All posts filed under: Thought for the day

View from the pulpit. Credit: Tyrone Warner/Flickr/Creative Commons

Keep Your Shorts On!

The other night I was preaching. I was just giving it! I mean I was on fire! God had given me the words to say and it was incredible! Then it happened! My pants started falling off. Actually they were shorts. Yup, I am the kind of preacher that wears shorts and sandals. And a shirt. I always wear a shirt. I don’t stay behind a pulpit or a podium when I talk. I walk around while I talk. Whenever possible I connect with people when I speak. This evening was a great setup for this. Unfortunately the word setup is more appropriate than I realized. So there I am in front of the church with rows of chairs in a semi circle around me and rows of pews behind them. I am right in the middle of the main aisle about standing right where everyone could get a good look at me. At first, it was a slight loosening. No problem I thought. I’ll make my way behind the podium and give them a …

I Hear Voices

Christmas in July! Black Friday! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Sale ends today! There are lots of incentives to buy. The excitement of that new car. The beer that gets the girls. Even the coffee that wakes us up. Man, if we only had these things we’d be fulfilled. Our life would be grand. Okay. I’m not going to lie. Money and good coffee make life much easier. I’ve had both and I’ve had neither. I prefer both. Then there are the more personal incentives like health. Boring! Why lose weight when the right beer makes you happy and attractive? Besides, there’s a drug for everything anyway right? You only live once. Life is short. You know what? Life is only short when things are going well. When things are going poorly life drags on and on. No matter what your life is like, you do only live once. And who can blame you for wanting life in the fullest? I’ve counseled many people who wanted life in the fullest. From sports stars to men and women …

Our Favorite Things

“Raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens, these are a few of my favorite things.” I think that’s the way the song goes. Now I get that we need rain and I don’t even mind roses. And yes I am partial to kittens but I never really thought about their whiskers. I would think they are much more favored by the kitten them by me. As usual when I have too much quiet time sent aside for prayer, my mind wonders to such deep and pressing questions as my favorite things. For me, the list would include cinnamon buns and ice hockey. After I fantasised about eating cinnamon buns (without gaining weight)  while scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal yet again, my mind starting thinking again. This is both dangerous and difficult. You see I have a box brain. That means to actually start thinking about anything different or new takes a lot of effort. My wife will tell you this. “What do you want for dinner?” She’ll ask. “Cinnamon buns.” What do you want …

God Spoke To Me The Other Day

I truly believe that the great voice of God, in this world, is in the Bible. That’s where we find a clear message, giving us direction for our lives. That source has always been good for me. It’s also true that God can send things into our lives with a clear message. In my experience, these ‘experience’ messages are easy to ignore, or dismiss, but they point us to something important, if we are willing to listen. So, I have a new job, in a new city. Everything is new for me, and for the people I work with. I do driver evaluations and those who are successful move forward to something new that makes them happy. They shake my hand and thank me, or cry. I really enjoy my new circumstances, and so do the clients. It’s happiness and a new chapter in life, for everyone. I like living in all this new and positive energy. The other day, I started work by evaluating a route. It’s important to ensure that the route will …

Yakkity Yak

Several years back I worked with a counseling ministry and was in a session when the woman blurted out: “You haven’t heard a word I said!” I thought that’s a weird way to start a conversation. But just in case I was actually supposed to listen I nodded and grunted. “I knew it!” I should have shook instead of nodded. This reminds me of a certain counselor colleague of mine. He had a client that believed she was boring and half through her session, he fell asleep! Men are just not wired into conversation as much as women. I know there are some men who yak up a storm and there are some women who hardly ever talk at all. Both are rare. Most men I know only talk about their favorite sport. Most women talk about anything except that man’s favorite sport.    A woman talking to you it is a gift. Unless they are mad at you. Then it’s a bit less of a gift. So back to the woman mad at me. …

I am Superman!

I am Superman. It’s true. I have proof of it and you can even ask my wife. I have a Superman key chain and Superman pyjamas, and even a Superman t-shirt. But I did stop short of the Superman onesie. Okay so maybe I don’t stop runaway trains and maybe a bullet could speed faster than me. Some would say I don’t even fly. Never let reality get in the way of the truth! God changed me into a Superman. Here’s how he did that. First of all do you remember the story of Superman? He was an alien sent to earth from a dying planet. Something about earth gave him super human powers and he could do all sorts of things like flying and stopping bullets with his chest. But rather than live the life of a superhero he created an alter ego called Clark Kent. Clark Kent was not the type of alter ego I would chose. He was wimpy, nervous, and unsure of himself. Basically the exact opposite of Superman. I guess …

Ultrasound of dangerous Mo-Mo pregnancy reveals two sisters fighting in the womb

A video out of China has caught the attention of millions of people worldwide. According to an article in the Daily Mail, Mr. Tao, 28, provided a video that showed his identical daughters fighting with each other in the womb. The couple, from the city of Yinchuam, were at the doctor’s office for the wife’s prenatal check and Mr. Tao took a video of the ultrasound that showed the two babies in their fourth month seemingly kicking and hitting each other. When Tao uploaded the footage it went viral and within days had 2.5 million likes. The two identical girls had a very rare and dangerous pregnancy. They were sharing the same placenta and amniotic sack. In these type of births, referred to as Monoamniotic-Monochorionic or more commonly Mo-Mo pregnancy, there is a 50% chance one of the babies will die after 26 weeks because of the increased risk their umbilical cords will become entangled causing the mother’s blood supply to be cut off for at least one of the babies. In this instance both …

Minature Greyhound Credit: Opus Moreschi/Flickr/Creative Commons

Dogged Dog

Ever hear that expression: “like a dog with a bone?” It is used to mean focused perseverance. To keep your eye on the prize and to work until you achieve that goal. In my house though it would be more like dog with my shoe! My little guy, Spot, prefers shoes to bones. So if you come over to our place, you will find him walking around with your shoe on his head! I am not making this up! He is an Italian Greyhound and they have long skinny faces. He literally sticks his nose right into the shoe and carries it to his dungeon of destruction. One time a guest had rather smelly feet and shoes. After Spot put his head into the shoe he sat in the middle of the floor and just grinned, drunk on the smell! Not sure if that was his goal but he achieved it. We can learn a lot from dogs. Cats too and I am even more of a cat person but please don’t tell Spot that. …

Credit: Michael Holler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down!

Mistakes, I’ve made a few.  Sorry Frank but I made those mistakes doing things my way and not the right way. I used to be an athlete. If you saw me you’d be able to see my chiseled abs and bulging muscles. Okay, so the bulges are not in my biceps and the chiseled looks have faded into my memory where they remained exaggerated to this day. After all I am a story teller.  At one time I was a ranked tennis player…but only on those hot summer days. Yet I made mistakes. Yup, I admit that I was not perfect in either my game or my life. During a tennis match one day I was having trouble putting the spare ball in my pocket. You see in tennis for some reason players stash a spare ball in their shorts. Weird.  When I played hockey I was never allowed to carry an extra puck. The same when I played football. The refs would get really mad if you had your own ball. This one day …

Dutch tulip field Credit: Cor van der Waal/Flickr/Creative Commons / www.fotografiecor.nl

Nicer Than Me?

I’m excited! No, it’s not because the cinnamon buns are just out of the oven! I’m excited because I just had lunch with a friend. The kind of friend who knows how stupid I am and still loves me. Can you imagine that? This guy, who will remain anonymous lest anyone of you tries to steal him from me, is a genuine loving guy. God put us together as friends before we even knew each other. He is so nice that if he had a twin and both arrived at a door at the same time it would turn into a bad knock-knock joke!  “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Nobody because they still can’t decide who’s going first!”  “After you.” “No, after you.” It would never end! People actually think I’m nice. Except my granddaughter who knows the truth. Being nice is a gift that some of us truly have. Some people who aren’t nice act nice in public. Then they go home and yell at their kids or steal their kid’s candy when they’re not …

One of tens of thousands of uses that men have for duct tape Credit: Mike Carroll/Flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t Do This!

What is wrong with some people! I give them a thoughtful gift and I get flack for it! All you men out there, I’m going to need you to take warning here. Apparently giving duct tape to a new-born man-child is against the law! Here’s the story. A long time ago I worked with Insight for Living Ministries, a radio broadcast program. There were only a few guys and a flock of women. I’m not sure if flock is the right term here. But the women decided to host an at-work baby shower. The men tried valiantly to remove themselves from this trap but since it was at work only the quicker thinking boss managed to escape. Knowing it was a baby boy I had one of those aha moments. You know like when the clouds part and a ray of light hits you on the forehead with inspiration. Only I think the ray may have hit me a bit harder than it should have that day. “I am a man. A boy is a …

Credit: NASA Johnson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t Make Me Come Down There!

I have a sign that reads: Don’t make me come down there! God How many of us remember one of our parents yelling that to us when we were kids? Never, ever, in the history of my life was that a good thing. Just once it would have been good to have my Mom say “Don’t make me come down there and give you treats!” That would have been cool. But maybe parents aren’t supposed to be cool. That sign always make me smile and my sister in law, Carol, taped a personal note to the back side of it tells me how special I am and that God would be pleased with me even if he had to come down here. Imagine God actually coming down here. Go ahead close your eyes. Unless you’re driving, then don’t close your eyes. So God comes down to your house or room. Would he really be pleased with you? Or would he be carrying a big stick bent on punishing you for your latest bit of stupidity? …

Jesus truck in Aurora, IL, USA Credit: Adam Burk/Flickr/Creative Commons

Who You Gonna Call?

“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood,Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!If there’s something weird and it don’t look good,Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” This advice comes from Ray Parker who wrote this very popular theme song for the movie Ghostbusters. I bet some of you are singing that song right now! While the idea of a bunch of guys driving a hearse and chasing ghosts made for a fun movie, is it true? Can mere humans defeat spirits? Now I am a sports fan. And there are some games that I would like to see but I must say this would be a blow out. Not worth paying money for that’s for sure. Just like paying hundreds of dollars to watch a fight that ends with the first punch. Better to save your money and not bother. Yeah I know I just made all the Hollywood movie types mad at me and they’ll probably get the Illuminati to delete me, but it’s true. We are just not a match for the unseen world. Let me …

The Devil is a Big Fat Carb!

We all know that the devil is a liar but how on earth is he a big fat carb? Let me explain. There are two things that haunt my everyday life these days and both have to do with my mouth. Political correctness is like a diet of what comes out of my mouth and my arch nemesis, the Keto diet, limits what goes into my mouth. Either way my mouth is not happy even if both might be better for my health. If you are a keto person then you know that protein and fat are good and carbs are bad. The devil is bad so therefore the devil is a carb. Normally the wisdom needed to put this together would be only available when I am sneaking into the kitchen at two in the morning looking for a non-keto snack. The fact that I had this revelation in mid morning while talking with a friend means it must be true. My friend, who, for the sake of anonymity, is called Mike, showed me …

Credit: emeraldimp/flickr/Creative Commons

Don’t Be A Goat!

Don’t be a goat! Be a sheep! Wait, what? I get the end is near routine but what does that have to do with goats and sheep? Let me get right to the point on this one. Jesus, my hero, said that when He comes back He will separate the goats from the sheep. The goats get put on his left which I am told is a place of shame. The sheep get put on the right, which is a place of honor. The goats are people who reject Jesus. The sheep are his followers. Don’t be a goat! I used to be a goat. I bounced around like all the other goats. Doing what I wanted and having a whole bunch of goat fun. Then I became a sheep. But I was not a good sheep. Instead of doing the things that the other sheep were doing like eating grass in the pasture and listening for the Sheppard’s voice I jumped the fence and went to play with the wolves. Remember Little Red Riding …

Credit: OnceAndFutureLaura/Flickr/Creative Commons

Toddler says bear protected him while he was lost in the wilderness

On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, the family of Casey Hathaway reported the three-year-old boy as missing. Casey had wandered away from their North Carolina home into the woods surrounding the home. By the time search teams had organized that evening, the temperature was already below freezing. For two days they searched for the boys with volunteer and professional search teams. By Thursday the weather had become so bad that they stopped the volunteers from searching and continued on with just the professionals. The area is described as “treacherous” covered in sinkholes and flooded areas. Incredibly, that night they found Casey about a half a mile inside the woods after a woman walking her dog heard him calling for help. The sheriffs had to wade through waist deep water to recuse Casey and though cold, hungry and scratched up, he was safe. Then Casey told them a story about what happened. He said that bear looked after him while he was lost. Casey’s aunt posted on Facebook: “He said he hung out with a bear for …

Credit: Sophie/Flickr/Creative Commons

A Short Tall Tale

I’m a short guy or so I’m told. You know, I am not sure if I really believe it though. Now there is some evidence that this might be true. Like one day I wanted to pick up something for my wife (who doesn’t discount this short conspiracy completely) at a local store. What I wanted was on the top hook. I don’t know who hung this thing but I think it was a Nephilim or at least some giant hybrid. The hook was so high that they even had to raise the ceiling to accommodate it! Okay, maybe this place just had a high ceiling. Picture this. I am a mature man, age counts you know, and I am standing on the bottom shelf stretching and straining. This tall fellow comes along and seeing me struggling there, walks over and calmly unhooks the item and hands it to me. Of course I said thank you. What else could I do? I did grumble to myself that had the hook been at a normal height, …

Grief without sorrow

My wife Carol got some wonderful news the other day. The Lions Foundation Guide Dogs program in Canada approved her request for a service dog to help her in the event she has a seizure. Our joy was tempered, however, with the realization that our beloved Lahsa Apso dog Rusty, which we have had for 11 and a half years, would have to be re-homed. A service dog can’t be distracted by another dog in the house. We were fortunate to find a loving home for our companion. Out of four offers, we were able to place him in a home that was similar to our own. That difficult task complete, we started to feel the grief of losing a beloved pet, one who had given us love and acceptance for so many years. We were fortunate that we still had time with him, but as the days count down, the grief that we feel is growing greater, not less. But it’s a grief without sorrow. Yes, we realize that we are readying ourselves for …

Credit: FrancoisMalan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Talk the Walk

“Honey we got to talk.” Words every husband loves to hear! Of course my wife never ever says that because she is about as perfect as they come and because she reads my articles. Husbands would rather do almost anything to get out of these talks. Mostly because these talks aren’t really talks at all. They are more listens. One of my strategies to avoid these uncomfortable heart to hearts is to take a sudden interest in things like walking. Or fixing the car. Or even root canals. My garage is full of junk so fixing the car is out of the question. I can’t afford to go to the dentist so that’s out. So I suggest a walk. This buys me time to guess what she wants to talk about. One day I might just ask her but until then, I suggest we walk. Actually I love to walk. Stella, my wife, loves to walk. Our dog loves to walk. The problem is we walk very differently. Spot and I are more meanderers than …

Building a nest. Credit: Jill Bazeley/Flickr/Creative Commons

When it’s time to stop praying and start doing

In his letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul told the church to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). He encouraged us to be perpetually in a spirit of prayer. But did you know there are also times when God wants us to stop praying and start moving. Shortly after Pharaoh let Israel leave Egypt, he hardened his heart one more time and sent his army to bring the Jews back into captivity. When Moses heard reports the Egyptian army was in pursuit, he cried out to God for deliverance. It is what every sane Christian should do in times of distress. But suddenly God commands Moses to stop praying and start moving: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.’” (Exodus 14:15 NASV) There comes a time when God wants us to quit praying and start doing. Prayer is absolutely vital for Christians, but sometimes prayer becomes an excuse not to do it. Sometimes prayer is just another way to procrastinate, …

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England Credit: Jim/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Treasure Chest of Strength

Lately I have been thinking about what real strength is. Of course one of the first scriptures that came to my mind was Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Berean Study Bible) I know Strongs’s concordance 1743, defines this strength as empower, enable (increase in) strength, to be (make) strong. However, this only made me wonder more about this word ‘strength’. Around this time, I had a vivid impression of a treasure chest with the word ‘STRENGTH’ written on it. I saw this chest was full of many things such as; God’s love, freedom, acceptance, healing and identity. Whatever I happened to need was inside. Not to be found in this ‘treasure chest’ were negative things like unworthiness, rejection, bitterness, or self-hate. Nothing was there which would take away my strength in Christ. So then, I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Whatever I need is in the treasure chest of strength. I just have to grab hold of the truth provided. What is …

Credit: National Park Service, Alaska Region/Flickr/Creative Commons

‘Give me that mountain’: Living life with Caleb’s attitude

According to King Solomon how a person thinks, determines how he lives life. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7a NKJV) But there is an important caveat in this verse, because Solomon adds how a man “thinks in his heart,” so it is to him. This is a step beyond thinking, we need to believe it. Jesus said if we say to this mountain be cast in the sea (Mark 11:23), and do not doubt in our heart, it will be done. It is not enough to think it, we need to believe it. Faith and belief make the difference. Researchers at the University of Seoul in South Korea found out there may be a direct connection between what older people believed to how they actually felt. What they believed in their later years directly impacted how they lived their life. According to the Daily Mail, the research team asked 68 people between the ages of 59 to 84 if they felt older, younger or the same as their real …

Credit: nfnitloop/flickr/Creative Commons

Is God Real? or Donuts in the Snow

So, is God real? If yes, why is there suffering in this world? Why doesn’t God fix our problems, if He loves us? This is an old argument, and I learned the answer a few days ago. Here is some background. Right now, where I live in Canada, we are in “Roll up the Rim to Win” season at Tim Hortons. Timmies is a cultural thing here, we all go there for coffee or tea and conversations. We also eat too many donuts there. In season, we roll up the rims of our paper cups and learn what we have won. I usually win a chance to play again; they are very kind when they say “no.” When I win a free donut I tear off that statement from the rim, and keep the ticket. One thing I really don’t need is a free donut and I can think of something worse, two free donuts. I had two winning tickets that I carried with me like a guilty pleasure. I do contract work, and some …

Credit: Dennis/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christians and Human Sacrifice

Don’t be fooled by my extreme title, Christians don’t drag some poor victim to the top of a pyramid and lay him on an altar; we are more subtle. Picture a group of children who got caught doing something wrong. The most important thing to report to the adults is ‘who takes the blame for this one.’ If we can heap the blame on someone else, we are free and clear. Our sacrificial victim is more like a scape goat. Among adults, this blame shifting can damage one person’s reputation, and it can damage families and churches. The destruction can last a life time. In my family, I am ashamed to admit, I fell for this a few months ago. My Dad is very old, and Mom is gone, so we are all concerned about our old father. A few months ago we learned that something wrong had been done with Dad’s money, maybe. I easily believed what I was told and I started to panic. I can remember at least one phone call that …

Credit: Michael Kappel/Flickr/Creative Commons

How good will you be in 2018?

So how good will you be in 2018? There is not much competition on that side. Yesterday I helped someone; and every detail in this story matters for the conclusion. I have a bad cough, the kind that won’t let me sleep at night, and this morning I drove to the drug store in the Mall, where I don’t usually shop. I don’t know why I chose the mall, and that store. Also, the weather is cold today, – 30 C or – 22 F. I walked out of the wrong door at the Mall, so I had a long walk to my truck, at – 30 with bronchitis. That is a bad combination but I don’t think hard when I’m at the mall. Somehow it all felt right. As I walked, on my right I saw a small old truck, a Ford Ranger, which is usually a poor man’s ride. The driver turned the key and I heard “Click Click Click.” In subarctic weather, that means your battery is low, and that means the …

Pero's Bridge, Bristol, England with its two counterweights Credit: Adrian Pingstone/Wikipeida/Creative Commons

A counterweight to worry

Pero’s Bridge is one of the world’s stranger looking bridges. Built in 1999, it is a pedestrian drawbridge that spans St. Augustine’s beach in Bristol, England. The two outside sections are attached to land and the inner section serves as a drawbridge that raises to allow boats to pass beneath. It has two distinctive, horn-like objects on either side of the bridge. At first glance, it seems they are nothing more than abstract art added to decorate the bridge. In fact, it is art, but they also serve as important counterweights that exert force in the opposite direction allowing the inner span to raise quickly. Also called a “bascule” bridge — French for “balanced scale” — people have used this type of design for centuries because counterweights raise bridge spans quickly and with relatively little energy. Like a bascule bridge, we all need something to counter what life throws at us. As you watch the media, a person can quickly be caught up worrying about world events and our rapidly changing society. We worry about …

Use whatever faith you have for your miracle

I think the Charismatic brand of faith preachers have probably done more to destroy faith in Christians than actually increase it. They have convinced many of us that all we need is “more” faith and we can do the miracles of Jesus and drive around in Aston Martins. But is that what the Bible really teaches? Luke tells the story about a day the disciples asked Christ to “increase their faith” (Luke 17:5). They watched Christ perform great miracles and they wanted more faith so they could do the same miracles. But the answer Jesus gave them was shocking. 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6) Instead of telling the disciples what great miracles they could do with great gobs of faith, Jesus said they only needed an ounce of faith — mustard-seed sized faith — and they could cast a mulberry tree into the ocean. Mulberry trees run from 32′ …

Photo: Ed Yourdon/Flickr/Creative Commons

The secret mystery of contentment

A favorite verse many Christians often quote is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Found in Philippians, I think we often miss how Paul intended these words to be understood. The phrase is found in the larger context of being content in whatever circumstance life hands us. As we live life, we are subject to change. Growing older. Changes in jobs, some planned some unplanned. Changes in marital status. Life can often blind side us. Even as Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians he was sitting in a dark, damp and gloomy Roman jail. His death was imminent. From this prison, Paul writes: 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens …

Dealing with the pain of grief.

How grief tilted my world

My first-born son, Graham, died on January 15, 2004. He was 18 years old.  He took his own life while stranded on a country road in his own vehicle. My world took a serious tilt. My perspective on life shifted to the dark side. Everything and everyone changed as I viewed them through the eyes of grief. I didn’t know what to do with the people who surrounded me and engaged in life with me. I was terrified to talk about the loss of my son. Not feeling free to share feelings and thoughts hindered my grieving process.  I read the Bible and books on grief and suicide hoping this would help me deal with people’s questions and comments. Nothing could prepare me though. I had to face it alone and walk through the unknown waters of grief and let the waves splash over me. People meant well and out of the uncertainty of what to say their comments sometimes came across the wrong way — like my son’s suicide was probably for the best …

The traditional site on the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Photo: Jan Smith/Flickr

The Key is the Word and the Word was the Key

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NKJV) Insomnia is never fun. Not long ago on a Wednesday night after struggling to fall asleep, I woke up again after two or three hours. As well as being frustrated with the pressure of having to work the next day on little sleep, the demonic darts started pushing all the wrong buttons (“You’re too old,” “God is finished with you,” “people have forgotten about you,” “you’re nothing,” etc.) I felt like I was being flushed down a large black toilet. A black demonic cloud was descending over my mind. Then I heard a still small voice: “the baptism of Jesus”. This phrase may not send the demonic hordes running in everyone’s life, but it did for …

Impalas in a Dutch Zoo. Photo: Peter Maas/Wikipedia

Kept captive by their lack of faith

Commonly called the impala, the reddish-brown African antelope is renowned for its speed and jumping ability. They can jump over obstacles as high as 3 meters high (9′ 8″) and can make leaps of 10 meters (33′) at a time. They are not a very large animal. The horned male impala only reaches a maximum height of 36 inches at its shoulder. Even with this amazing ability, the impalas’ preferred method of avoiding predators is hiding in the tall Savannah grass. Despite this incredible leaping and jumping ability, zoos are able to pen Impalas with a relatively small fence, some as low as four or five feet. As long as its solid and the Impalas are unable to see where their feet will land on the other side, they will not risk the jump. So they remain captive. If impalas are mixed with other animals that are not affected in the same way by a solid fence, then zoos need to build an extremely tall wire fence to keep the impalas captive — because they …

How forgiveness stopped a riot. Photo: Flickr/scottmontreal

The Compassionate Widow

1968 was a troubled year for race relations in the United States – in particular, April of 1968, when Martin Luther King Jr.’s life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet. In the two weeks following King’s murder, race riots broke out in Washington, DC, Chicago, Baltimore, Kansas City, Detroit, and Wilmington, Delaware. Rioters reached within two blocks of the White House, and President Johnston ordered thousands of federal troops into the streets to restore order. The day of the King funeral, a white bus driver in San Francisco named Martin Whitted picked up four young men in a black ghetto called Hunters Point. Whitted had taken the run for a co-worker who wanted to take the day off to honour King’s memory. He was nearing the end of his run when he was robbed and shot by the youth. Sniper fire prevented the police from getting to Whitted in time, and he was dead by the time he reached the hospital. Hunters Point, a black-dominated ghetto that had gone through riots just two years …

The Cult of the Victim

A few days ago I saw something that shocked me. I was walking near a large supermarket, when I saw a distraught young woman. She was very drunk and holding the remains of a beer six pack, and she kept shouting at people and falling down. I saw my neighbors passing her as they went for groceries, some with children, and I immediately took out my phone and called police 911. The police dispatcher promised to send a car and I waited for a while, but that never happened. Thinking back, the woman became less drunk when she saw me on the phone. She walked in a straight line off the property and onto a public space. I stayed shocked and appalled until the next day, when I realized that I and my neighbors had been scammed. The police weren’t interested, because they knew. The young woman was just acting out in a public place, we may never know why, but she was not seriously drunk. My question now is, why did we believe her, …

Washington, DC photo: bmward_2000/Foter/CC BY-NC

The President’s Silly Speech

There is currently circulating on the Internet a clip from Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama in which the usually sure-footed orator is seen stumbling, repeatedly, over his words. Indeed, politicians have always stumbled on occasion when trying to wax eloquent about the issues of the day. And the media has not always been kind to even the most earnest attempt to speak of those issues. Asked to deliver closing remarks on a solemn occasion, one U.S. President spoke only briefly, responsibility for the principal oratory having fallen to another. Nevertheless, his remarks were savaged by the reporters present. One newspaper said “We pass over the silly remarks of the President — for the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall no more be repeated or thought of.” Another reported “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the …

Bristol, Rhode Island: Angusdavis/Wikipedia

A Most Unusual VP

Bristol, Rhode Island is sometimes called “America’s most patriotic town”, with Independence Day celebrations dating back to 1777. Today, more than 100 thousand people visit the town to participate in its month-long celebrations. In 1932, however, as the nation coped with the Great Depression, the town’s celebrations were more subdued. The largest manufacturing plant in town had closed, leaving a thousand people unemployed and without hope. The owners offered the plant superintendent, Maurice Smith, a good job in one of their other plants, but he refused, feeling a duty to the people he had worked with for so long. He solicited funds to start a new business manufacturing rubber shoes, but the amount he raised wasn’t nearly enough. [Photo: Bristol, Rhode Island/Angusdavis/Wikipedia]