Thursday, September 30, 2004

Look before you leap

I was wrestling with the two oldest children yesterday. I told Bethany it was time for her to get ready for her music class. So, she jumped off onto my broken toe. Ouch!

United Way

The United Way drive is on, and we have forms at work for payroll deduction. There is a competition between business groups for the highest percentage of people to sign up. The pressure is on! However...

I had a look at the list of charities support by the United Way. Ottawa's Planned Parenthood (which counsels people on abortion) receives 36% of its funding from the United Way. Pink Triangle, which is a homosexual support group also receives funding. Some of the others sound a bit questionable (IMHO). So... if you choose to support the United Way, I suggest you specify that all of your donation go to one particular charity which you think is particularly worthy of your support.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Still down but not out

I think I feel worse today than I did on Friday. Last night I woke about once every half hour (and twice with Bethany wanting water in the middle of the night). Hannah woke at 6am, so I got up with her because Karen can't sleep in the day. Karen got about 7 hours sleep, which is good for her, but she's got the cold too (just about 1 day behind me).

I was really hoping to go to church today because some of the young people in my Sunday School class are getting baptized. But I'm really in no condition to go 8-(. We had thought about Karen taking Bethany and Hannah and me keeping Joel with me, but Karen isn't well enough to go either. I love attending baptisms. The Bible is clear that baptism does not make a person a Christian, but it is a visible sign of the faith that someone has. In this case, I have worked with this Sunday School class last year and starting again this year, so I really wanted to see the public expression of their faith.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


I went to the Christian bookstore last Saturday to look for some older music, which I had on tape many years ago but don't have on CD. I couldn't find anything I was looking for. Anyway, I looked online and found Steve Camp's web site. He has positioned his music as a ministry, and is offering it on a "whatever you can afford" basis. There are suggested donation amounts, but if you can't afford that, you can actually get some of his music for free. Most interestinly for me, he has about 60 songs available as mp3 downloads. The suggested donation is $1 U.S. per song. I downloaded the songs from his "Fire and Ice" album, as well as a couple of songs from another album. I'm free to upload them to an mp3 player or load them on a second computer if I like. I paid the suggested donation amount plus a little extra. This sort of approach to ministry must be encouraged!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Down but not out

I'm home sick today with a cold. It started on Wednesday, yesterday was a bit worse, and now I really have it. My nose is a bit runny, but mostly it is a sore throat, dry scratchy eyes and quite tired. No aches or fever, thankfully. Karen and the kids all have it too, so today is a day off school for them (they'll still have some reading time, and Bethany will do her Mindbenders, but we'll take it easy). I think starting a couple of weeks early was a good idea, since we can take occasional days off without falling behind.

Saturday, September 18, 2004


Predictions are funny things. If they come true, people say it was obvious. If they don't come true, people wonder how you could be so mistaken. I certainly don't claim to be a prophet, but I do follow the geopolitical situation of the world, and I get my news from a variety of news media sources, not just the western new media. For example, it is interesting to read what the Israeli and Arab newspapers say, rather than just what the CBC or CNN says. It is also interesting to get occasional translations of what the Hebrew and Arabic editions say and how they differ from the English language editions.

So, for what it's worth, here are a number of predictions:

- chances that a room temperature super-conductor is discovered in the next 10 years - 10%
- chances that a room temperature super-conductor is discovered in the next 100 years - 15%
If it doesn't get discovered in the next 10 years, chances are it's impossible.

- chances that George Bush will be re-elected - 66%
- chances that Osama Bin-Ladin will be found before the American election - 10%
- chances that George Bush will be re-elected if Osama Bin-Ladin is found before the American election - 100%
I think this one is self-explanatory.

- chances that the U.S. launches a military attack on another nation before the election - 0%
Bush does not want to cloud the election.

- chances that whoever wins the U.S. election will launch a large scale strike on North Korea - 75%
Kim is going to develop nuclear weapons because they represent his only chance at keeping power. Whoever the U.S. President is, he will authorize a large scale strike. 200-400 Tomahawk cruise missiles and up to 16 B-2 bombers will take place in the attack. No ground forces will take place in the attack. South Korea will not be consulted and will be outraged.

- chances that Iran will develop nuclear weapons within the next 5 years - 90%
- chances that Iran will develop nuclear weapons if North Korea gets attacked - 25%
- chances Israel will attack Iran's nuclear weapon factory with conventional weapons - 0%
- chances Israel will attack Iran's nuclear weapon factory with nuclear weapons - 10%
Iran wants the bomb. To the religious conservatives that rule Iran, it is their chance to reignite the Islamic Revolution. They need to reignite the revolution before forces of social change in Iran sweep them out of power. If North Korea's weapon making capability is swept out of the way, Iran will likely give up on the bomb. Iran is too far away for a conventional strike by the Israelis, but if they feel their back is to the wall, watch out.

- chances China will launch an invasion of Taiwan in the next 10 years - 75%
China is getting comparatively stronger every year and is absolutely committed to "regaining" Taiwan. The Chinese leadership will hope that a quick invasion will be accepted by the world as a fait accompli. Europe will accept it, while the United States will not. America cannot afford to let a democratic ally be invaded, regardless of how difficult the task and regardless of how many nations complain about them sticking their nose in other peoples business (i.e. failing to let aggressors take whatever they want from the weak). Retaking Taiwan will be the most difficult military action ever attempted by the United States. America's military is numerically smaller than at any time since the start of the Korean War. However, the quality of their forces is unmatched. Several CVBG's and submarines may isolate Taiwan, followed by a Marine assault, or the Americans might convince the Russians to let them attack China directly through Russia. It all depends on how threatened Russia feels.


We went to the library this morning. Bethany took out 17 books, which is a lot even for her. And the children got their own library cards. I took out a book on great speeches, but I plan to leaf through it rather than reading it cover to cover.

Karen is a bit under the weather today, so we had to skip a birthday party for a friend 8-(

I bought a DVD player today. We don't watch a lot of videos, and we watch zero television, but the price has come down and any new releases we want will be in DVD format. Predictably, I also got 3 DVD's with the play - Casablanca, Maltese Falcon and the recent release of Emma.

Speaking of "Emma", or more specifically, speaking of Jane Austen, I started reading Mansfield Park for some light reading. You have to pay attention when reading Jane Austen, because inthe style of the period she often expresses herself in round about ways, but it doesn't require deep thinking.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Gimme a Break

Well, my baby toe is definitely broken. It is all red and blue around the break. I walked into the bedroom, and even though my chair was in its usual location, I still managed to stub my toe. Ouch.

Hannah woke twice last night for feeds, but went right back to sleep.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


No, not the Landmark Baptists. Rather, a landmark day in Hannah's life! Last night she slept through the night for the first time. 10.5 hours of sleep! Of course, we did that usual parent thing - "Hey she slept the night! Wait... oh no... go check if she's still breathing!" Well, she was still breathing, and as happy as can be. We've actually had 4 good nights in a row. Is she setting us up for a fall? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Another Idea

I submitted another idea for a patent today at work. It will be written up, and submitted to a committee that decides if the idea is worth filing on. So far, 5 of my ideas got shot down by the committee, 2 had "prior art" (i.e. someone already thought of it) and 2 have been filed for patents. In 3 to 5 years, I'll be able to tell people what they are about 8-(.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Joy of Having Children

Hannah slept well the past two nights, just waking up once to feed. My what a different perspective it puts on life!

Bethany is as happy as I have ever seen her. We have agreed that she can have a library card. She hasn't stopped thanking us all evening long. I guess we've made her every dream come true! On a typical Saturday she'll take out 8-10 books, and will have most of them read by Sunday night.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Quotation from Malcolm Muggeridge

“… through the operation of Natural Selection, the most primitive forms of life are seen as progressing to the most sophisticated, primeval slime becoming Bertrand Russell…” Conversion, p43

The latest progress in Canadian society

Have a look at this link:

Note that the baby is "viable" (which is to say that the baby could live without the mother). But the right to kill the unborn is supreme in our society, outweighing all other concerns.

Making the right choice

Karen and I really like our house. There is lots of space, it's close to our church and we have great neighbors. On the other hand, we don't like having a mortgage. A considerable portion of our pay cheque gets sucked up with the mortgage, leaving less room for other things. So over the years we've questioned whether we should have moved or not. If we were still in our little townhouse, we would have had the mortgage paid off by now. Leaving aside the increase in the property value of our new house, this week past helped us to understand that we'd made the right choice. The rains that followed Hurricane Frances were the worst in a long while. We had a little water leak in around one of the upstairs windows, as a result of driving horizontal rains. However, our old house was flooded... by a sewer backup. Yes, there are a couple of feet of raw sewage in the basement of all the houses in that row. I took a drive past today, and everyone has their possessions out on the lawn being washed off and dried. Since my collection of Christian books was formerly in the basement of the townhouse, I would have lost a considerable number of hard to replace volumes. Looks like we made the right choice.


Bethany likes to stay up at night, and we like her to go to bed as early as possible. As a result, she has developed some strategies for dealing with us. One of these strategies is to ask questions. The other night it started with, "I know why Jesus came, but why did He have to come as a baby?" This is a serious question, and as a parent you feel obliged to answer it. Then the second question - "How do light bulbs work?" One does not wish to stiffle the spirit of scientific inquery, so you answer it. Of course, by this time she's run out of good questions, and so she asked "Why do pirates have patches?" By this time we have seen through her strategy and insist (once again) that she go to bed.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Long Weekend

It's been a busy long weekend, although when are weekends not busy! On Saturday I had some running around to do, and took the two oldest children to the library. Unfortunately I ran over a squirrel on the way home. I feel bad about it, but there was no way I could avoid it. I also got the lawn mowed. It is starting to look OK. I hired a lawn care company to fertilize and do organic weed control. Also, my parents pulled a lot of weeds, and I've been trying to do some weed pulling here and there. So, it's now looking OK, rather than the total disgrace it was a couple of months ago.

We were the "Host and Hostess" on Sunday for the speaker, and had a good time. Karen did a pot roast and a really great ice cream cake for dessert. Hannah had given us a really rough night, so we were unable to make it out in the evening. One good thing is that I can now rock Hannah down to sleep. For a while, she would struggle every time I tried to rock her. Now she lays there calmly as I rock, though she doesn't always go to the sleep!

This morning Karen was schooling and I was working on a sermon. This afternoon I had a nap (bliss!) and took the 3 children out for a long walk. I also spent some time reading "Conversion" by Malcom Muggeridge. His style of writing is quite thoughtful and quite beautiful. As a book, it is much like C.S. Lewis' "Surprised by Joy". If you enjoyed one, you'll enjoy the other.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Adventures in Internet Security

I installed Windows XP SP2 last night. I must say the security was impregnable, because afterwards I was totally unable to connect to the Internet. I tried rebooting, and everything I could think of. A call to my ISP resolved the problem. Installing SP2 disabled by Ethernet card! I have no idea why, but as you can see, I'm now back up and running.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Appearances are Deceiving

I was reading the other day that Audie Murphy was rejected by the United States Marine Corps when he tried to enlist during World War 2. Evidently the recruiter thought he wasn't tough enough for the Marines. He enlisted in the United States Army and became the most decorated American soldier of World War 2. Here is the citation for his Medal of Honor, the highest medal America awards for bravery:

2d Lt. Murphy commanded Company B, which was attacked by 6 tanks and waves of infantry. 2d Lt. Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to prepared positions in a woods, while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him, to his right, 1 of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. Its crew withdrew to the woods. 2d Lt. Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, 2d Lt. Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer, which was in danger of blowing up at any moment, and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to German fire from 3 sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. The enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminate 2d Lt. Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards, only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound, but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he killed or wounded about 50. 2d Lt. Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction, and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.

Was he tough enough? Appearances can be so deceiving!