Friday, September 30, 2016

Cooler Weather Has Arrived--It Means We Can Finally Turn On Our Ovens!


FALL IS FINALLY IN THE AIR. IT'S SO MUCH FUN  BEING ABLE TO GET OUT THE DUTCH OVEN. Then brown a chicken and throw all the veggies from the frig---fennel, radicchio, brussel sprouts and tomatoes. Then pop it in a 425 pre-heated oven for several hours. Delicious warm aromas waft through the kitchen.....simply wonderful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Current Prediction Of Who Will Next Land At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

I SIMPLY DON'T THINK THE DONALD IS GOING TO WIN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION this year and make it to the White House.  I will vote for him and hope against hope that I'm wrong. Still I think he will fall short of a win, losing the election to Hillary Clinton by a small margin.  The thought of that leaves me in a bit of a funk today.  But truth to tell, I've never really been convinced that Trump was/is all in for being POTUS in the first place.  I'm still not.  Some of his actions simply don't line up for me.   I don't think he's got the temperament,  patience or skill-set to be working in government,  not even the highest job in government.

I think within 6 months (if not sooner) of losing the election,  Trump will jumping-for-joy that he didn't win as he goes and comes as a businessman, international wheeler-dealer and  burgeoning media mogul with the likes of Roger Ailes  from his new D.C. headquarters at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue several blocks down from the White House---the magnificent new Trump International Hotel also known as the Old Post Office which his company has lavishly renovated and turned into a world-class hotel destination.

In addition, I think Trump will launch himself in various new directions which he's uniquely more qualified for than POTUS.  Whether he remains a constant thorn in Hillary's side (and vice-versa) or goes back to being friends with her as his D.C neighbor remains to be seen.  However,  I think that every day and each new crisis that passes after the election,  Donald Trump will increasingly thank his lucky stars he's a mere civilian who can help make America great in many other ways.

BTW,  I'll be in D.C. for a week in mid-October and plan to run down to the Trump hotel that's just opening.  Should be a lot of fun.  I'll put on a wool sheath and heels and let one of my favorite men friends buy me dinner and a glass of wine. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Webutante Word: The Most Hyped, Scripted and Watched Debate in History Will Be The Dullest



 I SIMPLY CANNOT FALL IN LINE WITH ALL THE WEEKS-LONG MEGA-HYPE ABOUT THE HILLARY-DONALD DEBATE TONIGHT. Yes, Yes, on the surface, in the media and Fox News, it's the most talked about, potentially explosive and interesting happening in modern political history. But like the complete predictability of the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie yawning split, it will get dull faster than a snowstorm melting in July. I certainly will be there watching, at least for a little while, until the scripting and canned responses start to act like melatonin on my mind. Actually, I think there may be more interesting and fun things to see and hear in the last of the three debates near the end when the gloves come off and one or the other has nothing left to lose. I certainly could be wrong about this, and often am.

Nonetheless, the word deplorables should not slip from Hillary's lips and Megyn better have on a great outfit since she's not moderating.  Time will tell.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Bible Project---Studying the Prophet Isaiah

PART 1---Isaiah 1-39 PART 2---Isaiah 40-66 THERE ARE MANY PROPHECIES IN ISAIAH, written 800 years before the birth and life of Jesus, which foretell the coming of a Messiah and Savior to redeem the people from their sins and give them eternal life and hope. According to Isaiah, God would not send a forceful military conqueror as many then expected, but rather a suffering servant, wounded and broken for our transgressions (Isaiah 53:5). The only way for us to be saved, to get rid of our sin problem, is for someone else to take our punishment for us. That's exactly what Jesus did on the Cross. Today, it is up to us to accept our sinfulness---it's called repentance---then accept God's free gift of redemption on the Cross.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Love The Dress


MOST OF THESE HAUTE COUTURE FASHION SHOWS LEAVE ME COLDER THAN COLD.  This one dress, however, appeals to me.  Read more from Milan:

Saturday's Bottega Veneta show in Milan marked 50 years of this venerated Italian house - the name of which translates simply as "Venetian shop". Born in the Veneto region, its modus operandi has always been exquisite craftsmanship and a low-key approach to luxury.

Friday, September 23, 2016

After Many Months of Careful Consideration and Prayer---Cruz Goes For Trump

TED CRUZ DOES THE RIGHT THING, ENDORSES TRUMP for 6 reasons: The Supreme Court, Obamacare, Energy policy, Immigration policies that put our country at extreme risk, National Security which normalizes Islam and finally Internet Freedom.

Many say Cruz has committed political suicide with his endorsement, but I say I respect him more for putting our wobbling nation first. 


Still, I think a Trump victory in November is far from a slam-dunk.  I think at this point,  Hillary is going to be the next POTUS by a narrow margin.  I hope against hope that I'm wrong. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

James K. Polk, 11th POTUS And One of the Few To Meet All Of His Stated Goals


THIS WONDERFUL HISTORY PIECE @ THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR ON JAMES K. POLK OF TENNESSEE. Among many other things, Polk promised to be a one-term president and kept that promise too.


My late friend Peter Hannaford believed, “If presidents are to be judged by their ratio of achievement to their stated goals, James Polk had a 100 percent record and, in that respect, must be seen as one of our most successful presidents.” Peter was a Republican all his life, but he was also a big fan of Democratic President James Polk (1845-1849). As a proud Californian, Peter had a library full of books on the history of his home state. He was grateful to Polk for expanding the country to include California. He was also very impressed that Polk was a politician that managed to keep all of his promises. Before Peter passed away last year (today would have been his 84th birthday), we were in the process of writing a book proposal about the history of presidential promises. We wanted to rate every president by the number of promises kept. We wrote a few sample chapters for book publishers, and Polk was the subject of the first one. President Polk made four promises and achieved all of them in a single term. In the process, Polk engineered the nation’s second largest territorial expansion after Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase.... READ THE REST

Friday, September 16, 2016

What's A Nice Girl Doing Visiting Here In the Midwest?

OUTSIDE WONDERFUL NAPERVILLE, ILINOIS SEEING AN OLD HIGH SCHOOL FRIEND/ROOMMATE AND HER HUSBAND. What a light-filled, lovely part of the country looking west across the cornfields towards the Great Plains. My buddy is not feeling so well these days so it's good to be here for a little while catching up on our lives, families and challenges.

While I'm at it, here's a post for Sunday from Tim Challies on 3 Godly Ambitions for the Christian. I couldn't agree more with this message:

 Some of my favorite biblical commands are the ones that most counter our culture, and even our little Christian subculture. We find just such a series of commands near the end of 1 Thessalonians. There Paul tells this church to “…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (4:11). The ESV is nicely complemented by the NIV’s slightly different rendering: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you.”

When Paul says “make it your ambition” he indicates that this is the good, right, and honorable way for them to live their lives—and for us to live our lives. Over against all the other things we could aspire to, we are first to aspire to these, for these are matters of first importance. He highlights three godly ambitions for the Christian.

Live a quiet life. Paul first exhorts us to live a quiet life and to be content to live such a quiet life. What is this quiet life? It’s a life that is not obsessed with thrusting itself into the public eye. It’s a life that is content to be unknown and unnoticed if that is the Lord’s will. It’s a life that is measured not by popularity or platform but by faithfulness. In that way it’s also a life that avoids conflict, that avoids being contentious and is, instead, willing to forgive or overlook as a situation requires. Sure, we thrust some people into the spotlight and often for very good reasons. We need some people (like Paul!) to take on positions of prominence. But these ought to be people who have first proven their character in obscurity and who would be equally content to remain far out of the spotlight. Make it your ambition to be unknown—to be joyfully, contentedly unknown.
We need to give full attention to the few matters that belong to us and butt out of all those that do not.

Mind your own business. And as you live that unknown life, mind your business. Whether in community, workplace, local church fellowship, or family, there is always a temptation to get involved in things that are not our concern. There is something in us that gives us arrogant confidence that we know how to live other people’s lives, do other people’s jobs, fulfill other people’s ministries better than they do. We are quick to get involved in things that are none of our concern. Paul says to make it our ambition to mind our own business. We need to give full attention to the few matters that belong to us and butt out of all those that do not. We love people best not by meddling but by staying far out of their affairs. Make it your ambition to stay in your lane, to humbly give your full attention to those few responsibilities God has called you to.

Work hard. And then there is the call to work hard. Each of us deals with the temptation to refuse to get involved in much of anything. Laziness haunts us. And yes, Christians can be embarrassingly lazy, refusing to “work with our own hands,” as Paul commands—to work hard at providing for ourselves and to work hard at having enough that we can provide for those who have true needs. There is great value in our work: “so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one” (4:12). Hard work has evangelistic value in showing unbelievers our refusal to lazily meddle and it has congregational value in that it frees us from being dependent upon others. Better still, it frees us to help those who need our help.
So, says Paul, be ambitious. But be ambitious first for the basic and lowly things. Master these few matters. Be content with these few things. This is a life that pleases God.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Doctor I Saw Today Said This About Hillary's Condition

I RAN BY TO SEE A DOCTOR TODAY FOR A 2-MINUTE MEDICAL PROCEDURE and we started talking about Clinton's health issues. He's a very smart man and said he thinks she most likely had a pulmonary embolism shortly before she developed pneumonia. He seemed to know she is on coumadin (warfarin), a blood thinner. Coumadin is used to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots in veins and arteries. All of this to say that, the more I hear, the more I continue to believe Hillary is not well enough---physically---to be POTUS. I certainly don't think she's morally well enough either. Then we talked about what happens to the votes she gets if she drops out after early voting has started. It's enough to make one's head spin and spin and spin. MEANWHILE COLIN POWELL UNLEASED. He certainly has a way with words.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Hillary's New Diagnosis---Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu--Is It Over?


Who will step in for her now, besides Bubba?  Biden? 

BTW, I too take no pleasure in her health problems which frankly pale in comparison to her character issues. Still, whatever gets her out of the race---she's not fit to be president under any circumstances---is a good development. She's an enabler in so many aspects of her personal and professional life and character. She lacks courage. She lacks integrity. She lacks the ability to stand on her own two feet.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Timber Work: The World's Most Dangerous, Fulfilling Profession


CONSULT ANY LIST, ASK ANYONE IN THE KNOW AND THEY'LL TELL YOU,  timbering and road building in true wilderness can be as dangerous work as it ever gets. But to professional loggers with decades of experience managing the risks and rewards (and the size of last week's rattlesnake) on these types of lands, it's the most satisfying of all professions in the world.  There's no where else any of them would rather be.  They live and work on land they love,  as close to the rhythms of nature,  seasons and wildlife as anyone can be today.

One of the last bastions of all male camaraderie, these men---real men---combine tree harvesting with  an eye on the health of present and future forests,  good business sense, top-notch safety procedures, good manners, ole time religion and an ultimate conservation ethic from boots on the ground, rather than obscure computer modelling with little basis in practical reality. It's an ethic Mr. Gore would envy.

How could I be so fortunate to be working with these outstanding men for the past several years? Grace is the only answer I can come with. (Yes, I know there are plenty of unscrupulous loggers out there.)

I spent today  with them as they laid out a road that will serve multiple purposes in the months and years to come. It was very hot in Nashville, but on the mountain with the majesty of big trees forming an air condition canopy, it was much cooler.  A glorious day, far away from news.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sunday to Sunday: Why Marriage Is Better Than Cohabitation

PASTOR JOHN PIPER---A Proven Recipe For Humility


THOUGH CHRISTIANS continue to affirm the uniqueness, the goodness, and the necessity of marriage, our society continues to legitimize cohabitation as either a common precursor to marriage or a complete alternative. This slide is troubling, for marriage offers a number of important benefits that are absent from cohabitation—benefits that extend to couples, to their children, to their families, and to society as a whole. Christopher Ash helpfully outlines these in his book Married for God.

1. Marriage Is Unambiguous

Unlike cohabitation, marriage is unambiguous. In fact, in most cases cohabitation is deliberately in its ambiguity. “When a man and woman begin sleeping together and perhaps move in together, the rest of us are left guessing as to what exactly is the basis of their relationship. Clearly they have agreed to sleep together, as otherwise it would be rape. But what have they promised one another, if anything? On what basis or shared understanding are they together?” The answers will vary from couple to couple and may range from a very minimal level of commitment to a very significant one. But there always remains a measure of uncertainty. Often each of the partners will have different levels of commitment or expectation—one thinking that moving in together marks the beginning of something permanent while the other regards it as a mere trial period. All the while the rest of us are uncertain how to relate to them as they live together and if and when they dissolve their relationship. The relational ambiguity is especially apparent when one of them dies. “Who is the next of kin? With whom should we grieve most deeply? The parents, or the live-in partner?” Marriage helpfully resolves this lack of clarity.

2. Marriage Is a Union of Families; Cohabitation Is Free-Floating

Marriage is a union of families rather than just of two free-floating individuals. Cohabitation is an attempt to keep a relationship private, not in the sense of secret, but “in the sense of an arrangement agreed to and confined to the two of them, with families only rather awkwardly and ambiguously involved.” But marriage joins together two families in a connection that is meant to be a responsibility and blessing to both. “It is better to be connected than to float ‘free’ but disconnected from wider family and society,” for biblically this kind of scattered freedom is regarded as a curse while gathering into a people and family is regarded as a blessing. “This is because God wants his world governed in an ordered way by connected people.” Marriage serves as a small but foundational expression of bringing order through connection.

3. Marriage Provides Protection for the Vulnerable at the Start

The public nature of marriage provides an important protection for the vulnerable at the start of the sexual relationship. “We sometimes think that we are autonomous free-floating individuals who make decisions for ourselves. The reality is that we are influenced in many ways in every decision we make. And in the area of sex, above all, we are open to manipulation and exploitation, even unwittingly, by passions that rage and desires that can overwhelm us.” We are all prone to making poor decisions that we will later regret, and this is especially true in those areas where we can be unduly influenced by strong passions and desires. The public and family aspects of marriage serve as a kind of protection against this. “Because marriage is a public union in which the families ought to be involved, and not just the two individuals, it offers the protection and wisdom of families in a way that can protect the vulnerable from being exploited or making foolish decisions under the pressure of passion.” Many couples resent the involvement of family; many families are sinfully manipulative and overbearing. But more often than not (and certainly when families are behaving according to God’s pattern), they provide an important measure of protection and affirmation.

4. Marriage Offers Some Hope of Justice to Those Wronged When It Ends

When a man or woman walks out of a sexual relationship, the other partner always suffers.

Marriage offers important measures of protection and justice for the one who is wronged when a marriage breaks up. “When a man or woman walks out of a sexual relationship, the other partner always suffers. In marriage, however, society recognizes that the abandoned party has rights that the other needs to honor. And in a healthy society the one who walks out is forced to honor these rights and is not able to walk away irresponsibly.” While these protective measures may be imperfect, they are at least designed to ensure that there is a framework to promote and ensure justice. Of course many countries are now acting to enforce similar obligations with cohabitation, but there is a strange irony here. “Perhaps before long no one will be able to walk out of a cohabitation without some obligation to fulfill responsibilities to the other (especially if there are children). We must welcome this. But we must also note that every move in this direction makes unmarried cohabitation less attractive to those who entered it precisely in order to avoid the obligations of marriage. Indeed, we could make a case for saying that society ought to treat cohabiting partners as if they were married, with all the obligations that entails. This would mean that to break a cohabitation, one party would have to sue for what would effectively be divorce! If that were to happen, then the mere action of moving in together would come to signify the commitment verbalized in the marriage vows, and then cohabitation would mean marriage.” Wouldn’t that be something.

5. Marriage Strengthens Private Intentions with Public Promises

The public promises of marriage are necessary because when we make public promises, we lay our reputation and integrity on the line behind those promises. While couples often make private promises to one another, there is a world of difference between those made in private and those declared in public before witnesses. “Private assurances are terribly easy to break; they evaporate like the morning dew. … But when all my wider family, my friends, my work colleagues, and my neighbors know I have publicly made this pledge, then I am much more inclined to keep it. I do not want them thinking I am a liar. And marriage begins precisely with those public promises.” Those public promises are made before witnesses—many or few—who stand in the place of the rest of society to affirm them and call upon a couple to honor them. “Our capacity for faithfulness makes marriage possible, but our capacity for unfaithfulness makes marriage necessary. We need the public promises to hold us to the faithfulness we pledge. When we struggle in difficult marriages, it is a great help to know that we have publicly promised to be faithful for life, and that everybody else expects us to keep that promise, and that if we don’t then we must expect to experience shame. All this strengthens and supports marriage, and helps us keep to the end the promises we made at the start.”

In each of these ways—and many more could be listed, marriage is far better than cohabitation.
For an alternate, entirely secular, but still interesting view, you may enjoy watching this video from The School of Life: Why Bother With Marriage?