Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bible study

Here is the Prayer of Ezra, from Ezra 9:5-15. Read it carefully and think about whether it has any meaning for us today:

5 At the evening offering, I got up from my humiliation, with my tunic and robe torn. Then I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God. 6 And I said:

My God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face toward You, my God, because our iniquities are higher than [our] heads and our guilt is as high as the heavens. 7 Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today. 8 But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from the LORD our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

10 Now, our God, what can we say in light of this? For we have abandoned the commandments 11 You gave through Your servants the prophets, saying: "The land you are entering to possess is an impure land. The surrounding peoples have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness by their impurity and detestable practices. 12 So do not give your daughters to their sons in marriage or take their daughters for your sons. Never seek their peace or prosperity, so that you will be strong, eat the good things of the land, and leave [it] as an inheritance to your sons forever." 13 After all that has happened to us because of our evil deeds and terrible guilt—though You, our God, have punished [us] less than our sins [deserve] and have allowed us to survive — 14 should we break Your commandments again and intermarry with the peoples who commit these detestable practices? Wouldn't You become [so] angry with us that You would destroy us, leaving no survivors? 15 LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we survive as a remnant today. Here we are before You with our guilt, though no one can stand in Your presence because of this.

In Old Testament times, the Israelites believed God was at work daily in the life of their nation, blessing it when they were obedient to them, judging and punishing when they were not.

Modern Christians don't believe God is judging or will judge our nation. Should modern Christians rethink that position? What do you think?

Fact or fiction: Slugs are our friends because they eat mold

By David Burton
University Extension

While there is a great body of observation that indicates slugs and snails, eat mold, the essential truth is that it only looks this way because their favorite foods may have mold on them.

“In the home, if someone is concerned about slugs, the bigger issue is that mold and slugs favor moist and cool environments,” said Jeff Barber, housing and environmental design specialist, University of Missouri Extension.

The best way to reduce the mold according to Barber is not to save the slugs, but fix moisture leaks, reduce humidity and/or ventilate areas to avoid condensation.

It is also a good idea to remove food sources for mold like leather, wood, paper, fabric and soap scum from surfaces that might tend to condensate, like basement walls and floors.

“So yes, slugs might eat mold, but we do not want to provide an environment that supports either in our homes,” said Barber.

Weather update

I was looking at The Old Farmers Almanac today. It says for July 23-29, our weather will be sunny and cool. Reckon so?

For more reliable data:
From A.C. Spreng at the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, here is the Rolla weather data for the period ending at 7:30 a.m. today, Sunday, July 24, 2011:

Max Tempt.: 101° F
Min Tempt.: 78°
Present Tempt.: 80°
Precipitation: 0.00"
Precip. for the year: 33.58"
Precip. for the month: 3.36"
Relative humidity: 78%

Faith Is the Surest Guide

I didn't make it to church this morning, so I don't have any news to share. I can tell you what happened last week, though.
Pastor Dave Scudder preached from Hebrews 11:24-27 on "Faith Is the Surest Guide." The text speaks of Moses who lived by faith and was an overcomer in his choice of purpose, his choice of reward and his choice of masters. Although he was raised as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, Moses "chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin" and left Egypt, unafraid of the king for chose God as his master instead.
The songs we sang were "Love Divine, All Love Excelling" (call to worship), "Send the Light," "I Will Sing of My Redeemer," "Praise Him! Praise Him!" and "Whiter Than Snow" (invitation hymn).
Nancy Robertson sang the special music, "One Day Too Late."
Sunday night, Southern Raised sang bluegrass gospel music followed by a fellowship time.

Is the price of gasoline too high?

Like you (probably), I think gasoline is too high, and that if we don't find a way (by drilling more offshore and opening up the Alaska oilfields) to lower the price of crude, high energy prices (along with excessive government spending) will kill our economic engine.

Leave it to an historian to put things in perspective. Larry Wood over at the Ozarks History blog says this:

Yet, when viewed from a historical perspective, the price of gasoline is really not all that far out of line from other goods and services. I can recall paying as little as 17 or 18 cents a gallon for gasoline during the 1960s, but that was during the so-called "gas wars" that were relatively common in those days. The usual price was more like 25 to 30 cents a gallon. Until recently, the price of gas nowadays was in the three dollar per gallon range. So, you might say that gasoline has only gone up by approximately a factor of ten. I can think of many other products that have gone up at least that much. For instance, I recall that the going price for a candy bar when I was a kid was a nickel. Nowadays, a Snickers bar costs over a dollar if you purchase it at the local convenience store. That's a factor of twenty! Things like health care and higher education have probably increased that much as well.
Well, I still think gasoline costs too much, but I encourage you to click on the link to Woods's Ozarks History blog to read more. He has a ton of information there. Now that I've stumbled upon his blog, I will visit it regularly.

Sunday sermon in song

Midnight Music

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's doggone hot again!

From the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, here is the Rolla weather data for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 23, 2011:

Max Tempt.: 102° F

Min Tempt.: 79°

Present Tempt.: 80°

Precipitation: 0.00 "

Precip. for the year: 33.58 "

Precip. for the month : 3.36 "

Relative humidity: 75%


Friday, July 22, 2011

It's doggone hot!

From the Rolla NOAA Co-Op Weather Station, here is the Rolla weather data for the 24-hour period ending at 7:30 a.m. today, Friday, July 22, 2011:

Max Tempt.: 100°F

Min Tempt.: 77°

Present Tempt.: 81°

Precipitation: 0.00 "

Precip. for the year: 33.58 "

Precip. for the month : 3.36 "

Relative humidity: 70%


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wasting money at every level of government

To understand why our nation is in the financial shape it is in today, you need look no further than our own community.
Months ago, our Rolla Downtown Business Association began searching for a way to attract shoppers to the center city on Saturday. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that goal.
I don't know what alternatives they studied, but I know what they decided to do was start a Saturday downtown farmers market called the Homegrown and Homemade Farmers Market. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a goal of a Saturday farmers market. The problem is this: We already have a farmers market on Saturday morning. It's located next to Highway 63 in the Big Lots parking lot. From personal shopping there for the last two or three years, I know for a fact that it draws several vendors who offer a diversity of homegrown and homemade goods. Parking is quite adequate, for it is in a parking lot. Visibility is good, because it's next to a major highway.
Going into competition with the Big Lots Farmers Market would be foolish, but that's what the RDBA decided to do. The association decided to try a value-added approach by advertising that the Homegrown and Homemade Farmers Market would include musicians and food sales. The association promised a festival atmosphere.
The attempt to put the Big Lots Farmers Market out of business by luring all the vendors downtown failed on the opening day, May 7. No one showed up downtown; at least there was no one there in the middle of the morning when I went down there with my wife on her birthday to listen to some bluegrass music, eat a bratwurst (we hoped) and buy some plants. We left the empty parking lot and headed to Big Lots where several vendors were set up. We bought some plants.
We didn't go back every Saturday, but we checked from time to time throughout May and June. Every time we went downtown, no one was there; instead, there was a crowd at the Big Lots Farmers Market.
Lonna Sowers, president of the RDBA, told me that the next attempt to lure the vendors downtown would be to buy a tent with a grant. The City Council has applied for a $17,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is certain to get it. In fact, Community Development Director John Petersen said the USDA called the city and offered the money because it is "left over" near the approaching end of the fiscal year. That money will be used to buy the tent. It might be here in August or September.
Are you paying close attention to what is going on here?
1. Government has come up with a "need" and is working to "fulfill" it--even though the private sector is doing a more than adequate job.
2. A federal agency has so much money that it looks for ways to spend the leftovers near the end of the fiscal year.
3. Even at the local level we have developed the attitude that people need government direction and that people can't come up with solutions without the government.
4. Our city officials have bought into the mindset that if we don't take the free government money someone else will, so we might as well get our "fair share."
This is just $17,000, but imagine this scenario being played out in all the other cities, counties and taxing jurisdictions throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the grassroots market is populated every Saturday by people who have bought their own canopy tents with no financial help from the government.
Lonna Sowers and others in the government/business coalition seem to think that the farmers market vendors should be swarming to the festival lots site. They don't seem to understand that the vendors want to make money selling their goods; it is not a hobby, but a business. The vendors like the high-traffic location at Big Lots.
For now, a government/business coalition to co-opt and usurp the market has failed, and I can't help but be amused at the "city folks" and their failed attempt to take over the market of the "country folks."
That said, I'm worried that the next step will be the big stick. I worry that the government/business coalition's only recourse will be to adopt a zoning ordinance amendment prohibiting farmers markets from any location in the city limits other than the downtown "festival lots."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My favorite summertime song; maybe my favorite song

I've posted this before, and I'll very likely post it again, for this is my favorite summertime song.
I listen to it in the winter, too. I guess it's one of my favorite songs. Maybe it is my favorite song. Period.
The pickin' is good, the singing is great, and I love the lyrics. You town kids who grew up with air conditioning probably don't understand it, but a poor old Ozarks Boy surely does.
Listen and try to understand the comfort of being a kid, sitting on the floor in front of an oscillating fan on a hot Missouri Ozarks day.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Missouri's Confederate history

Facebook friend James Easterwood shared this video with me. It's fitting in this sesquicentennial year for the beginning of the Civil War, the founding of Rolla and the completion of the Phelps County Courthouse.
Rolla played a major role in keeping the Missouri for the Union. Just a month ago we had a re-enactment of the day in June when the "Dutch" soldiers came to town, took down the Confederate flag and occupied the town, which was the railhead for the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad.
Eventually the Union occupation grew to include two forts, Fort Wyman and Fort Dette.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rush delivering tea to Missouri

Conservative capitalist commentator Rush Limbaugh will go to Joplin Monday along with a "giant semi" trailer load of his Two if By Tea concoction.Link
I heard him talking about it Friday during my lunch hour. I often go out to my car to listen to be indoctrinated by El Rushbo.

The Joplin Globe also had a story about it: Rush Limbaugh to deliver tea to Landreth Park event.

I presume that even though he is a conservative and a capitalist, Rush will give away the tea. That would be the RIGHT thing to do.

Don't miss the farmers markets today

It's going to be hot today, so if you haven't already been to the farmers markets this morning, then get there quickly.

I'm not sure what you'll find downtown at the Homegrown and Homemade Downtown Farmers Market, but the Big Lots Farmers Market at the junction of Highway 63 and Lanning Lane ought to be jumping.

I'm basing that judgment on last week's visit, video of which is shown here.

The Rolla City Council has applied for $17,000 of free government money, and it's pretty certain the feds will give that money to the city. The city will use the money to buy a 40x80 tent to let the Rolla Downtown Business Association use for its downtown market. The city parks department will maintain and store the tent.

Meanwhile, the folks out at Big Lots Farmers Market will struggle along with no support from the government, the chamber, the downtown business association or any important group -- unless you count customers.