Friday, February 29, 2008

Fighting Back, Boo!, -and- Weapons of Choice

Fighting Back - fed-up family apprehends mailbox-vandal suspect
Boo! - police blame ghosts for damage to home
Weapons of Choice - guns best crime deterrent after all

On this day in history: February 29, 1692 - Sarah Good & Tituba, an Indian servant, was accused of witchcraft in Salem.

Born on this day in history: February 29, 1904 - Jimmy Dorsey (1904-1957) Born in Shenandoah, PA, musician and bandleader Jimmy Dorsey and brother Tommy formed their first band as teenagers. The Dorsey brothers played with all the big bands in the 1920s, debuting their own, The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, in 1934. Its sweet-toned instrumental style combined a big band sound with popular dance music, and quickly emerged as one of the most innovative bands of the Swing Era.

Scripture of the Day: "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation ..." - Luke 2:29-30

Video of the Day:They have come up with a way to clean the inside of
your computer screen. Here is a link to have it cleaned for free. - submitted by Frank Clean Your Screen

This kitty is going to take a shower! Click to enlarge.

Why Leap Years Are Used

February 29, 2008

The year 2008 is a leap year. If you look at a 2008 calendar, you will see that February has five Fridays–the month begins and ends on a Friday. Between the years 1904 and 2096, leap years that share the same day of week for each date repeat only every 28 years. The most recent year in which February comprised five Fridays was in 1980, and the next occurrence will be in 2036. February 29, the leap day, has been associated with age-old traditions, superstitions and folklore.

What is a leap year?

A leap year is a year in which one extra day has been inserted, or intercalated, at the end of February. A leap year consists of 366 days, whereas other years, called common years, have 365 days.

Which years are leap years?

In the Gregorian calendar, the calendar used by most modern countries, the following three criteria determine which years will be leap years:

Every year that is divisible by four is a leap year; of those years, if it can be divided by 100, it is NOT a leap year, unless the year is divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year.

Why are leap years needed?

Leap years are needed to keep our calendar in alignment with the earth's revolutions around the sun.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Weapons of Choice, Lost, -and- Brave New Schools

Weapons of Choice - turnpike toll-collectors' guns taken
Lost - man's stolen wallet found and returned after 46 years
Brave New Schools - student suspended for 10 days for taking vitamins

On this day in history: February 28, 1574 - Two impenitent heretics are burned at the stake in Mexico at a spectacular auto-da-fe comparable to those in Spain. The two are the first victims of the Inquisition in the New World, dying for their heretical crimes of Lutheranism.

Born on this day in history: February 28, 1940 - Mario (Gabriele) Andretti (1940– ) Born in Montona, Italy (now part of Slovenia), racecar driver Mario Andretti began in midget car racing, and soon emerged as one of motor racing's most versatile drivers. In a Formula One career (1968-82), he competed in 128 Grand Prix, winning 16. Andretti is the only person who’s won the Daytona 500 (1967), the Indianapolis 500 (1969, 1981) and the Grand Prix (1978).

Scripture of the Day: Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah. - Jeremiah 2:28

Video of the Day: Clockworks by Edward Barrett - submitted by Amber

"Sheesh, Rush is soo right - She does sound like Nurse Ratchett!" Click to enlarge.

A gentleman entered my office yesterday morning and inquired about Internet access. I gave him pricing for wireless and dial-up services, and he said dial-up would satisfy his needs and better fit into his budget. I reached into my desk and retrieved a SnowCrest CD. The man said, "I can't use CDs. My computer's too old to use CDs." I was disconcerted and asked, "What version of Windows is your computer using?" "It doesn't have Windows on it," he said. "A friend tried to install Windows a long time ago, and he said it wouldn't work." I thirsted for knowledge of the nature of his computer. I asked, "If your computer does not use Windows, what operating system does it use?" "I don't know what you mean," he said. "It is likely that your computer is not capable of accessing the Internet," I said. "Allow me to view this machine, and I shall evaluate it at no charge and advise you." He said he would bring it in next Monday morning. I am eager to see this creature and determine its nature. I shall sleep fitfully until this examination takes place!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Off to Never-Never Land, Heat of the Moment, -and- Separation of Church and State

Off to Never-never Land - Michael Jackson faces forced sale of ranch
Heat of the Moment - temperature monitors report worldwide global cooling
Separation of Church and State - IRS investigating Obama's church

On this day in history: February 27, 1977 - Rolling Stone Keith Richards arrested in Toronto with his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg for possession of heroin. Found guilty at trial over one year later, he manages to get off with a suspended sentence plus benefit concerts for the blind.

Born on this day in history: February 27, 1932 - Elizabeth Taylor (1932– ) Born in London, film star Elizabeth Taylor was a child actor, notably in "National Velvet" (1944). Later films included "Butterfield 8" (1960), which earned her an Oscar, and "Cleopatra" (1962), which led to her well-publicized marriage to Richard Burton. With Burton, Taylor made several more films, including "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966). In 1985, she founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research. She has been married eight times, including to U.S. Senator John Warner (1976–82). Taylor became a dame in 1999.

Scripture of the Day: Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries." - Daniel 2:27-28

Video of the Day: Star Wars according to a 3-year-old

Don't tell Bill I'm quitting. He's having fun.

Due to financial issues, Bill's campaign for Hillary has been scaled down considerably.

Beautiful weather! It is another beautiful day today. It is forecast to be 70 degrees today and warmer yet tomorrow and Friday. The weekend promises to be in the mid-70s. While spring is 23 days away, this weather is very spring-like, and it is very welcome!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hic!, Weapons of Choice, -and- Do You Want Fries with That?

Hic! - drunk driver unaware he was missing wheel
Weapons of Choice - Montanans insist on gun rights
Do You Want Fries with That? - restaurant offers 134-pound burger

On this day in history: February 26, 1974 - A U.S. Senate report reveals Ford Motor's involvement in Nazi Germany's war efforts, for which CEO Henry Ford received the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Adolf Hitler himself. After the war, the car company was paid nearly $1M reparation by the U.S. government to compensate for one of its plants that was bombed within the Reich.

Born on this day in history: February 26, 1932 - Johnny Cash (1932–2003) Born in Kingsland, AR, singer Johnny Cash, one of the greatest stars of country music, recorded his first hits, "I Walk the Line" and "Folsom Prison Blues," in 1956. In 1968, he married June Carter (1929-2003), a member of country music's famous "first family." Cash was inducted into the Country Music Association (CMA) Hall of Fame in 1980.

Scripture of the Day: As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. - James 2:26

Video of the Day: fin d'été - end of summer - submitted by Amber

Hillary stares in horror as the vote count is reported. Click to enlarge.

Warm weather! It is forecast to be 70 degrees today and tomorrow and 74 degrees on Thursday! The weekend is forecast to be warmer yet! Praise God!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Price Is Right, Meow!, -and- Pet MD

The Price Is Right - restaurant lets customers determine cost of meals
Meow! - cat survives three weeks in storage container
Pet MD - suicidal pets get anti-depressants

On this day in history: February 25, 1932 - Austrian Adolf Hitler granted German citizenship, to meet a "minor" technical requirement in order to run for president.

Born on this day in history: February 25, 1943 - George Harrison (1943–2001) Born in Liverpool, England, musician George Harrison played lead guitar and sang with the Beatles, developing an interest in Eastern music and religion. After the Beatles’ break-up, he made solo albums, including "All Things Must Pass" (1970), and performed with other artists, notably "super-group" The Traveling Wilburys (1988–90). He also produced several films, such as "Monty Python's Life of Brian" (1979). Harrison died after a long battle against cancer.

Scripture of the Day: Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. - John 2:24-25

Video of the Day: Little Girl Sings "Indescribable"

This is a photograph I took at Harvest Christian Center. It represents the passing of the mantle from Pastor Rob Kee to Pastor Mike Sharp. Click to enlarge.

Following a weekend of near-hurricane-force winds and torrential rain, today is a beautiful day—filled with sunshine and the singing of birds!

Saturday evening, my two brothers came to our house for dinner. I made pasta with marinara sauce. The pasta was Barilla thick spaghetti. For the sauce, I simmered Johnsonville Italian sausage (mild, since one of my brothers eschews spicy foods), sliced white onion, sliced white mushrooms, diced red bell pepper, diced Roma tomatoes, a package of bacon (cut into 1-inch strips), minced garlic, Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, and Tony Chachere's More Spice in Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon. Laura stirred this while it simmered for two hours. She then added a jar of Classico marinara sauce and stirred. I cooked the pasta until al dente, and Laura incorporated it into the marinara sauce and transferred it to a large pasta bowl. I toasted garlic bread under the broiler. At the table, we added DiGiorno grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red peppers. We had a delightful Woodbridge Zinfandel with the meal. It was a delicious dinner.

Saturday morning—following The Lord's Table class at Harvest Christian Center, I made an excellent frittata with diced red potatoes, diced Jalapeño peppers, a large habanero pepper (sliced very thinly), a package of bacon (cut into 1-inch pieces), a sliced white onion, two heads of garlic cloves (peeled), six jumbo eggs (beaten), and eight slices of sharp cheddar cheese. We ate only 1/4 of this, along with tortilla chips and salsa.

Sunday morning, we attended a very special service at Harvest Christian Center. The mantle was passed from Pastor Rob Kee to Pastor Mike Sharp. For a press release of this event, Click here. It was a wonderful event, and the sanctuary was filled to capacity and dozens observed from the foyer.

Sunday even, Laura grilled a large London broil, halved red onion, two large Jalapeño peppers, two large halved red potatoes, and two large halved Roma tomatoes. The wind had abated sufficiently for Laura to grill outdoors. It was a delicious meal.

Following church service, we had another 1/4 of the frittata and a package of miniature Pillsbury biscuits. We shall enjoy the balance of the frittata following Bible class on Wednesday evening.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Do You Want Fries with That?, Bad Parenting, -and- Wake Up!

Do You Want Fries with That? - Clinton's campaign spends $95,000 at low-end deli
Bad Parenting - baby left for 8 days without food or water
Wake Up! - laptops in sleep or hibernation mode most vulnerable to attack

On this day in history: February 22, 1994 - CIA agent Aldrich Ames charged with conspiracy to commit espionage. His betrayal, starting in 1985, resulted in the executions of a good number of important undercover agents within the Soviet Union. The CIA knew without doubt there was a mole in its ranks. And though by 1989 Ames had acquired unexplainable wealth from his spying and did very little to conceal the spying, he somehow managed to evade being caught for five more years.

Born on this day in history: February 22, 1732 - George Washington (1732–99) Born in Westmoreland County, VA, first President George Washington (1789–97) commanded the Continental army. With skill, patience and courage, he led American forces through the Revolution. A natural leader rather than thinker or orator, President Washington had difficulty coping with the unruly new government, and, in 1796, announced he would not run again, setting a two-term precedent.

Scripture of the Day: Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he? - Isaiah 2:22

Video of the Day: Funny Cats Part 11 - submitted by Cindy

Here is a photograph of Wednesday's lunar eclipse. Click to enlarge.

It is still raining, and Mr. Nitro is still in the shop! Mr. Nitro's repairs should be completed today, and he should be ready to return home around 3:30 PM. I eagerly await swooping down upon him and returning him to my care. The weather will not so soon change. It is forecast to rain through the weekend and cease late Sunday evening.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

To Serve and Protect, No Service, -and- iTunes to My Tunes

To Serve and Protect - calf dies after cops use Taser
No Service - reservist sentenced for wearing medals he did not earn
iTunes to My Tunes - hacker breaks link between iTunes and iPod

On this day in history: February 21, 1931 - The first attempted hijacking of an airplane occurs when revolutionary soldiers in Peru seize a Ford Tri-motor and demand pilots drop propaganda leaflets over the capital, Lima.

Born on this day in history: February 21, 1943 - David Geffen (1943-) Born in New York City, media mogul David Geffen, an energetic music and movie executive, was a millionaire by age of 25, and, by 1998, had a personal worth valued at over $1 billion. With Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Geffen founded Dreamworks, an influential Hollywood film studio.

Scripture of the Day: Be not afraid, O land; be glad and rejoice. Surely the LORD has done great things. - Joel 2:21

Video of the Day: Ticket to Ride - submitted by Cindy

I encountered this patriotic flag sale at Wal-Mart this morning.

It is raining again! The beautiful weather has departed, and in its place is rain. While it is not particularly cold, it is particularly wet. The weather forecast is for rain through the weekend and into next week. There will be no outdoor grilling this weekend, apparently.

UPDATE 8 AM: Mr. Nitro is ill. Laura is taking him to the dealership to have him inspected. I am sad and concerned for his welfare. I am very thankful for Laura and all the assistance she is giving in this matter!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gleep!, Brave New Schools, -and- Drop the Keys"

Gleep! - gecko inspires new kind of "Band-Aid"
Brave New Schools - educators say evolution still "theory"
Drop the Keys! - man gets 8 years for 19 DUIs, license suspended forever

On this day in history: February 20, 1971 - An erroneous warning is emitted on the Emergency Broadcast System causing a number of stations to go off the air, and others to completely ignore the alert (thus pointing out that many key stations would not react to any emergency broadcast over the system.)

Born on this day in history: February 20, 1967 - Kurt Cobain (1967-1994) Born in Hoquaim, WA, musician Kurt Cobain and friend Krist Novoselic formed rock band Nirvana (1986), which performed music dubbed “grunge.” Nirvana’s breakthrough hit "Nevermind" sold ten million copies, earning a reported $550 million in the U.S. alone. Cobain, who married rock singer Courtney Love in 1992, began using heroin and suffered in and out of treatment until his suicide by shotgun in 1994.

Scripture of the Day: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Galatians 2:20

Video of the Day: John Deere: No More Lumberjacks - submitted by

Are you talkin' to me? What do you mean I lost?!?

Sorry, Mom!

For dinner last evening, I made penne with sun-dried tomatoes and grilled chicken breast. I placed into a stainless-steel mixing bowl sliced white onion, sliced white mushrooms, minced garlic, diced sun-dried tomatoes, ground black pepper, Italian seasoning, and Tony Chachere's More Spice. I sliced three grilled chicken breasts and placed into another stainless-steel mixing bowl. I cooked a box of Barilla penne until al dente, drained, and set aside. Laura sautéed the vegetables in extra-virgin olive oil. When done, she added the chicken and stirred. She then added the penne, stirred, transferred to a large pasta bowl, and stirred. At the table, we added DiGiorno grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red peppers. It was wonderful.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fighting Back, To Have and to Hold, -and- The Snake Pit

Fighting Back - woman dodges bullet, chases robber
To Have and to Hold - woman renews vows to blow-up doll
The Snake Pit - man allowed to keep 50 cobras, vipers, and rattlers in home

On this day in history: February 19, 1998 - Lt. Col. Larry Wayne Harris (Aryan Nations) and William Leavitt are arrested in Henderson, NV for possession of the biological toxin anthrax, military grade, enough to kill an entire city. Their Mercedes is hermetically sealed by authorities and brought to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada for hazmat.

Born on this day in history: February 19, 1940 - Smokey Robinson (1940– ) Born in Detroit, MI, singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson formed the Miracles vocal group, which signed with Motown Records (1958). Robinson composed and produced many hits, like "My Girl" (1965), and helped perfect the "Motown sound."

Scripture of the Day: I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. - Hosea 2:19-20

Video of the Day: Frozen Grand Central - submitted by Frank

If you look at the images from your seat in front of the computer, Mr. Angry is on the left, and Mr. Calm is on the right. Get up from your seat, and move back around 8 feet, and they switch places! Click to enlarge.

I installed a new 80GB Hitachi hard drive in my prior notebook (a P4 AMAX 15.4" unit) today. It was a Valentine's Day present for Laura. I replaced this notebook with a 17" widescreen HP a month or so ago, when the 40GB IBM hard drive died in the AMAX notebook.

I installed Microsoft Windows Vista Business and Microsoft Office 2007 Enterprise, and several other applications. Laura was very pleased with this. Tomorrow, we shall have our Valentine's Day dinner--large rib eye steaks and giant prawns, marinated in extra-virgin olive oil, Tony Chachere's More Spice seasoning, minced garlic, and grated ginger, paired with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

She was enjoying her notebook. I heard her groan and asked what was troubling her. She said, "Nothing." I replied, "Surely something has troubled you. What is it?" "Well," she said, "I recall hearing you say how enjoyable you found the Mah-Jongg game on your new notebook to be, and I looked for it on this notebook, and it is not there." I explained that her notebook--like her desktop--had Microsoft Windows Business, since I have a 10-installation license for that version. Microsoft apparently assumes that the Business edition should not include games. My notebook has Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, and several games are available. She frowned. It is not good when she frowns. She said, "Can't you install Mah-Jongg on my new notebook?" I replied, "I shall investigate."

After a bit of prowling, I determined that the games included in Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate lurk in Microsoft Windows Vista Business! The games are, very simply, not enabled.

Here is the methodology for enabling the games:

1. Click Start
2. Click Control Panel
3. Click Programs
4. Click Programs and Features
5. Select Windows features on or off from the left column
6. Accept the UAC
7. Check the Games checkbox
8. Click OK

Laura is smiling. This is good.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Brave New Schools, From China with Hate, -and- To Have and to Hold

Brave New Schools - child let out of class to attend pagan festival
From China with Hate - Trojan Horse attacks from photo frames
To Have and to Hold - couple married for 83 years

On this day in history: February 18, 2001 - During the Daytona 500, NASCAR phenom Dale Earnhardt crashes into the wall and dies instantly.

Born on this day in history: February 18, 1931 - Toni Morrison (1931– ) Born in Lorain, OH, writer Toni Morrison is known for novels that capture the deep passions and rhythms of African-American life, including "Song of Solomon" (1977) and "Beloved" (1987), which earned a Pulitzer Prize.

Scripture of the Day:

Video of the Day: Very Funny Cats Part 10 - submitted by Cindy

This is the motorhome to have, when only the best will do! Click to enlarge.

I spent most of Friday setting up my prior notebook computer in order to give it to Laura as a Valentine's Day gift. I replaced the failed hard drive with an 80GB Hitachi unit. I installed Microsoft Windows Vista Business, Microsoft Office 2007 Enterprise, and an assortment of other software. She was delighted with it.

For dinner Friday, we had a Freschetta four-meat pizza.

We enjoyed our Valentine's Day dinner Saturday evening—postponed because Thursday was a "liquids day" on the food calendar for The Lord's Table. I made a marinade for a giant rib eye stead (extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, ground black pepper, Tony Chachere's More Spice, and Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon), and Laura placed the steak and marinade in a zip-lock bag. I made a marinade for giant prawns (extra-virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, minced garlic, grated ginger, and Tony Chachere's More Spice), and Laura placed the prawns and marinade in a zip-lock bag. The steak and prawns marinated throughout the day. Laura grilled the steak, prawns, four large Jalapeño peppers, a large red bell pepper, and four large white mushrooms. We had a delightful bottle of Mirassou Cabernet Sauvignon. After dinner, we enjoyes some delicious Giradelli chocolate.

Sunday, I made a marinade from extra-virgin olive oil, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, Tony Chachere's More Spice, and Almaden Chardonnay. Laura placed six huge Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breasts and the marinade in a zip-lock bag. The chicken marinated throughout the day. I made Cajun beans. I simmered a large red onion (sliced thinly), two large Jalapeños and 1/2 a large red bell pepper (left over from Saturday's grill and diced), 14 large garlic cloves (thinly sliced), Tony Chachere's More Spice, Gebhardt's chili powder, ground black pepper, brown sugar, cumin, and molasses in 6 ounces of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. Laura tended to this for two hours. At that time, she added a large can of black beans, with juice, and began grilling the chicken breasts. I made a batch of small biscuits. It was a delicious meal, and a quantity of chicken remains for future meals.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Hotel California, Dive!, -and- Mobsters

Hotel California - users say leaving Facebook behind is not that simple
Dive! - James Bond fanatic creates fantastic underwater car
Mobsters - Justice Alito: "Sopranos" guilty of stereotyping

On this day in history: February 15, 1995 - The most wanted computer hacker in history, Kevin Mitnick, is arrested in Raleigh North Carolina for various offenses, one of which was breaking into security specialist Tsutomu Shimomura's computer.

Born on this day in history: February 15, 1951 - Jane Seymour (1951-) Born Joyce Penelope Wilhemina Frankenberg on February 15, 1951 in Wimbledon, England, Seymour is best known for her performances in made-for-television dramas. Seymour earned considerable popular acclaim for her portrayal of Dr. Michaela Quinn, a Boston physician who moves to the post-Civil War frontier, on the hit CBS series Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman.

Scripture of the Day: Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. - Philippians 2:14-15

Video of the Day: Don Piper: 90 Minutes in Heaven - submitted by Laura

About today's video: Don Piper (born 1950) is a Baptist minister who wrote "90 Minutes in Heaven," a book describing his near-death experience.

On January 18, 1989, Piper was driving on an old bridge, and before he cleared that bridge, a tractor-trailer crossed into his lane and hit his small Ford Escort head on. Paramedics on the scene pronounced him clinically dead after the impact. Piper claims to have gone to heaven, where he was reunited with loved ones, but did not claim to have met Jesus Christ there. An hour and a half after the accident, another Baptist minister came to the scene as he was reportedly prompted by God to pray for Piper. Don came back to life, and he faced a long, grueling recovery.

Piper wrote the book in collaboration with Cecil Murphey. It is narrated in first-person from Piper's point-of-view. The book contains two chapters detailing his experience in heaven. The remaining chapters deal with Piper's recovery—an ordeal that included 34 separate surgeries.

In addition to his work as an author, he has been a public speaker, actor, syndicated columnist, CBS and CBN Television Network Executive, Youth Minister, Education Minister, Senior Adult Minister, Baptist Student Ministry Director, Pastor, Single Adult Pastor, and Minister of Education, Don Piper is now often introduced as "The Minister of Hope."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trapped, Heat of the Moment, -and- Homeland Insecurity

Trapped! - 89-year-old woman uses axe to get back inside
Heat of the Moment - Harvard astrophysicist says global warming caused by sun
Homeland Insecurity - NYPD warns of chlorine terror risk

On this day in history: February 14, 1929 - The Capone gang kills six members of the "Bugs" Moran gang and one other person at the S.M.C. Cartage company in Chicago, in an event known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Bogus police officers were used so that it appeared to be a routine police bust. Except for all the bodies.

Born on this day in history: February 14, 1942 - Michael Bloomberg (1942-) Businessman, politician. Born Michael Rubens Bloomberg on February 14, 1942 in Medford, Massachusetts. In 2002, Bloomberg entered the political arena when he became the 108th mayor of New York.

Scripture of the Day: For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. - Habakkuk 2:14

Video of the Day: My Valentine - Martina McBride

Yikes! Certainly no caption is necessary! Click to enlarge.

The History of Valentine's Day

Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day—and its patron saint—is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men—his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first "valentine" greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl—who may have been his jailer's daughter—who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It is no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)

Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We'll Always Have Paris, Burp!, -and- Lost!

We'll Always Have Paris - Hilton's new movie bombs at only $9,000 for opening weekend
Burp! - beer cheaper than water in Scotland supermarkets
Lost! - Best Buy sued for $54 million for misplaced laptop

On this day in history: February 13, 1959 - The first Barbie Doll is introduced by Mattel in California.

Born on this day in history: February 13, 1944 - Stockard Channing (1944-) Born Susan Williams Antonia Stockard in New York City, actress Stockard Channing landed the role of Rizzo in film musical Grease (1978) and won a Tony on Broadway in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1985). In 1999, she joined the cast of TV’s The West Wing, earning an Emmy for her portrayal of First Lady Abby Bartlett.

Scripture of the Day: Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. - Joel 2:13

Video of the Day: Will It Blend - iPhone - submitted by Cindy

There is a new K-9 cop on duty! Be good! Click to enlarge.

Yesterday was a liquids day on the food calendar we are following for The Lord's Table. I had hot tea, V-8 Juice, water, and beef bouillon. I am surprised by how agreeable my system is to ingesting only liquids. Today is a half day—meaning we are to eat half what we would otherwise eat. I had a small bowl of Special K with non-fat milk for breakfast. I shall have tea and spring water throughout the day. We shall have leftovers from Monday's spaghetti with Italian sausage and marinara sauce for dinner. The program is working well, I am learning a good deal, and I am very enthusiastic about the lessons. The program may be taken online at no charge. I recommend it highly.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fighting Back, Unearthly, -and- Can You Hear Me Now?

Fighting Back - telephone-wielding grandmother chases off man with Taser
Unearthly - man convinces girl he is part werewolf, part vampire
Can You Hear Me Now? - Blackberry service outage in North America

On this day in history: February 12, 1967 - Police in London arrest Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Marianne Faithfull after they discover amphetamine pills, cannabis resin and Marianne scandalously naked but for a fur rug. The two Rolling Stones received jail sentences which were successfully appealed.

Born on this day in history: February 12, 1809 - Abraham Lincoln (1809–65) Born near Hodgenville, KY, 16th President Abe Lincoln (1861?5) was the first president elected from the anti-slavery Republican Party in 1860, which led Southern states to form the Confederacy. In the civil war that followed, the inexperienced Lincoln proved an extraordinary leader and eloquent public speaker in such addresses as the Gettysburg Address (1863). Lincoln was assassinated by Southern fanatic John Wilkes Booth.

Scripture of the Day: "Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror," declares the LORD. "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water." - Jeremiah 2:12-13

Video of the Day: Matrix Ping Pong - submitted by Amber

I have been playing about with a new logo. Click to enlarge.

Laura returned yesterday afternoon. She had an excellent visit with her daughter, granddaughter, son-in-lay, and sister in Tucson, Arizona. She reported that the weather was lovely, with temperatures in the upper 70s.

I made spaghetti with Italian sausage marinara sauce for dinner last evening. After four days of eating un-spicy food, Laura commented on the heat level of the dish! I simmered sliced white mushrooms, sliced white onion, diced red bell pepper, minced garlic, and sliced Johnsonville Italian sausage in Cabernet Sauvignon, seasoning with Tony Chachere's More Spice, ground black pepper, and Italian seasoning. When this had simmered for two hours, I added a jar of Classico four-cheese marinara sauce and allowed to simmer an additional 30 minutes. I cooked a package of Barilla thick spaghetti until al dente, drained, and placed into a large pasta bowl. I poured the sauce over the spaghetti. Laura stirred this, covered with aluminum foil, and took it to the table. I spread I Can't Believe It's Not Butter on two large slices of sourdough bread, cut into halves. I spread minced garlic over this and sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese, Tony Chachere's More Spice, and Italian seasoning. I placed in the conventional oven, under the broiler, and Laura tended to this until the bread was toasted nicely and brought it to the table. It was a delicious meal, and Laura declared she had missed my cooking greatly.

It was 72 degrees here yesterday afternoon. It is forecast to be warmer yet this weekend. Today, it is overcast yet warm. The clouds are predicted to clear by mid morning.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fighting Back, Vanished!, -and- Victor/Victoria

Fighting Back - neighbors beat, shoot Dallas rape suspect
Vanished! - kidney-snatching doctor in custody
Victor/Victoria - 8-year-old boy returning to class as girl

On this day in history: February 11, 2004 - Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling arrested by the FBI. He is later found guilty of no less than 19 counts of conspiracy, fraud, making false statements and insider trading.

Born on this day in history: February 11, 1962 - Sheryl Crow Singer, pianist and guitarist, born Sheryl Suzanne Crow, on February 11, 1962, in Kennett, Missouri, to Wendell and Bernice Crow. She has two older sisters, Kathy and Karen, and one younger brother, Steve. Crow began playing piano at age six. She graduated from Kennett High School in 1980 and the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1984, where she majored in music education.

Scripture of the Day: Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. - Proverbs 2:11

Video of the Day: Matrix - submitted by Chris

Hillary has a plan. Click to enlarge.

The weather has been particularly pleasant for this time of year. It has been in the upper 60s for several days. Laura has been in Tucson, Arizona since Friday. She said it is approximately 10 degrees warmer there. She will return today.

The cats, Zeus and Thor, have been very well-behaved creatures during Laura's absence. We have spent a good deal of time together. They are wonderful companions.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fighting Back, Interesting, -and- Fill It Up!

Fighting Back - doctor pulls pistol to fend off patient
Interesting - loan shark charged children 100% interest
Fill It Up! - futuristic toy car runs on tap water

On this day in history: February 8, 1994 - During an argument Jack Nicholson destroys the windshield of a car with a golf club, screaming "You cut me off!" Charges were dismissed on May 2 after the matter was settled privately. Nicholson did this one month before he was to host the annual Los Angeles Police-Celebrity Golf Tournament.

Born on this day in history: February 8, 1931 - James (Byron) Dean (1931–55)
Born in Marion, IN, actor James Dean starred in only three films, including "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), but became a cult figure of youthful rebellion. Dean was killed in a car accident.

Scripture of the Day: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9

Video of the Day: The Matrix Spoof - submitted by Chris

Behind the scenes, an offer is made! Click to enlarge.

As I said earlier, Laura and I began a Bible-based weight-management program, The Lord's Table, last Saturday at Harvest Christian Center. Part of the program is a "food calendar," which suggests how we should eat each weekday—for a 60-day period. Yesterday was a "fast day," meaning that only water was to be taken. The workbook for the program is a tremendous resource, and fasting was accomplished with surprising ease. Today is a "normal day," meaning we can eat as we generally would. Weekends are not included in the food calendar. The Lord's Table teaches us that food is not the problem, and removing certain foods from one's diet is not the answer. Proper diet and weight management results from "feeding" on God's Word and abstaining from self-indulgence and feeding the flesh.

We meet with other students each Saturday morning and complete lessons in the workbook throughout the week. You may, however, register for the program and complete the lessons online at no charge! I highly recommend this program.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Fistful of Quarters, Buckle Up!, -and- Dumb and Dumber

A Fistful of Quarters Guinness to release book of video game records
Buckle Up! - driver straps in case of beer, not baby
Dumb and Dumber - John Kerry blames tornadoes on global warming

On this day in history: February 7, 1969 - Beatle George Harrison has his tonsils removed. He had them destroyed to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

Born on this day in history: February 7, 1966 - Chris Rock (1966-) Born in Andrews, SC, comedian and actor Chris Rock was raised in Brooklyn’s tough Bedford-Stuyvesant area, and early bouts with racism influenced his comedy. In 1990, he joined the "Saturday Night Live" cast then released his first comedy album, "Born Suspect." In 1997, he began hosting his own HBO comedy show and also moved into starring roles in films, including "Lethal Weapon 4" (1998).

Scripture of the Day: ... the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. - Genesis 2:7/

Video of the Day: Very Funny Cats Part 8 - submitted by Cindy

I encountered this scene at Wal-Mart this morning. This woman is serious about shopping! Click to enlarge.

Another beautiful day! It appears that today will be yet another sunny, warm day. Yesterday was beautiful. I opened the rear door to my office just before noon and allowed the freshness of the morning air to permeate the building. It was the first time in months it has been warm enough to do this.

It is particularly fortuitous that the weather is so pleasant, since Laura will be departing for Sacramento in Mr. Yaris tomorrow morning. She will fly to Tucson to visit her daughter, Rachel, son-in-law, David, and granddaughter, Parker. Zeus and Thor and I shall miss her. It shall, however, be an excellent opportunity for some male bonding to take place.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Drive My Car, Good News, -and- No Safe Harbor

Drive My Car - 25 worst U.S. cities for commuting
Good News - puts Christian worship online
No Safe Harbor - armed teen nabbed in church after robbing Macy's

On this day in history: February 6, 1983 - Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyon" who had been living as a mild-mannered Bolivian businessman, charged with Nazi war crimes. He is later sentenced to life imprisonment and dies in 1991.

Born on this day in history: February 6, 1945 - Bob Marley (1945–81) Born near Kingston, Jamaica, reggae musician Bob Marley first recorded at age 19, and, in 1965, formed, The Wailers, which popularized music with political themes and infectious rhythms. A disciple of Rastafarianism, Marley was a charismatic spokesman, famous for such worldwide hits as "No Woman, No Cry" and "I Shot the Sheriff."

Scripture of the Day: So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. - Colossians 2:6-7

Video of the Day: New American Gladiators – Rejected Auditions – submitted by Darin

Snow in Corning! It was January 28, 2002, when last it snowed here. Here
is RAMMMMM in the snow! Click to enlarge.

Ice! There was ice on Mr. Nitro's windshield this morning. It was cold last night, apparently. The ice was thin, and only a brief run of the defroster and a few swipes of the wipers was necessary to remove it. The weather forecast for the next several days looks very promising: Lows of 37-38 degrees and highs of 59-62 degrees are expected.

I dreamed last night that I looked at my watch and declared that it was 6:30 AM and time for me to leave for the office. Laura said, "No. It is noon. You are very late!" I looked at my watch more closely and saw that it was upside-down on my wrist. It was, in fact, noon.

This dream is particularly odd, since I do not own a watch. I arrived at my office at 6:30 AM, however.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Food Fight, Blowin' in the Wind, -and- Falling

Food Fight - Laramie cops ticket teen girls for throwing French fries
Blowin' in the Wind - middle school bans intentional flatulence
Falling - toddler survives drop from fourth-floor apartment

On this day in history: February 5, 1979 - Woodrow Bussey files suit against the Adolf Coors Brewing Company for failing to warn him that their product, Coors Beer, is an intoxicating beverage.

Born on this day in history: February 5, 1962 - Jennifer Jason Leigh (1962-) Actress. Born Jennifer Leigh Morrow on February 5, 1962 in Los Angeles. The daughter of actor Vic Morrow and screenwriter Barbara Turner, Leigh became interested in acting at a young age.

Scripture of the Day: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped... - Philippians 2:5-6

Video of the Day: Dodge Nitro R/T in Action!

Mr. Nitro, awaiting an excursion. Click to enlarge.

Today is Mr. Nitro's birthday! He is one year old today! Happy birthday,
Mr. Nitro!

Laura and I began a Bible study program called "The Lord's Table" last Saturday. It is a Bible-based, 60-Day interactive course that will teach one to enjoy a newfound relationship with the Lord and how to find freedom from bad eating habits. The course is taught at Harvest Christian Center each Saturday morning and will last 12 weeks.

We are following the scheduled eating plan. Yesterday, the first day, was a "half day," meaning we ate half of what we would otherwise eat. Today is a "liquid day." Any liquids are allowed, but no solid food is to be eaten. We have V8 Juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, and beef consommé. Tomorrow, will be a "normal day." And so it goes.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Fighting Back, All Rise, -and- House of Filth

Fighting Back - mall pianist chases down thief
All Rise - Australia to start online court hearings
House of Filth - over 200 pets seized from Texas home

On this day in history: February 4, 1974 - Patty Hearst kidnapped.

Born on this day in history: January 4, 1913 - Rosa (Lee McCauley) Parks (1913-2005) Born in Tuskegee, AL, civil rights advocate Rosa Parks was a community activist best known for refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, which resulted in the famous bus boycott led by Martin Luther King Jr. (1955–6). Parks is honored as the ‘mother’ of the civil rights movement.

Scripture of the Day: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -- it is by grace you have been saved. - Ephesians 2:4-5

Video of the Day: - Michael Winslow As Jimi Hendrix - submitted by Jay

Sunshine! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the birds are singing! Following an intense storm Saturday—with extreme winds and torrential rain—yesterday was sunny and warm. Today is sunny and warm, as well. There is no wind. The forecast for the next several days indicates (assuming the weatherpeople are correct) this beautiful weather will continue!

Saturday, Laura marinated two thick top sirloin steaks and four large white mushrooms with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, grated ginger, minced garlic, lime juice, Cabernet Sauvignon, ground black pepper, sea salt, and Tony Chachere's More Spice seasoning. The steaks and mushrooms marinated for four hours. I grilled them on the indoor grill—charring the outside nicely and maintaining a nice rareness in the center. I baked two large red potatoes in the microwave. It was a delicious meal.

Yesterday, Laura worked in the nursery at Harvest Christian Center during the second service. We attended the first service together, following which I journeyed home and made a frittata. I generally use spinach in frittatas, but on this occasion, I used broccoli instead of spinach. I sautéed diced red potatoes, slivered white onion, chopped Jalapeños, chopped broccoli, bacon strips (cut into 1" sections), and a head of peeled garlic cloves in extra-virgin olive oil. I seasoned with Tony Chachere's More Spice seasoning, ground black pepper, and sea salt. When done, I added six beaten jumbo eggs and turned the burner to low. When the eggs were fully cooked, I added eight slices of pepperjack cheese and turned the burner off. It was especially delightful, and the leftovers shall make a fine dinner following Bible college Wednesday evening.

For dinner last evening, I cooked a box of penne until al dente and set aside. I slivered sun-dried tomatoes and sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil, with minced garlic, sea salt, crushed red pepper, and ground black pepper. When this was sufficiently cooked, I added 36 medium peeled, poached shrimp and the penne. Laura stirred this and took it to the table. It was delicious. The leftovers followed Laura to work this morning.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Seller Beware, Semper Fi, -and- Never Too Young

Seller Beware - woman faces $10 million fine for eBay business
Semper Fi - Berkeley gives Marines the boot
Never Too Young - West Virginia considers hunter training in schools

On this day in history: February 1, 1964 - Governor Matthew Welsh of Indiana declares "Louie, Louie" as recorded by The Kingsmen (originally by Richard Berry & The Pharaohs) "pornographic." And while the FCC couldn't figure out the lyrics, the governor's move backfires by making the song one of the most covered titles in existence.

Born on this day in history: February 1, 1968 - Lisa Marie Presley (1968-) Born in Memphis, TN, daughter of Elvis Presley, singer Lisa Marie Presley was sole heir and inherited Graceland, the King of Rock’s legendary estate. She has been married and divorced three times, including to superstar Michael Jackson. Presley now pursues a singing career, and debuted her first album in 2003.

Scripture of the Day: My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense -- Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. - 1 John 2:1-2

Video of the Day: Pancakes II - submitted by Amber

It is dry today! It was foggy earlier this morning, but the only moisture on the ground is from the fog. Hopefully, today will be dry. Yesterday, the rain and wind were relentless. Laura reported that the power went off in Chico yesterday. Sierra Nevada, where she works, has its own power, so the company was not affected by the outage. Many others in Chico remained without power for extended periods. Some still are without power. We did not suffer any outages here in Corning. Hopefully this respite from the storm will last through the weekend.

For dinner last evening, we had chicken fajitas. I made a quantity of guacamole, with two large avocados and salsa. I sliced a large white onion, 16 garlic cloves, a large red bell pepper, two large Jalapeño peppers, and two grilled chicken breasts. Laura sautéed the vegetables in extra-virgin olive oil and seasoned them with Tony Chachere's More Spice seasoning and ground black pepper. When they were cooked but still crisp, she added the chicken, stirred, covered, and removed from the heat. She warmed flour tortillas, and we dined. It was delightful. We ate it all!