So Who Needs Expensive Cat Toys?

The ultimate low-cost, zero-maintenance cat toy–a shadow. Any shadow will do, even a cat’s own shadow if there’s nothing else.

Note the cat chasing the shadow of his tail. Round and round and round–why don’t they get dizzy, doing that? My old cat, Buster, used to get dizzy if I picked him up and spun around a bit with him in my arms–but he always pretended he wasn’t dizzy at all. But I’m afraid his act never fooled anyone.


Memory Lane: Pogo Stick

This 1958 (or ’59) pogo stick is the same kind I had at the time, with the red sponge rubber ball on top for a handle. And if my mother had ever seen the tricks I was doing with my pogo stick, she would’ve had a kazoo.

The kid in this video is good–but I was bouncing up and down our cellar stairs and even up and down the high school football bleachers. You do things when you’re ten years old that you wouldn’t dream of attempting after you’ve grown up.

My friends across the street had a pair of stilts just like those in the video, but none of us ever mastered that art.

One day, alas, a kid in the neighborhood who was much too big for my pogo stick tried it out and bent it beyond repair. And so my pogo days were over.

But if I can ever get my hands on another one…

P.S.–Dig the cool cars in the background!


Does God Care What I Think?

Image result for images of religious scholars debating

St. Peter tells us “that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation [or origin]. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

We don’t make it up as we go along. Scripture is the authoritative word of God, handed down by God to us through individuals He chose to do so.

One of the reasons I’m cautious about venturing into the theology shop is because of a bad habit that I need to leave outside: that whole business of reading some of the Bible and then adding onto it the magic words, “Well, I think…”

God already knows what I think, and knows it better than I do.

I think (oops!) I once convinced a guy on my chess page that Christian homeschooling is a good thing, but that’s the only evidence I have that I’ve ever changed anyone’s mind about anything. I’m sure most of you can say the same.

Here on this blog, some of us have been discussing Hell, its reality or non-existence, the fate of unrepentant sinners who reject Christ, and the interpretation of various scriptures bearing on those topics.

I was going to write, “Well, I think Hell is…” But what profit would there be in that, to anyone who reads it? Who would say to himself, “Now fancy that! Looks like I’ve got this Hell thing all wrong. Good thing there’s this guy in New Jersey to straighten me out”?

So what I’ll write instead is this.

It is important to know the truth, and God’s word is the truth. The Bible is God’s word. Therefor we arrive at truth by reading the Bible with an open heart and a thirsting mind. The Lord loves those who hunger and thirst for truth and righteousness.

We must believe, as Abraham believed: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Of course He will.

To rail against God because we don’t understand something He’s done, or not done, is even more absurd than a tiny carpet beetle denouncing the homeowner for vacuuming the rug. Maybe we’re mad because we’ve misunderstood entirely. Or understood, but only incompletely.

God puts up with it because He loves us. See Psalm 73: some things never change.

We can’t expect to know all spiritual things while we’re still in the flesh. It isn’t common sense to think we can.

Prayer and trust and Bible-reading will always stand us in good stead–whether we agree about what Hell really is or not.

Meanwhile, try to avoid going there.


An Archeological Enigma: Potbelly Hill

Source: An Archeological Enigma: Potbelly Hill


‘The Church Has One Foundation’

A lot of you have been loving these hymns performed by the students at the Fountainview Academy, so here’s another one: The Church Has One Foundation.

All that lovely scenery, by the way, is in British Columbia. God put it there.


Cat Escape Artists

How do our cats get out when we don’t want them to? Mostly, I think, by stealth. You open the door to get the mail and the cat sneaks out. Happens a lot.

But here, without the use of opposable thumbs, the cats engineer an escape via the kitchen window. Well, one of them does. The other needs to hone his skills a little more.


Cartoons Didn’t Get Better

Just so you can better appreciate what Max Fleischer was able to do with cartoons in the 1920s, here’s “Clutch Cargo,” which debuted in 1959. They made the lips to move with a process called “syncro vox”–but nothing else moved. More like suspended animation than animation.


Memory Lane: Koko the Clown

Remember Koko the Clown? A real blast from the past! These cartoons were from the 1920s and 30s, but were still being shown on TV in the Fifties. This one features the voice of Cab Calloway singing the lugubrious St. James Infirmary Blues.

Max Fleischer, better known for Betty Boop and Popeye, created these cartoons. Amazing animation was produced by drawing the figures over film clips of real people moving around. It must’ve cost a fortune, for its time. I haven’t watched any cartoons lately, but the ones I saw ten years ago or so couldn’t compare with these for quality.

Yes, in my early life there was a weekday afternoon cartoon show hosted by Uncle Fred Sales (who also hosted pro wrestling, providing off-camera sound effects by cracking his knuckles), featuring mostly Farmer Grey cartoons and Terrytoons, but with a sprinkling of Koko specimens.

Was I a better person for having seen all these. Not likely. But they kept me too busy to play with matches.


In Defense of Hell

Image result for images of the rich man and lazarus

Recently a reader named Ben, commenting on my posting of the hymn, Christ Shall Have Dominion, took issue with the concept of Hell. He says he believes, instead, in universal salvation, and that he has Scriptural warrant for it. I have invited him to explain his position. He is a guest in my cyber-living room, and I trust he will be treated accordingly.

Modern people, Christians included, are uncomfortable with the concept of everlasting punishment for sin. When we see a medieval painting of souls in torment in Hell, we would much rather see something else. Nevertheless, Hell is part of Christian doctrine.

Jesus Christ Himself mentions Hell sixteen times. I counted. He describes it as a place where the fire is not quenched and the worm never dies–rather like a kind of spiritual landfill, where there’s always something burning and always vermin crawling around, gnawing on the contents. Not a nice image.

If there is no such place, then why does Jesus say there is? If it’s only a figure of speech–and there are plenty of them in the Bible–then what is Jesus talking about? If there is no Hell, then what is the sentence handed down on unrepenting sinners who refuse to accept their salvation in Christ?

Consider His parable of the rich man and Lazarus, in Luke 16. The rich man is not being punished for being rich, but for being selfish and insensitive, turning a blind eye to real suffering that was literally at his doorstep and which he could have easily alleviated.

Some aspects of this parable are surely figurative speech; a parable, after all, is a story. Our Lord was, among many other things, a story-teller. So perhaps the conversation between the rich man in Hell and Abraham in Heaven is not meant to depict something that actually happens, but rather included to make the point.

But as for the rest of it–well, if the rich man is not in Hell, where is he? If he, too, is to be saved out of Hell, then why doesn’t Jesus say so?

Wherever there is true repentance, God provides forgiveness. This the Bible clearly teaches, throughout both Testaments. But where there is no repentance–not only a change of heart, but a change of behavior–there is judgment. The rich man in the parable changed neither his heart nor his behavior. For him, understanding comes too late–if it can be said to have ever come at all. Even in Hell, it looks like he still hasn’t learned his lesson.

God, says St. Peter, “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). This is surely the ground on which universalism is based. But will all sinners come to repentance? In Revelation, they don’t repent even after God pours all sorts of terrible judgments on them.

That’s as far as I’m going to go today. Please, everyone, feel free to comment.


How to Get Rid of Maggots

Source: How to Get Rid of Maggots


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