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, July 31, 2012

Top Ten List: Most Fascinating Posts for July 2012 ... By Popular Vote

In ascending order, here are the posts from July 2012 that YOU the readers turned to the most. Starting with number 10 ...

10. Brunch at FIRECREEK in Downingtow (n, PA)
9. C.S. Lewis Explains Love Your Neighbor (as Yourself)
8. NASA Offers Commemorative Shuttle P (oster)
7. Billions and Billions of Planets ... & a S (paceship to 
    Get Us There)
6. Contest: Where Is It?
5. Goodbye Firefox: Problems Loading Yo (uTube)
4. Progress In Manned Space Flight (A personal favorite, recently updated 
    to reflect the SpaceX success)
3. Andy Griffith Football Story from 1953
2. Adventures in Fitness 4: One Guy's Atte (mpt to Knock the Rust Off: 
    You Have a New Toy)

... AND THE MOST POPULAR POST THIS MONTH ...

1. Turning Off the 2009 Toyota Yaris Maint (enance Light): There are just so very 
many of you clever Yaris owners out there! This is also the most popular post
of all time!!!

As with the last post (which I mistakenly listed first as the month's top ten),
what does this tell me? You like restaurant reviews, but not as much as
theology and space exploration, you like contests (but don't participate
much...hmmm), want to know why I'm ditching Firefox, really enjoy
comedy ... which may say something about the popularity of my posts
about my adventures in exercise, but most of all, you drive Yaris (Yari?)
and want to know how to shut off that darned light! 


August 1, 2012: Another truth hit me from this list. Of the ten, only one is a video. 
The rest are posts written by me. It appears you all are more interested in 
original content than video entertainment. That's good to know!



Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon. Now, on to August! 

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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/





Top Ten List: Popular Posts of All Time ... You Decided!

What follows in ascending order are the top ten posts on J.S. Brooks Presents for all time (to date), the most stellar posts by popular vote (well, by actual visits but that doesn't sound nearly as exciting):

10 Funny Thing Happened in New York City
NASA EMBARGOES SCIENCE JOURN (al prior to a release of data about alien life)
Wood Art Today 2 Book Review
NASA's Updated Moon Buggy ... That  (won't)
Printmakers Today Book Review
Flying the Goodyear Blimp 1970s
Brunch at FIRECREEK in Downingtown, (PA, local restaurant review)
Progress In Manned Space Flight
NASA Offers Commemorative Shuttle Po (ster)
Turning Off the 2009 Toyota Yaris Mai (ntenance required light)


So, what does this tell me? You like funny things, NASA, reviews, 
AND many of you drive Toyota Yaris's ... 
or is that Yari in the plural? It also tells me I need to keep the titles short. 



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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/




Monday, July 30, 2012

Sloggin' Thru Blogging: Celebrating a Milestone

Today J.S. Brooks Presents has reached 800 posts. I'll take a moment to appreciate this ...

Okay, moment done. This is post 801 and it's time to move on.

In the spirit of experimentation, a notes: I've created a Google+ "page" for Michael and the New Baby to see if that helps as much as Google+ itself is helping the blog views.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who stops by, and particularly those who appreciate what I do and come back multiple times. Your readership is highly valued. A very special thank you to those of you who follow the link through to the publisher and purchase a copy of Michael and the New Baby. You are truly special and discerning readers!!!


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Red Planet Rendezvous on This Week @NASA

 I will be losing sleep on the night of August 5 to watch this wild landing of Curiosity on Mars. Will be keeping my fingers crossed that Mars doesn't decide to kill another spacecraft. The red planet does love to do that. Good luck NASA guys and gals. So, who'll join me?


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Mars Opportunity Discoveries @ 8 Years

 A little update on the Mars Opportunity Rover and what it has accomplished in its unprecedented 8 year journey on the red planet, one week before (with luck and lots of engineering) Curiosity joins it on the surface.


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Sloggin' Thru Blogging: Google+

They tell you that to grow a blog you need to connect with others socially on the net. This has been a stumbling block for me since I've started. I do all my blogging (well, most of it anyway) in about a half hour burst in the early morning. That gives me just enough time to write, edit, and post a piece before getting ready for work. As a writer, it is a useful exercise in quick, concise writing. That limited time has made networking impossible really.

So, answering and invite to join Google+, I inadvertently solved the problem. My posts are immediately listed on a social network. The format of Google+ makes it easy to quickly make connections with others, even on a limited time schedule. Just drop by, like and comment on a couple of interesting posts, follow some prolific folks who post frequently, and you're in. In the first month of linking my blog with Google+ the number of views has jumped dramatically. We'll see if this lasts. If so, I may have found my way past this particular stumbling block of mine. Time will tell.


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Sunday, July 29, 2012

[ISS] Robonaut 2 Training Aboard Space Station (27th June)

 Robonaut 2 continues to make strides toward the day when it will join the crew, helping them by performing routine, dull tasks or giving them a hand on more complex projects. Note the ISS crew member who floats past later watching curiously as R2 goes through its paces, controlled from the ground.


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Saturday, July 28, 2012

SKYFALL - Official Super Trailer

 Ah, what a year at the movies so far. The Avengers, Spiderman, Batman, and James Bond. What could be better?!

And a new James Bond video game to boot. Looks like an exciting year!


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Friday, July 27, 2012

Good News from Christianity: Caring for Each Other


Care is something other than cure. Cure means "change."  A doctor, a lawyer, a minister, a social worker--they all want to use their professional skills to bring about changes in people's lives. They get paid for whatever kind of cure they can bring about. But cure, desirable as it may be, can easily become violent, manipulative, and even destructive if it does not grow out of care. Care is being with, crying out with, suffering with, feeling with. Care is compassion. It is claiming the truth that the other person is my brother or sister, human, mortal, vulnerable, like I am. 

When care is our first concern, cure can be received as a gift. Often we are not able to cure, but we are always able to care. To care is to be human.

Henri J.M. Nouwen. Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

It seems to me that Henri has put his finger on something quite vital. Those whom we actively care for, we can help in one way or another, no matter how deficient we feel to meet the challenge. Through active caring we can improve our small corner of the world. We see all too much of the attempted curing that turns violent, manipulative, or destructive, which comes from a lack of caring for others. That is all around us today. That forceful cure has driven many people away from Christianity, often hurt, wounded, and vowing never to return. To those of you who are in this boat, I want to extend my personal apology for how shabbily you were treated by someone who did not truly care.

Who will you care for today?


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Thursday, July 26, 2012

David R. Dow: Lessons from death row inmates

 In light of the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, where a deranged (my opinion) college student slaughtered people in a movie theater at midnight while equipped with enough weaponry and body armor to be a soldier, this advice is right on target. Since politicians simply won't deal with the situation (i.e. gun control ... hard to believe when you can't get allergy relief medicines over the counter that you can buy 6000 rounds of ammunition in short order and no one takes notice), we need to be proactive. We need to start helping people who are suffering in many, many ways as early on as we can. We may never know the tragedies we avert ... but it is worth trying!


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Contest Winner

WINNER!


Congratulations to M. Oldale, who not only got the answer correct to the Where is the Enterprise in the photo berthed photo, but also got the decade the photo was taken correct, all in one fell swoop!

Enjoy your rarely given and much coveted Digital NO Award!!!


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Contest: Where Is It?


Every geek worth his or her salt knows WHAT this is ... but only the truly knowledgeable will know WHERE this is. The first person with the correct answer wins the much sought after and highly revered Digital NO Prize. Let the games begin! 

Bonus points for the closest guess as to which decade (or half decade) this photo was originally taken during (lousy sentence structure but you get the idea).

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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/





"Shut It" and Work Together: A Modest Proposal for a Polarized Society

Flag of truce, warring camps ... let's talk
Okay, all you science and religious guys and gals who have been making all the noise out there--shrieking about how your point of view is absolutely right and the other guy's is absolutely wrong ... and both sides claiming the other side is going to their version of hell (irredeemable stupidity for one side and the fiery pit for the other ... yeah, I contend you're both really religious folks ... but we'll save that for another day)--put a cork in it, or "shut it" as the Brits would say, roll up your sleeves, and get to work! The world around you is burning Nero. It's time to put away the collective fiddle and do something.

Let's push through a few points really quickly here so we can move on. Science-atheist folks, listen, that line "if you're a Christian [or other religious group but you all seem to be obsessed with a small fraction of Christianity] you have to believe every word in the Bible and live it out, no matter how alien some of it sounds." OOO, got me there ... NO! Come on guys, you're bright folks who like to do research. Stop acting like literalists and dig a little. The Bible is 66 books written across a staggering number of centuries by writers who were addressing the peoples and concerns of their day using the most sophisticated means of their times, employing writing styles and tactics that were complex and engaging. All the text is written in a context, in a historical period, in a particular setting and served a particular purpose at the time. Some of the writings have universal applications, others do not. If you take it out of context in mindless little snippets you can of course make it sound pretty bizarre ... then again, the multiverse concept for which you have no direct evidence is awfully darned bizarre too, wouldn't you say? As far as the Old Testament God being all violent and the streets ran knee deep in blood ... go look up how tribal peoples believed their tribal deity was strong and also look up ancient Near East war reporting. You'll learn a few things. (I'll just say this, God meets us where we are, and where we are is usually pretty darned weird.) Also on the "you have to believe it all front," the religious types can apply that argument right back at you, you know. If you are believers in science, then you must believe in ... alchemy, heavier objects fall faster, phlogiston (?!), rain follows the plow, the human body cannot withstand speeds greater than 20 miles per hour, the atom is the smallest particle, Piltdown man, Pluto is a planet ... need I go on? It's the same argument and in this context you can see how silly it is.

Religious folks, stop nodding and grinning, you need to get a grip too. Science is not trying to destroy your faith, really! If you're faith can't withstand a little science, perhaps you need to reexamine your beliefs rather than railing about science. Did you know that some of the top atheists started life as fundamentalist Christians, but their belief system proved too fragile for the modern world and rather than being able to see their way clear to another, more robust theology (and there are several, science folks, there really are) their beliefs shattered and they ended up fundamental atheists, bringing all their fervor to the other camp to work hard to disprove what failed them. So, think about that. Further, do you really think the creator of the universe needs you to defend the Almighty? Really? Finally, there are some great tools out there the science folks have created that we can all use to both send out messages of hope and to help improve lives to this bleeding world. Really!

Now, stop flinging poo, folks, and find a way to work together. Damaged folks are arming themselves and gunning down crowds, as private individuals and dictators. How can you guys combine efforts to stop them? People are starving in shameful numbers. Work together to end that.

Science guys and gals, you are great at creating new stuff. Harness that ability to address global warming, food crises, pollution control, and all the other ills science can reach. Religious guys and gals, you are great at organizing people, carrying visions for social justice, and getting folks to act on them. Mobilize folks to help others. Be inspired by the group that is working to thwart the Westboro fanatics peacefully and ask yourselves how you can address social ills peacefully. Work with the science folks on a social vision you can push forward together.

Stop acting like the howler monkeys I saw at the zoo. They were broken into two camps, hooting madly away at each other, and not accomplishing one single thing. Times are too dangerous to fiddle while Rome burns. What do you say?


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Adventures in Fitness 8: One Guy's Attempt to Knock the Rust Off: Discipline Creep and Perseverance

I write and edit books ... lots of books. I've written countless papers over the years I went to seminary part time (just graduated in May and still celebrating). There is one nemesis all writers face every day. It is evil, insidious, ever lurking in the shadows, and ready to pounce at the least sign of weakness. This super foe has a name. It's name is ... procrastination! There is no greater destroyer of articles, vanquisher of books, executioner of would-be novels than the dread procrastination. What is a writer to do?

Much to my surprise, as a reformed couch potato type, one answer (I'm sure there are others) is to be found at the gym. The gym you say? Isn't that another place to procrastinate you ask with eyebrows arched? Possibly, I reply ... but, and it's a big but, there is a truth to be found there. The first ten minutes of the first workout of the day or evening (elliptical machine for me) is difficult to miserable. Your body whines at you constantly. It snivels about how hard the workout is, how various little bits and pieces ache and could be about to explode, it implies you might die if you don't stop soon. This goes on and on first those first long minutes. After that, something magical happens. Your body gives up the fight and starts enjoying itself. It relaxes into the pace of the workout and even picks it up a notch when you aren't looking. What was misery becomes bliss. And you remember that for the next workout ... and that makes it easier to soldier on through the fussing and the fuming.

And that's where the revelation came in ... somewhere in the midst of the sweaty routine after my body gave up the fight and started having fun. All that whining is exactly like an author's procrastination. The brain whines at you about how difficult the writing assignment will be, how unfair it is you have to do this instead of ... ANYTHING else, and it suggests that you might die the writer's death if you do it wrong (i.e. people will decide you can't write your way out of a wet paper bag ... why would you want to exactly ... and will never read you again). Then you get down to the actual writing and since you are doing what you love ... very soon you relax into it and the hours fly by. Knowing that the ten minutes of whining in the workout leads to bliss has helped me jump past the procrastination that can keep me from work and get straight down to the business at hand. It's discipline creep ... the exercise discipline is now shaping the writing discipline to help me defeat my most insidious foe.

Coupled directly to this is perseverance. Every time you get past that first few miserable minutes and succeed you are better armed for the next round. You have learned the drill and you muscle through. Further, you learn how to handle the feelings of physical distress (minor here ... I'm not talking about broken bone or impending heart attack pain here ... if you have that for heaven's sake stop now and see a doctor ... no I'm talking about the tightness in the chest and shortness of breath that comes from getting into the routine), slowing up to let your lungs catch up with you and your breathing steady itself. You soon learn it's all about adjusting the routine to continue the exercise. Soon you and your body learn how to communicate well with each other, understand that the feelings you get are manageable and totally normal, and you persevere. Here's another bit of knowledge that transfers into other fields as well.

So persevere and let the exercise discipline creep into other aspects of your life. Who knew there was so much to learn at the gym? Not me, that's for sure. But I'm learning.


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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/


Monday, July 23, 2012

Old Tech vs High Tech in the 21st Century

I was four states away from home, in a town I'd never seen before, with an appointment to keep, and I was lost. I'd used an online map service (will not mention name here as it wouldn't be fair to them), which had worked fine for getting me to the state, the town, and my hotel room the night before. But in the early light of dawn, there was one street turn I just couldn't find. I went up and down that stretch of road in increasing panic (I hate being late) but no matter how hard I tried, that one turn, the third one listed on the instructions, just wouldn't appear. As the appointment time loomed, I called the office I should have already arrived at in a panic.

The people I was to see were wonderful. They were supportive and understanding (this had happened before). They tried to talk me through on the cell phone, but to no avail. I had a stupid cell phone rather than a smart one so I couldn't call up directions there. I had no GPS in the car to calmly guide (or misguide) me. Finally, the staff gently suggested I stop at a gas station and ask for directions ... why is it we males never do this voluntarily? I did ... and the staff was no help. They drew a blank. I looked around that gas station in rising panic. I NEEDED to keep this appointment for which I was now late.

Then my eyes hit on it and I wondered why I hadn't thought of it sooner. I flashed back to another century and snatched the object of my desire off the shelves, my old school life line and long lost friend. I eagerly paid for the wonderful, old-fashioned, nearly magical object, and within two minutes (I know how to read said object from long decades of use) was happily on my way again, sure of my directions. I had found a detailed atlas of the city and all its surrounding towns, paid $24.99 for it, and arrived safely at my appointment within ten minutes. The map of the area where I was located showed me clearly the elusive turn and the much sought next road. And before you feel all smug, thinking your bit of high tech would have worked better and you would never have gotten lost, know this ... the needed road had no road sign and was a looping feeder between two roads ... so it might not have been recorded in your GPS device any better than it was on my online map service. So, moral of the story, sometimes even in this high tech age, it pays to go old school. If you find yourself lost in unfamiliar territory, stop at the local gas station, and ask for an old fashioned map. It'll get you there. By the way, for those unfamiliar with the technology, nothing happens if you tap the map page of an atlas with your fingertip.

Happy trails and safe travels to 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.oldlinepublishing.com/bookstore-marketplace/children-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/ldren-s-books/michael-and-the-new-baby/