Ted’s Remarks About Stuff
July thru September, 2018

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Aug. 14, 2018

2 men, 3 women at a remote Muslim compound in New MexicoOver a week ago, a Muslim compound was discovered in a remote location in Taos County, New Mexico, near the Colorado state line.  Two men and three women were arrested for child abuse of 11 children living in filthy conditions with almost no food.  Several weapons also were found.

Yesterday, a state judge set a low bail of only $20,000 for all 5 defendants.  The judge said that they all must wear ankle monitors and speak with their attorneys once a week.  However, she felt that there was not ample evidence that any of them were a threat to the community, even though authorities said that some of the children were being trained to conduct school shootings.

Governor Susana Martinez has said that she “strongly disagreed” with the judge’s decision.  Others feel that releasing the defendants from custody potentially could put other people in danger and increase the possibility that the suspects could flee.

New Mexico compound judge has history
of issuing low bail to violent offenders

Aug. 12, 2018

The Perseids over Sinemorets, BulgariaTonight and tomorrow night will be the optimal times to watch the meteor shower known as the Perseids.  This is an annual event that I look forward to each summer.  At least a few meteors should be viewable during night-time hours until about Aug. 24.

The best viewing probably will be during the pre-dawn hours.  There was a new moon last night, so the sky should be very dark tonight as well.  Viewing conditions should be very good in locations with clear skies.

Don't Miss the Perseids (from 2014)

8-second slideshow

Tonight I’m in Marin County, CA, north of San Francisco.  It has been very hazy around here this afternoon.  This is due to all the wildfires in northern CA, and the wind has been blowing some of the smoke into this area today.  I kind of doubt that we’ll be able to see many (or any) meteors tonight, but maybe so.

Update:  I went outside at about 11:30 p.m. after my friend went to bed.  He thought the sky would be too hazy to see any meteors.

Yet, at that time, I was able to see many stars and even the Milky Way.  After I couple of minutes, I saw a big bright meteor streaming toward me in the northwestern sky, lasting for about 3 seconds.

During the next 10 minutes or so, I saw a few small streaks in various places, each lasting a fraction of a second.  Then there was another very bright meteor way up high, lasting about 4 seconds.  It was quite spectacular.

I saw a couple more small ones over the next few minutes and then went to bed.  Those two big ones were worth the wait.

I got up at about 3:30 a.m. and went to look again.  However, the sky was hazier than it was hours earlier.  After a few minutes I hadn’t seen even a small streak, so I went back to bed.  I’ll probably look again the next few nights if the air isn’t too hazy or smoky.

Aug. 11, 2018

This is the first full day of the season of Teshuvah, which began yesterday at sunset.  It is a 40-day season each year, with the first 30 days (the “days of repentance”) extending to Rosh haShanah = Feast of Trumpets and the final 10 days (the “days of awe”) ending on Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement.

Most likely, this was the period of time when Jesus was in the desert and was being tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11).  Yet, He resisted all of Satan’s temptations, which was an example to all who believe in Him and follow Him.

During this time, people are to examine their lives, repent of their sins and transgressions, turn back to God in revival and with refreshing and be restored back to an active relationship with God and with other people, with whom relationships may have been damaged.  A common chapter in the Bible to read during this time is Psalm 51:1-19.

We all have times of personal rebellion against God.  This is a time to ask Him to show us favor, according to His faithful love and vast compassion, to wipe out our rebellions.  In Hebrew (translated into English), the following is read each day (from right to left):

Plea to God during the season of Teshuvah

Aug. 10, 2018

Smoke from wildfires in California is now covering about 75% of the state.  Furthermore, wildfire smoke from California and other western states has made its way all the way to the East Coast and beyond.  Wow.

Smoke from California wildfires reaches East
Coast as firefighters continue to battle flames

Aug. 9, 2018

Over the past couple of days, Hamas has fired about 180 rockets into Israel.  At least 30 of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.  Other rockets landed in open spaces.

Some rockets landed near a playground, from which terrified children and their parents hurriedly fled.  The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded to the rocket fire with at least 140 airstrikes, killing at least 3 people in Gaza.

Today, a Palestinian rocket landed in Beersheba, Israel, for the first time since 2014.  The last war between Israel and Gaza was in 2014.  Many are worried that these most recent attacks, from both sides, could escalate into another war.

Israel orders 'strong action' against
Hamas as rocket fire from Gaza persists

Aug. 7, 2018

Wow!  The high temperature in Death Valley today is 120° with 5% humidity, and tomorrow it is 121° with 8% humidity.  Since I really like high heat with low humidity, I am tempted to drive over there this afternoon, spend the night and hang out there tomorrow.  I’d be sure to take along some very spicy/hot Thai red curry so I could sit out in the sun and eat it.

Unfortunately, I am too busy this week and don’t have the time.  But I can dream.  I know I’m weird, but I can’t help it. 

Death Valley 10-day weather forecast Aug. 7-16, 2018

Aug. 5, 2018

7.0 earthquake near Bali, IndonesiaI check earthquakes everyday at the USGS site.  Today I noticed that there was a huge earthquake in Indonesia.  The USGS indicated that it was a 6.9 magnitude quake near Loloan, Indonesia.  Some other places that I checked said that it was a 7.0 quake.

Either way, the quake was huge.  So far, at least 130 people are dead, and numerous aftershocks have occurred.  There was a tsunami alert, but fortunately that was canceled.

Exactly a week ago, there was a 6.4 quake near Lelongken, Indonesia.  Over a dozen people were killed, and there was a great deal of damage.  Evidently, that quake was a foreshock of today’s larger temblor.

My friend Barry and another friend (who is originally from Indonesia) are flying there next week for a lengthy scuba diving trip.  I am flying up to Barry’s in No. CA in a few days.  He purchased my flights so that I could take care of his dog, Lulu, while he is gone.

When I saw the earthquake information this morning, I sent him the following email:

You may have heard that there was a 6.9 to 7.0 earthquake today on Lombok Island, Indonesia.  At least 3 are dead.  This is exactly a week after a 6.4 quake nearby killed more than a dozen people and did a huge amount of damage.

In case wherever you're going is near those locations, you probably will feel a boatload of aftershocks while you're there.  Maybe you'll get really lucky and there will be an 8.0 quake and a big tsunami while you're scuba diving...fun!


I don’t suppose that he will cancel his trip.  But even if he does, my flights are scheduled and paid for.  So, barring unforeseen circumstances, my trip to No. CA is still on.  I just hope that no wildfires come close to where he lives.  He says it is hazy there but, so far, not smokey.

Aug. 1, 2018

In ancient Israel, King David ordered Joab, commander-in-chief of the army, to take a census within Israel.  Later, David acknowledged that doing this was a foolish sin, and Israel paid a heavy price for David’s action.

The Bible contains two accounts of this: 1 Chronicles 21 and 2 Samuel 24.  The first account says that it was Satan who incited David to take the census.  However, the secound account indicates that it was God who incited David to do this.

At first glance, there seems to be a contradiction here, but there really is not.  Simply speaking, God uses Satan as a tool to carry out many of His plans within His vast agenda.

Below is a link to my brief explanation of this apparent paradox.  Near the bottom of that page are links to other pages with more explanations:

Who caused David to order the illicit census of Israel, Satan or God?

July 29, 2018

Map of major fires in CaliforniaThe 5-year drought in California has been severe.  Similar to last summer, it has led to weeks of raging wildfires throughout the state.  The death toll and the amount of destruction continue to rise.

About 12,000 brave firefighters are battling at least 17 fires in record-breaking high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.  The National Guard has been engaged, and evacuations are increasing.

Heavy rains and snow a couple of years ago actually worsened the fire threat.  Increased growth of trees and brush have provided more combustible material, which now is burning.

One of my favorite places, Yosemite National Park, remains closed due to the nearby Furguson fire, which broke out on July 13.  Hopefully, the park will be reopened by the end of this week.

Fatal California Wildfires
Spread, Wreaking Destruction

July 27, 2018

Lunar eclipseThe longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century is taking place tonight and early in the morning.  The totality portion will be visible in much of Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and the Indian Ocean region.

Portions of the eclipse will be visible from eastern South America as it is ending and from Australia as it is beginning.  None of the eclipse will be visible in North America except in a small area in the easternmost bit of Canada.

The total or “blood moon” portion of the eclipse will last 1 hour 43 minutes.  From start to finish, the entire penumbral phase will last 3 hours 55 minutes.

July 27–28, 2018 — Total Lunar Eclipse

Longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st Century

July 23, 2018

Iranian President Hassan RouhaniThe economy and currency of Iran have tanked since President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal with Iran on May 8.  Also, the U.S. has renewed sanctions against Iran.

Yesterday, Hassan Rouhani, who has been the President of Iran since 2013, sent a warning to President Trump.  He indicated that Iran might shut down international oil shipments in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.  He also said, “Americans should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace.  Likewise a war would be the mother of all wars.”

Late last night, responding to the latter statement, President Trump sent out a very fiery tweet, consisting mostly of capital.  The media has gone nuts over this tweet today.

President Trump's tweet to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

White House blames Iran
for war of words with Trump

I hope that this does not escalate, anytime soon, to something bigger.  Time will tell.

July 22, 2018

15-second slideshow

Today is the observance of Tisha B’Av, which is regarded as the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.  Actually, yesterday was the ninth of Av, when Tisha B’Av typically is observed.  However, in years when the ninth of Av takes place on the Sabbath (Shabbat), the observance is on the tenth of Av, which began at sunset yesterday evening.

Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning to commemorate many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout the millennia of history.  Primarily, it commemorates the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians, in 586 B.C.E., and second Temple by the Romans, in 70 C.E.

Following both of these events, there was a Jewish exile from the region of Judea.  Also, on Tisha B’Av is remembered the expulsion of the Jewish people from England in 1290, from France in 1306 and from Spain in 1492.

This is a full day of fasting and mourning.  A 25-hour fast is common, as well as a reading of the book of Lamentations, which mourns the destruction of Jerusalem.

July 21, 2018

Coleman family, most of whom were drowned in a boat accidentIn a terrible boat accident two days ago near Branson, MO, 17 people were killed.  Due to an unexpected strong storm, the boat capsized and sunk to the bottom of the lake, where it still remains.

Of the 17 who are deceased, 9 of them were from the same family.  Tia Coleman, a family member who nearly drowned but survived by the grace of God, lost her husband and all 3 kids, along with 5 other family members.

Her testimony in the video below, which I first saw on TV, is one of the saddest and most shocking accounts I’ve ever heard in my life.  Her description is very articulate and eloquent, even though it follows the most devastating loss in her life.  I don’t know how she was able to answer all of those questions in her present state of mind.

Tia is very strong and has my full admiration and sympathy.  Please join me in sincere prayer for this wonderful lady, who suddenly is without her immediate family.  She is a supreme example of how true faith in God can get us through the worst trials in life.  Donations can be given on her Go Fund Me page.

July 18, 2018

Proposed California split measure removed from November ballotThe “Cal 3” initiative, a plan to split California into three separate states, received enough votes as of June 13 to place it on the November ballot.  The measure proposed dividing the state into California, Northern California and Southern California.

Today, however, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously to remove the measure from the ballot, amid questions about the measure’s validity.  A challenge against the initiative was filed last week by the Planning and Conservation League, an environmental group.

The group contended in its challenge that the measure amounted to a proposed revision of the California Constitution.  They claimed that the measure could be placed on the ballot only if two-thirds of both houses of the state legislature approved it.

California Supreme Court blocks proposal
to split state in 3 from November ballot

I know that even if “Cal 3” were approved by voters on Nov. 6, it would face an uphill battle in the state legislature and in the U.S. Congress.  Still, I am disappointed.  I would have liked a strong message to be sent to the CA government that a great many Califonians are sick of its extremely liberal policies.

July 17, 2018

President Trump said today that he looked at the transcript and listened to a clip of what he had said yesterday at a press conference in Helsinki, Finland.  He indicated that he had misspoken on the issue of whether or not Russia meddled in the U.S. 2016 election.

Trump said that he had meant to say, “I don't see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,” instead of, “I don’t see any reason why it would be Russia.”  He also said that he has “full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies.”

Trump says he misspoke on Russian meddling
during press conference, accepts US intel findings

July 16, 2018

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump at the Helsinki Summit, July 16, 2018U.S. President Trump and Russian President Putin met today for a summit in Helsinki, Finland.  Their meeting came just days after indictments were delivered against 12 Russian nationals for their alleged role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

However, Trump asserted that he did not collude with Russia in the election and recounted his victory over Hillary Clinton.  He called the special counsel investigation “ridiculous” and a source of tension between the two countries.

Trump said that Putin “was extremely strong and powerful in his denial” of Russian election meddling.  There are many Democrats and Republicans who disagree, though.

Trump says he doesn't 'see any reason' why Russia
would have hacked the US election when asked
whether he believes Putin or the US intel community

There is no way to know, for certain, if Trump actually believes that Russia and Putin are innocent of U.S. election meddling.  Perhaps he feels that U.S./Russia diplomatic relations will improve if he sticks up for Putin.  Who knows.

July 15, 2018

Last night was the second night in a row of flare-ups between a Hamas terrorist group and Israel.  Early this morning, two rockets fired from Gaza were downed by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missle defense system.  Earlier in the night, two mortar shells were fired from Gaza into Israel.

Very early yesterday morning, 174 rockets and mortar shells were launched by terrorist groups from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.  While over 100 of them landed in open fields and 30 were intercepted by the Iron Dome, several landed within communities within southern Israel.  Some Israelis were wounded.

The IDF responded by bombing dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip.  It was the largest bombing campaign against Hamas since the 2014 Gaza war.  Examples of that can be seen in my July 8 and July 17, 2014, entries.

Iron Dome downs two rockets fired
from Gaza in second night of unrest

July 13, 2018

13-second slideshow

This is Friday the 13th.  Although I am not superstitious, I have to admit that it was one of the weirdest days I’ve spent in a long time.  It would have been better if I could have seen a black cat—one of my favorite animals—but I didn’t. 

Three aquaintances who virtually never call me decided to call at various times today.  Of course, all of the calls occurred while I was in the middle of doing some very important projects that needed to be finished.

Interestingly, none of the callers had anything important to talk about.  They all just wanted to have lengthy social chats about topics such as the weather, silly things their pets were doing (none of them black cats) and other things on which my mind had difficulty focusing today.

One call was terminated in the middle of a sentence; however, she called back about 25 minutes later saying that her phone battery had died.  Then, although she is a very nice and interesting person, I did not have the time to continue the discussion.  Fortunately, she was perceptive enough to understand this, and our conversation did not last too much longer. 

At the post office this afternoon, there were no clerks available to help customers.  I glanced at my watch as soon as I got in line.  I really needed to have something weighed, but I decided to wait no more than 10 minutes.  The two people ahead of me and several behind me were having immaterial discussions, and it was difficult for my mind to concentrate on the other things I needed to do before the day was over.

I kept glancing at my watch and actually was looking forward to the 10-minute time limit to come so that I could get out of there.  However, after more than 9½ minutes, one postal clerk showed up.  Then I had to wait almost 5 more minutes to get my item weighed.  I felt like lying on the floor to take a nap; I’ve never before had to wait that long in a post office.

There actually were a number of other weird and annoying things that happened today that I will not take the time to list here.  Suffice it to say that I experienced a “bad luck” Friday the 13th.  I’m glad there aren’t any more of those for the remainder of 2018.  In fact, the next ones aren’t until Sep. 13 and Dec. 13, 2019.  Yippee!! 

July 10, 2018

Boys and coach rescued 2.5 miles from entrance to caveOn July 5, I recommended prayer for the safety and eventual rescue of the twelve boys and their coach from the cave in northern Thailand.  They had been stranded in the cave since June 23.

Over the weekend, a productive rescue effort ensued.  As of today, all of them have been removed alive, and all are expected to recover successfully.

ALIVE: All 12 boys and their coach are safely out of the
Thai caves after a 17-day ordeal that gripped the world

I see this as a miraculous undertaking directed by the merciful God.  I feel that He responded to earnest prayers from people around the world, and I am very excited and relieved.

I hope that this experience will have a positive effect on the boys’ lives, showing them that there always is hope in the most ill-fated situations.  I also hope that this will strengthen their relationships with Jesus, their Lord and Savior.

July 9, 2018

President Trump has announced his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who resigned on on June 27.  Trump’s nominee is Brett Kavanaugh, 53, who is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

This video shows an 8-minute introduction of Brett Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, by Donald Trump.  Then Judge Kavanaugh speaks for another 8 minutes.

July 7, 2018

At Olive Tree Ministries today, Jan Markell’s guest was Trevor Loudon.  Although he is from New Zealand, he is very pro-America.

One topic of their discussion was about the Communist infiltration into the U.S. government and national security.  Loudon’s documentary, The Enemies Within, talks about the “Trojan horses” infiltrating the infrastructure of the Anerican government.  Here are three trailers for the documentary:

Trailer #1  |  Trailer #2  |  Trailer #3

Loudon says that “the U.S. Constitution is the guiding light for anyone who loves liberty.  And if the U.S. Constitution is allowed to die, the light of liberty will go out across the planet—not just in America but in every free country in the world.”

He points out how various radical factions are infiltrating the U.S. and its government.  “They actually have bad actors who have penetrated our system, basically making decisions the way Iran, North Korea, China and Russia would like us to make decisions.”

The audio program, lasting 57 minutes, can be heard here:

The Enemies within: Audio

July 5, 2018

In northern Thailand, a dozen boys on a youth soccer team, ages 11-16, continue to be stranded in a very deep cave with many tunnels.  Their assistant coach, 25, is there as well.  They have been there since June 23.

Heavy rains and flooding trapped them and have complicated the efforts to rescue them.  Water is being pumped out, but the downpours continue.

Anupong Paojinda, the Thai interior minister, has said that the boys might have to learn to dive in order to escape the tunnels.  However, this could be very dangerous, since many of the boys do not know how to swim, much less use diving equipment.

Food and other essential supplies have been delivered to them.  All of them are alive, and most are in stable condition.  Overnight, though, a former Thai Navy Seal, Saman Gunan, tragically died due to lack of oxygen during a rescue attempt.

Thailand cave rescue: Former Thai
Navy SEAL dies from lack of oxygen

I am very concerned about this group of kids and their coach.  I cannot imagine their levels of anxiety, as well as the stress that their families and friends are undergoing.  Please join me in daily prayer for their safety and, hopefully, their eventual rescue.

July 4, 2018

America’s 242nd Birthday

15-second slideshow

Bill of Rights    Lord’s Prayer

Tonight, I went with several friends to a park to watch a fireworks display.  It was really awesome.






90-second slideshow

July 3, 2018

Pillsbury DoughboyPlease join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community.  The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma, complications from repeated pokes in the belly.  He was 71. Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin.

Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch.  The gravesite was piled high with flours.

Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded.  Born and bread in Minnesota, Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers.  He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes.

Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.  Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough, plus they had one in the oven.  He also is survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.

The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.

If you smiled while reading this, please rise to the occasion and pass it on to someone having a crumby day and kneading a lift.

July 2, 2018

Recently, a U.S. envoy, including President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, visited the Middle East for a week.  A peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians was discussed.  On June 24, indications were that the announcement of such a plan was near.

Since then, a public opinion poll of Israelis was taken by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University.  The survey indicates that about three-fourths of the respondents think the plan has a very low or moderately low chance of success.  I tend to agree.

Poll shows most Israelis have
little hope for Trump peace plan

July 1, 2018

People pronounce words in diverse ways.  Sometimes this is due simply to not observing the proper spelling of words, and sometimes it results from different accents or cultural variations.

I feel that on TV and radio in the U.S., people should enunciate the clearest American English possible.  This is important to ensure the most widespread understanding by listeners.

Here is a list of words, properly spelled, along with common ways that they are incorrectly spoken:

Correct and Incorrect Pronunciations

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