Monday, June 29, 2009

I am still suffering from the flu and a lingering cough plus fasting, so intense exercise is out. For Saturday, I decided to walk the Alameda Creek Trail from end to end, resulting in this picture. Sadly, I picked up a nasty blister and only did 16 miles before calling my kids to be rescued. Why is it that 20+ miles in the hills won't produce blisters, but walking on flat pavement will?

Today was back to the bicycle for the first time since last October, since this doesn't bother foot blisters. Palomares Canyon was the choice to cover 20.5 miles with a nice climb to 1,200 feet. Probably I should throw some swims in too at Quarry Lakes. According to the internet news, pigs lose on average 20 pounds from the swine flu. I too have lost about 20 pounds now, but still can't seem to get rid of that pot belly.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eusebius (263-339AD), on the time just before the persecution of Diocletian (244-311AD).

"But increasing freedom transformed our character to arrogance and sloth; we began envying and abusing each other, cutting our own throats, as occasion offered, with weapons of sharp-edged words; rulers hurled themselves at rulers and laymen waged party fights against laymen, and unspeakable hypocrisy and dissimulation were carried to the limit of wickedness. At last, while the gatherings were still crowded, divine judgement, with its wonted mercy, gently and gradually began to order things its own way, and with the Christians in the army the persecution began. But alas! realizing nothing, we made not the slightest effort to render the Deity kindly and propitious; and as if we had been a lot of atheists, we imagined that our doings went unnoticed and unregarded, and went from wickedness to wickedness. Those of us who were supposed to be pastors cast off the restraining influence of the fear of God and quarrelled heatedly with each other, engaged soly in swelling the disputes, threats, envy, and mutual hostility and hate, frantically demanding the despotic power they coveted." - The History of the Church, 8.1

This is a startling passage, but then again, it is a feature of churches that I have witnessed. It is unbelievable that in Christianity people would grab power for power's sake, given all of the Biblical threats against those who do so. Sadly it is one of those universal features so that we sometimes would be tempted to pray for some persecution to clean those out of the church who are driven by false motives. Hopefully, just tempted.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Touring Hetch Hetchy.

"The same man, after his own third consulship in the consulship of Gaius Sentius and Quintus Lucretius, twelve years after he had constructed the Julian aqueduct, also brought Virgo to Rome, taking it from the estate of Lucullus. We learn that June 9 was the day that it first began to flow in the City. It was called Virgo, because a young girl pointed out certain springs to some soldiers hunting for water, and when they followed these up and dug, they found a copious supply. A small temple, situated near the spring, contains a painting which illustrates this origin of the aqueduct." - The Aqueducts of Rome, I.10, Sextus Julius Frontinus (40-103AD).

Above is a picture of the water temple at Sunol on the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct taking water from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco. I am not sure what story the pictures relate to! The system is an engineering marvel, while some of the architecture seems to point back to memories of classical Rome. The aqueduct passes quite close to my house where it divides into four pipes to be directed to different Bay Area locations.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

50-miler planning: Headlands Hundred event on August 8.

There is still plenty of room in the signup for this event, so I can continue to dream and procrastinate. The way I compute this, to complete a 50 mile trail run will require about 1/4 to 1/3 actual running with the remainder being done as a power walk. The 14.5 hour time limit should be possible with no running at all, but that isn't much of a goal. The bigger challenge is to meet the 11 hour threshold that qualifies for many 100 mile events.

Unfortunately my weight, which had reached 220 pounds (100kg), is simply not at a level that makes sense for mountain trail running, never mind that I have been covering 20+ miles without too much trouble. Thankfully the flu is helping to correct this. For the first few days, my appetite was completely gone. I decided to keep this going by consuming no more than a few hundred calories per day (one small meal). Since the flu isn't completely gone yet, the exercise program is a few hours of fast walking to cover 10 or more miles per day. The result is that I am down 17 pounds in 7 days. The real challenge is to keep this going, since a weight of about 170 pounds would be ideal. We will see if the will-power is there to keep this going.

UPDATE: It looks like the course was changed to eliminate Mount Tamalpais State Park. Sigh. The original was an out-and-back 50, but now it is two 25-mile loops. It is always too easy to drop out when you are at the finish line at 25 miles.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Eusebius (263AD-339AD) regarding Anatolius (?-283AD).

"Anatolius was appointed his successor, one good man following another, as the saying goes. Anatolius was by birth an Alexandrian, and for his learning, secular studies, and philosophy was in the first rank of the most eminent men of my time; indeed in arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and the other sciences, physical or metaphysical, and in the speaker's art too, he had climbed to the summit. It was apparently on this account that he was invited by the citizens there to found the school of the Aristotelian succession at Alexandria.

...


Anatolius has also left us an Elements of Arithmetic, complete in ten parts, as well as evidence of his lifelong study of divinity. He had first been consecrated bishop by Theotecnus, Bishop of Palestinian Caesarea, who was anxious to secure him as his successor in his own diocese after his death, and indeed for some little time they both administered the same church. But he was summoned to Antioch by the synod that dealt with Paul, and as he passed through Laodicea the Christians there took possession of him, Eusebius having fallen asleep." - History of the Church, 7.32

This section in Eusebius has a number of points that jump out at me, such as the method of assigning a new bishop by kidnapping. Sadly it doesn't appear that Elements of Arithmetic has survived. Mainly I wanted to highlight it since this passage does give a clear indication of the esteem that was held for mastery of learning outside of the immediate scope of Christianity by early Christian leaders. This, of course, conflicts directly with what I was taught in the government schools as a young child growing up in America's Bible Belt a long time ago.

Awhile back I had reviewed The Rise and Fall of Alexandria, Birthplace of the Modern World", by Pollard and Reid. Sadly, this little tidbit about Anatolius didn't make it into their narrative.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Some more from the Pleasanton Ridge series ...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"On The Death Of God", by Ben Dench.

Rummuser sent me the above article, and I thought I would give it a quick review.

"There was a time when God was the explanation for everything, and everything made reference back to “supernatural” causes. Not anymore. Natural explanations abound. There was a time when Christianity was the unquestioned, taken for granted truth in European culture. Not anymore." - Ben Dench

To be polite, Ben Dench, Valedictorian and B.A. of Philosophy from Richard Stockton College, should sue for a refund on his education. He was scammed, as can be seen clearly from the first few sentences of his article.

Augustine in the City of God has a fairly extensive writeup on this. (If someone wants, I will dig up the exact place, since it is a long book.) Augustine asserts that some novelties, like the lodestone, were first assumed to have spirits in them, but later they were simply accepted as part of nature, which is how they were viewed in the place where they were acquired. The next problem is even bigger: Stoneage and pagan cultures generally mixed the supernatural with nature in a way that is inseparable. Where Christianity differs is that it focuses entirely on the relationship between the creator and the creation:

"Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'?" Isaiah 45:9

There are many more verses of this sort. Basically, Christianity separates the supernatural from the natural in a way that paganism could never do. There is a supernatural creator, who set in motion a magnificent machine governed by fixed physical laws God created, and our challenge was to discover and utilized these laws. God, and the supernatural may intervene at times, but this isn't the normal state of affairs. This is the reason that science continued to progress in medieval Europe eventually blossoming into the scientific revolution during the Reformation. Anyway, the scientific revolution is over, and we have technology all around us, while the careful methods of our ancestors are what we use. Living here in Silicon Valley we work with teams of just about every religion, while the atheists take credit for everything.

The Mythical Scientific Theory of Evolution is something that figure prominently with Ben. I say Mythical because a scientific theory has to be a fixed relation involving measurable quantities, like Newton's theory of gravity. The Scientific Theory of Evolution is a blank sheet of paper. It explains the fossil record. It also explains the relationship between Orcs and Elves, Klingon and Romulons, to the exact same level of precision. Ben says that it disproves God. I will let him argue with the mainline theologians who insist that evolution enhances their understanding of God. The main point on the theological theory of evolution was that it was a starting point for neo-Pagans to take control of the science that they didn't create, and then rewrite the histories.

One thing I have seen is people getting excited over a book describing how to do genetic algorithms. Suddenly they feel like they have the creative powers of God in their hand, rather than a 0-th order search algorithm with a random number generator. The atheist boasts that superstition is done away with in his world view, but in fact, the supernatural powers of God just seem to be projected back onto the creation. Evolution can do anything! It is all knowing! If you don't believe in evolution, you can't do science! Evolution Saves! (Yes, I have heard the last in different words.)

Next, we must introduce the notion of Chapter 11 Bankrupcy. This is something we in the US do to keep a bankrupt business running, like GM, Chrysler, United Airlines, and many others. Lawyers go to the courts and file paperwork and this keeps the business going when it should die. The Mythical Scientific Theory of Evolution is one of those things that survives on court orders. Yes, a scientific theory can literally be bankrupt. Ben Dench also apparently hopes to be a spiritual leader for a new age spiritualism that involves no god. Godless religion? In the US, however, a godless religion is not technically in violation of the mythical Separation of Church and State, which isn't in the US constitution, but do lawyers read the constitution? Anyway, godless religion has a higher standing in the US than Christianity. This article also links together both godlessness and climate change histeria in an interesting way. I haven't really given this much thought, as I have considered the climate change people to be simply old-fashioned leftists looking for a new forum after the US won the cold war. On the other hand, could it be that a large number of Americans are embracing militant environmentalism while reverting to mystical stoneage notions of the world, thanks to the triumph of scientific atheism? Certainly Dench forces me to consider this possibility.

One thing I wonder about is what the point of a godless religion is in the first place.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." - Proverbs 1:8

For the Christian, our purpose in life, our morality and ethics, all derive from God. What point is there to morals if we can say, like Al Gore did, "There is no controlling legal authority ...". Yes, I know, atheists can be moral and some are truly praiseworthy, but morality here in California certainly hasn't been going anywhere except downhill under secular rule. As for mysticism as an end in itself, well, I prefer my tail runs and butterflies.
Mystery Butterfly.

I couldn't find this in the online lists of local butterflies.
California Dogface.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Death of a Baby.

She looks so peaceful. Probably one of the mountain bikers hit her on the way down. I have spent most of today in roughly the same pose as this squirrel, thanks to catching the flu. It started affecting me about half way through the 21 miles on Wednesday, but I thought it was simply my asthma kicking up a bit early. Yesterday, things started getting worse and today was even harder, as I have hardly been able to sit at my seat and type without coughing and cleaning my runny nose. My body is always weak to influenza and I get it much more worse than the rest of the family.

I always try to take a positive attitude towards these things. God uses them to remind me that I am mortal, and there is a limited amount of time to accomplish the tasks that he has set for me on earth.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Can you see any differences between the Tiger Swallow Tail and the Two-Tailed Swallowtail?
"Wanna swim with me? The water feels great!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Red Tailed Hawk

21+ miles ...

Not a bad training run. I have been busy with work, but finally the emergency passed so I decided to take this afternoon and explore the new parts of Pleasanton Ridge Park. The trail descends another 1.5 miles from this ridge into Cook Canyon. There is a locked gate once you lose a lot of elevation, then you get to turn around and climb back out. I got a lot more good pictures from this run/crawl.
California Meltdown Watch: Back to the budget battles.

Two days ago, there was an article in all the major California newspapers informing us that Californians can afford to pay more taxes. Presumably the correct amount of taxation is the maximum sustainable amount. Yesterday, the Democrats announced that they were going to fight for more taxes, knowing that a tax battle will take the state budget into chaos. Whether Californians can pay or not seems to me to be irrelevant: No amount of money is enough for the forces of Political Correctness. Some serious reform needs to be considered, but that isn't happening yet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

People pay a lot of money to acquire and maintain a Japanese style garden. Trees and rocks are brought in from far away. Somehow it can never quite compare with the real thing in beauty, although I can't exactly relocate my house here either.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Family time suffering due to blogging.

And they haven't yet noted the worst of it. My wife and I take walks together which used to be full of quality time as we talked about all kinds of things. Now, I bring my camera along looking for something interesting to photograph so that I can post it on the blog.

"Honey, what do you think of ..."
"Shhh. You will scare the bird. I need to get this picture ..."

And so it goes. It hasn't all been a loss, however, as our family picture archives have been scoured for materials by others in my household for digitizing, bringing back lots of memories. Then there is the ability to connect visually with those who have left the nest, as well as with those who formally shared a nest with me before I left. No time to connect with the kids? No problem! Just check out what they have posted online!
My daughter and I would argue over whether a picture is "artsy" or a "catastrophe". Since I don't take "artsy" pictures, this is generally an easy decision for me, although we still have pictures that end up in dispute. This is one of those uncertain ones.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hurry up and die?

That is an unfair assessment, given that I have no idea about the motives behind this strike. It does leave me wondering, however, when I see striking workers in front of a mortuary and grave yard. Have people decided to postpone dying because they can't afford it? Or maybe they are finding less expensive ways to bury deceased loved ones? Outsourcing? I could comment more on this picture, but the less said the better.

In terms of Biblical passages, this event brings this one to mind: "But Jesus told him, 'Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'" - Matthew 8:22. I suppose that is the description of a true Christian burial. One of my favorite quotes on this subject I have already posted, but here it is again:

"And if I have ever imitated any good
for the sake of my God whom I so dearly love,
I beg that he would grant me
that I may pour out my blood
in the company of these exiles and captives for his own name.
Yes, and even if my body were to remain unburied,
or my corpse be torn pitifully limb from limb by dogs or wild beasts,
or that birds of the air eat it up.
For I know with utter certainty,
if this should be my lot,
that I shall have gained my soul as well as my body,
because without shadow of doubt on that last day we shall all rise again in the sun's own brilliant blaze;
that is, in the glory of Christ Jesus our Redeemer,
as 'children of the living God and fellow heirs with Christ,'
still 'destined to be shaped in his own image';
since 'from him and through him and in him' we are going to reign."
- Confessions of St. Patrick, 59 (Written ~450AD)

Friday, June 12, 2009

On naïveté.

Christianity Today has a good article on this subject. The Economist has a good cartoon illustrating the issue. Are we always to be wise and knowledgeable about everything? Or is it better to be naïve?

The answer seems to be to be "it depends". Thankfully, my wife and I are completely naïve when it comes to broken relations, divorce, estranged children/parents and many of the other ills that afflict society and cause emotional trauma. Which of us would get HIV, just so that we could experience first hand the problems it causes - and perhaps be better equipped to counsel others?

On the other hand, there are other areas of life where I have actively sought out experiences in order to be more wise and knowledgeable, such as living and working in different cultures. Most of this experience, however, wasn't the result of some overall plan to increase wisdom and knowledge. Instead, it was the result of a selfish desire for intellectual stimulation.

One thing I have learned is that wisdom comes in various shapes and sizes in different people, while naïveté can can fill up the rest of a person's character. We tend to look at the naïveté, while not noticing a corner of wisdom that some simpleton has which we lack. This pattern can cause us to look down on a lot of people who really have something special to offer.

James 1:5 says this:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

What kind of wisdom should we ask for? If if we are naïve, how would we even know what kind of wisdom to ask for? In my case, I usually start worrying about gaining wisdom after I have already stumbled my way into a big mess, that wisdom would have kept me out of. Should we search for wisdom when it is too late?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two-tailed Swallowtail

Australia's Carbon Police.

Hopefully they wear black. The easy way to handle the postulated global warming is to simply tax oil, natural gas and coal - taxing being something that governments do best. Sadly, this is no fun for government bureaucrats, so we have a cap and trade system with carbon offset credits to create a complex new market which needs to be regulated and monitored for criminal transactions. For example, if a carbon offset scheme involves millions of Australian dollars to put trees into a remote part of the Outback, how can we know that the $AUD millions aren't just being pocketed? One solution is to load up military transports with SUVs, fly it to the remote location, and then have police driving from tree to tree, tagging and measuring them annually in order to make sure that the trees were actually planted and growing according to the carbon offset contract.
"Look deep into my eyes ... concentrate ... your eyelids are growing heavy ... you will do whatever I ask of you ..."
The $5 million jackpot ...

With crime being a major worry around here and budget cuts everywhere, a $5 million payout from the Hayward Police Department for alleged discrimination is upsetting. Whether any of the allegations are true or not, I can't say. The case never went to court.

One thing to note is that if you are a criminal in California, you are innocent until proven guilty, with unbelievable standards for "proven". If an employee sues a company, however, the standards are reversed: The company is guilty until proven innocent. In a he-said, she-said situation, it is impossible to prove the company innocent and the court fees (and bad press) associated with a protracted case might be prohibitive for proving innocence, hence, it is almost always the case that there is an out-of-court payout, no matter how outrageous and unbelievable the claims.

With the California state budget still in crisis, this is a good reminder of why we are in a crisis in the first place: A lot of companies have packed and moved their operations to more civilized parts of the planet like India and China, where the legal system isn't simply an extension of the lottery.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eusebius regarding the Greek translation of the old testament:

"Before the Romans established their empire, while the Macedonians still held Asia, Ptolemy son of Lagus was anxious to equip the library he had established in Alexandria with worth-while books from every quarter, so he asked the people of Jerusalem to provide him with a copy of their scriptures translated into Greek. Being at that time still subject to the Macedonians, they sent him seventy men of mature age, the most skilled they had in the scriptures and in both languages. Thus was God's purpose fulfilled. Ptolemy wished to test them in his own way, fearing that they might put their heads together and manipulate their translation to conceal the true meaning of the scriptures. So he separated them from each other, and told them they must all produce the same translation: he laid down his rule for every one of the books. When they reassembled before Ptolemy and compared their respective versions, God was glorified and the scriptures were recognized as truly divine; they all said the same things in the same phrases and the same words from beginning to end, so that even the heathen who were present knew that the scriptures had been translated by the inspiration of God." - Eusebius, The History of the Church, 5.8

Eusebius of Caesarea (263-339AD) is actually quoting from Against Heresies, by Irenaus (died 202AD), regarding the translation of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament around about 270BC. The reason for citing this is to give an idea of the view towards the Bible that was maintained by the early church in the first few centuries, as well as the standard of the witness that God had given for the truth of the translation. I found the same attitude while reading Augustine's City of God, but Augustine develops things much further as he argues for the veracity of specific items in the Septuagint.
AIDS and South Africa.

10.9% of the population infected. 33% of women between 20 and 34 with HIV. This is the sad statistic. Nearby in Swaziland, the overall rate hit 26.1% which is the highest in the world.

According to the Swaziland article, the AIDS prevention efforts initially followed the advice of Western intellectual geniuses, and promoted condom use. This failed completely, so they are now in the process of rediscovering ancient notions of morality, a concept which is incomprehensible to Western intellectuals. May God grant them some relief.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It is amazing how wild flowers can be pushing up even before the snow is melted.

Monday, June 08, 2009

This is the old railway through Donner Pass.

According to the marker, Chinese labor was used to hack and blast through the granite in 1867. Nitroglycerin had been just discovered and was used for the blasting. Snow sheds extend from the tunnel to protect the tracks from avalanches. A few years ago, the track was abandoned for a newer one.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

A Far-Right Political Party?

The European political noise is about socialist losses in the continent-wide elections. A political party that is new to me showed up on the scene: The British National Party. Thanks to the universal scandal involving the main UK parties, the BNP managed to win some seats for the European parliament. Any news article mentioning the BNP is obliged to identify them as "far-right", while my political instincts tell me that Europe hasn't had a far-right since the 18th century. Thus, I decided to check their web site and find out what they believed.

As expected, they basically were a blue-collar mindset party emphasizing worker councils, free health care from a national system, reversing privatization, and anti-free trade. They are advocating a strong defense, but taking an attitude that it is none of their business if Nation A obliterates Nation B, as long as they are neither A nor B. Although this is rhetorically distinct from most leftists, it is really indistinguishable in practice from most Euro-policy, given the number of European soldiers actively being risked to bring about peace. Regarding Enviro policy, they seem to be a blend of business bashers and those who yearn for an earlier era of thatched roofs and quaint villages. Looking at those issues alone, we in the US would classify them as a typical leftist workers party.

The "far-right" label seems to rely solely on the fact that they would like to encourage a lot of the non-Anglo-Saxon residents of the UK to go home. They also have some difficulty with politically correct notions that civil rights only apply to criminals and that people have a right to live on the dole, when they are healthy enough to get a job. By the race criteria, the world would be considered full of "far-right" political parties ranging from Japan to most Arab nations who want their Palestinian-Arab residents to leave also.

The Wiki article on the BNP includes a few more bits of information, such as a history of holocaust denial, but that seems to be something from the past. I don't have any sympathy for holocaust deniers, but then again, do parties that advocate abortion genocide have any right to criticize holocaust deniers? The BNP also seems to be actively in opposition to Islam. My main gripe with this position is that it isn't a position. An alternative must be offered, and it is here that the BNP completely fails. The BNP wants to return to a England of history and tradition, but can't utter the word "Christ", while it can utter the word "Islam". The last thing that caught my eye was that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said it would be a tragedy if people abstained for voted BNP. I would put that in an advertisement! If some leaders from a spineless politically correct church oppose you, then you must be doing something right!

The end result is pretty much consistent with what I expect: The Europeans define "far-right" to mean anti-multicultural, but otherwise economically far-left. This is a political phenomenon that doesn't seem to have any counterpart in the US.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Enjoying the snow ...















Most of the snow has been laying on the ground for awhile, but we were quite pleased to see some new snow falling. As we traveled here, some of the local shop keepers were noting that the summers seemed to be getting cooler, which wasn't entirely to be expected from 'global warming' theory. This view is from the Pacific Crest Trail near Donner Pass.















My wife and I were camping a little below the level at which the snow was falling. The current situation in California is a "drought", which per California's constitutional requirement to redefine everything, we must note the new meaning for the word 'drought' for non-Californians: A drought is a condition where the skies become dark during the day time and countless droplets fall from the sky composed of H2O molecules condensed into a liquid form.

This made for a very pleasant evening as we were serenaded to sleep with the pitter-patter sound of rain ('drought' in California speak) on our tent.

We were one of two groups of campers besides the camp manager at Lodgepole Campground near Yuba Gap (~5,800 foot elevation). I had been anxious that we wouldn't be able to find a site, given this being a summer weekend, but probably I should have just remembered the verse from our Bible study:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7

Below is the Mayor of Donner Pass who is giving us an official welcome.
















My last picture for this post is looking down from Donner Pass towards Donner Lake. The far side of the lake from here has a park and a memorial to the infamous Donner Party, of which many died in a horrible event as they tried to cross this mountain in the winter of 1846-1847.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Here is the White House announcement of America's status as a theocracy committed to Depravity as our national religion, and our primary national value. This was issued just before Obama's trip to the Middle East and his attempt to make peace with Islam.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

To boldly go where naive has never gone before ...

That would be my initial assessment of Obama's speech to Islam. On the other hand, it might be clever politics, if you assume that the audience was only the Western politically correct crowd. "Islam" means "submission", and this means submission to the moral code of Islam. The West is rapidly embracing Depravity as the official government religion, which is all about submission to a purely amoral standard of behavior. The fact is that the gap between Islam and the West is only increasing. The West looks for peace by converting the world to Depravity. Islam looks for peace by destroying the civilizations that sponsor Depravity. Certainly I hope for peace, but the Neville Chamberlain "Peace For Our Time" mentality isn't going to help.
Death of a no-longer-young Grasshopper.

Thus, David Carradine, the main actor of the TV series Kung Fu has died in Thailand at the age of 72. It is a wonder that someone with no Asian background and no martial arts training could have been raised up by Hollywood to be the face of oriental mysticism. Then there was the disciple who was always called "young grasshopper", neglecting the fact that young grasshoppers have all the knowledge, skills and wisdom needed to survive imparted to them at birth by God, unlike humans who require a decade or more of training.

The past few decades have seen a West enamored with Eastern superstitions, largely because their Christian leaders have failed them so miserably. China, on the other hand, has rapidly embraced Christianity as their superstitions have proven of little value. After another generation or so, China will be sending missionaries to teach Christianity to the heathen nations in Europe and North America. For me, this is a source of hope, because the Bible promises that the Kingdom of Heaven will keep growing forever, and I don't believe that the western pseudo-intellectuals with all of their moralizing will be able to stop it.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cabbage White Butterfly

According to the notes, this is a European import, although I saw a few fluttering around on Mission Peak. I did a bit of checking at the book store and can now add a few names to the butterflies in this collection.
Another Mariposa Lily?

I didn't see this in the lists of local wildflowers on line, but it looks very much like the Yellow Mariposa Lily except for the color change.
Not sure what this is, but it has some similarity to the Purplish Copper and the Gorgon Copper.
Mylitta Crescent





















Common Buckeye



Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Monarch Butterfly

This is the first one of my collection that I am sure of the name. I added a 'butterfly' link to the index and figured I would see how many different types I could eventually photograph. Unfortunately, a few of them refuse to pose for a photo shoot.
California Meltdown Watch.

The Governator just gave a budget speech indicating that there are only 14 days to make some changes before California starts running out of money again, although elsewhere it says July 29th is the date. The budget is due on June 15th for the fiscal year starting July 1, per the California constitution, but last years wasn't settled until February of this year. The state has already overrun the unemployment fund, but not to worry: The federal government provided an interest free loan to California for countless billions of dollars. Theoretically we have until 2011 to repay it.

The main activity in the California legislature is the equivalent of making death illegal: A bill is being forwarded to ban cities and counties from declaring bankruptcy. This was due to the recent bankruptcy of the city of Vallejo, where the death grip of the unions succeeded in killing their host. Half of California's problems are related to the death grip of public sector unions. Rather than defanging these critters, the legislature is working to be sure that the unions get a bigger share of the corpse. Stay tuned. We might make a script worthy of a Hollywood apocalyptic film yet!
Stimulus Package For National Parks Announced.

Entrance fees will be waived if you go June 20-21, July 18-19, or August 15-16. Glad to see that our government finally has a plan for getting us out of the recession!
"Put the Camelbak on the ground slowly, then put your hands in the air and back away, chump."

Stone walls from an earlier age.

It is hard to see the network of stone walls crisscrossing from Mission Peak to Monument Peak. Probably an airplane is needed. They are about 3 to 4 feet high and go for miles.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The climb up to Monument Peak from Weller Road.

The Horses Are Back!

It has been a few years since I saw them behind Mission Peak. They used to get spooked when I came through which made for quite a spectacle.












Here is one from a few years earlier when they all went off running in different directions. Probably I am not as scary as I used to be.