The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Looking to Love

We spend so much time and effort being reactionary and angry with each other. We seem to forget we are called to love. We are called away from what the apostle Paul called us, "children of wrath," to a better way of living with one another. We all fall into this trap. Our culture is steeped in angry call and response knee jerk reaction we see modeled for us by opinion makers and public functionaries daily. We have gone from a culture of intelligent discourse (well, maybe I go too far here ... were we ever really that sort of culture) to one of kindergarten playground name calling. This approach to life has made us fearful. When we are fearful, we spiral up our reactionary responses and get more shrill ... and more violent. As a Christian, the Bible is a profound source of deep guidance. Despite the quibbling that puts us all to shame, the Bible has a great deal to say about loving others (friends and enemies alike) and about not being afraid--we are supposed to help each other, diminishing fear, and we are promised God will not abandon us. Here are three examples to consider: 


1 John 4:7-12: 7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.


1 Corinthians 13:1-13: If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,* but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly,* but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.



Luke 2:8-12: 8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah,* the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 

Wishing you all fearless, loving days when others bless you and you bless them.

For another post calling us to positive action, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/07/faithful-people-listen-and-help.html

Monday, July 28, 2014

Religious Children Can't Tell Fact From Fiction, REALLY?!? NONSENSE!!!

According to a study published in the journal Cognitive Science, as related by the Huffington Post and New York Daily News ... among others, poor little 5 and 6 year old religious kids will be susceptible to buying the Golden Gate Bridge, will believe Star Wars is real, and--especially children of fundamentalists--will always believe what they hear from opinion makers like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Why are these poor children unable to tell the difference between fact and fiction? Because they are being raised with a religious faith, any religious faith it seems. This is especially true of the Bible literalists, apparently. You see, believing in God, believing in miracles, believing one should love others, including enemies, place service to others above the almighty dollar and self interest, well those things just make you a little bit stupid, sorry to say, according to an extensive study of some 66 kids (phew, now there's going all out to try to prove a point, huh). You just can't tell what's real and what not if you have faith. Poor, poor children, being led astray by families and churches who will believe Winnie the Pooh is actually playing Pooh sticks on that bridge in the Hundred Acre Woods, Dorothy really went to Oz to squash a witch with her house and would want to return to rural Kansas with those magic ruby slippers (who is going to believe that--London, Paris, Rome ... maybe), all those kids cartoons on the Cartoon Network are real folks living real lives, and that reality TV has any bearing of reality. All because they have faith. What a shame.

What nonsense! What happened to all the studies stating that young children live in a world of magic, a world where the fantastic is part of life, where imagination is nurtured? What happened to the psychologist who told listeners on NPR some years ago that you can't tell children there are no ghosts or monsters when they are young because they will not believe you. They aren't ready yet. But you can tell them that their parents or guardians won't let those spooks into the house and they will believe in their guardian's or parent's authority to keep harm out. Passe now? Just another passing phase?

As someone who grew up in a religious family, whose ancestors heading back many generations have been faithful Protestants, I can assure you we never had trouble telling what was real from what was not. My kids have been raised in the church and they know well the difference between reality and fantasy. I too know the difference. And I can sure smell fabrication all over this study. You'll have to do better than that guys. Much better than that. So ends the rant ... and that's a fact.

For another rant on the warped idea that religion is the root of all warfare, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/06/religion-is-cause-of-most-warfare-what.html

For a much calmer, more cooperative post on faith and positive interactions [personal caveat: in the current post I'm defending children, not God ... you'll see], see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/07/faithful-people-listen-and-help.html

For the kind of organizations most of these studies really seemed to be aimed at, try: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/07/no-to-fear-based-authority-driven.html

For where we really should be aiming our efforts and energies instead of silly studies like this, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/07/injustice-poverty-crushes-in-these.html

Surprising Discovery Writing Recipes for Manly Men

I started my blogging life on HubPages. It is a well structured site that guides you through the ins and outs of blogging post writing. It has a wonderfully supportive community and teaches you something about how to try to make money from your posts. Needing early material, I decided to write at least one recipe easy enough for men to complete successfully and impress a date or a spouse on a date night. The premise is that the men involved all see themselves as manly men and all are just about incompetent in the kitchen.

I thought this might work in encouraging men to actually attempt to cook who had never cooked before. I imagined that these posts might actually get these poor guys a few good home cooked meals and might actually impress some significant other without getting anyone hurt.

Through the HubPages community I discovered something surprising. My manly man recipe was drawing a crowd ... but not the one I expected. I was getting laughs and accolades for my humorous recipes from women. These were women who couldn't resist different recipes and loved the writing style and suggestions for uses of manly tools in this very manly art of simple cooking.

It all came as a surprise to me ... a pleasant one.

Moral of the story: you may THINK you know your audience, but don't be too sure.

Manly man recipes include: http://jsbrooks.hubpages.com/hub/Garlic-Chicken-and-Potatoes-For-Men-Who-Need-To-Impress-Women and http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/07/manly-mans-recipe-to-never-shuck-corn.html

If you find these recipes useful and/or entertaining and would like to see more, let me know. I could go there again.

Money from Blogging ... BWA HA HA!!!

Since I enjoy blogging, I check the "how to" articles periodically myself ... just to assure myself I'm on the wrong track for blogging success. It is reassuring to know how wrong I am! That said, I couldn't resist looking up what it takes to make money with a blog.

"If you build it, they will come" doesn't work. Millions upon millions of bloggers have done just that ... and they haven't raked in the bucks. As one article said, American is just not awash in multimillionaire bloggers! Of course, I'd settle for being a millionaire blogger. I'm not greedy!

The very best blogs are works of art in some cases and they are all daily events. The readership comes in the thousands to many thousands ... A DAY! Efforts to raise funds produce small individual results, but when the readership is large enough, that works. Those small results add up. Further, the most successful bloggers spend time reading posts on the most successful other blogs and commenting on them to draw eyeballs to their own blog posts as well.

So, from what I picked up:
  1. First and foremost, you need time and writing talent. Write continuously for maximum success. Focus diligently on one topic you know where you can provide useful information and stick with it. 
  2. Find and cultivate various methods to procure ad revenue.
  3. Draw people to your blog by commenting many times and intelligently on other top blog sites. 
There you have it. Good luck! For me, it's like those ads today by real estate firms looking for home owners. They keep showing up homes worth a quarter million or more when roughly half of all Americans earn $34,000 a year or less individually. A ridiculously tall order. Making money with THIS blog???? BWA HA HA! 

Thanks to each and every one of you who do come and read this. You make writing this small time blog worth while.

For additional posts on blogging success, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/07/sloggin-thru-blogging-10000-hours.html and http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2014/07/sloggin-thru-blogging-top-ten-blog-post.html. If you just can't get enough, search for Sloggin' Thru Blogging on this blog for more posts!

New Research Says: Asteroid Last Straw for Dinosaurs

Research out of the University of Edinburgh suggests that the massive asteroid that slammed into the ocean off Mexico was the very last straw for dinosaurs. It seems the climate was already causing serious difficulty for the guys at the top of the food chain 65 million years back. It seems for some time there had been trouble with Earth's environment. Increased volcanic activity was causing fluctuations in both temperature and water levels. The food chain was seriously stressed with less variety among the species when the mountain fell from the sky.

Seriously stressed already, unable to rely on their environment completely, the dinosaurs were faced with earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis, sudden temperature swings, other unpredictable environmental spin offs, and dust covering 80% of the planet. It sucked to be a dinosaur just then.

In the end, it was the worst possible timing for the reptile rulers of Earth. It was all too much and extinction was the name of the new game. That of course made room for us, those little tiny mammals always underfoot.

Then again, we should take heed of this new finding. Replace volcanic activity with pollution from the industrial age and the pre-asteroid strike ancient Earth's environment sounds a lot like our own in the twenty-first century. We had better hope there is no asteroid out there ... no large mountain-sized one that is ... with our name on it. It looks like we are set up for the same bad timing, last straw moment as the previous dominant denizens of the planet. In the meantime, we better work hard on fixing the damage we've done just in case that next massive asteroid does happen along. It would be nice if we had one or two extra straws available, don't you think? 

Manly Man's Recipe to Never Shuck Corn on the Cob Again! The Five Minute Response ...


So, manly man, you're ready to show you have cooking mojo and impress your date? Choose sweet corn and this secret method, delivered in manly terms, and success is ensured (or as nearly so as it ever gets in the manly man world where bizarre catastrophe is always possible).

On his show, A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keeler described fresh summer sweet corn as better than sex. Gentlemen, I'll leave that up to you to decide, but we here at J.S. Brooks Presents have discovered that some of the more aggravating "foreplay" can be eliminated. Never again do you need to shuck an ear of corn. Presented for your consideration, the no shuck summer corn, written in manly fashion! This lightening fast corn prep and presentation will be sure to impress the love of your life and suggest you have cooking mojo (and mojo suggested can at times like this be as powerful as mojo earned)!

  1. Cook an ear of corn, one at a time, complete with husk and tassels, in the microwave set on high (naturally as manly men take no half measures) for five minutes. The natural moisture will keep it from drying out. Fear not, desiccation and disappointment will not ensue.
  2. Use hot pads or an oven mitt to move the now piping hot ear from microwave to a large, rugged cutting board. Yes, gents, protect those callused hands from the now hot corn. You impress no one with scalded fingers and high pitched screaming coming from the kitchen.
  3. Cut off an inch from the base ... you know ... the end where the stalk was attached. No, not from that pointy end with the scraggly hairs sticking up like the very worst of morning after hair. Use a large and impressive knife to accomplish this feat as, well, it's more fun. A serrated knife works well. Count fingers. Sigh with relief (let no one see this) and move on to be amazing.
  4. Now the amazing thing happens. Take hold (still using protection against heat) of the tasseled end firmly, lock steely gaze on the corn, and gently begin to squeeze the corn ear out the now opened base end onto a large, manly man's platter ready to receive this summer delight (nothing fails to impress like forgetting to have something ready to receive that hot corn and having it roll away, off the table or the counter, and into the ready jaws of your dog waiting under your feet or lurking beneath the table ... where some form of stupidity occurs that further reduces your cooking stature when your best furry friend discovers how hot that corn really is.
  5. When that cooked and delectible ear comes free of the husk, it is entirely or almost entirely silk free and ready to prepare and eat as best you see fit. Show this proudly to your date, spouse, significant other for appropriate accolades. Repeat until enough corn is ready to satisfy! (Keep completed corn warm while cooking the rest.)
It is a wonder, a great time saver, and yes manly man it will make you look like you know what you're doing in the kitchen. 

For complete imagery of the process, see this post: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-never-shuck-corn-again/


That IS the five minute response!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Faithful People: Listen and Help

One of my seminary professors told us ministers-to-be that God just doesn't need us to defend God. That is not our job. I've been tempted lately to write argumentative posts against some pretty silly notions that have been gaining traction lately (the one aggravating me the most lately assumes children are stupid but I'll say no more), but have been restrained time and again from acting upon that impulse. Who needs another voice saying, buddy, that just ain't so?!

Instead, God reminded me last night of at least one thing I should be doing instead. It is something I have the gifts to do. I was at a banquet with my family. On one occasion, during the dinner, the person next to me asked me what I did for a living. Discovering I am an American Baptist minister--and after a short and reassuring conversation about what that meant--led to a long and interesting discussion in which I listened more than I spoke. We found some great common ground. It was quite nice.

Later, the bartender caught my eye. He looked beat. I went over and talked to him for a while. It was late. The crowd was dispersing. We had an opportunity. I mentioned he looked ready for the night to end. One thing led to another. My career came up again ... but only after I learned some fascinating things about his two careers ... and once again we had a long and rewarding conversation. Reassurance was provided when needed and all was well with the evening.

With all the arguments going around, all the downright weird accusations, all the lines drawn in the sand by angry people on extremes of just about everything, we could use a whole lot less grandstanding from soapboxes and a lot more human discussions one-on-one dealing about our common issues ... and being human, living in a rough and tumble world where life gets hard ... where we often make it harder ... we do suffer many things together, no matter what we do or don't believe. We can find common ground if we take the time to listen. From there, we can do some wonderful things together and with much better understanding. There's no getting rich or famous doing this. There's no making of news. There's no winning of arguments or beating of opponents. But, it is one of the things faithful folk are called to do. It comes under that second great commandment. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Mysterious Radio Bursts from Space, Pingos, and Sixth Extinction ... OH MY!

Ever since I was a teen, I've lived for the stories that rise up out of nowhere, leave you puzzling, and disappear as quickly and strangely as they came. In time you wonder if you ever heard them at all. I have just had that experience once again with two large radio telescopes on planet Earth picking up picking up brief and intensely powerful radio bursts from somewhere out there in deep space. At this point, no one knows what they are. However, having them picked up by two separate radio telescopes knocks out the idea that this is simply a hiccup in the one telescope. The Parkes telescope in Australia and the famous Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico have both picked up this burst. This beats the "Wow" signal picked up back in the day by SETI once and never repeated.

What causes this signal. I almost don't want to know. Right now it's all a tantalizing mystery: it could bd blitzars (bursts from supermassive stars collapsing into black holes ... how freakish is that), powerful solar flares closer to our own solar system, or ... wait for it ... in the scientific literature it has even been floated that this could be "signatures of extraterrestrial civilizations." YES! Now that's mysterious. Linked with NASA's belief that in the next couple of decades we will find Earth-like planets with life on them confirmed in a galaxy we now know is riddled with planets, this is drool-worthy if this kind of thing gets your juices flowing ... so to speak. 

But, don't believe me! Listen for yourself as Joe Palca on NPR explains: http://www.npr.org/2014/07/26/335335653/close-encounters-of-the-radio-kind-mystery-bursts-baffle-astronomers 

Meanwhile, things are getting "holey" in Yamal ("End of the Earth"), a region in subarctic Siberia. Two large and deep holes have been discovered there that look like the end of the Earth in progress. Whatever caused these holes happened from underground and burst upward given the pattern of debris. No UFOs here, no meteors, not old space junk returning home. The two strongest theories right now are global warming related. Either a mix of water, salt and gas is combining explosively or permafrost is eroding to the surface, melting away and leaving massive holes behind as the frozen ground collapses, leaving "pingos," which fits in with cold water, ice and snow being found in the depths of these spooky deep holes in the ground. The area appears to be living up to its name.  Speaking of global warming issues, NASA has reported that the American West is using up deep underground reserves of water at a high rate during their multi-year drought. It is way past time to start taking our part in global warming seriously.

Speaking of which, scientists state they firmly believe we are on the teetering edge of the sixth planetary mass extinction event ... the first one we humans can claim responsibility for. Species are dying off at an alarming rate since we got a real hold on things on old terra firma here. There is a ray of hope here, as with global warming. If we get serious, there is time to divert this planet-wide catastrophe from happening. If we can't make that happen, really, we don't deserve to stay ... or to meet anyone from elsewhere with sentience from another world. As for the brave soul who admitted he refuses to believe in global warming because it would make him feel guilty, I say nevermind the guilt. Let's get on with all we need to do for the fix, for our sake, every species on the planet's sake, and for the sake of the very life of the fragile ecosystem of this planet itself. Things are getting far too interesting to miss out on what's coming next. Let's pull together and make the new astounding, mind boggling discoveries of the next century and beyond. I don't know about you, but I really don't want to see myself growing old in one of those dystopian futures we read so much about and see so much of in sci-fi movies and books.

For additional stories of the weird, see the following posts: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2012/11/our-story-seti-institute.htmlhttp://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/07/mystery-lights-rural-cemeterymp4.html, and http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/07/communicating-with-aliens-complicated.html

Classic Restos: US Tour - GM Futurliner Ep 7 Part 1 Future Transportation as Envisioned in the 1940s and '50s by GM



First introduced by GM in 1940-41 and used from 1953 to 1956 in a second life after World War II, the vehicle of the future as seen by General Motors was two stories tall, over ten feet long, weighed in at 15 tons, had eight tires, and could only manage 38 mph with its six cylinder engine. (The introduction to this vehicle begins at roughly 1:30 if you want to cut to the chase.) It was used as a portable show for fairs and such, drawing large crowds wherever it went. Taller than the trailers on tractor trailers (or Prime Movers in New Zealand as you'll find out here), this machine was designed to draw attention. Based on the streamlined passenger trains of the period, this shiny, streamlined machine gave a sense of speed it just didn't produce. Still, with the center top of the roof rising up to reveal floodlights and the side panels rising to unveil large displays (like "The Miracles of Hot and Cold" ... which included an early microwave I'm told), it's ability to draw a crowd was tremendous.

A grand total of twelve of these beasts of tomorrow were made, nine of which still exist, and three remain in running order. Enjoy this rare treat, seeing the future that never was rolling down the street!

For more automotive nostalgia, see the following posts: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/01/56-nash-metropolitan.htmlhttp://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/01/1960-metropolitan-drive-by.htmlhttp://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/01/ford-thunderbird-1963.html, and the idea that never quite goes away, the flying car: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2011/07/flying-car-crazy-videoflv.html

For trains of tomorrow, see: http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-train-of-tomorrow-ketc-living-st.html and http://jsbrookspresents.blogspot.com/2013/02/turbojet-powered-railways-flight-of.html

Again, I'm glad some of these "things of tomorrow" remained firmly in yesterday!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cheyenne Rodeo

If you've ever wanted to check out a real rodeo, take a look at Jim Slade's blog post on Footloose Footnotes named "Cheyenne." There are some great images and prose there. See: http://jimsnyder309.blogspot.com/2014/07/cheyenne.html?spref=fb

Speaking of Jim Slade, you can also see him discussing his years covering the NASA manned space program as a journalist in CNN's episode of The Sixties entitled "The Space Race."