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

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

sammy terry: A Midwest Horror Host



While I was watching the spine tingling (snicker) horror movies hosted by Count Gore de Vol back in the 1970s, my lovely (and then future) wife was doing the same in the Midwest with a the late night horror flicks presided over by Sammy Terry. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears both hosts are still doing their bits on the web. Is it true? Terrifying!!!

It looks like you CAN go back again ... but SHOULD you? [Insert Sammy Terry laugh here.]

OOO, spooky, this is post number 666! Sammy Terry would approve.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Helena Trick or Treats Count Gore de Vol



Now we're going back to the 1970s to weekend spookiness with the local host of horror Count Gore de Vol. It looks like the Count has continued. So who all remembers the Count or other hosts of B rated horror on independent channels watched by teens and preteens gathered together every week? Got any stories of hosts of horror from nights gone by? BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! BWA HA HA!!!!

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Monday, February 27, 2012

If Politicians Want to Play the Faith Card, There Are Two Questions You Should Ask Them

It is all the rage today to wrap yourself in your faith when running for political office. Many times, the statements of faith presented by these politicians are anything but thought out and insightful. In many cases, their declarations suggest they have never once opened the primary source material of their faith, but rather are mouthing the platitudes they have heard from some preacher, probably on TV, whose orientation matches that of the politicians constituents. So, don't let them get away with this. Ask them two serious questions and then vote accordingly if you feel you have gotten an honest response. I use that word honest guardedly.

The first question is, does God redeem (forgive) many people or few people? If the pol believes God forgives few, the pol will be very unlikely to be highly forgiving him- or herself. If the pol has that mindset, it is likely that individual will not work for social justice for all.

The second question is, what is the politicians stance on the end times? That will also have a direct impact on how the politician works with others. If his or her response is that God invites us all to help build the coming kingdom, it is likely that person will be generous with others, concerned about our stewardship of the planet, and a strident supporter of social justice. If the politicians view of this issue is apocalyptic and dire, so will be his or her outlook and actions toward others and toward the world. One does not work to save people or a place when one believes most people and the entire place will be destroyed, especially if the individual believes this will happen in the near future.

Ask these questions, weigh the responses, and vote accordingly. Ask yourself these pointed questions as well. See if you like the answers. If the pol won't answer these questions, it may be he or she has been playing at faith and doesn't know enough to answer well. Or it may be that individual has something dire to hide. Again, consider well and vote accordingly. Good luck to us all in the upcoming election cycle.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Good News from Christianity: Radical Forgiveness Can Be YOURS

Yes, even you can be forgiven for what you have done. It's a bold statement, but it's true. The question really is, WILL YOU BELIEVE IT AND ACT UPON THAT BELIEF?! Yes, I'm shouting that because I want you to take notice. I want this to get through. Now, if you are smart, and if you're reading this you must be, you're asking "How can you say this?" "What proof do you have?" Okay, here is the proof, straight from the Bible and from Jesus Christ, our most reliable source for all things well worth knowing, things that can and will change your future if you are bold enough to believe (and today, real belief, absolute surrender to belief, [but never, ever mindless belief ... you were given a big brain to use] is very hard to come by).

Let's go to the Last Supper, the meal Jesus had with his disciples for Passover right before Jesus was crucified. In that meal, Jesus declared that one of the disciples would betray him. Old news you say? You've heard it before you say? Maybe I say. But do you understand what you've heard I ask?

Here's the deal: Judas is betraying Jesus in two ways. He is betraying the covenant between a rabbi and his disciple AND he is in violation of the covenant of table fellowship. Both were considered disgusting and vile in their day, but the second was the worst of the two. The second was a deep violation of hospitality. Back in the day, when people relied on the hospitality of others for their survival, especially when traveling, violations of hospitality were death sentence behaviors. For instance, in the Old Testament, there are two very significant violations of hospitality. The first occurs in the city of Sodom and the second among the Jewish tribe of Benjamin. In the first case, [oh yes, please check friends, it really was a violation of hospitality that destroyed Sodom, not some other thing you have probably heard from more "strident sources"] Sodom was destroyed by fire and brimstone. In the second, the rest of the nation of Israel, the other eleven tribes, descended upon the tribe of Benjamin and killed thousands of Benjaminite men. The tribe never fully recovered from their hideous breach of hospitality. That's is how seriously wrong Judas's violation of hospitality was.

Let's get to the point, as blog posts are expected to be short. Jesus at the Last Supper declares the covenant (the contract, agreement, and more) between Jesus and the disciples had been broken. Speaking of past violations of hospitality and their consequences, he warns the violator it would be better if he hadn't been born. This was not judgment from a very worthy judge, but a statement of historical fact. And now, the moment has arrived, and Jesus acts with radical forgiveness. Jesus establishes a new covenant with the twelve and with us all in the breaking of the bread and sharing of the wine. That establishment included Judas by implication, since he was yet at the table. In the long view, Jesus is the judge of all of us and Jesus was able to forgive a terrible violation made against him directly by one of the disciples he loved as brothers. So, really, do you think you can't be forgiven for what you have done?

But there is a catch. Forgiveness IS offered, but you have to believe it and you have to accept that forgiveness. It is there for the taking, if you'll reach out for it. Jesus often spoke of being smart and working in your best self-interest in order to reach us. Jesus knows we are all flawed creatures riddled with insecurities and sins. Jesus forgives. Will you take that forgiveness for yourself? If you do, what will you do next? How will you change your life and LIVE as a forgiven soul? Who will you forgive in return? Remember, in the story of the Prodigal Son, the son who had done terrible wrongs to his father was forgiven and in at the feast. The second son, the righteous son, the unforgiving son, stood outside and brooded rather than go into the feast with forgiveness in his heart. It was a foolish thing to do. And yet the father came out and pleaded with his son to join the party. Jesus is pleading with you. Will you accept forgiveness and come in and enjoy the party? Or will you stand out in the darkness, consumed with self-loathing, anger, and hate, against your best self-interest?

This is good news. Will you accept what is offered? Will you act on it?

For more uplifting information, see Thomas E. Boomershine. Story Journey: An Invitation to the Gospel as Storytelling

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 






Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Future of American Space Flight

The Future of American Space Flight

If you follow this through, you'll arrive at a NASA interactive poster of the future of human space flight as NASA sees it. Let's hope this, and more, comes to pass.

Thanks yet again to my friends at Universe Today for letting me know this poster was available. For more information, see: http://www.universetoday.com/93578/nasas-picture-of-the-future-of-human-spaceflight/ 

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 






Friday, February 17, 2012

First Robot to Astronaut Handshake On-Orbit



Firm handshake between International Space Station's Robonaut 2 and the ISS commander. "Firm handshake," he reports. Well, it's not an IRobot sort of thing, but it's a start. Glad to see R2 beginning to work. There is a much longer version of this that is worth seeing as it gives you the hopes and dreams for R2's future use on the space station. You can view this longer video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK8HkV0Ge5Y There may even be some artificial intelligence in R2's future.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day: Notes for Your True Love Taken From the Song of Songs ... AND MORE!

The Bible has a lot to offer. Among its many wonders are some powerful love verses to be found in the Song of Songs (aka Song of Solomon). Here is proven romantic verse that has stood the test of time for thousands of years. Use these verses today!

Song of Solomon 2:16
My lover is mine, and I am his.

Song of Solomon 8:6
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Song of Solomon 8:7
Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

Song of Solomon 2: 10-13
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away;
for now the winter is past,
   the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
   the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
   is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
   and the vines are in blossom;
   they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away.   

Moving on to the apostle Paul and his great verses on love:

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails ...

Happy Valentine's Day

For more love verses, see you Bible or visit http://christianity.about.com/od/prayersverses/qt/versesaboutlove.htm today!

If you love what you read here, you can share the love and support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 





  

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Big Freeze 2012: Europe and the Big Chill



In many parts of the US, we've been commenting on our extremely mild winter so far. Apparently, Europeans were doing the same until this Siberian air mass roared in. Now over 90 are dead so far and many are in dire straights. I'm not going to make any disparaging comments on our warm weather here. I think I'll just appreciate it while it lasts. For all of you suffering in Europe: I hope you all get relief soon!

This was our big early morning snow in January, so I'm not complaining ... not at all!

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 




Saturday, February 11, 2012

Orion on the Move on This Week @ NASA



The next NASA crew module is moving forward ... and a copy is moving around the country. Watch this if you have heard rumors that NASA is no longer in the human space flight business, and perhaps has turned human space flight over to tourism companies. Not so. Also, if you need to know what spin off technologies have come directly from spaceflight, you'll find a link to that as well.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



Friday, February 10, 2012

Good News From Christianity: Reaching Revisited



One of our speakers at the American Baptist Churches USA convention in Orlando, Florida, challenging graduating seminarians and new pastors to reach out into our communities to approach church differently. As Alan said, "God is messing with us." We have to figure out where God is leading. We are in interesting times.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 


Divided Like This We Cannot Stand OR We May Disagree But We Are Not Evil!

Presented tonight for your consideration ... as the inimitable Rod Serling used to say, Bill Moyers recent interview on the subject of conservatives and liberals talking past each other, seeing the world differently, and labeling each other as "evil" for holding different views. I don't agree with everything that was said, but it was well said and is worth consideration.


http://billmoyers.com/episode/how-do-conservatives-and-liberals-see-the-world/


One point made is we have come to an extremely dangerous place. If we do not resist the urge to divide into competing tribes and label each other as "the other" and "evil" then this great nation will not stand. If we do not set aside the politics of division and the demonizing of all who do not hold our personal views, we are doomed and deservedly so as we are too foolish to continue. I do not believe we are this base and this silly. I believe we can come together as we have so many times before. We can unite for the greater good. 


Liberals and conservatives need each other. They are opposite sides of the same coin. Together they represent two good realities that are worthy of pursuit but EACH side is needed to act as the brakes when the other side begins to accelerate too fast and head too far in one direction, whether that direction is too far left or too far right. Working together we can steer a course ahead into a constructive future. Failing to work together, continuing to divide in an attempt to conquer, continuing to pour inane amounts of money into political campaigns and to call the other side insane we will simply lurch right and left with each political cycle, drug one way and then the other by "swing" voters who choose the flavor currently out of power. 


Take a look at the Bible. God intended us for community with each other, each sharing our God given talents with each other that we might all profit from the experience. Jesus saved his harshest critiques for those who were in power and abused that power, aggrandizing themselves at the expense of their followers. He called them hypocrites and white washed tombs (appearing squeaky clean on the outside and rotten within). 


We can turn this thing around, but only if we work fast ... and work together. Together we can accomplish great things. Divided into warring tribes we will only create grief, hatred, blood, and death. Isn't it time we grew up and left tribalism to our bloody past? Isn't it time we started working together again, using our differences to mold a constructive future together? Watch the episode and think it over. 

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 



 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Warfare Need Not Be Inevitable!

Could we end our seemingly endless cycle of warfare? Are we hardwired for warfare and mutually assured destruction? Is it the fractious flaw in our nature and our heritage of "nature red of tooth and claw?" Not according to John Horgan, a science journalist; director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology. I heard him speak recently on the Diane Rehm show and you can hear him too (provided Diane's show keeps the archived link active): http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-02-02/john-horgan-end-war

Horgan's position is that warfare is not inevitable. It is not an essential component to our DNA. He claims that the oft cited Jane Goodall discovery that chimps engage in warfare may have been skewed (according to Horgan this comes directly from Goodall) by her introduction of fruit to one tribe and not another. He adds that bonobos, another close relative on the evolutionary tree, does not engage in warfare at all. When they have disagreements, they solve them in another way ... through sex. These are relatives as close to us as chimps, yet we ignore them in favor of our seemingly angrier kin on the family tree.

What struck me most deeply was that everyone who called in to the show denied that this was a possibility. They refused to believe that humanity could live peacefully, ditching war in favor of better forms of conflict resolution. This made me wonder why. After all, the world's great faiths call for peace on earth. I can think of several non-violent movements of the twentieth century that were great successes. And yet, people stick to their guns (pun intended) and refuse to believe we could excise warfare from our lives.

Come to think of it, if you turn to the Bible, virtually everyone who called for the peaceable kingdom of God died violently at the hands of those who refused to believe in such a vision. Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. were gunned down by those who opposed their vision of justice for all achieved by peaceful means. What does this say about us? Who is so invested in warfare that they perpetuate what could be our bloodiest and most vile myth about ourselves? Why are people so willing to believe all sorts of twaddle (see end of world predictions throughout time) and yet staunchly refuse to believe in or work toward peace?

There are reasons to believe war is not natural to us. Look how we have to work long and hard to describe every enemy as subhuman before we will fight them. See how warriors come back from battle shattered by the violence mentally and emotionally. See how peaceful gestures would break out between the lines in the American Civil War and World War I between battles. There may be more to this than we are willing to admit. We might be able to create a peaceable kingdom in the world today. But first, we would have to believe.

We would have to convince ourselves it is possible to solve our problems without bullets and bombs. We need to talk up peace. Practice peace on a small scale and work our way up so that the next time someone calls for a preemptive war, nobody shows up. We could do this. I believe that. I refuse to become so cynical and jaded as to deny this possibility. How about you?

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 





Friday, February 3, 2012

Writers: Steer Clear of Self Publishing ... Unless

There are all sorts of outlets on the electronic frontier out there ready and willing (for a fee) to publish your book, no questions asked. For a writer desperate to see her or his name in print, this seems like the dream come true. But, dear friends, for all but a very few, it is a con.

Here's why:
  • No editor: For most writers this will seem like a blessing on first glance (editors can be so annoying and make you feel like a kid waiting for the teacher's grade all over again ... I know, I both edit and write for a living), but this is a real danger for any author. I don't care how good you are, the simple truth of the matter is you are going to be blind to your own mistakes. Your brain will tell you that what appears on the page is what you intended rather than what is actually in front of your eyes. Mistakes will be missed (there are always a few, even with an editor's help, but the number and seriousness of the mistakes are greatly reduced). Factual errors will be overlooked. Worst of all, issues that will get you into legal hot water will not be corrected (the copyright laws shift regularly AND authors who have gotten used to posting whatever they please on the Internet quickly discover their opinions in print in a book go from something overlooked to a potential libel case ... think governor of Arizona here for a recent example).
  • No invested publisher: When there is no publisher with money invested in your book project and nothing to lose, there is no one to tell you your book [this is hypothetical mind you, YOUR book, reader, is fantastic] is not worth the paper it is printed on. Your friends and family will not critique you harshly ... they are your friends and family and their investment is in their relationship with you, not your book. 
  • No marketing department: This is the big kicker. If you self-publish AND manage to edit well AND have written a wonderful book, YOU and YOU ALONE will have to market that book. Tell me, honestly, how many hours do you have in a day? How strong is your ego? Can you sit for 4 hours at a book signing with no one buying a single copy and walk away with your ego intact? Do you know where to offer your book? Do you know how books are distributed? Are you prepared to ship, IF you get a buyer? Do you have the money to finance a marketing campaign? If the answer to any or all of these questions (and these are just the few that occur at 7 in the morning to a sleepy writer's mind) is no, do not go down this road. Oh yes, by the way, blogs do not equate to free advertising. Sales based on blog postings are bloody miserable. Not to mention the hours you'll spend trying to get the thing connected to sources that might want to read it.The blog platform might be free, but your time and effort are not. (Just so we're clear here, I write this as someone who thoroughly enjoys blogging.)
  • So, steer clear of self-publishing UNLESS you are a fantastic writer, an amazing editor, have the brutal clarity about the quality of your work only an investor is capable of providing, AND you are a marketing pro. 
Here's my advice for what it's worth: Writers, pack away the desperate feeling that you will NEVER get published, get yourself a copy of the Writer's Marketplace, and get down to business the old fashioned way. You may publish far fewer books, but you'll have a far better chance of having what you do publish and have worked so hard to write actually read by appreciative readers. Good luck on your journey.

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Perfect Child's Gift for Valentine's Day: Michael and the New Baby

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching, visions of chocolates, flowers, and fancy restaurants are dancing in our heads. Spouses, fiancees, and special friends will all be expecting something special for the day Cupid flies again. If you have kids, you can go easy on the wallet or purse while showing your love by ordering that special child a copy of Michael and the New Baby. This is especially timely if this child is wrestling with the idea of becoming the new older brother or sister.

Want to talk about lovin' this V Day. Well, Michael and the New Baby assures the anxious child (any child actually) that there will be plenty of love to go around. Concerned about stuff this V Day? Michael and the New Baby lets children know that sharing is not difficult and actually helps. Concerned about confusing messages coming to your children from various media (cartoons are notorious for portraying older siblings as either villains or idiots)? Michael and the New Baby has your back. I've covered that as well. Through Michael and the New Baby, your child will also discover she or he is not alone in this. Others have been where they are, survived, and even done well and so will they. All in all, you couldn't ask for a much better message or gift for your child this Valentine's Day. And the price? Well, the price will make your wallet or purse glad this Valentine's Day too.

Oh yes, one more thing ... there are no sugary additives in this book to wind young children up on Valentine's Day. You know that is a plus!

If you like what you read here, you can support this blog (don't let me go it alone here): You can order a copy of the children's book Michael and the New Baby directly from Old Line Publishing at: http://www.oldlinepublishingllc.com/index_files/OldLinePublishingChildrensMichaelandtheNewBabybyJSBrooks.htm