Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sound Doctrine

A note from a sermon I'll be preaching this Sunday (Lord willing):

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Timothy 4:3)

This verse is as interesting for what it doesn't say as it is for what it does say. It doesn't say that men will not put up with sound doctrine so they will stop attending church. Instead it says men will not put up with sound doctrine so they will go to a church where they can hear what they want to hear. In today's world it is hard to find a church that believes, understands, teaches and defends sound doctrine. Many churches have given in to fads. There is tremendous pressure on preachers to keep it light and upbeat. But if a church doesn't preach what it believes, eventually it will lose its belief.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lego Land

A guy posted a message on the internal bulletin board about some Lego for sale. Usually this stuff goes fast, so rather than emailing him I phoned, ended up talking to his secretary (he's an executive with the company) and asked her to make sure I was the first person he replied to about this. In any major corporation it helps to be polite to the secretaries because they either smooth the path or apply the breaks.

The net effect was that I got the equivalent of a 24 inch x 18 inch x 10 inch bin full of Lego for $50. This was a great price for some great Lego, including some electronic kits that Joel knows about but about which I have no clue. Joel had been planning to buy some Lego that day with $15 he had saved up, so the net cost to me was $35. This was definitely the biggest Lego extravaganza of Joel's life; he's never got that much Lego in one day (and will never again).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Neat Microsoft Word Trick

If you have Microsoft Word 2003, type "Carl Sagan". Click on the word "Carl" and Word's automatic spelling check will flag "Sagan" as a spelling mistake. Right click your mouse button on "Sagan" and look at the second suggestion Word gives. Me thinks this is something Microsoft will change in a new version, although it doesn't happen in Word 2002.

More on Worship

Rebecca had some kind comments on my last posting on worship, and I'd like to expand a bit with some additional thoughts. I had said “I take some pleasure when I receive a compliment, but if you really want to see me happy spend some time telling me about how fine a child my son is (or my daughters for that matter). So it is with the Triune God. We acknowledge the person and work of the Father, but if you really want to touch the Father's heart, tell Him what He already knows about His Son.”

Let's think about this further. There is nothing about my son that you can tell me that I don't already know. I know more about his character and virtues and worth than you will ever know. So your comments about my son don't need to be original in order to touch my heart. You only have to acknowledge what you have seen to be true.

In addition, your comments must be sincere. If you really don't know my son but say all sorts of flattering things about him, it won't do my heart any good. They are empty words unless they are based on your personal knowledge of him. There is one exception to this. When I give testimony about my son and you accept my testimony at face value, then it also touches my heart when you value what I have said about my son.

There are also some other matters I should mention. I would be very happy for you to spontaneously say a gracious word about my son as we pass in the hall, but it would touch my heart even more if you arranged for us to get together specifically so you could tell me how much you appreciate my son's character and deeds. Oh I know you might want to borrow some of my tools or get a hand putting up that shed, but if you could just put aside some time to tell me about my son without bringing up any other matters, it would mean so much to me.

So it is with the Father in Heaven. Worship is when we are amazed by God, when we are completely taken up by the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and when we express back to the Father what we know to be true about the Son through the leading of the Spirit. It can sometimes be emotionally satisfying, sometimes emotionally draining, and sometimes the emotions have little to do with it. Really, worship is not about having my heart touched; it's about touching God's heart when we acknowledge the perfections of the Son.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Spiritual Meditation from an Unlikely Source

Perhaps I can be forgiven for suggesting a spiritual meditation from a secular source. About a week ago I commented about the sadness of the song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". It was written in 1943 when the world was convulsed by war, and when millions of loved ones were far away from home. Let's look at the words:

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Definitely something that can move you to tears. But lets think about the present reality the Church lives with. The Church Universal and the Church Militant are currently separated from each other, and indeed the Church Militant itself is separated from each other. There are people who are my fellow believers who are separated from me by distance and by doctrine. There are people who have the same Saviour, and yet our doctrines are such that for all practical senses we cannot have much in the way of fellowship with each other. So for example, a very strong charismatic would feel as uncomfortable in my local church as I would feel in his local church.

So I have to ask the question, "how do we feel about this?" We can talk about unity, but do we literally ache because of the divisions within the Church. Like the people in World War 2 who longed to see their loved ones again, do we long to see and have rich fellowship with all those whom Christ has saved (across divisions of time, distance, doctrine and practice)?

The song writer could only mutter a few words about "if the fates allow", and indeed some of those people were never reunited due to the violence of war. But within the church our unity is an established fact, even if it is unrecognized on earth. One day we will all be together, because our Lord has willed it. Our doctrine with be corrected, our knowledge full, and there will only be one topic for the conversation. Unity within the whole body will be realized, never to be broken again. What a day that will be!

Friday, August 25, 2006


I wrote the following comment over on the "Pure Church" blog:

We are tokens of what God can do through the most unlikely material. Sometimes He brings glory to Himself when we hunger and thirst for Christ in a way that will be satisfied with nothing less. And sometimes He receives glory when our hunger and thirst are gone, and we are spent, broken and defeated.

Ultimately it all centers around Christ. Not our relationship with Christ, but centering on Christ Himself - for we preach the Gospel of the Glory of Christ (2 Cor 4:4) and not merely the Gospel of the Salvation of Man (though thankfully the Gospel of Glory also contains the Gospel of Salvation).

This focus on Christ as All became obvious as I was leading a Sunday School class through Ephesians. I fear I failed to help them grasp this, but I shouldn't be too distressed that they didn't see something that has taken me 20 years to start to understand.

Where do the Father and the Spirit come into this? It is the Father's pleasure that we acknowledge the virtues and perfections of the Son. It is the Spirit's pleasure to be the enabler for true worship.

Thankfully God created us in such a way as to appreciate this. For example, I take some pleasure when I receive a compliment, but if you really want to see me happy spend some time telling me about how fine a child my son is (or my daughters for that matter). So it is with the Triune God. We acknowledge the person and work of the Father, but if you really want to touch the Father's heart, tell Him what He already knows about His Son.

Software Professionals vs. the other guys

As many of you know, I started a new job within my company on May 1st. And whenever you start a new job, one of the first things to do is to figure out who the “go to” guys are. The “go to” guys are the ones with excellent technical skills, a desire to do things the right way, and a desire to help others in the organization. These are the guys Managers tend to rely on. Major customer outage has taken out most of the telecommunications in Europe? That’s a problem! What should the Manager do? Ah, the answer is obvious; get “go to guy #1” on the first plane to Europe. And so the Manager congratulates himself for having the wisdom to know what to do.

In my profession (software development) the “go to” guys tend to be consummate software development professionals, rather than just guys who program computers for a living. Some of them program 8 hours a day and some of them program every waking hour. Professionalism has nothing to do with a computer obsession and it has nothing to do with social skills.

This can lead to some funny things happening. For example there was someone I will call “R”. We had problems with a standard library we obtained from an internal development group. They were unable to fix the problem. I came into work one Monday morning and found the problem had been fixed. Over the weekend, “R” hacked his way into the source code repository of this group in another country, learned the code base without the benefit of documentation, made the fix, did the unit testing, checked it in, and sent a bill to the group whose code he had just “adjusted”. OK, a touch of arrogance, but remember that “R” spent his weekend doing this, and he worked in a different group!

We also had a major problem with a program. I won’t go into details, but it was a problem we had been avoiding for years, and now it had to be fixed. So the Manager puts on his thinking cap and decides “M” would be the right person to solve the problem (congratulating himself on his wisdom for picking “M” for this job). We cut “M” his own source code stream, he went away for 9 months, and comes back with 1800 files (perhaps several hundred thousand lines of code) that needed to be checked in. This of course led to a dilemma. Normally we would require extensive code inspections by a team of trained inspectors, ut by doing so we would use up every available programmer for the rest of the release. Clearly unacceptable. At this point however I reminded myself that this was 1800 files that “M” was responsible for. So I threw open the source code repository, and he fired off his script (he wasn’t going to check in the files manually so he wrote some enhancements to our source code repository). The changes built without a problem, and as I recall there were only 2 bugs ever attributed to this massive code change.

So today I was talking to “K”. From speaking to him, clearly he was a consummate professional when it comes to programming. He now works in the test group, but he’s still a “go to” guy for them. When necessary we fly him out to some of the biggest companies in the world. Anyway, we got onto the topic of software professionalism. It was a short but interesting discussion. We discussed such techniques as design for testability, understanding the performance of your algorithm before you start coding, and degraded modes of operation. And that led me to think about some of the other practices of true software professionals. I don’t mean, build before you check in or using debuggers. I mean the design principles that separate true professionals from people who program for a living. So what separates the professionals from the other guys? Comments are welcome.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Paying off the National Debt

In the last 10 years, we've paid off $50 billion of a $550 billion national debt. Considerable progress, but at this rate it will be another 100 years. But we have two factors on our side. First, our economy is growing. Second, inflation makes the national debt seem smaller. So if we take the $5 billion a year we are currently plunking down on the debt, index that payment to inflation and also increase the payment by the percentage of growth in the economy, within 20 years we could have most of the debt paid off. Unfortunately most politicans are lawyers, rather than mathematicians or economists. And unfortunately election years cause politicans to do goofy things like promising to spend all our cash instead of putting us on a good financial footing.

And in the interests of fairness for those who think I have a mild bias against the Liberal Party of Canada, it was the Liberal Party with Paul Martin as Finance Minister who cut government spending, eliminated the deficit and started us on the road to debt repayment. Well done! Compared to the billions that they paid off on the national debt, the taxpayer money that found it's way into the Liberal Party's coffers and to Liberal friendly advertising firms, is a mere pitance of a couple hundred million.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Christmas Song

I was listening to Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". It is probably the sadest Christmas song ever written. Remember that it was written in 1943. Try not to listen to it when you are sad.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dispensational Theology

I had hoped to preach next Sunday on Dispensational Theology, but I think I'm going to find a different topic. In the first place, it will take at least 2 sermons to do a minimal introduction, and my next scheduled sermon after August 27th is in December (which is too long between messages for a 2 parter).

But the main reason is that I'm just not ready to preach on this topic. I've been studying, reading and thinking, but I'm not there yet. I could preach a sermon or two, and I am fairly confident of my material, but there is a lot to it and I want to make sure I really understand some of the more technical details (even if they will not come out in my sermons). For example I want to read the major proponent of "Progressive Dispensationalism" rather than just reading what others say about him. I do not hold to Progressive Dispensationalism, but I want to make sure I understand the details before I present the basics in my sermon. There are also matters like the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, the basis for salvation in Old Testament times, Covenant Theology and some specialized aspects of Hermeneutics.

A Sunday morning sermon is not a lecture in a seminary. It is not a debate in academic circles. It is not a paper in a theological journal. It is a decisive thrust of the sword of the spirit for the accomplishing of a specific purpose. A Sunday morning sermon will not go into all the pros and cons of each point, but the one who is preaching the sermon should be aware of a lot of details that don't make it into the sermon. I've commented in the past that one of the men at our church has been able to successfully navigate minefields in his sermons. If you are aware of the theological issues you can tell where he is choosing his words carefully. All the details of the theological issues don't come out in his sermons, but you can tell he is treading carefully rather than blundering around in matters his doesn't understand. And I hope to do the same for my sermons on Dispensationalism... but not this coming Sunday.

Out for Supper

Thanks to the kindness of my mother-in-law for babysitting on short notice, we were able to get out for supper tonight. We went to place called "Barolo Italian Buffet" at the very west end of Carling Avenue (for those who are living in Ottawa). I've been there about 5 times, mostly for lunch, but this was Karen's first visit. I think it's a pretty good buffet. There is a good salad selection, including some grilled vegetables. There are hot and cold selections, which include pizza and tonight some decent roast beef. The chef will also cook up some pasta to order for you. I had fettucci with meat sauce, mushrooms, bacon and garlic. Soft drinks were included in the price. The desserts are pretty average (somewhat better than the desserts at the average Chinese buffet, but definitely the weak point of the restaurant). I really like the place.

Afterwards we went to Zavida Coffee House for some cafe latte. Unfortunately we forgot to order decaf so we'll probably be wired for most of the night. We ended up sitting there for about an hour, having a great conversation about our strengths, weaknesses, hopes and ambitions. We got home just in time to tuck the children in. What a great evening!

Models for Education in Local Churches

The Sunday morning sermon is foundational to the teaching program of the church, but it can't fill all the needs. Sometimes it is the meat of the word, and sometimes it is the milk. Sometimes it is evangelistic and sometimes it is exhortatory. Sometimes it is a missionary report, and sometimes it is the training ground for new preachers.

After the announcements and singing, perhaps there are 30 minutes left for the sermon. And let's assume half the sermons are of a teaching nature. During a one year period this amounts to 30 minutes x 52 weeks x 50% = 13 hours of Bible teaching each year. But maybe your church has longer sermons and more of a focus on teaching. Perhaps in a one year period you have 45 minutes x 52 weeks x 75% = 29.25 hours of Bible teaching each week. And lets remind ourselves that this is teaching at all levels, from milk to meat.

Let's compare the Sunday morning sermon to a course at university. At a university, a full course requires at least 100 hours of instruction, and a student typically takes 5 full courses each year. So the amount of concentrated instruction received in one year of university is the equivalent of about 38 years of Sunday morning sermons. Maybe your church also has a Sunday night sermon, which means it would only take 19 years of sermons to get the equivalent of 1 years worth of instruction at a university (even assuming that 19 years worth of instruction was all meat and little milk).

No wonder many denominations require their preachers to spend 3 years in seminary. But even among the denominations that require this for their pastoral staff, very few people can afford to take 3 years out of their lives to attend a seminary. And while a seminary might meet the needs of the few, it doesn't meet the needs of the many. So what other options are available?

Let's not ignore the importance of a program of self-study. Each Christian should be reading and studying the Bible for themselves. In addition, by listening to a single sermon each week on tape or over the Internet, the average Christian can double the amount of serious Bible teaching he or she receives. But many local churches have also developed programs for teaching and discipleship, and it may be worth while for each local church to consider whether a similar program may help them.

Some years ago Fairhaven Bible Chapel offered the Discipleship Intern Training Program. Under the guidance of some experienced Christian workers, a number of believers received instruction and personal discipleship. DITP is no longer running, but in New Testament assemblies in North America this program has become quite well known.

Other churches have followed a model which I believe was pioneered by “Spread the Word”. They have a one-a-month program that runs Friday night and Saturday morning. Local men and visiting speakers provide concentrated instruction. Billeting is available.

Capitol Hill Baptist Church ( runs an internship program. They pay interns a small stipend, and the pastoral staff of the church provides instruction and discipleship. CHBC is a medium sized church, and has made a considerable financial investment in training men for future ministry.

Stonebriar Community Church ( has started a Theology Program. Their goal is to help make everyone in the church theologically literate. They offer a number of courses taking their students through basic theology. They have also video recorded their sessions, and the sessions and training materials are available (some over the web and some for purchase). They provide instructions on how local churches can run these programs for themselves using Stonebriar's materials.

Of course, other churches do not adopt anything quite so formal. Mentoring and personal discipleship is done one-on-one. Younger believers are encouraged to study for themselves. This assumes there are men who are willing and able to do this type of discipleship. While many churches would claim to be doing this, most churches do it sporadically or not at all. Nevertheless, if it is actually done and done by some men (and women) who are really committed to this sort of work, it can be highly effective.

But regardless of what type of model or program your church chooses, it is vital that believers have the opportunity to get more than they are likely to get on a Sunday morning. Let's not give up on the Sunday morning sermon. It is foundational. But lets not assume the Sunday morning sermon is giving the church all the food it needs.

Friday, August 18, 2006

New Name

OK, so there were lots of possible choices, but "Grey in Black and White" is the one I went with. Note that I republished with a new template, so if you were having problems with viewing my page under Internet Explorer, please let me know if it is now working or if it is still broken.

Quebec Abortion Ruling

Interesting article and comments at:

“This is a great day for all women in Quebec and a great day for all women in Canada as well because there are other provinces that have the same problem,” Ms. Desilets [of the Association de l'acces a l'avortement] said.

Well not quite a great day for all women in Quebec. The 22,500 females who received the death penalty for the crime of being unwanted didn't have such a great day.

Once again a judge shows us that we have a legal system, but not a justice system.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

AIDS Conference

Stephen Harper is taking criticism for not attending an international AIDS conference in Toronto this week. He said there will be no announcements on additional funding this week because the issue has been politicized. Which is correct. As a Conservative politican, it wouldn't matter whether he was there or not; he would still be criticized. And at a conference like that, it wouldn't matter how much new money he brought to the table; the press would still stick a microphone in front of the face of someone who didn't feel it was enough (or better yet from the press's point of view, give the microphone to someone who wants to score a few cheap political points by being critical).

All of which tells me Stephen Harper is a very smart man. He has long since learned an important lesson about risk vs. payoff. Why attend a conference where you will get lots of bad press (regardless of what you do) when you can avoid the conference and get a smaller amount of bad press. If there is no possible benefit, why attend? I hope Harper will work behind the scenes in funding more research, but let's face facts... the conference was a photo-op for the left.

What sort of funding would be most helpful? I would suggest some really innovative funding in basic research on virology. Answering the basic questions about viruses will help fight all viruses, including HIV. Perhaps funding 10 endowed chairs at Canadian universities in anti-viral research, and making some funds available to bio-tech start-ups with some innovative ideas for fighting viral infections.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More on Blog Names

OK, here are three possible names. They passed the Karen Test (i.e. my wife thinks they are all ok and none are psychotic). In fact, one of them is her idea:

Father's Joy - this is what my last name "Abigail" actually means, although some would say it means "Father is Rejoicing" or "Father of Joy"

Eclectica - my interests are pretty eclectic.

Grey in Black and White - in most cases, when people talk about grey areas, it just means they are not thinking too hard or are not well focused. As a friend of mine says, "To an unfocused mind, everything seems like a grey area"

Bombing Plot

British police have uncovered a plot to blow up airliners crossing the Atlantic. London Heathrow airport is advising anyone who can to avoid flying today. British police have arrested 21 people. "This is not about any particular community. This is about mass murder." said London Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Paul Stephenson. Good. I thought those Scandinavians were trying to impose Lutheranism on the world again.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Thoughts on Books

1. One book that changed your life
The Bible (obviously). C.S. Lewis's book “Compelling Reason” made me feel dumb (i.e. I should have thought of much of what he says, except I was too dumb to figure it out for myself). But I would say “How Should We Then Live” by Francis Schaeffer. Schaeffer brings up a lot of good points about how our society works and what our response should be. For the first time I started thinking about thinking. I started thinking about what it means to think like a Christian, and have a Biblical Worldview. Don't get me wrong... I'm still a convinced Dispensationalist. But Schaeffer did challenge some of my assumptions on how Dispensationalism should be lived out. I'm still digesting a lot of this.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I read it once every couple of years. I think it should be mandatory reading for newly promoted Managers.

3. One book you’d want on a deserted island
Well, it wouldn't be “How to Win Friends and Influence People”! Assuming I had a Bible, then I would want a Greek Testament and a copy of Mounce's “Basics of Biblical Greek”. I know, this counts as 3 books, but if I had 16 hours a day with nothing else to do, I would definitely focus on learning Greek.

4. One book that made you laugh
There was a book on speaking in tongues by “the Happy Hunters”. I'm sure a well trained scholar from a Pentecostal background would cry while reading this book (it is really bad) but it made me laugh. No logic. No real theology. Just do it, because “everyone” is receiving the gift.

5. One book that made you cry
I don't think it has happened yet. There are two movies I cry for, and one episode of Star Trek, but I've never cried over a book.

6. One book that you wish had been written
“Systematic Theology – 12 volumes” by the Apostle Paul.

7. One book that you wish had never been written
New Age Bible Versions. When I first read this book, I thought it was written by someone who was mocking the King James Only position on Bible translation. After all, it was so silly it seemed to be making fun of the King James Only position under the guise of supporting it. But I was wrong; the author is actually serious. Whether you are King James Only or prefer the Living Bible, this is a book to avoid.

8. One book that you are currently reading
Mere Christianity. I will be a teaching a course in “Christian Worldview and Thinking Like a Christian” in September, and there are some things I want to brush up on.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read
I know there are several million people who will be upset with me for saying this, but I've always meant to read Calvin's Institutes. Some people will be upset with me for daring to preach before I've read the Institutes. Others will be upset with me for poisoning my mind with Calvin. Personally I don't care who is upset with me. I've meant to read it, and I will read it... some day.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

More on Caledonia

The judge who ordered barricades taken down has told the Provincial Government to stop negotiations until the occupation is over. He also told the Provincial Attorney General to arrest anyone continuing to occupy the disputed site.

Dalton McGuinty's response? "It's the kind of thing that we're going to want take some time to carefully consider." Of course this marks a first. It is likely the first time a Liberal politican hasn't bowed to the courts when a potentially unpopular decision needed to be avoided. Usually the Liberal Party falls all over themselves to proclaim, "The court told us to do it, so we have no choice."

Now I believe in the rule of law, but it is the elected officials who make the laws, not the judges. But now I have a dilemma. For once a Liberal politican, faced with a court order, has realized that elected officials have a responsibility to determine whether a court is within its rights (for example, does the court have the right to order the government to halt negotiations, or is this a power a court has arrogated to itself). Perhaps I am assuming too much, and this is not some finer point of legal interpretation. Perhaps Dalton just doesn't like what the judge is saying. On the other side of my dilemma, I know what the press would be doing right now if a Conservative politican stood up and declared that he was in no hurry to obey a court order.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Note to Homeschooling Parents

Teach your children the basic rules of grammar. It's actually important. In fact, it can be worth millions of dollars:

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Harper and the CBC

Think the CBC has no anti-conservative bias? Think the CBC is only interested in the truth and not "getting a story?" Think the Main Stream Media doesn't actually make news (rather than what journalists traditionally did in reporting news)? Watch this video:

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Busy, busy, busy...

I had some preparation work to do on tomorrow's sermons. Previously I did two messages on the Prolegomena, and tomorrow it is 2 messages on the Bible. Towards the end of August I plan to continue this series on theology with a message on dispensationalism.

I also managed to complete the editorial for the August issue of Learning at Home. This is the newsletter for the Ottawa Valley homeschool association. I'm running a bit behind this month with the sermons I'm working on, but feel strongly I want to put my best into these messages.

However, I did get a chance to take the children out to the library this morning, and to the park this afternoon. After much encouragement, Hannah started going down the slide. Of course, after the first trip down the slide, her whole mission in life could be summed up by the word, "Again!"

Here's a picture of the 3 children walking towards the play structure.

Friday, August 04, 2006

New Name for My Blog

I came up with a new name for my blog, but when I told Karen about it at supper she looked at me quite seriously and asked, "Are you really considering that name?" Guess it's back to the drawing board.

Thoughts on Worship

I attend a church where our weekly communion service involves a one hour meditation on the person and work of Christ. There is some music, some prayers, some readings, and some brothers voice their thoughts. It is a very contemplative form of worship, and I think honors the request of the Lord Jesus to remember him.

Music can be part of our worship, but music by itself is not worship and music can distract from true worship. Worship is when we are amazed by God, when we are completely taken up by the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and when we express back to the Father what we know to be true about the Son through the leading of the Spirit.

It can sometimes be emotionally satisfying, sometimes emotionally draining, and sometimes the emotions have little to do with it. Really, worship is not about having my heart touched; it's about touching God's heart when we acknowledge the perfections of the Son.


I've been on vacation this week. Nothing too special... just some down time. I've been working pretty hard on a couple of sermons for Sunday (two messages on the theology of the Bible), so today we took the children to the Hershey's Chocolate Factory in Smiths Falls. The tour isn't all that long, and it looks like they were on a break while we were visiting, but the chocolate store is ALWAYS GREAT. We only bought $20 worth of chocolate this time, unlike our previous $70 expedition. Just the smell in the air is wonderful.

I ordered a shirt from Sears, and it came in. I have a hard time finding shirts. If the neck is large enough, the sleeves come down to my finger tips. And most stores have a limited selection of short sleeve shirts. But I was able to find a short sleeve shirt online, and hopefully it will fit OK.

Corn on the cob for supper tonight, but I'm not sure what else. I offered to make supper tonight, so we'll see what I can do on the BBQ. The stove is acting up, so there is no point in trying to bake anything until we can get it fixed (which will probably be another $200). 8-(

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Simple ideas can be the best ideas...

OK, this seems really simple, but the solution for the current uproar in the Middle East is for Hizbollah and Hamas to return the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. The long term solution is for nations and factions to stop attacking Israel. Of course, this isn't going to happen, but it is the only real answer.

Of course the UN has to make things complicated. These are the same people who can't stop wringing their hands about what to do about Iran and its nuclear ambitions. Maybe the UN should understand that Israel cannot negotiate with any organization whose goal is the complete destruction of Israel. Maybe the world press should understand that when Hizbollah is willing to use their own people as human shields, innocent lives will be lost. Having my own children has made me much more sensitive to human suffering. I hate seeing what is happening in Lebanon right now. But what alternative do the Israelis have to doing whatever it takes to root out and destroy Hizbollah?

The Master Plan for Cuba

Fidel Castro is recovering from surgery. Presumably he will recover, but he's still an 80 year old man. What will happen when he dies? I hope someone in the United States has thought this through, and we don't have a lot of knee-jerk "let's invade them now" from the anti-Castro crowd in Miami. Make no mistake... I have little tolerance for communist dictatorships. But Castro's eventual death (from natural causes) will be an opportunity for normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. It could be very beneficial for both nations (particularly Cuba) to change into a social democracy. Dare I even say it... Canada could play an important role. We have good relations with Cuba and could model our system of social welfare + responsible capitalism to them. Again note that I am more in favour of responsible capitalism than socialism, but it is unrealistic to expect Cuba to transition from communism to full capitalism in one step.

Another Ouch

I did some hamburgers on the barbeque for lunch. The barbeque was sitting out in the sun, with 35 degree heat (and humidity that made it feel like 48). It was about 200 degrees fahrenheit in the barbeque, and I was keeping my stainless steel utensils inside the barbeque. You see where this is going. I didn't actually burn myself, but I did end up using oven mitts to bring the utensils inside and run them under cold water.