Sunday, November 02, 2008

America ... Always? Forever?

"...having done all ... stand."--Ephesians 6:13

It took 2 months for my August donation to appear on their website, so the other one I sent last month after attending Sarah Palin's rally here in California probably won't appear for another month.

No matter what the results are on Tuesday, I'm proud to stand, knowing I've done all that one person can reasonably do ... voting for Hillary in the Primary, making/displaying bumper stickers & buttons, donating a small amount to the campaign, showing up at the rally, discussing the issues with others ... I can't believe how many people think the economy is the most important issue; ask any of the few thousand people who were murdered on 9/11/01 how bummed out they are about the housing market today; ask any of the millions of babies who've been murdered in the womb how they feel about being denied the right to choose being a Democrat when they grow up ... shoot, I even bought a 2nd house just so I can display 2 McCain/Palin yard signs in my windows!

I was bummed out last week seeing an Obama bumper sticker written in Hebrew (I think it was "BRQ ABME"), but I was even sadder to see a vehicle in a Home Depot parking lot today with 2 Obama stickers, & 1 Hebron "Always & Forever" Hebrew bumper sticker. All things considered though, I'm really surprised at how many McCain/Palin signs & bumper stickers are appearing here in the beach cities. I even got a thumb's up from a Snap-On Tools driver this week!

Altogether I sold a landslide 21 bumper stickers & buttons on Zazzle, & would like to thank the following for their courageous support of Gov. Palin:

Andy in Madison, WI
Arthur in North Kingsville, OH
Brandon in Lexington, KY
Crystal in Woodville, FL
Edward in Richmond, VA
John in Bethesda, MD
Kris in Goldenrod, FL
Lucy in Wheat Ridge, CO
Marisa in Highlands Ranch, CO
Matthew in Staten Island
Roberta in San Andreas, CA
Ron in Gilbert, AZ
Sis in Austin, TX
Theresa in Roselle Park, NJ
Thomas in Athens, TN
Virginia in Montrose, CO

"Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God."--1Thessalonians 1:4

"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God..."--1Peter 1:2

"...[G]ive diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall..."--2Peter 1:10

Song of the week: "Delivering the Goods" by Judas Priest (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 14-second sample; 197kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 187 views
ASOR 2007 (p. 6), 95 views
Royal Banquine, 82 views

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bitter Beetles

This week saw the opening of a "rare display of original specimens and documents from two of Britain’s greatest scientists. Find out how Alfred Russel Wallace jointly discovered the theory of natural selection and why Darwin’s pigeons contributed more than finches did to his study of evolution."

The promo for this new temporary exhibit at the Natural History Museum at Tring includes this photo of a nice assortment of beetles:

Wallace is well known for writing an 1858 paper on the concept of Natural Selection prior to, not jointly with, Darwin: "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type".

Due to Wallace's belief in spiritualism, Darwin became far more popular among anti-religion zealots of the late 19th century. Here we have 2 classic examples of people, scientists actually (not Pennsylvanians like me), who tended to cling to religion...

"If I listen long enough to you
I'd find a way to believe that it's all true
Knowin' that you lied straight-face while I cried
And still I look to find a reason to believe

Song of the week: "Reason to Believe" by The Carpenters (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 28-second sample; 360kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 186 views
Royal Banquine, 81 views
ASOR 2007 (p. 6), 62 views

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Succot in Hebron 2008

Boy, this ad really jumped out at me this week:

This is an abbreviated version just to show the full title. Here's a link to a hi-res PDF version of the flyer.

In particular, notice that there will be a "pottery making" activity. Wow!

They're even providing "inexpensive bullet-proof buses" to shuttle visitors from Jerusalem & Tel Aviv. Under such circumstances, I'm not sure how popular the "horse-driven carriages" will be, but it says they'll be "coordinated with our security forces."

Song of the week: "In God's Country" by U2 (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 29-second sample; 361kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 186 views
Royal Banquine, 81 views
ASOR 2007 (p. 6), 62 views

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sarah Palin Blesses California

I was caught, in the middle of a railroad track!
I looked 'round, & I knew there was no turning back!
My mind raced, & I thought, what could I do?
And I knew, there was no help, no help from you!
Sound of the drums, beatin' in my heart, the thunder of guns...

In most public venues, "Thunderstruck", by the Australian hard-rock band AC/DC, easily drowns out all other sounds. But on Saturday, October 4th in the California city of Carson, over 10,000 screaming American fans of Sarah Palin drowned out the music when the star-of-the-day stepped onto the stage at the tennis stadium at the Home Depot Center! It normally seats 8,000, but on this occasion, over 1,000 more crammed onto the court, & over 1,000 more lined up across the upper walkway to show their support for the most important lady in America today.

In the heart of a gang-infested city that worships the ground Barack Obama walks upon, that's an impressive turnout!

I had the privilege of attending since the venue is only a 15-minute drive east of Redondo Beach. I had picked up a General Admission pass earlier in the week at a Republican campaign office. And no, I'm not a Republican. I "decline to state" any party affiliation, & voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary election simply because it was the best thing I could do to prevent the "ticket of terrorists" from being elected to the presidency.

For me, the issues that most people are discussing about this election are irrelevant. The only thing that matters to me is that Barack Hussein Obama has stated publicly that Arab terrorists have legitimate claims, & that single remark not only disqualifies him for the United States presidency, but in my opinion, qualifies him for being charged with treason at a time when our great nation is at war after having been attacked by Arab terrorists on 9-11-2001. He dug an even deeper hole for himself politically by stating that our troops are essentially just "air-raiding villages & killing civilians". Even if it's true, which it may very well be since it's impossible to conduct a flawless war, it demoralizes our country, & aids & comforts our enemies, & he should be brought to trial for it.

"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."--Constitution Article 3, Section 3

Secondarily, as someone who fears God, & believes we are all members of a single genetic race descended from the same 2 parents created by God, I despise the racist "church" Obama attended for 2 decades. And he demonstrated his true nature by denouncing their racist leader ONLY when it became politically expedient for him to do so a few months ago. (And no, I'm not going to provide any hyperlinks to their sick website.)

Furthermore, his wife is despicable, & doesn't belong in the White House for publicly stating that this is the first time in her life (i.e., when her husband began running for the presidency) that she's been proud to be an American.

Having said that, it was such a pleasure to be surrounded on this occasion by so many like-minded people supporting the "party of patriots". I took the time to transcribe Gov. Palin's speech below, & although my work may have some minor errors in it, I was in the fortunate position of being seated behind the operator of her teleprompter, so I was able to compare a few sections of what she had prepared in advance with what she actually said.

During the past month since she gained international prominence, she's been accused of being an idiot, but it takes guts to give a speech to a crowd of any size, not to mention thousands of people surrounding you, & legions of reporters who are anxiously waiting for you to make a mistake, & still more pundits who will begin criticizing you all over the world seconds after the words leave your mouth. And even if she & Senator McCain are imbeciles as some Democrats claim, I'd rather vote for an imbecile & take a 50/50 chance that they might make the right decisions in office, than vote for Obama who has a racist, unpatriotic character flaw guaranteeing the wrong decisions will be made in office.

I arrived at 10am when the parking lot opened, & since there were no clear signs, & this sporting complex contains several playing fields & a large soccer stadium I've never been to before, I parked in the wrong lot, & wasted 15 minutes discovering it, & getting over to the correct one.

And before I go any further, I have to thank God for making this one day very overcast so that my sensitive skin wouldn't get burned at this outdoor event. When the event began, the sun peeked through the clouds for a few minutes, & again when Sarah initially arrived, but at one point (& she comments on it), there were a few light raindrops & drizzle. There was a heavier rain afterwards as I returned to my car, but I would've been severely burned if it had been any other day of this past month or upcoming week (according to the current forecast). THANK YOU, GOD!

There were already about 1,000 people in line when I got there, & it was very disappointing for some supporters when we were told that no one would be allowed to bring their homemade signs into the facility. I still don't understand the reason for this, so if anyone knows, please feel free to post a comment. There was another similar situation shortly before the event began when most of the fans had been seated, but for security reasons, I'm not going to describe it in detail.

The gates opened promptly at 11:30am, & it took me 15 minutes to get in due to the security checkpoints. I was thrilled to be able to choose a seat on the side of stage that would be at Gov. Palin's right hand about 50-60 feet away. It had 2 additional benefits in that she would be spending most of her time signing autographs closer to this side after her speech (about 20-30 feet away), & more importantly, I was directly behind the aforementioned gentleman who was operating her teleprompter via his laptop PC.

She's terrific at improvising in reaction to the crowd, & it was amazing how many interjections she made along the way. Unfortunately, I don't have a photographic memory, & can't remember every detail, but I'll place in bold a few sections I know for sure were ad-libbed, even though there were probably others. Also, here are some abbreviations for the crowd reactions:

{TO}=thunderous ovation
{...}=section I was not able to hear clearly enough to transcribe

During the nearly 2 hours prior to the event, they were playing mellow rock & modern C&W songs over the P.A. system, most of which I didn't care for. In hindsight, it was interesting that they played a knock-off of the AC/DC classic (that I don't like), "Highway to Hell", by a C&W artist reworked lyrically to "Highway to Heaven". The most well-known song I recall was the Marshall-Tucker Band classic, "Can't You See?", the chorus of which, when isolated from the rest of the song, was very fitting for the main attraction since she's certainly been doin' a number on me:

"Can't you see, can't you see, what that woman, Lord, she been doin' to me?"

But in reality, the song's about a woman that's driving a guy crazy in a bad way, & makes him want to run away. It's a nice song for Obama, Biden, & all their supporters to sing; but most of Obama's supporters are probably into rap. Songs about killing cops, abusing women, doing drugs, & just living up to the expectations taught to our children in the Science classrooms of taxpayer-funded schools across the nation: we're just worthless animals with no ultimate purpose that should seek pleasure at the expense of others. That's the fundamental message of Senator Obama: take money from the successful, mostly responsible people, & redistribute it to the lazy, mostly irresponsible people.

There were 2 major causes for applause as we were waiting for the main event to begin. One was a group of 3 teenage boys, 2 of whom were wearing T-shirts containing a big photo of Obama's important, concerned-looking face, with a big-huge red "X" over it! You can't imagine how wonderful it was to see so many people openly showing their contempt for this terrorist-sympathizer! Another group that received enthusiastic applause, carried a large flag of Israel, with an American flag on one side, & a McCain/Palin banner on the other.

The event began approximately on time at 1:35, with about 25 minutes of speeches from local politicians that nobody really came to see on this day. At 2:00, we were told that the day would be divided into 3 sections, with 2 more coming. 5 minutes later after another recorded song was played, Academy-Award-winning actor Jon Voight was introduced. It was nice to see one Hollywood celebrity on hand out of the hundreds of others, most of whom support Obama, which reminds me of another interesting contrast.

Note that Senator Obama was handed his national fame on a silver platter by celebrity billionaire, Oprah Winfrey, when she held a special event choosing to promote him over Hillary Clinton last year, a move that stunned many people; whereas the beginning of John McCain's campaign was so lackluster, that at one point he couldn't afford to use an airplane (not to mention a private jet like he now travels in), & had to resort to using a bus; nonetheless, he persisted, & won over his party. Quite a contrast.

Also on hand were a few other speakers including the former CEO of eBay, which lasted till about 2:30. Then more mellow music. Secret Service personnel entered around 2:45, scoped the stage, assumed their positions, & around 2:55, the beauteous Sarah arrived with, well, I'll let her introduce herself:

"Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. I promise to be short & sweet. I wanna thank you, & I wanna reiterate that I am Shelly Mandell, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women [NOW]. Now I'm happy to be here, & I'm here today speaking not on behalf of NOW, but speaking as an individual, as a women's rights activist for 13 years, who has worked for all those years to see this day. Let me share with you where I've been, & why I'm here. I was there in 1977 for IWI, that was the International Women's Year, in Texas. I was there in 1978 when we campaigned hard all over the west for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, working right alongside my dear friend, Maureen Reagan. I was there in 1984 when we worked so hard to get Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket, & then to support her historical place in that election. And I'm here today, proud to support Sarah Palin, a woman, a woman who will fight for women's rights, a woman who will fight for the middle class, a woman who, Lord knows, will shake things up. Now make no mistake, I'm a lifelong Democrat. I don't agree, gotta tell ya, I don't agree with Governor Palin on several issues. Hey, she's gonna work on persuading John McCain on ANWR, well I'm gonna try persuading her on things of my own. But, but, I know Sarah Palin cares about women's rights, she cares about equality, she cares about equal pay, & as vice president, she will fight for it. She, she cares about our children, & she cares about women's lives. She's an athlete, & she knows what Title IX did for girls like her. [Sarah said, "Absolutely! Thank you!"] Change must come to Washington, & Sarah Palin has what it takes to lead that charge. I believe she is courageous; I believe she has integrity; & I know that Sarah Palin is a reformer who will break up the ol-boy network, buck the system, & get Washington back on our side. It is honor, it is an honor to call her 'sister'. America, this is what a feminist looks like: Governor Sarah Palin."

[Sarah during thunderous ovation: "Thank you! Bless you! That was awesome!"]

"Wow, & thank you too, Shelly, for that kind introduction, & thank you so much for your endorsement. And with your help, Shelly, in November, all of us who consider ourselves progressive, yet at the same time we can be conservative, we're gonna shatter the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America."


"I was looking at Shelly's resume before I came out here and I thought, oh, there's some diversity; I like this, it's good. And because maybe this is the only time that I would get an endorsement like this or an introduction, I've gotta share with you, it was like kind of providential, yesterday what happened to me. I can use this today after that introduction from Shelly: I'm reading on my Starbucks mocha cup, OK, the quote of the day. {C} You'll never believe what the quote was. It was Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State and UN ambassador. {B} And Madeline has as her quote-of-the-day from Starbucks, now she said it; I didn't. She said, 'There's a place in Hell reserved for women who don't support other women.'"


"OK, now thank you so much for receiving that well. I didn't know how that was gonna go over. {L} And now, California, let's see what a comment like I just made, how that is turned into whatever it'll be turned into tomorrow in the newspaper. {TO} Thank you!"

"It's so nice to be in this most beautiful state, & in this beautiful cathedral that they call in some parts, a cathedral of soccer, & I know that all you California soccer-moms sure know how to make a hockey-mom feel at home."


"Whenever I'm in L.A., I think of my dad, because he was born here, & {A} Hey, I've got that connection, that little bit of connection with L.A., & I'll milk it as long as I can! {L} So my dad was born here, & as a boy, he lived in North Hollywood where my grandma, {A} she was a teacher, & my grandpa was a photographer, & my grandpa, his specialty was photographing boxers of that era, & I learned a few pointers about fighting from him, including one that applies to this election, & that there is a time when it's necessary to take the gloves off, & that time is right now."


[At this point, she turned to her right, near where I was sitting, & stared right at a heckler, who was surrounded by supporters chanting "U.S.A" to drown her out. The rest of the crowd realized what was going on, & cheered wildly.]

"My son is over in Iraq right now fighting for the freedoms that that person is exercising right now."


"So it is so good to be here, & as I say, there's a time to take the gloves off, & as one of our campaign staffers reminded me as I'm walking out, he goes, 'OK now, the heels are on, the gloves come off.'"


"Our opponents take this state & all of you for granted. But I've got some news for Senators Obama & Biden: for millions of Californians, this is still Reagan country!"


"In this final month before election day, we're taking our case for reform & positive change to every voter of every background in every region of America, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, or an Independent, or no party at all, we're asking for your vote, & it's gonna be a hard-fought battle right down to the wire, guys. It's gonna come right down to the wire. With your support, though, we will win!"


"So, you know, because California is so beautiful, & I love the mix of people who live here, & it's snowin' in Alaska right now, so of course I wanted to be here, but I wanted to be here a few years, a few days earlier than today but I had an appointment in St. Louis, & it just wouldn't wait, {A} so Thursday night I had a little debate with Senator Joe Biden {A}, & I was so proud to get to make the case for the next president of the United States, John McCain!"


"As I explained to Senator Biden, John McCain is the only man in this race who will solve our economic crisis, & not exploit it. He's the only man in this race with a plan that will actually help our working families, & cut your taxes, & get our economy back on track."


"He's the only man in this race who talks about the wars America is fighting, & isn't afraid to use the word 'victory'!"


"Our opponent, he gives speech after speech about the wars that America is fighting, & it sure would be nice if even just once he'd say he wants America to win."


"Our opponent voted to cut off funding for the troops. Even after he said, {B} even after he said he would never do such a thing. He said, too, that our troops in Afghanistan are just, quote, 'air-raiding villages, & killing civilians'. {B} That's not what our great men & women in uniform are doing in Afghanistan. The U.S. military is fighting terrorism, & protecting us, & defending our democratic values, {A} They're defending our freedoms of assembly, & of the press, & of women's rights, & of tolerance, & all those things that are democratic values; & they're building schools for Afghan children so that they have hope & opportunity in that country. That's what our troops are doing in Afghanistan!"


"John McCain wouldn't say that because he's a different kind of man. John McCain believes in our troops & our mission, & as the mother of one of those troops, that's exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief."


"Senator McCain served our nation in uniform for 22 years, & California, you are to be commended & applauded for being a state with a strong tradition of military service, & today {A} there are many thousands of veterans here, as well as active-duty soldiers, & airmen, & they continue to keep our nation strong & secure, & how 'bout a shout out to them, even here in this audience?"

{TO; "U.S.A." chant}

"Thank you, veterans, & I recognize some of you with your hats on, & I say, 'God bless you', & we take our hat off to you!"

"So California, after today it will be the time for choosing for this country in this election, & here's how I look at the choice that we face: In politics there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, & then there are those like John McCain who use their careers to promote change."


"This is a moment when principles, & political independence matter a lot more than just a party line. And John McCain is his own man. He doesn't run with that Washington herd. He & I, we don't just talk about change, we're the only candidates in this race with a track record of actually making change happen."


"As a mayor, & as a governor, I reminded people that government is not the answer, in fact, too often, government is the problem. {A} So where I have served, we have put government back on the side of the people. Here's some of my track record:"

"As mayor I reduced taxes every year that I was in office. For over 6 years, I eliminated personal property taxes, & eliminated small-business inventory taxes. As governor, we suspend our state fuel tax, anything & everything that I can do to be able to literally {A}, so that what we could do was literally hang that shingle outside of our community, & outside of our state, & say, 'We are open for business', & it will be the product {...} grows & thrives & prospers."

"So that's part of my track record, & I'll tell ya, California, I always knew that I was accountable to the people who hired me; it was the people of Alaska. And I can promise you that John McCain & I will never forget that we will be there in Washington, DC to work for you, the people of America!"


"And one mission of our administration, it will be to bring tax-relief to every American, & cut taxes for businesses so that they can hire more people. That creates jobs!"


"Yes, John mcCain is a real reformer in this election, & he can do this, & he has a record to prove it, & so do I as mayor & governor, as I was cutting taxes for the people of Alaska, & building up infrastructure. And so many claims in this campaign, you know, I think that the phoniest claim in a campaign that's been full of them, is that Barack Obama is going to cut your taxes."

{L} {B}

"I mean, think about it, think about it! He's built his whole career on building up tax money, first as a Chicago politician, & then raising taxes as a senator. He's voted 94 times to raise taxes, even on, {B} even on middle-class everyday Americans making $42,000 a year. {B} He tried to raise a million dollars a day just on his requested earmarks, & now he's committed to almost a trillion dollars in new spending, & he never bothers to tell ya where that money will come from, & no one seems to be asking him how he will pay for this huge government growth that he wants. {A} So since no one's asking him, let's just do the math. You can either do the math, or you can just go with your gut, & either way, you're gonna draw the same conclusion: Barack Obama is going to raise your taxes."


"Well, evidently, after a not-too-successful interview that I had kind of recently, because I was asked a question that I thought, oh, quite a few questions that I thought, 'Oh, come on, let's just get, you know, let's start talking to the American people about the issues that you guys wanna know about: our plans for {A}, how we're actually gonna put government on the side of the people, how we're gonna win these wars. Those type of issues, but instead, with a kind of a flippant answer that I got when asked about, what do I like to read."

"Evidently, there's been a lot of interest in what I read lately. {L} Well, I was reading today a copy of the New York Times, {B} & I was really interested to read in there about Barack Obama's friends from Chicago, {B} it turns out one of his earliest supporters is a man who, according to the New York Times, was a domestic terrorist, & part of a group {B}, part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon & the U.S. Capitol.' {B} Man! These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes. Remember? That's what Joe Biden said."


"Now this is not a man who sees America as you & I see America; we see America as a force for good in this world. {A} We see an America of exceptionalism. {"U.S.A." chant} Yes, U.S.A.! U.S.A.! {A} Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country? {B} This, ladies & gentlemen, has nothing to do with the kind of change that anyone can believe in, not my kids, & not your kids. What we believe in is what Ronald Reagan believed in, & that is an America that is a nation of exceptionalism, & that {A}, that America is a good & honorable nation. We are not perfect; we make mistakes, but we learn from our mistakes. We are a nation that believes in the virtues of freedom, & that those virtues of freedom are worth fighting for!"


"California, thank you for understanding this; & thank you for understanding that the only man who can live that out in leadership in the White House is John McCain."


"And something else we'll do in a McCain & Palin administration, we're gonna set this nation firmly on the path of energy independence."


"Across California & America, high gas prices are making a full tank at the pump feel like a luxury. The cost of living, of course, is going up, & the cost for groceries is going up. Everything's going up. But the value of your paycheck is going down, all because of high energy costs. And that's nonsense. It's nonsense when you consider the wealth of natural resources that God has so richly blessed this land with."


"You know, in Alaska alone, we have billions of, [she giggles] we have," {"Drill, baby, drill!" chant}

"You know, I thought when the raindrops started that you guys would want me to kind of rush through some of this!"


"Yeah, God has so richly blessed this land with resources; in Alaska alone, we have millions of barrels of oil, we have hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean/free natural gas, & it's not just there, it's here in California, & we have the alternative sources of energy also. {A} To meet America's great energy challenge, we're gonna need an all-of-the-above approach. And in a McCain/Palin administration, that does mean developing new alternative sources, & it will require, there'll be more nuclear plants, &," {A}

[Note: Another heckler gets ejected at this time, & it's hard to hear Gov. Palin over the commotion.]

"{...} America {...} third world {...} but it does mean also that we will drill here, & drill now, & that's when you are to chant, 'Drill, baby, drill!'"

[Note: This was very cute the way she ad-libbed it like, "Gosh darn-it, you beat me to the punch!"]

{"Drill, baby, drill!" chant}

"You guys are great!" {A}

{"Sarah" chant}

"Alright, & one more thing on energy, {A} one more thing on energy, this is what it comes down to in a McCain/Palin administration: We will achieve energy security, energy independence for our country. That means American energy resources brought to you by American ingenuity, & produced by American workers!"


"Alright, you know, from now until election day, you're gonna hear our opponents still go on & on about how they're going to fight for you, California {B}, California, you know there is only one man in this campaign who has ever really fought for you, {A} only one man with the courage to go on fighting for you, & that man is John McCain!"


"California, thank you. You know, people all across the nation, we're always lookin' at what's going on in California. We're gonna be lookin' at what's going on in California between now & on election day. Please, join us, join our cause, bring more people into this, this {...} reform for our country, putting government back on your side. Thank you, California! God bless you, & God bless America!"


[Note: I made this transcription based on poor audio from 4 YouTube video sources. The P.A. system had a bit of echo, & depending where you sat, or where the video was recorded, some of her words were drowned by the audience at times, so if you listen to one video & hear something slightly different, or don't hear something you read here in my transcription, please check several other versions. Once again, I did my best to put in bold font her improvised statements that were not on her teleprompter. Nonetheless, I encourage others to submit corrections especially as more recordings of the event, & possibly an official copy of her speech, are made available.]

Her speech ended around 3:20pm, & she spent the next 25 minutes or so greeting VIP supporters down front, signing autographs, even posing for photos with a few lucky people. It was such a thrill to get to spend this brief not-quite-hour-long occasion with her.

I have officially seen royalty!

"Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed; & who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"--Esther 4:13-14

[Note: I can count 19 cameras facing her in this last photo as she poses with a fan! Incredible!]

(No song-of-the-week due to time spent on photos. I took 69 at the event, & had a tough time choosing which ones to post here.)
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 186 views
Royal Banquine, 81 views
ASOR 2007 (p. 6), 60 views

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lighter Matters

"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.' And it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the 4th day."--Genesis 1:14-19

The message being communicated in this King James Version passage seems so obvious, yet it causes so many people to question the timescale provided by the rest of Genesis, namely, that God created everything only several-thousand years ago. Why? Because we know from measurements of the speed of light using modern equipment, that the lights we see from distant stars must have begun their journey billions of years ago, not thousands of years ago.


Every student who's taken a high school Science class has been taught that the speed of light (especially in a vacuum such as outer space) is a constant. E=mcc. If you change c, it changes our universe. "Constant" means that it is what it is, & it doesn't change. Like Sarah Palin's patriotism, you can count on it.

But I can't figure out why so many Bible fans have bought into this concept of long timespans though, when the vast majority of those same fans believe God created Adam fully grown, & also believe Jesus changed water into wine instantly. God made the stars on the 4th day far away from Earth on the 4th day to shine light on the 4th day on Earth on the 4th day ... And it was so.

Millions of Bible fans & millions of Bible haters believe with 100% confidence that the stars, their light, space, & Earth are all billions of years old, yet they don't put enough thought into their belief (& I was guilty of this for decades), because if they did, they'd realize that the same competent scientists who proudly profess their belief in these long ages, also inform us that the known universe is composed of only 4% of things we vaguely understand (i.e., ordinary baryonic matter), but 96% of stuff we don't understand at all (22 or 23% "dark matter", 73 or 74% "dark energy"; see "Evolution Science" p. 41).

If you're not a young-Earth creationist, you place more confidence in dark matter/energy than in the Bible. For an atheist, that's admirable; for a professing Christian, that's an embarrassment.

Well, in recent years, the separation between faith & fact is getting fuzzier, & the definitions of facts are changing. More & more, what we thought was true & proven & constant/unchanging, ain't so. Yet Genesis 1 & Exodus 20:11 still inform anyone with an open mind that God created everything (including the stars) in only 6 otherwise-ordinary days.

In the past decade, scientists have successfully slowed down light tremendously. In nature it may appear to be constant (with only trivial decreases in speed when it travels outside of a vacuum), but in photonics laboratories, t'aint so! Harvard issued this press release way back in 2001:

"Researchers now able to stop, restart light ... 'Two years ago we slowed it down [20 million-fold] to 38 miles an hour; now we've been able to park it then bring it back up to full speed.' ... Less than five years ago, the speed of light was considered one of the universe's great constants. ... [Lene] Hau, [then] 41, a professor of physics at Harvard, admits that the famous genius [Albert Einstein] would 'probably be stunned' at the results of her experiments."

In this month's issue of Laser Focus World comes another interesting report of a practical application for slowing down the speed of light ... to help you surf the Worldwide Web faster:

"The ability to route, switch, and store information in broadband telecommunications networks typically depends on electrical signals, but a new optical technique to slow down and trap light may offer a 1000% speed-up of Internet traffic."

OK. So if you're the type who normally laughs at the notion of the universe being only several thousand years old instead of billions of years old, you're probably laughing even harder right now, because it's obvious to any school child that even if dark matter & dark energy could somehow make light travel slower, that would be even worse for young-Earth creationists.

True. But the point I'm making is not that light can travel faster than its typical "constant" value, but that it's not necessarily constant everywhere in space, particularly in regions way outside of our puny little solar system where we've never been; & if it's not constant, why would you want to express faith that it is constant (or possibly slower) everywhere in the universe all the time, rather than trust whoever wrote Genesis & reported on the miracles that Jesus performed?

But alas, we're actually getting closer to demonstrating that the speed of light can be increased! And it makes sense that if it can go much slower under certain conditions, it should theoretically go much faster under others. Last month, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania reported:

"Scientists [there] have theorized a way to increase the speed of pulses of light that bound across chains of tiny metal particles to well past the speed of light by altering the particle shape. ... An interesting conundrum arises from the work. The theory of relativity prohibits anything from moving faster than light. 'But what is a thing?' [Dr. Vadim A.] Markel said. ... It is predicted that the superluminal properties of these pulses are much bolder than anything previously observed."

As the article states, currently the advance is only theoretical. But if it's theoretical, it may very well be possible some day. Some day when school students conduct experiments speeding up & slowing down light, & if 96% of the path along which light travels from a distant star to Earth remains "dark", will they stop & wonder if God could've done something special on day #4 to make light travel faster, & then slow it down to only 186,282 miles/second?

"Who is as the wise man, and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed."--Ecclesiastes 8:1

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."--Acts 4:13

Song of the week: "I'm Beginning To See The Light" by Bert Kaempfert (CD not available on Amazon; click here for a 25-second sample; 328kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 186 views
Royal Banquine, 79 views
ASOR 2007 (p. 6), 59 views

Sunday, September 07, 2008

God Bless Sarah America

After her tremendous speech Wednesday night, Sarah Palin made me think (among other things) about Biblical Queen Esther, which in turn prompted me to think of the Hebrew word for "queen". I thought it was either MLKE or MLKT, or something with "MLK" in it, but I was surprised to find 3 words translated into "queen". One was indeed MLKE/MLKT (same basic root; Strong's #4436), & the other 2 were SGL (#7694) and ...

"Her wise ladies answered her, yea, she returned answer to herself...""--Judges 5:29

"And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart."--1Kings 11:3

"Likewise shall the ladies of Persia and Media say this day unto all the king's princes, which have heard of the deed of the queen."--Esther 1:18

"And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for Me."--Isaiah 49:23

"She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!"--Lamentations 1:1

Strong's #8282 sarah {saw-raw'} from 08269; TWOT - 2295b; n f
AV - lady 2, princess 2, queen 1
1) princess, noblewoman, noble lady

Indeed! Talk about serendipity ... or in this case, sarah-dipity!!!

"I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America. I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election against confident opponents at a crucial hour for our country. ... To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House."--Sarah Palin, 2008-Sep-3

As humans formed in God's image, we are obligated to respect God's creation including the miracles of conception, prenatal development, & childbirth (all obviously designed by God). We are all "special-needs children" in this sin-cursed world, even moreso now that abortions, homosexuality, & atheism have become things of respect, rather than things of disdain.

We who worship God & care about the future of America's culture need to reform our public schools so that children can be inspired & encouraged to think freely ... not force-fed a single perspective on biological origins, & that kind of positive change will not be the product of an Obamanation.

Though our ultimate Advocate is our risen Savior, it would be nice to have one in a very high place within our temporal government. One who doesn't just claim to be a Christian, but one through whom Christ actually lives!

God has truly blessed America with this noble lady, Sarah Palin! We have not been ashamed for having waited...

Last week I couldn't make up my mind which side of my car's bumper I should put my new sticker on. I fixed that by designing a new one!

Song of the week: "Bless The Beasts & Children" by The Carpenters (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 26-second sample; 328kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 182 views
Royal Banquine, 79 views
Checkmate, 43 views

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Running Mates & Genitals

"The notion that genital size is related to the origin of species is not new. But how they are related has perplexed evolutionary biologists. The individuals of most species do not choose mates according to the size and shape of genitalia."

So said Science Daily this week ("How 'Secondary' Sex Characters Can Drive the Origin of Species") reporting on an article to be published in next month's issue of Evolution (International Journal of Organic Evolution).

The species being discussed is yet another member of the ancient royal-symbol scarab family, Onthophagus taurus.

One side of the scientific fence ... evolutionists ... examines animals like these beetles with the belief that the forms we observe today evolved over millions of years from some completely different form of life, & will continue doing so via the process of Natural Selection unless they either become extinct or change into something completely different again. The speciation of this particular animal occurred faster than expected ... within 50 years, which for scientists who religiously believe in evolutionism is "an extremely short period of time".

On the other side of the fence, creationists believe that in the beginning God created a variety of animal families, each with "very good" DNA chock full o' information allowing descendants within the family to spread out over the planet, & adapt to various environmental conditions. The net result now, some several thousand years later, is a cornucopia of diverse populations thanks to the same Natural Selection process. What most evolutionists don't grasp very well is the concept that this process acts upon existing traits. It can't select something that doesn't exist, & DNA contains information that's way too complicated (even in the least complicated forms of life we know) to have appeared randomly.

Mutations are a form of genetic change we can observe. Progressive improvements resulting from mutations, however, are imaginary ... they're a form of change we can believe in, but they require a miracle (i.e., a yet-to-be-documented process, like believing Jesus will return to reign over us some day).

One of the reasons that evolutionists only consider topics like this from a narrow-minded, limited framework, is that most of them have been indoctrinated to think this way courtesy of an education system that's not exactly creationist-friendly.


Another interesting happening this past week in the U.S. political arena, came from John McCain's announcement that Sarah Palin will be his running mate. Critics were quick to accuse him of choosing her solely according to her genitalia (i.e., because she's a very pretty woman, & he hopes to draw votes from Hillary Clinton's supporters).

These pundits must not have heard about the latest research on the aforementioned beetle!

I overheard an Obama fan laughing at Ms. Palin ... something about her being a beauty queen under investigation with no political experience ... & I was curious what the truth was since most Obama supporters lack credibility (e.g., based on their beliefs that irresponsible women have the right to choose to kill their unborn children, that homosexuality should be condoned via marriage, & that President Bush was wrong to invade Iraq to dethrone its anti-American dictator, who was obviously harboring our enemies).

Later, when I heard her acceptance speech via radio, she impressed me with her loud, confident, conservative voice. Senator McCain lauded her beforehand by describing her character, but I rarely pay attention to things politicians say in speeches; however, when I heard a commentator mention that she was pro-creationism, I became more interested!

According to the Anchorage Daily News blog posted on October 25, 2006, Governor Palin participated in a televised debate in which the moderator, Michael Carey, "asked about teaching alternatives to evolution[ism] - such as creationism and intelligent design - in public schools." According to the blog's transcript, she said:

"Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And, you know, I say this, too, as the daughter of a science teacher. Growing up with being so privileged and blessed to be given a lot of information on, on both sides of the subject -- creationism and evolution[ism]. It's been a healthy foundation for me. But don't be afraid of information and let kids debate both sides."

That settled it for me! For the first time in my life, I'm officially interested in politics! A lady with that level of intelligence, who so far has apparently been an excellent mayor & an excellent governor (as well as an excellent mother based on having raised several decent kids), would make not just an excellent vice president, but president!

As for the aforementioned investigation into her, as far as I'm concerned, any politician who's been accused by their opponents of abusing their power by dismissing another government worker (in this case, a Public Safety Commissioner), should consider it an accomplishment.

As for complaints about her lack of political experience & foreign travel, I again consider both of these to be attributes rather than scars. Some of the worst politicians are those who want to be ones, & don't know how to do anything else. George Washington was not a politician; he was a farmer first, & a courageous general second.

As for concerns over the possible neglect of her "special-needs" baby, she acted responsibly by giving him life rather than death (a.k.a. "exercising her right to choose", a.k.a., "having an abortion"), so I trust that she'll be responsible enough to take care of him, or even put him up for adoption if she finds the job of vice president too demanding. It's not like she's an irresponsible woman who needs to have an abortion to support her drug & prostitution habit. Aside from having a father & several older siblings capable of babysitting him, this child will be protected by the Secret Service.

Even though John McCain does not represent my ideal presidential candidate (mostly for his weak stance on closing our borders, rounding up people who crossed them illegally, & deporting them), I gave his campaign a small donation this weekend ... my first ever ... but it won't be my last if Ms. Palin decides to run for president in 2012:

So while the authors of the upcoming Evolution report, Armin Moczek & Harald Parzer, examine the horns & copulatory organs of male beetles, & while Democrats make fun of Ms. Palin for having participated in a beauty contest a couple of decades ago (during which time their presidential hopeful was attending worship services led by a hate-filled bigot/racist, who dumped his pastor & congregation when he found it to be politically expedient as if nobody with an objective brain would notice), I'm going to do my part (beginning with a simple little bumper sticker) in supporting someone with the courage & insight to take a stand for God & for her country.

Sarah Palin will help us preserve the vision of our founding patriots. I want America to continue being one nation under the God who created everything in 6 days. I don't want to let it become an Obamanation to God.

What are you going to do?

Song of the month: "In God's Country" by U2 (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 29-second sample; 361kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 180 views
Royal Banquine, 79 views
Checkmate, 42 views

Sunday, July 20, 2008

G.M. & Gutenberg's Machine

"We're so used to living with printed matter every day of our lives, from the cereal package in the morning to the book at bedtime, that it might perhaps be rather hard to imagine what the world was like before printing, so we have to come somewhere like here, this monastery ... in a village just a few miles from Mainz where Gutenberg grew up, & this is where, not the printed word, but the written word, was king."

So says Stephen Fry, the narrator for all of the popular Harry Potter films, about 800 seconds into the new 59-minute movie, "The Machine That Made Us" (Wavelength Films Ltd.). You can download the entire 100-Megabyte movie that aired earlier this year on BBC Four television at's site (I'd recommend you begin downloading it now in another window to get a headstart on it; after the page loads, press the viewer's Pause button, & resume reading this blog while it continues to download). It's well worthwhile for anyone interested in the history of the Bible.

Gutenberg didn't really "invent" the press; his chief accomplishment was his streamlining of the entire book-manufacturing process, bringing together movable/recyclable type, paper (from recycled rags), ink, press, & binding. His goal wasn't simply to mass-produce books, so much as to mechanically replicate handmade books. For example, instead of making a single uppercase "G", & a single lowercase "g", he formed about half-a-dozen variants to create what could legitimately be named Artificial Writing, & contemporaries spoke of his trade as the "art of multiplying books".

I've studied Gutenberg a bit, & have seen 2 original Gutenberg Bibles (The Huntington Library's vellum copy, & the Library of Congress (LOC)'s paper copy), several individual leaves ... usually in exhibits behind security glass except one I was allowed the privilege of holding for a few seconds (by a dealer/acquaintance, Dr. Craig Lampe; currently offering 2 for $79k & $119k). I also own 19 facsimile leaves (worth a whopping $19(!); discussed in the book I began writing in the late 1990s prior to becoming involved in LMLK research). Nonetheless, I found this film informative &, to a certain degree, entertaining. I especially liked Fry's observation that Gutenberg's press probably resembled that of a winepress used for squeezing grapes to make wine (another LMLK tie-in).

It was brought to my attention by Kitty Maryatt, Director of the Scripps College Press, Assistant Professor of Art at Scripps, and proprietor of Two Hands Press in Playa Vista, CA. She's been involved in the book arts since 1971 as a calligrapher, book artist, letterpress printer, binder, & teacher. Students in her Scripps class, "Typography and the Book Arts", have developed, written, printed, & bound 42 different editions. As Two Hands Press, she produces work for clients and makes her own one-of-a-kind books. Her credentials & her eloquence are very impressive (pun intended)!

She gave an excellent 1-hour lecture this weekend at The International Printing Museum, located a mere 15-minute drive from where I live here in southern California. I've been a financial supporter of this tremendous institution for over a decade now, & if you're ever visiting the region, I'd highly recommend you center your agenda around it!

Mark Barbour, the Director & Curator, & his docents always make it an entertaining, hands-on learning experience covering the entire history of printing, from cuneiform clay tablets, to Chinese paper-making, to Gutenberg's press (one of the few places in the world where you can see a working replica of one), to the history of printing in America. In particular, with the help of one docent who dresses up as Benjamin Franklin when school children visit on field trips, they emphasize the Revolution era & the Constitutional Convention (the kids get to play politicians from the 12 colonies [noting Rhode Island's absence]).

You can even get an authentic line-of-type cast from molten metal with your name (or any respectable words):

So how do all these topics, a Gutenberg movie, the American Revolution, & a chunk of metal, relate?

Prof. Maryatt's lecture discussed a project she challenged her students with a couple of years ago. Each year they produce their own original book, & in her lecture, she described one involving the replication of an original Gutenberg leaf kept in the Special Collections department of the Scripps College libraries (which are adjacent to, but distinct from, the Claremont School of Theology where I did a significant chunk of my LMLK research).

Here's the ad & abstract for her lecture, "Emulating Gutenberg with B-42 Type":

"This lecture is sponsored by a generous grant for the Book Club of California. Founded in 1912, The Book Club is a non-profit organization of book lovers and collectors who have a special interest in Pacific Coast history, literature, and fine printing. Its chief aims are to further the interests of book collectors and scholars and to promote an understanding and appreciation of fine books.

Ms. Maryatt will discuss her fascinating experiences hand setting a facsimile page of the Gutenberg Bible using Dale Guild Type Foundry’s B-42 type, a faithful re-cutting of the types of Johann Gutenberg, as seen in his monumental 42-line Bibla Sacra, ca. 1455. Production of this font required that 245 characters were drawn, cut and cast.

The Scripps College Press developed an artists' book version of a leaf book. The resulting letterpress edition was called Beorum II, an investigation of risk.

In her lecture, Ms. Maryatt provides an explanation of scribal practices used in medieval books to enhance an understanding of the abbreviations and ligatures in the font. She will also provide information and elaboration related to the printing press, the handmade paper and vellum used for the edition, the decoration and aspects of medieval bookbinding practices and bookselling.

In addition to the lecture and PowerPoint presentation, attendees will have opportunities to see one of the printed pages and see some pieces of the Gutenberg type.

By the way, to inspire comments for this blog, I'd like to encourage my readers to guess why her students titled their book, "Beorum II"!

So while she & her students were busy producing their book in California, Stephen Fry was busy making his film in Europe. About 800 seconds into the film, I noticed a red flag in his research while he was in the basement of The British Library & stated, "They hold a copy of every book published in English!"

That may just be a little of his British pride peeping through his script, because all librarians know that our beloved LOC (founded on the great Thomas Jefferson's collection) has more books (20 to 30 million) than any other library in the history of the world has ever had, including a copy of my LMLK vol. 1, which is also in Harvard University's research library, but not in the British Library (which only has a paltry 13 million ... about half of LOC's)!

(Note to any librarian of the British Library reading my blog ... publicly admit that the LOC's books outnumber your own, & I'll send you a free copy of Lv1 to help your institution's card catalog evolve!)

During her lecture, Prof. Maryatt mentioned the movie was a documentary in which they were attempting to teach Gutenberg's achievement by building their own version of his press in order to reprint a page of his Latin Bible. They successfully built the press & made some rag-paper, but they lacked the letter-type that Scripps College had invested in (I think she said it cost in excess of $5,000).

I did not bring my high-quality camera along with me, but when I saw the actual type after her lecture, I found it so mesmerizing that I had to go out to my car & retrieve my cellphone, & use its built-in low-quality camera to take a picture of it. Even though the photo turned out fuzzy, I thought it would be nice to include it here since I don't usually include photos in most of my blogs:

I suppose that what fascinated me the most was imagining what it would've been like to see the original type some 550 years ago, the first time it had been arranged in the case like this, awaiting to print the first page of a Holy Bible!

When she showed one of the pages printed & hand-illuminated by her students side-by-side with a Xerox-copy of the original leaf, it was truly amazing! Gutenberg had printed his on slightly moist paper, or in a very humid environment, because the pressing operation caused some of the letters to bleed ink, resulting in a slightly smudgy appearance under high magnification. In fact, in one letter she zoomed in on during her slideshow, you could clearly see the outline of the original type within the puddle of ink since it was a shallower puddle of ink than the adjacent area it bled into. So side-by-side, the letters printed by her students were crystal clear:

It was a remarkable achievement, because not only did they have to identify the numerous versions of letters that Gutenberg originally cast (at least 270 variants identified by one researcher), but they also had to justify the columns & add filler material between the letters to maintain the same spacing!

46 minutes into the film, after outlining Gutenberg's history, his culture, & replicating a wooden press, & manufacturing a piece of paper & a single piece of type (a lowercase "e"), Stephen Fry brings us to the film's climax:

"The great day's arrived! It's been 5 months since Alan [May] first got together his plans & designed his printing press. It's now built, type has been made in Basel, I've cast the type personally, nothing can stop us from printing a page of Gutenberg text! This must be how the great man felt, himself! [begin voice-over] Before we start printing, I have a little confession to make: It took Stan [Nelson] & me the best part of a day to make just one individual letter, 'e'. To produce all the type needed to print a full Bible, probably took Gutenberg's team around a year, & frankly I don't have his time or his patience, so I cheated. This package has come from the States. It's a replica page of type set to the exact measurements of a Gutenberg original, & thankfully, nothing's been damaged in transit. [end voice-over] So this is ... [shakes his head in awestruck disbelief after opening the package sent by Prof. Maryatt of Scripps College] ... so this is perfect, isn't it?! We can print from these?!"

Well, you can watch the film to see for yourself if Fry & his team were successful in printing a Gutenberg leaf the old-fashioned way (not the way my 19 facsimiles were printed using photolithography); however, one thing you won't learn from the film, even from the credits that run during the final minute, is who made the type & loaned it to them! Those words crediting those persons are completely missing! I WAS SHOCKED! Those ungrateful British rats!!! They didn't mention Scripps College, Kitty Maryatt, or her students ... they didn't even mention California!

It's as if, "We were up against a dead end, & all we could print was one stupid letter made in Europe, then lo & behold, out of nowhere, a miracle happened, & this humble package came knocking on our door at just the right time, with all the letters from an original leaf of the Gutenberg Bible meticulously manufactured & arranged like they were 550 years ago ... wow, aren't we a lucky bunch of chaps, yes we are indeed..."

Shame on you Stephen Fry!

Shame on you Wavelength Films Ltd.!

So I'm deliberately going to go through great lengths to give Prof. Maryatt & her students some well-deserved attention & credit where it's due. Using Google, I found hundreds of sites discussing this film, but only a single page mentioning their contribution (the Chesapeake Chapter of The American Printing History Association's December 2007 Member News entry by Stan Nelson, who appeared in the film, credited as a "printing historian (type maker)").

So here's a screen-shot of Fry & 2 others on his team opening the package sent by Kitty Maryatt on behalf of Scripps College in California:

Here's the typecast-page as they remove it from the package sent by Kitty Maryatt on behalf of Scripps College in California:

Here's a close-up of the typecast-page made in America by Kitty Maryatt & her students at Scripps College (a much better quality photo of it than I was able to take at the museum):

Here's Stephen Fry's guilty British fingers holding up the single version of a single European letter that he made:

Here's Stan Nelson's innocent fingers inserting the single version of a single letter that Stephen Fry made into the middle of the entire typecast-page made in God bless America by Kitty Maryatt & her students at Scripps College:

By the way, thanks to BBC Four (notice their watermark near the top-left corner of each of these lo-res screen-shots) for originally airing this film on April 14th, & for allowing me to use these screen-shots (whether they want me to or not) to give credit where credit is due.

For additional unbiased info, please refer to the film's entry in the Internet Movie DataBase.

Song of the week: "Words" by Missing Persons (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 30-second sample; 394kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 176 views
Royal Banquine, 79 views
Checkmate, 36 views

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bugged by a Savage

Over the past couple of years that I've been studying the Evolution/Creation debate, I've seen interesting articles in Photonics Spectra (PS) magazine. I cited one here on my blog back in May, & also in my 2007 book (p. 76). On several occasions, I've torn pages out, & forwarded them to friends including CMI for consideration if/when they develop new Moments. I've been a PS subscriber since I first worked on lasers in 2003. It's a great resource, & anyone interested in the field of optics would do well to subscribe.

The July 2008 issue contains another candidate I'll be sending to CMI. It's on p. 124 in the Peregrinations section by Lynn M. Savage titled "Supercomputing May Require Bugs". Aside from the clever/catchy title, what got my attention & what justifies its mention here in my royal blog is that the "bug" in question is a special little beetle/scarab. Here's the tease:

"The ultimate photonic crystal would manipulate light so efficiently that high-speed computers operating purely on photons could become reality. The perfect photonic crystal should have the same overall structure as that formed by carbon atoms in a diamond, just not as tightly packed together. No such man-made crystal operating at visible wavelengths exists yet... Nature, however, ... has made many structures unmatched by human engineers, & so it has apparently devised a photonic crystal in the form of the scales of th[is] beetle."

The species in question is Lamprocyphus augustus. You can see an excellent photo of one captured by the beautiful Barbara Strnadova at God of Insects (a company that specializes in arthropods; not an actual deity; their Museum is a terrific online resource for Scarabaeoidea-stuff). The article by Savage is just an attention-getter for the real scientific article published back in May, "Discovery of a Diamond-based Photonic Crystal Structure in Beetle Scales" by Jeremy W. Galusha, Lauren R. Richey, John S. Gardner, Jennifer N. Cha, & Michael H. Bartl (Physical Review E 77, 050904 [2008]). Here's its abstract:

"We investigated the photonic crystal structure inside iridescent scales of the weevil Lamprocyphus augustus. By combining a high-resolution structure analysis technique based on sequential focused ion beam milling and scanning electron microscopy imaging with theoretical modeling and photonic band-structure calculations, we discovered a natural three-dimensional photonic structure with a diamond-based crystal lattice operating at visible wavelengths. Moreover, we found that within individual scales, the diamond-based structure is assembled in the form of differently oriented single-crystalline micrometer-sized pixels with only selected lattice planes facing the scales’ top surface. A comparison of results obtained from optical microreflectance measurements with photonic band-structure calculations reveals that it is this sophisticated microassembly of the diamond-based crystal lattice that lends Lamprocyphus augustus its macroscopically near angle-independent green coloration."

Here are 2 other links for further reading (the one by PS is not online yet):

I appreciate the objectivity in the abstract. Compare "lattice operating", "structure is assembled", & "this sophisticated microassembly" to "Nature ... has made" & "[Nature...] has apparently devised". I haven't purchased the original article, but I hope Galusha et al. maintained their objectivity such that the credit for this animal's origin can be attributed to the Biblical God or Nature or any deity of your choice.

This deification/anthropomorphizing of Nature ... this deliberate assigning of deliberate skills to an unintelligent, abstract entity is typical of people who don't understand the Evolution/Creation debate. Take, for example, the Chairman/CEO of PS's publisher (Laurin Publishing), Teddi C. Laurin.

She kicks off this same July 2008 issue with an editorial entitled "The Science of Scheming" (p. 10; note to the editor: you forgot a period at the end of the 1st paragraph). She notes the upcoming anniversary of Darwin's 200th birthday next February, & says, "[I]n what is best described as a masterful public relations campaign, creationists & intelligent design proponents in this country have modified their fight with language designed to bypass court rulings that heretofore have prohibited the teaching of creationism in public schools."

Boy, there's irony for ya. Here's a woman who chairs a major scientific publication using language designed to bypass the scientific method, pointing an editorial finger at people like me (i.e., scientists) who dare to ask for proof of how "Nature ... has made", & question whether "[Nature...] has apparently devised".

Who is Teddi C. Laurin to tell us that an inanimate entity has made or devised anything? Where's the scientific proof of that statement? Where are the documented laboratory experiments that show random pieces of chitin becoming assembled & oriented in a way that's yet-to-be-matched by intelligent humans with access to billions of dollars' worth of opto/electro-mechanical equipment?

She goes on to guess at the "strategy" employed by creationists: "Including the 'strengths & weaknesses' of science in the classroom as a means of undermining the teaching of evolution."

It's amazing how similar this situation is to 14th/15th/16th-century Catholics in fear of Protestants learning how to read the Bible in their own languages & think for themselves. Don't they know God doesn't want any worshippers who don't speak Latin & don't believe in Transubstantiation?!?! Don't Americans know that you can't learn Science if you don't anthropomorphize Nature & believe in Evolution?!?!

Laurin laments that "in Florida classrooms, evolution is being described as a scientific theory at a time when evolution has progressed well beyond theory." According to the scientific method, after Idea comes Hypothesis, then Theory, then Law. There are no in-betweens, so Laurin is essentially touting Evolution as a Law on equal standing with Gravity & Biogenesis (which contradicts the foundation of Evolution by the way ... but I doubt Laurin has ever stopped to ponder this possibility).

Is there any other scientific idea touted as a legitimate theory like Evolution, that is not allowed to have its weaknesses presented alongside its strengths? Ain't objective scientists supposed to be busy falsifying (i.e., trying to disprove) theories, rather than GUARDING them like as if they're a precious little orphan found floating in an ark of bulrushes?

The obvious reason evolutionists don't want their weaknesses mentioned (let alone taught formally in a classroom) is that it's a faith-based religion (Evolutionism or Darwinism; take your pick), & its adherents subconsciously lack confidence in it. At least that's my explanation of this phenomenon so vividly demonstrated by Laurin.

She shows a fundamental misunderstanding of this word, "religion", by asserting, "By including these words of skepticism, education boards could be encouraged to allow discourse on religious objections in the teaching of evolution."

Dear Ms. Laurin, if your beloved Evolution could be proved or demonstrated in a classroom, why would anyone object to it?

In other words, what she's suggesting is that it's better to force-feed students an all-encompassing, all-positive, godless explanation of nature (in this country founded on a firm belief in nature's God, as articulated back in July of 1776), than to allow them to hear about the fact that there is no scientific proof of Macro-evolution (the real issue, since no creationist disputes Micro-evolution, which is simply environmental adaptation via genetic diversity).

Instead of limiting Biology classes to the teaching of things we know & can demonstrate via scientific observation, it's better (per Laurin) to brainchain them into thinking that random activity has produced complex structures like the chitin-based scales on Lamprocyphus augustus (not to mention the full bug itself).

Well, Laurin's opinion is nonsensical, & further damages impressionable young minds that peruse the pages of PS. But for those who think I'm being harsh in accusing her of causing damage & being negligent with regard to the information presented in her publication, don't worry, because she & her organization couldn't care less!

Laurin Publishing, which also includes Francis T. Laurin as President, Thomas F. Laurin as Executive Vice President, & Wendy A. Laurin as Vice President/Group Publisher, includes an interesting disclaimer on their credit-page:

"Laurin Publishing does not assume & hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions in the material contained herein, regardless of whether such errors result from negligence, accident or any other cause whatsoever."

Any other cause? Such as deliberate action? Like telling readers an inanimate entity has made/devised something intricate & complex? Boy, there's a responsible scientific organization for ya. I guess that in other words, since everything evolved randomly, & we're part of everything, then nothing really matters if Laurin's information causes any loss or damage to anyone or anything thank you have a nice day.

Yes, let's keep Religion away from Science, what with all its inconvenient ethics, responsibility, moral conscience, & such. According to Laurin Publishing, the supreme law is Evolution.

Evolutionists, particularly atheists, frequently deny engaging in religious/worship activity/rituals. Laurin concludes her editorial by encouraging scientists with this innocent plea, "It behooves us as an international scientific community to maintain the purity of science in the classroom by acknowledging & supporting the pending Darwin anniversaries & events."

Wasn't a certain type of scientific "purity" a formal policy in Nazi Germany?

"The Science of Scheming" indeed.

Song of the week: "I'm Beginning To See The Light" by Bert Kaempfert (CD not available on Amazon; click here for a 25-second sample; 328kb; I would upload the entire song but I, a scientist & publisher, actually feel a sense of responsibility for my actions, unlike some science-publishers I know).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 176 views
Royal Banquine, 79 views
Checkmate, 36 views

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Double Portion (p. 1)

God is still out there, & so are LMLK handles.

In May, the division of the company I had been working at was purchased by their Canadian competitor. The new American place is named CDU. On Tuesday I had to miss a little work to take my car in for major service due to a mysterious loss of coolant; instead of a puddle in my parking space, my engine emitted a burnt-fluid smell. It turns out that both of my head gaskets were blown (I didn't even know my engine had more than 1 head gasket), & I had to get a rental car for a couple of days.

Regular California license plates for cars contain a number, 3 letters, & 3 numbers. There are probably a dozen or so 3-letter combinations that have easily recognizable meaning for me. Ditto for 3-digit numbers. The only car available on this occasion at the agency next to the car dealership, spelled the 3-letter acronym for the company I'm working at, & the 3-digit number was "483" (the somewhat-official classification number assigned to Rosette seals by Olga Tufnell):

The odds of the letters & numbers randomly combining to form something doubly meaningful to me are rather staggering. I didn't major in math, but I'm guessing the odds are in the neighborhood of a million-to-one. Atheistic evolutionists look at what-they-believe-to-be early forms of life & say, "It just happened." I look at the combination of symbols on this license plate & say, "It's just God!"

Until moving to this new company recently, I haven't had the ability to check my personal E-mail during the day, but today I arrived a little bit late after returning the rental car, & checked my mail since I suspected I'd be in a lab most of the morning.

5 minutes earlier, I had received the following message, which I'll keep anonymous with clues censored for reasons that will be plain (my censorings are in brackets; the ellipses were in the original message):

At the request of the excavation director, I have deleted the 2nd half of this message less than one day after posting it.

So now we wait...

"I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me."--2Kings 2:9 (2+9=11)

Song of the week: "Giza" by HSAS (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 25-second sample; 328kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 176 views
Royal Banquine, 79 views
Checkmate, 35 views

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Plain Pieces of Paper

A copy of "The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land 5: Supplementary Volume" arrived a few days ago, & I'd like to blog about its LMLK content in my next message, but I already know it's going to take me several weeks to skim through it all carefully, so in the meantime, I thought it would make sense to write a little filler-message this week. I've been house-hunting the past few weeks, & that ongoing activity may delay my next message even further.

After learning in January, 2005 that LMLK postage stamps existed, I began monitoring their sales on eBay, & archiving every single auction that included one or more of them. To date, I've stored over 1,900 listings in my database.

I won the very first listing I encountered, which turned out to be one of the most valuable pieces of my collection ... a Tel Aviv FDC with an unusual arrangement of the stamps: the 65m & 20m in the bottom row are shifted to the right to align with the 5m & 3m in the top row. Out of more than 150 FDCs that have appeared on the market in the past 3 1/2 years, that's the only one I've seen with any arrangement other than the usual upside-down-pyramid one. And I won it for significantly less than what an ordinary one typically sells for ($5; I won this one for $3 plus 80-cents of modern postage)! I didn't even know it was rare when I bought it!

Some day I'd like to thoroughly analyze my database, & compile some useful statistics, but earlier this month, someone set a new price-record, so I thought it would be fun to take a break from house-hunting, & document this special sale.

Aside from large panes & sheets, the most valuable configuration is the vertical-gutter tab (VGT). I'm terribly bad at making smart financial investments (one reason I'm reluctant to buy an expensive home), & this phenomenon puzzles me. Each sheet of 300 stamps with 60 tabs contains 4 VGTs. This is the only one I own, a used 3-mil specimen:

A set of 5 ordinary LMLK stamps costs about $5. A set of 5 ordinary tabbed stamps costs about $100. That's a huge difference considering that the tabs themselves originally had no financial value when they were issued. The magic of philately is similar to the magic of compound interest. Each VGT consists of 2 stamps, 2 tabs, & 2 plain-white pieces of paper. But instead of being valued at $210 per set of 5, here are the sale prices in my eBay archive:

  • $1,850.00 - Mar-30-05 (ID# 5568068593)

  • $1,999.99 - Feb-16-05 (ID# 5558636922)

  • $2,750.00 - Jun-09-07 (ID# 160123702139)

  • $2,177.99 - Jun-13-07 (ID# 190120526053)

  • $2,750.00 - Jan-02-08 (ID# 350009715899)

  • $3,150.00 - Jan-02-08 (ID# 350009715841)

  • $3,495.00 - Apr-29-08 (ID# 110246046391)

  • $2,850.00 - May-28-08 (ID# 110255026647)

  • $3,546.00 - Jun-06-08 (ID# 130226952412)

This list is a little misleading if you're not a philatelist:

The $1850 set was used/postmarked.

The $1999 set contained one hinged value (20m).

The $2177 set was hinged!

The 1st $2750 set contained 2 fake specimens (surgically reattached perfs; not mentioned by the seller, & obviously not noticed by the buyer), & the 2nd $2750 set contained one torn value (65m).

So immediately, you can see the market-rarity of these, in that only 4 mint-never-hinged (MNH) sets have been available via eBay in the past 3 1/2 years (about 1 per year; I've seen a few others in mail-order auction catalogs, but don't have time to research their sale values).

But now compare these VGTs to what I believe are far nicer to collect & own: sheet-hearts!

Appropriately similar phonetically to "sweet-hearts", these configurations are sweet because there are only 2 per sheet, & they consist of 12 stamps, plus 2 each of the serial-number, control-slug, & pane-triangle margin elements. Because they have serial numbers, your sweet/sheet-heart truly belongs to you! No 2 heart-number pairs are alike in the entire series of printed sheets! As an added bonus, they contain 4 of those plain-white pieces of paper known as gutters, which means they include 2 vertical-gutter configurations.

The most significant difference, however, is that sheet-hearts have no LMLK message since that's only featured on the tabs running along 2 of the sheet's 4 edges:

Flying Scroll:

Seal Stamped
on the Wine & Oil
Jugs Given as Tax to the King

How does this affect their value? Based on paper-content & quantities made in 1948, they should be at least twice as expensive as VGTs. Let's see (again, in chronological order):

  • $1,301.50 - Feb-16-05 (ID# 5556849217)

  • $875.00 - Mar-15-05 (ID# 5564564278)

  • $1,250.00 - Aug-22-05 (ID# 5606328477)

  • $511.01 - Oct-09-05 (ID# 5621375110)

  • $1,275.00 - Dec-27-07 (ID# 120200850385)

All of these were MNH in quality (i.e., the best possible). So there you have it: More stamps, more uniqueness, more margin elements, more colorful, more plain-white pieces of paper, & fewer available on the market ... but less LMLK descriptions, & hence, less than half as valuable.

You might be thinking that the LMLK message makes VGTs more valuable, but you'd be extremely wrong. Without the plain pieces of paper forming the gutters, VGTs would be simply VTs: vertical tabs. Those sets typically contain an extra pair of stamps, like in this photo (except without the color-band margin strip along the bottom):

Over the past few years, 7 sets have sold for only $130.27 to $350!

So the extra 2-3 grand of value is buried in the gutter ... those plain pieces of sticky, white paper!

Go figure.

Song of the week: "In The Moneylender's Temple" by Ian Anderson (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 28-second sample; 360kb).
G.M. Grena

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 176 views
Royal Banquine, 79 views
Checkmate, 34 views

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Barkay, Zuckerman, & Lundberg (p. 3)

Another tidbit leftover from last week: When we were discussing the concept of handle-matching, I reminded everyone that we don't know how many jars were originally at a site such as Nasbeh since early excavators discarded unmarked handles, & some of the jars had 1, 2, or 3 unstamped ones, & of course, unstamped jars had 4. Dr. Barkay noted that the early diggers not only discarded unmarked handles, but probably also many with weak/faint marks.

Here I would insert parenthetically that there are 2 figures I'm interested in:

1) The total number of jars (marked & unmarked) that can be estimated by the total number of handles
2) The total number of marked jars represented by the known number of marked handles

I can't do anything about #1. That will probably never be discovered scientifically. We can, however, determine #2.


Continuing now from where I sidetracked last week, I parked the computer screen on the Geography page to show Dr. Barkay the northern sites I know about. The last time we met, he had revealed that there were more sites. I asked him if he were any closer to publishing his article that had been listed in Andy Vaughn's bibliography back in 1999 as "forthcoming":

"Judah in Israel: The Northern Distribution of the LMLK Seal Impressions"

Since Drs. Zuckerman & Lundberg were not acquainted with this, Dr. Barkay explained that he had written this article more than 10 years ago, but was still seeking a place to publish it. Dr. Zuckerman quickly said, "May I offer MAARAV?"

MAARAV, established way back in 1978 & published twice yearly, is "A journal for the study of the northwest Semitic languages & literatures", of which Dr. Zuckerman is the Publisher & Senior Editor, & Dr. Lundberg is the Associate Editor. In Hebrew, the word (actually 4 letters, "MARB") means "west". Its content is promoted as being "devoted to the rigorous, prudent treatment of the corpus of Northwest Semitic texts. Its articles have a strong linguistic, philological & literary emphasis, although manuscripts on history, archaeology, religion & culture will be seriously considered, particularly if they have a strong textual interest."

Well, I'd very much like to see it published anywhere because I believe it will force many scholars to treat the books of Chronicles with a little more historicitical respect. (Yes, you heard me right; historicitical. Now class, repeat after me, "his-tor-i-ci-ti-cal". And no, I didn't coin it; there are already THREE other users of it on Google!)

Though I haven't seen Dr. Barkay's article, he did reveal the location of another northern site, & it will force me to expand the area shown in my LMLK map, & once again revise the Y-axis grid-numbers. For now, I'm planning to leave it as is until Dr. Barkay actually publishes his article.

One major point that Dr. Barkay emphasized about this article, is his adamant belief that the Chronicler would not have included the verse (2Chronicles 30:10) about some northern tribes refusing to join King Hezekiah if it were not historical; the writer had no motivation to include that content, & had demonstrated elsewhere the ability to selectively omit interesting details (such as the Uriah/Bathsheba scandal).

At some point, we began discussing the Zayit Stone, & I showed them my analysis of the BASOR 344 photos. Though I don't think it's been mentioned anywhere else, Dr. Barkay told me that he was the first person to recognize the inscription's content as abecedaric (yes, it's a word; 24 uses on Google), & therefore its significant importance. He's credited at the end of B344 simply as one of several "professional staff" working on the excavation (Area T), & along with Connie Tappy for "many valuable contributions to this manuscript."

I discovered another revealing tidbit at our meeting. Part of the problem with Dr. McCarter's statements to me at the San Diego conferences last November regarding the presence of other inscriptions on the stone, was due to the fact that the day after he finished examining the abecedary & left Israel, then Dr. Zuckerman upon performing his photography saw evidence of the other writings. I did not know that. So Dr. McCarter never really had an opportunity to revisit the stone & reexamine them for himself prior to B344's publication.

Dr. Zuckerman showed me some of the photos again from November of 2005, somewhat historic themselves, being the last time the WSRP team shot an artifact using film instead of strictly electronic media. In particular, I looked at the spot where the other pair of zigzag terminators are, which is on the opposite side of the stone, on the outer lip of the bowl. Just to their right, where you'd expect to find some other letters, there are several craters, which could've been caused through natural processes such as weathering or handling during its secondary/tertiary use, or possibly by deliberate vandalism in antiquity.

If you look at Figs. 12 & 13 in B344, which show the top/bowl side of the stone, you can see that it's a very uneven surface dominated by natural contours (large & small). It's very easy to imagine that the stone might've been used as a doorpost, & in such a context, the other inscription (if it even existed) would've been clearly visible to anyone entering or exiting if they wanted to bend down & look at it. This is one of the reasons why Dr. Zuckerman maintains the unpublished position (which he had stated at the 2005 lecture I attended) that the abecedary was probably a practice exercise for the primary inscription(s) on the top/upper side.

I also lamented that nearly 3 years have elapsed since the stone's discovery, & it's still hidden from public view/examination. They reminded me that the Israel Museum is being renovated, but I countered that there were many other museums in Israel & abroad that would gladly host a special exhibit of the stone on loan, but they countered that most museum visitors would not be interested in, or impressed by this hard-to-see scratched inscription compared with easily visible monumental inscriptions. They also mentioned that by keeping it in storage, it's available to the Zayit team for research & 3-D photography (which is still in the planning stages), whereas once it goes on display, the museum would be reluctant to allow researchers to remove it from any specially constructed display.

One other tidbit about the abecedary, when viewing my drawings, I particularly challenged their interpretation of the Pey & Oyin by pointing out how I discerned the similar ticks in the curvy bottom-right sections of the similarly constructed, circular-shaped Vau, Tet, & 2 Oyins (the abecedary's, & the OZR inscription above it). Dr. Zuckerman found this interesting.

After I got home & began sending previews of the days events to people, it dawned on me that I had been there with 3/4th's of the original BASOR 334 Ketef-Hinnom-Scrolls publication team (only Andy Vaughn was absent)! That was very cool!

We briefly chatted about these famous inscriptions, though mostly after Dr. Barkay had left for his other meetings. They are very happy/satisfied that no one has presented a serious challenge to the dating of the silver scrolls since BASOR 334 was published in 2004. I learned that Dr. Lundberg worked mainly on KH1 (the larger piece), & Dr. Zuckerman worked mainly on KH2 (the smaller one). And on the way to the meeting, Dr. Barkay had told Dr. Zuckerman that he believes he has additional/alternate readings of the hard-to-read section in the middle of KH1, & they may publish another article about it in the future.

I lamented that there was no photo-CD included with the Zayit article like there was with the KH article, & they told me they had more funding (a special grant) to produce it for the KH one.

Probably the most surprising comment I heard on this candid occasion from Dr. Zuckerman, was that archeologists generally don't like to find inscriptions. I've often heard archeologists lament that they can't positively identify a site without an obvious inscription stating the name of the site, & I assumed that the finding of an inscription would be a hopeful goal. I also thought about the highly publicized expectation of finding a cuneiform library at Hazor. But his reasoning (based on experience) is that when inscriptions are found, it messes up the archeologist's plans for the excavation, necessitating alternate procedures, schedule changes, budget adjustments, & worst of all, having to rely on outside help for special photography & interpretation of the inscription.

I spent about half an hour chatting with Drs. Zuckerman & Lundberg after Dr. Barkay left, including their famous work with the Wadi el-Hol inscriptions, then spent about an hour learning more about PTM processes from Dr. Lundberg (which I still haven't had time to experiment with). Towards the end of our visit, I mentioned to Dr. Zuckerman the inverted Alefs on the Yavneh-Yam ostracon, as drawn by the original publisher of the inscription, Joseph Naveh (which I quickly learned is pronounced "naw-VAY", not "NAY-vuh"; Israel Exploration Journal vol. 10, 1960; pp. 129-39).

When Kris Udd made his replicas of it, he followed this drawing, which was also published in P. Kyle McCarter, Jr.'s book, "Ancient Inscriptions". Dr. Zuckerman found it hard to believe, but grabbed a copy of this book from his shelf, & sure enough, there it was (looking like ">" instead of "<"). Dr. William Schniedewind (Professor of Biblical Studies & Northwest Semitic Languages at UCLA) first noticed these inverted Alefs when I showed him one of Kris Udd's replicas, & he too had not noticed them previously.

They showed me some hi-res color photos of the actual artifact, & each of the areas where the Alef was backwards, turned out to be a fuzzy, illegible region. So it's interesting that when given the option of drawing it normally, or omitting it, Naveh drew it backwards, almost like some sort of secret mnemonic or cue for indicating uncertainty.

We also spent some time discussing collaborative efforts involving WSRP, my LMLK research, Inscriptifact, & other institutions. I'm not going to get into details here, since I just began using Inscriptifact today, & still need to spend more time learning PTM, but there is plenty to do, & the future is bright!


Well, it was an incredible day! Dr. Zuckerman had the most poignant remark of the day as I was leaving around 3:50 in the afternoon, "It really says something when it takes a visit from someone living on the other side of the world to bring together people who only live a few miles apart!"

Song of the week: "Between Two Worlds" by Patrick O'Hearn (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 26-second sample; 310kb).
G.M. Grena

P.S. I recently noticed that Wordpress keeps track of my 3 most visited entries, & I'll begin attaching them to the bottom of each message for the record.

Chephirah–The Biblical Village Roars Again, 175 views
Royal Banquine, 79 views
Checkmate, 32 views