Friday, August 28, 2009

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 8/28/09

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

(H.T. Tom Ascol) This is actually pretty clever, but I would advise you to save your money. Sure, the Tribulation will be tough on your pets, but it'll be tough on your pets even with atheist animal lovers trying to care for them, because it's going to be really, really tough on those atheists, too. So tough, in fact, that taking care of Fido is going to end up pretty low on their priority list, anyway.

We've all be annoyed (well, at least I have) when you find that a parade or something has obstructed your chosen route to wherever you are trying to go. You either have to wait for the road to re-open, or find a way around. What you should never do is what this guy did. Really poor choice.

I really don't like government interfering in parents raising of their kids. I also think that Western society has delayed giving our children responsibility much too long. In Biblical times, this young lady would be getting close to getting married and having kids of her own. While it is true that sailing solo around the world is sort of a bit of frivolity and danger at the same time, but the girl undeniable has the skills, and her parents support her in trying, so...

(H.T. Phil Johnson) In a perfect world, these are the people that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would go after! This has got to be some of the weirdest pictures I've ever seen! Those poor doggies! I do agree with Phil, that the Bison Poodle is pretty neat...

I've always enjoyed watching Cops on TV. One thing that is clear after watching just a few episodes is that most criminals are not very smart at all. This just proves that point. I read once that you cannot cheat an honest man, because your target must want to get something for nothing, or at least something for much less then it's true worth, in order for them to buy into the scam. An honest man will always want to pay a fair price, and is therefore hard to cheat. These folks weren't hard to cheat, and are not heading for jail.

Last but not least, this is pretty cool. The founder of Papa John's pizza wanted to get his old Camaro back, so he began a hunt, and offered a reward of $250,000! Now he's got his old car back. I wonder if that's the most a Camaro has ever sold for? It's a 1971 Camaro, brand new it sold for less than $4,000! (Which works out to $21,260 in today's money, which is surprisingly right on target, considering that Chevy's new Camaro starts at $22,245)

That's the Nut Cache for this week! Sweep up the shells, will you?

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The Automobile has been removed from the back wall of the garage, and the repairs of the garage have begun. All in all, it looks like everything is headed for a happy ending.

Here's a good picture showing the bracing to keep the roof from collapsing. The wall that the car drove through is a bearing wall that supports the garage roof, so this was important to do.

Here you can see the cables from the tow truck to the car. We are ready for extraction.

Here is the tank commander with her tank. She got the car back from the shop today, no major damage, just some dents and scrapes! The cracked windshield will be replaced on Friday.

Here is a picture of the hole after the car has been removed. Mom and I discussed that this would actually be a real nice place for a picture window...

The contractors (Greg McCue, McCue Construction, Missoula MT) quickly got the new wall framed in and sheeted. The electrician will be here Thursday to replace the outside light and the wall outlet.

And here's the outside, ready for the installation of siding.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When Brakes Fail...

I was just getting ready for bed, was in bed, actually, when I felt the whole house shake. Then my Mom yelled down the stairs to our basement bedroom that my daughter had driven though the back wall of the garage. Mrs Squirrel and I threw on some clothes and ran outside to see the nose of Mandy's car sticking through the back wall of the garage and a very shaken Mandy sitting in the driver's seat with an amusingly stunned look on her face.

The driveway is steeply sloped downhill from the street to the garage, and her brakes failed on the hill. As it would happen, she had already hit the button to open the garage door (although I imagine replacing the door would have been less expensive then rebuilding the back wall.) It's also a good thing that Mandy parks in the end slot, as the other two parking places back up on the laundry room, and if she'd driven through that wall, she'd have been parking her car inside the house.

There were no injuries, and the damage could have been a lot worse. We have to wait until we get a contractor to shore up the wall before we can tow the car out. Then we'll have to assess the damage to both. But God is good, and, ultimately, this is a minor incident and easily reparable. This is why we pay those insurance premiums each month, right?

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 8/20/09

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy. (Note: This blog has not changed it's name to The Squirrel's Nut Cache! I will be posting other stuff soon. Really. I've just been busy, is all. Really.)

I can't tell you how many people sent me this story. The first was my sister-in-law, so she gets the hat tip, but thanks mucho much to the rest of you. And y'all weren't surprised to find out that squirrels like to be the center of attention, were you? Nah, I didn't think so!

Excepting once in a while, just around the house, when I might just possibly whistle at Mrs. Squirrel, I'm not in favor of men whistling at women. (Guy Tip - whistling at a woman on the street is really not a good way to meet them. Just saying.) Rude though it may be, the guy who does whistle really doesn't deserve to be assaulted. But, if you really feel that a physical confrontation is required (not an opinion I share!) at least make sure you beat up the right guy! Note: "All three women admitted to being drunk at the time of the incident." Yeah, I saw that coming, too.

I don't know how many times I've seen this in a movie or television show, but I never really believed it. It's just too cliche! But, maybe it's cliche because it actually works. It sure worked in this case! I guess bars on jail windows is a good idea, even when the windows are 50 feet up.

There's just a whole bunch of really bad "big drug bust" jokes here. I'm resisting making any. I really am. I'm trying really hard not to say anything about this story. Mrs. Squirrel has already slapped me in the back of the head for making jokes about this story, so I'm sure not going to type any. Make up your own joke, it's really easy... too easy.

Was he bold or just stupid? Only his psychologist knows for sure. One thing is for sure, he wasn't very smart. All criminals, repeat after me: "Do not rob the police station. Do not rob the police station. Do not rob the police station." Okay, everybody got that? Good.

If you work at a bank, and if the bank were to be robbed, it would be nice if the robber said that he was sorry on the way out, wouldn't it? I mean, that makes it all better, right? Well, maybe not; but at least all bank robbers are not rude and uncaring.

That's the Nut Cache for this week! Happy nuttiness!

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 8/13/09

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

In St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, you might want to think twice before taking you alligator for a ride on your bike. Especially if you're also packing drugs and stuff. And, whatever you do, do not abandon your alligator! That's also a crime in Louisiana. Who knew?

Well, if a 3-foot gator is fun to play with, how about a 10-foot one? Some kid's in Florida decided to go fishing for gators. Although everything turned out well, know that THIS IS NOT A GOOD IDEA, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. I remember canoe camping in the Okefenokee swamp in Georgia when I was a kid, and all the warnings I received about gators. These kids really are lucky, as gators are not something to be messed with.

Stories like this one anger, amuse and astound me all at the same time. It angers me to see people ripped off and taken advantage off. It amuses me, while saddening me at the same time, because I can't believe that people fall for this stuff, and it astounds me because I can't believe that people fall for this stuff. I'm often bowled over by peoples gullibility!

We should have seen this coming. It was only a mater of time. Could this be the beginning of a wave of da Vinci hate crimes? Ever since Dan Brown enmeshed Leonardo da Vinci in his conspiracy theories, it shouldn't surprise us that Leonardo's paintings and artwork would come under attack. Or it could be totally unrelated. But it sure is nutty, either way.

Well, that's it for this week! Not a lot of nuts, but I hope the quality is acceptable. Stay nutty!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Squirrel and Schedules

As I said last week, the new job is really interfering with my blogging. But Mrs Squirrel says I have to just learn to deal with that, so...

Here's some upcoming stuff for you to look forward to --

The Defending Dordt series will continue, with Unconditional Election currently slated for this Friday morning, in place of The Squirrel Can Cook (which will be returning soon, but probably not as a weekly feature.)

The Squirrel's Nut Cache will continue as a weekly feature, so keep sending in nuttiness for review!

Next Sunday, I will be starting an exposition of Daniel at church, so Monday's post will consist of some sort of sermon notes/outlines/summaries. I'm also planning on podcasting the sermons, if I can get all the technical details resolved (nothing major, it's looking good.)

I'll also be passing on fun and frivolity from the taxi, as things happen. I'll also be tweeting from the taxi (between fares, while safely parked!), so follow me on twitter.

I hope that's wet your whistle! See you soon!

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

My First Day in the Cab

While I was able to ride along with another driver yesterday, today was my first full day (12+ hours) in the taxi. It began at 4:45 am, which is why I’m really tired tonight, and why this blog post is going to be real short.

It was a busy day, but it is a job I do believe that I’m going to enjoy. Of course, having a “real job” is going to impact my blogging a bit, and in ways that I’m sure I haven’t thought of yet. I do know that there will not be a ”The Squirrel Can Cook” for a few weeks, while I get some things organized.

Just one funny/sad story before I go. About noon, I was dispatched to pick up a fare (taxi lingo: fare noun 1 – the price of conveyance or passage in a bus, train, airplane, or other vehicle. 2 – a person or persons who pay to be conveyed in a vehicle; paying passenger. 3 – a person who hires a public vehicle and its driver) at an apartment complex to go to a bar downtown. When I arrived, the fare turned out to be a very hung-over young woman. She needed to go to the bar because that was where she’d left her car the night before (At least she hadn’t tried to drive home… Maybe…) I dropped her at the bar, and went on about my business.

A few hours later, I was dispatched to another bar downtown to pick up a fare. It turned out to be the same gal, who was now late to work. She still hadn’t found her car, she didn’t know where her car was, and she needed to get to work. She said that she had called the police and the tow truck companies to see if her car had been towed or impounded, it had not.

The whole time I was driving her to work, I kept thinking that her car was most likely parked back at her apartment complex, but somewhere that she was unaccustomed to parking. If I see her again, I’ll try to find out.

I’ll see everybody sometime soon, when I’ve got a little time for blogging, and I’ll be sure to share any good taxi stories that come up.

Tomorrow’s shift starts at 6 am, which will almost feel like sleeping in after today’s early start time!

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The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 8/6/09

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

The first item on our list today is a personal item. 19 years ago today, I was a very nervous young man at a hospital waiting for the birth of what turned out to be a beautiful little girl that we named Amanda. Happy Birthday, Pandabear! Daddy loves you!

Now, on with the nuttiness!

Here's a story from across the pond about a rodent in distress. What would you do if your hamster got trapped under the floorboards of your bathroom? Well, the hamster's owner figured that this was an emergency, so she called emergency services. Emergency services were not amused, and are now using her "999" (Brit for "911") call as an example of when not to call. But nowhere do they tell us how the hamster is!

I have friends who are law enforcement officers, and I've had occasions to ride along as they go about their business. You would not believe the abuse that they sometimes face from members of the public that they are sworn to protect and serve; it's shameful. Officers even receive special training in how to cope with the disrespect. Well, the disrespectful behavior wasn't tolerated in this case!

My beer drinking days are far in my past, and I don't miss them. I don't miss the hangovers, the stupid things done in the name of "fun," the wondering of where my money all went, etc. But I will admit that I miss the taste of good beer. And nothing was worse then a stale beer, believe me! So I read that technology is being harnessed to improve the freshness of beer, and that's got to be a good thing. Enjoy one for me, okay?

I can just hear my Dad going off on this one, "You should have gone before the movie started!" Really, a service that tells you what the boring parts are so you don't miss anything when you have to hit the can? Why didn't I think of that? This is a service that really meets a need...

Chinese Astronauts may not have bad breath. Really. That's what this article says. The Chinese space agency has listed 100 qualifying and disqualifying traits that China's future space-farers must meet in order to be shot into space, including no dental cavities, no scars (No scars? Who doesn't have at least 1 scar?). On the positive side, a pleasant disposition is required. I notice that Reuters did not link to the full list...

That's all the nuttiness this week! Have a great day!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Will, Free or Enslaved?

In the discussion in the comments section last week, the question of man’s free will came up. Does the Bible teach that man has a free will? And, if man’s will is not free, are we therefore just robots? I want to briefly address this before moving on to God’s unconditional election, as it is really part of the argument for the Total Depravity of Man.

First, we need to define what we mean by “free will.” Here’s one definition: free will noun 1: voluntary choice or decision “I do this of my own free will” 2: freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention ("free will." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009. Merriam-Webster Online. 3 August 2009 ) I would contend that the Bible teaches that, by the first definition, man does have free will, but man does not have free will by the second.

It is clear from the Bible that we all make the choices we make of our own volition, but it is also clear that our very nature makes it impossible for us to make choices other than the ones we make. Our sin nature would be classified as a “prior cause” under this definition. The Bible teaches that we have a will, but it is a will enslaved to sin, and this concept is found clearly in Romans 6.

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. (Romans 6:17-22)

In this passage, Paul, clearly identifies the unregenerate (and the regenerate prior salvation) as being in a condition of enslavement to sin. What does it mean to be enslaved to sin? In his commentary on Romans, John MacArthur puts it this way:

“(T)he unregenerate person is under the continual, unbroken slavery of sin. That is the universal position of the natural man, with no exceptions. No matter how outwardly moral, upright, or benevolent an unsaved person’s life may be, all that he thinks, says, and does emanates from a proud, sinful, ungodly heart. Quoting from Psalm 14, Paul had already made that truth clear. ‘As it is written, “there is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for god; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good there is not even one”’ (Romans 3:10-12)” (MacArthur, John. Romans [volume 1]. Chicago: Moody Press, 1991. Page 346)

So the unregenerate will is unable to do good, nor is it able to change itself from bad to good. As it says in Jeremiah 13:23, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil.” That seems to be a pretty clear declaration that we are unable to change ourselves. Do you see how clearly this fits with the Ephesians 2 concept of being “dead in our trespasses and sins”?

Unfortunately, while grappling with this issue, many people erroneously reach the conclusion that Biblical predestination is deterministic fatalism. However, this is not the case. You see, the Scriptures make two things very clear; 1) God is a personal God, and not an impersonal force. He takes a personal interest in guiding and watching over each and every one of us. And 2) man is never portrayed as a robot, but as a being freely choosing his actions, and fully deserving the consequences of his actions. The invitation of the gospel is truly offered to all men. The problem is that all men, each and every one of us, would, if left on our own, freely reject that offer.

Fatalism also carries with it the idea that, no matter what we do, our actions cannot affect the predetermined outcome. But on the contrary, the Bible teaches that we are real people making real choices that do indeed affect the outcome. Our choices have consequences.

The Bible teaches that man has a will; it just is not a free will. In fact, you might say that man’s willfulness is a big part of man’s sinfulness. We are willfully disobedient to God. So where did this idea of a free will come from? The answer seems to lie more in philosophy than in Scripture. The idea goes something like this, “God gives a command | God holds man responsible for obeying the command | Therefore man must have the ability to obey the command in order to be held responsible for it.” Neat idea, but it isn’t found in the Bible.

The problem with this argument is that man is capable of understanding God’s commands; he simply chooses not to obey. This can be easily demonstrated by taking any group of people through a detailed study of the 10 Commandments. Everybody in the group, Baring severe physiological mental incapacity, will understand that stealing is wrong, yet all in the group will have willfully taken something at some time that they knew was not theirs. And, truthfully, the same can be demonstrated for the other nine commandments as well.

John Macarthur puts it this way, “the unsaved person is not free to do good or evil as he chooses. He is bound and enslave to sin, and the only thing he can do is to sin. His only choices have to do with when, how, why, and to what degree he will sin.” (MacArthur. Romans. Page 344)

Let’s be honest, the truth is that without God’s gracious restraint imposed upon us, we would all be much, much worse than we are.

So, in a nutshell, what the Bible says is this: that man is sinful, lost, and hell bound, and there is nothing he can do about it. This is the bad news that makes the Gospel truly the “good news” that it really is! And until and unless we can truly convey this lostness to the people we are evangelizing, they will not accept just how in need of help they really are.

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