Depth of Mercy

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Read Ephesians 2: 1-7 1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together , and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Let’s start this morning with a little history. Some of it is ancient history, and some of it is more current. Most of it is rather unpleasant history, as it happens. Have you ever heard of Carthage? It was a city-state in North Africa, in what is now Tunisia. It was founded around 800 BC by Phoenicians, from the city of Tyre, which if you look at the maps in the back of your Bible, is located just north of Israel. Much as Rome was a city state, that we know best as leading a massive empire, so Carthage also had a considerable empire. The proximity of Carthage and Rome lead inevitably to war between the two empires, as happens when empires grow and interact. There were three wars between Rome and Carthage, Rome winning each one, until finally they destroyed the city of Carthage entirely. If you have ever heard of Hannibal, who brought elephants through the Alps into Italy, he was a leading Carthaginian general, and that was part of one of those wars. Continue reading Depth of Mercy

Expectation and Disruption

When I drive to work in the morning, I almost always take a travel mug of cold water with me. Not that I necessarily get so thirsty on the drive that a drink is going to be required, but it’s good to stay hydrated. Depending on how thirsty I am, maybe I don’t even take a sip on the way to work, or maybe the mug is half done by the time I get there.

Because I’m generally in a bit of a hurry to get out the door, most mornings my lovely wife fills the cup with cold water and puts in a couple of ice cubes to keep it cold. She’s been doing this for me for years, from when we lived in town but I drove out to Panmure Island every day, that’s a longer commute and I would often get thirsty. I appreciate her efforts, and because she has done this for me, I’m used having that cup of cold water on the drive in. I expect to have it.

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Over Your Shoulder

By this time tomorrow, we’ll know the result of the 2015 PEI provincial election. It’s a few months ahead of schedule, but scheduled election date legislation is a fairly new thing to us here in PEI. We’re more used to the element of surprise.

We’re also used to the signs. Oh, the signs, signs, sings. A good friend of mine had been working at a sign shop until a few months ago, after the election was called I asked him how glad he was to no longer be working there. The answer was of course very.

I’m not sure if there are more signs this time around, or if there are always this many, but it seems that every street corner with anything resembling public property has been decorated with signage.  Continue reading Over Your Shoulder

As Found in Nature

The other day  we picked up a new bottle of chewable multivitamins for the kids. It was a different brand than we’ve bought in the past, and it happened to be on half-price clearance, which is almost always a win in my books.  While I’m not entirely convinced that these, or really, any vitamin pills, make a significant difference in the kids’ health, a few more vitamins and minerals are probably better than less. In the middle of winter, with the quality and availability of fresh fruit and vegetables being somewhat less than optimal, a little bit of nutritional supplement is a  help. Continue reading As Found in Nature

How to Write Reference Letters

Originally published March 31, 2002

I recently wrote a reference letter for someone I supervise. When writing one of these, it can be somewhat difficult to know what to say in the letter. You want to write a good letter (unless you don’t like the person who the letter is for, in which case they were stupid to ask you) so the person gets what they are applying for, but you don’t want to go overboard and sound ridiculous.

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More Confusing Song Titles

Treble ClefOriginally Published 20 November 2004

Some time ago we ran a Good/Bad/Ugly article called Confusing Song Titles, which naturally rated songs that have titles that don’t make sense, songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.” As it happens only six such songs were rated in that article. That’s more items than the typical G/B/U rating includes, but in this case, it’s not nearly enough. There are so many more misnamed songs out there just waiting for the G/B/U treatment. It’s time for more.

Continue reading More Confusing Song Titles

Confusing Song Titles

Treble ClefOriginally posted 11 April 2001

It should have been decreed at the advent of pop music back in the 50s that songs would have titles that made sense, but apparently this was never done. Granted, most songs do have logical titles, usually being the most repeated lyric in the song, or a word that is used in the song a lot, or someone’s name that the song is about. Most songs when you hear them for the first time you can listen and have a fairly good idea what the title is. This rule doesn’t apply to instrumental stuff (you just have to remember that it’s called “Classical Gas”) but if it has lyrics, the title should be fairly obvious. But that’s not always the case. Today I’m rating the titles of some songs that don’t comply with this convention. Note that I’m not rating the songs themselves, just the titles and their appropriateness. Are we clear on that?
Continue reading Confusing Song Titles

A Thousand Words, Volume I

Dennis Miller used to have a feature on his show called The Big Picture where he commented on photos from the news. This is a rather low effort thing to do, and it was generally very funny for him, so I’m going to rip off all sorts of intellectual property here and do it myself. This is for parody, so don’t get upset if you don’t find my comments funny.

"I don't care if this is heavy, I'm dragging it down to the pawn shop to get cash for a Game Cube."
“I don’t care if this is heavy, I’m dragging it down to the pawn shop to get cash for a Game Cube.”

Continue reading A Thousand Words, Volume I

Androgynous Names

Hello My Name Is StickerI’ve always found that names which can be applied to either gender are a bit troubling. Maybe I like the reassurance that when someone mentions a John or a Mary I can form a simple picture of said person based simply on the name. With non gender specific names this becomes impossible. That, said, some androgynous names are certainly better than others. I should mention that I won’t be rating names that have alternate spellings for male and female, such as Aaron/Erin or Rene/Renee. If I happen to rate your name badly, that doesn’t mean I don’t like you, so don’t email me complaining about it. Continue reading Androgynous Names