Thursday, June 30

Only in the Yukon: Interesting Planes

Someone asked in the comments once about the kinds of interesting airplanes I might see on my airport walks. Okay, so these aren't exactly airplanes, but this'll still help answer the question.

[Update: The photographer gives us a few details in the comments.]



Email Backlog

For some reason, a bunch of the email sent to me over the past couple days all piled into my mailbox right now. It seemed odd that I'd check my mail and there'd be none, but I just chalked it up to me actually not getting any mail. So, if you've emailed me and you're waiting for a response, chances are that's the reason you've had none. And you'll have to wait a little longer, because there's a LOT there, and I'll have to tackle it when I can.

[Update, July 1: It seems that some mail headed my way never made it here, so if you emailed something to me that needed a response and you didn't get it, try sending it again.]

Twenty-nine and Counting

on the Princess Bride quote list. Got more?

[Update, July 2: We've reached 40--and I hate to use the word "we" there, since I contributed almost nothing!]

Top 100 Lists: Bugs, Birds, and Fish

  • The Top 100 Insect Sites. I once had a bug collection, and I like insects almost as much as I like snakes. If you want to see Norwegian butterfly photos, you need an atlas of Siberian spiders, or you just want insect magnets for your fridge (Even I don't understand the appeal of the cockroach magnets!), you'll find it on this list.

  • The Top 100 North American Birding Hotspots. You could always use this list for planning your travel itenerary.

  • The Top 100 Canadian Fishing Sites. Hungry for fishing facts? (Did you know that the chinook salmon is on the U.S. endangered species list? Or that the largest chinook salmon caught was 97 lbs.?) Maybe you just want to go fishing in New Brunswick. If it's fish related, you'll find it somewhere on this list of 100 sites.

  • Unfortunately, I could find no list of top 100 snake sites or it'd be right here.
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    Wednesday, June 29

    Top 100 Lists: Musical Top 100 Lists

    From NPR: The most important American musical works of the 20th century. This list lets you listen to something about each piece too!

    Top 100 Classical Compositions of the 20th Century from AV Guide.

    Top 100 Tango Recordings. (You never know when you'll need to know something like this, right?)

    Round the Sphere Again

    It's a short trip, since I've had almost no time this week for reading other blogs.

  • This week's Christian Carnival is up at Christ Web.

  • The new ladies' group blog, Intellectuelle made its debut yesterday. This week the blog participants are introducing themselves. Have a look.

  • The ESV translators continue to answer questions on Adrian Warnock's blog: Why is Yahweh translated "the LORD"?, What was the motivation for producing another English translation? and Are commentaries less necessary with the ESV?.

  • You can be a statistic, too.

    Take the MIT Weblog Survey

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    Tuesday, June 28

    Christian Carnival: This Week's Entry Info

    Tonight (June 28) at midnight EST is the deadline for this week's Christian Carnival entries. Send your submission to the Christian Carnival email addy: ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com. In your email include

  • the name of your blog
  • the URL of your blog
  • the title of your post
  • the URL of your post
  • a short description of your post

    Then expect to see your submission posted in Wednesday's (June 29) Christian Carnival at ChristWeb.

    You can find more detailed participation instructions here.
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    Top 100 Lists: Top 100 Sites

    for recipes.

    Do you have a recipe problem? Chances are you'll find the solution somewhere in the sites listed in the top 100 list.

    Want to cater your own wedding? Make shepherd's pie? Or perhaps you're stuck cooking for one with only a microwave oven.

    Like top 100 lists? Stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting a couple more of them.

    A Fish Story

    Sunday afternoon, the boys and a friend tied the canoe to the top of the Landcruiser, packed their lunches and the dog, and headed out out behind Grey Mountain to Cantlie Lake. My oldest son read somewhere that Cantlie Lake can only be reached by ATVs, and rather than taking that as a warning, he took it as a challenge.

    And they did make it there. It took a while--they had to use the winch a few times--but they managed to make it in to the lake and back out again. They arrived home after midnight, dirty and tired with this fish story to tell.

    Friend had been fishing down the shore a bit from them. They could still see him, but it was far enough away that he had to yell for them to hear him.

    Friend caught an Artic char, and as he started to take it off his line, he yelled down to my sons to ask how big it had to be before he could keep it. Oldest son was just getting ready to yell back "Eight inches" when he changed it to "Hold on to your rod!" He had only shouted a couple of the words before a huge bald eagle--close to 3 feet tall, they thought--swooped down and swiped the fish, which was still on the line. Friend managed to hold onto his rod, the line snapped, and the eagle flew off with the char. Later, as they were walking back around the lake, they stumbled across the lure on the shore.

    I've have a wedding story too, but that'll have to wait until the last of the company leaves. Meanwhile, here's a photo of some people paragliding from the Dome in Dawson at midnight on the day of the summer solstice.

    Sunday, June 26

    Sunday's Hymn: Reader's Choice

    Today's hymn is chosen by Ron. He says it's a "beautiful song about the power of grace to save 'a wretch like me' and how we will be singing the praises of God long after this world is behind us." I bet you can guess which hymn it is just by reading that, can't you?
    Amazing Grace

    Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    Was blind, but now I see.

    'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    And grace my fears relieved;
    How precious did that grace appear
    The hour I first believed.

    Through many dangers, toils and snares,
    I have already come;
    'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
    And grace will lead me home.

    The Lord has promised good to me,
    His Word my hope secures;
    He will my Shield and Portion be,
    As long as life endures.

    Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
    And mortal life shall cease,
    I shall possess, within the veil,
    A life of joy and peace.

    The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
    The sun forbear to shine;
    But God, Who called me here below,
    Shall be forever mine.

    When we've been there ten thousand years,
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We've no less days to sing God's praise
    Than when we'd first begun.
    This one's written by John Newton, except for the last verse, which was added later and has an unknown author.

    Listen to this hymn from Your Favorite Hymns.

    Get your favorite hymn on the list to be featured by adding it here.

    Saturday, June 25

    Upper Deck, View Left

    Just trying out the new Blogger Images feature. Unfortunately, it bombs my Safari browser everytime, and doesn't work with my IE, either, but if this posts, then it does work with Firefox.

    This is the view to the left from the second story deck at the back of the house.

    Today is the big wedding day. This morning, there'll be guacamole for 100 made in my kitchen. Last night I made a hot pink tie for one of the groomsmen. For some reason, the tuxes were short one tie.

    My oldest daughter is a bridesmaid, and the groom's sister, who is also a bridesmaid, is staying with us as well. It's been interesting. All I can say is that when my kids get married, I hope its small and simple.

    Friday, June 24

    What to Do with a Reluctant Reader, the Repeat

    I'm too busy to create anything new, I thought I'd do another repost of something from the olden days. As long as we're on the subject of kids' books, I'm reposting a list of ways to get your reluctant reader to begin to enjoy reading.

    A reluctant reader is a child who has reached 10 or 12 years old, who can read, but doesn't enjoy reading on their own, a child who almost never picks up a book to read for pleasure. You may think that children who grow up in households that value reading will never be reluctant readers, but there are kids who manage to defy the odds. Two out of four of mine would have fallen into the reluctant reader category. While they loved to be read to, and scored fairly high on reading comprehension tests, for some reason, they resisted reading on their own.

    Here are a few tips gleaned from our experiences:

    1. Take advantage of the times your child is held captive. Keep good books for children in the bathroom. Stack a few by their bed and make reading the only activity allowed after bedtime. Unless your child is prone to carsickness, take lots of books on a long car ride. Never, ever actually draw attention to these books, or suggest that they try reading one of them.

    2. Notice what sorts of T.V. programs your child likes most. Do they like drama, or are they more drawn to documentaries and science shows? It's my personal opinion that many reluctant readers are "just the facts" sort of people, and parents may be pushing novels while the child prefers nonfiction. Try leaving biographies, nature books, science books, books of math puzzles, books on W.W.II, sports books, joke books, books about foreign countries, or collection-of-facts type books--like almanacs--scattered about the house. If you can't resist pushing novels, make them factually based novels.

    3. Have quiet time at your home and insist that everyone--it works best if this means dad, too--is included. After the supper dishes are done is a good time. Only quiet activities are allowed--drawing, homework, paying bills, reading, etc. Half an hour is long enough, but you can try a longer time period if you think you can manage it. Chances are that at some point your reluctant reader will run out of other quiet entertaining things to do and will open a book. Try not to comment on it when this happens.

    4. Keep on reading to your child. Never stop doing this. Ask your child to read out loud to you once in a while. Ask them to read a page or a paragraph from the book you are reading to them. Try reading a bit of a really engaging book to them--like a chapter or two, just enough to get them really interested--and then be too busy to read to them for a few days and see if they will try to finish on their own.

    The all-time best novel for reluctant readers is Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins. It's easy to read, and I've never met a kid that didn't like it. Read a chapter or two to them and see if they don't finish it! Other Scott O'Dell books are good, too, but introduce these other books after they've been hooked by Island of the Blue Dolphins.

    5. Tidiness may be a virtue, but being too tidy doesn't promote reading. A reluctant reader does not love reading enough to look through a bookcase for a book that has been put away. Lots of books everywhere is a good thing when it comes to getting kids to read.

    6. Buy books at garage sales, thrift stores and used book stores. If you pay new price for a book, it's going to eat at you when it doesn't get read, and that pressure to have the book read is counterproductive when you are dealing with reluctant readers.

    And if you buy at rock bottom prices, you'll be more likely to take a chance on something that isn't great literature, but may be just the thing to prick your young reader's interest. Don't worry that their reading material is too lightweight. Lightweight is good; dumbed down is not. Your purpose at this point is not to make them well-read, but simply to get them to see that books can be fun and interesting, and that reading doesn't have to be a chore.

    If you have more ideas, feel free to add them.

    [Update: There are several more good suggestions in the comments.]

    Top 100 Lists: Top 105 Movies of All Time

    From Sherry of Semicolon: Semicolon's 105 Best Movies of All Time.

    And yes, The Princess Bride is there. So is another one of my favorites, a little film called That Thing You Do!

    Thursday, June 23

    As You Wish

    Since it was starting already in the comments of the movie quote thread, here's the official place to list your favorite quotes from The Princess Bride. I'll start.
    1. This one is a favorite send-off at our house: "Bye bye boys. Have fun storming the castle!" Of course the rest of this quote goes like this: "Think it'll work?" "It would take a miracle."
    2. Kim adds two: "We are men of action; lies do not become us." and
    3. one from Inigo Montoya, "No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
    4. Ian McKenzie has two: another from Inigo, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
    5. and one from Miracle Max, "You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles."
    6. Four from Bill Lueg: "You do not happen to have six fingers on your right hand?" (Inigo Montoya)
    7. "Ma-wage." said by the impressive clergyman, ""Ma-wage is what bwings us togethew today."
    8. Westley: "As you wish." Also "Aaaas yyyooouuuuuu wwiiiiiiiiiiissshhhhhhh!"
    9. Bill says he uses this one from the grandson all the time: "Killed by pirates is good."
    10. Paula adds (What else?) "Inconceivable!"
    11. And from Kevin:
      "No more rhyming, I mean it!"
      "Does anyone have a peanut?"
    12. Kim adds another one: "I want to see my face shining in it by morning." She says this one comes in handy with three boys.
    13. From Kim in ON--and I can't believe this one's this far down the list--"Ha-lo! My name is Inigo Montoya. You kill my father. Prepare to die."
    14. "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." From Paula.
    15. DLE reminds us of this quote from Vizzini: "Ha-ha, you fool. You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia', but only slightly less well known is this: 'Never go in against a Sicilian, when death is on the line.'"
    16. "Well, it just so happens that your friend here is only mostly dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead." From Brian.
    17. The grandson asks "Does it have any sports?" This one is quoted by William Meisheid.
    18. Kim reminds us of this one from Vizzini: "I can't compete with you physically and you're no match for my brains."
    19. Brandon give his favorites on his own blog.
    20. Another from Bill:
      "Truly you have a dizzying intellect"
      "Wait 'til I get started! Where were we?"
      "Oh, yes. And Australia as we all know is entirely peopled by criminals. You would have known..."
    21. The ever respectful Darren has gone from answering his wife with "Maybe" to "It's possible, pig." He explains that he answered that "once without thinking about it and she couldn't stop laughing." I take it she's a Princess Bride fan, too. But Darren, here's a little tip free of charge: When she starts to feel like a beached whale, you might want to transition back to "Maybe".
    22. Two from Sherry: "We face each other as God intended, sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone."--Fezzik, and
    23. "Love, Twue love."
    24. Kim again: "Thank you very much. How very nice of you. Your vote of confidence is overwhelming."--Grandfather.
    25. The Jollyblogger does his own post with Princess Bride quotes.
    26. From Andrew: "I am no one of consequence." -Westley
    27. From Kim: "How could I forget Inigo's 'There's going to be blood tonight!!!' "
    28. A couple quotes from Reon: "I'm not a witch, I'm your wife! But after what you just said, I'm not sure I want to be that anymore!" --Miracle Max's wife.
    29. and the exchange between the man in black and Inigo Montoya:
      "Why are you smiling?"
      "Because I know something you do not know."
      "What's that?"
      "I am not left-handed!"
      Moments later: "I know something you do not know...I'm not left-handed, either!"
    30. Darren adds these: "My way's not very sportmanlike ..."--Fezzik.
    31. "I'm sorry, Inigo. I didn't mean to jog him so hard."--Fezzik.
    32. "You seem a good fellow I hate to kill you."
      "You seem a good fellow. I hate to die."--Inigo and Wesley. (I was waiting for this one!)
    33. "Unemployed ... in Greenland!"--Vezzini
    34. "Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?"
      "If there are, we'll all be dead!"--Inigo and Fezzik.
    35. "Goodnight, Wesley. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning."--Wesley, quoting the Dread Pirate Roberts. (Darren like to to quote this one "to loved ones out of context (substituting their name, of course)")
    36. Two more from Bill: "Welcome to the pit of despair." Cough, cough. "Don't even think of trying to escape."
    37. "I've just taken one year of your life away. Tell me how you feel...and remember this is for posterity so please be honest. How do you feel?" --The Count
    38. From rev-ed: Buttercup: What about the R.U.S.?
      Westley: Rodents of unusual size? I don't think they exist. AHHH!
    39. and Vinzinni: "Ever hear of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates?"
      Westley: "Yes."
      Vinzinni: "Morons!"
    40. From Kim: During the sword fight:
      Inigo to Westley: You're wonderful!
      Westley: Thanks, I've worked hard to become so.

      At Kim's house, the exchange goes like this "after hubby has watered all the window boxes and my many plantings in the yard":
      Me: You're wonderful!
      Him: Thanks, I've worked hard to become so.
    Paula says we must be a cult. I suppose we could call ourselves Princess Briders. That sounds like Baptist Briders, but this would be way better.....

    Wednesday, June 22

    Top 100 Lists: 100 Top Movie Quotes

    Our company showed up a day early, so things are just a little crazy around here. Not to worry, Kim has emailed me a link to the American Film Institute's list of Top 100 Movie Quotes, so I don't have go searching for a good list to post today.

    Are your favorites there? What additions would you make?

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting several more of them.

    Round the Sphere Again

  • This week's Christian Carnival is at In the Spirit of Grace. It's all done up in a road trip theme, so make sure you check that out.

    Here are some things I found especially interesting in my blog reading this week:

  • Al Mohler writes on "A Generous Orthodoxy"--Is It Orthodox?

  • Allthings2all gives us The Effective Gospel as a followup to two posts on using our brains: A Missed Opportunity - or Why We Should Use Our Brains and So Why Did God Give Us An Intellect? .

  • At, suggestions for an eight part test to determine music appropriate for the worship service.

  • The Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly recently voted down a resolution to encourage all its members and officers to remove their children from public schools. Here are two different takes on that:
  • Adrian Warnock continues to post answers to ESV translation questions: How did you determine the Greek text used for translation?, How extensive will the upcoming review of the ESV be?, and "Extra" verses - how did you decided what to do with them?

  • Mark. D. Roberts posts Some Thoughts on Boycotts.
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    Tuesday, June 21

    Top 100 Lists: A Few More Worst Lists

    It's the summer solstice, but it's downright gloomy outside anyway. Somehow worst lists seem more appropriate than best lists today.

    Here are 100 of the world's worst invasive alien species. No, not of the Martian sort!

    Who wouldn't want to know the 100 worst MLB teams?

    And to close things off with something really depressing: 100 Worst Aviation Disasters.

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting several more of them.

    Monday, June 20

    The Joy Set Before Us

    This is a reworking of something I posted back in the olden days when I first started blogging.

    When times get tough--and don't worry, they will--we are not left to flounder. We've got help. We have a leader who has shown us the way through our suffering by his own example, and who stands at the finish line of our life's race as an inspiration for us to keep on running the race. In Hebrews 12, we are encouraged to persist through our struggles by
    ....keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. (verses 2)

    The phrase "for the joy set out for him" is an ambiguous one. The word translated "for" (anti) can also mean "instead of," and if that's what is meant here, then the text would be saying that Jesus chose the cross "instead of" the joyful bliss of remaining in heaven. But anti can also mean "for the sake of," and that seems a more suitable way to take this word in this context. Jesus looked beyond the cross to the joy of bringing "so great salvation." The pain and humilitation of the cross were willingly accepted by him because his suffering was the means to something glorious--the joy of "bringing many sons [and daughters] to glory (Hebrews 2:10)."

    Those of us who follow Him can consider what He has done for us as incentive to continue to be faithful throughout our struggles. When we are tempted to give up on the race because we've grown weary before the finish line, we gain strength in knowing that we are not unique in our suffering, for our very own leader kept on enduring in obedience--obedience "even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:8)." We keep on running toward our prize even though the path of the race takes us right smack dab into the middle of difficulty, because our Savior also kept on running toward his prize when he knew that achieving his goal of "so great salvation" for sinners would bring great suffering and shame for him to endure.

    Moreover, just as his suffering was working something wonderful, so is our suffering. Our suffering has meaning, too.
    Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons.....he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. (Hebrews 12:7a, 10b,11)

    Christ's suffering was working a great salvation; our suffering is working the fulness of our salvation: the fruit of peace and righteousness. God's aim in our suffering is that we should "share in his holiness." This is the joy set before us: We are being remade in the likeness of the one we follow. We are one of his sons and daughters being brought to glory.

    Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees (Hebrews 12:12)

    It is because we keep our focus on the captain of our faith and his example for us, and because we know that our suffering bears good fruit, that we can buck up and keep on running the race, enduring the difficult process for the sake of the joyful product, just like our captain did.

    All verses quoted from the NET Bible. The NET Bible is available for free download at

    Top 100 Lists: 100 Worst Books

    I suppose if I'm posting lists of the best books, in the interest of fairness I ought to give lists of the worst books equal time. So here it is, The 100 Worst Books of the 20th Century.

    What say ye? Any of your favorite books there? Any books not on the list that you think should be?

    [Update: Scott G. wants to add
    Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Kinsey's statistical techniques alone render the book's "findings" completely worthless, except perhaps as an example of how not to do statistics. Yet it was immensely influential. Kinsey said what people at the time wanted to hear, even though it was bogus.]

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting several more of them.

    Christian Carnival: This Week's Entry Info

    Tomorrow night (June 21) at midnight EST is the deadline for this week's Christian Carnival entries. Send your submission to the Christian Carnival email addy: ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com. In your email include

  • the name of your blog
  • the URL of your blog
  • the title of your post
  • the URL of your post
  • a short description of your post

    Then expect to see your submission posted in Wednesday's (June 22) Christian Carnival at In the Spirit of grace. Dee says she's
    planning something really fun this week - I want to do the Christian carnival in true artistic style - hopefully, it will all come together as I see it now.
    I'll admit she has me curious! Why don't you enter something, and then on Wednesday you'll be able so see your post artistically displayed?

    You can find more detailed participation instructions here.
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    Sunday, June 19

    Sunday's Hymn: Reader's Choice

    This week's featured hymn is chosen for us by Patrick O'Hannigan. It is attributed to Ignaz Franz, a Catholic priest, who would have written it some time in the 18th century. It was first written in German and then translated into English by Clarence Walworth in 1858.
    Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

    Holy God, we praise Thy Name;
    Lord of all, we bow before Thee!
    All on earth Thy scepter claim,
    All in Heaven above adore Thee;
    Infinite Thy vast domain,
    Everlasting is Thy reign.

    Hark! the loud celestial hymn
    Angel choirs above are raising,
    Cherubim and seraphim,
    In unceasing chorus praising;
    Fill the heavens with sweet accord:
    Holy, holy, holy, Lord.

    Lo! the apostolic train
    Join the sacred Name to hallow;
    Prophets swell the loud refrain,
    And the white robed martyrs follow;
    And from morn to set of sun,
    Through the Church the song goes on.

    Holy Father, Holy Son,
    Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee;
    While in essence only One,
    Undivided God we claim Thee;
    And adoring bend the knee,
    While we own the mystery.

    Patrick tells us he likes this hymn because it's hopeful, it can be sung by normal people, and it doesn't blur "the difference between creature and Creator, as so many modern hymns do." If you are unfamiliar with this hymn, you can listen to it here.

    (How many of you remember Shirley Temple singing this one in Heidi?)

    Get your favorite hymn on the list to be featured by adding it here.

    Friday, June 17

    Top 100 Lists: Top 100 Boy Baby Names in 2004

    From the Social Security Administration's Most Popular Baby Name page.

    Top 100 male names for 2004:
    1. Jacob
    2. Michael
    3. Joshua
    4. Matthew
    5. Ethan
    6. Andrew
    7. Daniel
    8. William
    9. Joseph
    10. Christopher
    11. Anthony
    12. Ryan
    13. Nicholas
    14. David
    15. Alexander
    16. Tyler
    17. James
    18. John
    19. Dylan
    20. Nathan
    21. Jonathan
    22. Brandon
    23. Samuel
    24. Christian
    25. Benjamin
    26. Zachary
    27. Logan
    28. Jose
    29. Noah
    30. Justin
    31. Elijah
    32. Gabriel
    33. Caleb
    34. Kevin
    35. Austin
    36. Robert
    37. Thomas
    38. Connor
    39. Evan
    40. Aidan
    41. Jack
    42. Luke
    43. Jordan
    44. Angel
    45. Isaiah
    46. Isaac
    47. Jason
    48. Jackson
    49. Hunter
    50. Cameron
    51. Gavin
    52. Mason
    53. Aaron
    54. Juan
    55. Kyle
    56. Charles
    57. Luis
    58. Adam
    59. Brian
    60. Aiden
    61. Eric
    62. Jayden
    63. Alex
    64. Bryan
    65. Sean
    66. Owen
    67. Lucas
    68. Nathaniel
    69. Ian
    70. Jesus
    71. Carlos
    72. Adrian
    73. Diego
    74. Julian
    75. Cole
    76. Ashton
    77. Steven
    78. Jeremiah
    79. Timothy
    80. Chase
    81. Devin
    82. Seth
    83. Jaden
    84. Colin
    85. Cody
    86. Landon
    87. Carter
    88. Hayden
    89. Xavier
    90. Wyatt
    91. Dominic
    92. Richard
    93. Antonio
    94. Jesse
    95. Blake
    96. Sebastian
    97. Miguel
    98. Jake
    99. Alejandro
    100. Patrick

    [Update: In the comments, Scott G adds a link to a PDF file with a list of the most popular names for babies born in the Yukon between 1989 and 2003.]

    You can find the top 100 for girl names or for other years, too.

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting several more of them.

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Rhubarb

    Check out The Rhubarb Compendium for all your pressing rhubarb questions.

  • Is there a variety that doesn't turn red?
    Rhubarb stalks grow in a spectrum of colors from red to green. In between colors are often called pink or speckled.

  • How in the world am I going to use all this rhubarb? If that page doesn't give you enough ideas, you might want to check out the strawberry rhubarb jam recipe I posted last year.

  • My rhubarb make me feel like singing. What should I do?
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    Crumb Topped Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

  • One unbaked pie shell

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sliced fresh rhubarb (1/2 inch slices)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats (quick cooking or rolled)
  • 1/2 cup butter

    1. Preheat oven to 400F.

    2. Place pie shell in a 9 inch pie pan, fold under excess and flute edge.

    3. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg. Beat in the sugar, flour and vanilla. Fold in the sliced rhubarb and strawberries. Pour this filling into pie shell.

    4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and oats. Cut the butter in until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the pie filling.

    5. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, and then reduce heat to 350F and bake for 35 minutes longer. Top should be brown and bubbly.

    6. Cool a bit before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.

    7. Store cooled pie in the refrigerator.
  • |

    Thursday, June 16

    Top 100 Lists: Top 100 Children's Books

    This list is the result of a survey of teachers on the NEA website. I've copied the list here and put any of the books I've read in bold. Whenever I felt like making a comment, I did. You'll find my own comments in brackets.

    (If it's a chapter book and I've read it, chances are it can be found in one of the piles of children's books I'm sorting through on a table in the basement. I sorted through the picture books several years ago, so most of those are gone.)

    1. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (9-12 years) [Good choice for number one.]
    2. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (4-8 years)
    3. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
    4. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
    5. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (4-8 years)
    6. Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch (4-8 years)
    7. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (All ages)
    8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Baby-Preschool)
    9. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (Young Adult)
    10. The Mitten by Jan Brett (4-8 years)
    11. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Baby-Preschool)
    12. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (9-12 years) [I should like his books more than I do, since he hails from my old stomping grounds at least part of the time.]
    13. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (9-12 years)
    14. Where the Sidewalk Ends: the Poems and Drawing of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silverstein (All ages)
    15. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (9-12 years)
    16. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (4-8 years)
    17. Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
    18. Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola (4-8 years)
    19. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (4-8 years)
    20. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr. (Baby-Preschool)
    21. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (9-12 years) [I tried to read this one. Roald Dahl and I don't mix.]
    22. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (4-8 years)
    23. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (9-12 years)
    24. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (9-12 years) [Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and I don't mix, either.]
    25. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
    26. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (4-8 years) [Jon Scieszka and I mix. I share his sense of humour.]
    27. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault (4-8 years)
    28. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (9-12 years)
    29. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (9-12 years) [I'd like her books a lot better if she ended them about 40 pages sooner.]
    30. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (4-8 years)
    31. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (9-12 years) [Should have read these. Didn't.]
    32. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it. Watched the Hallmark movie instead.]
    33. Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks (9-12 years)
    34. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (9-12 years)
    35. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (9-12 years)
    36. The BFG by Roald Dahl (9-12 years)
    37. The Giver by Lois Lowry (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it]
    38. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff (4-8 years)
    39. James and the Giant Peach: A Children's Story by Roald Dahl (9-12 years)
    40. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (9-12 years)
    41. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it.]
    42. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (Young Adult) [Have it, haven't read it. You can shoot me now!]
    43. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
    44. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner (9-12 years)
    45. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (9-12 years)
    46. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien (9-12 years)
    47. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (All ages)
    48. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (Baby-Preschool)
    49. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (4-8 years)
    50. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (9-12 years)
    51. Corduroy by Don Freeman (Baby-Preschool)
    52. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg (4-8 years)
    53. Math Curse by Jon Scieszka (4-8 years) [Didn't know this one existed. Now I'll have to find it.]
    54. Matilda by Roald Dahl (9-12 years)
    55. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls (Young Adult)
    56. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (9-12 years) [Probably have it; haven't read it.]
    57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary (9-12 years)
    58. The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White (9-12 years)
    59. Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman (4-8 years)
    60. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (9-12 years)
    61. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (4-8 years)
    62. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
    63. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (9-12 years)
    64. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Baby-Preschool)
    65. The Napping House by Audrey Wood (4-8 years)
    66. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (4-8 years)
    67. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (4-8 years) [...his sobs were overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement, and implored him to exert himself.]
    68. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it.]
    69. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (All ages)
    70. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (9-12 years)
    71. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
    72. Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus (4-8 years)
    73. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (4-8 years) [First book I ever read. Read it to my kindergarten class when I was in kindergarten.]
    74. The Cay by Theodore Taylor (Young Adult) [Have this one, too, but haven't read it.]
    75. Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey (4-8 years)
    76. Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox (4-8 years)
    77. Arthur series by Marc Tolon Brown (4-8 years) [Some of them, anyway....]
    78. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (9-12 years) [A truly Christian book, with a fairly clear presentation of the gospel, but don't tell anyone, or they'll take it out of the public school libraries.]
    79. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (4-8 years)
    80. Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (9-12 years)
    81. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton (4-8 years)
    82. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (Baby-Preschool)
    83. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (9-12 years)
    84. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (4-8 years)
    85. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (9-12 years)
    86. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (9-12 years)
    87. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it.]
    88. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (9-12 years)
    89. Stuart Little by E. B. White (9-12 years)
    90. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (9-12 years)
    91. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (9-12 years)
    92. The Art Lesson by Tomie De Paola (4-8 years)
    93. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (4-8 years) [Love this one!]
    94. Clifford, the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell (4-8 years)
    95. Heidi by Johanna Spyri (All ages)
    96. Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
    97. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (Young Adult) [Have this one; haven't read it.]
    98. The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (9-12 years)
    99. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney (Baby-Preschool)
    100. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch (4-8 years)

    I counted 61 out of 100. Not bad. How about you?

    Any books that should have been there that aren't? I'm thinking Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

    Any books that shouldn't be there that are? I'm vetoing all the Roald Dahl ones, so that should make room for any additions you've got.

    [Update: Adding to the list.

  • From me, along with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, I'm wondering where Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag is? And the Frances books by Russell Hoban? I have to have Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink on there, too.

  • srp wants all the Margaret Wise Brown books on the list. I can remember that there are more, but I'm coming up blank on names. Feel free to help me out.

    Also from srp: The Very Quiet Cricket and The Very Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle; If You Gave a Moose a Muffin, the companion book to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff; Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton; Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry; and the Walter Farley horse stories.

  • Violet adds My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead by Mary O'Hara.

  • Judy adds The Bears' Autumn by Keizaburo Tejima:
    If I had to use only one book to teach the entire Kindergarten curriculum it would be this one. An exotic location, a mother's tough love teaching technique, the joy of accomplishment, humour and the ability to dream all conveyed with a few words. The Japanese woodcuts are icing on this treasure.

  • Chrisk wants to ADD books by Raold Dahl to the list. Hmmm.....okay, but only because I already have a few guns pointed at me. So here they are: Danny the Champion of the Worldand Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    He also adds Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler. If you're not Canadian, you might not be familiar with this book, but if you're interested, you can buy it at the link above in a great buy package with (ahem!) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    Chris adds the Great Brain books by John Fitzgerald, too.

  • Sal wants to add the Trixie Belden Mystery Series.

  • Brandon adds adds The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I've heard of this one, but I haven't read it. He also adds several more in a post on his own blog, including one that was one of my favorites when I was 10 or so: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  • Linda adds Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, The Saturdays and other books by Elizabeth Enright, Paddington Bear by Michael Bond; Blueberries for Sal and Homer Price by Robert McCloskey (I was wondering where Blueberries for Sal was! Robert McCloskey would get my vote for best illustrator of children's books.), The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack, Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton, Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne, and The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden.

  • DLE wants to add Piggies by Audrey Wood with illustrations by Don Wood, The Five Chinese Brothers by Marjorie Flack, Mark Twain's books, and Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. I hadn't noticed that Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were missing, but I agree they ought to be there.

  • This is the spot for your additions. I'll keep adding to the list as long as you keep adding in the comments.]

    Interested in the kids' version of this list? Find it here.

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting several more of them.
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    Holiday Mode

    I've pushed the button for holiday mode on this blog. That means there'll be more fluff posts than anything else for a bit.

    One of my oldest daughter's friends is getting married in a week and a half. That means oldest daughter will be here for a week, and we've been asked to house some other wedding guests as well, so I have to get the guest room ready--the guest room we've been using as a storage room to hold all the extra stuff the returning kids brought home with them and the Christmas decorations, too.

    Yes, you read that right. I am embarrassed to admit that I have not yet boxed up and put away my Christmas decorations. There's a good explanation for this, but I forget what it is.

    What I really should do is write a list of the top 100 things that have broken around here in the past couple of weeks: keyboard, lawnmower, rotor tiller, weed wacker, the backyard spigot, the hot water pipe to the downstairs bathroom, one headlight on my car, one blinker on another vehicle. That'd be a start, anyway. Oh yes, there's my youngest son's balance center, also. That's been acting up, so I have to drive him to and from his school finals. The bus is no place for someone with vertigo problems.

    And I was wrong, there is a picture of me getting my citizenship certificate. Here it is, from way back in the audience, with the back of an unknown man's head front and center.

    We had a regular old midwest thunderstorm yesterday afternoon. Hail--lots of it, and big--and so much water that the street by my house was a river for a while. And it went on and on and on. Very, very strange occurrence for this part of the country. It's hard to tell how much damage there is to my plants yet, but it looks like most of them will be okay.

    These pets found the storm a bit worrisome, so they hung out together on the bed.

    This guy, however, found all those little white balls falling from the sky fascinating.


    Wednesday, June 15

    Round the Sphere Again

  • This week's Christian Carnival is at Daddypundit. Why not skidaddle over there for lots of good reading?

  • From Real Clear Theology Blog: Exegetical Foundations:
    One of the preliminary activities we must perform before we engage the meaning of the text of Scripure is to determine how the text reads. I'm not here referring to text-critical issues, according to which we determine whether to adopt variant reading A or variant reading B (or, in some cases, C, D, E, F, and G) out of a list of options. What I'm referring to here is learning to read the undisputed text in the way the author wrote it. The original NT writings contained no chapter division, no verse divisions, no punctuation; indeed, no spaces between words.
    Read the rest of the post to see a couple of examples where this lack of punctuation and divisions leads to ambiguity in the text.

  • Remember back when Adrian Warnock was collecting questions for the translators of the ESV? Well, they are beginning to answer them. You'll find a post containing the answers to the first question on Adrian's blog already.

  • I really enjoyed Al Mohler's essay on the church and the challenge of gay marriage in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, so I'm happy that Tim took took a closer look at that chapter at

  • Love like I do? Then you'll want to read this.

  • This week's most interesting search query: "friend's borrowed shoes OR boots OR pumps OR heels OR sandals OR loafers". What, no sneakers? For reasons understood only in a search engine's brain, this is the page returned in response to that search query. There you'll find the the word "friend's" or "friend" highlighted several times, and the letter "b" highlighted once, but no footwear of any style.
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    Top 100 Lists: Top 100 Movie Voices

    How about a list of 100 actors whose "distinct voices (or special voice work) have made movies transcend what they otherwise might have been" from

    Do you have a favorite film voice? And could someone please explain to me why Charo on the list?

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting several more of them.

    Tuesday, June 14

    I'm Adrienne Clarkson, and You're Not

    She has a strikingly lovely voice.

    She had one bit of bad grammar in her speech: "us" when it should have been "we". Does that mean she wrote it herself?

    No pictures. I'll get an official photo sometime later. The audience wasn't supposed to get out of their seats to take photos, so anything my kids took would have been from too far away.

    There was a reception afterwards when I could have had my picture taken with Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and His Excellency John Ralston Saul, who is here promoting his latest book. Youngest son, however, had an ear infection last week that's caused him vertigo problems, and he got car sick on the way there. He was still green when the ceremony was over, so we skipped the reception.

    There were three other people who attend my church who took the citizenship oath today: A couple from the Philippines; and from Romania, the wife of one of my oldest son's friends.

    The photo on my citizenship card is awful and I'm still stewing about having to live with it for the rest of my life. My one consolation is that no matter how awful it is, when I'm eighty, I'll probably wish I really looked that good.

    Top 100 Lists: 100 Best Novels

    Random House's The Modern Library has two lists of best novels since 1900--one that's the board's list and one that's the reader's pick.

    The lists are quite different. The reader's choice list seems to have way too many books by L. Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand for me to take it very seriously. And they are also both quite different from the BBC's list of favorite novels.

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting several more of them.

    Christian Carnival: This Week's Entry Info

    Send your submission to the Christian Carnival email address: ChristianCarnival [ATT] gmail [DOTT] com. In your email include

  • the name of your blog
  • the URL of your blog
  • the title of your post
  • the URL of your post
  • a short description of your post

    Tuesday at midnight EST is usually the deadline for this week's Christian Carnival entries, but this week the host says that he'll accept entries until 8AM EST on Wednesday (June 15). Send your submission in as soon as possible, though, because that makes things easier for the host.

    Expect to see the Carnival posted midmorning on Wednesday (June 15) at Daddypundit.

    You can find more detailed participation instructions here.
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    Blog Talk: Blogroll News

  • I've added a blogroll of Local Yokels to the sidebar. It's short because I haven't been able to find a many blogs done by people from the Yukon that are kept up to date and are of general interest. All three blogs on the new blogroll have interesting photos of northern life.
    • yukon pics is the photo blog of Andrew Hoshkiw. This blog features photos of Yukon culture and more. Of course, my favourite photo is this one of puppies.
    • And while we're on the subject of dogs, check out Wandering Spirits Kennels blog, described as "the life and times of a house full of rescued animals and their humans."
    • I've featured logcabinlog before. More good photos of life in the Yukon.

  • Adrian Warnock is announcing an upcoming major overhaul in the Blogdom of God Alliance. He has 2500 names [Updated to 3500 names] on his list and is asking
    for lists of URLs of Christian blogs to be sent to me- if anyone is willing to collate such a list and roughly check it before sending it on that would be great, otherwise just tell them to send lists straight to me. I am much keener to receive lists rather than individual blogs for obvious reasons.

    Don't worry, all the blogs on the list will not appear on the Blogdom of God blogroll you have linked on your blog, only the first 250. Have other questions? Check out the linked posts.
  • |

    Monday, June 13

    Where I'll Be Late Tomorrow Afternoon

    From Canadian NewsWire Group:
    Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, will preside over a citizenship ceremony taking place in Whitehorse on June 14, 2005, at 5:00 p.m.

    The Governor General will celebrate Canadian citizenship when she swears in 31 new Canadians during a citizenship ceremony being held at the Government of Yukon Administrative Building. Media representatives are invited to attend.

    The new Canadians originate from 12 countries: Chile, China, England, Germany, Hungary, India, New Zealand, Philippines, Romania, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Vietnam.

    Book Review: Sex and the Supremacy of Christ

    edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor, reviewed as part of a program at The Diet of Bookworms.

    This book grows out of the 2004 Desiring God National Conference with it's theme of "Sex and the Supremacy of Christ". It is a collection of essays by various authors--including John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever and Ben Patterson--on subjects relating to the proper Christian view and use of the God-given gift of sex. The essays are grouped into five categories: God and Sex, Sin and Sex, Men and Sex, Women and Sex, History and Sex.

    As one might expect with any book that is a collection of essays by different authors, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ is a little uneven because the quality of the essays varies. Unfortunately, the two chapters by John Piper at the beginning of the book--chapters that seemed to be intended to be the backbone of the book as a whole--were the two chapters I found to be the most unconvincing. Piper's first premise is that "sexuality is designed by God as a way to know God in Christ more fully." I suppose this may be true, but I don't think it's something that we're told in scripture, and I find the scripture passages that Piper uses to try to support this statement require quite a bit of stretching to lend any support at all. In my judgment, then, his argument on this point was unpersuasive.

    But despite it's "ho-hum" beginning, there are chapters in the book that I found extremely interesting and valuable. Al Mohler's chapter titled "Homosexual Marriage as a Challenge to the Church: Biblical and Cultural Reflections" was very compelling and helpful to me because he approaches the question a bit differently from so much of what I'd read previously on the issue, writing on homosexual marriage--and marriage in general--as a theological matter. I appreciated in particular the points that in order for the church to respond adequately to the challenge that homosexual marriage presents for us, we must have a theology adequate to explain the deceptiveness of sexual sin, and a theology that has an adequate view of the victory over sin that comes through Christ's work.

    I suppose it's because I'm a bit of a history buff that my favorite section of the book was the last one: the section on history and sex. I loved the chapter on Martin Luther's teachings on marriage and sex, which examined the way his teachings and life changed the church's view on the institution of marriage. I found the story of his marriage to Katherine von Bora fascinating, and I hadn't realized the influence he had on the Protestant view of sex and marriage as a good gift from God to be enjoyed rather than something given to us simply a means of procreation. There is also an interesting chapter in this section on the Puritans and their view of sex and marriage.

    The sections focusing on men and sex and women and sex were quite practical in nature. They would be useful no matter what your marital status, although perhaps what's found in them is not much different than what can be found in many other Christian books on dating, courtship, sexuality, and marriage.

    Overall, I'd recommend this book. No matter what your particular circumstances or interests, you will probably find several of the essays that are especially worthwhile to you. I appreciated that the whole of the book is a positive statement about sex and marriage as one of the good things we are given by God to be used as directed by him and as is pleasing to him.

    As always, you can find other reviews of this book at the Diet of Bookworms.

    This Month's Giveaway


    June Giveaway

    Yep, it's that time again. Every month offers us a chance to win wonderful goodies, and June's draw is now open.
    This draw is open to anyone, anywhere in the world and runs from now until June 23, 2005 (12:00 PM EST). Two equal prizes will be awarded based on a random drawing from all entries received. Each prize is a copy of Pilgrim Days: Indelible Grace II CD, a copy of For all the Saints: Indelible Grace III CD and a copy of Twentysomeone by Craig Dunham & Doug Serven.

    This month's draw is sponsored by Monergism Books. Monergism Books also has an exciting special offer you might be interested in. You'll find all the details for the draw and the special offer by clicking on the banner above.

    Sunday, June 12

    Sunday's Hymn: Reader's Choice

    This hymn is the favourite of DLE, who posted it here on his blog. It's written by George Croly, and set to a tune by Frederick Atkinson that was intended to be used as the tune for Abide with Me, but never quite caught on with that song.
    Spirit of God Descend upon My Heart

    Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
    Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
    Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
    And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

    I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
    No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
    No angel visitant, no opening skies;
    But take the dimness of my soul away.

    Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
    Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
    To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
    Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

    Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
    All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
    I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling:
    O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

    Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
    One holy passion filling all my frame;
    The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
    My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

    Get your favorite hymn on the list of those to be featured by adding it here.

    Saturday, June 11

    It's A Strawberry Party

    at Violet's house. Head on over for loads of strawberry fun (and a fresh strawberry pie recipe):

    Top 100 Lists: Top 100 Wonders of the World

    No. 1 on the list

    How many of the top 100 have you seen?

    [Update: There's a link to a printable PDF version of the list with handy checkboxes before the items so you can keep track. You could even check the ones you visit as you travel. I suppose you could use the list to draw up your travel itenerary, too.]

    Anything missing from the list that you think should be there? Anything on the list that you think is not quite so wonderful as to make the top 100?

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting a bunch of them.

    Top 100 Lists: 100 Favourite Novels

    The results from the BBC's search for the nation's best-loved novel:
    1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
    2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
    3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
    4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
    5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
    6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
    7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
    8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
    9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
    10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

    Read the rest.

    Would an American list be different? A Canadian one? How many of the top 100 have you read?

    [Update: The Crusty Curmudgeon responds to this list, bolding all the ones he's read. ( I'd do that too, but it'd be rather embarassing.) He also gives us a list of 10 Canadian novels that he's enjoyed reading as well. Go see if you agree with what he's got to say]

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting a bunch of them.

    Friday, June 10

    Blog Talk: Weird, Wonderful (and Small) World

    I got an email from a old lost friend this morning. Kim had seen my blog linked here, and wondered if that was me. It made my morning, my day, and maybe my week, to hear from her.

    And if that wasn't enough excitement, my other Kim friend made my blog her Friday Feature. I think I'm blushing!

    Why I Never Buy Anything New Unless I Have To

    It's a quirk I have. If I gave you a tour of my house, I've guessing that 80% of the things you see would have come from a garage sale, the Salvation Army Thrift Store, a used book store, or be crafted by someone in the family. This extends to my closet, too. If you complemented me on something I was wearing, most likely you'd hear that I found it at the thrift store.

    Is this because I'm a big tightwad? Not really. Although saving money is one huge advantage to buying used, I'm not one to count my pennies obsessively. I buy fresh flowers every week, and no-name ice cream never crosses my threshold.

    I just prefer that my stuff have a history, and time spent on the shelves at my local Superstore doesn't count as history. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a chenille bedspread in my list of garage sale goodies. While I was paying for it, its previous owner was holding it to her face, sniffing it because it smelled like her mother's house. I'm going to make a couple of cushion covers from it, and when I see those cushions, sometimes I'll be reminded of that. I think about the history of my cushion covers as a bedspread in a bedroom of some woman I didn't know, but whose daughter wanted one last whiff of the smell of her mother's home.

    This little chest in my living room was made by my husband's father. Long ago, before my husband was born, his dad was up here in the Yukon for a year or so doing plumbing during the construction of the Alaska highway. While he was here, he built this little wooden trunk to hold his stuff. See how its handles are made from a shovel handle? After he returned home, the little chest was used lovingly by my husband's family as a piece of furniture. It's been repainted several times by my husband's mother, who had a flair for decorating, but very little money. Somewhere along the line, perhaps when my husband was in his preteen years, the chest became his to hold his treasures. It held photo albums and newspaper clippings and old watches and old coins and his deceased dad's wallet. Some of those things are still in there, and once in a while we look through them, just like my husband used to.

    And when I see that little trunk, sometimes I think of my husband's dad, working up here sixty years ago, making that chest in his spare time. Did he have any idea that someday some of his descendants would be living here? That the little chest he was crafting would someday be returned to its place of origin? Sometimes it makes me think of his mother, deciding what color the chest should be next; or of my boyish husband, protecting his stuff in it (and not always successfully) from his many brothers and sisters. You can't buy reminders of things like that at Superstore, can you?

    I don't have to know the specific story of something to love it. If it looks like it has history, then I can imagine one for it. Whenever I listen to AM radio, it's on my old Crosley radio with its slightly buzzing tube. We bought this at a garage sale, and I have no idea what it's real story is, but I like to imagine a whole family gathered round the kitchen table, listening to a radio drama, perhaps.

    Of course, when you shop at garage sales, there's always a chance you'll find something really exciting hidden within. The most money I've ever found is $30 (and I returned it) in the pocket of a parka I bought for a few dollars, but some people find things like this.

    The reason I get almost all of my clothes at the thrift store is not so much because I like my clothes to have history--I'm not interested in wearing vintage clothing, particularly--but because it's a fun challenge for me. When I think of a woman's clothing store, I think boring, boring, boring. What sport is there in a rack of clothing where almost everything would work well enough? Who wants to chose between several similar styles of navy slacks? But at a thrift store, there's the thrill of the hunt. Searching through the racks of last year's cheap, trendy, much-worse-for-wear clothing for that one good find--something with a good label, in a classic style of the right size, in one of my colours, with no stains or rips--is exciting.

    Not to mention that when you find something used at a thrift store, you know how its going to look after a few washes. If it looks good at the thrift store, chances are it'll still be looking good a year from now after you've worn it 50 times.

    I come by my love of the sport of used clothing shopping naturally. I grew up dressed in clothes from the "missionary barrel". My mom had a real talent for dressing her family out of the missionary barrel and making it look like we weren't--refitting, redoing, making over as necessary. I learned how to do it and how to love it from watching her, and I've passed that love on to my oldest daughter, who will undoubtedly make several trips down to the thrift store while she's home this month and come away each time excited by her haul.

    History and the thrill of the hunt. There you have it. It's embarrassingly materialistic at the heart of it, isn't it? (Perhaps I would have been better off going with the tightwad defense.) I want to be able to say, "See what I got!" I want to be excited about my shopping. I want to love my stuff.

    Thursday, June 9

    Boo Who?

    What could possible be cuter than Chance, the baby muskox?

    How about Chance, the baby muskox and his best friend Boo, the caribou?
    Chance, the young muskox found abandoned near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, rescued and brought to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, has made a friend in Boo, the caribou.

    The two animals would never mingle in the wild. Now they share a pen at the preserve.

    ...Now, if the two are separated....they have a fit and their crying can be heard all over the preserve.

    Little Chance and little Boo will stay together for the rest of the summer and then they'll each be placed with a herd of their own species.

    [Update: There's another article about the friendship in the Whitehorse Star.

    And for the locals, there's an opportunity to see Chance and Boo during this weekend’s free open house at the wilderness preserve. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. are the hours. The Wildlife Preserve (you know, the old Game Farm) is located off the Takhini Hot Springs Road.]

    Find out more about the Yukon Wildlife Preserve.

    Round the Sphere Again

  • This week's Christian Carnival is at Reformed Politics. As always, you'll find lots to read there.

  • Can't wait to listen to these: Three lectures by D. A. Carson on New Perspectivism. HT: Real Clear Theology.

    [Update: Parableman weighs in on New Perspectivism, too.]

  • Not all the news out of Africa is bad: Good News in Africa from Mission Safari.

  • Something special: An Interview with Nancy Pearcey at Allthings2all.

  • Something thoughtful on music: Bach, Bubba, and the Blues Brothers: The Singing Savior's Many Voices by Dr. Reggie Kid. HT: Ryan Wentzel.
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    Top 100 Lists: Top 100 Gadgets of All Time

    No. 85 on the list

    Ground rules? It has to have electronic or moving parts, it must be able to be used by itself, and it has to be smaller than a breadbox. See if you agree with the choices.

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the month of June because I'll be posting a bunch of them.

    Wednesday, June 8

    Human Responsibility

    In a post last week I looked at some of what scripture has to say about God's sovereignty, making a list of some of the things that are said to be caused by or predestined or purposed by God. The summary statement of God's sovereignty from scripture that I like to use most is the one from Ephesians 1 where it tells us that God is bringing all things to pass according to his plan. I take this to mean that everything that happens comes about because God has planned for it to happen, and because he's worked in whatever way he needs to ensure that this planned event comes about exactly according to his plan. Furthermore, I believe this to be the clear testimony of the whole of scripture on this matter, as evidenced by the list taken from scripture in that post.

    At the same time that scripture tells us that God has a plan for history that includes everything, and that nothing ever varies from that plan, it also tells us that human beings are always responsible for what they choose to do. We make real choices for which we are rightly held accountable before God. I'll admit that it's not easy to reconcile the two of these things in our minds. There is a tension, and working out exactly how these two things fit together may be beyond the capability of my mind (or yours), and it may involve seeing things from a vantage point that I don't have.

    It's because we know from scripture--and our experience confirms it, too--that we make real choices with real consequences, and that we are rightly held responsible for those choices, that some have real difficulty with the idea that God is micromanaging the universe by working in absolutely everything to bring about the counsel of his will. The assumption is made (and it is an assumption) that in order for us to be held responsible for our choices, those choices cannot be predestined or purposed by God, or in any way caused by him.

    The problem with this assumption is that for those who hold to the ultimate authority of scripture, the assumption can be proven false by finding even one place in scripture where a human action is said to be purposed, predestined, or caused by God, and the person doing that action is held responsible for it. There are several places where the text does exactly that. I've examined one of those places (Isaiah 10) here.

    Of course, the most well-known example is the the crucifixion of Christ. In Acts 4 we are told that in the events that led to Christ's death, certain people did whatever God's "plan had predestined to take place," and yet everywhere in Acts those same people are held accountable for their choices and actions. From the account of Peter's sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2):
    "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know - this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

    ....Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

    Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins...."

    There are more statements about the responsibility of those who carried out God's plans in the crucifixion in Acts 3:15, 4:10, 5:30 and 10:39.

    Arguing that these are special cases (Not that I think they are!) doesn't help, because all it takes is one "special case" to disprove the assumption that in order for us to be held responsible for our choices, those choices cannot be predestined or purposed or caused by God. If the people in these "special cases" can be held accountable for their actions, then the whole argument against rightful human responsibility in a universe in which all events are planned and worked by God goes out the window. Since God is just and would never hold someone responsible for an act in which they were not justly culpable, these specific cases prove that human responsiblity can rightly coexist with God working to bring about an event according to his predetermined plan. If God even once rightly holds someone responsible for their choices and actions when they are acting as the predetermined means to carry out a predetermined event in God's predetermined plan, then he can rightly hold people responsible for their choices and actions in a universe where every single event, big or small, is worked according to his ordained plan.

    Scripture gives us clues as to how these two things fit together. In Isaiah 10, it's clear that the king had his very own motives and reasons for doing what God caused him to do. Those who crucified Christ did it for their own reasons and out of their own limited understanding (Acts 3:17). Joseph's brothers had their own nasty reasons for selling Joseph into slavery (Genesis 50:20), even though it was an event purposed by God for his own good reason. God is somehow able to work his plan in our actions in a way that preserves our own real choice from our own real motives.

    We also know that even though something in God's plan is certain to come about, that doesn't mean that the human choices or actions are compelled. There is always a way of escape from actions that would be sinful on our part (1 Corinthians 10:13). Up until the time Joseph's brothers made their evil transaction, the option to avoid that particular sin was there for them to take. Until the deed was done, the brothers had a "way of escape", and that way of escape was provided by God. Had they wished to avoid sinning, they could have. The same thing can be said for the crucifixion. Pilate was not compelled to make the choice he did, although as a piece of God's predestined plan, it was certain that he would make that choice. Please don't ask me to explain this in any more detail. I accept it because I believe it's what scripture tells me about these things, but I'm not making any claim to exhaustive understanding of it.

    Along with this, we can also know that our choices have real results even though they are part of God's eternal plan. We cause those results by our actions, and if we chose differently, the results would be different. Even though God had already told Paul that everyone on his ship would be delivered alive from the storm and subsequent shipwreck (Acts 27:21-26), when the men in charge of piloting the ship were secretly trying to escape in a lifeboat, Paul says that those on the ship would not be saved "unless these men stay in the ship (verse 31)." When God works his plans through human means, those human means are necessary for things to come about as planned. In the same way that the fulfilment of God's plans for Paul and his shipmates depended on the actions of the sailors, our actions also bring real results and those results truly depend on our actions.

    Our prayers bring real results, too. Prayer is one of the means by which God accomplishes things in this world, and we "do not have because [we] do not ask (James 4:2). " If we ask for the right things, we know that those righteous prayers will be one of the means God uses to bring those right things to pass, and if we do not pray those prayers, those right things will not happen in response to our prayers. The means by which God accomplishes it all are also in God's plan, and each little step in the plan--even our prayers--is a necessary step. The right results are carried into existence by the ordained means, including our prayers.

    So act, for goodness sake! If we act righteously, we can be sure that our role will be more like Paul's than Judas's in the counsel of God's will. At the same time, we can rest in the knowledge that God has a plan he's accomplishing, and even when things look discouraging, there's a perfect plan being worked out in our discouraging circumstances. There is no luck, and if there's no luck, then there's no bad luck. It's just all part of a perfect plan that includes difficult things as the best way to accomplish a perfect end.

    Tuesday, June 7

    Eleven O'Clock Sunshine

    These photos are from last evening's walk down to the airport at 11 PM to check things out. The time of sunset is 11:25 PM, so you can see the long shadows, but the sun is still bright.

    This next one is taken just a few minutes later, but the sun has begun to go behind the mountains, so everything is in shadow.

    No interesting planes parked overnight last night. Sometimes there are, and that's why I walk down there once in a while.

    Book Review: Work Excellence

    by Charles M. Garriott, reviewed as part of a program at The Diet of Bookworms.

    This is the sort of book I don't usually read--short, easy to read, and conversational in style. I don't read this sort of book often because--unfairly, no doubt--I associate those characteristics with a lack of depth. This book, however, is not shallow.

    There was probably nothing in it that I didn't already know at some level, and yet I found myself constantly rethinking my attitude toward work throughout the book. It is peppered with biblical stories, and principles relating to work in the life of a Christian are drawn from the stories. Each chapter ends with a few questions to help the reader reflect on how to apply those principles to his own life and work.

    The chapter titled Conflict, for example, draws its principles from the story of the fall. Since the fall, our work experiences are marred by the results of God's wrath against sin. Our work is not going to be easy. There will be an element of struggle and futility in it, and we will experience conflict and tension. This is something that we need to accept about our life and work in a fallen world.

    Yet we are not left without hope. The struggle within our life and work are temporal things, and they point us to the hope of the gospel.
    The gospel has no meaning without the recognition of the pain from sin that ignites the anger of God. Our hope is in Christ alone, and not in the absence of pain.

    We can find comfort in Christ from the suffering we experience in our work, and reconcilitation and forgiveness in the conflicts that arise there can be found in him, too.

    Keeping these two basic biblical principles in mind--the fall mars our work experiences, yet there is hope in Christ--Garriott gives us a few questions to answer for ourselves at the end of the chapter, including, "What are the 'thistles' that exist within your work?" and "Are there relationships at your place of employment that need to be addressed with grace and forgiveness?" Finally, we are given a short prayer to pray regarding the effects of the fall on our life and work.

    Each of the eleven short chapters in the book follows this same basic format: an examination of the principles, questions to help us think about how we might apply them to our own situations, and a prayer to pray. It's simplicity and subject matter make it a valuable book for almost any believer. Who isn't just a little dissatisfied with their life and work? Who doesn't need a reminder of our obligation to use the talents we have been given in a way that brings God glory? The format would also make it suitable for use in a discussion group setting, using the questions for reflection as starting points for group discussion.

    You can find other reviews of this book at the Diet of Bookworms.

    Monday, June 6

    Back in Business

    ...on a borrowed keyboard, for which I am grateful. First thing this morning I spilled a whole cup of coffee on the right side of my keyboard, and now only the left half works. It turns out that my town is not the best place in the world to go looking for replacement pieces for Macs.

    Tomorrow I will post what I was supposed to post today: a review of a book that reminds us that because we live in a fallen world we experience something that our work would be free of if we weren't labouring under the curse--trouble and conflict. Let's just say that today was a good reminder of that!

    Right now I'm off to walk the dog in the beautiful 10pm sunlight.

    Sunday, June 5

    Blog Talk: We Welcome a Warnie Winner

    Adrian is back awarding Warnies. Guess who it is this time....

    You took the time to congratulate him while you were over there, right?

    Sunday's Hymn: Reader's Choice

    This one is a favorite of sozo (Brian).
    Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

    Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
    Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
    Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
    Call for songs of loudest praise.
    Teach me some melodious sonnet,
    Sung by flaming tongues above.
    Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
    Mount of Thy redeeming love.

    Here I raise my Ebenezer;
    Here by Thy great help I've come;*
    And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
    Safely to arrive at home.
    Jesus sought me when a stranger,
    Wandering from the fold of God;
    He, to rescue me from danger,
    Interposed His precious blood.

    O to grace how great a debtor
    Daily I'm constrained to be!
    Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
    Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    Prone to leave the God I love;
    Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
    Seal it for Thy courts above.

    O that day when freed from sinning,
    I shall see Thy lovely face;
    Clothed then in blood washed linen
    How I'll sing Thy sovereign grace;
    Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
    Take my ransomed soul away;
    Send thine angels now to carry
    Me to realms of endless day.

    This hymn (one of my favorites, too) is written by Robert Robinson, who was first a Methodist minister and later a Baptist one. Listen.

    *This line in my hymnal says "Hither by thy help I'm come...."

    Get your favorite hymn on the list of those to be featured by adding it here.

    Saturday, June 4

    What's Your SQ?

    To find out, take the Systemizing Quotient test. I took it and scored a 61. Bottom line? That means I'm very weird.

    For those who care about such things, there's an Empathy Quotient test, too. I scored 44 on that. Bottom line? That means I'm sort of nice.

    (I'd take those scores, particularly that last one with a grain of salt. I had a really hard time knowing how to answer the questions. Where's the answer for something in between slightly and strongly agree or disagree? On the Systemizing Quotient test, I had an easier time because I was surer of my answers, since I definitely agreed or disagreed with the statements more often.)

    If you take both tests, you can find out your brain type. I'm an extreme type S. Bottom line? That means I have a male brain. An extremely male brain.

    At least it a sort of nice male brain.

    Top 100 Lists: Top 100 April Fools Hoaxes

    ....of all time.

    I've seen the spot for #14 on the list. The same trickster puts pink flamingos in the bush along the south east Alaska coastline.

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the month of June because I'll be posting a bunch of them.

    Friday, June 3

    Meet Your God

    "I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
    and lack of bread in all your places,
    yet you did not return to me,"
    declares the Lord.

    "I also withheld the rain from you
    when there were yet three months to the harvest;
    I would send rain on one city,
    and send no rain on another city;
    one field would have rain,
    and the field on which it did not rain would wither;
    so two or three cities would wander to another city
    to drink water, and would not be satisfied;
    yet you did not return to me,"
    declares the Lord.

    I struck you with blight and mildew;
    your many gardens and your vineyards,
    your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured;
    yet you did not return to me,"
    declares the Lord.

    "I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
    I killed your young men with the sword,
    and carried away your horses,
    and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;
    yet you did not return to me,"
    declares the Lord.

    "I overthrew some of you,
    as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
    and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning;
    yet you did not return to me,"
    declares the Lord.

    "Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
    because I will do this to you,
    prepare to meet your God, O Israel!:

    For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
    and declares to man what is his thought,
    who makes the morning darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth -
    the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!

    ---Amos 4:6-13 ESV

    I came across this passage again while adding proof texts and more items (especially at the bottom under Choices and actions of people) to the post on God's sovereignty.

    Yes, we have a gracious and merciful and loving God--one to whom we can turn for comfort in trials with assurance that he will help, and one to whom we can turn for forgiveness with assurance that he will forgive--but the same merciful God we turn to for help is the God of these verses in Amos. And if this doesn't prod us to turn to him for help, I don't know what will!