Thursday, July 31, 2008
Currently there's no sunspot activity which would collaborate the above chart. This from NASA scientists who study sunspot activities:
Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally.
So says NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "There have been some reports lately that Solar Minimum is lasting longer than it should. That's not true. The ongoing lull in sunspot number is well within historic norms for the solar cycle."
This report, that there's nothing to report, is newsworthy because of a growing buzz in lay and academic circles that something is wrong with the sun. Sun Goes Longer Than Normal Without Producing Sunspots declared one recent press release. A careful look at the data, however, suggests otherwise.
But first, a status report: "The sun is now near the low point of its 11-year activity cycle," says Hathaway. "We call this 'Solar Minimum.' It is the period of quiet that separates one Solar Max from another."
Read more about solar max and minimums.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
BUDGETING TIME BETWEEN REAL AND VIRTUAL WORLDS
Among many things, after blogging here for almost two years now (first on my now defunct blog---webutante.blogspot.com---and then here at webutante07.blogspot) I've gone from a size 4 to almost a size 8. The operative word here is almost.
I've told friends who've asked me how long I'm going to do this gig, when I hit a size 8, I'll stop blogging, cold turkey, even in the middle of a sentence.
So now I'm almost there and not going a size larger. Even if it means I give up blogging foreve-vah!
The past few weeks, however, I've been fishing and hiking and mostly wearing myself out away from the computer. I'm back down to a size 6.
Nevertheless, all is well, as I stay more in the real world and continue a bit of a blog fast. I'm sleeping well and want to find a new balance for myself. A new balance between the virtual and the manifest worlds, if I continue.
Don't know yet, if I can. But I'll never be happy sitting in front of a computer screen most of the day.
This world is addictive and also fattening.
Only time will tell whether I can sustain a new balance and keep myself in a size 6.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS MY LAST POST FOR A LITTLE WHILE. WILL WRITE OCCASIONALLY IN BETWEEN WEARING MYSELF OUT OUTDOORS.
" THE WORD heresy comes from the Greek word meaning 'choose.' The heretic is a person who chooses a single item out of the entire body of truth and, ignoring or denying the rest of it, makes that privately preferred and chosen truth the only truth, and teaches others to do the same. Heresy is the choice of the fraction instead of the integer. Insofar as the heretic gets others to only see that fragment and ignore the rest, he blocks access to the organic fullness of all reality, of God. There is simplification in that choice (that is the attraction), but there is also immense impoverishment. The heretic solves our problems by reducing our lives."
— Eugene Peterson, Traveling Light
"Heresy is an attempt to simplify the truth, but reducing it to the limits of our ordinary understanding, instead of enlarging our reason to the apprehension of truth."
— T.S. Eliot, The Idea of a Christian Society
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
The MSM and LA Times won't say a word about John Edwards and Rielle Hunter's alleged affair and love child, but the liberal Daily Kos does and will to their great credit. I've never heard male infidelity described as misogyny. Interesting:
"I am astounded that anyone would try to argue that infidelity is not misogynist. I guess I just have to agree to disagree on that one.
"Arguing that an extramarital affair - cheating on your sick wife, just like John McCain - is not inherently misogynistic is exactly the flaw in progressive thinking I was talking about above. Are we so blinded by our hero worship? Edwards' affair reveals him to see women - including is devoted wife of 30 years - as replaceable objects for his amusement. It does reveal volumes about his view of women. The honorable thing would have been to divorce his old wife and then marry the new one, not sneak around Beverly Hills hotels in secret.
"Is there a deep flaw here, in progressive ideology, that makes it blind to morality and family values? Or are we just being played for fools?"
Great rhetorical question. Glad you asked, Kos, though you already know the answer.
From Heritage Foundation.
The New Big Three, by Mark Perry at Carpe Diem.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I've been to a few wild and crazy places in my life, and seen some wild and crazy things, but never, NEVER, have I been to a more wild and crazy place---ever--than the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in March, 2007. And that was even without a president or presidential candidate being along. (Obama, incidentally, in the above video, was not at The Wailing Wall, but rather some underground wall, probably in the basement and on the west side of the Temple Mount where his safety could be better secured.)
Being there last year was like being in a global opera, where every one comes to bear their hopes, griefs and pent up needs of a lifetime. After going through major security screening to put to shame any airport I've ever been through with soldiers and machine guns everywhere, men and women are separated and then able proceed to their designated wailing section. The emotional emoting---yes, it's redundant---is like a giant psychodrama, opera, or therapy session where everyone can let it all hang out. Screaming, wailing, shouting, praying, crying, dancing, singing, chanting are all part of the almost unbelievable carnival atmosphere. You work your way up to the actual wall after cuing up with hundreds, maybe thousands from the back. Then, when you finally get to the wall, you get to stuff your little piece of paper with all your family and loved one's names or requests on it. There is barely a place to stuff your little paper, but somehow you find something and shove it in, though is often falls to the ground. It's okay, beggers---and at this point we're all beggers in a sea of humanity---can't be choosers.
As the mass of female humanity presses from behind, you say your little prayers, do whatever emotional things you decide to do---I didn't do much but observe, since when I'm in culture shock I get very, very quiet----and then attempt to weave backwards out of the way. There is a curtain separating women from the men so you can't see what is happening on their side, but you can certainly hear everything and let your mind conjure up whatever it will.
If you don't think Jerusalem is the microcosmic center of the world, I challenge you to go there and to the Wailing Wall and Temple Mount, complete with Muslim chanting screaming through loudspeakders all over the city, and then tell me that again.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
John Edwards, solving the personal poverty problem in America one-love child at a time? Must be a difficult situation for Elizabeth Edwards. We may have to have Little Lord Obamaroy as the Dem's presidential candidate, but this should finish it off for Edwards being on the ticket with him. We can at least give thanks in that regard to the Ms. Hunter.
WHEREUPON THE PRESUMPTIVE CANDIDATE BECOMES THE PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENT
---Omar and Mohammed Fadhil in Iraq reporting from Iraq for Pajamas Media.
A McCain supporter e-mails me today:
"I am glad you're following the road show circus that Obama is starring in. How phony! Apparently a man who used to work at the White House for a Dem administration (do not know which one) came to the back of the Obama plane to answer questions from the press. He declined to answer one saying that when he was at the White House they did not answer questions like the one asked. A frustrated reporter spoke up and reminded this man that Obama is not the president! The Obama campaign has just assumed that since Obama is playing the role of president on this trip that somehow he has already won the election. I do not think this will resonate well with a lot of people here. A few of the mainstream press are beginning to put some heat on Obama including Andrea Mitchell and Katie Couric."
Finally, from Marathon Pundit, Obama's confused policies for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
He died this past weekend in a fall while doing a solo climb in seemingly perfect conditions, but with little margin for error. No one will ever know exactly what happened. His teenage son was here this summer with him.
I'm not a mountain climber, but am an avid hiker and fly fisher and have been a professional fishing guide here since the late 80s---though I'm no longer guiding professionally today. This news is sobering for all of us guides who've had close calls over the years. And frankly, it's one of the reasons I finally gave up guiding. A guide's first and foremost responsibility always is, in as much as humanly possible, assuring the safety of their clients and themselves. We're all trained in first aid, wilderness safety, and CPR and must be re-certified every year. But none of that guarantees that accidents and death won't happen. When you're time is up, it's up. Life can turn and change on a dime.
But by the Grace of God go any of us. But by the Grace of God go I. May God comfort his wife and children and all the many friends and colleagues George left behind.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Who does he think he is anyway, Little Lord Obamoroy? Mile High Stadium in Denver isn't nearly high enough to match his mushrooming aspirations for the next 8-10? years. He's a man who's already thinking about his second term in office and beyond! What hubris. God help us all to see through this media made chimera.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity—filled with life and love we cannot comprehend—and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.
Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?"
---Tony Snow in Christianity Today, June 2007
When Tony Snow's colon cancer reoccurred last year, it was evident that his days were numbered. Last year, he penned a piece for Christianity Today. I would like to post parts of that here and also link to the article in its entirety. I believe it speaks for itself as to the potential healing aspects of illness, even and especially in the face of death and great suffering. Tony, who died this week, in my opinion, is a class act. His faith in his Savior gave him strength and great hope, and in the end, peace. May he rest in peace and his family be comforted in his absence.
WHEN YOU ENTER THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, THINGS CHANGE
by Tony Snow, for Christianity Today, June, 2007
"Blessings arrive in unexpected packages—in my case, cancer.
Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will.
Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations
The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the why questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.
I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is—a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.
But despite this—because of it—God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.
Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.
To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life—and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many nonbelieving hearts—an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live—fully, richly, exuberantly—no matter how their days may be numbered."
Hat tip, Joel Rosenberg.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Fortunately, Monday, I was with one of my favorites, a strong fishermen and off-duty river ranger with GTNP. In the summer, I never wear waders. It's too easy for me at 5'3'' to get water in them and be pulled under. Several of the best fishermen in the valley have drowned in waders. So I wet wade, with lightweight pants and Tevas. It's safer and exhilarating standing in wild water all day. There's nothing like it in the world, for my money.....not even blogging.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
— Erica Jong,“Siren of Sexual Liberation,” Newsweek, Sept., 1996
"For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes---Jews first and also Gentiles. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, 'It is through faith that a righteous person has life.'"
The Apostle Paul, Romans 1: 16-17.
Joel Rosenberg has an interesting post on talk of missiles and messiahs in the Middle East.
Rest in peace, Tony Snow. What a truly sad day it is for your family and many, many admirers.
"If spiritual openings are accidents, as a number of teachers have pointed out, then the spiritual work of silence and stillness makes us accident-prone, susceptible to the imagination of eternity, the wit of God. In matters of the spirit, no road is ever straight. When first we begin to open, the vastness can be frightening and so we regress, sag back into the familiar darkness, where we can be close to the earth and rest. There we abide, gathering invisible resilience, until once again the involuntary compassion appears in the midst of suffering, and we step back onto the stairs of Purgatory and the steady repetitions of spiritual work. Just why the door begins to open is a mystery. But if we follow a spiritual method it does happen; we are thrown into vastness as into the sea. Since we are all unique in what we bring, there are many different ways of being cast upon the infinite. But always we meet something greater than ourselves, beyond all we hold important. When we are utterly ready for it, this vastness is no longer frightening, but utterly comforting."
----The Light Inside the Dark, by John Tarrant
Friday, July 11, 2008
Have fun fretting about this one, cause there's nothing you or I can do about it. Not even blame you-know-who. That makes it even better, doesn't it? It's from Wesley Pruden, one of my favorite columnists at the Washington Times.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Environmentalists blame these big fires on the same ole scapegoat: global warming/climate change. And it's getting boring to listen to. They predict that with warming, more of these fires will occur. And of course, they're right in a way, but for the wrong reasons.
Anyone, including me, who's lived in or around a National Forest and through one of these big fires as I did in the Yellowstone fires of 1988 started by dry lightning strikes, knows a large part of the culpability for these fires are with the eco-extremists themselves.
For the past half century, environmentalists have lobbied Washington, Congress and the USFS for a no timbering/no cutting policy in these public, often roadless areas. Huge amounts of fuel in the form of trees and shrubs have built up in these wilderness areas as a result---fuel that should have been harvested and thinned long ago. Now, since we haven't done our job, nature is taking its course and cleaning out its over-grown forests as it's done for millions of years.
Can you imagine the effects these fires are having on atmospheric CO2 levels? I'll bet these fires in California almost equal a month's worth of Al Gore's carbon footprint as he trots around the globe admonishing us all to turn down our thermostats and screw in new light bulbs.
Meanwhile, it's not politically or environmentally correct to call for the thinning of timber on USFS lands by radical environmentalists. That would be tantamount to treason. Bringing down the economy would be preferable to bringing down trees or shrubs, even if it's done in a environmentally acceptable way.
But it just might just be the most cost effective way to keep man made CO2 levels reasonable. One of these big fire equals 1,000 years of Kyoto bs and wipes out all our good intentions.
So yes, I think we can expect more and bigger fires in the years to come. Because when hot, dry conditions combine with forests and wilderness areas that are over-grown with fuel, then all it takes is one dry lightning strike or a tossed match to ignite a fire that can become a mega environmental event, like a 500-year flood or a class 5 hurricane.
Meanwhile, Climate Change Delusion, a diagnosed disorder, via HotAir.
A smart money man told me recently: The correction we're in first takes down the small, hot stocks, the weak, and the trendy. But as it grinds on, it takes down the Big Stocks/Companies which have been in favor and made tons of money in this last rally. When the Great Washout occurs, the correction is near an end for now.
In the past few days, oil and natural gas prices have fallen hard, along with coal, copper, steel, fertilizers and all things commodities. Gold swooned a while back and is somewhat holding its own at the moment, though the gold party looks like it's over.
Still, if you own any commodity stocks----I've mercifully been stopped out of my few to cut losses and retain a few gains---it might be a good time to sell! sell! sell! as Jim Krammer would say.
Meanwhile, the dollar may be strengthening, and not a minute too soon. The weak dollar has contributed to high gas and commodity prices and if it comes back up, we can count on food, gas and other commodities coming down. In other words, our money will buy more. The weak dollar over the past decade has essentially acted like a huge tax on all of us.
Meanwhile, John Tamny knocks the ball outta the park with a piece today on why Washington needs to let GM, as in the heavily subsidized General Motors, fail.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I'm currently in the boondocks of Wyoming, and for the first time in a long while, my Internet service is abysmal to almost non-existent. Next week and for two weeks thereafter, I'll be in better range and expect to have normal service. But at the moment, it's spotty and oh-so-slow, so my blogging will be sporadic for a while. It's like going back to a landline of 10-12 years ago.
Monday, July 7, 2008
I often think that life gives us lots of metaphors and messages, if only we're willing to stop, look and listen. Today's news that messiah Obama's plane had to make an unscheduled landing in St. Louis for controlabillity issues seems to me to be one of those glaring metaphors.
With almost no experience in either government or business at the ripe old age of 46, do we really think Obama won't be in over his head with controllability issues if he's elected president?
That's a rhetorical question of course on my part.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine and seeke to mend;
That I might rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to breake, blowe, burn and make mee new.
I, like a usurpt towne, to'another due,
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearely I love you, and would be loved faine,
But am betroth'd unto your enemie:
Divorce mee, untie, or breake that knot againe,
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you'enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Not chast, except you ravish mee.
---from "Divine Poems" in The Complete Works and Selected Prose of John Donne, The Modern Library, 1952, p. 252
America, Designed with Godly Intent, from Focus on the Family: David Barton gives a history lesson worth listening to that celebrates the spiritual heritage of America that the so many would have us forget, if we ever knew it in the first place.
Time will tell.
Do sunspots, or lack thereof, affect Earth's climate? A most interesting question.
More here. The sun is dead, what does it mean for Earth and weather?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Jason's specialty appears to be shared economic growth. Which means the government decides how to share your money with others of its choosing. It takes over for free markets and decides how and when and how much energy we get. Furman and Obama are not here to hurt you. They only want to help you. Government knows what's best for you and me. They know who's been naughty (the wealth creators) and nice (the wealth enviers) and will reward everyone accordingly. Government is so innovative and creative.
I hope Larry didn't have apoplexy after talking to Furman. It's an intereview I wish I hadn't heard.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
In countries like America where freedoms flourish, creativity and humor abound. Conversely, in countries where personal liberties are curtailed, people laugh less and less. Laughter and humor are always directly proportional to freedom.
The freest people have the luxury of laughing at themselves.
God bless American this 4th of July weekend.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Web cam at Nepenthe. Flying into California over Lake Tahoe yesterday gave us a first-hand birds eye view of the numerous forest fires dotting the massive National Forests here.
I'm no stranger to these kind of fires, living as I have in Wyoming. I was evacuated from my cabin on the edge of the wilderness during the mega Yellowstone fires of 1988. It like living in a war zone with soldiers, tent camps, helicopters and bombs everywhere. The first fires started from dry lightning early in the season and weren't brought under control until the first snows fell in early September. At one point, firefighters dropped a Napalm bomb at the edge of the fire near me in late August to create a back burn which amazingly contained the fire by turning the fierce momentum racing south back north into the main body of the fires.
This morning I visited one of my favorite retreat centers in San Rafael and heard first-hand about the massive evacuation of Big Sur. This part of Highway 1 on the coast is dear to my heart. Have had some good times there, and hiked many miles along the beautiful coastal trails. Sad to know it's going up in flames.
One more thing. Eco-alarmists will scream global warming is the cause of these fires. However, much, much of the blame for this phenomenon should be laid at the feet of environmentalists themselves. For decades, radical environmentalism has lobbied Congress in Washington (and the National Forest Service, in Agriculture, and parks in Interior) for a no cutting and thinning in national forests. Far too much fuel has accumulated and now burning out of control because of this ridiculous policy. The radicals are greatly to blame for this.
And they want to set the country's course and agenda for global warming policy? The same results as above will be the outcome.
Meanwhile, Wake Up, America. Watch only if you dare.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Am ditching my car for a few days here in Salt Lake City and hopping a last minute flight out to Oakland this morning to see my best, best friend in the world. She lives in Marin and hasn't been feeling so well lately. We've been best buddies since the age of two when our parents were next--door-neighbors. Now we live on opposite sides of the continent.
We made slop-ma-doodle among many other things. Kalli and David will be there too! Jackson can wait, fishing can certainly wait. Everything can wait when best friendship calls.
For overall driving in all conditions, decent interior space and good gas mileage, I'd put this car up against any new hybrid on the market, even a Prius. And don't discount Ford as an auto maker just yet. The stock is so low, it's a great time to buy it. Ford will be back one of these days, better than ever after it's learned from it's mistakes.
Above, in Peggy's rose garden outside Grand Junction, Colorado, on Monday.