Sunday, May 26, 2013

All I Know Is I'm Not Home Yet

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. Hebrews 13:14-15 (NLT)
Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing but am I alive
I won't keep searching for answers that aren't here to find

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

Where I belong, where I belong
Where I belong, where I belong

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Don't Try So Hard

Another Monday comes and I just wanna breathe
Cause it's a long,
long week for someone wired to please
I keep taking my aim, pushing it higher
Wanna shine bright, even brighter now
Wish I would tell myself

Don't try so hard
God gives you grace and you can't earn it
Don't think that you're not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He's not leaving
Gave you His Son so you'd believe it
You're lovely even with your scars
Don't try so hard

Do you remember how the summers felt when we were kids
Oh we didn't think much about it,
we just lived
Taking our time,
beautiful leisure
When did we start,
trying to measure up
And all this time,
love has been trying to tell us

Don't try so hard
God gives you grace and you can't earn it
Don't think that you're not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He's not leaving
Gave you His Son so you'd believe it
You're lovely even with your scars
Don't try so hard

God gives you grace
You can't earn it
Stop thinking you're not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He's not leaving
Gave you His Son so you'd believe it
You're lovely even with your scars
Don't try so hard

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Fish Rots From The Head Down

When a low level flunky in a Government Agency asks you to provide the content of your Prayers, then there's a problem at the bottom.

When the guy at the top can't tell you whether its right or wrong to ask that kind of question, then its systemic rot.  Its an indication that the low level flunky feels he is carrying out the wishes and desires of Leadership.  Its an indication that people who ask those kinds of questions and can't make the value judgement as to whether they are right or wrong get promoted to Leadership positions.

Corporate Identity

I'm glad I held off on making that post about how the Corporate identity the President and the Extremist Progressives who have taken over the Democrat Party have created and has manifested itself so clearly in the growing IRS Targeting scandal.  Both Kimberly Strassel and Peggy Noonan have Editorials in today's Wall Street Journal addressing that very notion, and they do it much better than I ever could.

First Ms. Strassel:
Was the White House involved in the IRS's targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.

President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an "independent" agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.

But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
She then goes on to discuss the case of Frank Van Der Sloot

"He put a target on our backs, and he's now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?" asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.

Mr. VanderSloot is the Obama target who in 2011 made a sizable donation to a group supporting Mitt Romney. In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a "wealthy individual" with a "less-than-reputable record." Other donors were described as having been "on the wrong side of the law."

This was the Obama version of the phone call—put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.

Twelve days later, a man working for a political opposition-research firm called an Idaho courthouse for Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records. In June, the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes. In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch. In September, the IRS informed him of a second audit, of one of his businesses. Mr. VanderSloot, who had never been audited before, was subject to three in the four months after Mr. Obama teed him up for such scrutiny.

Ms Noonan puts it this way:

The president, as usual, acts as if all of this is totally unconnected to him. He's shocked, it's unacceptable, he'll get to the bottom of it. He read about it in the papers, just like you

But he is not unconnected, he is not a bystander. This is his administration. Those are his executive agencies. He runs the IRS and the Justice Department.

A president sets a mood, a tone. He establishes an atmosphere. If he is arrogant, arrogance spreads. If he is to too partisan, too disrespecting of political adversaries, that spreads too. Presidents always undo themselves and then blame it on the third guy in the last row in the sleepy agency across town.
Both of them mention the case of Frank Vad Der Sloot but do not mention the incident involving Mr. Van Der Sloot and Mother Jones Magazine that I posted about here.

That the IRS, an opposition research firm, and Mother Jones "put a target on the back" of Mr. Van Der Sloot while the IRS decided not to release information it had regarding the targeting of individuals and organizations that politically opposed the President all at around the same time might be a total coincidence, it is indicative of the Cororate identity of those who agree politically with the President.
It remains to be see whether any of these actions came about as a result of collusion, or simply because of the Corporate Identity---call it "Culture of Corruption" if you will----created by Obama and the Progressive Extremists who have teken over the Democrat Party.

But it might be useful to know a couple of things. 
let's start with:

"What did the President know, and when did he know it?"

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sometimes It Can All Be Summed Up In A Very Few Words

I wanted to make a post about the recent IRS scandal that continues to grow.  Initially I thought about doing a post about how this is the kind of thing one can expect when Leadership creates a Corporate Identity by characterizing people who disagee with you as your "enemy", or call for their membership to do exactly what was done, even to the extent of labeling those who disagree with you as being members of Hate Groups and are represented by an organization that overwhelmingly supports one Party.

But then something came across my Facebook feed that spared both of us a lot of time:

This week’s lesson: Only give the government power you’d be comfortable giving to vindictive, incompetent morons..
Just a reminder:

The IRS is in charge of enforcing Obamacare.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Scout The Wonder Dog And The New Trail

Editing Note:  I started writing Scout The Wonder Dog stories at Hammock Forums as my Trip Reports.  With this story I will begin double posting them on both this blog and Hammock Forums.  I will add links to the previous HF stories as required.

Scout the Wonder Dog was peering intently out the passenger side window in the back seat of SargeVining's SUV as his loyal manservant, cook, and driver guided the vehicle slowly down the gravel Forest Service Road.

"Just amazing." He said, "And exceptionally gloomy.  I am somewhat saddened by this."

The two of them were on an inspection trip of the vast wilderness north of their Compound.  They were going to visit the site where the story of  The Strangers In The Woods had unfolded almost a year ago.  They had attempted such a trip twice before and events had overtaken them to the extent that they had not been able to both times and a sudden change in their schedule had created an opportunity to do so, albeit on a brief overnight rather than an extended hike.  But when they arrived, they were greeted by a forest scape that was burnt and charred.

"The Forest Service must have completed their prescribed burn within the past week or so." said SargeVning.  "They will do this periodically to clear the forest.  Fire is as natural in the forest as the bunnies you like to chase."

"Yes, I know,"said Scout, "but it still saddens me to see it burned so."

"I'll get out to take some pictures," said SargeVining, "to begin chronicling this Adventure."

"You will do nothing of the sort!" exclaimed Scout.

"I don't understand." replied a perplexed SargeVining.

"This is a Scout The Wonder Dog Adventure, not a Scout The Dog That Bums Everybody Out with Pictures of Charred Trees And Smoldering Stumps Story." declared Scout.  "Is there no place we can go where things might be a bit more cheerful?"

"Well, the Forest Service just re-opened a four mile stretch of the Lone Star Trail that has been closed for over a year.  Its about 10 miles from here.  Its too late in the day for us to hike the entire length of the trail, but there is a Primitive Campsite on the shores of Lake Conroe a bit more than half a mile from Trailhead #6.  We should just be able to make that and have time to set up camp and have supper before sundown."

"Splendid!" shouted Scout.  "A New Trail needs to be marked so that other Wonder Dogs will know that I have traversed it!"  He said, quite pleased with himself.  "Direct your vehicle to that destination!"

In less than a quarter hour they were at the trailhead.  Scout the Wonder dog was ready almost immediately

"Quickly!  Don your pack so that we may be on the trail!" 

SargeVining double checked the contents of both his and Scout's packs insuring that there would be sufficient food and fresh water for the evening and morning.  Straps and buckles were checked and tightened, then they were on their way.

A short distance down the trail, they were greeted by a freshly painted sign.
"I wish we could do the entire trail." sighed Scout.

"We'll be back when we have an entire day to devote to it." replied SargeVining.  This campsite we will be visiting will be the first stop on the through hike we will be doing once the entire Trail is open."

Extensive portions of the Lone Star Hiking Trail are closed due to the many trees that were killed during two years of drought and an invasion of pine bark beetles that took advantage of the trees in their weakened state.

The Lone Star Trail opened up before them.

And it was not too long before evidence of the extensive trail clearing that had been required

The trail went down hill into a portion of the forest where the air was a bit cooler and there was more shade, but still the evidence of trail clearing was present.

Scout attended to his trail marking duties with a fervor and purpose he rarely displayed on such outings, but as he was likely the first Wonder Dog to traverse this trail in over a year, his duties were extensive.  Even the deepest brush was inspected and marked.

The trail was littered with dead trees
Even trees with trail blazes on them had been cut down, and new blazes had been put on nearby trees to keep the trail marked for humans---Scout still being busy marking it for Wonder Dogs.

"There! said Scout.  I see the lake through the trees."

And so it was.  The nearness of the water making the trees and understory a bit more lush than those on the trail behind them.

They met two pleasant young men who were encamped  near the lake, ground dwellers who had hiked the entire four mile stretch of trail and returned to this spot.

SargeVining erected the hammock nearby
 and invited them down to inspect it.  They both expressed interest. 

"Perhaps we will see them again." said Scout.

"Yes, they seemed pleasant enough----for ground dwellers."  Said SargeVining.

"A ground dweller is just a tent camper who hasn't tried a hammock yet."  said Scout.

Scout took up a position laying on a spot illuminated by a shaft of sunlight coming through the forest as SargeVining busied himself with preparations for the evening.
"I see the Pawn Bags are working well."  He said.

"Yes they are."  replied SargeVining.  "I still have some work to do with the Knight Bags, but they are coming along nicely."

Shadows began to lengthen as dusk approached.

SargeVining prepared a dinner of Vegetarian Chili with some beef sausage purchased from World Market to make it less vegetarian, and some tortillas to put it in along with some hot sauce for flavor and a fruit bar for desert.  Water was boiled in less than three minutes in the Olicamp XTS pot and Cheapo Chinese Pocket Rocket Stove.

While it did not look too appetizing while laying in the tortilla

Wrapping it properly made for a sumptuous repast. 

Six such "burritos" can be made from this package.  At less then four dollars each, they make for practical trail meals.  Others will be tasted in the future.

SargeVining settled back in his camp chair to read by the light of his headlamp until the bugs began to get too curious, whereupon he made a cup of chamomile tea.

and consumed another fruit bar before retiring to the hammock for a bit more reading .  Scout took up his usual spot at the foot end of the hammock and they both drifted off to sleep to the music of a multitude of frogs of several sorts, the occasional call of water birds, and a hoot owl in the distance.

The next morning they rose early.  SargeVining checked the thermometer and noted that the temperature had gotten down to 57 degrees overnight (it had been 83 degrees the previous afternoon), and told Scout the Wonder dog that this would be the last time an underquilt will be required for camping in Texas until late September.  They packed quickly and returned to the trailhead for the trip home.

At the parking lot, Scout turned back to look down the trail a final time.

"I hope we come back quickly." he sighed.  "It was such a pleasant spot to camp."

"Yes, we shall." replied SargeVining.  "We shall indeed.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Jesus Friend Of Sinners

"Jesus, Friend Of Sinners"

Jesus, friend of sinners,
we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name
 but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners,
the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You
but they're tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I'm so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours


Jesus, friend of sinners,
 the one who's writing in the sand 
Made the righteous turn away
 and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember
 we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy
 bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they're the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

'Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever
You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

And I was the lost cause and I was the outcast
You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Saturday, May 4, 2013


One of the oldest "Natural Laws" of the Internet is "Godwin's Law."  Simply stated it says:

1.  A term that originated on Usenet, Godwin's Law states that as an online argument grows longer and more heated, it becomes increasingly likely that somebody will bring up Adolf Hitler or the Nazis. When such an event occurs, the person guilty of invoking Godwin's Law has effectively forfeited the argument.

2.  However there is also a widely- recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.
 So, with that in mind let me ask you a question.

By my linking to this post, am I breaking Godwin's Law or are the two professors in the picture doing so?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Truth About Pawn Bags

Pawn Bags were born out of frustration.  The kind of aggravating, brain splitting, pleasure robbing, hair grabbing frustration that can turn you into an a red faced monster growling out a stream of profanity that includes words you don't even know you know until you hear them escape your lips and would make a sailor blush. 

Yep.  We're talking about tarp guy lines. 

Hammock camping bridges the gap between minimalist tarp camping and tent camping---the best of both worlds if you will.  Hammocks require overhead cover and the best way to do that is to rig a tarp above the hammock.  The best way to rig your tarp is independent of the hammock ridgeline and once its up you need to secure the corners, and its a good idea to secure them at the mid point of the length as well.  What this means is that, depending on your set-up, you're dealing with close to 100 feet of line in various lengths.  How to deal with them conveniently can be a problem. 

You could take each of your separate lines and roll them up in a figure 8 and stow them in your pack.  But this increases set up and take down time and requires you to open a compartment on your pack if you are setting up the tarp during rain.  It also increases the chances of losing one or more during hasty take down/packing in the morning.

You could leave all lines attached to the tarp and if your tarp is equipped with corner pockets, roll them in a figure 8 and stow them there.  My experience with this method is that it works until it doesn't.  Generally those lines would fall out while I was stowing or deploying the tarp, and now that I'm using tarp tensioners, the pockets are all too small to hold them at any rate.

Even using this method, you still have to stow your ridgeline separately.

A couple months ago, when I got my Thread Injector, I started looking for projects and came across Derek Hanson's Instructions on How To Make Your Own Double Sided Stuff Sack.  These are otherwise known as "Bishop Bags" after a Hammock Forums member who first introduced them to the hammock community.  The bags are originally intended as a method to stow and deploy your hammock.  In  its simplest form, its a stuff sack with a hole cut in the bottom with one end of the hammock suspension sticking through the hole.  I adapted that idea by making a smaller bag for stowage of tarp lines.  Because it is basically a small Bishop Bag, and I've played chess since the age of 12, I named these "Pawn Bags."  Basically, I took Derek's instructions and use an 8" x 8" piece of ripstop nylon to make a smaller bag that ends up being roughly 6" long x 3 1/2" wide.

I then put the bag on the end of the tarp line connected to the tarp and cinch it down so that it won't come off, then stuff the tarp line down inside.

Then leave the end of the line hanging out and cinch that up tight.  I end up with a nice, tidy package that allows me to grab the end and pull it out when needed.

When I set up my tarp, I tighten the tarp line on the stake, then stuff the loose end of the remaining tarp line back up inside the Pawn Bag to keep it from lying on the ground to reduce the chances of tripping over it or snagging it enough to pull the stake out.

Set up and take down are a lot quicker once you get the hang of stuffing the line down inside the bag, but there's no need to wrap it in a figure 8 once you do.  The line comes out just the same way you stuff it in and as long as its loose inside there, it won't get snagged or tangled.

Right now I'm working on a similar set up for both the continuous ridgeline for my tarp and my hammock suspension.  Just to keep the nomenclature consistent, I'm going to call them Knight Bags.

I regularly offer my Pawn Bags on the Pay It Forward section of Hammock Forums, and hold no claim to any copyright, patent, intellectual property or any other such folderall that would prevent you from using the idea to DIY yourself a set or two.

If you want a set of these, contact me at Hammock and I can set you up with a set of (4) Pawn bags and (2) Knight Bags for $25, shipping included.  Please keep in mind this isn't a business for me, I won't always be able to get them to you right away, and be advised that I am not the most experienced Thread Injecter-er out there.  You'll get something that is functional but not necessarily pretty, and production will be subject to my work schedule and the social obligations Significant Other places on me.  I really am making this offer as a service to fellow hammockers and maybe get enough coin to buy a couple of dehydrated meals on occasion.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

We'd Better Get Some Answers On This One Soon.

This appeared in British Media overnight.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012, long before pressure-cooker blasts killed three and injured hundreds, according to a senior Saudi government official with direct knowledge of the document.

The Saudi warning, the official told MailOnline, was separate from the multiple red flags raised by Russian intelligence in 2011, and was based on human intelligence developed independently in Yemen.


The Saudis' warning to the U.S. government was also shared with the British government. 'It was very specific’ and warned that 'something was going to happen in a major U.S. city,' the Saudi official said during an extensive interview.

It 'did name Tamerlan specifically,' he added. The 'government-to-government' letter, which he said was sent to the Department of Homeland Security at the highest level, did not name Boston or suggest a date for his planned attack.
We should be looking for confirmation.  Stuff like this  appears in the Daily Mail that turns out being wrong, but they've been right more times than they've been wrong, so its worth investigating.

It its true, head should roll.  Big ones. Heads at the very top at Homeland Security, and there should be a prosecution for Criminal Negligence.