Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Divine Punishment or mere Happenstance?

2 Chronicles 7:14 (New International Version)

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Weather. As the old saying goes," Everyone complains about it, but no one does anything about it." Well, everyone that is except the Chinese who want their Olympics Games to go off perfectly so bad, they're putting big money into the attempt to keep the rain away. Somehow I don't think the Chinese will succeed, but I suppose I can't blame them for trying. Sorry, I digressed for a moment.

Anyway, I don't know about you all, but I have friends who are looking at the numerous weather disasters happening in the U.S. this Summer and wondering what's going on. Frankly, I don't know what's going on either. Much of California is on fire, but then again, it seems to always be on fire, whether as the result of arsonists taking advantage of extreme drought conditions or storms containing minimal rain, but absolutely amazing amounts of lightning. A few days ago, lightning set off over a thousand forest fires, many that are predicted to not be controllable for weeks. Drought is taking a massive toll in other regions of Oklahoma have been deluged while other parts are so dry, there will likely be no harvest this year. Parts of the lower Atlantic states are also in the grips of a major drought for the third year in a row. A couple Cat 1 hurricanes would do them a lot of good, but since Katrina and Rita, I doubt few in the region are praying for one in public.

And then there's the Mid West, where there was hundreds of feet of winter snow in some places and now Spring/early Summer thunderstorms have caused floods that have destroyed homes and businesses even in areas not designated as floodplains. Dams have failed in places as remote from each other as Wisconsin and Indiana. Levees are failing like dominos along the Mississippi. Worse than '93, they're calling it. All I know is that it's spooky to see places where I've lived, worked, and gone to school underwater for days. I can't help but be glad I'm not there.......and wonder how well I would cope with the situation if I was.

And me? Well, I live in the "Rust Belt", where manufacturing once provided 10s of thousands of jobs that are no more and where the mortgage loan mess has taken an even greater toll. We haven't been hit by floods or fires (yet), but the devastation is just as real. The economy was already bad here, but you know it's BAD when your state governor says there isn't even enough money to repair the roads this summer.

Is this the wrath of God or a withdrawing of His Protection? I don't know. I know that in the early 1800s, terrible earthquakes shook much of the South even turned the Mighty Mississippi back on itself. I can not imagine the horror of feeling the earth tremble and seeing sand geysers sending grit, gas, and dust many feet into the air, perhaps just moments after walking on that very spot. Nor can I imagine the Tamboro volcano exploding in 1816 and not only killing hundreds, but sending enough ash into the upper atmosphere to cause the Year Without Summer across most of the planet........causing crop killing frosts in July and August in the Americas, food riots in Europe, and cholera and typhus epidemics in Europe and Asia that killed hundreds of thousands. Did the people of that era think they had come under divine judgement? Some did. Some think America is suffering under divine judgement now. They said it was divine judgement when terrorists hijacked 4 planes and did terrible deeds that shocked the world on September 11, 2001 too. I know there is sin in the land that I love, but there is sin everywhere, some of it so evil as to be unspeakable. I also know the "sin district" of New Orleans survived Hurricane Katrina nearly intact, while churches and the homes of thousands were utterly destroyed. Is Greensburg, Kansas any more sinful and deserving of being wiped off the map by a killer tornado than any other small town in the heartland of America? Is America under divine judgement and does the above verse apply to Americans? I don't know. I only know that Jesus said the rebels who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them were no more sinful than the religious men who stood before questioning him about it......but that they too would perish if they did not repent. It would seem to me God is much more concerned with and about individuals than with nations. Can a huge nation repent of corporate hubris and idolatry? I suppose so, but only if its citizens acknowledge their own sins and repent first.

Good Night from America's "Rust Belt".

Psalm 34:18

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New Clue in the Fight Against Alzheimer's;_ylt=AiAV31.qp.39_lRi_6d_e4Va24cA

New clue to Alzheimer's found in form of protein
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON - Researchers have uncovered a new clue to the cause of Alzheimer's disease. The brains of people with the memory-robbing form of dementia are cluttered with a plaque made up of beta-amyloid, a sticky protein. But there long has been a question whether this is a cause of the disease or a side effect. Also involved are tangles of a protein called tau; some scientists suspect this is the cause.

Now, researchers have caused Alzheimer's symptoms in rats by injecting them with one particular form of beta-amyloid. Injections with other forms of beta-amyloid did not cause illness, which may explain why some people have beta-amyloid plaque in their brains but do not show disease symptoms.

The findings by a team led by Dr. Ganesh M. Shankar and Dr. Dennis J. Selkoe of Harvard Medical School were reported in Sunday's online edition of the journal Nature Medicine.
The researchers used extracts from the brains of people who donated their bodies to medicine.
Forms of soluble beta-amyloid containing different numbers of molecules, as well as insoluble cores of the brain plaque, were injected into the brains of mice. There was no detectable effect from the insoluble plaque or the soluble one-molecule or three-molecule forms, the researchers found.

But the two-molecule form of soluble beta-amyloid produced characteristics of Alzheimer's in the rats, they reported. Those rats had impaired memory function, especially for newly learned behaviors. When the mouse brains were inspected, the density brain cells was reduced by 47 percent with the beta-amyloid seeming to affect synapses, the connections between cells that are essential for communication between them.

The research, for the first time, showed the effect of a particular type of beta-amyloid in the brain, said Dr. Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad, director of the division of neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging, which helped fund the research.

It was surprising that only one of the three types had an effect, she said in a telephone interview.
Morrison-Bogorad said the findings may help explain the discovery of plaque in the brains of people who do not develop dementia. For some time, doctors have wondered why they find some brains in autopsy that are heavily coated with beta-amyloid, but the person did not have Alzheimer's.

The answer may lie in the two types of beta-amyloid that did not cause symptoms.
Now, the question is why one has the damaging effect and not others.

"A lot of work needs to be done," Morrison-Bogorad said. "Nature keeps sending us down paths that look straight at the beginning, but there are a lot of curves before we get to the end."
Dr. Richard J. Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, said that "while more research is needed to replicate and extend these findings, this study has put yet one more piece into place in the puzzle that is Alzheimer's."

In addition to the Institute on Aging, the research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland, Wellcome Trust, the McKnight and Ellison foundations and the Lefler Small Grant Fund.
On the Net:
Nature Medicine:

Small town dreams can come true........

Thanks to Kansas Bob for posting this video on his blog. I don't usually watch "America's Got Talent", so would otherwise have completely missed Neal E. Boyd's tremendous talent and tender soul.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Zen of Sarcasm

The Zen of Sarcasm

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me some space.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. Its always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like 'The Force.' It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

21 Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tag, you're it!

Dear Readers,

I've been tagged by my e-nephew/son, Wert, to tell you all 8 unboring things about myself. Whether there actually ARE 8 unboring things I can tell you about myself, I'm not sure.

1. I like musicians and artists. Yes, I find they're generally crazy messes of human beings, but they can also be great storytellers.

2. I am very fond of tigers and ducks. An odd combination for sure, but I like them for different reasons. However I am not particularly fond of geese.

3. I have grown accustomed to living in the state of confusion. Literally and figuratively.

4. I don't hate snakes, but prefer that they remain in their natural environment and far away from me.

5. Someone once told me I had great eyebrows.

6. I dislike the fragrance of tea roses.

7. Some of my closest friends are people I've never met.

8. My favorite gifts are good books.

Now I tag Wolfie and Kansas Bob! :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

PLEASE pray for flooding/tornado victims in Indiana!

Please pray for the tornado and flooding victims in Southern and Western Indiana. My family is OK, Praise the Lord!, although my sister was unable to get home from the nursing home where my mother lives last night. Apparently a dam collapsed North of Columbus, Indiana due to the enormous amount of rain, nearly a foot in some places, sending flood waters South and overloading the rivers and streams. Some of the flood water has receded, allowing the reopening of I-65 and State Road 31, but a lot of people have been badly impacted. My brother-in law said he saw people being evacuated from their flooded homes yesterday by any means available, including canoes and marsh boats. Columbus Regional Hospital is closed until further notice due to the flooding and the small bridge connecting the hospital to the bridge having been damaged. I believe Indiana's governor Daniels has declared 41 of 92 Indiana counties disaster areas.

Above all else, please pray for no more rain until the flood waters fully recede and the situation has been brought under control! Terre Haute, Indiana has already been hit with over 18 inches of rain and more is expected due to what meterologists call the training affect.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Some uninteresting news...........

It is my intent to start using this blog on a more consistant basis or at least as time allows. A great deal of that time will be spent in posting book reviews, some of which you may find utterly boring and others that may spark considerable controversy. I read everything from Christian romance to historial biographies to Sci Fi /Fantasy to old classics, so be prepared to be surprised. Also be advised that commentaries and musing on various other topics will be in the offing and while I rarely intend to intentionally tick people off, be forewarned that I say what I think and I don't do political correctness........ever.

Sincerely yours,