[Earl Blacklock] The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most visited tourist sites in the world. Millions come each year to view with awe its remnants. And little wonder. Designed to seat 50 thousand people, it was an architectural masterpiece. But it had a bloody history. The arena was the place where the idle gathered to amuse themselves, and Roman society had many idle, to the extent that the state had to placate them with free food and amusement to keep them out of trouble. By the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 A.D.), 159 days of public holidays were in place, of which Claudius devoted 93 days to spectacles in the arenas of the empire, of which the Colosseum was chief. Juvenal, a writer of the day, said of his fellow Romans that they “now long eagerly for just two things: bread and circuses”.
According to reports in London’s Daily Mirror, Islamic State fighters (ISIS) are losing a battle to a pesky, miniscule enemy — a sand fly. The ISIS fighters are being plagued with a flesh-eating disease that can cause sores all over a person’s body. Called Leishmaniasis, it is spread by biting sand flies which pass on a parasite that causes the infection. Left untreated it can result in death. It is estimated between 20,000 to 50,000 people die each year from the disease. In addition to large gaping wounds, Leishmaniasis can cause a fever and enlarged liver and spleen. It can also make a person anemic.
[by Earl Blacklock] Marian Anderson was a black singer in the U.S. whose singing ability was considered exceptional. Famed conductor Arturo Toscanini once told her she had a voice “heard once in a hundred years.” In 1925, she began singing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and was an immediate success. She followed that up with an appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1928, and a tour of Europe in the 1930s. She sang at the White House for the President and the King and Queen of England. A black singer in the U.S. during the 1930s faced enormous obstacles. In 1939, she was barred by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) from playing at Constitution Hall. There was a public outcry against the decision, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the President. She, along with thousands of other DAR members, cancelled her membership in the organization in protest. She went further, helping to persuade Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes to permit Marian to sing in an open air concert on the steps …
If only one had heard it, you could blame a hyperactive imagination, but when three say they heard the same thing, you have to wonder what was going on. There is no explanation why the car Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, 25, was driving ended up upside down in Utah’s Spanish Fork River along with her 18-month-old daughter Lily. And it wasn’t until the next day, an estimated 14 hours after the crash, that a man fishing along the banks saw the bottom of the car protruding from the shallow waters of the river.
[by Dean Smith] We all struggle for answered prayer. Sometimes we wonder if God even heard us. When we look at the Gospels, Jesus used a variety of parables to teach on prayer. One found in Luke 18:2-8 — involves a widow who was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous person and went before a judge seeking legal help. We are told the judge did not fear God and did not respect man (v 2). It was a simple way of saying he was corrupt. Justice was for sale in this town.
[by Barb Smith] Lately, I have been thinking back to the days when my husband and I looked to adoption as a way to have children we could not produce on our own. We had gone for prayer and then went through a battery of fertility tests and procedures to no avail, because God had a different plan. After two years of pursuing adoption through private and government agencies, our hopes for a child faded. As a final option, we considered international adoption and pursued various avenues.
[by Sandy McIntosh] This is the first step in “What Nehemiah Did and How You Can Do Anything.” And you can do anything; just don’t move until you are on fire. A few years ago I was called to a meeting at work where I was told that my position was terminated, and then someone from HR slid a piece of paper across the table. On the paper were the details of my termination settlement, which was very generous. I was one of many, but it felt personal. Today my life is better; I have switched from career to contract work and I do less work for more money, with more freedom. Who can argue with that?
[by Earl Blacklock] One of the most polarizing issues of our time is the issue of global warming. Or is it climate change? No, the newly minted description is climate disruption. It’s like a supermarket that regularly rebrands so as to convince gullible consumers that they can stop being mad at it for poor service, misleading advertising, and prices that keep rising. But that’s not why I’m a skeptic. And before I continue, let me make clear that I know that the climate is changing. It has ever been thus, and when I lived in Canada’s North I saw firsthand the evidence. The North, and in particular the Mackenzie Valley, is noticeably warming. Areas of permafrost are giving way to semi-permafrost, roadways are buckling, and foundations that were built on permafrost are no longer secure. So why am I a skeptic? For these reasons:
[by Sandy McIntosh] Are you stressed by your employment? Most of us are. Security and a good paycheck are hard to find these days. Some of the safest jobs are now unstable. I have worked in places that were solid for a lifetime, and now they are gone, and I have seen people suffer in their employment. I remember a single mother, struggling with divorce and raising two small children, but she had a job with IBM; as safe as a bank. When IBM cut back in her city, she lost that rock-solid job, and the results were painful to watch. So if you have a problem with your work:
[by Dean Smith] Physicist Itzhak Bars of the University of Southern California (USC) has an interesting theory. He believes there is another dimension of time (other than the one that keeps track of how old we are) and is conducting research to prove his theory. In his article, Are we missing a dimension of time, Telegraph reporter Roger Highfield quotes Bars who says, “There isn’t just one dimension of time. There are two. One whole dimension of time and another of space have until now gone entirely unnoticed by us.” “Time is no longer a simple line from the past to the future,