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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blackhawks 2, Blues 0

After two "brutal" ( Coach Q's word) losses in overtime to the Blues after leading with less than two minutes left, Jonathan Toews came through and Corey Crawford made it stick as the Blackhawks beat St. Louis 2-0 at the United Center yesterday.

Game Four will be on Wednesday, also in Chicago.

This will be an epic series between two young and very, very good teams. The Blues are the team I've feared all season as the greatest obstacle to my Hawks repeating as Stanley Cup champs.

 Hawks in seven.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ is risen!

Awake, My Heart, with Gladness
By: Paul Gerhardt

Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious sun.
My savior there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings it flight.

The foe triumph shouted
When Christ lay in the tomb;
But lo, he now is routed,
His boast is turned to gloom.
For Christ again is free;
In glorious victory
He who is strong to save
Has triumphed over the grave.

This is a sight that gladdens
What peace it does impart!
Now nothing ever saddens
The joy within my heart.
No gloom shall ever shake,
No foe shall ever take
The hope which God’s own Son
In love for me has won.

Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their power are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all its might
Cannot my soul affright;
It is a powerless form,
However it rave and storm.

Now I will cling forever
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whatever he passes through.
He rends death’s iron chain;
He breaks through sin and pain;
He shatters hell’s grim thrall’
I follow him through all.

He brigs me to the portal
That leads to bliss untold,
Whereon this rhyme immortal
Is found is script of gold:
"Who there my cross has shared
Finds here a crown prepared;
Who there with me has died
Shall here be glorified."

Hymn # 128 from Lutheran Worship
Author: Johann Cruger
Tune: Auf, Auf, Mein Herz
1st Published in: 1648

Friday, April 18, 2014


53 Who has believed what he has heard from us?

    And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
    and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected[b] by men;
    a man of sorrows,[c] and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
    yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
    and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
    stricken for the transgression of my people?
And they made his grave with the wicked
    and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
    and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
    he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see[i] and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
    make many to be accounted righteous,
    and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
    and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
    and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
    and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Despite the hype, it was just your average lunar eclipse

"Blood moon," my hemorrhoids .

At least in downtown Des Moines, this morning's lunar eclipse was a burnt orange a little darker than the piping on the Bears' uniforms. Maybe Texas Longhorn orange. Which is about average for a lunar eclipse. I've seen a couple of brick red ones in my time, but dark orange is the norm

I don't know where this "blood red moon" business came from. An even bigger mystery is why, though I knew better, I bought into it. Now that I look back on it, I should have wondered when the hype was first being dished out. The color of an eclipse is largely a function of the amount of dust in the atmosphere, and I haven't read about any recent Krakatoa or Mt. Pinatubo or Mt. St. Helen's or Yellowstone Super Volcano eruptions, or the onset of nuclear winter (though I'm beginning to wonder about that last one; Spring lasted all of two days here). So I can't imagine why anybody thought we even might have a "blood red" eclipse. And contrary to one rather, er.... extraordinary suggestion I encountered on line, lunar eclipses are always various shades of orange and red. They are never, EVER pink!

This morning's event was nothing special- just an average, ordinary, typical lunar eclipse, which itself is a frequent and common event. So why all the hype? Probably, I guess, because we hadn't had one since 2011. That's unusual; we often have two or three in the same year- the next one will be on October 8- and unlike solar eclipses, totality occurs over the entire night side of the planet!

It would probably be going to far to say that if you've seen one lunar eclipse, you've seen them all. In fact, if you've seen one lunar eclipse- this morning's for example- you've merely seen most of them. Unusual eclipses do occur- but only if there's a fairly drastic reason for them to be unusual.

Nevertheless, come October 8 I'll be out there again watching the moon slip into Earth's shadow. As an astronomy addict, it's in my blood.

The real show, of course, will be the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. For a change it won't be the islanders in the middle of the Pacific Ocean or the inhabitants of the frozen Canadian tundra who will see the show; the path of totality (below) runs right across the middle of the United States!

Somehow, I'm going to have to figure out how to get to Kentucky, where the duration of totality is longest, on that day.

Or at least Omaha.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Why did CBS choose Colbert?

"Progressive" fundamentalism

No, Paul Krugman. Facts most certainly do not have a liberal bias.

And yes, people who disagree with the Left have the same rights as the Left does. Sorry, but's that's kinda the basis for our system of government.

Interesting, though, how much the "progressives" have in common with the mindless persecutors of religion's darkest moments- the very folks the Left would have us believe Christians and Jews and Muslims are as a group.

Mindless faith can be an addictive drug. Especially when you believe that only your opponents are capable of it.

I hate the use of the word "fundamentalist" as a put-down. It's  name of a historic religious movement(can you imagine, say, "methodist" used as a put-down?) whose very purpose was an to broaden the boundaries of the Christian community by identifying those beliefs which supposedly were basic to the faith, thereby making disagreement about lesser issues less divisive. But it's now used, as Martin Marty once observed, as "a religious cuss-word," a term denoting mindless intolerance and rigid faith in an irrational belief system. And I don't suppose there's much that can be done about that, Leftists being in pretty much complete control of the media, and there's not much more tolerant folk can do about their bigoted misuse of the word.

So I'll yield the point.

Sorry, "progressives." But by your own  definition, you're the biggest "fundamentalists" of all.

Friday, April 11, 2014

CBS blew it in not picking Ferguson to replace Letterman

Craig Ferguson is a class act.

He's also the wittiest, funniest-on-his-feet, and best at putting a guest at ease of anyone I've ever seen do a talk show. I've been looking forward to snarky (and increasingly unfunny) left-winger David Letterman's retirement for some time, assuming that Craig would take his place (the earlier time slot would even serve to curb Ferguson's one drawback: his obsession with discussing his own genitals and those of others).

Sadly, CBS has decided to replace one left-wing snark artist with another. Stephen Colbert, not Craig Ferguson, will replace Letterman when the latter retires next year.

A pity. I'll still watch as much of The Late Show as  I used to: the last five minutes, to be sure that I don't miss any of Craig's monologue.

But no more than that.

This is a mistake, and CBS is going to regret it, because I don't think I'm anywhere close to being alone in that regard.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

McCarthyism: the Left's default position

Herein Dennis Prager explains why the Mozilla purge needs to be the occasion of that rarest of occurrences- a boycott by those on the Right.

He also explains an essential difference between the Right and the Left: that for the Right, McCarthyism was an isolated incident in history.

For the Left, on the other hand, it's a way of life, deeply engrained in its view of reality.

Conservatives believe in converting people who disagree with them. "Progressives" believe in destroying them.

Brave New World.