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 18, 2018

Fmr. President Barack Obama Speaks At Mandela Day (Full) | NBC News

In my humble (and utterly biased) opinion, this is a wonderful speech well worth remembering, particularly the history lesson. It was my privilege to see it live. This is one of the excellent things about social media. We can attend events worldwide. Take a look.

Beyond Loaves and Fishes: On Vacation & Invitation

Here's an invitation to a live stream Bible study on Tuesday evenings at 8 p.m. It's a half hour long and we're looking to grow a vibrant community over time. You are invited.

This link should get you to my channel & the Subscribe button:

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Flying car innovator believes he can finally make it a reality

Meet the Black Fly, one of the new entries in the quest for the Jettson's flying car. This one is computer controlled and has a "home" button to get you back to where you once belonged? The future? Or another pipe dream? Time will tell.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hostile Times: Hostile Attitudes EVERYWHERE

Our political rhetoric is toxic, many people with bigoted ideas feel emboldened, people are dividing into ever smaller groups hostile to all they see as "others." Our social media drips with anger, too. You know it is really bad when even our candy bars are taking on negative attitudes. This Snickers snarls.

Time to work hard on a major attitude adjustment. It'll have to start as a grass roots movement. I don't see our leaders stepping up with love and kindness. Need proof, watch this:

Good luck and good night! 

Watch Peter Strzok's fiery response to Rep. Trey Gowdy: No Problem with People Pleasing Here

I have been doing some research in how to resist being a people pleaser, which is an emotional trap so many ministers fall into. Saying no, standing up for yourself, and letting others know your true feelings on matters, spoken clearly and succinctly are all strategies to short-circuit the people pleasing problem. And just as I'm studying such things, FBI Agent Peter Strzok shows how it is done. I hesitated to share this, knowing some potential readers might be offended. Then I remembered the problem I'm trying to solve. So, here is the agent's response, a response Republican Congress persons were not expecting on a day they had hoped to distract people from Mr. Trump's activities overseas and make cheap points against the agent in an attempt to discredit the Mueller probe. Things didn't turn out as expected when Agent Strzok refused to please them and, instead, told them the truth as he understood the truth.

One of many useful articles on disrupting the people pleasing habit:

Now, excuse me. I need to have a talk with a few people. 

Scaled Pennsylvania's Highest Elevation, Mt. Davis, 3213 Feet

Two highest elevations in one vacation. Here we arrived at the highest elevation in Pennsylvania, found at the top of Mt. Davis. This is the highest of the four state high points we've visited so far (Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Delaware). It is found in the Forbes State Forest, roughly an hour east and south of Falling Water at the edge of Ohiopyle State Park.

Sherry and I made it to the top (the road gets you nearly there and an easy hiking trail awaits). The rocks erupting from the level surface at the top of Mt. Davis give it the height advantage. If you wish to see the surrounding scenery, however, you'd better not fear heights. You'll have to scale the observation platform. From there you'll see distant wind mills among the trees.

For additional highest elevation adventures so far, see:, and

Map at the top of the observation tower

Cumberland, Maryland, Center of Town

For years we drove past Cumberland, Maryland,
admiring the center of town from the highway.
I have driven, or been driven, past Cumberland, Maryland, all of my life. On this last vacation, in July 2018, my wife and I finally pulled off the highway and drove up the main street through the center of town, a view long admired for its churches, slope, and Allegeny County Courthouse. At least three steeples were visible on that slope. This year, deciding life was too short not to do things yet undone, we dropped into town and drove up that hill. It was far more picturesque than we could capture from a moving car (although my wife did some great work, a little of which is seen here). We will be back to check out that hill and the main business district with its walking street. We will probably do so this Christmas, when the city is decked out in holiday finery. We look forward to it. More to come. 

This is the town, and that sloped street in particular, is the inspiration for the N scale model railroad I'm creating. Alas, the most iconic buildings are not represented in that scale and I have yet to master the skills or collect the tools to scratch build these epic structures.

The church set on the cascading slope is more beautiful than
shown here.

Above the church is the massive, ornate Allegeny County
The courthouse roof towers over the landscape
Amidst tall structures and towering churches
is this little, powder blue house.
What is that on top of the building?
Cumberland has long been a railroad town,
canal transport is evident in its past
as well. 

Ohio’s Highest Elevation Found!

We did it again. My wife and I have now reached the heights in Ohio at Campbell Hill, in the vicinity of Bellefontaine, Ohio. This was the trickiest elevation to find so far as it is located within a school property open to the public but with very little signage available to guide your way.

Now I know not to hold the phone vertically when producing short videos. Oh well, live and learn.

For other highest elevation adventures so far, see:, and
As in Indiana, there is a log book to sign.
But the certificate is a nice, new touch.
Vista from 1549 feet.

No going crazy up there when it snows!
Hi Point school looking toward Ohio Route 540

The Highpointers Foundation bench found at each
highest elevation so far (Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Keeping the Live Stream Adventure Going, Beyond Loaves & Fishes Bible Study on Matthew

The adventure continues. There is a great deal to learn about the mechanics behind a successful live stream operation on YouTube. Those in on the ground floor, the first adopters, are having quite an adventure right along with me. Slowly overcoming ignorance squared (not knowing what I don't know). We had a moment last night, as you'll see here.

PA Senator Pat Toomey's Response to Immigrant Parent/Child Separation

This response is inadequate and somehow overlooks the Trump Administration's direct involvement in separating children (including infants) from their parents at the border, then scattering these frightened children around the country. He also fails to admit that our border patrols, on orders, have been turning asylum seekers away from our lawful ports of entry, forcing them and their children either back into dangerous surroundings or forcing them to attempt a crossing at some other access point. But, here's what he has to say. See for yourself.

Thank you for contacting me regarding immigration policy. I appreciate hearing from you.
America has long benefitted from immigration and the contributions of those who have come to this country willing to work hard and seek a better life. Nearly every American has some connection to our immigrant history. My own grandparents emigrated here from Ireland.
Like many Americans, I believe that our immigration system is fundamentally broken. Our borders are not secure, and large numbers of individuals regularly cross our borders illegally, including some who are violent criminals. Unfortunately, one of the harmful consequences of our broken immigration system has been a large number of children brought to the U.S. illegally.
In 2014, the Obama administration, in response to a large influx of migrants illegally crossing the U.S. border, expanded its practice of detaining families who unlawfully entered the U.S. while their civil immigration cases were being resolved. This practice kept parents and their children together in detention facilities. However, several court decisions ruled that, in general, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could only detain families together for a short period of time. As a result, many families were released, did not appear in court for their civil immigration cases, and remained in the country illegally.
Like the Obama administration, the Trump administration has sought to address the problem of migrants illegally crossing the U.S. border. Under federal law, it is a crime to illegally enter the U.S. The administration has announced plans to refer for federal criminal prosecution all adults who illegally cross our borders (excluding asylum seekers who lawfully arrive at a port of entry). Unfortunately, this policy resulted in the separation of some parents from their children because children cannot be held in federal prison with a parent who awaits criminal prosecution. Under current law, these children are transferred to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which places them with a relative already in the U.S., if one exists, or with a non-profit shelter. On June 20, 2018, President Trump, in response to criticism, issued an Executive Order (EO) reversing the practice of separating families who enter the U.S. illegally.
I believe that separating children from parents who enter the country illegally is heartbreaking and President Trump was right to stop the practice. But this problem can only be permanently fixed with a change in law. Congress must stop talking past one another and find a solution that enforces the law and keeps families together while their immigration cases are being resolved. That is why I am a cosponsor of the Protect Kids and Parents Act (S. 3091), which was introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on June 19, 2018. This legislation mandates that migrant families be held together while their cases are being resolved, with limited exceptions to protect children, such as evidence that a child is a victim of human trafficking. The bill also authorizes new family shelters so that children can remain with their parents while their claims are being processed and seeks to speed up processing of asylum claims. 
I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on immigration. Please be assured I will keep your views in mind as the Senate continues to works towards a solution on immigration policy.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
Pat Toomey
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania