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I Didn't Know it When Lynard Skynard Went Down

Forty years ago their plane went down, killing six. I didn't know it at the time. It was during my righteous period when I was not listening to music. But in the years since I have heard song after song that I have liked, starting with 'Sweet Home Alabama,' only to find it is one of theirs.

My righteous period lasted nearly 20 years. It didn't end until my kids reached the age where they wanted to attend concerts like their friends and I wasn't too happy about it. But I realized you cannot stop lava and so I gave in, with the stipulation that I would go along too. The first concert was Weezer. Everyone held their hand out in line to get stamped, so I held mine out too. "You don't need a stamp," the attendant said - I little disrespectfully, I thought. So I shot back: "Aren't there any grownups here?" Oh, yeah, the boy was thrilled to have me along. But I rather liked Weezer, or at least I did not dislike them.

I used to play a game with my kids which, in hindsight, was a little sick, but the purpose was noble and I think ultimately successful. I didn't want them idolizing any band members, so we would play: 'How did they die?' Was it suicide, overdose, or plane crash? It's amazing how long that game can be played.

Lynard Skynard wins hands down, though Badfinger gets runner up. The lead singer hung himself. The group disbanded and some went back to laying carpet. Years later they regrouped with a new lead singer ... and he also hung himself! The fate the second group, however, and the existence of the first group, I only discovered after my righteous period had ended.

Lynard Skynard had just released the album 'Street Survivors' when their plane went down. The cover pictured the group standing before a wall of flames. Someone prevailed upon the record company to take the flames out and substitute a plain black background. The surviving members were ever a mess and some met their end through overdose. The band still survives with but one original member.

Removal of the flames from the album cover was for symbolic reasons. Strictly speaking, it was not necessary. There were no flames in the plane crash - the plane had run out of fuel. You would almost think someone would check on something like that before takeoff. It is a fine reason not to be stoned. Lynard skynard


When Life is Treating You Good, Pull Closer to God

Just between me and you, I find Hosea to be a little tough slogging, Bible-reading-wise. And I'm not sure I could be so big as Hosea letting God be my matchmaker. I mean, he usually helps you out. One can easily enough get stuck with a 'wife of fornication' on his own without needing divine help.

But I did take something away from Hosea 10:1

"Israel is a degenerate vine yielding its fruit. The more his fruit increases, the more he multiplies his altars. The better his land produces, the more splendid his sacred pillars."

So when life is treating you good, you ought pull closer to God and not away from him.


Is Not the Election a Godsend for Witnessing?

“Bob Corker...couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee, [and] is now fighting Tax Cuts,” Trump tweeted today. Corker shot back with the charge he has made before - that the White House is a day care center in need of better supervision.

Even the circuit overseer last week spoke of what to do if someone tries to draw you into a fight over 'that crazy Trump' - whether he thought Trump was crazy or was just quoting others is unclear. For the most part, our people know nothing of politics and when they weigh in at all, it is to say: "he's bombastic, and I try to be polite."

As far as I am concerned the election is a godsend - and it has nothing to do with Trump himself, but with the catfights it ignites among persons once thought reasonable. It used to be that if you quoted 2 Timothy 3:1-5 about people being 'fierce and unreasonable and not open to any agreement' and your householder did not agree that the verse applied now more than at any other time, there was not much you could do about it.

There still isn't, however the spectacle of supposedly smart people screaming at each other day in and day out makes it less likely they will deny it. Animal-1299573_960_720


Hit Me and You Die!

The shrewd student of God's word is not easily deceived by signs of the 'last days.' When someone points to shooting gallery terrorist attacks or imminent World War III, he smiles and moves on. He does not seize upon such low-hanging fruit. It is eye candy, which the evil one dangles before him so to watch him jump. It is an intended sucker punch, and he declines to insert his face in the path of the blow.

Instead, he follows the subtle pulse of day-to-day reality, and here he finds the proof - 1000 times - in doings so subtle that they miss entirely the attention of the average donkey. He recognizes, for example, that in the pond of urine he spies under every urinal lies sure proof of the decline of humanity.

In my entire life, I may have spilled two or three drops of urine. The principles of peeing have been understood from the days of righteous Lot. It is not rocket science - or if it is the propulsion theories behind it have long been mastered.

Another sign of the last days can be discerned driving the very highways and byways of the mighty country. One's eye casually drifts over to the guardrails, with the warm and fuzzy knowledge that if you should veer off the road, these mother hens of engineering with ever so gently nudge you back on the road to life, What a shock to discover a railing whose end might as well contain the words: 'Hit me and you die!" Image (1)

Dozens of highly educated engineers have okayed this latest advance in human protection. Scores of adminisrators after them. Experts in the field of public safety have said by the dozens: "I certainly see no problem with this design.' Hundreds of people have installed them and if they gave any feedback - they probably did - their higher-ups rejected it all because it came from untrained ignoramuses.

Third and the most telling sign of the last days being imminent is uncovered in the trade publications that monitor real estate and use of office space. In a tiny note on page 337 at the bottom right corner is a notation from the Office of the Devil that he has run out of special places in hell.


Rocketman

Imagine - calling the other guy Rocketman at the U.N. and getting the whole world to join in the refrain. How can you not give a thumbs-up when a guy does that? And then some kid comes along and photoshops an Elton John concert playing that very song, replacing John's head with Kim's, and inserts the huge video screen backdrop of North Korean rockets wheeling about, the shrill newscaster shrieking, the troops goosestepping - how do you expect any guy with a sense of humor to hold it together? It is as Paul said - the world is a theater.

The only thing that might check your hilarity briefly is the unpleasant thought that a misstep, for starters,  will result in half the planet up in smoke. But that is small potatoes.

Is it reckless? Tillerson certainly seems the more stable of the two, doesn't he? Unless they are both playing good cop/bad cop. And, to be fair, while everyone hopes for diplomacy, the diplomacy that has led straight up to the present situation and will presumably lead up to one where North Korean missiles are parked on your toes, should at least be mentioned as having worked out not that splendidly. Isn't there a Neville someone-or-other who favored negotiations back during another evil time? Or do I misunderstand even that? The trouble with history is that whenever you think you have something figured out, along comes someone from a different perspective to upend all your notions.

Meanwhile, it was Putin - mean, nasty, Chief Officer of Evil, His Wickedness, 'murderer and a thug' Putin - all that remains in the West is to photoshop him with Devil's horns, grinning ear-to-ear at his laptop as he hacks US elections - who supplied a key bit of understanding when he visited China. Sanctions will never work on North Korea, he said - Kim will see every single one of his people starved to death before he will give up on his nukes. Why? Because he knows about Libya and Iraq. Though Saddam swore up and down he had no weapons of mass destruction - which turned out to be exactly correct - that did not stop his enemies from taking him out and killing a family member or two in the process.

Look, he is not my friend - Putin. I mean, he hasn't exactly been nice to my people, Jehovah's Witnesses, lately, has he? But give credit where credit is due. He nailed it. Tellingly, when CNBC or someone covered that Chinese meeting - if Putin so much as tied his shoe there, they reported it - they covered every detail EXCEPT his statement about Saddam, thus allowing perception to stand in the US that Kim is completely unhinged - a perception he does nothing to clear up by his own pontifications - listening to him is not exactly like listening to John Tesh, is it?

Jehovah's Witnesses are neutral in the world's affairs for noble reasons - it is not God's idea for the world to be carved up into scores of squabbling factions ever playing 'King-of-the-Mountain" and he will soon act to  bring about his own kingdom replacement. However, another reason to be neutral - albeit a less noble one - is that it is almost impossible to get the truth on anything - you are forever acting in the dark - for every outlet spins 'truth' their own way according to their own agenda. Even Western media condemnation about calling Kim Rocketman must be weighed against their approval of calling Putin a murderer and a thug, a Senator's description that they picked up on and used freely. Is it wise to taunt him like that? Whenever in my house-to-house ministry I spot a murderer and a thug, I cross over to the other side of the street. Rocketman


Did He Call the President a Moron? - Why You Can't Watch News Anymore

The reason I cannot watch network news anymore is that they are obsessed over whether Secretary of State Tillerson called Trump a moron or not. It is a huge story.

Yesterday, Tillerson called a news conference. They carried on and on about how unusual it was for a Secretary of State to do such a thing. He called it mostly to scold them, yet they were too stupid to realize it. Despite media reports that the two do nothing but squabble and that he has had it up to here with the President's dumb ways, Tillerson said he has never even once thought about quitting, that he and the President get along just fine, that he regards him as smart and demanding of results, that he envisions foreign policy possibilities that no one else does.

(yeah but, yeah but...did you call him a moron or not?)   'Look, I don't come from this town [Washington], but where I come from we don't have time for such petty nonsense,' he answered. YEAH!

Incredibly, they are not chastened by this rebuke. ...'well...he didn't actually say that he didn't call him a moron, did he?'

He probably did, is my best guess. It is the realization that they think this is meaningful that takes your breath away. I cannot watch anymore, my viewing has steadily decreased over the past few months. When you work closely with someone, he will do or say things that will nettle you sometimes, and you say in passing 'what did that moron do now?' for Trump does speak impulsively at times - sometimes I think it is by design, to see these characters fall all over themselves 'fact-checking' things that everyone else realizes doesn't amount to a hill of beans. They truly think such things are significant in news-land?  I have to go someplace where there are grown-ups.

For crying out loud, he used to run Exxon! He put that aside for what is the role of a lifetime for him, an area in which he thinks he can best bring his talents to bear - and he probably never imagined there would be such a role other than Exxon. How could anyone possibly be so juvenile as to imagine that he spends his days in cat-fights with the President? I've never seen anyone with less political ambition in my life.

You can't even watch the networks for disaster coverage anymore, something at which they were arguably good. All they can talk about is who did comforting and relief better: this President or the one before.

This piece is more political than I like to get, but it is not really political at all. It is a commentary on the media. What a bunch of children they have become.

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