12.23.2013

"righty tighty, lefty loosy" and the Proverbs

In mechanics almost always, clockwise to tighten, counter clockwise to loosen. Every once in a while you will come across a left hand thread one, but rarely.

How rarely?

Consider this: The Mystery of Left-Hand Lug Nuts

Excerpt:

Some vehicle manufacturers utilize the safe practice of using right-hand threads on studs and nuts to fasten wheels on the right-side of vehicles (passenger-side) and left hand threads on studs and nuts to fasten the wheels on the left side of vehicles (driver-side)
Comment: What does this have to do with the Proverbs? Quote from the ESV study Bible:





Proverbs of necessity focus on consequences, and this raises the question of whether they are “promises.” Proverbs by nature deal with general truths, and are not meant to cover every conceivable situation. Consider the English proverb, “Short cuts make long delays”; the very form of the proverb forbids adding qualifiers, whether of frequency (often, usually, four times out of five) or of conditions (except in cases where …); these would lessen the memorability of the sentence. The competent reader knows that the force of the proverb is not statistical, but behavioral—in the case of the English proverb cited, to urge due caution. In biblical proverbs, the consequences generally make God’s basic attitude clear, and thus commend or discourage behavior.

Proverbs often seem to be mere observations about life, but their deeper meanings will reveal themselves if the following grid is applied: (1) What virtue does this proverb commend? (2) What vice does it hold up for disapproval? (3) What value does it affirm?
Consider Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."

Is it a promise? Or a general observation? Consider the pastor who has the black sheep adult child. The child verbally rejects Christ and affirms atheism. Did the pastor fail?

12.22.2013

Year in Review


  1. Health: I rejoice that 2013 was a year of good health! After health issues in 2011 and 2012, this was a welcome improvement, for which I praise the Lord! (3rd John vs 2, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers".) I did have a minor health issue of a persistent cough. As it turned out that was even for my benefit as my doctor ordered up a heart stress test that I passed with flying colors. The heart (at last my physical heart!) is good! I also had a good year where I did not fall all year! Additionally while my legs get very tired and my knees and ankles experience some minor pain, the pain evaporates with a night's rest!
  2. Spiritual life: I might not be the best one to evaluate my own spiritual life! I'm still a sinner and I sin every day. But I have endeavored to live for Christ daily. Kathee and I read the Scriptures daily and pray and the Lord has been gracious to us all year (no surprise there!)
  3. Church: We continue to joyfully worship and serve at Fourth Baptist Church.
  4. Work: I will celebrate my 20th anniversary with my company in two months. The Lord has used this work to enable us to provide for ourselves. I'm often asked about retirement. The answer is "not yet" and "probably 2 more years". I still have not put together a credible after work plan.
  5. Travel: We had three trips this year: February to Florida to visit Kathee's brother; March to Texas to help my Mother move out of her house and into an independent senior center.; April to Cape Cod with my wife and sister. Additionally I had a business trip to Charlotte. 
  6. Family: Our daughter is in her first year of graduate school at M.I.T.; Our oldest son graduated from college with a degree in accounting and is now working as an accountant for CBRE; and our middle son is currently in Afghanistan with the Army. He is expected home this Summer and is to go back to civilian life with Seagate.
  7. Pets: We sadly had to put one of our cats down. 
  8. Home: We had a big blow down and experienced tree damage back in June. Four willows had to be cleaned up / trimmed up. One large spruce had to be removed and a replacement tree planted.
  9. Investing: I dabble in investing. My top investment of 2013 was PBI which doubled in value. Too bad I have few shares. My stinker investment was in BCE which declined in value by 9%. At the time I made the PBI investment ... I considered it a risky choice. Who knew!
  10. Toastmasters: I joined this year and have had a lot of fun with this. 
  11. Mayflower Society: Finally joined.
  12. Writing: I wrote a series on articles on personal finance. All were published on Sharper Iron.

12.21.2013

Stuck in a Snowbank



At about 4:00 pm, I drove my Chevy S-10 out to O"Reilly auto parts in Plymouth to see my brother. On the way back I drove through Clifford French Park to see the sights. Unfortunately I slid my S-10 into a snow bank. This was just before 5:00 p.m.

I waited and waited and prayed. Two vehicles drove by without stopping despite my having my 4-way flashers on.

Finally at about 5 p.m. a man Tony stopped. I borrowed his cell phone and called my wife who called our motoring plan.

Then I waited and waited. I would run the truck for 5 minutes to heat the cab up and then turn it off for 20.

At 6:20, Kathee came to get me. The towing companies are backed up for hours. We are home ... but the truck is still there. I have contacted Frankie's Towing and they are going to call us when they can meet us there to extricate the truck.

----- Updated at 8:40 pm --------
Truck home ... snow still packed in wheels


12.19.2013

Christian Views on Alcohol Consumption

Mayo Clinic: Alcohol use: If you drink, keep it moderate

Moderate alcohol use may be of most benefit only if you're an older adult or if you have existing risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol.

12.13.2013

Yahoo: EZ download of stock data

Downloading Yahoo data

Comment: Much cool stuff but for a simple download of stock symbol and last closing price put this string in URL browser window: 

http://download.finance.yahoo.com/d/quotes.csv?s=ABBV+ABT+AMLP+CA+CAG+CLX+COP+CSCO+ED+GIS+GS+JNJ+KMB+KO+KR+KRFT+MRK+MSFT+PG+PULB+STT+STX+SYY+TGT+WM&f=sp

12.12.2013

"Thou Shalt not Steal" - Everyday ethics for the business professional

Scripture:
  • “You shall not steal" Exodus 20:15
  • "Let him who stole steal no longer" Ephesians 4:28
Comment:

I was a bit surprised that that technology group of which I am a member has a new time and attendance policy taking effect on January 1st. Basically there are workers who have time-based performance (this may loosely relate to being non-exempt) or performance based (loosely related to being exempt). The net of the communications was this - be on time ... and don't leave early ... and let your manager know if you will be away from your work for such and such time (like a Dr's appointment).

Christians are called upon to have the highest level of ethics with regard to employment. In thinking about my own work environment, I see these areas where the Christian needs to be carefully observant:

  • Don't steal time. A full time employee should work full time. 
  • Don't steal office supplies: Occasionally and inadvertently I will bring a pen home from work. Seems like a minor thing! But it is best to return it. If one needs personal office supplies, buy them for oneself!
  • Don't cheat on expenses: I have a company credit card. I only carry it in my wallet when I travel - otherwise it is locked up. While we are not required to keep receipts for meals of less than a certain amount, I keep all receipts and am careful to only expense what was really spent. If I have breakfast for $ 4.00 at McDonald's ... I don't expense as if I spent $ 10 at Perkins.
  • Don't take technology: I have 4 or 5 keyboards stowed away in my office. If I need a keyboard for home, I buy it. When I need a mouse, I buy it myself.
  • Don't take services: We have an internal mail system where I can mail any package to any company employee anywhere where an employee is located. I used to have relatives who worked for the company and lived miles away. It would have been wrong to send Christmas presents via the internal mail system to a relative-employee.
Who is watching? The Lord says: "Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?”. Jeremiah 23:24. We are called to high ethics because God is just and holy. We live and move in God and cannot escape His presence or observance.

12.10.2013

On Oversaving for Retirement

Could You Be Oversaving for Retirement?

Excerpt:


The 80% replacement rule — which means workers should aim to replace that much of their pre-retirement income — is hardly a one-size fit-all model. Blanchett argues that the figure may be much lower for some workers, considering that some expenses, like taxes for Social Security and Medicare, work-associated costs like commuting, and pre- and post-tax retirement savings contributions all but disappear once you retire. On the flipside, it could wind up being higher for other workers, especially if they live in a state with a high income tax or expect to put their grandchildren through college. When Blanchett looked at four households earning between $37,500 and $225,000 a year, and factored in what they would need to have once they were no longer paying for these expenses in retirement, he found their ideal replacement rates varied widely — as low as 54% and as high as 87%. “Although a rule of thumb replacement rate of 70% to 80% is clearly reasonable, it isn’t ideal, and moreover, it is clear that the replacement rate is sensitive to the proportion of pre-tax expenses and post-tax expenses,” he says.
Comment: My own take is that we have under-saved and that we started about 10 years too late. Most recent projections for us see us retiring a bit later: Kathee at 65 ... me at 67 (3 more years)

Toastmasters speech at Wells Fargo today: "Why I don't believe in Santa Claus but I believe in Christmas"

By the time this posts, I will have given my 7 minute speech (I have a hard time fitting all into 7 minutes - but that is my allotted time). Outline is as follows:

  • Introduction:
    • For a longer title: Why I don’t believe in Sasquatch, Big Foot, the Tooth Fairy, the Locke Ness Monster, or Santa Claus … but I believe in Christmas.
    • Why? Essentially I am an empiricist – I look for evidence
    • At Christmastime, Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth -Even though unlikely he was born on December 25th
  • Four questions about Jesus Christ:
    1. Just a legend?
    2. A liar?
    3. A lunatic?
    4. Or Lord?
  • A legend? Mythical? Or Historical? Verifiable?
    • The analogy of Abraham Lincoln from 200-150 years ago
    • Our summer of Lincoln: Books, Places
  • Historical references (Biblical and extra-Biblical):
  • A liar?
    • He made claims:
      • “Before Abraham as I am” (Abraham the Father of three religions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity)
      • “he that has seen me, has seen the Father”
    • He forgave men their sins (and who can forgive sins but God?!)
    • He accepted worship
  • A lunatic?
    • A teacher
    • A healer / miracle worker
    • A prophet – the destruction of Jerusalem
  • Or Lord? Early Christians and Christians today believe the grave could not contain Him - He is risen Lord!

12.07.2013

Excel VLOOKUP example



A real life example:

  • I have multiple spreadsheets that deal with stocks: Stocks I am analyzing, stocks I may purchase or sell, et cetera
  • I had been using named cells for updating prices. For each spreadsheet I had a extra table called "price table" that I used to maintain these prices. This works but: If I sorted the table on stock symbol the named cell with the price data did not carry with the sort. AND because I have multiple spreadsheets that deal with stocks, I had to maintain an extra table for prices on each workbook. What a pain!
  • I had the day off yesterday and began to research using VLOOKUP. I read some tutorials in the afternoon and then last night as we were watching TV, I worked with for about an hour. 
  • Summary: Very easy!
  • I created a new worksheet called "Stock_prices.xlxs"
  • And then used the VLOOKUP function in my stock spreadsheets to populate the price, dividend, and PE data. 
  • An image of the VLOOKUP example is above (with results). And the stock prices table below.

Cell B2 (price for ED) Explained


VLOOKUP has 4 arguments. The first three are essential:





  • A2: Use the value in A2 as the search argument. The Value of A2 is "ED" (Con Ed)
  • [Stock_Prices.xlsx]Sheet1!$2:$1001:
    • [Stock_Prices.xlsx]: Use external table Stock_Prices.xlsx (comment: has to be sorted (in this case on stock symbol)
    • Sheet1!$2:$1001: From named worksheet "Sheet1" .... rows 2 to 1001
  • 2: Data in the 2nd column. In this case the price of the stock


11.26.2013

Plymouth oak leaves in Afghanistan

Kathee pressed them (from oak tree in back yard) and sent them to Roger. Roger hung in bunk area and took photo to send us (w post card from his sister)

11.23.2013

730 Stinson Boulevard 403



730 Stinson Boulevard 403

Comment: Tomorrow's open house. Hennepin Co tax ID 1302924410132. The old Cream of Wheat building.

11.22.2013

Cell phones on planes ... this could be an actual conversation



Goodbye, Peace And Quiet: Hello, Phone Calls On Planes?

Window seat 737 row 8: Cell phone passenger # 1: [speaking loudly]: "I'm on a plane!"

Middle seat: Cell phone passenger # 2: [speaking loudly]: "Speak up! The guy next to me is shouting into his phone!"

Row seat [women with baby]: Cell phone passenger # 3: [speaking loudly]: "The guy shouting next to me woke up the baby! I can't hear you!"

Row seat: Cell phone passenger # 4: [speaking even louder]: "There's a screaming baby in my ear! Can't hear you!"

Comment: I would rather have snakes on a plane!

11.19.2013

Endless Afghanistan? .... "until the end of 2024 and beyond"

US-Afghan agreement would keep troops in place and funds flowing, perhaps indefinitely

Excerpt:

Afghanistan would allow Washington to operate military bases to train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaeda after the current mission ends in 2014. For that foothold in this volatile mountain region wedged between Pakistan and Iran, the United States would agree to sustain and equip Afghanistan's large security force, which the government in Kabul currently cannot afford. The deal, according to the text, would take effect on Jan. 1, 2015 and “shall remain in force until the end of 2024 and beyond.” It could be terminated by either Washington or Kabul with two years advance written notice.
Comment: Yikes!

11.18.2013

What is a Steward?



  1. Greek: οἰκονόμος (noun): (From οἶκος (house) + νόμος (law)): the manager of household or of household affairs:
    1. “ a steward, manager, superintendent to whom the head of the house or proprietor has entrusted the management of his affairs, the care of receipts and expenditures”
    2. “the manager of a farm or landed estate, an overseer”
    3. “the superintendent of the city's finances, the treasurer of a city” (Romans 6:23, “Erastus, the treasurer of the city, greets you”
    4. Companion word (Noun): οἰκονομία = “the management of a household or of household affairs” (eg 1 Corinthians 9:17, “For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship”
  2. Examples in New Testament:
    1. Luke 12:42,43, “And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.”
    2. Luke 16:1-3-ff, “He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg.”
    3. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful”
    4. 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”
  3. The key principle of stewardship = “it is not ours!”
  4. Of what is the Christian a steward?
    1. Life! Life is a gift. God is the giver of life. We belong to Him and our times are in His hands!
      • Acts 17:28, “for in Him we live and move and have our being”
      • Romans 14:8, “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore ,whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s”
      • Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service”
    2. Time:
      • Ephesians 5:16, “redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
      • 2 Timothy 4:6, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand” (demonstrates that Paul cognizant of)
      • “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Four times in Hebrews – chapters 3 & 4)
      • Hebrews 9:27, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment”
    3. Treasure: What we earn … how we spend, save, and bestow it
    4. Talent and giftedness (1 Peter 4 context is spiritual gifts!)
      • Natural abilities
      • Developed areas giftedness: (music, speaking, administration, et cetera)
      • Spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14 & Romans 12)/ 1 Corinthians 12:8, “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. … “
    5. The gospel and gospel opportunities (appointments!) (1 Corinthians 4 passage).
Comment: Part of Adult Bible Fellowship lesson for this coming Lord's Day

11.17.2013

Condo shopping: 212 N 1st Street, Minneapolis



212 N 1st Street, Minneapolis

Comments: We've been looking at condos on and off for about 2 years. Starting to ramp it up a bit. Today after church we dropped in on this open house. Very nice.

Others we have looked at:

  • Rock Island Lofts (Minneapolis)
  • Security Lofts (Minneapolis)
  • Itasca Lofts (Minneapolis)
  • Cream of Wheat Lofts (Minneapolis)
  • The Ivy (Minneapolis)
  • IMS Lofts (Minneapolis)
  • Humboldt Lofts (Minneapolis)
  • Lindsey Lofts (Minneapolis)
  • Stone Arch Lofts (Minneapolis)
  • Great Northern Lofts (Saint Paul)
  • River Park Lofts (Saint Paul)



A nice loft and condo directory is available at yoururbanlife.com
We use edinarealty.com to look for open houses.
Ray Klotz is our realtor. At the appropriate time we intend to have Ray be our selling and buying realtor

11.06.2013

Boulder wants to buy out Xcel and have their own municipal utility

Boulder votes in landslide against Xcel attempt to block longterm clean-energy plan

Excerpt:

City residents here voted in a landslide in the election that ended Tuesday to move forward with a plan to buy out Xcel Energy and run their own electric system. The vote and the coming potential buyout are part of a larger pathbreaking plan gaining attention around the world to majorly ramp up use of renewables by pushing aside what many here see as a genetic hesitation on the part of Xcel to do the same. Xcel is a major regional power company that has moved toward renewables steadily in Colorado, but mostly just to meet standards set by the state. Xcel’s Boulder critics say it’s a company that has long done the bulk of its business hand in hand with the coal industry and that is tied to fossil fuels more generally through official partnerships, tacit agreements and institutional stasis.
Comment: Big mistake! But as an Xcel stockholder I will appreciate the cash

11.05.2013

That Fateful Day - "America lost its innocence"




Vanity Fair recently reported on a new spate of books about John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I understand nearly 40,000 books about JFK have been published. Amazon currently lists over 35,000 available titles including nearly 7,000 that deal with his assassination.






I was 11 years old when JFK was elected & inaugurated and 14 when he was assassinated. I was just awakening politically when I was 11, I had followed the election somewhat closely - thanks to Newsweek and Life magazines to which my parents subscribed. Our school had mock debates and mock election. He campaigned in Cincinnati on October 6, 1960.


Additionally his heroics surrounding PT-109 was before us. There was a popular Jimmy Dean song by that title, a book that I had read, and a film that was released in June of 1963. Additionally I had a Revel 1/72th scale plastic model of PT-109.


  • Jimmy Dean PT-109 lyrics / YouTube
    In '43 they Set to sea 13 men and Kennedy Aboard the PT 109 To fight the Brazen enemy On the isle of ol lusana in the strait beyond nehru A Jap deatroyer in the night Cut the '109 in two.

    CHORUS: Smokin fire upon the sea Everywhere they looked was the enemy the heathen gods of old Japan Yeah, the thought they had the best of a mighty good man

    On the coast, commanderos, lookin thru this periscope Australian niven saw the battle For the crew had little hope two were dead, some were wounded, all were clinging to the bow Fightin fire, fightin water, trying to save their lives somehow.

    CHORUS: Smokin fire upon the sea Everywhere they looked was the enemy the heathen Gods of old Japan Yeah, the thought they had the best of a mighty good man

    Mac Me hun, the irishman, was burned so badly he couldn't swim leave me here, go on he said, cause if you don't we'll all be dead the PT's skipper wouldn't leave him, a man to die alone at sea with his strap, between his teeth, he towed the irishman to the sea.

    CHORUS: Smokin fire upon the sea everywhere they looked was the enemy the heathen gods of old Japan they thought they had the best of a mighty good man

    He led his men thru water's Dark rocky reefs and hungry skarks braved the enemy's bayonets a .38 around his neck 4 more days, 4 more nights, a recue boat pulled into sight the PT 109 was gone, but Kennedy and his crew lived on So who could Guess, and who could possibly know that this same man named Kennedy, would, be the leader of a nation, be the one to take command, the PT 109 was gone but Kennedy lived to fight again, Smokin fire upon the sea, Everywhere they looked was the enemy, but JFK and his crew lived on, which proves it's hard to get get the best of a man named John Big John Big John Big John
  • The book:



Key events from his presidency left an impression upon me:

The Timeline of his Texas trip:
  1. Interestingly the 1963 calendar matches the 2013 calendar. 11/22 was and is a Friday and Thanksgiving was and is to be on Thursday 11/28
  2. Thursday November 21st, 1963:
  3. Friday November 22nd, 1963:
    • Fort Worth: The day started out cold and rainy. In an impromptu outdoor speech he said “There are no faint hearts in Fort Worth...”
    • Fort Worth: Chamber of Commerce breakfast speech at Hotel Texas.
    • Short flight in Air Force 1 (Boeing 707) from Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth to Love Field in Dallas
    • And then the fateful motorcade with his destination the Texas Trade Mart for a luncheon speech
    • Planned: Austin: Fundraising dinner speech at Municipal Auditorium.
    • Planned: Johnson City: Weekend of relaxation at Lyndon Johnson's ranch.
  4. The assassin’s bullet:
    • Shots fired at 12:30 p.m. Central. The President hit
    • Mrs. Kennedy said, "I have his brains in my hand!"
    • Agent Clint Hill jumped onto the back of the Presidential limousine, shielding the President and Mrs Kennedy with his body. En route to the hospital, he flashed a "thumbs-down" signal and shook his head from side to side at the agents in the follow-up car, signaling the graveness of the President's condition.
    • Motorcade arrived at Parkland Hospital at 12:38
    • 12:45 pm CST: Dallas ABC news affiliate announced:  “Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. You'll excuse the fact that I am out of breath, but about 10 or 15 minutes ago a tragic thing from all indications at this point has happened in the city of Dallas. Let me quote to you this [briefly looks at the bulletin sheet in his left hand], and I'll...you'll excuse me if I am out of breath. A bulletin, this is from the United Press from Dallas: (Reading UPI bulletin) 'President Kennedy and Governor John Connally [in his agitated state, he mispronounced Connally's name as "Colony"] have been cut down by assassins' bullets in downtown Dallas
    • At 12:40 pm CST/1:40 pm EST. The CBS network interrupted its live broadcast of As the World Turnswith a "CBS News Bulletin" bumper slide and Walter Cronkite filed an audio-only report over it as no camera was available at the time
    • At 1:00 pm CST, after a priest administered the last rites, President Kennedy was pronounced dead
    • 1:33 pm.: Acting White House press secretary Malcolm Kilduff announced: “President John F. Kennedy died at approximately 1:00 CST today, here in Dallas. He died of a gunshot wound to the brain.”
    • 1:38: A CBS News employee seen in the background pulled off a sheet from the AP News ticker. He quickly relayed it (off-camera) to Cronkite, who put on his glasses, took a few seconds to read the sheet, and made the announcement: “From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official: [reading AP flash] 'PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED AT 1 P.M. (CST),' 2:00 Eastern Standard Time, some thirty-eight minutes ago.”
  5. Probably everyone over 60 has a story about "where they were"
    • Wikipedia notes that "The news shocked the nation. Men and women wept openly. People gathered in department stores to watch the television coverage, while others prayed. Traffic in some areas came to a halt as the news spread from car to car. Schools across the U.S. dismissed their students early ... The event left a lasting impression on many Americans. As with the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor before it and the September 11, 2001 attacks after it, asking "Where were you when you heard about Kennedy's assassination?" would become a common topic of discussion".
    • I was in study hall at Oak Hills High School
    • An announcement was made that the President had been shot
    • Shortly thereafter an announcement was made that the President had been killed
    • School was dismissed early and I returned home on the schoolbus
    • There was a palatable sense of grief – seemingly universal: "In those big-three-network days (ABC, CBS, NBC), television was broadcast mostly in black and white, and the images of the coverage that followed—the riderless horse, John-John’s salute as his father’s casket went by, Jacqueline Kennedy’s mourning veil … - bled into our consciousness like irremovable ink.” Vanity Fair
  6. How did the Kennedy assassination change America?
    • In a recent panel discussion on this topic, Bob Schieffer declared "I think it was the weekend that changed America ... America lost its innocence" *
    • For many, their view of America changed for the negative: "New York Times columnist James Reston, the dean of American journalism, said Kennedy’s assassination was a symptom of a sick society. The distinguished historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., an aide in the Kennedy White House, said that Kennedy’s death was evidence that America was an overly violent society. " *
    • There was vast skepticism about the conclusions of the Warren Report and indeed conspiracy theories continue to abound.
    • George Will notes that the Kennedy assassination changed liberalism: "Hitherto a doctrine of American celebration and optimism, liberalism would now become a scowling indictment: Kennedy was killed by America's social climate whose sickness required "punitive liberalism." "
  7. Reflections on the 50th anniversary of his assassination:
    • It continues to resonate for me as a tragedy at a personal level: a young wife witnesses the murder of her husband; her children stand beside her at the funeral 
    • It reminds me of the need to pray for our country and for our leadership. No one wants to see a Presidency end with an assassination! 1 Timothy 2:1-3, "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior". In Proverbs we are reminded that God establishes rulers, "By me kings reign" (8:14-16). And in Daniel 2:21, "And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings"

The Wisdom of Hard Work

  1. Work is not the curse
    • Adam was fully employed prior to the Fall: Genesis 2:15, “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it”
    • The curse: Genesis 3:17-19, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground”
  2. God worked / rested
    • Genesis 2:1-2, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done”
    • The work / rest cycle is divinely ordained: “Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.” (Exodus 23:12) (Plus multiple other references)
  3. Work is commended / slack is condemned
    • RBP: “The Book of Proverbs does not pursue its subjects in a systematic or organized way. Thus the references to diligence and laziness punctuate the book” (Quarterly)
    • Proverbs:
      • 10:4-5, “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. 5 He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame”; 26“As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy man to those who send him”
      • 12:24,27, “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor” … “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession”
      • 13:4,11, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich” … “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase”
      • 14:23, “In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty”
      • 15:19, “The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way of the upright is a highway”
      • 20:4, “The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.”
      • 21:5, 25, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty” … “The desire of the lazy man kills him, For his hands refuse to labor”
      • 22:29, “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.”
      • 24:30-34, “I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; 31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; 34 So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man”
      • 26:13-16, “The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!” 14 As a door turns on its hinges, So does the lazy man on his bed. 15 The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes Than seven men who can answer sensibly”
    • New Testament perspective:
      • 1 Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (KJV). (“Infidel” is ἄπιστος, “without faith;” in ESV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, “an unbeliever.”)
      • 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away
      • 1 Corinthians 7:33-34, “But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife”
      • Ephesians 4:28, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”
      • 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you”
      • 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies”
      • 1 Timothy 5:16, “If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows”
      • 3 John 2, ” Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”
    • On work and working:
      • Because we have a material aspect (we are body and spirit), we have material needs. God knows that we have these material needs!
      • John the Apostle prayed that disciples would prosper spiritually, physically, and materially (3 John 2). Yet the reality is that Christians do struggle in all of these elements!
      • One who fails to provide for his own is called in the KJV an “infidel.”
      • It’s perfectly normal to seek to meet material needs (called “the things of the world” in 1 Cor. 7).
      • Some in the church should be paid—1 Timothy 5:18, “The laborer is worthy of his wages” and 1 Corinthians 9:14, “those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”
      • Others should not be a financial burden to the church. Children are to care for parents in financial need (1 Tim. 5:16). Others may need financial assistance from time to time but they should not be chronic non-workers who depend upon the church.
      • We are to work to live and have basic needs meet. Christians are not to be materialistic, greedy getters of as much as we might be able to attain!
  4. Final observations
    • Each generation builds upon the wealth of a previous generation (example of Mayflower pilgrims … working soil with rudimentary hand tools … today I would go out and buy a rototiller!)
    • Our culture has a problem with not working. Some do not want to work. Some government programs (intended as a safety net) encourage non-work
    • God calls us to provide for self, not be a burden to society or the church, provide for the needs of the ministry and meet genuine needs of the poor
Comment: Outline of my SS lesson for our upcoming ABF class. Image: Working on the transcontinental railroad (1865). Image source . Observations not a part of my SS class:

  • When I view images of men laboring by hand, I realize that what I consider 'hard work' just does not compare!
  • For a number of reasons I labor with my mind. One because I am handicapped. I literally could not do hard physical labor. 
  • I pray I would complain less about work! And praise the Lord for providing a job for me where: I can use my mind, be paid well, have all of my needs met and then some!

10.30.2013

Parsing the Unilever dual listing







NV and PLC together with their group companies operate effectively as a single economic entity.

 Excerpt:

Unilever was founded in 1930 following a business merger between Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Unie of the Netherlands and Lever Brothers Limited of the UK. To avoid punitive taxation levies and the disruption to the business that would result from dividing integrated national companies into their component parts, both companies pooled their interests through a business merger as opposed to a legal merger. Two controlling companies were set up, one English (Unilever Ltd - now Unilever PLC) and the other Dutch (Naamlooze Vennootschap Margarine Unie – now Unilever NV). To allow both companies to operate as a single legal entity notwithstanding their independent legal structures, a series of agreements was put in place: mutual sharing of brands and technology; equalisation of dividend; mutual guarantee of borrowings; identical Boards of Directors and equal treatment for shareholders in the event of dissolution.
Comment: I gather it doesn't matter which one. We have UN

10.24.2013

WFC-Q - another Preferred example

Wiki article: Preferred stock

Did you know this about Preferred stocks?



Preferred Ticker Symbols & Security Names

Excerpt:


Preferred stock ticker symbols are confusing - to everyone. There is no single system of ticker symbols in use for preferred stocks. The correct ticker symbol for a preferred stock depends on whose information you are accessing. The NYSE preferred ticker symbol format often used to refer to preferred and income securities is the xxxPRx, xxPRx, xPRx, xxPR, etc. format where the x's represent any letter. The basic problem with this NYSE ticker symbol system is that it is incompatible with the Nasdaq ticker system where symbols in the xxPRx, xPRx, xxPR formats are not preferred stocks. Therefore a single ticker symbol system incorporating the NYSE symbol system can not be used as a universal system for anyone listing both NYSE and Nasdaq preferred securities. The system even precludes any fancy programming to identify preferreds without requiring the input of the stock exchange in conjunction with the ticker symbol.

One further problem with preferred ticker symbols is that various information sources will throw in spaces in the symbols when they refer to an income security's ticker symbol. For example, you will see a xxxPRx ticker symbol referred to as xxx PR x, xxx PRx, etc. This type of reference can come from the company issuing the security, from the financial media (especially general newspapers), and even from the stock exchanges themselves. Those spaces may be fine for people but computers have no sense of humor at all concerning them and the computer just doesn't find the security you want when you add spaces to the ticker symbol.

As a result of the above, there are a considerable variety of preferred ticker symbols in use. The NYSE uses ticker symbols in the form of xxxPRx for preferred stocks.
Comment: Doesn't work for CHSCO of CHS Inc.


For a full list of the 820 preferred stocks are all known preferred stocks trading on the major stock exchanges plus most of the preferred stocks trading on the OTCBB, Pink Sheets and Other OTC markets, register and log onto quantumonline.com



10.18.2013

Sosefina of God



Mother held in newborn’s death in convent; Samoan came to become nun

Excerpt:


Sosefina Amoa came to the United States this month and joined a convent in the District with an eye toward studying to become a nun.

She didn’t know she was pregnant.

So when she delivered a baby boy alone on the floor of her room with the Little Sisters of the Poor last week, police said the 26-year-old Samoan woman panicked and put a cloth over the infant’s mouth and nose, suffocating the boy minutes after he was born.

The disturbing details were laid out in an affidavit filed by D.C. police in support of a warrant charging her with first-degree murder in the child’s death.

The court papers said that on Oct. 10, leaning on her bed for support, Ms. Amoa birthed the child onto the floor. She named him Joseph, and she laid with him for a time. But after giving birth, “she didn’t know what to do and was afraid that someone would hear the child crying and learn of her pregnancy.” So Ms. Amoa pressed a wool garment over his face until he stopped breathing.
Comment: The film referenced

10.14.2013

The Nightmare of German Inflation - One day everything was fine. The next day hell was unleashed








Read this first: The Nightmare of German Inflation

For those who skipped or failed (or forgot) European history: The Weimar Republic

U.S. May Join Germany of 1933 in Pantheon of Defaults

Excerpt:


Failure by the world’s biggest economy to pay its debt in an interconnected, globalized world risks an array of devastating consequences that could lay waste to stock markets from Brazil to Zurich and bring the $5 trillion market in Treasury-backed loans to a halt. Borrowing costs would soar, the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency would be in doubt and the U.S. and world economies would risk plunging into recession -- and potentially depression.
Comments: Imagine ... you've saved $ 1,000,000 for retirement ... but your money is worthless! (in the title 'hell was unleashed' ... not even close ... )

10.13.2013

Ordering Finances Wisely - Credit Fraud and ID Thief are Rampant

"It's really amazing that in the age of unbelief, as a smart man called it, there isn't even more fraud. After all, with no God, there's no one to ever call you to account, and no accounting at all if you can get away with it." (Ben Stein1)

Luke 16:11, "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?"

John 10:10, "The thief...come[s] to steal."

The objective of this article series is to inform and motivate the Christian to better organize his finances. Because we live in a fallen world and among sinners, and because the Christian is to be a steward of all that the Lord has entrusted to him, we must be wise against the evil intentions of men. In former days, that threat might have been the wayside robber or the con man, but today the threats are more complex. This article addresses two of those threats: credit fraud and identity theft.

Credit fraud

Several years ago I took my brother out to a casual restaurant near my home in Plymouth, MN. We had leisurely meal and lingered to enjoy each other's company. I volunteered to pick up the tab and provided the waitress my Chase credit card. Shortly she returned it, I added a tip and signed the check and we left.

A typical restaurant charge will display only the meal amount sans tip as a pending change on a credit card or bank website immediately after the charge is rung up. After several days when the payment clears the total restaurant amount including tip will display on a bank or credit card website.

Later that evening I logged onto the Chase website to view my day's purchases. The restaurant change was indeed pending but there were other pending charges to my account that I had not authorized--both to porn-related websites and services.

"Credit card (or debit card) fraud is a form of identity theft that involves an unauthorized taking of another's credit card information for the purpose of charging purchases to the account or removing funds from it."2

Credit card fraud takes one of these forms:
  1. Unauthorized use of another's credit to procure goods or services. This would be the most common form of credit fraud;
  2. Purchase of goods of services with one's own credit card knowing that there is insufficient credit to pay for the goods or services procured; or
  3. Sale of goods or services to another knowing that credit fraud is being perpetrated. An example of this would be a store clerk knowingly accepting a fraudulent credit transaction.
A recent Forbes article states that 27% of cardholders have experienced credit fraud over the last years. Anecdotally I have been a victim of credit fraud twice in two years: once in the above cited case and last year on my corporate card. Credit fraud is less prevalent in Europe because those countries use a microchip in the credit and debit cards to enhance transaction security. This technology is called the EMV card and it will soon be common in the United States.3
Significant United States Federal legislation is in place to protect the consumer against credit fraud. "If someone makes unauthorized transactions with your debit card number, but your card is not lost, you are not liable for those transactions if you report them within 60 days of your statement being sent to you."4
In the case of the fraudulent charges on my Chase card, I called Chase that very day. They canceled that card and issued me a new one and even sent it via FedEx to my home. The charges were not held against me.

Identity theft

Identity Theft is a more devious and dangerous type of credit fraud. It is evidenced in two categories: Account takeover and application fraud. We experienced ID theft in early February after returning from a trip to Florida.

Our bank notified us that the address of our credit card had been changed. When I logged onto our bank account and checked the address for our accounts our credit card had an address in Maurice, Louisiana.5

"Account takeovers typically involve the criminal hijacking of an existing credit card account. Here an offender obtains enough personal information about a victim to change the account's billing address. The perpetrator then subsequently reports the card lost or stolen in order to obtain a new card and make fraudulent purchases with it."6
That very week,7 we experienced application fraud. Newegg called our home to inform me that someone called and ordered these items:
  1. A $650 Canon camera
  2. A $25 PlayStation video game
  3. A $20 set of earphones
They opened accounts in my name (with my home address as the billing address!) with Bill Me Later and Newegg Preferred Account to pay for these items.

"Application fraud refers to the unauthorized opening of credit card accounts in another person's name. This may occur if an offender can obtain enough personal information about the victim to completely fill out the credit card application, or is able to create convincing counterfeit documents."8
Our response to the two identity theft events was as follows:
  1. In the case of the account takeover, I immediately left work and went to my local bank branch. They canceled all our debit and credit accounts: HSA, ATM/debit card, and credit card. I changed the password on all of our accounts to a much more robust password. (It actually was fairly robust before: both upper and lower case alpha characters, at least one special character, and multiple numeric characters. I changed the authentication code that one is asked when one calls the phone bank--to a much more robust password.)
  2. In the case of the application fraud, we filed a police report with our city. I had to wait several days and then I visited the police department and requested a copy of the police report. This report was later provided to a service we procured called Experian Protect My ID.
  3. Using this service we placed a fraud alert on our credit files at the three major credit-reporting agencies. We also locked our credit to prevent new credit from being opened in our name without the credit-issuing agency contacting me prior to an account being opened.
When I recently traveled to Charlotte on business, I carried less than $30 in cash for a 4-day business trip. A pickpocket could have stolen my wallet and the maximum loss of cash would have been that minor amount of money. In today's high-technology world, the threats are much more insidious than the pickpocket or the common thief. More could be said about Credit Fraud and Identity Theft but this article explains the basics. Subsequent articles will address organizing one's finances to both protect against these threats and enhance one's financial stewardship.

Mayflower Society # 85879


I was accepted on August 7th into the Mayflower Society. I am a documented descendant of William White. I received my membership documentation this past Friday. My dear Sister (thank you Nancy) did all of the research ... I piggy-backed on her research. The above is not my certificate, but mine looks just about the same ... except it says William White as my Mayflower ancestor. 

Observations (and this is important): "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13) and "Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham" (Galatians 3:5-7)

The Gospel is clear in the above New Testament verses (and the following):
  • Being "born again" (John chapter 3) is the most  important birth and the most significant lineage!
  • A person becomes a child of God by faith (expressed as receiving Christ Jesus as Savior and Lord) in John 1:12-13
  • Abraham's faith saved him - "Abraham 'believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'" - All who are saved today or throughout history have been saved the same way!
  • The Gospel:
    • "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." (1 Timothy 1:15)
    • "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
    • "And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:42-44
The Mayflower Society is somewhat of an exclusive club and only verified descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims may join. But the better "club" is "the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven" (Hebrews 12:23

10.10.2013

Kathee's flight almost directly over our house

Kathee's return flight from San Francisco.

10.02.2013

Ordering Finances Wisely, Part 5: The Personal Income and Expense Statement

Ordering Finances Wisely, Part 5: The Personal Income and Expense Statement
Comment:

  • Not an exciting topic but an important one
  • Published on SharperIron today
  • Observations:
    • The income and expense statement looks back. It is historical
    • Answers the question: where has the money gone? I think about a boat or an engineer that leaks. Where does it leak? And why?
    • One cannot budget effectively unless one first practices the income and expense statement process

9.30.2013

8 signs you're flirting with financial ruin



8 signs you're flirting with financial ruin

The List:
  1. Paying late fees and juggling bills
  2. Counting on a future windfall
  3. Multiple credit card hocus-pocus
  4. Fighting with your partner over finances
  5. Regularly paying overdraft fees
  6. You have a savings rate of zero
  7. Covering expenses with retirement savings
  8. Treating your home like a piggy bank
Comment: Planning a forthcoming article on this.

9.29.2013

On Tolerance



Chuck Bumgardner: Andrew Fuller and Tolerance

Excerpt:

Fuller argued that “toleration was a legal permission not only to enjoy your own principles unmolested, but to make use of all the fair means of persuasion to recommend them to others”
Comment: More from DA Carson's book The Intolerance of Tolerance (p 98)



I make no apologies for my Christian position:
  • Jesus: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6)
  • "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)
  • "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9)
  • "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12)

9.22.2013

On loving the Lord


  • "We love him, because he first loved us" (I John 4:19)
  • "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha" (1 Corinthians 16:22)
  • "Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible." (Ephesians 6:24)
  • "... hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints" (Philemon 5)

9.21.2013

Chinatown: The new Foreign Policy Paradigm



A New Kind of 'Credibility' Gap

Excerpt:


An accomplished American diplomat once said that there are two templates of American foreign-policy thinking. The first is Munich and the second is Vietnam.

When America does not move militarily as some people wish it to, they say, "This is another Munich"—appeasement that in the end will summon greater violence and broader war.

When America moves militarily as some people do not wish it to, they say, "This is Vietnam"—jumping in where we do not belong and cannot win.

This is serviceable as a rough expression of where our foreign policy debates tend to go. But I suspect the past 12 years' experience in the Mideast has left us with a new template: "It's Chinatown," from the classic movie.

This is where you try to make it better and somehow make it worse, in spite of your best efforts. This is a place where the biggest consequences are always unintended. Surely this is part of the reason for the clear and quick public opposition to a U.S. strike in Syria, and it echoed in the attention paid to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates's statement this week that such a move "would be throwing gasoline on a very complex fire in the Middle East."
Comment: We need to realize that not every world problem has a U.S. solution. Image: Chinatown - the film



Intervening in Arab countries: 

Not:




Not: