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Video Vignettes Taylor Made for Current Persecution in Russia

I like how the current video vignettes at JWBroadcasting are taylor-made for the persecution right now taking place in Russia, though they were first shown at the Regional Conventions worldwide and had to have been in the pipeline for at least a year prior. It is not now at the extreme depicted in the videos, but it could easily become so, and has been that way in times past. The Russian brothers are being fortified with spitiual food at the proper time. Not to mention that, if shaming does any good, the current authorities are being shamed before the world for backing/permitting what is going on.

How many clips are there? Five? Six? But three dealing with persecution: 1) the friends jump when there is pounding at the door, only to find it is not the police this time, 2) Sergei arrives home to find the police have beaten up his dad, 3) Sergei gets five years in prison, which he can avoid if he renounces his faith. All themes that have played out in various places at various times with Jehovah's people.

The vignettes are such a great way to do conventions, by the way. It used to be talks supplemented by demonstrations. But now it is talks supplemented by sequential videos, until it dawns upon you that the videos are the main story and the talks are supplemental. There are some very talented people in the teaching department.

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Tom Irregardless and Me                 No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash


A Fine Book Review from Ivor E. Tower

Authors like reviews. I received a very kind and lengthy review of Tom Irregardless and Me from Ivor E. Tower. Authors are grateful for a review of one or two lines. Mr. Tower goes several paragraphs and illuminates some of the ‘Tom Irregardless and Me’ characters. He is a non-Witness scholar who has written extensively about Jehovah’s Witnesses and his real name is recognizable to studious readers of Watchtower material:

“Tom Harley’s Tom Irregardless and Me has been described as “a romping and riotous defense of Jehovah's Witnesses and their place in today’s world.” This really sums up the book, which is a light-hearted look at numerous aspects of the Watch Tower Society from the perspective of a practicing Jehovah’s Witness in the US.

“To the outsider, Jehovah’s Witnesses may seem deadly serious and preoccupied exclusively with their religion and the Society’s own publications. Harley dispels this stereotype. The book is about real people and issues, although the author has changed the names of rank-and-file members to preserve name anonymity. Tom Irregardless is an elder who uses the spurious word “irregardless” liberally in his Bible talks. Other characters include John Wheatnweeds, who hinders members from their house-to-house ministry by spending inordinate amounts of time expounding the text of the day before they set out. Then there is posh brandy-sipping Bernard Strawman, who receives frequent visits from the publishers, but continues to raise facile objections to their faith. Vic Vomidog, an apostate, repeatedly seeks to hamper their work. Other chapters are about real JW celebrities such as Prince, who is the subject of an entire chapter.

“Despite being light-hearted throughout, Tom Harley raises serious issues such as flag salutes, Darwinism and creationism, theocratic government, the paedophile scandals and the dangers of online grooming of minors, and the accuracy of the New World Translation of the Bible. Tom shows a remarkable breadth of knowledge and reading too – he has by no means exclusively studied Watch Tower publications.

“My favourite part of the book was the parody of Mickey Spillane near the end, where Tom Harley envisages a house-to-house publisher acting like one of Spillane’s macho characters. For those who don’t know, Spillane was a novelist whose books were renowned for their sex and violence, until Spillane converted to become a Jehovah’s Witness in 1951 – a decision that drastically changed his writing style.

“Tom Hartley states that he hopes Tom Irregardless is “entertaining but serious at heart”. This sums up the book well. It’s a good read, while providing valuable insights into life as a JW.”

I’m very grateful to Mr. Tower. They line up around the block for a recognized name like John Grisham or Stephen King, but it is extraordinary difficult for a new writer to break into the ranks. ‘Recall how many books you have purchased in the past year from a totally unknown writer,” one source advises. “Now you know why you should not become an author."

I was a little worried at first that JW opposers, who can be quite nasty, would try to sink my infant book with horrid reviews, like Herod and the infants of Jerusalem. But now, even if that were to happen, I would draw the contrast between those and 8 glowing reviews and say something like: 'that says it all,' putting it where it first catches the eye. It might even help the book.

Tom Irregardless (1)


I was away and my brother took my stamp collection! He just took it, transferring my stamps into his album.

I was away and my brother took my stamp collection! He just took it, transferring my stamps into his album. I had to take them back.
 
This is the same brother that smashed out the headlights of my Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. I had just pulled into the family driveway, parking right behind our station wagon. As I pulled the car keys from the ignition, I saw the backups lights ahead come on and the wagon shot into me like a North Korean missile launch.
 
This is the same Karmann Ghia that I drove in service as a pioneer and nearly froze solid because there was absolutely no heat in the car, which was typical of all VWs then. So I wondered if I could somehow rig up a kerosene heater inside. But when I tried to fire it up (outside the car) it shot out a foot-long flame. It looked as though I was sacrificing to the gods. No wonder people think we are nuts. IMG_4134
 
These are the same nuts that Davey the Kid thought he might be able to help when he became a shrink. "Poor Davey," I would lament. "He always thought half of us were nuts. Now that he's a shrink, he finds that even the half he thought were sane - they're nuts, too.
 
This is the same Davey the Kid whose story is told in the afterword of 'Tom Irregardless and Me.'
 
 
This is also the same Karrmann Ghia, or one just like it, that was used as the model car for the video on creation that we all saw at the mid-week meeting.

A Joyous Pig Bucket Brigade

From the book: No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

They had a barn fire in Russia in the dead of winter – isn’t it always winter over there? – and firefighters saved 150 pigs.  Find it online. Watch the firefighers joyously tossing piglets to each other in a bucket pig brigade. See? They rescue piglets over there just like we would rescue them here. Focus on the people, not the governments.

All the government wants is to maintain public order, and there are different ideas about how to do that. While they’re at it they preserve their own interest.  But people do that everywhere. The Bible used the metaphor of the heavens to represent ancient governments. The heavens would drench you with rain, scorch you will sun, freeze you will sleet, and there wasn’t a thing you could do about. It is not so different today.


Put Your Things Away When You Are Done With Them, @AAFO4ever!

Put your things away when you are done with them! Someone could trip. My mother told me this countless times. Why didn’t @AAFO4ever’s mother tell him the same?

He landed his plane on the runway. Well, okay. Then he put it on the taxiway. Well, I can’t fault him for that. But then he just LEFT IT THERE! Airport-1209575_1280

Harrison Ford could have been killed! He tried to land on the taxiway and almost hit the plane that stupid @AAFO4ever hadn’t put away! Now do you see why putting your things away is so important, @AAFO4ever?

Look, we must all act together to protect our celebrity national treasures, because when they are gone they are gone. “A scary moment for Harrison Ford," CBSThisMorning said. They didn’t mention you or your 130 passengers. Who cares about them? Passengers can be replaced, @AAFO4ever, as can you. Boeing can even build you another airplane, but if our celebrities die – well, I don’t know what to say.

Every day I rail at people who should know better to put their things away!  I talk until I’m blue in the face! I don’t know what more I can do.

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Tom Irregardless and Me        No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash


Make those Tent Pins Strong

“Make the place of your tent more spacious.

Stretch out the tent cloths of your grand tabernacle.

Do not hold back, lengthen your tent cords,

And make your tent pins strong.”……Isaiah 54:2

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses have proved in recent years that they can put up and take down Kingdom Halls almost as readily as non-Witnesses can put up or take down tents.  So that’s what they are doing.

Back in the day, congregations expanded like independent churches. When members grew in numbers enough in this or that locality, they would build their own Kingdom Hall. But it wasn’t the most efficient way. Some Halls became overcrowded, some remained lightly used or even shrunk.

Since Kingdom Halls all belong to the same God who uses the same organization, these days there is a reshuffling. Some Kingdom Halls are shut down, the members moved to a nearby Hall, so that others can be built where there is more of a need. Thereby dedicated funds are not squandered, but used efficiency.

Sometimes that area of special need is here in the U.S. Other times it is overseas. Jehovah’s Witnesses have a worldwide organization and think nothing of transferring funds where there is the greatest need.

An LDC brother and his wife, who oversee such things, make their home in our congregation. “Don’t cross him,” I tell everybody. “If you do, he will shut down your Kingdom Hall and make you go to another one.”

I was worried about closing any Kingdom Halls. What if you need them later on?  ‘Then they’ll just build another one, like putting up a new tent,’ is of course the answer.

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Tom Irregardless and Me       No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

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Sometimes Your Best Option is to Hit the Reset Button

From 'Tom Irregardless and Me:'

There are quite a few of them out there – some shunned, some not. Some go online. They’re not necessarily wrong as they relate their experiences and viewpoints. Some have had run-ins with Tom Pearlsnswine, who never met a fly he didn’t counsel. Some caught the consumer mentality of religion and could “no more imagine a church disciplining them than they could a store that sells goods disciplining them. It is not the place of the seller to discipline the consumer.” Others lost their balance as standards of child-rearing veered more sharply than ever before. ‘If you kids don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about!’ my non-Witness Dad would holler, a phrase that was no idle threat – every child knew that phrase, as they did “I’ll kill you for that!” It was a commonplace ‘threat’ bestowed almost lovingly on a mischievous child – I can’t tell you how many times my mother said it to me - but the deed itself was rare. Today the deed is commonplace but you’ll have to explain your words before the judge. Lightning-like shifts in morals and mores caught youngsters and parents alike flatfooted. Besides – let’s face it – a lot of Jehovah’s Witnesses are nuts. Probably in no greater proportion than the world in general and certainly without the baggage of violence that can so easily attach itself to non-Witness nuts, but that doesn’t mean they’re not nuts. Sometimes your best option is to hit the reset button.

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Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash


Go to the Shop Content with Duct Tape, Vice Grips, and WD40?

From Tom Irregardless and Me:

“the official website of Jehovah’s Witnesses, is the most widely translated website on earth today. This should not be surprising. If you are serious about proclaiming ‘this good news of the kingdom in all the inhabited earth,’ (Matthew 24:14) then naturally, you will have such a site. Image I’m critical of those who don’t; when your car needs repair, do you take it to the shop that has equipped itself with every modern tool? Or do you go to the shop content to operate with hammer, vice grips, WD-40, and duct tape? The extent of jw.org’s translating is amazing - it includes more than 800 languages.”

I’m dumbfounded when I see brothers unduly concerned over topics like ‘spirit directed’ or ‘Jehovah’s modern-day prophet.’  If they harp on it, I question their motive. The now-880 or so languages means nothing? How many does the next religious organization have – maybe 12? Isn’t it like comparing the modern auto shop with the one that relies on duct tape? Shouldn’t anyone serious about carrying out Christ’s commission to preach be so well-equipped? Aren’t they inept at best and frauds at worst if they have not equipped themselves in such a way?

Why would anyone want to be a fly on the wall in the inner rooms of Bethel? Who cares? It’s their business and they apparently have a lot to show for the work they do. It is Western media that Imagedrives the destructive meme that there should be no confidential talk – that it’s our business to look over the shoulders of all in government – that persons should ‘take responsibility’ or be ‘held accountable’ every time they fart.

I’ll focus on the 880 languages and the one organization that has so obviously succeeded in carrying out Christ’s words.

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Tom Irregardless and Me     No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

photo (vice grips) LadyDragonflyCC


No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash is ready for download

The E-book ‘No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash’ is now out and ready for download.

As with Tom Irregardless and Me, it is 30% Free Preview – then we’ll talk. No Fake News But Plenty of Hogwash

In the same vein as Tom Irregardless and Me. As zany. As thought-provoking. More personal. Released at the halftime show of the 2017 Super Bowl by Lady Gaga while you were up getting pretzels. We worked on it for months – her people and mine. Top stories of 2016 with unique commentary on selected items.

If ever there will be an auto-biography, this is it. Personal accounts are woven throughout a hilarious narrative of the top stories of 2016. The book is a forward followed by an expansion of certain items into chapters of their own. Longer anecdotes and more personal material. A few delicious rants but not a single harangue. (Alas, no pictures)

Foreward – Adieu Adieu Fine Stories of 2016 – We’ll Never Forget You

Chapter 31 – Santa Claus

Chapter 1  -  Choosing

Chapter 26 – Wegmans

Chapter 9  -  Bill Belichick

Chapter 14 – Celeste

Chapter 25 – The Shooting Channel

Chapter 3  -  The Surly Bear

Chapter 7  -  Mark Twain

Chapter 24 – Trolls

Chapter 12 – Dirty Rotten Lowlifes

Chapter 20 – Randy Newman

Chapter 29 – Piltdown Man

Chapter 30 – Denyers and Evolootionists

Chapter 10 – Tom, You Know all These Answers

Chapter 13 – Charlie

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