Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pray4America (part 19) - Australia has our back in prayer!

Australia/Wikipedia.com

National Day of Prayer

The 65th annual National Day of Prayer is set to be observed on May 5, 2016. And they have our back, down under, for the last 40 days.


The National Day of Prayer has a long history in the United States. It started in 1775 by the Continental Congress. Ronald Reagan amended Harry Truman's bill, designating the day of the first Thursday of May each year for the National Day of Prayer. [reference:  National Day of Prayer in the United States ]

* For more information: nationaldayofprayer.org

As we come to this week, other nations have America in their prayers, such as Australia with a ....

Global Call: Prayer and Fasting for America

Below is an appeal for that global call for prayer and fasting for America: April 30 - May 5, 2016. The example is Abraham Lincoln's call for a national day of prayer and fasting during the Civil War on April 30, 1863. [ reference: Abraham Lincoln: Proclamation 97 ]


Before the United States became of nation, events in the past indicated Providence had intervened during time of peril. One such crisis was the French Fleet, seeking vengeance on Britain and the American Colonies in 1746, which brought about the ...

Fast Day Proclamation, October 16, 1746

The Governor Of Massachusetts, William Shirley, declared A Day Of Prayer And Fasting For Deliverance - as a French invasion seemed imminent. The clip below reminds us of this deliverance:



* reference: The Miraculous Defeat of the French Fleet, 1746

Another great crisis in American history came during the Civil War. This rift brought America to her knees. So came the call for a ...

Day of Repentance – April 30, 1863

Abraham Lincoln's proclamation of a National Day of Humiliation, prayer and Fasting for 30th April 1863 is read in the clip below with an appeal for forgiveness:

Ezekiel Prayer for America

I looked for someone
among them 
who would ...
stand before Me in the gap 
on behalf of the land ....

Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV)

And Australia is standing the gap for our land with this prayer:



If My people,
which are called by My Name,
shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek My face,
 and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 4:17 (KJV)
 

Keep praying for America

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Photo: Australia/Wikipedia.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Music (part 3) - Passover

Pessach/Wikipedia

Passover in 2016 will be celebrated April 22 - April 30. And it is a most significant event in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. Reference: Everything you need to know about Passover 2016

Old Testament

The ancient feast has its roots in the Law of Moses. It celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from the bondage of Egyptian slavery as Moses, in the power of the Lord, led them to freedom into the Promised Land.

For a good summary:  In a Nutshell: The Passover Story

New Testament

Later, Jesus made a new covenant, the New Testament, at this feast, which became known as the Last Supper. Christians to this day celebrate it as communion.

For more information: The Last Supper - Bible Story Summary

The Story in Song

Passover Medley, below, tells the story in pictures and music, sung by a group that merges both the Old and Testaments, the Liberated Wailing Wall.


Most of this Passover Medley is sung in Hebrew (with a few verses in English from Charles Wesley's hymn, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus). But the lyrics and its translation of the Hebrew into English can be found here: Passover Medley by Liberated Wailing Wall

Old meets New

Jesus coined the word, New Testament (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, I Corinthian 11:25), and St. Paul, referencing the Jewish writings, coined the word, Old Testament (II Corinthians 3:14).

And St. Paul wrote these words, bringing the Old and the New together:

Get rid of the old yeast, 
so that you may be
a new unleavened batch—

as you really are. 

For Christ, our Passover lamb, 
has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

And this message lives on through the centuries in religious rituals as well as music.

Blessings and new beginnings, my friends!


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Previous posts in the series:
  


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Photo: Pessach/Wikipedia

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

CC (part 9) - Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show/wikipedia.com

The Wild West has been romanticized. 

One man did much to promote this -  William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. And it was no coincidence he came of age and lived through many iconic moments during this period of American history.

In his youth, Cody had worked as a driver on a wagon train, tried his luck at prospecting in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, joined the Pony Express, and served during the American Civil War. And after the war, he worked as a buffalo hunter to feed the Kansas Pacific Railroad workers. (It was where he got his nickname, "Buffalo Bill". ) Later Cody rejoined the Army as a scout for the Third Calvary during the Plains Wars. (Also reference: A Brief History...)

But Ned Buntline's "Buffalo Bill" dime novels extolled Cody's deeds (undoubtedly exaggerated) as a buffalo hunter and Indian scout, which made him a national folk hero. And to solidify this living legend, in 1872, Buffalo Bill made his stage debut in Chicago in The Scouts of the Prairie, one of Ned Buntline's original Wild West shows.

A year later, the Wild West show would include James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok. A double "Bill-ing"? ;) So began Cody's new career and mission to preserve the Wild West legend. And as we learn...

There's No Business Like Show Business

After a 10 year run, Buffalo Bill created his own Wild West show, called, you guessed it, Buffalo Bill's Wild West. It was more like a circus-like show that went on tour, showing off the horse-culture including the military, the cowboys, American Indians, and other performers from around the world.

Cody's show and many like it were very popular in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century. Noted performers in various Wild West shows were cowboys, Will Rogers, Tom Mix, and Pawnee Bill. Noted American Indians were Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Geronimo. (reference: Native Americans...) Among the women were such legends as Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley.

And the legend continues to this day....

Below is a clip from the musical based on Annie Oakley's career as a sharpshooter - Annie Get Your Gun (1950). Here she is being recruited by Frank Butler (and future husband) and Buffalo Bill Cody and Charlie Davenport, the show manager. They entice her with this song, There's No Business Like Show Business, composed by Irving Berlin (who wrote such hits as God Bless America and White Christmas).



In the series, The Commander and the Chief, another fictional chief was in the Wild West shows. He was Nova's great grandfather, Chief Elijah Rainmaker.  Here is an excerpt of that discussion when Nova and her British guides, Colonel Jack Sheffield and Commander Reginald Barrett, seek shelter in a cave:

Nova put a hand on her holstered gun as they walked further in. “My great grandfather, Chief Elijah Rainmaker, he was the snake handler in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. Some think I inherited the propensity for handling snakes from him.”

After Jack cleared the area, Reggie settled down, resting his back against the cool rock wall. Both Nova and Jack removed their pistols and set them out, aiming their barrels in a safe direction. Both kept their guns loaded, within easy reach.

“Your gun, Reggie?” Nova asked.

“I don’t carry one.” Reggie glanced at her.

“Right…so it’s a good thing we do.” She returned a sarcastic smile. “To protect you from all the bad things out there.”

“As a doctor, I’ve seen what guns can do to people, madam.” Reggie stiffened up. “Especially in war and in the street.”

“But they don’t shoot themselves, do they?” Nova sat between Reggie and Jack, crossing her legs.

“But they’re deadly…like snakes.” Reggie twisted his mouth. “Furthermore, I didn’t think snake handling was a genetic trait, darling.”

“Why not?” Nova asked. “I’m a natural at it. When I was growing up on the ranch, my big brother Nick once found a den of rattlesnakes in the rocks. I used to catch those suckers and pry open their jaws while Nick spit tobacco juice into their mouths.”

From Book 1: His Tribe of One, Part 5, Chapter 4, The Snake Handler
[for more info on the book:  smithsk.com/cc.htm ]

To find out more about The Wild West heritage, please feel free to read the book.

His Tribe of One, now available:

* Paperback:  CreateSpace

* eBook:   Kindle
                  Nook

Your readership is much appreciated. Sequel is coming soon....

S. K. Smith


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Photo:  Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show/wikipedia.com

Monday, March 28, 2016

Poetry (part 2) - The Fool's Prayer

Polski/Wikipedia.com
April Fools' Day.

Also known as All Fools' Day is observed on April 1st.  It's become a day of practical jokes. It's origin and history is a bit hazy, as seen here:  infoplease: April Fools' Day: Origin and History

A poem for this day

In high school literature, one of the poems we studied resonated with me. So much so, it was one I choose to memorize it.  The Fool's Prayer.  And it's recited beautifully in this clip below:




The text can be found here:  The Fool's Prayer, by Edward Rowland Sill (1841 - 1887) and a good interpretation: here

As for literature, Shakespeare made great use of the fool, the King's jester, who was one court member who spoke the truth behind the mask of comedy. [reference: Shakespeare's Clowns and Fools ]

Same is true today, as it seems all great comedy has its roots in a truth or it really isn't funny. But Shakespeare said it first:

A fool thinks himself to be wise, 
but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. 

William Shakespeare


Wise or foolish!  It's our day!
Lord have mercy.


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Previous Post in this series:
   

Poetry (part 1) - Snow (2016) 


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Photo: Polski/Wikipedia.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tech (part 1) - The Gospel and Tech

Gospel/wikipedia.com
Twitter is one of the popular networks in social media. It can connect us to countless people across the world. Through it, we can quickly share information. And that can be vital during disasters.

Tweets can also divide us, incite mob rule to pile on a hapless twitterer of an unpopular opinion. And it's so easy to snipe from the anonymity of a keyboard.

Likewise, the words and action of public figures can divide us. As we approach Easter, we have a perfect example of that, 2000 years ago.  That is Jesus, of course. And the mob had Him crucified. Only He did not stay dead. That's why we celebrate Easter.

How Jesus divided people is recorded in the Gospels. And there is a good booklet (in pdf format) describing this, provided via the modern marvels of computers and hyperlinks:  The Cross Divides Men

The Gospel and 21st century tech 

If you are reading this blog, it is a marvel of our social media, like blogging. And I most likely tweeted the link you are reading, or posted it on Facebook, or you googled it on your browser.

How would the Gospel be told via twitter in our times? Below is a video embedded from YouTube (another modern marvel) showing that:



So in the 21st century, tweets and posts with hyperlinks can quickly spread the Gospels across the world.

The Gospel and 1st century tech 

During the first Easter, the tech of the times also prepared the world to spread the Gospel.

Alexander the Great conquered the known world and made Greek the universal language of its time. They also translated the Jewish Torah (Old Testament) into Greek, known as the Septuagint.

Later the Romans conquered most of the known world.  They built roads, brought law and order, and peace and security to most of its denizens, known as the Pax Romana.

The New Testament was written mostly in Greek, the universal language of the known world. And the apostles like St. Paul, spreading the Gospel, traveled down the Roman roads in the relative safety provided by the Pax Romana,

So these military and technological feats paved the way to spread the Gospel.

[Reference:  Preparation of the World for Christianity ]

The Great Commission

So to this day, the disciples followed one of Jesus' last commands before leaving this earth, using the tech of the times-whether the 1st or the 21st century:

Then Jesus came to them and said, 
“All authority in heaven and on earth 
has been given to me. 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing them in the name 
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 
and teaching them to obey 
everything I have commanded you. 

And surely I am with you always, 
to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

So on this note begins another thread - Tech.

From 20 centuries of tech of the times, may readers continue to receive the blessing this Easter.

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Related articles:

Popular Science

Thru the Bible

Blogs - Entcon 2009

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Photos:  Gospel/wikipedia.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Physics (part 4) - Einstein and Pi

Einstein_1921/Wikipedia
Pie takes the cake

When I turned 7 years-old, I picked a scrumptious birthday cake with a ton of delicious looking icing on it. It was so sugary sweet that it made me sick. Ever since, I preferred pie over cake for my birthday. Or you could say, in my world, pie takes the cake.

Here's another story about birthdays and pie. Or should I say...

One special birthday and Pi

Pi_pie/wikipedia.com
Pi, the Greek letter (shown to the left), denotes the irrational number resulting from the ratio of the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter.
[reference: Pi ]

And it appears in more complex mathematical equations, such as:

*  math.com: Pi
*  wikipedia.com: Pi
*  livescience.vom: What Makes Pi So Special

And numerous sites calculate Pi's never ending digits.

This one displays it out to one million digits:  one million digits of Pi   Another site went for over 12 trillion digits: Pi - 12.1 Trillion Digits

Pi and the edge of the universe

But let's be practical. You only need 39 digits of Pi to measure the circumference of the known universe within the width of a single hydrogen atom:  How Many Digits of Pi Do You Really Need?

Pi on earth

For accuracy good enough for macro purposes, Pi is rounded to 3.14 or 3.1416.

Now, this last number, 3.1416, correlates to our 2016 calendar: 3/14/16. Otherwise,

March 14, 2016

And Pi Day (March 14th) has become a big tradition as well as many teachable moments.

*  Pi Day
*  7 Classroom Resources for Pi Day
*  Pi Day 2016: Events, Activities, & History

But I like the video below that celebrates Pi by calculating Pi with Pie:



Now, we covered Pi Day, what about birthdays?

It just so happens, Pi Day shares a birthday with a famous scientist, Albert Einstein!

Einstein's Birthday is March 14, 1879

And the short video below celebrates Einstein's life, his remarkable achievements, and his birthday that ends with Pi!



As a 7 year-old girl, who knew? I would be celebrating my birthday, like Einstein's birthday, not with cake - but with Pi ... I mean Pie!


Sweet!


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Previous posts in this series:

Physics (part 1) - Picking Feynman's Brain (2013)

Physics (part 2) - Flat Earth? It depends ...  (2015)

Physics (part 3) - 100 years of Einstein (2015) 

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Photo: Einstein_1921/Wikipedia
           Pi_pie/wikipedia.com

Monday, February 29, 2016

CC (part 8) - Little America

penguin at Little America/smithsk photo
What's this stuffed penguin doing in my hotel lobby?

Here's the story.

On a recent trip, we stayed at the first Little America,  just west of Rock Springs, Wyoming along Interstate 80. It's part of a hotel chain, as shown in the video below:



A part of Wyoming history.

In the 1890's, Stephen Mack Covey (1869-1959) was herding sheep in  south-western Wyoming. During a nasty blizzard, 50 mph winds, -40 degrees F, he hunkered down at the site of the future Little America. As he was weathering the storm, he remembered longing for a warm fire, food, and wool blankets.  That experience inspired him to build a shelter on that god-forsaken spot.

The first Little America, really down under

In January 1929, Admiral Byrd (1888-1957) established "Little America" as an outpost on the Antarctic continent. And few years after the Wyoming blizzard experience, Covey saw Admiral Byrd's photos of that "Little America" base camp used while exploring the South Pole.

Admiral Byrd's video at "Little America" is shown below:


The Admiral's isolation inspired Covey to erect a monument and create a refuge on the spot of his "harrowing experience" in Wyoming. Hence, Covey called his refuge for motorists, "Little America." [reference: Lincoln Highway-Little America ]

Little America penguin/smithsk
So Covey's Little America was born in 1932 by Stephen Mack Covey (1869-1959) as a small gas station-motel-cafe.

Originally, the owners wanted a penguin as their live mascot. But their chosen penguin, Emperor, died during the journey from Antarctica to Boston.

Making the best of a bad situation, Little America had the penguin stuffed and shipped anyway. For more about this mascot:  Emperor the Penguin
Little America dinosaur/smithsk


Now, that explained the stuffed penguin (shown at the top of the page) in the lobby. And the penguin picture perched at the top of the Little America registration building(shown to the left).

In the 1950s, Robert Earl Holding (1926-2013) managed Little America and later bought it in 1966. He expanded the two fuel pumps, a 24-seat cafe, and 12 guest rooms hotel to 140 rooms with many more gas pumps for both truck drivers and travelers.

If the green dinosaur (shown to the right) below its penguin mascot perched on the roof looks familiar, it's the logo for Sinclair Oil Company.  And it just so happened that Robert Holding bought Sinclair Oil in 1976, ten years after he bought Little America.  [reference: Robert Earl Holding Dead: Billionaire Owner Of Sinclair Oil Dies At 86 ]


For a complete history, check out: Little America, Wyoming: a haven for the traveler

The connection to another story.

Little America gets a mention in His Tribe of One, the first in the series of The Commander and the Chief

During an expedition in another god-forsaken place, Chief Nova Orlovic likens the Middle-Eastern desert to the Badlands of the Dakotas. And she makes the following comments to her agents, Colonel Jack Sheffield and Commander Reginald Barrett :

“Magnificent desolation.” Nova scanned the wilderness—edifices of stone, rising like fortresses, floating on an ocean of pale yellow sand.

“I’ve heard that before. Somewhere.” Reggie skimmed the desert-scape from his backseat window.

Nova turned around. “Buzz Aldrin.”

“Buzz who?” Reggie squinted at her.

“How quickly we forget.” Nova shook her head. “Buzz Aldrin was the second man on the moon…after Neil Armstrong, of course.”

“Right-o.” Jack chimed in. “Admiral Quinn was an astronaut. So you know this ancient history.”

“Doesn’t seem that long ago, though it happened before I was born.” Nova panned the moonscape-like desert. “Yet this place reminds me of the Badlands in the Dakotas, only with sand and stuff.”

Jack said, “So these Badlands look like the moon?”

“In many ways, they do.” Nova returned a fond look. “Actually Jack, parts of Wyoming have been likened to Antarctica.”

“Because Wyoming’s as remote as the far side of the moon?” Reggie chuckled.

“It’s like this, Commander Barrett.” Nova raised her shoulders as well as her voice. “One of our motel chains, Little America, started in southwest Wyoming, a place of warm hospitality in the harshness of winter.”

“Little America? Sounds just the opposite of Great Britain.”

“Yep. Little America. Named after Admiral Byrd’s station at the South Pole. And that’s why the Little America mascot is a penguin.”

“Who cares?” Reggie threw up his hands.

Jack’s tablet beeped. “Hate to break up this lovely conversation, people, but it’s time for the next passover of the big eye in the sky.”

from Part 5: The Badlands, Chapter 1: The Backside of the Desert.
[for more info on the book:  smithsk.com/cc.htm ]

To find out more about this Little America and Great Britain tension, please read the book and its coming sequels.

His Tribe of One, now available:

* Paperback:  CreateSpace

* eBook:   Kindle
                  Nook

Your readership is much appreciated.

S. K. Smith

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For other posts in this series:

CC (part 1) - The Commander and the Chief: His Tribe of One (2014)

CC (part 2) - Universe in a Glass of Wine  (2014)

CC (part 3) - Happy Bill of Rights Day  (2014)

CC (part 4) - Stories and the Brain (2015)

CC (part 5) - Audie Murphy  (2014)

CC (part 6) - Pavle Orlovic (2015)

CC (part 7) - Buzz Aldrin  (2015)

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photos: penguin at Little America/smithsk;                 Little America penguin/smithsk;                  Little America dinosaur/smithsk