Almost There . . .

Yesterday I came home and found both of the metal flowers on poles knocked over in the front yard. Leive said she saw the chipmunk do it (see the previous entry), but I find that a bit hard to believe, in view of how little such a rodent is.

My workplace is in transition. Not only are we scheduled to move to another building in mid-March, but the fellow I worked the most closely with has turned in his two-week notice. He told me he got a job offer in Little Rock, AR, and owns five acres in Hot Springs, so now is the time to do something with the property. He’s a really efficient worker who will be hard to replace, but he’s also unpopular due to some serious mood swings. Therefore it’s too early to tell if this is good or bad for the company.

Speaking of work, today I left an hour early after learning that the contract to sell my Florida home had been e-mailed, and it needed to be signed, notarized and sent back by tomorrow. Leive and I did all that, and it looks like the wait to cut the biggest string tying us to Orlando is almost over at last. We’ll know for sure tomorrow, so keep us in your prayers.

Comparing Critters

In Florida we were used to getting visits in our yards from wildlife, or occasionally having the house invaded by them. Especially by reptiles and insects, since Florida has more of both than any other state. I heard once that when someone asks a Floridian how they manage to live with all the bugs, the best response is to “share the wealth”; pull out a handful of creepy crawlies and say, “Oh, do you mean THESE?”

In Florida I remember plenty of lizards; in fact, Orlando decorated itself with fiberglass statues of geckoes in the 1990s. Also frogs, which in the front yard could get to be the size of baseballs. And snakes (mostly black racers, but once we had a blue garter snake, too). Before they cut down the forest across the street, we had some visits from a gopher tortoise. Since that was when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze was at its peak, I gave it the name of an Italian artist, like the turtles on TV. I named it Giotto, because it had a personality that was two-dimensional, like the original Giotto’s paintings.

Here, by contrast, we don’t seem to lead the nation in any kind of animal. I’ve seen hardly any roaches since I arrived, and certainly none of the three-inch monsters we get in Florida! We can even leave food on the kitchen counter overnight, and it isn’t infested with roaches or ants the next morning. Nice, isn’t it?

Though we’re inside the Lexington city limits, we get visitations here, too. No doubt it’s because there’s quite a bit of greenery in the city; I even saw a forest near the Baptist hospital, just south of downtown. I already mentioned the birds in previous blog entries. One morning last week I looked outside the front window, right after I woke up, and saw a rabbit hopping on the sidewalk. Today Leive told me she saw a yellow baby squirrel on the doorstep, and it scurried into a burrow under the sidewalk. Judging from her description, I think she really saw a chipmunk. Since the lot across the street is mostly vacant, who knows what other critters we’ll see, after the weather warms up?

The Year of the Pig

Just a couple of things I forgot to say in yesterday’s entry.  First, it’s amazing how fast information can travel these days.  Remember the funny video I posted a link to on February 18?  Well, my pastor saw it, burned it onto a DVD, and showed it to the prayer group I’m in, just two days later.  That would have been difficult, if not impossible to do, just a year ago.

Second, Chinese New Year came by last weekend, but because I wasn’t near a Chinese restaurant, I wasn’t paying attention.  It turns out that according to the Chinese zodiac, 2007 is the Year of the Pig.  In the War on Terror, we’ve learned so far that radical Moslems are gravely offended by anything having to do with pork and pigs; even pictures of Piglet can bother them.  Let’s hope this is an omen for a good year in the struggle to save Western Civilization; we need more good news from the war front.


The Bluegrass is Brown

Not much to report since Monday, just letting everybody know I’m alive and well.  The snow is all gone but the temperature hasn’t yet gotten above the low 50s in the day, and it can still go below freezing at night.  Therefore spring isn’t here yet, though we know it’s on the way.

The grass went from green to brown over the past month while snow covered it, and no new leaves have appeared on the trees, so overall I’d say that February is the dreariest-looking month around here.  Today marks nine months since I started my new job in Kentucky, and now that I look back and recall how many flowers were out, when I came for my interview last April, I guess we’re going to see a lot of scenery changes in March.  The whole city was in bloom back then, giving me the impression that Lexington had put on its best outfit to welcome me.  Leive will probably want to go somewhere this weekend, though we haven’t decided where we’ll go yet.  I took her to Richmond & Boonesborough last New Year’s Day, and Frankfort on January 14, but I haven’t been out of town since, except to go to work.

Speaking of Frankfort, the state government is in the news again.  Last July it was announced that the World Equestrian Games will be held at our own Kentucky Horse Park in 2010.  The World Equestrian Games take place every four years, but in the past, it was never hosted in the United States.  From what I’ve heard so far, it’s the horsey Olympics.  The locals feel it isn’t too early to get ready for it, and the Horse Park is going to need a complete makeover to accommodate the crowds and events expected, so the governor and legislators are discussing how and when to fund it; they may even hold a special session just for that purpose.

The house in Florida isn’t sold yet, though I was told that everything was in order when I faxed the addendum to the contract the second time (last Monday), and the realtor reassures me that the sale will close by the end of this month.

Finally, Leive just informed me that her niece Rezia has bought airline tickets to fly here (from San Antonio, TX) on May 25, and will be staying with us for two weeks.  Presumably we’ll be done buying furniture by then.  Expect me to keep you posted on this trip.  Have a good night!

The Lords of Avaris, New DNA Evidence, and a Website that Sets Back Creationism.

1. Some of you know I’m a fan of the British archaeologist David Rohl, whose “New Chronology” promises to solve many of the problems archaeology has with the Old Testament. I bought his first book, “Pharaohs and Kings,” in February 1997, have been a member of his discussion group on Yahoo! since the end of 2000, and attended the seminar he gave in January 2004, at a synagogue in Clearwater, FL.


(Here’s a group picture of several of us from the seminar. David’s in the middle, and I’m on the far right, holding my copy of his book. The leader of the Yahoo! group, Cami McCraw, is on the far left).

So far, “Pharaohs and Kings” is the only one of David Rohl’s books that I have. The others were never sold in the United States. I heard enough about the theories he proposed in his second book, “Legend,” to get a good idea of what the book is about without buying it, and his third book, “The Lost Testament,” is merely a summary of the first two. This month, however, his fourth book, “The Lords of Avaris,” came out, and after reading the first review, I have concluded that it’s different enough from the others to warrant getting it, whether I agree with his new ideas or not. Whereas in the other books he mainly looked to the Bible and Egyptian sources for evidence to back him up, this time he goes to other (mostly Greek) references, proposing that the Indo-European migration, the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, the war of Ramses III vs. the “Sea Peoples,” the Trojan War, and the rise of the Mycenaean and Etruscan civilizations, are all events closely related to one another. In other words, this may be the so-far-untold story of how Western Civilization got started. Expect to hear more about this, if and when I get a copy.

2. In other news, DNA testing has entered the controversy over the origins of the Etruscans. And just in time, since that is a topic in the book above. Where the pre-Roman rulers of Italy came from is a 2,000-year-old mystery; ancient Greek and Roman authors couldn’t agree on whether the Etruscans originally migrated from Asia Minor, or were an indigenous Italian tribe. Now DNA testing has revealed a match between the cows of modern-day Tuscany (ancient Etruria) and the cows of modern-day Turkey, adding weight to the migration theory. Hmmm, maybe the Romans were right about being descended from the Trojan hero Aeneas.

3. Finally, there are situations in war, politics and sports, when somebody is on your side, but you wish he wasn’t. It looks like we have a case of that, where the creation-evolution controversy is concerned. There’s a Georgia legislator named Ben Bridges who apparently is promoting, a website which claims that the earth does not rotate or go around the sun, and that evolution is a Jewish conspiracy, promoted by the Kabbalah school to discredit the Bible. Never mind that I don’t think Kabbalah is as old as the website seems to think, and that the Copernican theory has been around three hundred years longer than Darwin’s theory. What’s more, most of the Jews I associate with believe the Biblical account of creation is correct, like Rabbi Eleazar Waldman. Still, evolutionists are going to associate me with crackpots like the author of that website.

I wonder how the fixed-earth advocates explain the moons of Jupiter (Galileo’s evidence that the Ptolemaic theory was false)? Or the laws of motion put forth by Kepler and Newton, which wouldn’t work in an earth-centered universe? Or how the space probes we send to the planets are guided by models that have the planets revolving around the sun, and if they fail to arrive safely, it’s not because they missed, due to an error in navigation? The good news is that on every page I looked at, the author made the web-design error of changing the size, font and color of the text many times, a needless distraction that says: “tacky.” Like I said before, I breathe a sigh of relief when I come across a kook’s website, and it doesn’t look as good as mine.

A Proposed 28th Amendment

Over the weekend I found a proposal on a weblog called “Anti-Mullah” for a constitutional amendment banning Islam, by declaring it an anti-American ideology like fascism or communism, rather than a religion. I don’t think it’s going to go very far, especially with the politically correct folks we have in Congress, who don’t support the terrorists but support their mission. Still, it’s worth checking out. In 2005 I wrote an essay calling for an Islamic Reformation, where I predicted that if the so-called “moderate Moslem majority” fails to gain control over their religion, something like this would happen.  Consider this a “See, I told you so” commentary.

A Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Background and justification to Amendment 28

Whereas; Religion is defined as an institution dedicated to improving social conscience and promoting individual and societal spiritual growth in a way that is harmless to others not participating in or practicing the same;

Whereas; the United States of America was founded on the ideals of individual rights, including the individual right to practice one’s religion of choice, or no religion, and that there would be no compulsion of religion, nor state sanctioned religion, nor a ‘religious test’ for participation in the body politic;

Whereas; Islam includes a complete political and social structure, encompassed by its religious law, Sharia, that supercedes any civil law and that Islam mandates that no secular or democratic institutions are to be superior to Islamic law;

Whereas; Islam preaches that it and it alone is the true religion and that Islam will dominate the world and supplant all other religions and democratic institutions;

Whereas; Saudi Arabia, the spiritual home of Islam does not permit the practice of any other religion on its soil and even ‘moderate’ Muslims states such as Turkey and Malaysia actively suppress other religions;

Whereas; Islam includes as its basic tenant the spread of the faith by any and all means necessary, including violent conquest of non-believers, and demands of its followers that they implement violent jihad (holy war) against those un-willing to convert or submit to Islam, including by deception and subversion of existing institutions;

Whereas; on 9/11/2001 19 Muslim hijackers acting in the name of Islam killed 3,000 Americans, and numerous other acts of terrorism have been directed at the American people around the world;

Whereas; representatives of Islam around the world including Osama Bin Laden (architect of 9/11), the government of Iran including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, HAMAS, Hezbollah, and other Islamic groups have declared jihad (war) on America, and regularly declare that America should cease to exist;

Whereas; there is no organized Islamic opposition to violent proponents of Islam;

Therefore: Islam is not a religion, but a political ideology more akin to Fascism and totally in opposition to the ideals of freedom as described in the United States Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights.

Be it resolved that the following Amendment to the Constitution be adopted:

Article I

The social/political/ideological system known around the world as Islam is not recognized in the United States as a religion. The practice of Islam is therefore not protected under the 1st Amendment as to freedom of religion and speech.

Article II

As representatives of Islam around the world have declared war, and committed acts of war, against the United States and its democratic allies around the world, Islam is hereby declared an enemy of the United States and its practice within the United States is now prohibited.

Article III

Immediately upon passage of this Amendment all Mosques, schools and Muslim places of worship and religious training are to be closed, converted to other uses, or destroyed. Proceeds from sales of such properties may be distributed to congregations of said places but full disclosure of all proceeds shall be made to an appropriate agency as determined by Congress.

No compensation is to be offered by Federal or State agencies for losses on such properties however Federal funding is to be available for the demolishing of said structures if other disposition cannot be made.

The preaching of Islam in Mosques, Schools, and other venues is prohibited. The subject of Islam may be taught in a post high school academic environment provided that instruction include discussion of Islam’s history of violence, conquest, and its ongoing war on democratic and other non-Islamic values.

The preaching or advocating of Islamic ideals of world domination, destruction of America and democratic institutions, jihad against Judaism, Christianity and other religions, and advocating the implementation of Sharia law shall in all cases be punishable by fines, imprisonment, deportation, and death as proscribed by Congress.

Violent expressions of these and other Muslim goals, or the material support of those both in the United States and around the world who seek to advance these Islamic goals shall be punishable by death. Muslims will be denied the opportunity to immigrate to the United States .

Article IV

Nothing in this amendment shall be construed as authorizing the discrimination against, of violence upon, nor repudiation of the individual rights of those Americans professing to be Muslim. The individual right of conscience is sacrosanct and the practice of Islam within the privacy of home and self is strictly protected to the extent that such individuals do not violate the prohibitions described in Article III.


Comparing Costs

We were snowed in for most of the weekend. I found out that the salt truck only goes to the main road in our neighborhood. For the road going past our house, the snow got 3-4 inches deep, and at the corners you couldn’t tell where the road ends and where the lawn begins. Thus we didn’t go anywhere on Saturday, and I was only out for two hours on Sunday, to run some minor errands.

However, it’s definitely warming now. The forecast for this week calls for high temperatures in the upper 40s for today and Tuesday, and the 50s for Wednesday onward. The snow is visibly melting outside, so I expect to take Leive out again before long.

Yesterday I was paying the electric bill on our house in Florida, and used that opportunity to compare energy costs. On the FL electric bill, I was charged 18.75¢ per kilowatt-hour, but on the KY bill, I was only charged 5.9¢. In other words, electricity costs three times as much in Florida as it does here. Of course, there’s a separate bill for gas heating, but even with that, I still think I’m coming out ahead. Once I was told that the farther you get from the equator, the higher the cost of living. Well, KY and FL seem to be exceptions to that rule. And years ago I read (in “The High Frontier,” by Gerard O’Neill) that wealth can be defined by how much energy one has access to. If that is true, I definitely got richer when I moved to the Bluegrass State.

The picture below, of a cat meeting a super-rat, is one I found today. It’s not relevant to what I just said, but it’s so cute I had to post it. Years ago, the family had a grey cat, and two or three black-hooded rats as pets.


Introducing — The Book!

Those who have encountered my sense of humor know I love anachronisms. Examples include the picture I have on The Xenophile Historian of an ancient Egyptian snowman, or the news stories about the Y0K and Y1K crises. Now here is a video about a medieval monk who receives his first book, and is so afraid to use it that he gets technical support! The language used is Norwegian, with English subtitles. Hmmm, since the Irish learned to read before the Vikings (remember the 1,200-year-old prayer book found in an Irish bog last year), I take it they didn’t need any help?

White Again

Well, the three-day weekend I was longing for in my last message is finally here. This is the last company holiday for the next three months, until Memorial Day.

In Florida, spring unofficially begins about now, with February 18 being the last day when frost can be expected in Orlando. Not so Kentucky. Whereas last Thursday and Friday were clear (if cold), now we’re getting snow and sleet again. As I write this there’s a couple of inches of snow piled up outside, and as much as four inches is expected by tonight. The neighborhood now looks like a Christmas postcard, but I don’t expect to go anywhere today, except to church; Leive may not even do that, if the snow doesn’t stop soon.

On the long-range forecasts, however, it looks like a warming trend will kick in next week, with high temperatures getting up in the 50s by the Wednesday. Maybe this time the worst is behind us. We also noticed that the cardinals finally found the bird feeder I set out for them last Christmas Eve; two males and a female were spotted snacking there. Somebody’s having a good day outside!