It’s the Little Things

On being thankful for little things. . .

I am thankful. . . that I spent $0.00 for a book that starts with a sentence that is first person, present tense, and moves on to a second sentence that is present tense, passive voice. Why am I thankful I spent $0.00? Because I can send it to the bit recycler with no remorse whatsoever, and because I feel no desire, need, or obligation to subject myself to the lousy writing.

Moving on. MUCH better things to spend “eye time” on.

Thanksgiving

I have, for about as long as I’ve been blogging and, even before in other contexts, written Thanksgiving posts/articles/letters about the many reasons most folks in our society have for being thankful and more than a few specific reasons I have for being thankful. . . and to Whom.

This year? Notsomuch. I’ll limit myself to two comments about gratitude/thankfulness: with very few exceptions, folks in our society who cannot find many reasons to be grateful [to others, to society in general, and, more importantly, to God] for their blessings are just itchin’ for a fight. Ingrates.

The next: anyone who wakes up in the morning and is NOT in Hell (the actual afterlife place of eternal torture) should be grateful for God’s grace, because, on our own merit, we all deserve that. Period. If one is not headed to Hell as one’s ultimate destination, it is only because one has elected to accept God’s gracious gift of salvation. If one has NOT elected to accept God’s grace and is not yet in Hell, again, it is by His grace they are not.

Be thankful for that.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving”

Thankful, much?

I usually do a sort of semi-mini-micro-nano “deeper” than usual post for Thanksgiving. After all, our wedding was the day after, back in the day (specifically planned that way to make travel for family easier to effect), 14 years ago, around this time, my Wonder Woman was just a month and a scooch back from the dead (no, really; but not “Zombie Wonder Woman”–no), etc.

But today, I’d like to point out a little thing I am grateful for.

When I was a kid, starting sometime in grade school, everywhere we were for Thanksgiving, the B&W TVs were tuned to the Thanksgiving parades and, when food wasn’t being consumed or music being made, likely a football game or two (except my maternal grandmother’s house; she forbade the thing during such family gatherings; kids? Outside to play. Grownups? I have no idea. I was a kid. Outside. Playing.)

So, lotsa watching parades as a kid (except at Grandmother’s House!). For me, that meant, “blah-blah-blah-blah-blah–HORSES. blah-blah-blah-blah-blah–HORSES. blah-blah-blah-blah-blah–HORSES.” When I got into high school, parades meant something different: “Play-play-play-play-play–HORSESHIT! Play-play-play-play-play–HORSESHIT!”

I am thankful today that we’re going by Grandmother’s House Rules. NO PARADES.

Lil Things to Be Thankful For

So, my fav “Big Box Computer” went belly up about six weeks ago. Mobo issues. Yes, motherboard. Trust me, I am (have been, was; whatev’) a professional; I know these things. *heh*

So, the question was, “Buy identical mobo or a minor-to-moderate upgrade?”

You know what I chose. But why not go all out and upgrade to a mobo/cpu/memory combo like Son&Heir’s (really fast) i7 quad core, 16GB Barn Burner Christmas Build of a year ago? Well, for one thing, I don’t really need that kind of power. A little boost? Nice. Supercomputer? Notsomuch. *heh*

So, after waffling and wavering and deferring (heck, procrastinating) for more than a month, I finally ordered a nicely-featured mobo and a dual core AMD Athlon II that is significantly faster than the Athlon dual core I’ve retired (a lil epoxy, some gold-washed chain and it’ll make a nice keychain fob). Not a big boost in capability, but Good Enough for my uses–web browsing, image manipulation, editing/watching videos, writing, editing, playing music, etc.

So, I broke one of my own rules (don’t do computer work when my eyes are propped open by toothpicks) and popped the mobo/cpu, etc., together last night, booted the thing and…

Win7 found all the hardware and loaded “Good Enough” drivers. I loaded the driver disk from the mobo manufacturer (MSI this time; I like Asus a lot, but just decided to go with this) and had better drivers in no time flat.

Played around a bit, then finally (after the “a bit” turned into a couple of hours and it was past 3:00) shut it down and sawed some “Z’s”.

Booted this a.m. and Win7 told me that I needed to validate my Windows install, since I’d changed hardware. Clicked the lil button. Validated. Bob’s your uncle.

Soooo much nicer than the crap so many folks had to put up with when they changed hardware on an XP machine. I know. I talked to M$ tons of times for these folks whose Windows installs stopped working on them (cos they just couldn’t get through all the hoops, it seems, or were intimidated by the process).

So, thankful this was such an easy micro-mini-upgrade/fix. I needed one of those right now.


Update: Well, “easy fix” until… no boot last night. No, seriously: nothing, nada, zilch, a big zero with the rim kicked off. Not even fans stirring. Hmmm… Lots of stuff later (just followed a typical diagnostic tree), a screwdriver jumping the power switch pins on the mobo started the power supply. Attached hard drive, etc., and booted to Windows. Powered down and added another hard drive. It balked, giving a memory error. Swapped memory out. Booted just fine.

So, two problems: poor mobo/power switch connection and a bad memory module. Been fine since, as I have added peripherals in one at a time. Almost completely “rebuilt” now and working PDG.

It’s always (well, usually) the little things. One of Pournelle’s laws is that 80% of computer problems are bad connections, but that was formulated before Windows, I think. *heh*

Oh, and THAT reminds me of a problem recently with the sound on someone else’s computer. It took fixing

  1. A corrupted Windows Update process (so I could block updates to drivers)
  2. .NET Framework (on a Vista computer, no less *sigh*) and
  3. COMPLETELY uninstalling the “right” sound drivers–both the one Windows found (it was a Windows Update that “updated” a working driver into oblivion) and the one the computer manufacturer INSISTED would fix the issue, and yes that meant digging Registry references out and nuking them manually, AND
  4. MANUALLY editing the Registry in a way, urm, not recommended by Microsoft to effect some permission changes Vista did NOT want to allow

to get sound working on the computer.

Yes, it really took all four of those things. Really. Oh, and fixing the .NET Framework components? Nothing more than discovering that EVERYTHING on the computer had been set to be denied permissions invoking .NET. *sigh* Then? Reset ALL those permissions.

Thankful that wasn’t one of my computers… 🙂

I Just Loves Me Some Free Stuffs

(Yeh, well, you’ll have to just take the fractured English, cos I say so. So there. *heh*)

A couple of months ago, a very generous Lovely Daughter and Husband gave this to me:

OK, so it’s an eight-year-old semi-mini-system they had already scheduled to be donated somewhere. I’m not belittling their generosity, though. Quite the contrary. It’s still more than enough sound for the 18.5’X12′ room I put it in, and produces a little better sound than the 17-year-old Pioneer tuner and KLH speakers I had been using there. And it even plays DVDs very nicely. No remote (at the time), but there was a solution for that. A couple of weeks ago, Lovely Daughter even brought up the remote they’d found.

Bonus: while I’ve been getting some work done here, I’ve been playing this:

Also free, sent to me for listening/commenting on an Internet “radio” site six or seven years ago. The set I have isn’t exactly like the one linked. It has just disk one and disk two (both in the Samsung CD/DVD changer now) but also includes a booklet with the text of Bush’s September 20, 2001 address to Congress. While that’s nice to have on hand I would probably prefer to have disk 3, and will have to locate and purchase that. Amazon, I suppose.

See the list of pieces performed for the recordings below the break. Some aren’t actually American in origin (the “Colonel Bogey March” stands out there) but have been adopted into the American experience so thoroughly as to be “American” for the typically expansive values that characterize the melting pot America*. 🙂

Enjoying (and enjoying this break as well :-)) the music and the sound system. Thanks, generous folks, all!

Continue reading “I Just Loves Me Some Free Stuffs”

Thankful, Much? To Whom? Why?

The story of the following hymn speaks for itself. Draw your own comparisons to your own life and responses to your own struggles.

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

Here’s what one account of the circumstances surrounding this hymn’s authorship says:

“Martin Rinkart was a pastor in the little city of Eisenberg [sic] in
Saxony during the Thirty Years’ War. This walled city was the goal of refugees
during that time. They came and ate all the food, and then there was starvation.
With the starvation came pestilence, until practically the whole population of
the city died. Martin Rinkart, the only pastor left in the city, had as many as
fifty funerals in one day. One evening after having conducted funerals all day,
he sank down exhausted, thinking that he could bear it no longer…”

Actually, Eilenberg was the town’s name, and it was sacked three times during Rinkart’s pastorate. One of those many funerals Rinkart held was for his own wife.

And yet, he wrote the words of this hymn as a response to the trials of the Thirty Years’ War in 1644, toward the end of active conflict.

Consider that as today’s turkey and dressing and the sauces and pies and trimmings wend their way slowly through your system, likely adding another five pounds’ weight by the end of the holidays…

Got troubles?

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.


Now, having read that, consider to whom (or, to Whom) you are grateful. Folks’ perspectives vary, but let me lend you mine for a bit here. Hang on through the end or miss the ride.

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.

3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him…. Hebrews 11:1-6

It does make a difference Who you are grateful to, and why.

7By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; 10for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. 20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.

23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. 24By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. 29By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35Women received their dead raised to life again.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

12:1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

So, when you think yourself thankful, grateful for your many blessings, consider the “great cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us. Consider what they endured, and what rewards, what honors they earned. And consider how many of those blessings you enjoy today you owe to progenitors stretching back to the dawn of time who saw their duty and gave their allegiance to a Purpose, a “Providence” as our nation’s founders were often to say, greater than themselves.

You and I have not yet begun to be truly grateful.


N.B. This was a redaction and conflation of two Thanksgiving posts from years past.

I Missed This, Thanksgiving 1978

Let’s see… why was it I missed seeing this when it aired in 1978? Oh, yeh. I was sick as a dog. My family was filling my lil house (everyone was there–three sisters, a brother and Mom n Dad), and… I got married that day. Didn’t have a Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day that year (but my aunt and uncle who also lived in KCMO hosted the rehearsal dinner at my grad school’s “President’s Mansion”–cos that was his everyday job, and for the wedding, well, his “$150 prayer” blessing our union during the service was just the ticket *heh* BTW, “$150 prayer” meant “short n sweet” :-)).

Bugs Bunny’s Thanksgiving Diet

Well, now I’ve seen the thing. 😉

But, to my Wonder Woman: I’m glad I had other things to do on Thanksgiving in 1978. I’ve been feasting off that day for 31 years, now.

You Think You’re Grateful?

Along about this time of year, I usually cite the story of Martin Rinkart, the town of Eilenburg, Saxony and the Thirty Years’ War, using Rinkart’s hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God” as the punch line.

It’s still a good story and a good illustration of how shallow our own gratitude for our many blessings is, but I’ll just let you read the linked post and then refer you to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, in the New Testament:

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.

3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him…. Hebrews 11:1-6

It does make a difference Who you are grateful to, and why.

Continue reading “You Think You’re Grateful?”

Give Thanks

Yesterday was my first Thanksgiving post of the week. Just in case that slipped by you, I have a multitude of reasons to be thankful on November 24 every year, all tied up in the simple law of nature that states,

The uglier the man, the better the woman he ends up with.

Also stated as, “Beautiful women (also known as “gracious, kind, generous, thoughtful, etc., women”) are blind to ugly in their men.”

*heh*

So, yesterday was my first Thanksgiving post. Today I want to ask, Who are you thankful to? We all have blessings out our kiesters to be thankful for. Our society is overflowing with an abundance of good things, good circumstances, and even–despite their almost complete absence from the Mass Media Podpeople Hivemind, Congress, etc.–a large number of “good” people. (Yeh, ask me about the scare quotes on that one.)

So, I ask you, to whom are you grateful for the many blessings in your life?

The humanist is grateful to himself. The new age mystic or wannabe is grateful to “the universe” or some other such concept. And so on. Some folks are grateful to god. Oh, you noticed the uncial “g”? That’s because some folks (including some who call themselves Christians and go to churches that call themselves Christian) are grateful to a god who is indistinguishable from themselves or from the nebulous concepts of some universal force of various different new (old) age pagans or the gods of Druidic or Norse or Greco-Roman religion for that matter.

So I ask again, to whom are you grateful for the blessings in your life? If you are not certain whence your blessings come, you have no real reason to give thanks, nor do you have anyone to express those meaningless thanks to, now do you?

I’ll expand at length later this week on the topic simply exposited below, but for now, let me offer Don Moen’s simple exhortation:

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One,
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.

And now let the weak say, ‘I am strong’
Let the poor say, ‘I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us’
Give thanks


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