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In my library, where I do a lot of my reading of physical books, I keep three reading streams. Fiction, non-fiction, and “spiritual”.

Fiction encompasses mysteries, science fiction, cozies, anything that is made up.

Non-fiction includes a lot of history, science explainers, and trivia.

Spiritual has included an in-depth analysis of the book of Revelation from four perspectives, Christian biographies, and conservative archeology. I recently tossed a book that tried to redefine King David as the ringleader of a small group of tribesmen – that’s not the way I read my Bible.

As I finish a book from my reading streams, I replace it with a similar one. A day or two ago I finished up Indianapolis, a sad story with a happy ending. I replaced it with Homestead, the story of a failing mill town near Pittsburgh.

Today I completed The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, hardback, at about 700 pages. All the stories and novels, with fascinating explanations of the language, the locations, and the exact dates the fictional events must have happened on. A hefty hardback, coming in at four pounds. As enjoyable as it was, I wasn’t sad to reach the end and move on to the next book.

Which is The Annotated Sherlock Holmes, volume 2, at 800 pages.

Woe is me.

Jim Knowles died earlier this month. He wasn’t a large man, but he was a big man.

He was big on his family.

He was big on his wife, Nancy.

And he was big on Jesus. A licensed minister, a holder of a Masters degree in Religion, and he had more than twenty years of service as a minister in a couple different churches. I don’t have pictures, but I have memories of him. He’s sitting in his rocker, early in the morning and late at night, Bible on his lap or right next to him.

He wasn’t an ivory-tower saint – he lived in the world, knew how it worked, and understood people. And loved them.

One thing I don’t understand, though, is how to reconcile the fact that the Bible says that there will not be marriage in Heaven, in contrast to the eternal love Jim had for Nancy.

God will work it all out. Jim trusted Him, eternally, and God is still working out His plans through Jim and his legacy.

Every one of us are unique.  We are created in the image of God, but we are not identical.  We all have something that we’re born with, maybe something that has happened to us, that makes us different than anyone else.  My wife Bettie has something that’s different, and only shows up when her hands get cold.

She has a thing called Raynaud’s Syndrome.  How it works is that some of her blood vessels like to go overboard – they clamp off the blood supply to part of her fingers if she gets too cold.

Fortunately, there’s an easy cure for this – just warm up, and everything is fine again.  The blood vessels open up, blood starts flowing, color returns, and everybody’s happy.

If she doesn’t get warmed up, I imagine there could be some significant consequences – we all need the blood to flow to keep on living.

And then I realized this is true for us spiritually.  If we don’t have the blood of Christ, we don’t have life.  1 Peter 1, verse 18 and into 19, says

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ

And that is what we’re celebrating now, the life-giving body and blood of our sinless Redeemer and Lord, available to all who answer the call.  Let’s pray.

Father God, You know us.  You see us in all of our imperfection, and You love us anyway.  You love us so much that You sent Your perfect, spotless Son to die in our place.  We are called to remember that, and to celebrate it.  We thank You so much for that priceless gift, the blood that washes away our sins.  We thank You for the gift of eternal life, and the calling to follow Jesus Christ down that narrow road.  In His name I pray, amen.

Communion meditation April 11, 2021

Ohio crossed one million cases of Covid-19 on. Monday.

I had it right after Christmas.

That makes me one in a million!

I started a project in June to re-digitize all my CDs. Finished all the CDs I could locate, turning them into FLAC files. I know I’m missing some, and I didn’t do my vinyl (the project could grow infinitely).

I used the excellent dBpoweramp and the accompanying PerfectTUNES to get the audio off and locate cover art. Again, still more work to do. I’m aiming for useful, not perfection.

Then Google Music shut down, so I downloaded everything I had sent to the cloud, which filled in some gaps and added some Amazon samplers as MP3s. Google downloads don’t know about folders, and every download has the group and album built into the song title. I could fix that, but the project could grow infinitely, as I may have mentioned before.

I spent some time cleaning up folder names and structures, and was finally ready to transfer it all to my phone (I really don’t like YouTube Music, Google’s replacement – it’s structured for them instead of for me, and rather forcefully. Gmail, Google Drive, and Keep are tools for me. YTMusic is all them.). And without a slot for an external memory card, it wouldn’t all fit on my phone.

I’d given myself a budget of 40G for music – seems right on a 128G phone. I had almost 180G of music. On my PC that’s fine – a 10T drive holds that without blinking. But for my phone I achieved 450% of my goal. If I was selling Girl Scout cookies that would be great. With a limited container, not so much.

With much hacking and chopping, making hard decisions, I got down to 50G and couldn’t see much more fat.

Today, Christmas of 2020, I have finally transferred all that music to my phone. No playlists yet, but I have the source material.

I verified the transfer with the always-helpful Beyond Compare. I’m playing the music through Musicolet, a local player. Yes, I paid for the upgrade to be able to cast to the TV (thank you, Google Opinion Rewards!).

Now I can carry around 2,444 songs – that’s 176 hours of music, so I can go a week without repeating – in my pocket.

Merry Christmas, Steve!

I was on LinkedIn this morning and saw this from a random company:

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year!

I don’t think it’s right to discriminate by hiding Christmas behind “holiday” and then blithely assume everyone uses the same calendar.

And yes, appealing to an external, shared sense of “right” assumes that such a thing exists. Which it does. And that’s why I’m celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus the Christ, instead of an amorphous “holiday”.

6:17 arrival for a 6:30 open.

By strange coincidence, Bettie is watching “A Tale of Two Cities”, the source of “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”.

It’s not the worst, despite the title, but it’s not the best.

One of my treasured pieces of ancient electronics is my Palm Pilot, a Tungsten E. This was before smart phones. It was also before non-volatile ram, which was introduced with the E2, which Bettie has (and uses). So I have to keep mine charged, which I have done for years. Until now. Tonight, when I plugged it in, I found out the default year for the calendar is 2003. And I found out that I had lost all the stuff I had on there. Bummer.

What was it? Lists of important Bible verses. Some notes I had taken for myself at a significant time of my life. Shirt sizes. Stuff. And now it’s gone.

A good lesson on the transience of things, and the need to pay attention to the passage of time.

He’s not totally right, but he’s also not totally wrong.

I recently renewed my driver’s license.

The good news is that across the four years since the last one, my weight had not increased. Pound-for-pound the same.

The bad news is that about a year ago, I weighted thirty pounds less. So in about a year, I picked up thirty pounds.

The good news is that only about ten pounds of that came after the quarantine – so once that is lifted (or I get the gumption), it will go away.

The bad news is that means there’s about twenty pounds that I don’t have an excuse for. Woe is me.

I like science. I like pizza. I really like it when I can combine the two.

Today’s subject is self-rising Supreme pizzas. Freschetta, Meijer, and Digiorno. All prices are the same – $5.49.

I started with the odd man out. Lighter color box – neat wrapper, great toppings.

Baked on a pan, the Freschetta was tasty and a touch spicy. Not too far off pizzeria pizza. I’d buy this one again.

Next up: Meijer. Surprisingly low end, given that it’s the same price. Baked directly on the oven rack, the edges were closer to burning while the center was barely warm.

It came in plastic shrink wrap, and the toppings could have been from a three dollar pizza. Pass.

Finally, Digiorno. In a comfy plastic enclosure like the Freschetta, this one went straight onto the rack. Toppings looked fresh.

Pizza was good, but ingredients weren’t evenly distributed

Am I looking for pizza perfection? No – this is not Giordano’s. But these are being positioned as upscale pies. One must have pizza standards.

So anyway, here’s my judgment. Bottom rung is the house brand. Then Digiorno, and Freschetta coming out on top. Even with the spicier sauce, that’s my top choice.

And that’s how you do science.

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