Archive for April, 2011

Good Friday Fish… and Feet to Match

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Came down the stairs several times during the night to give my body a chance to recover from inactivity. Feet turn an ugly red, blotches appear on the skin, pain (arthritic) dances throughout my feet and legs. Why mention this? On several of the trips downstairs I found a plastic bag sitting on the counter. Covered with a layer of frost making the identification of what manner of meat indiscernible. Throughout the night more visits revealed more of the meat. Finally my feet turn cold and, white with some dark spots in the flesh. What was the meat thawing off to the side? Well that happens to be Salmon sections. What I find interesting is that the salmon frost and colour turned out to be a match to my own feet.

I should have guessed that it was fish. After all, it is Good Friday… not for the fish though… and we are to remember the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross for us. What this has to do with fish has always escaped me. It’s a Catholic thing. I once knew the answer but lost it through the different incarnations of faith in my journey to find God.

So later in the day I worked on the fish and my feet and in the end they looked like a perfect match for each other. I love what the Lord did for us on the special day two thousand years ago. That the Spirit of God raised him up three days and three nights later is always memorable. I would rather have celebrated eating a Seder meal with all its symbolism, instead fish and fries. Doesn’t quite get to me the same way… until in the quiet of the night… the Lord visits with me… and we sup the spiritual meal. Thank God for the day, however you experienced it… for it was your worship. God bless the Sunday morning service and a chance to renew the Good News story once again.

Canadian Leaders Debate?

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Canadian Politics? Debate? I find it ever so much like grasping the wind. Promises, complaints and platitudes for all in an attempt to win the hearts of the voters. The reality is reflected in this song… Smoke Gets In Your Eyes:

They asked me how I knew
My true love was true
Oh, I of course replied
Something here inside cannot be denied

They said someday you’ll find
All who love are blind
Oh, when your heart’s on fire
You must realize
Smoke gets in your eyes

So I chaffed them and I gaily laughed
To think they could doubt my love
Yet today my love has flown away
I am without my love

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I can not hide
Oh, so I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes
Smoke gets in your eyes

The Platters

Will “The Donald” Run for President

Saturday, April 9th, 2011
a sketch of donald trump with a duck's bill

So, are we talking about Donald Trump, financier, land tycoon, host of the Apprentice? Or are we talking about Donald Duck, that Disney character with the short fuse? I think of both of them as having the same nickname, “the Donald.” In real life or the cartoon, they are equals when it comes to temperament. I think it would be colorful if the answer to the post title is, “Yes, Trump will make a try for the Presidency.” He may even win the Republican nomination. It would be a highly entertaining primary season. Perhaps it can become a new reality show that will run over the course of the next two years. His catch phrase could be, “Your Impeached!” Too bad the other Donald couldn’t run for the Democrats. What a political season the U.S. would witness. On second thought, perhaps Barack Obama would do just as well as a lame duck Donald?

Burning the Qur’an and the Hypocrital Response

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Hypocrites and Hypocrisy… Muslim leadership?

It should come as no surprise that pastor Terry Jones of Florida has finally carried out his threat to burn a copy of the Qur’an. After a mock trial the Qur’an was found to be guilty of crimes against humanity. This mock trial also found other charges to bring dishonor upon the book. It took 8 min. for the Qur’an to be reduced to ashes. There are many politically correct individuals who have called for Terry Jones to be charged with a hate crime. This would be a misuse of the hate crimes legislation. The world condemns the man and ridicules his little flock in Florida. They ask how can such an evil be allowed to continue?

One pastor in Florida has made a political statement by burning the Qur’an and the world condemns him. How could a person be so base, so full of hatred and call himself a Christian. How could he do what the world considers to be such a despicable act? Now comes the hypocrisy, those professors of light… that wrap the world in a dark cloak, and show their black hearts aimed at Christians and those of other faiths.

The reaction to this book burning in Afghanistan was a march that turned into a riot. A UN compound was overrun and many of the occupants were beaten, maimed, killed by Muslims. The Iranian government has launched an attack against the West in its presses. They condemn not only that pastor but the American government as well.

In Iran one of the presses was closed because they had the audacity to print that the government of Iran had just recently burned 600 copies of the Bible. Where is the out cry of the world against such an act? Where are the voices of the politically correct calling for the world, the UN, to charge the government of Iran with hate crimes against humanity? At least Terry Jones took a copy of the Qur’an that he owned to burn. The Iranian government however took those 600 Bibles from the hands of practicing Christians in their own country.

In general it appears that Muslims are thin skinned. It also appears, in general, that Muslims are willing to commit acts against other religious believers that they would howl if committed against them. This is the result of a darkened heart. Now am I saying that the Qur’an is bad and that Islam itself is evil? If I had to judge, on the basis of the acts perpetrated by those who are followers of Islam, the answer would then be yes. Why? Because, as Muslim communities continue to allow the radicalization of their religion to continue, the acts of the radicals and their misfit followers will only get worse. It is their acts, and their acts alone, that has turned so many people against the Qur’an and the prophet. The evil they do under the sun brings a stain to the name of Allah. When Jews misbehave, when Christians misbehave, the name of God is blasphemed. When Muslims misbehave, and do not live according to the Qur’an but by some twisted perversion of the words of the prophet, then is it any surprise that more and more people find Islam a perverted religion and blaspheme the name of their God.

Are we intolerant of Islam? In general, no! But we will not tolerate criminal acts perpetrated against others in the name of some religion. In the Arab and Persian nations all religions are suppressed, their followers are made second class citizens, they are harassed, they are beaten, they are killed and their meeting places are burned or bombed. It is not the Christians, nor the West, that are the intolerant ones. It is the Muslim leaders: religious, governmental and “the movement,” that are the intolerant ones. They are the ones that are full of hate while professing a love of God.

It is up to the more tolerant Muslims to fight against this abuse, done in the name of Allah. If not, they will be drawn into the path of evil… Just the German people were slowly drawn into that aberration that was Nazism in the 1930’s. If you refuse to correct your fellow devotees, it will only be a matter of time when the world will respond with force against Islam. It is up to Muslim’s to reign in the abuses done by their fellow believers. It is up to you to reflect that true light of reason, that Mohammed was supposed to have written about, in the Qur’an. You must carry the burden to correct the abuses, the acts of barbarism, for they are being done on your behalf.

Will you stay silent?

If so… shame!

In the Center of the Storm / My Years at the CIA

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

In the Center of the Storm / My Years at the CIA
by George Tenet w/ Bill Harlow
publisher: Harper Collins

This book will be of interest to those who want an understanding of how the intelligence services of the United States government operate. Specifically under the leadership of George Tenet He was the leader of the CIA at the tail end of the Clinton Administration as well as at the beginning of the Bush administration. The book is broken down into several different sections. The first is the early years when he took the position of Deputy CIA chief. He then takes on the mantle of CIA chief and is responsible for the co-ordination all of the intelligence gathering for the United States government.

His first actions as chief of the CIA is the war on terror. This war on terror began earlier then the events of 9/11. Al Qaeda, then and now, are the central players that George Tenet was involved with bringing to justice. He also showed what the CIA could do against the Taliban in Afghanistan if given the resources to handle the problem. The opening of the war was very quick and very efficient. In a matter of months they overthrew the Taliban government and set up Karzai as the leader of the interim government.

Not all of the actions of the CIA were efficient. That became very evident during the war in Iraq. There the CIA was hamstrung by the DOD and the State Department and they could not fully implement the measures they wanted. Sadly it became a dark comedy of errors. In tandem with this was the search for weapons of mass destruction. The search for these weapons was not done diligently. Personally, I believe that some of these weapons are still located somewhere in the deserts of Iraq, but will probably never be found seeing that the governments that are taking part in the search were not willing to take whatever efforts were necessary to resolve the problem.

I found George’s book to be of some value in understanding the background of the CIA and other intelligence agencies. It was a somewhat interesting read. The many pictures that were included in the book were rather mundane and do not add to the value of the book itself. On a scale of four stars being the best I give this book two stars. For entertainment purposes this book has no value. For historical purposes, it has some value, but as with all autobiographies, what is written needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Side note: I have just installed my “Dragon NaturallySpeaking” version 11 and set it up to operate on my computer. It is a word recognition program that changes what you speak into words on the page. This is the first thing I have dictated with it. Not bad, and it is a far improvement over version 6 that I had eight years ago. On a scale of four stars being the best I would, at this time, give the product a rating of three stars.

Let’s Play Operation

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Today was the day I went in to get surgery for a bladder stone. Nothing to eat after midnight. Nothing to drink after six in the morning. Go to the hospital hungry and thirsty. Get changed into the official garb. Lie back and answer a hundred questions for the third time.

Time to put in the intravenous line. A needle into the back of the hand… oops. A needle into the back of the hand… oops. Call over another nurse: a needle into the back of the hand… oops. Try the other hand, needle goes in, a hush comes over the nursing staff, hurray, they struck oil.

Now 9:30, time to sit back and wait for the operating room to open up at 10:30… 11:30… Wife wakes me up for my snoring is interfering with the electronics… 12:00… 12:30… Ah, here comes the doctor, “sorry Mr. Raymond, we have to postpone your operation for another day.”

Hmm… fully prayed up by friends and family and when the time comes there is no dance. So, grab something to drink, swallow some painkillers, eat a sandwich and let out an enormous burp that echoed down the hallways of the hospital. Got dressed and went home.

Should have guessed, April 1st, April Fools Day.

So much fun I think I will do this again… soon.

ps: My thanks to all those who prayed for me.