Plain Old Stuff


It’s been a tough week for the Danster here at Cerulean Sanctum. Nearly every day has brought one bit of bad news after another. I’m having trouble concentrating as a result, and my typing has suffered considerably this week. I was typing notes from a transcription I was making and I think every other word was mistyped. 🙁

Sometime around 3:00 PM today I just cashed it in and took a nap. That didn’t seem to help much, so I walked around my property and prayed. That prayer consisted mostly of one word, Help! Such is the nature of my spiritual profundity right now.

With that in mind, I’ll instead resort to a few observations…


This deal in the Southern Baptist Convention, especially the Missouri faction, reasserting their position that drinking alcohol is akin to sin, kind of riles me up—for a couple of reasons:

  1. Great Commission anyone? Feeding the poor? Healing the sick? You know, the stuff Jesus was primarily concerned with? Hello, SBC, aren’t those the real concern here?
  2. When Jesus turned water into wine, I find it hard to believe that the wedding master would question why the “good stuff” was held in reserve till the end if it wasn’t “real wine.” Honestly, Welch’s vs. Latour. Yeah, right, SBC. Check Psalm 104, too.

Of course, the Boar’s Head Tavern weighed in on this one and added the right amount of snark.


After my impassioned plea for proper understanding of who’s responsible for kids as dumb as dirt, Julie Neidlinger at Lone Prairie Blog came to the defense of the smarts of rural kids, especially when questioned by West Coast city-slicker reporters who talk about “fly-over states.” Julie gives a nice defense.

Now I wish I could say that my county proved the point from my post the other day, but then they went and voted down a public library levy that would’ve added the crushing load of about $30 a year to the taxes of the average household in this county. And they killed it by a pretty fair margin, 56 percent to 44.

Heck, our libraries can barely buy books as it is considering the big state cuts. Used to be that having a library was an enormous source of civic pride for small, rural towns. Today, it seems asking some folks to go without smokes for a month to pay for books is tantamount to murder.

So much for learnin’.

Heck, bring on that Wal-Mart and casino! We deserve ’em both.


In what it also a clear victory for the two ginormous Baptist megachurches in town, the ballot issue to allow the local sports bar to sell alcohol on Sundays failed by four votes.

I don’t know about you, but if Sunday’s supposed to be a day of rest mandated by God, what better day to enjoy an adult beverage? Honestly.


In the aforementioned Wal-Mart news, I spent most of the week trying to gather info from local government sources only to wind up with two lines of minutes from the village meeting discussing the project, and a zoning document that claims the property is zoned for a business of a certain size. Otherwise, I’ve been pointed in a hundred different directions for everything else I requested.

I smell a conspiracy of silence! 😉


Juxtaposition: Considering what just happened to the library levy, perhaps Wal-Mart will just forgo having a book section in the store, seeing as only a handful of brainiacs read them in this county.


Did I mention it was a tough week?


Prayer request: I have some friends in Missouri (there’s THAT state again) who are facing a serious threat to their business and means of making a living. Could you take some time to pray for them? Just ask God to bless Dan’s old friends and protect them and their business from harm.



Been trying to live on a low-glycemic diet, but finding an adequate sugar substitute is tough. We use only pure honey here. Hey, if it was good enough for “The Land of Milk & Honey” it should be good enough for consumption. But no, say the low-glycemic gurus. They claim it’s worse than sugar at spiking one’s blood sugar levels.


Now the gurus also recommend artificial sweeteners which I believe are as close to being “the devil’s sugar” as is possible, so I spent a lot of time looking up healthy alternatives, and I’ve found some.

Sweet & Slender features the sweet extract of the Luo Han Guo fruit from China. It’s cool with the FDA (unlike another natural sweetener, Stevia) and, while not completely at zero on the glycemic index, is still a low-glycemic foodstuff with zero calories. Plus, the fruit has many positive bodily benefits. That scores with me and I’m going to buy some of this stuff and let you all know.

Xylitol is a natural birch bark derivative found most often in chewing gum. Erythritol, another sugar alcohol, is similar and may be even more effective. The cost on both of these is low. They also have some powerful anti-bacterial properties and may even reverse tooth decay. Both also pass with the FDA.

I’ve known about xylitol and most of the other “-itol” sugar alcohols for a long time, but erythritol and Luo Han Guo are new to me.


And it’s now midnight, so my work is done. Have a great weekend.

26 thoughts on “Plain Old Stuff

  1. Maybe the teetotaling Baptist churches could house their own libraries with an interlibrary loan system. That way, they could keep Harry Potter off the shelves, too!

  2. WalMart will have a nice book selection. Filled with books by Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyers.

    Bwahahahaha…ha ha..ha.

    Not actually funny.

    But you know, you can’t buy beer at WalMart. (Can you?) So that’s something.

    I know my own personal library, which I funded by myself and without the help of tax money, has shelves that are sagging under the weight of Harry Potter books.

    Oh my.

    • Julie,

      Your comment about Wal-Mart’s book section being filled with Osteen and Meyers is at once perfectly witty and also sadly grim. What’s the smiley for that particular schizoid emotion? ;-/ Actually, that looks like a smiley that suffered a stroke or has Bell’s palsy, so I think I’ll just drop it.

      I dunno on the beer at Wal-Mart thing. I drink snooty micro-brewery stuff (although I think I’ve had three beers all year, so that tells you something). Wal-Mart would never carry any beer I like. I know they do have a wine section (Riunite! Riunite!), so they do carry alcohol. Needless to say, my tiny cellar contains nothing from Wal-Mart.

      As for books, I rarely am able to buy anything but reference material and cookbooks by Alton Brown. Everything else we get from the library.

    • Fred,

      As to the writer’s strike, they’ve filmed most of the season already for most TV shows, so I don’t know what that means for TV. Film is another issue, but it’ll mean more TV or more YouTube for people. And there’s always NASCAR, college hoops, college football, bowl games, NFL, NHL, and so on and so on.

  3. Holly

    Our family has been trying to really reduce our sugar intake, too — and it’s been hard to find adequate replacements. Stevia has been used in Japan for centuries with no reported ill effects (that I could discover, anyway), and it tastes great in things like iced tea…but it’s not any good for baking. It also has a strange aftertaste. But overall, it’s pretty good. We’ve been having to use Splenda for baking, but the jury’s still out as to it’s long-term effects. It’s too new for anyone to really know, I think. As for aspartame — that stuff is the devil himself.

    Be careful with xylitol, especially if you have dogs/cats — it’s one of the leading causes of canine and feline deaths in recent months. Even a small piece of gum containing xylitol can kill your household pet within hours. Pets are attracted to the sweet flavor and then it poisons them.

    It’s great you’re trying to keep to a low-glycemic diet, though, in spite of all the difficulties that can accompany it. Sugar’s destructive effect on the body is strongly linked to a number of ghastly diseases and ailments. At any one time, the human body needs only a teaspoon of sugar in the bloodstream (all of which can be derived from sources other than refined white sugar; sources like fruit, beans, and whole wheat bread) — and you can imagine how far above that quota most Americans consume!

    “Get the Sugar Out” by Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman is a great resource, as is “Sugar Shock” by Connie Bennett.

    • Joy

      I was also going to suggest Stevia. It was quite helpful to me when I had gestational diabetes. That and Splenda. We have a sweet shop here in Chattanooga that bakes low-carb, sugar-free deserts. They avoid the carbs by using a nut flour & use maltilol for their sweetner. I could actually eat the cake at my baby shower without sending my blood sugar through the roof.

      As for Walmart, here in Tennessee we can buy beer at Walmart but not wine. Now, travel a few miles south into Georgia & you’re in a different world, my friend. You can buy both.

      • Joy,

        Stevia worries me because one of its degradation components is highly toxic, enough to kill rodents in studies. The debate is whether the rodent gut and human gut function enough alike to generate those toxic metabolites in humans.

        Until the FDA says they can find no proof that the human body creates those toxins, count me out of the Stevia fanfare.

  4. Good luck with the Wal-Mart battle. It was an eye opener being in the US a year ago. Saw way too many Walmarts in way to many odd places, like some kind of box store virus.
    This town is regional and the Walmart is now a superstore. Protest was futile I can’t stand going near it, if I can’t support local business, then I’ll do without. Sadly it’s a main anchor store in the mall and isn’t going away, or getting less busy.

    There are 272 Walmarts in Canada. I’m sorry we have any – they’ve destroyed local businesses.

    That having been said, thank God the ‘spiritual’ books the US Walmarts sell don’t do at well here at all. There is little point in going to the expense to have none sellers trucked up this far.

    Not that we don’t have a few neo-pentecostal, Word/Faith followers and an independent about the same size as JW’s and Mormans; not well attended thank God; mainstream denominations are well enough established we don’t have to put up with most of the garbage you do.

    Saw lots of really bad spiritual books in the US though. Yuck.
    Also found good ones I really wanted in a Borders.

    The area is 50 percent Catholic They have a small bookstore with some of the classics. We have an excellent library, well stocked in English and French. They are able to special order in from any library across Canada for a few bucks.

    We have a small Chapters/Indigo offshoot, I see Osteen or Warren from time to time on the bestseller shelves. The Canadian best seller list takes precedent. Thankfully they don’t stay long. The spiritual section is very small and mostly new age and bibles. I’d rather see that then the stuff I see in the US.
    We have one of the largest used bookstores in the country, I see occasional copies of these authors or jokers like LaHaye.
    With dust on them.:^)

    I’m sorry you’ve had a bad week, get well, I’m praying for you.

    • BD,

      I feel better today, actually. Thanks for the prayers. I don’t get into a blue funk often, but when it hits, it’s tough. Fighting to conserve what is good in life takes a lot of of a person, and I feel that the last two weeks have been non-stop fighting. Most people just roll over, but something in me can’t do that. I’m a contrarian and always have been, especially when it comes to conserving what God has given us, preserving what He sees as good, not what the world sees.

      Consumerism and sprawl suck out the vital marrow of our society.

      As for the evangelist thing, vengeance is the Lord’s and He WILL repay.

  5. I guess I’ll be the devil’s advocate in what is becoming a bash-WalMart section of comments.

    WalMart is immediately thought to destroy small town business since that seems like the logical and common result. However, it’s a little more complex. In some cases here in North Dakota, depending on the location of the town, WalMart actually serves to rejuvenate the entire town in that it makes the town a destination shopping point for the much, much smaller towns surrounding the slightly larger town. Now, you might say the WalMart is then killing the businesses in the smaller towns, but no. The little towns in North Dakota (and other similar places) lost their businesses years ago. Until WalMart offers a functioning bar, there’s no danger of the smaller towns losing business to it. Instead of heading to one of the five cities in North Dakota to go shopping, people go to the town with the WalMart.

    There are other examples, but I hate to see the take on big box WalMart et. al. be the same, tired argument. It isn’t always so clear-cut.

    I’ve gotten an occasional good book at WalMart. I shop there. Can’t buy laptops or other similar electronic items here in Hampden, population 52. Never could.

    • Julie,

      You drew the major distinction there: being the lone Wal-Mart.

      Ours would not be the lone Wal-Mart. Our community is ringed by five Wal-Marts within a half hour’s drive! We don’t need another one in our little hamlet to add to the sprawl.

      Plus, it’s not like there’s no sources for food or clothing here. We have a major Kroger grocery store and plenty of clothing shops, mostly mom & pops. Those shops would be slaughtered if Wal_Mart moved in. Not only that, but there has been some talk that Kroger might expand their store to add clothing and other products. Kroger’s headquarters is in Cincinnati nearby and I know several people who work in the headquarters. Let’s keep money locally. Let’s support local economies. Why we want to poison that well with a Wal-Mart is beside me.

      There’s a SuperCenter in a town not far away from us that wound up destroying the local economy of that town. That was a nice, little town before the SuperCenter went in (the first SuperCenter I’d ever seen), but now it’s dead, save for the Wal-Mart. And from what I hear, crime in that town went through the roof once Wal-Mart came in.

      Traffic, crime, litter, light pollution, sprawl, and the local authorities pushing for a bypass to handle the influx of new traffic, a bypass that would run practically through my backyard–heck no! It’s a shortsighted idea at a time when people are starting to see that we’re losing our souls to buy cheaper crap for ourselves. If our town needs help attracting more mom & pop businesses, then count me in. But if their shortsighted solution is yet another Wal-Mart, they’ve got a fight on their hands from me. The fact that upwards of 20% of all retail export revenue in China is thanks to Wal-Mart, well I don’t want to fund the Chinese military advancement only to have my son killed in the inevitable war we’re going to fight with China. No way. I don’t want to see us put another dime into the hands of a government that persecutes the Church while the rest of the world yawns. I don’t want to see another US job flee for Shanghai. It’s got to stop.

      And yeah, I’m a bit riled this week. 😉

      • Dave Block


        I’m so glad there are people like you willing to resist evils that most the church either ignores or, in this case, embraces!

      • His Direness: “I don’t want to fund the Chinese military advancement …I’m a bit riled this week”

        Yes, I can see you’re riled. I wish you every success in beating back Wal-Mart.

        About the Chicom Mandarins and their military advancement: They will beat us without firing a shot. All they have to do is minipulate our financial markets. And there is no shortage of Congressmen eager to wined and dined by the Chicoms. And big corporations will gladly sell out our nation’s sovereignty and technological secrets in return for promises of access to cheap labor and markets. But, yes, in the meantime, the Chicoms are inexorably building up their military power and blue water navy. They have to in order to guarantee their access to petroleum (which will grow ever more scarce), besides using it to eventually take care of that little renegade province called Taiwan.

        I’ve been telling people this for a long time. But nobody listens.

        • Of course, I naively believe that God is in control, rather than get riled about things like China and WalMart and sugar substitutes.

          Pat answer?

          Not meant to be.

          Do my best. Live honestly. Try to make good choices in all these areas and more. Follow Christ.

          Nothing new under the sun. So I’ll enjoy the sun and its Creator, instead.

          • Julie: “Not meant to be.”

            Hello, Julie. I love your blog Lone Prairie.

            I completely agree with you. God is in control. And of course we have access to His counsel. He wants His church to know what’s going on and that we not sit around in ignorance, waiting to get smacked right between the eyes.

            What I am trying to tell everyone is that we are in for difficult times ahead which will require us to make major adjustments in how we live. I’m not saying it will be all terrible. No, but it’s likely to be very different. We simply cannot assume that our nice, credit-card-driven, consummer-oriented, gas-guzzling, automobile-obsessed, suburban-sprawl-infrastructure American lifestyle is going to last secula seculorum.

            If the church wakes up and pulls itself together, and prepares, then there is nothing to be afraid about. God will faithfully provide what we need.

            But our proper response will not be what Dubya once told us, which was to merely “go shopping”.

            • I agree, somewhat, except, not to nitpick, I have a concern over this statement:

              If the church wakes up and pulls itself together, and prepares, then there is nothing to be afraid about. God will faithfully provide what we need.

              There is some danger in this thinking in that it somewhat assumes it is up to us.

              If we “wake up.” If we “prepare.” If we do these things, then there is nothing to be afraid of. Then God will provide.

              I tend to think I will never “wake up” past a certain point because I am extremely human. That I will never be able to prepare enough, for the same reasons. Yet, I have simple faith that despite all these things, and despite the fact that I’m probably not in the perfect place that God would want me to be, I still have nothing to be afraid of because I absolutely trust God. I trust that he will, indeed, provide. He provided my salvation without having a whole bunch of hoops to jump through. One of the most beautiful things is that God, under the New Covenant with Jesus Christ, isn’t an “if/then” kind of God in the sense that I sometimes pick up on in statements regarding Christian “wake up calls.”

              I agree, tough times. But inspiring fear that paralyzes and causes Christians to start hording dry beans is not a “wake up” but a way to decide to trust our own provision instead of God’s miraculous way of taking care of us.

            • Julie”: …agree, somewhat, except, not to nitpick”

              Well, you’ll pick nits anyhow . But I can’t blame you. My poor writing is covered with nits. Pick away.

              I think you didn’t quite understand what I am getting at. When I say “prepare”, I do not have in mind any “survivalist” notion of heading to the hills, “hording beans”, learning to spin thread and churn butter, stockpiling gasoline, guns and ammo, and suchlike–although I can see how you could mistakenly think that was what I was trying to get at. Most people when hearing the word “prepare for the future” get images in their minds like “digging a fallout shelter”, “buying more guns”, “Mad Max”, and so forth

              Although I fell flat on my face, I daresay I was trying to speak on a loftier level actually. What I mean is that we xtians need to be ready to accept that we might have to think about and do things differently (at least differntly from what we as “Americans” are accustomed to doing and thinking), that we will have to make readjustments, and that we may possibly need each other even more within our community. Just “living in our own little worlds” may not be enough anymore. I think Dan says very much the same thing, but unlike myself, he says it more eloquently. That’s why he had googols of readers, while I don’t.

              As for “waking up”, I think Dan does a pretty good job of trying to wake people up, and trying to get people to look past our usual self-centered consumerist way of living.

              As I said, I’m not not looking at the future as being terrible. But I think things could well be different.

              And no, I am not saying everything is “up to us”. It isn’t. But God does want to work through us as His children. We are not merely inert matter, but are “living stones”.

              And I am expecting miracles too, maybe even more than we can imagine now.

    • PWF,

      Is that low-glycemic? No, I’ve not seen it anywhere. I’ll have to check it out.

      Other organic, non-manmade options exist:

      Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) is a naturally-occurring large molecule of three sucrose molecules that cannot be broken apart. The human body cannot digest it in that monster-sized state, so it’s excreted. That product has been available in Japan in many sweet foods for a long time, though it tends to be expensive outside Japan.

      Thaumatin is a sweet protein derived from the African Katemfe plant. Totally natural and with no known negatives, it also bears the distinction of being 3000x sweeter than sugar, making it the sweetest organic molecule on earth.

      • Rather than look for a sugar substitute (because most of them come with some sort of warning), try the South Beach Diet. He’s very big on low glycemic, and he does it by not trying to eat the same and replace sugar, but by eating foods that are low glycemic naturally. For example, no bananas. Stuff like that.

  6. Holly

    I forgot to mention cinnamon — it’s a very low-calorie spice (about 5 cal per teaspoon I believe). You can sprinkle ground cinnamon on your morning toast or cereal or whatever, and not only does it trick your taste buds into thinking it just received some sugar, but it’s believed to have a direct effect on stabilizing the body’s blood sugar levels.

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