Aha! Now if only I can find the commandment to patronize those restaurants. Perhaps it is in the Talmud . . .
Happy Hanukkah and Chag Sameach!
Well, well, well. A few times in the past I have reported here about the crazy crackpot ideas that have come out of the Islamic world, especially Egypt. See my messages from June 13, 2007 and April 30, 2012 for a few examples. Now the article I just linked to shows us that the Moslem Brotherhood may no longer be in power, but Egypt is still producing more than its share of anti-Semites and conspiracy theories. This one comes from the same guy who tried to sue Israel for inflicting the Ten Plagues on Egypt, without saying a word about the enslavement of Israelites that started the whole affair.
With the latest claim I would point out, for a start, that the theory suggesting that Pharaoh Sheshonq I = Shishak is not a recent Israeli invention. Some European reading hieroglyphics at the temple of Karnak, nearly two hundred years ago, came up with that idea. Perhaps Mr. Gamal would prefer David Rohl’s theory, that Shishak is none other than Ramses the Great? And as for the treasures found in the tombs of the pharaohs at Tanis, I can make a case that they were stolen from earlier pharaohs like Amenhotep III, not from the Israelites.
First, I’d like to wish Happy Passover/Chag Sameach for those who observe that holiday, inasmuch as it begins tonight:
I would also like to remind readers that the first of the four so-called “blood moons” in 2014-2015 will begin a few hours from now (see my message from last January 6). Unfortunately, we won’t be able to watch it from this part of Kentucky. The sky is covered with clouds right now, from the cold front passing through.
Speaking of cold fronts, the strange weather we’ve been having this year isn’t over yet. During the past week it warmed up nicely, reaching a high of 79 degrees on Saturday and 83 on Sunday. It’s definitely more like what Leive and I are used to, after all the years we spent in Florida. Indoors, the warming trend was felt the most upstairs and the least downstairs, causing a remarkable split in temperatures: in the 80s on the top floor, 70s on the main floor, and 60s in the basement. If it had gotten just one degree warmer yesterday, the air conditioning would have come on upstairs.
Today, however, I began to see a change. While the high temperature of 73 meant I still didn’t need a jacket when I went outside, it was overcast instead of sunny, and we got a bit of rain. Now the cold front is threatening to bring it down to 35 tonight, and maybe below freezing tomorrow night! With the neighborhood in full bloom, that could cause a flower massacre.
The most impressive participants in the flower show right now are the ornamental pear trees. I think Saturday was the peak day for them, because on Sunday I started seeing a few of their blossoms on the ground, and because the flower buds open before the leaf buds, on Sunday I also started seeing green leaves with the white blossoms. On Sunday I took a few pictures of the pear trees on my street, just in case the flowers don’t survive this week’s freeze. I will finish by sharing them:
Enjoy spring while it lasts!
Today was Purim, if you’re following the Jewish calendar, commemorating the time some 2,400 years ago when Jews foiled a plot by an Iranian anti-Semite (boy, some things haven’t changed over the ages!). A rabbi once explained to me that “a coincidence is G-d incognito,” and he was using Purim as his example. If you don’t know what the holiday is all about, here is an animation to explain it.
In synagogues, one of the things they do to mark Purim is read the story from the Book of Esther. Typically everybody boos whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, and cheers when Mordechai is mentioned. The second video shows some Israeli soldiers who took the booing part to a new level. I wonder if they had enough ammo for the whole story? And did they do anything for Mordechai?
And that’s not all; tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. However, my wife is not happy because according to the calendar, spring is only a few days away, and it still looks like winter outside; we just got another load of sleet and snow dumped on us. Well, since moving to Kentucky, we have experienced what I would call a year without fall (2007) and a year without winter (2012); are we going to have a year without spring next?
I told readers about it in the earliest days of this blog (January 22, 2007), when I encountered sleet for the first time. Now I have just encountered another form of precipitation I never saw in Florida. No, not oobleck; I’ll be sure to let you know about that.
This morning I looked outside to see pea-sized pellets all over the front and back yard. They looked like packing Styrofoam (the little round kind, not Styrofoam “peanuts”), so for a minute I wondered if somebody had dumped a load of the stuff on my property. I went out and touched it, and it turned out to be made of snow; they melted to the touch. However, they weren’t cold like you would expect, if they were made of ice. Over the course of the morning, they melted in the backyard and on the patio. In the front, they lasted longer, because the front yard gets more shade. A few lasted until late afternoon, in spots where the sun never shone.
Above is a picture from the front yard, at 2 PM. I don’t know how well you can see the pellets; they’re the white dots. There weren’t any at the top of the picture, where sunlight had arrived.
Now here is a close-up. I placed a dime there so you can get an idea of the size of everything.
They’re not ice, so we can’t call them hail. They’re too big to be sleet. What do we call this stuff? Snow pellets? Pea snow? Not snow peas, that’s a vegetable! Let me know what you think.
Last time I told readers that sound recordings of the lectures I heard over the weekend from Joel Richardson were going online. Now they are available, so you can hear what I heard! To download them, or just listen, go to
I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, so heads-up: you’ll probably hear me in the first question & answer session.
Okay, I’ve kept my readers waiting long enough. I haven’t posted anything for the past five days because I either was busy (in a good way), or had writer’s block.
First of all there was the conference I announced last week, with Joel Richardson at my church. I attended all four sessions, while Leive attended the two evening sessions (That’s Leive with Joel in the photo below). Also, I helped out by handling the book table in the back; I understand he was quite pleased with the sales. Although I took copious notes, I won’t bore the readers by reposting them here. Instead, I understand the lectures were recorded, and they will be posted online as podcasts, possibly as early as tomorrow, so I’ll provide a link when I see them.
For me, the most provocative session was probably the first one, where Joel talked about the prophecy in Daniel 2. He links the prophecy to different empires from the ones usually associated with it; I associated the statue’s legs of iron with the Roman Empire, and he proposed the Islamic caliphates instead. During the question and answer session, I asked how the Parthians and Sassanian Persians fit in, because if you take the Romans out of the prophecy there is a gap from 150 B.C. to 637 A.D. that those empires could fill. I found his answer workable, but accepting it means I will have to throw out or at least rewrite three chapters from my history textbook. I’m going to have to think this over.
Meanwhile, the weather warmed up nicely. I started to sense that winter might not last forever, even though it seems that some Washington politicians worried about global warming would like it that way (Congress had a special meeting on the matter last Monday). Anyway, the high temperatures got up to at least 60 degrees on Friday and Saturday, and I saw one report of 78 (!) yesterday. I was also encouraged by this picture I saw from a greenhouse in Casselberry, FL. Of course, having lived down there for forty years, I know that for central Florida, spring begins in the second half of February.
However, we had a setback today. It was one of those odd days where the high temperature (58) came in the early morning, and it fell after that, with morning rain becoming afternoon snow. Now it’s below freezing again, but I don’t expect a repeat of what we had in January and February.
On Monday I got a call regarding one of the jobs I am applying for almost daily, and was invited in for an interview. It took place at 8:30 AM on Tuesday, less than 24 hours later, so I am guessing I was the first person they interviewed. Also, it is the first interview I have had since early November, so that has put Leive and I in an upbeat mood; also, I liked the people I met and the place I saw. I’d better not say more, because it will probably be a week or two before they decide who to hire. Keep praying and wish me luck, though; this could mean the end of my long spell out of work.
Way back in the early days of this blog (October 4, 2007), I reviewed the book Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, by Joel Richardson. Since then Mr. Richardson has written more books and given lectures that tie together Biblical prophecy and current events in the Middle East. Now he is coming to the church I currently attend, to give four teaching sessions this Friday and Saturday. Here is the flyer with the details:
Drop in if you’re in the area. You might even see me there!
This may be the best news I will hear today. When Israel was re-established as a nation in 1948, the Holy Land was nearly all desert. Now, thanks to new desalination plants and cheap natural gas to power them, it looks like they will never have a water shortage again. Will the next step be resurrecting the Dead Sea?