Friday, September 30, 2011

Do You Want "Baby-Cut Carrots" with That? Wangari Maathai. James Dean. Women's Vote. Drought.


If you are opting for the packaged carrots, real baby carrots will be marked as such, and mature cut carrots will be marked as baby-cut carrots.


There is nothing innocent about these baby carrots

"Carrots, in one form or another, date back approximately 10,000 years, where it is believed that seeds were harvested for medicinal purposes. Our modern day carrot originated in the Iranian Plateau, in what are now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. This prehistoric root has gone through a few natural makeovers moving from a bitter and tough root to our modern day tender and juicy carrot, yielding a multitude of colors and sizes. Today, carrots rank among the most loved vegetables worldwide.

Baby carrots are a specialty harvest that is a small, slender carrot. As the name indicates, they are immature carrots that are densely planted and intended for early harvesting. These babies are sometimes preferred in the culinary industry because they tend to be coreless, juicier, and sweeter than the mature carrot. They also make for a better presentation."
Tired of the wastefulness he was seeing, Mike Yurosek whittled "babies" from grown-up castoff carrots.

"In 1986 and in a marketing stroke of genius, a California farmer named Mike Yurosek invented what is now most widely known as the baby carrot. Tired of throwing away deformed, rotted or imperfect mature carrots, he decided to cut out the bad parts and reshape the roots to the well-known little cylinders. These baby-cut carrots gained popularity quickly and today have become a profitable portion of the carrot industry."
Taking a closer look at the process, the mature carrots are cut in half using a green bean cutter; then, a potato peeler peels and shapes the pieces into the little carrots so widely used today. We proudly and happily serve them to our kids as a good source of nutrients and snack on them in the office as a healthy food choice. But do you really know what you are eating?

Baby-cut carrots are in fact washed and/or dipped in a chlorine solution to eradicate bacteria and plant pathogens. This special dip will also allow the preservation of the so called carrot for longer shelf life. In some cases, a sticky substance may surface on these carrots when the package is opened.
The chlorine is used for antimicrobial purposes and is a widely accepted practice for all pre-cut, ready- to-eat, packaged vegetables. This is the same chlorine that is found in pools, the same chlorine used in tap water and the same chlorine found to cause a variety of cancers. Incidentally Mike Yurosek passed away in 2005 after a long battle with cancer.

Fifty carrot farmers pooled resources to launch a $50 million campaign to promote the baby-cut carrots. The marketing campaign is aimed at increasing popularity of the carrots with teens and tweens. Using junk food packaging, vending machine distributions and extreme fast food advertisements, the goal is to give the made-over carrots a sexual, sporty look and appeal making them cool to eat. The new branding tactics will most likely change the way kids look at these vegetables and the hip packaging will be an attractive choice, leaving the health-conscious parent in a catch-22."
Learn more:

About the Chlorine:

"Chlorine is also used on most chicken and meat at some stage of the processing as well as to purify drinking water so it is unlikely to disappear from the food processing stage anytime soon."
"It is true that these cut-and-shaped carrots are rinsed in a chlorine wash to eliminate bacteria (including E. coli and Salmonella) that can cause food-borne illnesses. Afterward, they're rinsed again with potable water to remove the chlorine.
Most other pre-cut vegetables and fruit are treated the same way. If the warning you received said that the white film that develops on stored baby carrots is the "chlorine rising to the surface," that's not true either. The film is a result of the dehydration of the cut carrots - you would see the same thing if you cut a regular carrot and stored it in the refrigerator.
I'm not a fan of baby carrots because I don't like their taste. I prefer organic whole carrots. But there's no health reason to avoid baby carrots if you like them. Look for organic ones. To give them their due, since baby carrots were introduced, carrot consumption in the U.S. has increased 33 percent."  By Andrew Weil, M.D.    More at:
Scientists are at work on some more environmentally friendly alternatives such as combining lactic acid and peracetic acid to kill bacteria on vegetables and fruits.


"Anyone who has ever grown carrots in their garden knows that carrots don't always grow in perfect shapes. Some are bumpy and lumpy and ugly, and even if they taste wonderful, they won't sell in a supermarket if they don't fit that ideal carrot shape.  Culls are carrots that are too twisted, knobby, bent or broken to sell. In some loads, as many as 70% of carrots were tossed.
That bugged Yurosek.  And apparently, feeding tons and tons of ugly carrots to livestock wasn't the answer.  
And there are only so many discarded carrots you can feed to a pig or a steer, "After that, their fat turns orange," he said.

I believe this. As someone who once went on a baby carrot binge and subsequently turned a light shade of orange, I can attest that beta carotene is a strange substance indeed.

It's the taste, stupid

I stopped buying baby carrots a while ago. It just so happened that I was at a farmer's market a couple summers ago, and ended up buying some dark purple carrots out of curiosity. I thought that they might taste strange, but when I tried one, I was surprised to see that they tasted like... well, like carrots. But the carrot taste was something that I realized I hadn't experienced in at least 10 years.
As someone who had been eating baby carrots for a long time, I had honestly forgotten what a carrot tastes like. Baby carrots are nice — they are usually crispy and sweet, but they are largely flavorless. They don't have that carrot-y taste and smell. It's a tough taste to describe, but it's very distinct.

There are many varieties of carrots, of course, but most carrots that you can buy in a supermarket, the kind with a top of green leaves and visible roots, taste and smell distinctly different than a baby carrot, which doesn't taste or smell like much of anything."
More at:

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dies at 71

Wangari Maathai in 2005 in South Africa's Newlands Forest. More Photos »
NAIROBI, Kenya — "Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who began a movement to reforest her country by paying poor women a few shillings to plant trees and who went on to become the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, died here on Sunday, 25th. Sept. 2011.  She was 71."
More at:

Someone famous, but not so notable, died on this day:
"On 30th. Sept. in 1955, movie star James Dean dies at age 24 in a car crash on a California highway. Dean was driving his Porsche 550 Spyder, nicknamed "Little Bastard," headed to a car race in Salinas, California."

"On this day in 1889, the Wyoming state convention approves a constitution that includes a provision granting women the right to vote. Formally admitted into the union the following year, Wyoming thus became the first state in the history of the nation to allow its female citizens to vote.
Whatever the reasons, while the Old West is usually thought of as a man's world, a wild land that was "no place for a woman," Westerners proved far more willing than other Americans to create states where women were welcomed as full and equal citizens."

Escapees RV Club -- Club News
HughesNet Will Decommission Horizon 2 Satellite Soon
"HughesNet is decommissioning the Horizon 2 satellite at the end of October. If you are a tripod Internet user and are assigned to Horizon 2, you will need to contact a dealer to have your satellite reassigned.
If you are a HughesNet user and will potentially be affected by this change, take a moment to visit our "What's Hot" page and review the "how to" article submitted by Larry (Laurence) Holbrook, SKP # 91027." The article can be found at www


As it was The Feast of Trumpets, we hadn't planned to work on anything.   But I had some urgent medical paperwork to be sent to an office in Huntsville, TX, 22 miles north of here.  Snail mail would have taken too long, so I was going to drive up there.   As I couldn't reach them by phone, I drove to their other office in Conroe, 10 miles away, and asked them to make sure that everything was filled out satisfactorily.  They faxed it to Huntsville.

While I was in Conroe, I stopped at our favorite thrift shop and bought another water hose timer for 50 cents, they are $15 at Lowe's, a new box of 100 Melita cone coffee filters for 50 cents, and another little leather purse, black this time.  I also left the paper recycling in their bin.

My very old Maytag washing machine has been ready at the repair shop for a couple of weeks, so I picked it up.  He said it is still a good old machine and sounded great.  Charged me $30, and that included a new belt!
Dizzy Dick, you asked me to find out how to tell which were the good old Maytags.   Mark said that they have pins holding the lid on, not like the later ones with screws.  That is the visible difference that those certain "good" years had.  The better construction is the part that you can't see.

I stopped at Walmart to return something.  They don't usually have anything I want, but I did buy some gouda cheese, that's one of the ones which has cancer-fighting things in it, along with Emmental and Jarlsberg. 
"And here’s a newsworthy tidbit that should get cheese-obsessed foodies particularly excited: A marker in cheese known as vitamin K2 also has properties that inhibit tumor blood-vessel growth. A European study found that individuals who consumed higher quantities of cheese throughout their lives decreased their risk of cancer, particularly lung and prostate cancer. Specific types of northern European cheeses, such as Swiss Emmental, Dutch Gouda, and Jarlsberg, showed particular benefits."   More at:

On my way home there was a tree service going along the road cutting down the trees which had died in the drought.

In Houston: "The drought is about to claim yet more of Houston's green - this time $4.5 million in tax dollars to remove trees that have died of thirst.
Houston's driest year on record has prompted City Hall to mandate lawn-watering restrictions, hire extra crews to fix water main breaks, ban barbecuing and smoking in city parks and call for park visitors to bring rakes with them to help municipal employees scoop up pine needles and other dead vegetation." 
BIG JOB: A rollerblader cruises past dead trees in Memorial Park. Parks and Recreation must spend 13 times more than in a normal year for the cleanup. Photo: Melissa Phillip / © 2011 Houston Chronicle
BIG JOB: A rollerblader cruises past dead trees in Memorial Park.  Parks and Recreation must spend 13 times more than in a normal year for the cleanup.
More at:

At 3.10 PM there was a big scary clap of thunder. 
Oh! Goody! Goody!  We are going to get some rain! 
But Oh, No!  It thundered all around us, but didn't even put a drop on our thirsty trees. 

Walmart had some Newman's Own organic cat food in the past, but they don't seem to carry it anymore.   The cats like it for a change from Wellness.  Wellness doesn't come in very many flavours.  Our SPCA boss doesn't want us to feed them fish, and they don't like turkey, so that just leaves chicken, and I am sure they get tired of that.  Even though the kittens eat all the time, they do have their likes and dislikes.

So I will have to get some other brand of canned organic cat food at Petco when I go there for Adoption Day on Saturday.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

God's Holy Days. Feast of Trumpets. RV Wiring and Batteries.

"Christ and the apostles observed God's annual Holy Days, and they are to be kept by Christians today. If you are not aware of His plan and these milestones, you need to spend less time following tradition and more time thinking about God's Holy Days. "




Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah.

Feast of Trumpets 2011 - September 29, 2011
"Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever'" (Revelation 11:15, English Standard Version).
The Day of Trumpets heralds the intervention of God in the affairs of humanity on a global basis—a dramatic turning point in world history and the return of Christ to this world."

Prophecies of the end time include trumpet plagues and the return of Jesus Christ at the last trump.

What does the Feast of Trumpets mean for Christians today?

The fourth festival of God (after Pentecost) is the Feast of Trumpets (or a "memorial of blowing of trumpets,"
Leviticus:23:24-25[24]Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.[25]Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD.),    which falls in September or October.
This festival is called Rosh Hashanah by the Jews today. Ancient Israel understood that trumpets were used as a way of announcing special, very important messages:
(Numbers:10:1-10[1]And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,[2]Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.[3]And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.[4]And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.[5]When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.[6]When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.[7]But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.[8]And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.[9]And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.[10]Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.).
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ reveals that before His return to the earth, there will be the blowing of seven trumpets, announcing progressive stages of the downfall and overthrow of this world's kingdoms, ending with the return of Christ to take possession of the earth. Christ's return is announced by the seventh and final trumpet (Revelation:8:2; 11:15). This day also pictures the time when faithful Christians will be resurrected to eternal life at the time of the seventh trumpet (1 Corinthians:15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.)
1 Thessalonians:4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:)   to reign with Jesus Christ for 1,000 years (Revelation:20:4-6).
Interestingly, it was around this time of year that Jesus was born—not in the dead of winter (see "Biblical Evidence Shows Jesus Wasn't Born on December 25": And the fall feast season represents the time when Jesus Christ will come to the earth again to reign in glory.
The remaining fall feast days describe steps in the establishment of the prophesied Kingdom of God on earth and judgment of humanity after Christ's return. The Feast of Trumpets is followed by the Day of Atonement."

This is also RV Day:
Wire Colors Can be Confusing!  Posted by RV Doctor
"What genius decided to use black and white as positive and negative colored wires instead of the automotive red and black? Would it not have been less confusing to everyone to use red and black?" S., (Slab City, CA)

"Seann, perhaps you're being just too logical! I once had to troubleshoot a wiring issue under the dash of a motorhome.
When I crawled under there, every single conductor was yellow! Just like in the converter pictured here, it basically boils down to what the policy is at that factory and what the parts manager at the factory purchases.
Most modern coaches will have some type of color code that, at least, makes some sense, especially for the battery charge conductors. The pro techs in the shop are taught to measure everything with a meter anyway.
Professional technicians should rarely trust or rely on color for the most part; especially when troubleshooting. Who knows what may have been modified or replaced beforehand! But I hear ya! At least black and white correlates to the AC wiring (black-hot, white-neutral) across the board. "

RV Battery Wiring  Posted by RV Doctor

"I have a eight year-old Nash 5th wheeler. I have one completely dead battery in it now. I want to replace it with two, (Group 24), 12-volt batteries. I'm not sure how to hook them up. There is not enough room for two, small 6-volt batteries, as the space is quite small. Can you help me?"
"Stan, parallel 12-volt batteries are interconnected by routing a battery cable from the positive post of one battery to the other positive post on the other battery. Same for the negative cable; negative to negative. The positive side of the load is then connected to the positive post of one battery and the negative side of the load is connected to the negative post on the other battery. That’s the best scenario for a two-battery bank.

But if you have room for two, 12-volt batteries, you will have room for two, 6-volt batteries wired in series. Typically, two 6-volt batteries wired in series will yield a little more storage capacity than two, 12-volt batteries wired in parallel; assuming the batteries have the same footprint. But it’s certainly your choice!"
RV Battery Disconnect Switch,  By Mark Polk.
"Your RV may or may not be equipped with a battery disconnect switch. If you do have a coach battery disconnect switch it will have to be turned on to use the 12-volt appliances and accessories.
If your RV is not equipped with a battery disconnect switch, you should consider installing one."
12 Volt system
"12-volt DC or direct current is electricity supplied by a deep cycle auxiliary battery or batteries. DC electricity flows in one direction, from negative to positive. 12-volt DC electricity is stored in the RV batteries and supplies power for components, devices and appliances that operate off of 12-volts.
The 12 volt DC coach system consists of 12-volt pumps, motors, fans and accessories. When you take your RV out of storage you will need to check these 12 volt DC items for proper operation:
Water pump Roof vent fans
Range hood fan and light
Furnace fan
Overhead lights
DSI water heater igniter
Refrigerator in the LP gas mode
TV booster
Any 12 volt entertainment equipment.
  • If a 12-volt device is not operating properly, check the fuse for the device in the power distribution center. The fuses will be labeled. Determine which fuse it is and use a 12 volt test light to test the fuse.
  • To do this find a suitable ground for the 12-volt test light and test both sides of the fuse for 12-volt power. If the test light only lights on one side of the fuse replace the fuse with the proper size fuse and try the 12 volt device again.

    • If the device still doesn’t work have it checked out by an authorized RV service center. Identify the amperage ratings for fuses used in the RV and keep spare fuses on hand."

  • Best Way to Use a Generator to Charge Your RV Batteries
    "As more and more RVers begin to consider the fun and benefits of boondocking, as opposed to RV park camping, keeping the batteries charged is a frequent topic of campfire conversations and RV forum entries. Many approach their experiences, not with an on-board generator, but bringing along a portable generator. Lots of them have connections to “charge” 12-volt batteries. Is this the best way to go?
    Here’s a hypothetical: Let’s say your portable generator is a 2,000 watt “SoundBlaster” brand. It provides a couple of 120 volt power outlets, and yep, a place to plug in a couple of 12-volt wires for battery charging. Looking at the SoundBlaster specs you note that the 12-volt output is labeled “3 amps.” Yes, your generator will charge your RV batteries, but at a very slow rate. In our hypothetical we’ll say your rig battery is a 110-amp hour battery, discharged to about half it’s full capacity–it needs a minimum of 55 amps to be fully charged. In the perfect world you could plug your wires in, and hey presto! In about 18 hours your battery will be charged. How’s that?
    Simple math: Need 55 amps, delivery 3 amps per hour, 55 divide by 3 equals 18.33 hours. But it’s not a perfect world. First, a battery isn’t 100% efficient, so you’ll really need more than 55 amps to do the job. Second, physics teaches that as a battery gets nearer to fully charged, the greater its internal resistance. The greater the resistance, the less the flow of current, and the slower the charge. But even in a perfect world, do you really want 18 hours of SoundBlaster?
    Enter better way: Skip the 12-volt circuit on the generator, and plug in a portable 12-volt battery charger. Grab the typical “fast charge” black box charger off the shelf of your neighborhood auto parts store. Plug it into the generator, hook it up to our hypothetical battery, and less than four hours, your 15-amp hour battery charger has brought you back in battery style. OK, maybe a little longer, it’s still not a perfect world. But that’s a topic for a different day, a different venue.
    Better still: A smart charger system built into your RVs (most likely) aftermarket battery converter. Hook the generator up to your RV and every time you fire up the generator, your smart charge system goes to work for you. "
    Ray and I worked on the trim that goes below the back door on the cargo trailer.  We took it off until the bumper gets welded back on, so that it couldn't get ruined.  Burn ban or not, the welder is going to put the bumper back on next week.  He is down with bronchitis from all the smoke from the wildfires right now.
    We stuck some Eternabond type tape on the back of the thin metal trim, so that the screw holes would be sealed when it is put back on.  Ray also primed and painted it, to freshen it up.

    Four-cargo-doors-2We also cleaned up four RV baggage doors that I have for sale.
    Now I have listed them and hopefully will get them sold. One guy wrote and asked if I had the keys for them.  Obviously, he is not an RVer, as we Rvers know the 751 key fits most baggage doors, so we change the locks.  I didn't have the keys, but I had a 751 for another RV, and of course it works!

    There is a rug by the side patio door in the living room that goes into the hall.  It is so close to the front door that it stops some dirt from tracking in from the hall.  It was always slipping and sliding around, so we glued some rug 'slipnot' under it with E-6000.  If it works, we will do the same thing to the rug by the other patio door at the front of the living room, the one that goes out to the screen porch.

  • Even with the kittens dashing around, so far it has stayed in place all day.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Royal Cinclodes. Whimbrels. Oil Spill. Shopping. "Almost Patsy Cline Band". Kale Crisps. Feast of Trumpets.

    For "Winged Wednesday":
    Royal Cinclodes
    Royal Cinclodes by Valere Claverie
    stats banner
    "The stocky, dark-brown Royal Cinclodes is an extreme habitat specialist, found only in the moss-covered understory of Polylepis woodlands high in the Andes of southern Peru and northern Bolivia. This Polylepis habitat is severely threatened by local inhabitants, who harvest the trees for firewood, while their grazing animals and fires inhibit the natural regeneration of these slow-growing trees.
    In Bolivia, ABC has worked with partners AsociaciĆ³n Armonia and Insituto de Ecologia to plant 10,000 trees and install hundreds of improved wood-burning stoves in order to reduce two communities’ dependence on Polylepis for fuel.
    In Peru, ABC and partner ECOAN have worked with over 20 communities in the Vilcanota Mountains near Cuzco to restore and protect Polyelpis forests. An estimated 127 Royal Cinclodes live in these mountains, comprising the majority of the species’ distribution.
    Vilcanota project successes include the creation of seven community-owned reserves totaling over 15,635 acres over 400,000 Polylepis saplings planted to restore natural forests. Beginning in 2012, the project will receive funding from an endowment fund created in 2010 benefiting local communities and the Royal Cinclodes, along with other Polylepis specialists such as the White-browed Tit-Spinetail.
    ABC is working with local partners and communities to protect Polylepis woodlands where the Royal Cinclodes lives in both Peru and Bolivia and is helping to create a binational conservation plan for this species."
    Support ABC's efforts to protect this and other birds and their habitats!

    Irene No Match for Chinquapin: Whimbrel Flies Through Hurricane During Canada-Brazil Migration

    PHOTO: This whimbrel named Chinquapin is reportedly resting in the Bahamas after journeying through the toughest part of Hurricane Irene during his annual migration from Canada to Brazil.

    "This whimbrel named Chinquapin is reportedly resting in the Bahamas after journeying through the toughest part of Hurricane Irene during his annual migration from Canada to Brazil." (Georgia Department of Natural Resources)

    "A whimbrel named Chinquapin that flew through Hurricane Irene during its annual migration from Canada to Brazil last week is resting up for a few days in the Bahamas before continuing on its way, researchers told ABC News today.
    Fletcher Smith, a research biologist at the College of William and Mary's Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg, Va., said that he and a team of scientists had been tracking Chinquapin -- a shorebird that breeds in the high Arctic and spends its winters in Brazil -- since the spring of 2010 to learn more about its migratory routes.
    Last week, the bird -- outfitted with a satellite transmitter backpack that allowed those at the center to note his movements -- flew right through Irene and then disappeared from the monitors as scientists watched helplessly.
    "We were all walking around on pins and needles hoping that the bird made it through," Smith told ABC News today. "We had to wait a full 48 hours before the next set of data points came in."
    Thankfully Friday, they got a single signal from the bird. He was apparently alive and well -- and in the Bahamas.

    These two whimbrels didn't make it, they were SHOT:
    Two Shorebirds Tracked by Satellite Over Thousands of Miles, Killed by Hunters at Unregulated 'Shooting Swamps' in Guadalupe
      Whimbrel by Glen Tepke

    (September 21, 2011)
    "Unregulated and unmonitored recreational shooting swamps in the Caribbean have claimed perhaps their most notable bird victims, two Whimbrels. 
    One, named Machi, had been tracked by satellite for two years over a distance of 27,000 miles.
    The other, named Goshen, had been tracked for about one year over nearly 14,000 miles.
    The birds were likely exhausted after navigating through severe weather – Machi having navigated through Tropical Storm Maria, and Goshen through Hurricane Irene,  and were forced to land in Guadalupe, an area they had avoided in previous recorded migrations.

    Both Goshen and Machi were born in the Arctic, and were part of a collaborative tracking project involving The Center for Conservation Biology, The Nature Conservancy, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, and Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.
    More at:

    Whimbrel Tracking in the Americas

    A project of The Center for Conservation Biology in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below. Subscribe to receive daily project updates
    Life Stage
    Release Date
    Last Location
    Days Transmitted
    Machi  Was shot!
    Chinquapin Made it through Irene.
    Hope:  She rode out Hurricane Irene
    Goshen  Was shot!
    Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.
    Their stories are interesting.

    More at:
    Whimbrel Photo
    "One of the most wide-ranging shorebirds in the world, the Whimbrel breeds in the Arctic in the eastern and western hemispheres, and migrates to South America, Africa, south Asia, and Australia. It uses its long, down-curved bill to probe deep in the sand of beaches for invertebrates, but also feeds on berries and insects.

    Cool Facts

    Some migrating Whimbrels make a nonstop flight of 4,000 km (2,500 miles) from southern Canada or New England to South America.
    Four distinct subspecies of Whimbrel are recognized: one breeds in North America, one from Iceland to northwest Siberia, one in southern Russia, and one in eastern Siberia. The American form was formerly considered a separate species, the Hudsonian Curlew. Whereas the Eurasian forms have white backs, and some white rumps, the American form has a brown rump and back.
    In many regions, the primary winter food of the Whimbrel is crab. The curve of the Whimbrel's bill nicely matches the shape of fiddler crab burrows. The bird reaches into the crab's burrow, extracts the crab, washes it if it is muddy, and sometimes breaks off the claws and legs before swallowing it. Indigestible parts are excreted in fecal pellets. "
    More at:
    The Gulf Oil Spill: This must NOT happen again:
    This is what they did to steer the birds away from the Gulf Oil Spill:

    Steering Migrating Birds Away From Gulf Oil:


    Rescue and Release: Trying to Save the Birds :
    Misty had her walk down by Jay's house when I went to pick him up, as we were going to Conroe.  It was moved from our usual Wednesday to yesterday as Jay's renter needed a ride there, too.  He was supposed to pick up his car from the repair shop where it has been for ages.   Anything I could do to get him mobile so that he could move out of Jay's house would help.  Then he said that he couldn't go as he was expecting a conference call.  That was his excuse, and he was sticking to it.  Maybe he doesn't have the money to pick up his car?

    Jay and I were all geared up to go, so we went anyway.

    We missed going to our favorite thrift shop as they are only open from Wednesday to Saturday, but we went to another one.   I bought a brand new box of activated carbon filter material for 75¢, which I can cut to fit my air filters.

    Little-purse I couldn't resist buying an as-new lovely little cream suede purse with lots of compartments. 
    Pebbles wants to show you how small it is.

    Pebbles--showing--how-small-purse-is There is no way it will hold all my everyday stuff, but it will be great for special times.   As if I don't have enough purses already! 
    Jay just bought a T-shirt.

    We happened across a Valero station that had gas at $3.18, so I bought some.  The gas prices are down from last week.  Never thought we'd see some cheaper, but it was $3.15 at Kroger's.  According to the news it will be even cheaper by Thanksgiving.  Why do gas prices go down, but food and utilities don't.

    At Kroger's I bought some snow pea shoots to try them out, but I won't bother with them again.  If I had an auger type juicer, they would be good in a juice, but stir-fried they weren't so great.  Misty liked them, though.
    I do add a little fresh parsley in several of my juices, but the other stuff helps it through the juicer.
    Also, as I don't have an auger juicer, I thought I would try one of the many Kale Crispies recipes.  We all know that kale is very good for us, so I bought some to try out this recipe:  This is the only recipe which tells you to use a baking rack, and that might be an advantage to get them crisp.  But they didn't tell you that it is best to use the curly kind of kale, which the other recipes recommend.

    Then I came across this, for all you 'Old Country' fans:
    AT THE GEM THEATRE:   Welcome to the best little museum in Texas!   Located at 120 Trice street - one block north of the courthouse in downtown Claude, Texas.   The Armstrong County Museum includes the museum, the historic Gem Theatre, the Art Gallery, and the Goodnight House.
    "October 1, 2011 - 96th Year at the Gem and we celebrate with the Almost Patsy Cline Band.
    Yes, all the way from Bandera, Texas, The Almost Patsy Cline Band will be at the Gem to celebrate the 96th anniversary of this historic theatre. The Almost Patsy Cline Band is known for preserving country music’s past with stirring, heartfelt renditions and stories about the best of yesteryear like Patsy Cline, Bob Wills, Johnny Cash, Ray Price, Mel Tillis, Merle Haggard, Connie Smith, and other superstars of the Opry."
    More at:

    The doctor's office called with the results of my blood test.  My total cholesterol is a little high, but my triglycerides and Vit. D levels are great.  All my family had high total cholesterol, but lived until their mid 90's, no heart attacks, so I don't know how much faith I put in these numbers.  Sometimes I think it is a Big Pharma ruse to sell more statins.


    Tonight is the start of The Feast of Trumpets:


    Rosh Hashanah etiquette guide


    In a Monday, Sept. 26, 2011 photo, Harel Cohen, 6, blows a shofar, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., which is an instrument, typically made out of a rams horn, that is blown on the Rosh Hashanah. (Steve Jessmore - AP) It’s that time of year again.

    Article at:


    Probably won't happen, but the forecast is for 30% chance of rain today.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    We Did It! Fall Travel. Nat. Pks. HMO.

    For "Travel Tuesday" here are lots of National Parks to consider, let's give them our support.


    Thanks for making your voice heard.


    Jumping in Grand Tetons


    "People across the nation have joined NPCA and signed our petition urging Congress to stop cutting critical funding for our national parks."timeline










    The General Sherman Tree, NPS Photo

    "Redwood and Sequoia National Park images are popular with medical center clients for the soothing effect their scenery has on clients dealing with health problems." Read more.   



    "National Parks have become a big part of our lives. Every year since, we have visited a national park for vacation." Read more.


    "My father, Carlos (Tex) Davis, was a park ranger in Yellowstone, assigned to the Old Faithful area of the park, which he patrolled on his horse, Midnight." Read more.

    Article at:



    Featured Park Profiles



    Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    The Cuyahoga River, or “crooked river”, winds through the park, surrounded by lush forest and gently rolling hills.


    Learn more about Cuyahoga Valley >



    Everglades National Park

    Eco-Mariner, developed by Florida Bay users and NPCA, is a resource protection-based boater education course that works to combat damage from boating activities through education.

    Learn more about Everglades >


    Fort Davis

    Fort Davis National Historic Site

    Park staff, along with the Friends of Fort Davis National Historic Site and local volunteers, are currently restoring and refurnishing portions of the 1876 Post Hospital.

    Learn more about Fort Davis >


    Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

    Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

    At Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, you can tour the historic districts of Skagway and Dyea, which date to the gold rush.

    Learn more about Klondike Gold Rush >



    Ring of Fire

    Should scientists be concerned about what lurks beneath our first national park?


    "But a shifting ground isn’t the only mystery. Heat flows out of Yellowstone’s surface 30 times faster than at any other place on the continent, thanks to the layer of magma just below. But does that mean the park is getting hotter or cooling off?

    That question is the main focus of the park’s geology studies, according to Yellowstone geologist Hank Heasler. And rightfully so: If the park is getting hotter, the magma chamber might be expanding, and the volcano would likely become more active. If the magma chamber is cooling off, it could signal a period of relative calm."         Rest of article at:



    Muir Woods National Monument

    Redwood trees in Muir Woods

    "Nestled just 15 miles north of San Francisco, California, Muir Woods National Monument harbors one of the last remaining old-growth coast redwood forests in the world.

    The park was established in 1908 to save these giant trees from the timber companies’ axes and saws; by the early 20th century logging had already decimated redwood forests along the Pacific Coast.

    Today the park’s forests, wildlife, creeks, and cultural resources draw more than 750,000 visitors each year to amble through the redwood groves; watch for wildlife, including several federally listed species; and  jog along the oldest cross-country running trail in America; among many other activities. Staff at Muir Woods also preserve and interpret the history of the area and monument, which includes American Indian use, Euro-American settlement, and the development of the American conservation movement. "

    More at:




    A Stone’s Throw from Extinction

    How Glacier’s stonefly can help fight climate change.


    "The polar bear may be the biggest, most charismatic animal threatened by global warming, but odds are it won’t be the first species the federal government recognizes for that reason. That honor could go to an unassuming insect: a stonefly, located in the remote alpine streams of Montana’s Glacier National Park."

    More at:


     Joshua Tree National Park

    Pinto Basin Road Flooded

    Assessing the damage to Pinto Basin Road

    "Torrential rains caused widespread flooding in the Pinto Basin and Cottonwood Spring areas of Joshua Tree National Park on Tuesday morning, September 13. Extensive flood damage occurred to the Pinto Basin Road, with loss of pavement in numerous areas.

    The Cottonwood Visitor Center was flooded and parts of Cottonwood Campground were washed away. It is estimated that at least three inches of rain fell during the morning storm.

    Pinto Basin Road from Interstate 10 on the south boundary to White Tank Campground. Cottonwood Visitor Center and Cottonwood Campground are also closed. Park crews are continuing to assess the full extent of the damage though it may be some time before complete damage estimates are available.

    Other park roads including the scenic Park Boulevard between Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree remain open for visitor use. Other park campgrounds, picnic areas, and trails are also open for normal summer use, although travelers should pay close attention to local weather reports for current updates on storm and flash flood warnings. The Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms and the Joshua Tree Visitor Center in the community of Joshua Tree remain open for regular operations from 8 am to 5 pm every day."

    More at:


    "Flash flooding on September 13 closed Cottonwood Campground and Visitor Center at Joshua Tree National Park in California. Three inches of rain tore up roadways and washed away portions of the popular campground."



    Fall Travel: The Best Spots For Foliage


    "It's that time of year again. Fall is officially, if not really, upon us and that means brisk weather, pumpkins and, of course, leaf peeping."

    9. Camden, Maine


    "In the spirit of the season, TripAdvisor put together a list of their favorite destinations to spot fall foliage.

    See the slideshow here:

    But what about last year's list? Check out HuffPost's picks for 14 best fall foliage spots. "





    Misty and I drove down to get Jay, so she had her walk-about in that area.   While I was there, I cut the Yorkie Maddie's toe nails and put her monthly Revolution on the back of her neck.


    Jay helped me put some heavy things away, and get the place ship shape for the HMO lady's visit today.  While we were at it, we vacuumed the ceiling fans, and air conditioner filters.  But I forgot to vacuum my desktop computer, so I need to make sure that gets done, with all this cat hair around.


    Jay and I installed the wooden slat blind in the grooming room, after I spent 20 minutes sorting out the tangled up strings,  with Pebbles help, of course.  But I could see what was going to happen with that kind of blind with these kittens around.  It is the type where a cord goes all around the bottom at each end for raising and lowering.  If the kittens could slide that off the side, they could hang themselves, so we took it down. 

    I had a kitten get a cat toy string around her neck one time and the other end was stuck in a slat.  I only just saved her before she fell off the table and hung herself, so I don't want the kittens anywhere around any cords or strings.


    As usual, when someone comes to the door Misty, my old blind poodle, is so pleased to see them, even strangers, that she barks until they pet her.  Then she will lie down quietly in her bed in the living room while we conduct our business.  The HMO lady was happy to oblige, as she is a foster mom for Chihuahuas.


    The HMO lady finally got it straightened out about my co-pays and I will be getting my updated card soon.  But it is not retroactive, unfortunately.


    Still no word from the lady that wants to meet Pebbles.


    I hope she is still interested and that we hear something today.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Govmt. Waste. Chimps, Donkeys Deserve Better. 'Drug' Pets. Paul Newman and Daniel Boone.

    For "Mammal Monday:

    This is how the government is spending our money the wrong way on animals:

    "As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction works to achieve massive cuts in federal spending, there are a number of wasteful programs that harm animals and should be in their sights.
    By reforming these programs, we can reduce the federal deficit by more than a billion dollars, making government run better and finding a new way forward for wildlife management and 21st century science.

    1. Chimpanzees in Labs: $300 million
    About 1,000 chimpanzees--80-90% of whom aren't even used in research, as they've proved poor models for human illness--are warehoused in expensive lab cages.

    2. Wild Horses and Burros: $172 million
    The Bureau of Land Management currently keeps approximately 46,000 mustangs in costly holding pens and continues to round up many thousands more each year.

    3. Animal Testing: $500 million
    The National Toxicology Program remains stuck on extravagant and unnecessary animal testing that often yields unusable results.
    4. Lethal Predator Control: $110 million
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services division provides taxpayer-subsidized wildlife extermination services to private ranchers.

    It's time to make government run better, and adopt long-overdue reforms that will ease taxpayer burdens while helping protect animals."

    Help End Invasive Chimpanzee Research

    "Over 1000 chimpanzees are kept in nine labs across the US. The HSUS is working to end their use in invasive research and retire all of them to suitable sanctuaries to live out their lives."

    You Can Help

    "Tell the government to give captive chimpanzees the same protections as wild chimpanzees under the Endangered Species Act. TAKE ACTION »
    Ask your Members of Congress to co-sponsor the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act, which would phase out harmful research on chimpanzees in laboratories and retire the approximately 500 federally owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary. TAKE ACTION »
    Rescue the chimps featured in the video from life in a research lab—urge decision-makers to send a group of five adult chimpanzees and their four babies to a sanctuary rather than use them in potentially harmful research. TAKE ACTION »"

     Chimps first sight of daylight:

    "The chimpanzees were taken from their mothers shortly after their births and brought to a research facility in Austria.
    Scientists kept the animals in isolation and gave them HIV and hepatitis. Their ordeal finally ended in 1997 when the pharmaceutical company behind the research was sold.
    The chimps were moved to a farm where keepers tried to reintroduce them to life outside — but the process was not easy.
    The animals had spent so much time inside they were confused when shown patches of grass — and repeatedly threw them away. "

    "The Humane Society of the United States, along with other conservation and animal protection organizations, filed a legal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking the agency to list all chimpanzees as "endangered," which would help protect captive chimpanzees in the U.S.
    The agency is soliciting public comment on this issue. It's very important that they hear from you! Click here to take action»"

    Talk Back: Working to Protect Chimpanzees and Exotic Animals

    "Although chimps are so similar to us genetically, many experiments conducted on them such as HIV studies have been unproductive in yielding any medical advance for people.
    Yet the United States continues to warehouse hundreds of these animals in laboratories at an enormous financial cost to taxpayers and a moral cost to our entire society."
    Full article at:

    My thoughts on lab experiments:
    The animals have done no wrong. 
    But those on death row have, so let them experiment on them.
    "Cruel and Unusual Punishment", well, what about the victims and innocent chimps, rabbits, rats, cats and dogs?


    Donkeys deserve better than just being abandoned, too.

    Donkey dumping is on the rise as the drought continues:

    "Underappreciated by the public and the source of hard feelings when their name, in its shortened form, finds its way into an argument, donkeys never have had it easy.
    And with a record-breaking drought showing few signs of ending, donkeys in Texas are facing an additional challenge: finding a place to call home.

    Sheriffs departments and animal rescue operations say donkeys, like horses, are being turned loose in growing numbers because the drought has made them too costly to keep, and buyers are not lining up to acquire them.
    Donkeys, smaller than horses and with fewer uses, typically have less value than horses. Many auction barns aren't interested in putting donkeys on the block any more, officials said.

    A round bale of hay can cost $125 this year, more than twice the price last year, she said. When donkeys can't draw enough at auction to cover the cost of the blood test the animals need before sale, owners see letting the animal go as a way to cut losses. 
    "As in many states, when an animal is taken to auction it must have a blood test performed to ensure that it is negative Coggins. This test costs between $15 and $25. Jacks and Geldings seldom fetch even $5 at most auctions thereby costing the owner more money to take the animal to auction than the animal is worth."
    Texas alone has brought 500 donkeys into Peaceful Valley's care since March, Meyers said. That's 100 more donkeys than the organization rescued nationally last year.

    While not routinely used as riding animals, donkeys gained popularity as companion animals for sheep and other livestock because they ward off predators such as coyotes or wild dogs, officials said."

    Mark Meyers, back center, moves donkeys towards a trailer with the help of Saul (last name not given), left, a trustee of the Navarro County Jail, and Navarro County Sheriff's Office deputy Charles Paul, right, in Navarro County, Texas on Friday, Sept. 2, 2011.    Meyers is the Executive Director of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue.   41 donkeys in all were picked up from the Navarro County Sheriff's Office by Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue. Photo: Kevin Martin/ /

    Rescuers come to aid of abandoned animals.

    Read more:

    Jesus 'The King' Zambada's Pets Strain Mexico's Zoos

    Zambada Pets
    "In this photo taken Aug. 17, 2011, a lion cub approaches a person's hand from behind a gate at a public zoo that houses animals captured from drug traffickers, pets smugglers and circuses without permits for their animals in Zacango, Mexico. "

    "Authorities have discovered drug cartel private zoos that housed tigers, panthers and lions among other animals of exotic breeds.   Though the federal Attorney General's Office, which supervises all seizures from drug gangs, couldn't provide an exact count of the number of animals seized.  Whatever the number, officials have been challenged to house the armies of confiscated drug cartel animals.
    Their previous home was a very big enclosure made of good quality material," said Manlio Nucamendi, the zoo's coordinator.  "But they didn't have the right diet and medical attention." "

    TOLUCA, Mexico — "The three tiny squirrel monkeys led a life of luxury on a 16-acre ranch, surrounded by extravagant gardens and barns built for purebred horses.

    More than 200 animals, ranging from mules to peacocks and ostriches, lived on the ranch in central Mexico and hundreds more stayed on two related properties, many in opulent enclosures.

    Also kept on the grounds were less furry fare: AK-47 assault rifles, Berrettas, hundreds of other weapons and cocaine.

    The ranch's owner was Jesus "The King" Zambada, a leader of the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. He had developed a love for exotic species shared with other kingpins. Just two days before Zambada's arrest, police confiscated two tigers and two lions from a drug gang hideout on the forested outskirts of Mexico City.

    As federal authorities capture a growing number of gang leaders, many of their pets are being driven from their gilded cages into more modest housing in the country's zoos.
    That's proved overwhelming for some institutions, which are struggling to cope with the influx. But it's also giving Mexican animal lovers a bounty of new creatures to admire."
    More at:

    The Bible says that the day of one's death is more important than the day of one's birth:
    Ecclesiastes 7:1 KJV   A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
    Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.
    "The day you are born you have not made a name for your self. But by the time you have died you have hopefully done things which have been good to people. Hopefully you have achieved things in life so when some one hears your name they have something to think about, rather than just hearing a name."

    These two did achieve good names in their lifetimes:

    "On this day, 26th. Sept. in 2008, Paul Newman, one of the leading movie stars of the 20th century, dies at the age of 83 from cancer at his home in Westport, Connecticut. In a career spanning more than five decades, Newman made over 65 movies, including the classics “Cool Hand Luke,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “The Sting” and “The Verdict.” As reported in The New York Times, Newman’s talent as an actor was drawn from his “physical grace, unassuming intelligence and good humor that made it all seem effortless.”"


    "On this day in 1820 the great pioneering frontiersman Daniel Boone died quietly in his sleep at his son's home near present-day Defiance, Missouri. The indefatigable voyager was 86.

    Boone was born in 1734 to Quaker parents living in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Following a squabble with the Pennsylvania Quakers, Boone's family decided to head south and west for less crowded regions, and they eventually settled in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. There the young Daniel Boone began his life-long love for wilderness, spending long days exploring the still relatively unspoiled forests and mountains of the region. An indifferent student who never learned to write more than a crude sentence or two, Boone's passion was for the outdoors, and he quickly became a superb marksman, hunter and woodsman."


    Curious-Pebbles Quiet-Precious Call came in that a young lady is interested in adopting Pebbles. 
    She wants to see Precious, too, but Pebbles seems to be her favorite. 

    This will be great for me, as long as it is a great home, as Pebbles is the one that gets into everything, when she isn't right where I am, and needs a younger caretaker.

    cat-is-on-your-computer (Small)

    Pebbles wears me out, must have some Siamese in her!

    Even though it was Sunday, the cable company was sending someone out between 8 AM and noon to find out why I keep on losing internet.  Not very often, maybe two or three times a day.

    I had to re-adjust my schedule and do things in a different order to be dressed, animals fed and out of the way, boxes all cleaned, etc., in case he arrived at 8.00 AM.  I work on the internet between 6.00AM and 8.00 AM, so everything had to be done before then.  Usually I do all that afterwards, as I am enjoying my coffee in my night clothes when I start work at 6.00 AM.

    The tech was supposed to call me when he was on the way, so I couldn't vacuum, as I can't hear the phone over the noise.  With my HMO rep coming to see me today, I really wanted to get that done.
    Misty and I couldn't go for her walk-about, as they don't have my cell number, as I didn't give it to them.  Companies have a habit of calling you back for a survey on how they did, or other follow ups, or sales pitches.   I just have a $20 a month cell phone with not very many weekday minutes, so just family and close friends have the number.  I don't come anywhere near to using up those minutes!  It's is mostly for me to be able to call if I am meeting someone, or they need to call me, or if I were to break down or something.
     cat-geek-computer (Small)
    When I called at 11.00 AM, after 22 minutes on hold I was assured that the man, (I assume it was a man) was on his way and had not notified them otherwise.

    Noon came and went.  I called again, and after another 23 minutes on hold, their rep said they would check on it, and put me on hold again!  Later, when he came back on the line he said that they were coming today, but didn't know when.

    About 1.15 PM the man shows up, without calling first, but he couldn't get the new cable modem to work right.   He ascertained that the old modem was a very old model, and wasn't working right.

    Finally, after about an hour he got it all straightened out.   He also got my laptop to work on WiFi through my router, but with a very weak signal.  I had been hoping to be able to use it in another room.  So that will have to be investigated by me, as it that is not the cable company's department.

    There was no reason for the cable office to have made my appointment for a Sunday, when they only have two techs doing this whole lake area on the weekends.  I was getting internet, it just went out for a few minutes every now and then.   The poor guy hadn't even had his lunch, and still had six calls to make.  During the week there are a bunch of techs on duty. 
    Here was I, griping about my inconveniences, when this poor guy was overworked, hungry and dragging around in the unusually hot weather.

    Another time, I will put up with my problem, and tell them to come on a weekday.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Ben's Road to Infamy. This Is the Way... Up Close and Personal. Unloading Van.

    He was a successful businessman and a war hero. But then something went terribly wrong.

    "Things looked bleak for the fledgling American Revolution. After Bunker Hill the Continental Army seemed to lose every encounter with the British. The revolution was in need of a hero.

    Ben, a Connecticut lad, was a leading merchant in the colony. He not only ran a successful mercantile, but owned a fleet of ships and was an accomplished sea captain. His sense of honor and business acumen gave him an aura of confidence. Acquaintances said he appeared arrogant, and he occasionally sought solutions through dueling.

    As his business fortunes rose so did his resentment of British taxation. Smuggling was an acceptable means to evade taxation. Ben became an outspoken leader of the liberty movement. His articulate and passionate letters appeared in local newspapers.

    When war broke out Ben was elected captain of the local militia. He promptly organized them into an effective fighting force and presented a bold plan for seizing the British forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga. The plan was accepted and the expedition successful, although Ben was in constant conflict with fellow officers.

    Because of the nation's lack of hard currency, Ben spent a large sum of personal money financing the campaign. Added to his financial hardships was the tragedy of his wife's sudden death. Ben contained his sorrow by dedicating himself to the revolution.

    About this time Ben caught the attention of George Washington. The General saw through Ben's bluster and tactlessness and recognized him as a leader and good tactician. Ben had come up with a plan to invade Canada and make it a fourteenth colony. Washington gave him the pick of the army.

    The hardships of the Canadian expedition were overwhelming. Upon reaching Quebec Ben's troops united with another column under General Richard Montgomery. In the ensuing battle Montgomery was killed and Ben wounded. During the harsh winter retreat, Ben's leadership held the army together.

    Returning home, Ben found himself faced with charges because he had forced Canadian merchants to give food to his starving army. To his wounded pride this was a bitter pill. He demanded an inquiry, and, after an investigation, the charges were dropped.

    Without a command, and on his own initiative, Ben constructed a small fleet of ships on Lake Champlain. In October 1776 he attacked and defeated a larger British fleet. A few days later Ben and a small group of men held off the British fleet from a scuttled ship while the Americans retreated.

    By now Ben had been promoted to brigadier general. He was sure that he was next in line for promotion to major general. The Continental Congress, being politicians, felt that generals should be more evenly distributed from among all the colonies. New England, they felt, had more than its share. So the next major generals would have to come from the southern colonies.

    Ben was livid and resigned in response to this decision. However, Washington convinced him to stay. Because Ben was instrumental in defeating a British force in battle, Congress was obliged to give him the promotion. But there was no army for him to command. Ben got into an argument with his commanding officer and was fired. He enlisted as a common soldier and was seriously wounded in the Second Battle of Saratoga.

    As he recovered Ben was given command of the garrison in Philadelphia. Tired after having spent much of his personal fortune on the war effort, as well as having been wounded twice, Ben decided to enjoy the fruits of his labors. Ben lived extravagantly. It wasn't long until British sympathizers used his lifestyle to bring charges against him. He was commanded to appear before a court martial.

    Ben was exonerated on all charges, given a mild reprimand to please the politicians, and given back his command. But this was the last straw. The young patriot, ablest of generals and loved by his men, became bitter, disillusioned, and it was at this point that Ben...Benedict Arnold...betrayed his country.

    Mention the name of Benedict Arnold today and nobody remembers his victories and bravery, only the crime of treason.

    The seeds of disillusionment

    What causes a person to betray his own ideals? For a person to betray everything he loves and believes he must first feel betrayed.

    Benedict Arnold
    Benedict Arnold felt stabbed in the back by jealous fellow officers. He had charges brought against him by British sympathizers. Congress refused to refund money he had spent out of his pocket for war expenses. Eventually, he convinced himself that the leaders of the revolution were incompetent and he lost faith in the cause of liberty.

    Once we allow bitterness over another person's actions or words to set in we become consumed with self-justice. Arnold's disillusionment in the revolution was rooted in his concern with personal injustices both real and perceived. Always a prideful man, Arnold's pride became more important than his values.

    Pride is a great deceiver. It makes us forget our goal and centers our attention on what we feel we deserve because of our own effort and sacrifice. It changes the focus from how we treat others to how others treat us. Issues are replaced with personalities. Character, the internal force to do right, becomes easily manipulated by a drive to be vindicated no matter what the price.

    A wise man once wrote, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" (Proverbs:11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. NIV).

    When you feel betrayed

    All of us have been misused or betrayed by a family member, friend, employer, organization, even a church. We can internalize the hurt caused by others until the memory of betrayal controls our thoughts and emotions. At times we allow the faults or abuse of others to weaken our commitment to our own values or even our faith in God.

    A Canaanite woman came to Jesus asking for her daughter to be healed. Imagine her surprise when Jesus ignored her. His disciples asked Jesus to send her away. Jesus finally addressed her by saying, "It is not good to take the children's bread and give it to the little dogs."

    If anyone ever seemed to have the "right" to feel betrayed it was this woman. Jesus, the one many claimed was the Messiah, had ignored her. His disciples were rude and seemed prejudiced against Canaanites. She could have become disillusioned, claiming Jesus to be a fraud.

    Instead, she answered, "True, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Jesus commended her faith and healed her daughter.

    (Matthew:15:21-28 [21] Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.[22] And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.[23] But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.[24] But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.[25] Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.[26] But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.[27] And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.[28] Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.).

    The Canaanite woman's faith couldn't be swayed by the actions of others. She was too aware of her total dependency upon God.

    If beliefs and values are based in spiritual reality, they can't be changed by the imperfections of people. Benedict Arnold felt betrayed by human beings. He responded by betraying his own values and ideals. He serves as a warning on the road to infamy."  The Road to Infamy, article by Gary Petty    From:

    "On 21st. September in 1780, during the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold meets with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. The plot was foiled and Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word "traitor." "

    This Is the Way... Up Close and Personal

    "Before over-analyzing people and their problems with all our good answers and quick solutions, we may simply want to talk, share a meal with them and give them some food for thought.

    It's mid-March in Atlanta, Georgia. The city is experiencing a massive dragnet for an escaped convict. Hours before, something had gone terribly wrong. During a court appearance, a man being held on a rape charge had overpowered the attending deputy and shot her dead. The man would shoot and kill three more times. The largest manhunt in Georgia's history is on. He is still on the loose!

    As Atlanta goes to sleep, the city is on edge. But the rest of the story is about to begin in the still of the night. It is here that two people will meet. Their close encounter of seven hours will be up close and personal. What transpires will change lives. It will save lives. Perhaps, even now, it will affect your life.

    It's 2 a.m. and Ashley Smith is up. She needs to go to the store. She is out of smokes. This isn't a real noble start to a feel-good story. Nonetheless, here's a lady with a bad habit that needs satisfying. Little does she realize she has a rendezvous with purpose. She is about to meet Brian Nichols.

    Do you know who I am?

    As Ashley returns from the store to the front of her apartment, she feels a gun being stuck into her ribs. It is the calling card of Brian Nichols—"the man on the run."

    Nichols is restless. He tells Smith, "I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to hurt anybody else. So please don't do anything that's going to hurt you." He then securely ties her up with an extension cord, masking tape and a blanket and places her in the bathroom. It seems as if her world is closing in, but she continues to gently reply to every request of the intruder.

    As they continue to talk, Nichols seemingly becomes more relaxed and comfortable with Smith. Finally, he unties her and lets her remain with him in the bathroom away from the front area of her apartment. As they continue to chat, Smith tells him she is supposed to see her little girl, Paige, in the morning and asks if she can go see her. The answer comes back, "No!"

    She begins to share her personal story a little more deeply. She shares how her husband had been stabbed several years ago and had died in her arms. Smith explains that if something happened to her, Paige, her 5-year-old daughter, wouldn't have a mommy or daddy. She tells him how upset the child would be if she weren't let go. It is then that Smith begins to see a change in Nichols. He comes back with, "Maybe, maybe, I'll let you go. We'll see how things go."

    We serve God by serving others

    Again, feeling more comfortable, they both go back into the bedroom. Smith asks if she might be able to read. He says, "Sure. What do you want to read?" Smith reaches for her Bible and the current best-selling book titled The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren. She turns to chapter 33, which is her study lesson for the day.

    As Smith reads the first paragraph out loud, Nichols says, "Stop! Will you read it again?" The chapter begins simply but profoundly with the words, "We serve God by serving others." Embedded within the chapter is the line, "If you only serve when it's convenient for you, you're not a real servant. Real servants do what's needed, even when inconvenient. Are you available to God anytime? Can he mess up your plans without you becoming resentful? As a servant you don't get to choose when and where you will serve."

    The chapter continues to talk about what you think your purpose in life is all about. What are you—what are your talents?

    A not so pretty life

    Smith continues talking to him through the night, always striving to gain his trust. She shares her story, which isn't pretty. A troubled teen, she had had several problems and run-ins with the law. She had married a man who was a hard worker, but who liked hanging out with "the good old boys"—perhaps some of whom were responsible for his stabbing death several years before. Afterwards, she went to live with her mom, and left Paige to be raised by her aunt.

    Now, things are getting a little bit better. She has finished a medical assistance course and she is seeing Paige once a week. She even shares her husband's autopsy report. She tells Nichols, "That's what a lot of people will have to go through now, because of what you have done. You need to turn yourself in. No one else needs to die, and you're going to die if you don't."

    Nichols looks at Smith's family pictures and asks if he can hold them. He says, "Can I stay here a few days? I just want to eat some real food and watch some TV and sleep and just do normal things that normal people do."

    Early in the morning, Smith fixes the hungry man some pancakes. This leaves him overwhelmed—"real pancakes, with butter."

    You are here for a reason

    But the conversation turns from syrup and butter, back to God and purpose and a reason for being. Smith confronts Nichols with the overpowering question: "Do you believe in miracles? You are in my apartment house for some reason." She continues, "You know, your miracle could be that you need to be caught for this. You need to go to prison and you need to share the word of God with them, with all the prisoners there."

    It is now 9 a.m. Nichols asks, "What time do you have to leave?" Smith replies, "I need to be there by 10. So I need to leave at 9:30." Smith appeals to him to turn himself in. But he replies, "Is there anything I can do while you're gone—like hang your curtains or something?"

    With that, Smith leaves her apartment, gets into her car and at 9:30 a.m. makes a cell phone call to the police. Shortly thereafter, Nichols surrenders peacefully.

    Today, Ashley Smith is in high demand. Not for making pancakes, but for telling how she lived through an incredible hostage situation. Movies are in the making, books are being written, and her technique for talking to assailants is being analyzed by professionals who deal with hostage crises.

    Man or monster?

    What exactly did she do? First of all, she looked at Nichols as a man, not a monster. What Smith seemed to do was break through fear and indignity by asserting both her and Nichols' humanity and identity. Here were two "lonelies." One life of pain with a purpose met another life of pain going down a dead-end road and said, "Hey stop, and take a look. There truly is something going on here with you."

    Smith recognized a man who needed a meal and someone to talk to. She incorporated the principles of the Sermon on the Mount described in Matthew:5:39-44[39] But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.[40]And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.[41]And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.[42]Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.[43]Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.[44]But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;:

    "But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."

    The story is a reaffirmation that there is no perfect time or perfect person with whom to share God's grace. We are reminded that so often God uses broken things to point the way to wholeness. Have you ever considered, as Vance Havner so eloquently put in words, that "it takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength"? Yes, God allows broken people, ordinary persons like Ashley Smith, to see the man through the monster.

    Long ago, Jesus commented about a man from Samaria who made a difference. He took care of a stranger. The story reminds us that he was in a dangerous neighborhood (the thief-infested road to Jericho), just like Ashley Smith. We are not acquainted with his background other than the fact that he was a foreigner. Jesus chose to mention nothing of his religious pedigree or understanding, but simply commented on his thoroughness and care for the unfortunate.

    The man acted upon what he knew, and it is that for which Christ holds each responsible. What did the Samaritan do with the rest of his life? Did the injured man, once healed, go foolishly up the same road he had come down? We don't know. That isn't the point of the story. Yet the world goes away reading the story and calling "good" the man only identified as "the Samaritan."

    "We have heard that God is with you"

    What will Ashley Smith do with her newfound fame? Time will tell. What will Brian Nichols do in prison? Time will tell. But for the moment it is a story with a lesson. A story of coming to understand life's great purpose. A story as old as the Psalmist musing, "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?" (Psalm:8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?). A story about the great purpose being worked out here below in this bit of mud called man.

    Ashley Smith learned a bit about living life with a purpose. One day she, Brian Nichols and all the world will learn the full dimension of God's purpose for creating life on earth. It is a story not fully told nor understood in today's world."

    Rest of the article by Robin Webber at:


    Being Saturday, I don't usually work, but Ray wanted to, and I needed to get the 390 items that I had bought at Lowe's out of my van.

    We rounded up some boxes and sorted everything out as we unloaded it. 
    One box for all the sanding disks, belt sander belts, etc., all except the hook-and-loop, I kept that. 
    One bin for utility knives, we kept the best one. 
    Victorian Gingerbread Bracket or Trim
    One box for all the "gingerbread trim". 
    One box for all the Task Force LED flashlights, and I kept the Energizer LED one. 
    Another box for all the different light bulbs, flood, curly, halogen, candle base, and flashlight.
    There were new packages of shower curtains, weather stripping, cheap paddle bits, drill bits, (not the quick-connect kind, so I didn't need them), caulking smoothers, tub trim, screws, nuts and bolts, etc.
    Wiremold CMK40 Cornermate Cord
    There were electrical items like "WireMold" corners, and at least 100 drawer pulls, which I don't need. Hook-Loop-disks

    There were 11 packs of 'hook and loop' sandpaper.  We don't care if they are round, as we cut it to fit the Mouse sander.  That is what really I needed, and they are expensive, so those packages really paid for both baskets full of goods.

    There were some wood slat blinds, 30" wide.  I'll see if they will work in the grooming room.

    The brass door plate will be good for my front door, as I leave it so that Misty can nose it open, when she is done outside.  Paco used to scratch at it when he was trying to come back in, and it left marks.

    Securitystriker-plateThe one thing we installed right away was the security striker plate on my back door.  I think it would take a battering ram to break in that door now, as we used 3" screws all the way to the second 2x4 of the frame.

    The $70 shell-colored light should look good in my bathroom.  Better than the cheap one that the contractors installed anyway.

    Everything we didn't need was boxed and taken up to the guest house attic to put in the Yard Sale Dept.

    One thing I kept out, as I can sell it on eBay better than at a yard sale.  The stack kit for a washer/dryer.

    Quite a haul, all in all.

    It will be a big yard sale, if ever we have a nice cool week.

    This was the program about the Antichrist on , today.