Castro, Red Sea, Radar,

Yes, this probably is a weird blog, but those things aren’t jammed together in one topic. Often my mind cross references things, this week it started with the death of Fidel Castro. I thought of the decades he ruled Cuba, then I thought about the Children of Israel wandering in the desert 40 years after crossing the Red Sea. I also thought about something I was once told regarding art trends: they swing from one extreme to another, like a pendulum.

Going from Art Nouveau to Art Deco is a good example. I’m assuming the Children of Israel had plenty of time to ‘get over’ being in the desert? Now the people of Cuba are probably over communism? I think at one time they had a flourishing capitalist society, did corruption made the people tire of it? I need to research that more, but it seems to fit a pattern. What about immorality? Will people see how empty it is? The sad thing is that most people don’t know where we went wrong, such is life in the lie that there is no God.PENDULUMHere’s a link to a free vector file of the above image:

Pendulum Ball vector file

As I said at another blog, I’ve found a church in Knoxville that I like. It’s called Christ Church Knoxville, on Alcoa Highway. The new testament talks about equipping people to minister, and it looks like they do that at this church. The pastor, Nathan, travels to different places to minister; while he’s gone, men from the congregation give sermons. This past week it was Andy. He spoke about Philippians chapter 2, verses 3 to 12.

Verses 3 and 4 say this:

” Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

The passage also talks about Christ humbling Himself and becoming a servant; Andy carefully covered that as well. What’s interesting is that I was thinking about this myself prior to the service. I get so busy with my own activities and thoughts that I’m often nearly oblivious to other people in the room with me. I realized that I need an awareness, a radar of sorts, to be careful how my words and actions affect others.

A link to the Church website: Christ Church Knoxville

I know that when I need to pick a few things up at the store, visualizing them as pictures in my mind helps me remember them better. So it is, I often make a graphic for these things I contemplate. Here’s one for this:radarThe radar image is available as a free vector file here:

On My Radar Screen vector file

Musings, fires, and pictures

I’ve heard people say that we don’t need the ten commandments these days; that we walk in the Spirit. I know that I should be better at hearing what the Holy Spirit says or leads me to, so there are days when I lean on the law. You know those days, feeling ill the night before, couldn’t get enough sleep, next day is busy, some of it bad events. At times like that, it can be difficult to make decisions, especially if emotions are running strong. Those are the times when the law serves as a safety barrier. Do the Christians who fall into unrepentant sin not stop there, or not have this barrier?Law_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Considering how much the current progressive administration dislikes conservatives, would it be unrealistic to think they’ve assigned security agents to monitor and investigate conservatives, as though they were terrorists? When we have bombings and shootings by the Jihad guys, how many of those instances could have been prevented were the agents reassigned?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

In the last post I talked about the drunkard who loses the priority to dress well. I might have an analogy:

When you paint a car, the goal of course is to have results that look like a colored mirror. In other words, as smooth and shiny as a piece of glass. Every step is very specific, and most of them involve pricey materials. The paint can be $200 easily. The masking tape is $5 a roll. The reducer (thinner) can be $20 a gallon. The sandpaper is costly too.

But there’s one step that’s disproportionately inexpensive. That’s the tack cloth. It costs about $1, but all the other steps and expenses are absolutely worthless without it. That’s no exaggeration. I talked with one body/paint guy who said that research shows dust particles stand on end when they’re on a surface that’s about to be painted. All I know is that your paint job will look like you added a mild amount of sand to the paint. Not as densely packed as sandpaper, but who cares? One little bump per 2 square inches is a ruined paint job. I work with a lot of different tools and materials, but this is the most disproportionate that I know.

So, compared to work, maintaining the car and house, keeping abreast of current events; and all the stuff one does, neatness of appearance can lose priority. Compared to overall well being though, is it disproportionate in a similar way? It seems like a small thing…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

We’ve had a lot of forest fires here in Appalachia the last week. It destroys trees, but makes for interesting sunsets and moon risings. Most of these pictures were taken on separate days. The first two are of the Moon.Moon1moon2smokeSun1smokeSun2smokeSun3

You can see and smell the smoke from the fires everywhere. But wait, inside the house too? Oh I get it, that’s not a new thing; it’s smoke rolling thickly out from under the kitchen cabinets. The guilty party is -not- my wife, but I’ll let said party remain anonymous…this time.CarbonK

Discretion advised…surrender…random

First this: Somewhere over the years, I read that movies are a form of escape for a lot of people. It wasn’t that way for me, not until the other night anyway. Maybe if you’re comfortable with your life, it’s different. We watched a movie about a trio of treasure hunters that find some lost treasure dating back to Colonial times. As soon as the movie was over, I snapped back to the realization that I’m immersed in my own life, and that it’s stranger than a movie.

Part of what’s strange is that there are different topics, which maybe could be viewed as layers. They have breadth and width, each one grows or changes, sometimes independent of the others.

So, man what a week. As the election polls were saying the results of different states, I was dismayed that so many people could vote for the suicidal darkness that was the Hillary campaign. My thought was that Donald Trump should have more voters, but that he would need a large margin to overcome the varied fraud schemes of the opposition. So I was somewhat in disbelief to see him actually win.

For me though, it’s more than just a victory that slows down the dark agenda. In the 1982 edition of the American Heritage Dictionary, part of the definition of paranoia is “…delusions of persecution or grandeur, strenuously defended by the afflicted with apparent logic and reason.” As of late, I’ve been engaged in some political activism, and I’ve wondered if it’s a threat to my life. With some analysis, I think I can keep myself from being at the center of that definition.

If the parameters are anyone who has said something negative about Hillary the odds are something like 10 million to one. But if you have different methods than the others, does that change the odds? They certainly don’t send out a notice saying “Next week Bud, your it!” Anyway, I know I talked about that several posts ago, but now, I’m wondering if I need to go through a mental decompression of sorts.

That, and I don’t have to be ready to leave the country NOW. I should be glad about the results, but somehow, I’m in quiet disbelief. I also can’t understand the liberals talking about leaving the country. Seriously? Who persecutes Christians ($139,000 fine) for not baking a cake? I wish the liberals had something to fear, but I don’t think they do. I know, how about we send all the blue voters to California, and encourage them to secede? Too radical for today’s world, but I seriously would like to see it happen.

I can’t talk about everything I’ve been dealing with, but I certainly “live in interesting times”. It’s so very paradoxical how good can come from bad; sometimes it’s epic. See how Christ died to redeem a sinner like me. I don’t know what the psychologists recommend, but I’ve learned to put things in ‘folders’. Some things in my life are so cool they’re off the charts; others are the opposite. If everything were together, it would all be a drab slurry.

I’ve dealt with the bad stuff as much as I can at this time, now they’re in a holding pattern, to see what will happen when. But the good stuff, man, that’s the problem with writing; I can tell you facts, but I can’t always send a serving of joy. Living in the juxtaposition can be edgy. I stop and take pictures more, I stopped and confronted a guy the other day.

As I was turning around to go back, I was praying and thinking of the right thing to say. I wanted to ask questions first, rather than confront the guy. I wanted to see if there was a nihilistic intent, then see if a better way of expressing it could be found. Here’s what I saw:screw_itI found out who’s car it was, and gently asked if it was an expression of disgust at the status quo of bad economic policies and little ability for the average person to change things. He either hasn’t contemplated the thing in depth, or the work involved in contemplation is part of why he’s saying to hell with it all. He was walking in a circle saying it’s just something all his friends do (ad populum fallacy). The he said “It is what it is” meaning, I suppose, that it’s not open to discussion. He started walking away, and I changed my tone. I said “There’s a better way of saying it.” He was entering the building he came out of, by this time I was nearly shouting to be heard over the traffic sounds a few yards away:”It’s the degradation of society!”

That evening, I was thinking about it. If I had longer to talk to the guy, I would say that as long as he has the ability to make such a loud proclamation, he should express something specific about the problems or solutions. His approach is just surrender. Christianity 101 says when you point a finger, three are pointing back. Specifically, Jesus said before you criticize the splinter in someone’s eye, behold the beam in your own eye.

So where do I surrender? Maybe in places I don’t realize. I’m forever amazed by people who won’t see a binary situation. It’s like “Look folks, there are only TWO OPTIONS here. Dreaming of a different outcome won’t make it happen.” My problem has been that I’m binary when I shouldn’t be. My work makes trying to have a tight schedule very stressful; so I completely abandoned it, and had no schedule. That’s lame, much of the time I can have one. The same with neat clean clothes. In the course of one day I can go from being covered with rust powder, then soot, then paint or used motor oil. But that’s not everyday, or all day.

Are those examples of surrender? It seems like it. Sure, in a pragmatic way, it could be argued that there’s efficiency in my methods. But it doesn’t work out overall. I’ve been contemplating why a drug user or drunkard has a hard time coming back to neatness, even after sobriety and recovery. It’s probably a separate topic, unless the means of degradation is a change in the priorities in the person’s equations. For example, he wakes up with a raging hangover, and at that moment, he must focus only on getting water, aspirin, whatever he needs to feel better. Dressing nicely gets devalued in this equation. Once the new, lower valuation is accepted for the crisis, it becomes the norm.

Anyway, back to the last post about sensitivity to my surroundings, I’ve got pictures. I hope the pictures convey what i saw and felt. The first picture is a small moth with daylight coming through its wings.mothNext is a thing that often happens to stop signs around here; they grow a vine hat.sign_hat

Here are some very small bubbles on a board. The biggest group is about the size of a dime.TinyBubblesI had such a nice time working on the interior of the RR coach, while it was parked along the river. Here’s a picture of the sky one afternoon. Interesting contrails.trails

Slob as search term, and random stuff.

Going through my notes of odd or interesting thoughts…

It’s easy to see the actions of some Jews, recognize them as the works of subversion and wickedness; and regard all Jews that way. But the Bible has clear passages about this. One is the promise given to Abraham in genesis chapter 12 verse 3,

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Most theologians believe that last part refers to Christ, this is one of the earliest mentions of Christ in the Bible. So in one verse is a warning to be careful in our treatment of Jews, and a promise of Jesus coming. Another verse in the new testament says that Christians are the wild olive branch grafted onto the good olive branch of the Jews. Other verses clearly mention the synagogue of Satan, so there’s a Biblical distinction between Jews.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

If I recall, I recently read an article saying that North Korea just outlawed sarcasm. If that’s true, what’s next, sorrow? YOU THERE!! you better have good reason for the long face. His majesty says you are happy!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A neighbor recently decided he wanted one big gate, rather than two standard size gates for his pasture. So he welded two together. This required some extra engineering to support the extra downward leverage on the post it was mounted on. This took the form of an extra tall post, to secure two cables, which angle out and help hold it up. Atop all this, it was decided that a flag pole was appropriate. It was beginning to look like a bit much, until I noticed that he included a Cummins flag. Diesel motors are a big deal in these rural parts; and at that point, it was all sensible.CimminsFlag Did I mention slob? OK, but bear with me, this might get a bit wordy, but it was a joyful epiphany the other day. I guess it was 10 years ago or more, I was on a quest to define the word “art”. I had a dictionary with a paragraph of different definitions. One of them was the idea that art creates a reaction from people. Whether it’s appreciating the beauty of the subject, the way it’s executed, like the smoothness of a sculpture, or the feelings caused by an abstract work.

I mentioned the reaction part to a guy where I was working, and he said “Yeah, but if I hit that guy over there on the head, it will cause a reaction; but it won’t be art”. So on my search went, until I was standing outside an art gallery in the tourist area. I was trying to get a longer distance assessment of a sign I had just installed on a nearby building. I turned around, looked through the window, and there was a beautiful painting of a tree in the mountains, in bloom, looking over a valley. I think it was the Jim Gray gallery.

Anyway, I was looking at the painting, wondering who would buy it. I figured some lady would take it home, having the perfect place for it in here mind before she even made the purchase. It would go there, on that wall, with the perfect furniture and surroundings, and it would be a joy. The lady’s friends would learn to see the beauty in the scene. What would happen if I bought it? I do some illustration myself, and it would be appreciated in a different way. I would contemplate and scrutinize it in depth for its methods.

Then it hit me. Maybe I’ve been asking the wrong question all along. Maybe I should be asking what is an artist? An artist is a teacher, one who teaches others to see the beauty in things. That was a joyful epiphany back then.

Fast forward all these years, and I’m dealing with a topic I don’t want to describe in detail; other than to say it’s heavy. I am now a firm believer in premarital counseling. Young people think that well, we’re compatible on the big things, so the rest will work out. Not so fast Kimosabe. Be very careful about marrying someone from a different subculture.

Take me for instance. I started on a life of drugs, crime, alcohol, and violence when I was 13. I was in the biker subculture. Not that I’m Joe Bad by any means, it’s just where I was. I haven’t interviewed others, so it’s a guess, but there seems to be a different kind of anti establishment feeling there. The Hippies had their version of anti establishment ideas; which were probably more idealistic; but the bikers seemed more fed up with cultural norms. Norms which required a lot of work to attain and maintain; but which didn’t offer enough return for the loss of freedom.

Maybe that’s a lingering mindset from decades ago (Jesus gave me a new life about 28 years ago), maybe I’m just an artist slob. I have lots of data built up on my phone account, so when I think of something, I search it. I took a break from work, and searched “Why are artists slobs?” That didn’t match any suggested searches, but there was “why are artists weird people?” so I clicked on that.

There was an article, Huffington Post maybe, which looked at the issue. I read it and had another joyful epiphany right then. I was already thinking about some of the things in the article, but didn’t realize so many others shared the same experiences, that, and my mind started contemplating the further implications of it all.

One of the things the article said was that artists are sensitive people. I knew I was, but didn’t know that was part of the artist thing. Don’t take the word sensitive the wrong way, it doesn’t necessarily mean easily hurt feelings. For me, it means a heightened senses, and heightened perception, sometimes,not always. This can be for better or worse. I can walk by an exterior wall, and feel the heat radiating off when others don’t notice. I can see all kinds of color variations when studying a photo in preparation for painting a picture. I can smell a baby that needs a diaper change from across a room full of people, and it gets really bad when I’m served food that tastes bad. It’s like the flavor is pounding on my brain with a hammer. No really. Like I said it has its advantages and disadvantages. When my wife makes a delicious meal, I’m not sure she believes my attempts to describe my appreciation.

As far as sensitivity to ideas, that’s hard to say. It’s possible that an increased awareness comes with learning. For instance, everybody probably has an idea of when someones is saying something that doesn’t quite add up. But if you learn basic logic, you’ll learn the fallacies. Just knowing what they are, and what their names are makes me notice them much faster.

So my mind immediately starts contemplating…so an artist is sensitive…he notices small details, then delves the depths of the his craft to find a way to show those details and feelings with his medium. His audience is his pupils.

I thought of a woman I know, she doesn’t have any hobbies or artistic endeavors, but she is sensitive to relationships. There it is, that’s her art, I could learn those things from her. So many artists out there. I climbed the concrete retaining wall to get back to my truck. I stood up there, looking down on the gently rippled water of the river. The evening sun was glimmering off the water, the university sculling team was gliding across the surface. It was all so nice, truly a moment to thank God. I went back to contemplating details and artistry…how many people bombard their minds with so much cheap entertainment that they can’t see beauty around them? Or the same with food?

In graphic arts, the negative (blank) space is a very important part of the design, The same is true of music. Do people fill their lives with so many cheap sensations that few are truly appreciated? More contemplations, and more pieces of the big puzzle, pieces that last. So maybe that’s why I post pictures of cool stuff I’ve seen. At any rate, the pictures are starting to stack up, I’ll be putting them in this and upcoming blog posts.DSCN8385What is it? A canyon somewhere? Here’s another picture of the same thing:hackBark3Why, it’s tree bark, Hackberry, I think.hackbBark2The picture below doesn’t capture the feel very well, but these rail cars were parked on this bridge, it was kind of strange having a heavy object that’s usually ground bound, just parked up there.parked_RR_carsI saw this car below, and wondered what it was. A mercury Capri? Does anybody remember those? Turns out it’s a rare VW.rareVW_1rareVW_2rareVW_3OK, enough for now, but more pictures soon.

Her big fat…beautiful…wedding

Big fat something…we’re not Greek, and I didn’t want to say redneck, so that will have to do. Besides, it WAS beautiful. I tend to get pragmatic about these things, and think, Look, it’s a public ceremony of vows being taken, the people are there as witnesses.

So draw a map showing where the nearest restaurants are, open some 2 liter soda bottles, and call it good enough. But young women see these thing differently than I do, and who knows? Maybe the world is a better place for it.

Seriously though, one of the main reasons I wanted to make this post was to acknowledge all the work that people did to make it happen. In laws and friends came from all over, spent days directing and working on preparations; and I suspect spent a bit of their own funds to make it happen. My other daughters were slammed in the kitchen for days.

There was a rehearsal the day before; which I initially thought was likely a big fat waste of time. But man, it was SO necessary, otherwise, the brides own father would have been a bumbling doof. More than usual, anyway. Life has been so heavy lately, that the wedding was just another event. That is, until I gave away the bride, and watched her take the vows. Then it’s like “DUDE! wake up, this is for real”.

It all went very well, it was a pleasure to see so many nice looking people well dressed. The weather was literally perfect; at the exact time the sun was setting, the full moon was rising. I was speculating just how many people I’m connected to by direct or distant relation. So many faces from the groom’s family and church. I married the 14th out of 15 siblings, That day my relatives multiplied many times. So how does a wedding like this extend these things?

Anyway, the groom’s name is Sid Zacharias, he’s s bright, level headed young man, and his family seems very stable. Other people got pictures of the wedding itself, I might get and share some of those. Some of the ones I got are below.J_wedding1J_wedding2Here’s a cute little guy watching the s’mores fire being started:J_wedding3The great Smoky Mountains made a great backdrop for the day’s activities:J_wedding4Hey! Why didn’t we make more use of this old truck? A touch of awesomeness!J_wedding5Not a great shot of the rising moon, it was beautiful, like everything else.J_wedding7

Manifest, & pictures

I’m sure I talked about it before, my fascination with the word “manifest”. We’re all locked within the physical parameters of this world. It can be trying: getting money , keeping things fixed, and keeping up with technical changes. That’s only part of what we have to deal with.

So when we have a new idea that solves a problem, we’ve defied the parameters, in a sense. How big is a thought? The size of your skull? How much does it weigh? It’s from the other realm, but can help us here. Or harm us.

I’m somewhat fascinated by these things, and get to contemplate them on occasion. These days, life often compels me to think about them. I have -zero- training in psychology, and anatomy, so these are just my armchair musings. From what I understand, there are things that reinforce pathways in your mind, connections between brain cells. The connections are called synapse. Am I right in thinking that this is a case of the abstract changing the physical?

What if a person was selective about truth? They use it when it suites them, less so, when it’s inconvenient. Do the mental pathways of a repeated lie become reinforced?

Another thing, based on very limited observation, I’m wondering if there’s a connection between pride and mental illness. The Bible points out that thinking too highly of oneself leads to trouble, or at the least, embarrassment. I’m guessing that if one feels no need for introspection, one will miss one’s misconceptions while they’re yet small. Then, they  become reinforced, then they become fact and delusion. This is obviously all speculation, I just wonder how these things get started. Of course, as a Christian, I have to always be looking for the beam in my own eye, and pray that my own thinking is right.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

More cloud pictures (I know, what kind of mental case stares at clouds all the time?) The first one was taken right after the sun went behind this cloud. The second one is just kind of chunky and square.brightCloudchunkyCloudI simplified the ‘Deplorable’ graphic, made it more legible, then cut it out of vinyl, and applied it to my truck. I frequently read how dangerous it is to defy Hillary. There are a couple ways to look at this. On the one hand, if you estimated the number of people saying negative things about her, it would be in the millions. Tens of millions, probably hundreds of millions at the international level. The risk to one out of that number could be considered small or nonexistent.

But if you look at it another way, It could be higher. Consider that much of the internet is an echo chamber. Your social media friends and other commenters at your favorite blogs are probably of a similar mindset to you. I even wonder if the powers that be rely on that. But if you take your ideas out in public, you’ve got a different exposure, and encourage others to do the same. Not only that, but the specific thing your protesting doesn’t get buried under current events in the news. So maybe the risk is higher.

Even if it is, it’s not as risky as what will happen to dissenters if she does get in office. You’ll be up against the entire government, and it will much harder to deal with.deplorableV2faceGoonsI was at a job site recently, and across a mowed field, behind a line of trees, the Moon started rising. A couple pictures:moonrise1moonrise2Below is a picture that’s in the latest post at my restoration blog. RESTORATION BLOG POST

It’s a 3 wheel motorcycle made in 1947, brand name Mustang.

OrangeMustang1 I can’t understand all the shootings of unarmed Black men. The guys with real and fake guns that they point at police officers, not at all the same; they have to deal with the consequences of stupid. But the other is strange, like there’s something in the water. If this was 1890, or 1905, yeah, there was a lot of racism back then, and this would be a turn for the worse, but not strange. These days it’s strange because I thought things were getting better, after the civil rights movement of the ’60’s. So for this to show up like a wave is bizarre.

You can get this graphic as a free vector file here:


I’m going to start a page here of free vector files, that way they can’t ever become banned content.stop


Several weeks ago, I put on my first Timbering Tools Exhibit in 10 years time. It was nearby, at the Ramsey House, an historic site. I didn’t have time to prepare as well as I would like, but still, there was enough action to satisfy people. Normally I include a pit saw frame, so that I can demonstrate a pit saw. That’s a wooden structure that I put a log up on. Then I stand on the top, and an assistant stands below; and we rip saw boards from the log. Also, I brought the wrong kind of wood for the shingle making, so the froe was more or less a static display. But there was still crosscut saw, rail splitting, draw knife, and three tools used for hewing a log. exibitSign1Impromptu front of my display area. It looked better in person.exibitSign2The sign made from one single board.exibitCedarIn the foreground is a small Virginia Pine log in a cradle, for the crosscut saw. There’s the backside of the signs, and behind that, the log being hewn square. Farthest away are the Cedar logs being split into fence rails.exibitToolsSome, but not all the tools. In this picture there are 3 crosscut saws, a pit saw, a froe, a log moving tool, and two peavys.exibitTools2This table is where I give the final part of the demonstration. On the ground you can see the broad axe, and the foot adze, they’re for the hewing, earlier in the show. On the table is a visual aid teaching tool to show how the saw teeth cut. The old saw blade has a clock painted on the other side, with movable magnetic hands to show when the next demonstration will be. The wood box has sharpenning tools, for those interested after the show. On top of the box is a bag of corn chips. I first demonstrate how one can use fat pine (“Lightered” or “Rich Pine” in other regions) instead of candles. Then I tell people that if they’re out of both candles and fat pine, they can use ordinary corn chips to burn profusely. People are always surprised at that one.

I had a good time, met some neat people.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

For years, I thought I knew what the term “The Power of Suggestion” meant, but I was wrong, or off, at least. I thought it was a subtle way of saying something. For instance, an advertisement will mention the latest fashion, but what they really mean is: “Wear these, and man YOU will be the epicenter of hip and cool!!”

It actually means other things, one of then being experiments with words that are “primers”. Interesting reading.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

So I guess ISIS now has their own air force? That or it was a mighty interesting mistake killing those 62 Syrian troops who were trapped by ISIS. In August I think it was, I was saying that the next 4 or 5 months would be the most dangerous in American history, but maybe we’ll get off easier, at least until the actual election. Until that time the US president has to do as much damage to the rest of the world as he can.

_ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _

Here’s a comparison: The powers that be depend on a continual stream of shocking news incidents to fade the memory of shocking things they have done. It’s EXACTLY what an on line reputaion frim does. They can’t necessarily erase online content about you, but they can and do bury it beneath so much new content, ath the old stuff won’t show in a search.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

An analogy I’ve been telling people:

There’s not enough America left in the tank to go down the Hillary road.