives

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Red Wings - More Impressions

Is it just me, or can Chris Osgood not lose right now? He is money. I know the Wings want to work Hasek back into the lineup to keep him sharp, but it must be hard. The Wings have tightened up their defense and are winning with goal tending, solid defense and puck possession. Just hope they can keep it rolling and no major injuries strike the team.

Monday, November 5, 2007

One Guy's View of Second Life

If you haven't heard of it, one of the hottest things on the internet right now is Second Life. This is how Linden Lab (the creator of Second Life) describes the experience: "Second Life is a 3D digital world imagined and created by its Residents."

Such a short phrase and yet it says so much. I had to see what all the buzz was about. So, I created an identity (and no, I'm not revealing it) and started exploring. After reading some of the stories in the popular media I was expecting the worst. Instead of a virtual world filled with scam artists and moral depravity I found something else. I found a microcosm of the world we live in. Sure, a person can find all the trouble they want if they look hard enough, just like at home. A person can find some extremely positive areas and activities as well. Again, just like at home.

A large adjustment for me is that there is no "objective" or "mission". There are no points or lives. The environment is what you make of it. Sounds a lot like real life: You get out of it what you put into it. If you want to be a virtual slacker, go for it. If you want to be a virtual entrepreneur, have at it. For now I'm going with the slacker route.

The key phrase in the description above is "imagined and created". The sim is what I make of it. This is daunting to me, but with enough exploration to see what others are doing I'm learning what that means.

So far my favorite part is exploring and meeting people. It's really cool that every avatar I run into represents another person. Striking up conversations has been a blast. I have found some Christian themed areas that are friendly and make the experience positive.

In a virtual environment people seem to have fewer inhibitions, so they are more apt to stop and talk with virtual strangers. Of course, as anywhere on the internet, it's best to not reveal too much personal info.

In short, I'm glad I gave it a try.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Coffee Roasting Resources

The following are some home coffee roasting resources:

Sweet Maria's Home Roasting Basics

This is a fantastic resource that goes through all the major methods of roasting your own coffee at home.

Homeroaster Association

A nice resource and a discussion forum dedicated to homeroasting.

The Coffee FAQ

Everything you ever wanted to know about coffee and then some.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Red Wings - First Impressions

First impressions of the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings: This is a good team. They should be able to win their division. The recent west coast road trip wasn't good for my sleep patterns, but from what I saw this team is impressing me already this year. The team is showing more toughness than in the past. Team speed looks to have improved over last year. Defensively the team needs to improve. So far this year the Red Wings are 17th in Goals Against. Some positives are team scoring (2nd in Goals For), and the improved power play (22.22%, 5th in the league) Overall what I see leaves me feeling optimistic and looking forward to the hockey season.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Element

Over on the left I've added an element for shared items. These are articles I run across that I feel are interesting enough to share with others. These will tend to be articles dealing with my interests of accounting, baseball, hockey, fly fishing, camping and kayaking. Occasionally I may comment upon an article in a post.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Accidental Blend

When roasting coffee the accidental blends sometimes turn out to be the best ones. The only bad part is that they are difficult to repeat. My most current accidental blend success is a 50/50 blend of Sulawesi Toraja grade 1 and Yemen Mohka Kadir. To make it better I broke a "rule" by roasting them together. Took them about 10 seconds in to second crack for a nice dark roast. After 36 hours of aging, yum! Very sweet and syrupy. It would probably make a good espresso as well, but I'm too busy drinking it from my pour over and my press pot to try.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tax Reminder

Just a reminder for those that filed extensions last April. Your 2006 income tax return is due next Monday, October 15, 2007.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fall Color

It's autumn in northern Michigan and that means the trees are full of color like this one:

This tree was along side the big-fish pond at the Oden fish hatchery. The kids had a great time feeding the big trout that reside in the pond.

Just Moving In

Pardon the dust and boxes. I'm just moving in to this space.