Monday, September 30, 2013

Memoir Crafters

Last week, I attended a meeting at the Bellingham Library, featuring a woman named Sara Geballe. Sara operates a business known as Memoir Crafters. She helps people to turn their memories into books.

For some folks, these books may fall into the category of "vanity books", traditionally published by vanity book publishers. They are mostly for the benefit of close family members and friends who care enough about them that they want to learn more about them.

That is a valid thing to do for some people. But other people are more interested in creating books which can actually be sold in traditional bookstores (or at least online stores), partly in order to make money, and partly in order to make a difference in the culture in which they live. Some may even aspire to be "literary lions".

I am in the latter category. For one thing, I have no family members who are close enough to me that they would be fascinated with my life. For another thing, I have goals which could conceivably be advanced by writing and publishing my life story, or at least aspects of that story.

The main trouble is that there's an open question regarding whether or not I can afford Sara's services. If I can't, then writing my autobiography may have to be a do-it-yourself project for me.

Kezia Noble

I just saw a video at YouTube ( entitled How To Attract Younger Women. The video featured a very attractive woman (from the UK) named Kezia Noble (

Boy, that message really resonated with me.

I then learned that Kezia had written a book called "The Noble Art of Seducing Women: My Foolproof Guide to Pulling Any Woman You Want".

I am not a pervert, nor am I a "predator" like my FORMER pastor Matt Atkins would like you to believe. I'm just a normal (albeit slightly handicapped) man who has the same sexual desires as most straight men. But it would be a mild understatement to say that I've been "unlucky in love". I hope to change that, and the sooner, the better.

A Robot That Flies Like A Bird

I'm watching a Ted Talks video in which a guy named Marcus Fischer discusses and demonstrates a robotic bird that can fly just be flapping its wings, just like a real bird. Here's the link.

Pretty cool. And the bird probably won't even poop on people walking beneath it.

Imagine how useful Fischer's flying robot would be for surveillance during wartime. The enemy would never suspect (unless the enemy was the wizard Gandalf) that the "bird" flying overhead was actually a spy, fully equipped with video cameras in its eye sockets. In an article about a device known as an "ornithopter", Wikipedia states that such devices have indeed been used for such purposes. The article can be found at

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Who Is Lord?

When I was living in Sioux City, Iowa back in the late 1970s, I attended a nondenominational church that met at Morningside College. I liked many aspects of that church, as I have often liked aspects of churches I have attended. But I found certain aspects of that church very troubling.

One pertained to the attitudes that I saw there, regarding the arts and the importance of excellence. At a Maynard Ferguson jazz concert I attended, I approached a brother from that church, inspired by the excellence of Maynard’s music. I said to that brother, “I’d love to have a Christian group that would play music that good.” “That could never happen,” he replied. I asked him why not. He said, “Any true servant of Jesus would be so busy praying and reading his Bible that he would have no time left over for practicing his music.” I was appalled. In his mind, discipleship meant settling for mediocrity in all other aspects of one’s life.

The other thing that troubled me was the fact that the leaders there seemed to practice a type of control which was almost cult-like, even though the church could not have been described as a cult in the doctrinal sense.

I was told that people who became members of that church had to agree to relinquish control over major life decisions to the church’s Board of Elders. Decisions like what college to attend, what woman to marry and so forth. Never mind that those elders might not be in possession of the relevant facts that would come into play when making such decisions.

What was even worse was that they demanded unanimity. If even one member of the Board of Elders voted Yes when all of the others were voting No, then it was thought that they needed to pray more about it so that every single brother would say Yes (or No, as the case might be). I found that ironic in light of the fact that early church leaders like Paul and Timothy often disagreed with one another.

Given the attitude I’d seen in relation to excellence in the arts, I could see that the decisions these folks would make for my life would be totally wrong for me. I fervently desired to create music and art that would glorify God, and I couldn’t see how it would benefit the Kingdom of God for me to create works of art that would impress no one.

I learned that that church’s policy stemmed from a doctrinal movement called the Shepherding Movement. Associated with Bob Mumford and Derek Prince, the Shepherding Movement was soundly repudiated by Pat Robertson, who (in spite of the fact that he sometimes made flaky statements that were ridiculed by the press) knew a cult when he saw one.

I found myself thinking about that church this morning, because I read an article by Rob Walker, in the April 2013 issue of Atlantic magazine (pages 88-89). Entitled “Putting the ‘I’ in IPO”, the article was about a guy named Mike Merrill, who founded a webzine called Urban Honking. Merrill had heard about the concept of crowdfunding, a valid concept which has funded many projects, like the creative projects (e.g., the movie Blue Like Jazz) funded by

Merrill hit on a plan to raise funds. It was one which many people would regard as bizarre. In exchange for their “shares” purchased from him, shareholders would get to call the shots regarding areas of his life which most folks would regard as none of their business. They decided that he would not get a vasectomy, that he would register as a Republican, and that he and the woman he’d been dating would enter into a three-month “Relationship Agreement”.

To his credit, Merrill did not require unanimity, the way the Sioux City church did. A simple majority vote would do. It was downright democratic. Not only that, but the people making decisions about how Merrill would live his life were people who were willing to tangibly invest in his life. It's not clear that churches involved in the shepherding movement were similarly willing to do anything to help those in their charge to achieve their life goals.

Still, I was reminded of the fact that I’d been attending a church where they felt obliged to throw in their two cents about aspects of my life pertaining to my intense desire to find and marry a compatible woman.
I've begged for help from my pastor and others in the church, in terms of matchmaking help, but I have seen scant evidence (despite occasional lip service) that they intend to help me in that way. (I would very likely change my mind in that area if I actually got a call or email message from a woman saying, "So-and-so suggested that I contact you so that you and I could have coffee with one another."
I was told by my pastor, Matt Atkins, that he thought that I ought not to aspire to marry a woman not very close to my own age. (In his words, he thought that if I did so, I’d be “fishing in the wrong pond”; as if women were scaly fish comparable to trout.) I wrote back to him to point out that compatible does not have to mean "born within four or five years of one another" or even "born in the same decade". It's worthwhile to read the Wikipedia article about Age Disparity in Sexual Relationships (also known as May-December relationships).

I was inclined to ask which "pond" was appropriate for someone my age. Should I now resign myself to the idea that I could only find a wife by visiting the nearest hospice?

I was not blessed with marriage when I sought it earlier in my life, but I still desire what I have always desired: To marry a woman who is attractive to me, both physically and in terms of compatibility. Physically, women older than I am are only rarely attractive to me. Raquel Welch, always known as a sex symbol, is still very pretty (some might even say "hot"), and I would be fine with the idea of marrying a woman that looked like Raquel, even though she’s at least a decade older than I am. But very few women age as well as Raquel has aged.
I know that beauty eventually fades, but I’d like to at least experience a few years of love (and yes, sex) with a woman to whom I could honestly say, “I find you to be beautiful.” It seems to me that women like to hear that from the mouths of the men to whom they are married!

There are people who think that they are entitled, on the basis of the fact that they are fellow Christian believers, to tell me who I should and should not date. Given the fact that they do not seem to feel any particular obligation to help me to find a woman, I cannot help but think that they need to butt out and allow me to select women on the basis of what appeals to me. If I ever do find a woman, it will not be those people who have to spend every day of the rest of their lives with that woman.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Stupid and Unnecessary Feature

I'm sick of web programmers who think they are clever imposing features on people who never asked for those features.

An example, seen recently on a number of web sites I've visited recently, is the Click to Search link placed atop web-based images. The screen shot shown below will give you an idea of what I'm talking about. I saw it on the Wikipedia page about musician Barry McGuire, and fortunately, I have PDF Create software, so I can print web pages (at least at Wikipedia) as PDF pages. (Plus, Wikipedia thoughtfully offers the option of downloading an article as a PDF file.)

But PDF Create doesn't capture all web pages equally well, so I like to make screen shots (using the Microsoft Snipping Tool program) as an alternative way to capture information. The problem is that this idiotic Click to Search link (which doesn't even successfully guess what the search term should be in some cases, although it did so in the case of Barry McGuire) is totally unneeded, and it makes it impossible to make a good clean screen capture, as you can see from the graphic image below.

Hey, Microsoft, I know about Bing. I'm not an idiot. If I wanted to do a Bing search, I'd visit that web site. Personally, I tend to prefer to do searches with Google, although I do know that Bing offers certain features which are genuine improvements. But stay the bleep off of other web pages and sites!!!

Barry McGuire and The Mamas and The Papas

Spotify pops up whenever I boot my computer up, and the program suggests artists I might want to listen to, based on previous selections. Today, it suggested The Mamas and The Papas, a group I never really cared about enough that I would listen to them on my own. But I thought, "The heck with it. The Mamas and The Papas it is." So that's what I'm listening to at the moment.

The song "Creeque Alley" wasn't as popular as "California Dreamin'" or "Twist and Shout", but it had an interesting line which referred to "McGuinn and McGuire". The McGuire to which it referred was Barry McGuire, who later recorded a number of Christian albums. I heard Barry in a live concert at what was then Southwest Missouri State University. He talked about his days of smoking dope and doing other things that a lot of hippies were doing at the time. He talked about coming to the Lord. I really liked his music, especially the remake of "Eve of Destruction", which got a new spin after he became a Christian.

Barry did some nice recordings with the Second Chapter of Acts, like the one I just listened to from the album "To The Bride", which had a rockin' version of the traditional tune "This Little Light of Mine". The title of the tune on that album, however, was "Come To Praise The Lord". That album was a live album, and seems to have been recorded pretty well.

Rudy's Pizza

I just posted a blog article about how I missed great Chicago restaurants like the Giordanos restaurant, which made delicious deep dish pizzas. But Bellingham WA is not completely lacking in its pizza attractions. For instance, there's Rudy's Pizzeria (, which offers a very nice selection of toppings, some of which I do not recall ever seeing at Giordanos. Cashews? Almonds? Walnuts? Sunflowers? Not the standard ingredients seen on pizza.

There's also Goat Mountain Pizza. They make pretty good pizza, sold by the pound. But they really need to get a full-fledged web site, instead of just using Facebook for that purpose.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Missing Chicago's Restaurants

There are a lot of things I do not miss about Chicago at all. But I do miss some things, as expressed in the message I sent via

"I lived in Chicago for 19 years, at the Lawson House YMCA on Chicago Avenue. When I first moved to Chicago, I thought that the deep dish pizzas served at Giordanos were pretty weird, since the tomato sauce was put atop the cheese, not the other way around. But I liked it, even though it was a bit messier to eat. Usually, I bought your thin crust pizzas, simply because the deep dish pizzas were too much for one guy (even a big guy like me) to eat by myself.

Here in Bellingham, WA, where I moved in 2010, there are good things in the culinary department; specifically, the delicious fresh salmon, which is hard to find in Chicago. But I do miss the great Giordanos pizza, and the great ribs at Barnelli's Pasta Bowl near the old location of the Rock 'n Roll McDonalds."

Funny Girl

When I was a student at Glendale High School in Springfield, Missouri, I was in a production of Funny Girl. Specifically, I sang in the chorus line.

We did tunes like Rat-A-Tat-Tat (which required us to wear WWI army uniforms, and which is strangely absent from the Spotify version of the soundtrack). I never again partook in any theatrical presentation as a member of the cast, but it was a big deal for me, even though the musical only played for three nights. The experience was notable for several things:
  • The LP record I bought later was only marginally better than our own music. I was amazed after I bought that record to hear that our version had sounded so much like it.
  • The high school girl who played the Fanny Brice part played by Barbara Streisand in the movie got knocked up before she even graduated. It was my first ever introduction to teenage pregnancy. I, on the other hand, am 57 years old, and I still haven't lost my virginity. :(
  • The choreographer for the production had a dance number that required that he kick high in the air. He kicked so high, in fact, that he split his pants and accidentally kicked one of the microphones hanging from the ceiling over the stage.
High school can be an unpleasant experience in some ways, but I had just become a Christian, and that first year of high school was one in which I was getting heavily involved with New Wine Coffeehouse, where we had guests like Larry Norman, The E Band (with Greg Volz, who later went on to sing lead for Petra), the Children of the Day and our own local Christian rock band, Rainbow's Promise. Eventually, New Wine shut down, which greatly disappointed me.

KJV Versus Other Translations

There are some people who insist that only the King James version of the Bible is acceptable. (Specifically, Fundamentalist Baptists.)

In addition to the fact that the KJV was not even available until 1611, that's really stupid for another reason: Grammatically speaking, the KJV IS JUST PLAIN WRONG!!!

Consider Galatians 6:9, for instance. The KJV says, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  But anyone familiar with the rules of English grammar knows that it should say, "weary in good doing". I could use a whole lot more well-doing. It's doing good, not doing well, which tends to cause weariness to people.

Fortunately, other translations seem to grasp the distinction between doing good and doing well.

Lifestyles of the Poor and Not-So-Famous

In the 80s, when I lived in Boston, I would sometimes watch Robin Leach on TV. Robin hosted a TV show called "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". It was an ode to conspicuous consumption. No doubt, Donald Trump would have been proud to be on Leach's show.

America is a land where all citizens consider themselves to be potential millionaires. But the fact is that many of us are barely getting by, Obama or no Obama. It's a bit galling to have one's face rubbed in that fact. Spending time living in a homeless shelter in Bellingham, WA, as I did recently, was an experience in humiliation.

Fads That Make Big Money

The Pet Rock was a fad conceived of by Advertising Executive Gary Dahl, according to this Wikipedia article. According to the article, Dahl became a millionaire (which was a bigger deal back in the seventies than it is today, although I'd still be happy to make a million). All because he got the idea that people could be persuaded to pay good money for rocks they could get free in many places.

Meanwhile, many people struggle financially in spite of the fact that they work their butts off!

Rainbow's Promise

When I was a high school student in the early seventies, my second home (when I was not attending school) was a Christian coffeehouse in Springfield, MO named the New Wine Coffeehouse. The guy who ran that coffeehouse, with the help of various long-haired hippie-type Christians (aka Jesus people or Jesus freaks), was a man named Kenneth Asplund. (His sons helped out, and one of them went on to become a pastor of a church I attended later in Springfield.)

New Wine was the site of occasional gigs by Jesus music pioneers like the Children of The Day and Larry Norman. We also had our own Christian "house band" named Rainbow's Promise. They'd started in Texas using another name, which I've now forgotten. The lead singer, Steve Powell, was a handsome guy who reminded me of the actors from the TV sho The Hardy Brothers. He had a very good voice, and the band could definitely rock out. But you do not have to take my word for it.

Amazingly, I just found a YouTube video featuring songs from that album. (Amazing how software can remove pops, clicks and other defects from old vinyl LP records.)