Miscellaneous Thoughts on a Labor Day Weekend


Spent most of the week “riding the chair” as I like to say. Misunderstood a timetable point on a project I was working on, so I had to kick it into overdrive. Cerulean Sanctum went on the backburner. Apologies if I felt a bit distant and uninvolved this week.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking:

  • I hated Blue Like Jazz and didn’t even bother to finish it—something I never do, even with the worst books—but I thought Don Miller’s prayer at the Democratic National Convention was worthy in light of the venue. Yes, it did have a liberal feel to it and, yes,  he did absolve others from believing in Jesus by using himself as a proxy for their belief in his comments at the end, and, yes, he could have been more of a burning witness for Christ, but he did one thing that I admired: He touched on all the social aspects of the Gospel that never get one hint of mention during a typical prayer at a GOP/Evangelical-dominated event. We can say what we will about how we live out the Gospel, but Miller’s prayer highlights one very sad truth about American Christians: Each of us has a half-empty cup when it comes to understanding what it means to live out the full Gospel of Jesus Christ on a practical, daily basis.

  • As for Obama, for someone who keeps talking about change and pushing past old paradigms, he could not have chosen a bigger old paradigm ball-and-chain than Joe “Tony Blair Said It and So Will I” Biden. I mean, seriously. Talk about “old boy networks” and “this is my time” privilege! Joe Biden? Some DNC bigwigs took Obama into a back room and said, “If you have any party loyalty at all, you WILL be choosing the biggest character we owe now that Ted Kennedy’s out of the picture.” Seriously. That conversation happened. I’ll bet good money on it.

  • This just in: John McCain shows he’s got the mojo Obama lacks in picking veeps: It’s Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, and a darned good choice, too. She’s the closest thing to Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher that we’ve seen in American politics since Elizabeth Dole ( whom I thought was a more viable presidential candidate than her husband, Bob).

  • The more I think about it, the more I realize that one of the most important and influential figures of the 20th century was not a politician, but an explorer, filmmaker, inventor, scientist, firebrand, and intellect: Jacques-Yves Cousteau. He’s one of the most underestimated and overlooked figure of our day. To say he’s the greatest person to come out of 20th century France takes no effort. His global influence even after his death is extraordinary. Do the research and you’ll see what I mean.

  • Doesn’t it bother you that we have to go back more than fifty years to begin to find great Americans that commanded the world’s stage? I think nothing speaks louder about the shriveled figures we thrust into the global spotlight today than that sad truth.

  • In other news, The Wall Street Journal now claims that there are more ultra-rich than ever before in this country. On the other hand, in the same edition, it claims the middle class are getting killed. Hmm. Two Americas? Where have we heard that before?

  • Irony of the Day: I got my renewal for The Wall Street Journal two weeks ago. One year? $349. Ouch! Six years ago when I started reading it, I paid $149 for a year. Then $179. Then $199. Then $219. Then they offered me $299 for 18 months and I thought I was actually getting a deal. Now it looks like the newspaper of record in the Edelen household is going bye-bye. I guess this is why Rupert Murdoch, the new owner, is one of the world’s richest men. If we need any further commentary on the decline of newspaper readership in the United States, I can post the renewal notice online so we can all cringe.

  • By far, the most read post on Cerulean Sanctum is this one. It’s also the most Googled post. Every day of the year I get about a dozen search engine hits on that post and hundreds at the start of a new year. What does that say about churches that so many people are Googling to find the direction they need on this issue?

  • The runner-up in Googling and reading? This post. I’ll leave you to guess why.

  • Is there any weirder holiday than Labor Day? Honestly, I sometimes get Labor Day and Memorial Day mixed up.

Anyway, have a wonderful, relaxing weekend, no matter what holiday it is.

Thursday Thoughts and Miscellaneous Ramblings


When your child comes up to you and sighs, “Dad, are you ever gonna get off the computer?” you know you’ve been crankin’. Work has consumed my every waking second the last ten days, thus the cobwebs and crickets on the blog. It’s great that business has recovered from the lull I experienced the first half of the year, but I’ve actually got a case of tendonitis from spending too much time interfacing with my anti-ergonomic office setup. Heck, my desk and chair are the same ones from when I was 13-years old, so what does that tell you? (Hey, don’t laugh. Ethan Allen is good furniture, unlike the sawdust-board junk coming out of China today.)

Anyway, I’m still hoping to post on genuine revival someday. Got another post that will probably get me delisted from a number of blogs, too, called “The Rescue of Moonbase Asimov!” Genuine storyline in that one. Now if I could just find the time to write them both.

When I don’t have time to write something well-researched and filled with gravitas, I toss out various disconnected thoughts, the kind of sampling that goes on in my head every 1.5 seconds, so it’s true to life, even if it is a bit scary to the uninitiated.

So here goes:

Many of you know that I’ve been advocating a low-glycemic diet. I’ve lost 30 pounds on that diet and kept them off. I’ve even added back in a few “no-no” foods and still kept the weight off. Very cool. What’s uncool is that I finally realized that the three bouts with kidney stones I’ve had in the last seven months are…well, due to the diet. Seems that switching to healthier foods and substituting foods with a lower glycemic index means eating more foods higher in oxylates, calcium oxylate being the primary ingredient in the most common kind of kidney stone. In fact, I checked what I eat and almost every single item is high in oxylates. Some people don’t tolerate that well, and I just happen to be one of those people. Any urologists out there with some advice? Ugh.

If you’ve got an old, unused PC sitting around that might have a 1GB 168-pin PC100/133 ECC DIMM, and you’re willing to sell the DIMM for a cheap price, let me know. I need one badly.

I’ve been too busy to keep up with all the comments on my Lakeland posts, but thanks and welcome to all the first-timers who came and commented. Things are a bit abnormal around here right now blogging-wise, but I hope to get back to my normal schedule soon.

Thank you also to all the people praying for my family in the wake of some of the illnesses we’ve endured recently. Those prayers are still coveted. What’s happened in the last few months is a major reason the blogging continues to suffer.

A number of regional banks are in deep doo-doo, including one I banked at for years, a bank considered in the industry to be one of the best run. In fact, three of the largest banks in my area are in trouble. The problem? Collapsing hedge funds coupled with turmoil in the mortgage industry. In fact, if I were you, I’d be very careful about where you have your money right now. Some big name banks may go belly up. As someone who is familiar with this (I had money in the savings & loan that precipitated the savings & loan crisis long ago), I know the signs. Be careful out  there. Don’t rely on FDIC. We’re in for some nasty bumps ahead.

This continues to be the rainiest spring I can recall. Great sleeping weather, though. Now if only I could find some time to sleep!

Do social networking sites actually DO anything for you? I’ve been on LinkedIn for a long time, but I’m mystified at what it brings me. Any LinkedIn gurus out there who really know how to play that network?

As a child, the neighbor’s collie used to bite me constantly. When you’re being routinely attacked by Lassie… well, it can scar you for life. Nonetheless, we became dog owners recently.  RosebudWe come to ownership reluctantly as our new mutt (pictured right) was unceremoniously abandoned on our property by yet another heartless fiend. See, we live a mile off a rural highway out in an idyllic spot, and people love to dump their puppies and kittens on our property thinking we’ll take care of them. Here’s a clue: most die. Feral dogs and coyotes mangle the kittens for fun (or else the furballs starve to death) and puppies wind up roadkill or diseased. It breaks my heart that some people are so thoughtless, but then again, even Jodi Minivan is capable of atrocities done in the name of expediency and personal comfort.

More than just about anything else, I want to believe that the American Church is healthy. The facts prove otherwise.  I am weary of people pulling out the “touch not the Lord’s anointed” and “so-called ‘discernment’ is nothing more than divisiveness” trump cards. But hey, what people want to fill themselves with is between them and God. I just want to add this: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” That’s worth memorizing.

Any other men out there at that strange age where you realize that the attractive businesswomen in their early twenties that you run into in the course of your day, the kind you would’ve chatted up in your single days, are now young enough to be your daughters?

I’m old enough to remember that presidential nominations occurred at the party convention. Anyone else remember? You didn’t have a presidential candidate tabbed until then. Quaint, I know. This is why I am deeply disturbed by the events unfolding in the Democratic Party (as if the party isn’t disturbing enough already). You’ve got two candidates that split the vote right down the middle, yet it’s as if one never existed. In another time, Obama and Clinton would’ve both gone into their convention flying high and no one would have thought it unusual to have two viable candidates to choose from in a real, gen-u-wine nominating convention. Instead, you’ve got this travesty of superdelegates that has usurped the people’s vote. And what craven political monsters those superdelegates are. You can bet that most are just trying to save their political futures and alliances rather than thinking about what is best for this country. But hey, I’m in a flyover state, so what do I know.

Man, is there anything more time consuming than trying to switch automatic checking account debits from one bank to another? I’ve spent almost ten hours following up on a dozen of these things and I’m still not done. It’s a great convenience when you don’t have to pay the bills, but the act of switching may undo all the time you saved!

In that same vein, the older I get, the more I see that all our time-saving devices don’t really save us time. They only make life more frantic trying to pay for and maintain them.

With age also comes this serious question: How do most people live? (Darned if I know.)

The box of store brand chocolate-chip cookies that was $1.29 last year is now $2.19. I don’t know who these economists are who keep talking about the slow, meager rise in consumer prices, but going from $1.29 to $2.19 in a year is not “a slow, meager rise.”

We’re seeing wild turkeys on our property regularly. I never saw turkeys around here until just the last few years. Now I see them everywhere.

On the other hand, the rural highway near us looks like a deer abattoir. Talk in the insurance industry has insurance companies ditching payment for accidents involving deer. Nice.

The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of record in the Edelen household, could not be any more schizophrenic than it is right now on the topic of the economy. Every day they print a flurry of editorials talking about the fact that the country is NOT slipping into recession (or worse), yet their business pages are filled with one company after another reporting massive downturns in revenue or declaring bankruptcy outright. My take? Too many rich pundits are out of touch with how “the other half” live.

Considering all the spurious commentary on my part so far, I want to end with a serious question: When was the last time a stranger came up to you and asked whether you were born again? Used to happen to me all the time more than a decade ago, but almost never now. Now we can say that’s because people found that form of evangelism to be unproductive, but are we just lying to ourselves? Maybe we’re not really all that interested anymore in evangelism and where people spend eternity. Does any legitimate reason exist that you and I can’t help lead at least one person to Christ each year? Honestly?

Have a great weekend.