300 New Critters

Over the years I have posted several messages about the strange plants and animals that are being discovered in Southeast Asia.  Indeed, one of the most popular messages on this blog was one I wrote on December 19, 2007, entitled “Indonesia:  The Real Lost World.”  Now an expedition from the California Academy of Sciences has just come back from the Philippines.  After spending forty-two days on Luzon (the largest island) and in the surrounding waters, they have discovered three hundred species of animals that had been unknown previously.  The main one they are talking about is a swell shark, a shrimp-eating shark that can fill its stomach with water to make itself bigger.  Other discoveries include various insects, spiders, sea slugs, corals, a wood-eating starfish, and a red sea urchin.  Go to the link at the end of this message for the full story.

Before you jump the shark, you’d better check to see if it is pumped up!

After the previous discoveries, I thought Indonesia had the most bio-diversity in today’s world.  Well, now it looks like my wife’s homeland is a close competitor for that title.  Way to go, Philippines!

Inflatable Shark Among 300 New Species Discovered In Philippines

How To Die of Natural Causes in Polk County

I just saw this news story from Polk County, Florida.  It got my attention because I know Polk County well.  Until 2006 I lived 60 miles from Polk County’s largest city, Lakeland.  My sister and my daughter went to college in Lakeland.  From 1986 to 1993 I had a job where I regularly made deliveries as far away as Polk County.  If you’re driving between Orlando and Tampa and your vehicle plows through a swarm of mayflies, that’s Polk County.

Anyway, I heard once that life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think.  In the case of this story, “those who think” will be conservative, politically incorrect folks who think that what happened here makes perfect sense.

Polk County Florida Sheriff Judd Grady:  “You kill a  policeman it means no arrest…no Miranda  rights…no negotiations…nothing but as many  bullets as we can shoot into  you…PERIOD.”

An illegal  alien, in Polk County, Florida, who got pulled  over in a routine traffic stop, ended up  “executing” the deputy who stopped him. The  deputy was shot eight times, including once behind his right ear at close range.

Another deputy was wounded and a police dog  killed.  A state-wide manhunt  ensued.  The murderer was found hiding in a wooded area.  As soon as he  took a shot at the SWAT team, officers opened  fire on him.  They hit the guy 68  times.

Naturally, the liberal media went nuts and asked why they had to shoot the poor, undocumented immigrant 68 times.  Sheriff Grady Judd told the Orlando Sentinel:  “Because that’s all the ammunition we had.”  Now, is that just  about the all-time greatest answer or what!

The Coroner also reported  that the illegal alien died of natural causes. When asked by a reporter how that could be, since there were 68 bullet wounds in  his body, he simply replied:  (BEST  QUOTE  ever) “When  you are shot 68 times you are naturally gonna die.”

“Chrislam” Is Coming to a Church near you

A few years ago, columnist Mark Steyn said that if you combine equal amounts of ice cream and dog poop, what you get will resemble the latter more than the former. He was talking about democracies and dictators working together in the United Nations, but I think we have a spiritual version of the same thing here.

What Would Jesus Think?  Churches Now Promote Islam

Connecticut Weekend Update

I took Friday off from blogging to observe a day of silence for my mother, who passed away on that day in 2008.  Now’s here’s a quick covering of events that happened here during the second half of the week.

On Wednesday I did a little exploring after work, visiting Bethel, the town immediately south of Danbury.  It looks like the other Connecticut towns I’ve seen already (Danbury, Brookfield, Huntington).  Terrain more rugged than the part of Kentucky I lived in for the past five years.  Narrow roads which aren’t straight, most of them only having two lanes.  They must be short roads, too; I have yet to see a home or building with a street number more than three digits long.  Few, if any, large businesses; there doesn’t seem to be room for the “box superstores” I am used to in other states.  Even most of the grocery stores are smaller than the typical Kroger or Publix.  Or maybe the people here just don’t like big businesses, preferring Mom-and-Pop establishments.  I’m thinking about writing a commentary on that in the near future, because I am beginning to think this is typical for New England.

I also noticed a few buildings in Bethel named after P. T. Barnum, and a statue of him near the center of town.  Maybe this is the home of the famous 19th-century entrepreneur.

On Thursday we got a real gully-washer of a thunderstorm; nearly two inches of rain fell in one hour.  I could understand why flash flood warnings were issued, when a nearly dry ditch outside the office turned into a raging torrent.  The storm also turned one poorly drained lawn into a lake; I joked that it would be really bad if we came to work the next day, and saw somebody fishing in the new lake!

Because my work schedule gives me every other Friday off, I was done with my work week after Thursday.  On Friday I went to the laundromat with this week’s load in the afternoon, and in the evening I went to a Bible study hosted by the church I visited last Sunday.  It looks like I’ll be regularly attending there after all, for as long as I’m in Danbury.

Today I went back to that church because a Messianic rabbi came to speak at 6 PM, after the ladies finished watching the movie “One Night With the King,” and had fun making themselves up to look like Queen Esther.  I didn’t learn anything new; what the rabbi had to share about the Book of Esther was good, but I had heard it all at the church I used to attend in Florida.  In fact, a poster announcing today’s event was what attracted me to that church in the first place.  I was the only one there who was familiar with Messianic Judaism, so I’ll take the fact that these people are learning as a good sign.

Finally, today I finished the last of the meals Leive packed for me, three weeks ago.  Would you believe it probably tasted the best of all of them?  From here on I will be on my own, where the cooking is concerned.  In the past, when I tried cooking, I usually got strange results, so it was easy to leave that job for Leive.  Now I guess I’ll have to learn more, if I want to go back to Kentucky in at least as good shape as when I left.

First Contact

Here is a touching video that was just posted on YouTube, showing what happened when a primitive tribe on Papua New Guinea met a white man for the first time.  It was filmed in 1976, but it could happen even today (I heard a year or two ago about a tribe in the South American jungle that has only been seen from airplanes).  Watch the natives’ wonderment as they shake hands, handle a matchbox, mirror and knife, try some rice, and talk into a tape recorder.  YouTube will probably require you to sign in before watching, but that’s because Papuans don’t wear much clothing; there’s nothing violent or pornographic here.


First contact scenes like this happened fairly often in history, after man learned to build ships and travel great distances.  I wrote about more than one in my latest history paper, like when Christopher Columbus met the Indians living in the Bahamas.  Too bad they didn’t always start off on a friendly note, like this one; when neither party can speak the language of the other side, misunderstandings are dreadfully easy.  I wonder how that tribe is doing now, 35 years later?  A lot of them have converted to Christianity, to the point that I would call Papua New Guinea the greatest missionary success of the twentieth century.

Two Looks at Kentucky From the Outside

Everything is relative, as the saying goes.  At the church I visited last Sunday, when the pastor learned I was from Kentucky, he said he came to Louisville once to escape winter, and he said it was quite nice.  Oh brother, can you believe that?  I’m guessing he arrived at a time in December or early January, when it’s in the 30s or 40s and there isn’t snow on the ground.  He might have thought differently if he was there during the great ice storm of January 2009.

Yesterday I saw a headline which said that the Wild Turkey distillery, in Lawrenceburg, KY, is hiring.  I guess this means that Kentucky is finally recovering from the recession.  If you’re not in Kentucky and think that all we have is horses, coal and whiskey, you’re not far off the mark.  Of course, my job experience is not in the liquor business, so I can’t take advantage of any distillery expanding; that’s why I’m in Connecticut now.

Random Thoughts for the Summer Solstice

Today was the first day of summer on the calendar, the longest day of the year, as you probably know.  Here in Connecticut the sun rose at 5:20 AM and set at 8:30 PM.  That’s 15 hours and 10 minutes.  When we lived in central Florida, the longest day was 14 hours long; you can definitely see a difference between there and here.  I set my alarm at night if I am going into work the next morning, but because the sun rises so early here (light comes in the windows well before 5 AM), I’m always awake before the alarm goes off.

Last Saturday I got a Father’s Day card from Adam and Lindy in Georgia.  Actually it came on Friday, but the mailman and the landlady weren’t sure who it was for (when I got it, there was a question mark on the envelope).  Anyway, that card tells me that the address I gave to the family is good.

On Sunday I finally found a map of Danbury that makes sense.  Now I won’t be so dependent on the GPS to find my way around.  I had a hunch that I could get a map at a Shell station (my maps of Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati came from Shell stations in Kentucky), and sure enough, that’s true here as well.  I also filled up my gas tank, but gas prices are so high at this station I don’t think I’ll be going back there again soon.

Speaking of gas prices, back in Lexington they are now in the $3.40-$3.50 per gallon range.  That’s a drop of almost thirty cents in the two and a half weeks since I left.  But here in Connecticut, not only are they still hovering around the $4/gallon range, they have hardly dropped at all.  What’s up with that?

Thank You Very Little, Microsoft

How many of you have used the new Microsoft browser, Internet Explorer 9?  If you’re like me, you got it on your computer because the automatic updates from Microsoft told you to download and install IE9, whether you liked it or not.  Well, their newest tool for surfing the web is the pits, and the main thing it has done for me is remind me why I switched to Firefox in 2004.  I have tried other browsers since then, like Opera and Google Chrome, but I never went back to IE except to view a webpage that won’t load in other browsers.  Bill Gates and company should have done some more beta testing on this one, before turning it loose on the public.  Here are the problems I have with it:

1.  The whole “speed is beautiful” premise is a lie.  They advertise that IE9 is faster, but in comparison to what, the old Netscape of the 1990s?  On my computer, Firefox and Chrome still come up quicker.  However, I haven’t yet run Opera or Safari past IE9 to see how they compare.

2.  Most of the controls are gone!  How do I save a page that looks interesting, print it out, or search for a key word?  Most browsers have tools like that to make your web surfing more productive; if IE9 has them, they hid them too well.

3.  Bing.com doesn’t load properly.  Every day Microsoft’s premium search engine posts an interesting picture on its home page.  Yesterday, for example, they ran an adorable photo of a baby penguin and its father, as a tribute to Father’s Day.  Well, you can still see the Bing pictures in other browsers and older versions of IE, but in IE9, you get a big gray nothing!  I’m making a big deal of this because for the past two years, Microsoft has been encouraging people to use Bing instead of Google, to the point that they suggest you make Bing.com your browser’s home page.  Who’s going to do that, if all they see is a gray rectangle, the Bing search box, and a few text links that aren’t very interesting?  Moreover, if you want to download that daily picture, you can only do it with a right-click in older versions of IE; other browsers and IE9 won’t let you do it.  I did get a copy of the penguin picture -– by going to Google, doing a search for “Bing wallpapers,” and finding a blog that posts all those daily pictures.  That can’t be what Microsoft has in mind for us.

Some software packages are brilliant ideas come to life.  IE9 isn’t one of them; it definitely wasn’t thought out very well.  I’ll stick with Chrome for the time being.  Back to the drawing board, Microsoft.

Another Portuguese Church

I visited another church this morning, because the one I went to last week didn’t have everything I was looking for (mainly a service I could understand).  Well, a little over a week ago, when I was exploring Danbury’s Main Street, I noticed one church, the All Nations Baptist Church, had a poster announcing that a Messianic rabbi is coming to speak there on Saturday, June 25.  For me that was a good sign; they could be a Christian Zionist group, like the churches I usually attended in Florida and Kentucky.  The only reason I waited until today to go there was because I had already made plans to visit another church first.

This time I also took my room mate, because he hates to go places alone.  It turned out to be another Portuguese congregation; I guess that if I’m going to find a spirit-filled church, here in the passionless North, these are the people I’ll have to worship with.  Fortunately this group has an English language service at 11:30 AM.  Unfortunately most of the members go to a Portuguese service held in the evening, so there were only about twenty people there altogether, including the pastor and musicians.  However, they were quite happy to see us, and said they expect more people to come to the English service in upcoming months.  They also invited us to a Bible study on Friday night, so I’ll probably go, if I can get the address of it.  Altogether I expect to be there again; my only hesitation is that I’m used to a slightly larger group than this.

It’s hard to celebrate Father’s Day when your whole family is out of state.  My room mate is from Kansas, so there he’s in the same situation as I am.  Still, after church we treated ourselves to a good Italian restaurant that I had discovered recently.  Tomorrow I’ll probably try to make the Pre-Paid Legal business briefing in North Haven, if I’m not at work too late.  North Haven is 41 miles away, and as far as I know, that’s the closest group to here.  It looks like I’ll have to build the business to the ED (Executive Director) level, to support Leive, Brin-Brin and the house, if I have no hope of working another job in Kentucky.

Where I Lived Before Florida

I don’t talk about my pre-Florida life much, because I was only seven years old when I arrived in the Sunshine State.  Well, now I’ve gone back to one of the places where my family lived previously:  Huntington, CT.  And I’m amazed at how much it still looks like the way I remember it.  Read more here, on the first new page I’ve created for this blog in two years.

My Old Connecticut Home