Jesus of Siberia

Well, my foot is feeling better than it did over the weekend.  Whatever is causing this swelling, it looks like it will go away much faster than last year’s gout.

For the past few weeks, at my church’s Tuesday night men’s group, we have been watching a set of DVDs produced by Joel Richardson.  In the message I posted October 4, 2007, I reviewed his book AntiChrist:  Islam’s Awaited Messiah .  The DVDs cover his theories regarding the Gog-Magog war described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  We also checked out the websites of Adnan Oktar, a Turkish gentleman who is allowing speculation that he might be the Mahdi, the Moslem Messiah.  Both he and his websites are smooth operators, to the point that one of these days I’ll probably post a message about him with the title “Is This Man The Antichrist?”

Now when it comes to false prophets, there are plenty in our time.  It looks like there is another one in Siberia — a former policeman named Sergei Torop, who decided in 1991 that he is a reincarnated Jesus, and changed his name to Vissarion.  OK, he looks like Jesus, all right; if I was making a movie about the New Testament, I’d consider casting him in the lead role.  But can he do miracles?

According to the webpages I saw, his followers have built a village in Siberia named Petropavlovka.  I haven’t been able to find it on a map, but judging from the pictures I saw of it, with mountains in the background, I’m guessing it’s just east of the Urals.  I also watched a few videos, none of them in English, though.  Over the years I have learned that some languages make everyone sound polite, like Swedish, while others make you sound authoritative.  Russian is an example of the latter, but somehow Vissarion comes across sounding gentle while speaking Russian; no wonder he attracts a crowd over there.

Oh, and one other concern.  Vissarion is not the first Siberian holy man.  A century ago, another one came out of Siberia and gained control over Tsar Nicholas II and his family — Rasputin.  Here’s hoping that history won’t repeat itself.

Anyway, here is the article where I heard about him; I have already printed up a copy to show my friends and co-workers tomorrow.

Jesus of Siberia:  The Russian ex-traffic policeman who claims he is the Son of God

The Agony of De Feet

I know it’s a bad pun, but it’s appropriate for how I felt this weekend.  Last Friday afternoon my left foot started to swell up.  It was only a nuisance on Friday, but on Saturday it was painful just to walk or put on my shoes, and it kept me awake for much of the night.  It’s not so bad now, so I’m hoping I’m on the mend.

I had a problem with gout in my left foot twice in the past (February 2004, September 2008), but then the swelling was in the ankle; this time it is in front, near my big toe.  Consequently I stayed inside for most of the weekend.  I mowed the front yard last Thursday, and I would have preferred to mow the back yard today, because the weather was perfect for it, at 72 degrees and sunny.  Leive and I did go to the Sunday night meeting at my pastor’s house, and I learned that some other men in the congregation are having foot problems.  Who’d have thought that would be contagious?

Speaking of Leive, she came back from the ladies’ retreat yesterday afternoon, at 3:45 PM.  Although Brin-Brin the parrot prefers Leive’s company to mine, we managed a truce of sorts while Leive was away.  It turns out they were in a remote part of the mountains; definitely a dead zone, because Leive’s cell phone didn’t work the one time I tried calling her.  The nearest outpost of civilization was Ravenna, KY, so I’m guessing they were in the part of Daniel Boone National Forest that runs through Estill County.  At first all she was willing to talk about was that they had plenty of animals running around, and they saw a very fancy stone furnace.  I’m getting more out of her bit by bit; it sounds like they had a good bonding experience, anyway.

Even the Feds Need This

In case you haven’t heard by now, last Friday it was reported that the head of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, became a victim of identity theft.  His wife’s purse was left behind in a Starbuck’s, and somebody tried to use the checks it contained.  Luckily for him, the authorities caught the thief, something which hardly ever happens these days, where “the silent crime” is concerned.

Ben Bernanke ID Theft Wife’s Purse Stolen

In previous messages I told you about Leive and I getting involved in Pre-Paid Legal Services.  Well, among other things, we offer identity theft protection and restoration for $9.95 to $12.95 a month, depending on where you live.  Mr. Bernanke controls our nation’s money supply, and is probably the most powerful non-elected official in our government, but even he can be an ID theft victim.  If his experience is anything like what happens to common folk like us, it will take about 600 hours of his time to restore his credit and good name. That’s like working a fulltime job for almost four months!

To protect your identity, click on the link below, and then click again where it says, “ENROLL NOW”.  I hope to hear from you soon.

https://www.prepaidlegal.com/Multisite/Multisite?site=hub&assoc=charlesskimball

Living Bridges

Before I begin, here’s the latest addition to my page on global warming:

45. In England they use a supercomputer to predict the weather. It has 15 million megabytes of memory (I assume they mean RAM and not storage space), and can do a trillion calculations every second, meaning it has the equivalent of a 1,000 GHz (or 1 million MHz) microprocessor chip. No doubt this is the kind of computer in bad science fiction stories that causes mad scientists to exclaim, “Yes. Now there is a God!” However, like Al Gore in the United States, it is one of the country’s worst polluters, requiring more electricity to run than a thousand homes, and generating this much energy produces more than 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year. And what does the computer give in return? Well, it makes the same kind of mistakes as mortal meteorologists (see point #10 above). The worst mistake was in April 2009, when it predicted a “BBQ summer,” meaning it would be very hot and dry, when nothing of the sort happened. As with the other examples in this article, you must have an awful lot of faith, more than many people have in God, to trust the computer after that whopper. Read all about it in the link below:

Weather supercomputer used to predict climate change is one of Britain’s worst polluters

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And now here’s another link to a story about strange plants and animals from Southeast Asia.  Well, actually it’s in India, but in the easternmost state, Assam, and the main ethnic group in the area, the Assamese, are related to the Thais, so this is Southeast Asia if you fudge on the region’s borders.

Anyway, there’s a place in Assam called Cherrapungee, where the rainfall is so great that a local rubber tree grows a second set of roots, from the middle of its trunk, to give it a firmer footing against erosion.  These allow it to grow in unlikely places, like on top of a boulder, or even in the middle of a stream.  And in a place as wet as Cherrapungee, you know there will be a lot of streams.  A local tribe, the War-Khasis, will train the roots of trees growing on riverbanks to go into the ground on the other side, and when the roots become established, they weave them into suspension bridges.

The result is more sturdy than you think; as long as the tree is alive and growing, the bridge will get stronger.  Some can carry up to fifty people at a time, and there is at least one case of a double-decker bridge!  And while it takes ten to fifteen years to grow a root bridge, it is estimated that some have been in use for five hundred years.  Thus, in that climate, they probably last longer than a conventional bridge built of wood, stone or metal.

I’m reminded of a few science fiction stories where people grew their architecture instead of building it, like the home trees in Alan Dean Foster’s “Midworld.”  Well, here is yet another example of truth being at least as strange as fiction!

The Root Bridges of Cherrapungee

The Living Bridges of Cherrapunji

(Both links go to pictures and a video of the bridges.)

Up Another Level, Down to the Wire

This afternoon Leive will go on a retreat with the ladies of our church.  Don’t worry, the place is only 30-40 miles away, and she should be back tomorrow.  Hopefully Brin-Brin and I can be friends while she is away.

This month has been a great one for Pre-Paid Legal Services.  They’re running various specials, to sign up lots of new folks before a new marketing campaign is unveiled next month.  The best special is for our most expensive membership package, the Fast Start Builder.  Normally that costs $249 to get started, but for August only it is $79 — a 69% discount!  Contact me or go on my Pre-Paid Legal website to learn what’s in it.

Before composing this message, I checked my stats with Pre-Paid Legal, and found that I had just been promoted from the rank of Manager (which I reached in May) to Director.  Yay, there are only two other directors in Lexington!  To everyone on my team, I want to tell them, “Way to go!”  Do you remember the final scene in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” where the characters are in an elevator that rises so fast, it crashes through the ceiling of the building and goes flying across the city?  That’s what it feels like.  This week I saw the ceiling rapidly approaching, and now I’m there.

No money yet to go with the promotion, though; hopefully the company is just behind on the paperwork, with all that’s happening as the month draws to a close.  Which brings me to the reason why I’m telling my readers all this.  If I can sign up one more member or associate before the month ends (that’s between now and Monday), my bonuses will be doubled.  So come and check it out, through the links below.  If Pre-Paid Legal is for you, I’d love to have you on my team!

http://charleskimball.buildlastingsuccess.com/

https://www.prepaidlegal.com/Multisite/Multisite?site=hub&assoc=charlesskimball

Now Who Will Represent the Seven Deadly Sins?

This morning I woke up to the clock radio announcing Senator Edward (Teddy) Kennedy’s death.  No real surprise there, since he had been battling cancer for fifteen months, and recently called for his replacement to be elected or chosen quickly.  It also wasn’t a surprise that hardly anything else was discussed in the news today.  Finally, the Democrats are using his death to gain enough sympathy to get the proposed health care bill passed; Franjo Tudjman, the first president of Croatia, would be proud.

I did find it irksome that everyone, including conservatives, was praising him for his long service in the Senate.  They called him the “Liberal Lion,” praised his social legislation, said you could count on him for bipartisan support of a bill, and so on.  Sorry, but from my distant vantage point, I didn’t see that.  I saw America’s sleaziest senator, a walking argument for term limitation.  He certainly had little in common with his late brothers, Jack and Bobby.  In fact, the Democratic Party has shifted so far to the left in recent years, that if Jack or Bobby were alive, I’d expect them to be Republicans by now.  And I don’t think he ever saw a spending bill he didn’t like (except those involving the military), or a person in need of help that he couldn’t raise the taxes of.  Remember this speech from JFK, about fighting for freedom?

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

That sure doesn’t sound like something that Teddy, or any other modern-day Democrat, would say today.

Finally, there are the personal issues.  Honestly, what is it with Massachusetts voters, that they keep sending inarticulate congressmen back to Capitol Hill to represent them, again and again?  To the rest of the nation, slobbering Barney Frank is a sick joke, because he won’t take the marbles out of his mouth when he talks.  And Teddy was so drunk that he couldn’t be understood half of the time.

Since the beginning of the year, as time permits, I have been working on the fifth paper for my North American history series, covering the years from 1933 to the present.  Coincidentally, I am now up to JFK’s presidency, so I will be writing about the Kennedies over the next few days.  In Teddy’s case, at a minimum, I will be writing about how Chappaquiddick kept him from becoming president, and how the immigration bill he co-sponsored in 1965 led to the current situation, with most of our immigrants now coming from Asia and Latin America.

For a while, I had the following paragraph at The Xenophile Historian, on My Random Thoughts page:

“Likewise, I stopped getting mad at Teddy Kennedy after I read a column from Tom Purcell that mentioned him and the ‘seven deadly sins’ in the same sentence.  In a perverse way, Teddy can be useful.  Whether it’s pride, envy, sloth, avarice, gluttony, lust or anger, you name the sin and he shows what could happen if you indulge in it.”

Of course, that comment is now out of date, so it has been removed.  Anybody know who can I find to take the senator’s place?

A Rat-Eating Plant

gac01hl8

This blog is two and a half years old, and it seems to be becoming the place to report on strange plants and animals from Southeast Asia.  Just yesterday I wrote about Leive and I discovering the gac fruit (see above).  Here are the other messages I posted in that trend (I hope I didn’t forget any):

Indonesia:  The Real Lost World

One Man’s Treasure is Another Man’s Crap

Is This an Eagle, an Owl, or a Cat?

This Sounds Like the Bliblical Tree of Life

Now a pitcher plant has been discovered in the Philippines, big enough to digest rats that may drown in its water trap.  Their leaves collect and hold rain water, much like bromeliads; animals fall into the leaf traps, drown before they can get out, and are digested at leisure by the plant.  Pitcher plants are fairly common, especially in Indonesia, but all the ones I had heard of so far were only big enough to trap and digest insects.  This one has only been spotted on one mountain, on the island of Palawan.  Apparently some plants half the size were seen on Borneo that contained the remains of mice, so that’s why the scientists believe this one could handle a rat.

Click on the two links below to check out this real-life version of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Spectacular Rat-Eating Plant Found on Palawan

Rat-Eating Plant Named After TV Naturalist

This Sounds Like the Biblical Tree of Life

A few days ago, Leive found the above video, a commercial for some Asian fruits we hadn’t heard of before.  And since Leive is from the Philippines, you’d think she would know about anything that grows in or near her country.  Like rambutans, jackfruit, mangosteen, macapuno, and durians.  These ones, however, were completely new, especially the gac.

No, I’m not talking about gak, the slime they promote on Nickelodeon.

Nor am I talking about gagh (pronounced “gok”), the Klingon worm dish that is “best served living.”

es_gagh

The gac is superhigh in antioxidants, and apparently only grows in Vietnam and Thailand.  I don’t know why they don’t have it in the Philippines, since their climate is the same.  It’s orange when ripe, and the inside is divided into segments, like a citrus fruit.

There is more about it in this blog:

Fruit from Heaven

We’d like to try it, but is there any place where we can get it fresh?  So far it looks like it’s only available in the US as a juice concentrate.  Somebody ought to have it, inasmuch as we can get durians and even Central Asian pears in this town, and this isn’t a metropolis with a big Asian community.

On a related note, yesterday I learned exactly where the apple comes from.  I knew they originated in Central Asia, but I guessed Afghanistan, because they were introduced to the Middle East at a very early date.  Well, now it turns out they came from a forest on the slopes of the Tian Shan mountains, in eastern Kazakhstan.  Here’s an article on efforts to save that forest:

Struggle to Save the Apple’s Asian Birthplace

I guess this means Johnny Appleseed really should have had a Kazakh name, like Alibek Almatov.

Welcome to the Dark Side, Whole Foods

snake-fail

Don’t you love it when liberals eat their own?  Well, here’s an example, a classic case of a circular firing squad.  Somebody pass the popcorn!

The Whole Foods chain of health food stores is probably the dream company for liberals.  They’re based in Austin, the most liberal city in Texas, to start with.  Besides the groceries, they have all kinds of products you’ll love if you consider yourself part of the “counterculture,” like oils and incense, aromatherapy items, exotic music, books and magazines on meditation and eastern religions, etc.  Barack Obama shops there (he claimed in a speech last year that he goes there for arugula), and it’s a safe bet that virtually all of their employees voted for him.  The company has strict environmental rules on how its food is grown, and treated humanely, in the case of animals.  When possible, they buy local products.  The lowest paid employee makes $13.15 an hour, and they have health insurance.  The company will also raise money for various charities, doing their part to make sure they meet liberal standards of “corporate responsibility.”

Now some leftist activists have Whole Foods in their sights, and are calling for a boycott.  Why?  Because their CEO, John Mackey, wrote a column for the Wall Street Journal where he announced he doesn’t support the single-payer health care system the government is trying to force on us.  He thinks it will hurt the insurance plans he has for his employees.  Moreover, he didn’t call anyone names or speculate about death panels; in fact, he offered eight alternative proposals that wouldn’t increase the federal deficit, meaning we could try them now.  But these days some liberals are opting for the “all or nothing” approach; I wrote in the past about how modern liberalism means the opposite of what it used to mean.  Because Mackey doesn’t agree with them, they want to crush him.

Read the article behind this link to find out more, and learn what you can do to help the Whole Foods store near you:

Liberals Attack Whole Foods

Now how do I fit into this picture?  Well, when I lived in Florida, the nearest Whole Foods (in Winter Park) was always full of customers.  We have one here in Lexington (they bought out a local health food store last year), and they seem to do well enough, being located a block from the city’s only mall.  Even so, they’re a liberal outpost in a state that is quite conservative; Kentucky was the first state to vote “red” on Election Day in 2008.  Imagine the kind of business they’d do if they catered to conservatives, rather than liberals.

It has been said that a conservative is a liberal who was mugged the night before.  Welcome to the Right, Mr. Mackey!  Now that you’re on our side, expect business to get better.  I last visited Whole Foods eleven months ago, because it was the only store in town with muscadine grapes (see my messages from September 7 and September 10, 2008).  Guess I ought to drop in more often.  Do you carry datil pepper sauce?

vadercookies

Moving to Florida? Hope You Like Creepy Crawlies

Florida leads the nation in both reptiles and insects.  While I have never had a snake or turtle invade my house, I have seen them in the yard.  And thank God that the alligators I saw usually stayed in the lakes and ponds.  The ones that kept me on my toes (literally) were lizards and frogs, because if they got indoors, catching them to put them outside was a challenge.  Especially those little tree frogs, that jump like they’ve spent the tadpole stage of their lives in a pot of coffee.

As for bugs, they get in everywhere, and you’ll soon lose track of how many you see indoors.  Especially ants, flies and roaches.  When someone from out of state asks how a Floridian copes with the bugs, the proper response is to say something like, “You’ve never had lovebug pudding?”  Or offer to share the wealth, by pulling a handful of them out of a pocket and saying, “Oh, do you mean THESE?”

Along that line, here’s a very popular video from YouTube about a weatherman’s reaction when a cockroach gets into the studio.  I believe this happened at a FOX station in Sarasota, but it could have been anywhere in Florida.  I’m guessing he’s new to the state, or he would have tried stepping on it.  Sure, some folks are worried that cockroaches are becoming immune to our pesticides.  Myself, I’ll be worried when a roach becomes immune to a track shoe (LOL).