Ted’s Remarks About Stuff
October thru December, 2019

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Nov. 15, 2019

Public impeachment inquiry hearings continued today in the U.S. House.  Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch, former US ambassador to Ukraine, testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The hearing today lasted approximately 4 hours 35 minutes.  It can be watched and heard below.  The entire video lasts about 6 hours 15 minutes; however, there is a lengthy break of almost 1 hour 40 minutes between the 1:31:10 point and the 3:10:50 point.  It would be a good idea to turn up the volume.

In other news, in another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed above 27,800, above 27,900 and above 28,000 for the first time.  The Dow was up 0.80% to 28,004.89, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.77% to 3,120.46, also a record high.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 28,004.89.  Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 3,120.46.
Nov. 13, 2019

Public impeachment inquiry hearings began today in the U.S. House.  They focused on the circumstances surrounding President Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

Takeaways So Far From House
Public Impeachment Hearings
     Impeachment case against Trump is falling apart—
Democrats want to hurt him in 2020 election

The hearing today lasted approximately 5 hours 45 minutes.  It can be watched and heard below, beginning with George Kent and William Taylor being shown at the 27:30 (27 minute 30 second) point in the video.  They are introduced by Chairman Adam Schiff beginning at the 51:00 point and sworn in for questioning beginning at the 53:30 point.  The video is not very loud, so it would be a good idea to turn the volume way up.

In other news, in another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed above 27,700 for the first time.  The Dow was up 0.33% to 27,783.59, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.07% to 3,094.04, also a record high.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 27,783.59.  Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 3,094.04.
Nov. 12, 2019

The home of Islamic Jihad field commander Baha Abu al-Atta, in the Gaza Strip, was hit by an Israeli strike early today.  The Iran-backed Palestinian militant leader was killed.  Reports also say that his wife was killed and his children were wounded.

Soon thereafter, about 50 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel.  About 20 of them were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have said that Abu al-Atta commanded the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine in northern Gaza Strip.  They were responsible for several attacks carried out against Israel in 2019, including earlier this month, and were planning more attacks in the future.

Rockets Rain On Gaza And Israel
After Airstrike Kills Militant Leader

In other news, the stock market did something today that has not happened since Apr. 24, 2014.  Compared to the closing amount yesterday (which was a record high), the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at exactly the same value today.  It did not gain or lose even 0.01 point.

The DJIA closed (and opened) at 27,691.49, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.16% to 3,091.84, not a record high.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 27,691.49.  Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index gain: 3,091.84.
Nov. 11, 2019

Today is the 101st anniversary of Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day.  World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.  Veterans Day is an official public holiday in the U.S.

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To all the vets out there:  Thank you for your service, your sacrifice, and your faithfulness.  Many of you have paid an extremely high price for my freedom, and I appreciate that.

If you are an American, remember Veterans Day.  Fly your flag today if you have one, and thank a veteran.

In other news, in another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed up 0.04% to 27,691.49, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was down 0.20% to 3,087.01.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 27,691.49.  Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index decline: 3,087.01.
Nov. 9, 2019

The Berlin Wall separated Western Europe from the Eastern Bloc from 1961 to 1989.  The Wall separated West Berlin from East Berlin and from all of East Germany.

On June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered a speech at the Brandenburg Gate.  It included a challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to tear down the Berlin Wall as a symbol of increasing freedom in the Eastern Bloc:

We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.  There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.  General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.  Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.  Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this Wall!

Thirty years ago today, on Nov. 9, 1989—just ten months after the end of Reagan’s 8-year term as president—was the beginning of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  On that date, following several weeks of civil unrest in East Germany, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) announced that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin.

The Brandenburg Gate was opened on Dec. 22, 1989.  The demolition of the Wall began in June 1990 and ended in Nov. 1991, with German reunification formally occurring on Oct. 3, 1990.  Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended an event at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin where a statue of Ronald Reagan was unveiled.

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Reagan statue unveiled in
Berlin at Cold War speech site
     Learning the lessons of
the fall of the Berlin Wall

Nov. 8, 2019

Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down most of the day, it ended up with a slight gain by the time the stock market closed.  The DJIA was up 0.02% to 27,681.24, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.26% to 3,093.08, also a record high.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 27,681.24.  Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 3,093.08.
Nov. 7, 2019

In another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed above 27,500 and above 27,600 for the first time.  The Dow was up 0.66% to 27,674.80, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.27% to 3,085.18, also a record high.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 27,674.80.  Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 3,085.18.
Nov. 6, 2019

The latest news about the impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump was announced today by Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA).  The Democratic-led congressional committee will hold its first public hearings on the issue next week.

The public testimonies will feature William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, on Nov. 13.  Then Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, will testify on Nov. 15.  Schiff added that after these testimonies, there will be “more to come.”

Trump opposers say that the televised public hearings could crowd out other issues, like the economy and immigration, as voters turn their minds to the November 2020 election.  On the other hand, Trump supporters say the impeachment drive actually could boost his chances of re-election by showing him at odds with Washington-based political foes.

Trump-Ukraine House impeachment inquiry
to start 'open hearings' Nov. 13, Schiff says

It seems that there are many who believe the impeachment of a U.S. president means that he is immediately removed from office.  This is not the case, though.  For example, in the Impeachment of Bill Clinton in Dec. 1998, the president was impeached by the U.S. House on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

However, in Feb. 1999, the U.S. Senate acquitted Clinton.  On both charges, the vote fell short of the 67 majority vote required to convict the president and remove him from office.  So even if Trump were to be impeached by the present U.S. House, with a Democratic majority, it is extremely unlikely that the present U.S. Senate, with a Republican majority, would vote at least 67% to convict Trump and remove him from office.

Nov. 5, 2019

In another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed up 0.11% to 27,492.63, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was down 0.12% to 3,074.62.  The NASDAQ Composite index also was up 0.02% to 8,434.68.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 27,492.63.  Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index decline: 3,074.62.
Nov. 4, 2019

In another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed above 27,400 for the first time.  The Dow was up 0.42% to 27,462.11, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.37% to 3,078.27, also a record high.

This is the first time since July 15 that the DJIA, the S&P 500 index and the NASDAQ Composite index (up 0.56% to 8,433.20) all closed at record highs on the same day.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 27,462.11.  Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 3,078.27.
Nov. 3, 2019

Exactly one year from today is the next U.S. presidential election.  I suspect that all of the political arguing, ranting, turmoil, disruptions and upheavals will just get worse and increasingly out of control over the next year.  I dread it like the plague.  UGH!! 

The 2020 Presidential Election
Is Exactly One Year Away

Nov. 2, 2019

Most of the United States will “fall back” to Standard Time early tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 2:00 a.m.  I like the following clock because it is accurate to the second, plus it can be adjusted to any time zone: https://time.gov/HTML5.  Except for Hawaii and most of Arizona, don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed tonight.

Daylight Saving Time Ends
in USA & Canada

Some people prefer Standard Time because they typically get up early and like it when the sun rises an hour earlier.  Personally, I prefer Daylight Saving Time because I like the extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day.  I wish Daylight Saving Time could continue year-round.

Nov. 1, 2019

I walked into Walmart at 6:58 a.m. this morning to buy 50%-off Halloween candy.  Other customers were looking for half-priced candy as well.  I said, “This is the best part about Halloween!” and they agreed.

I went a little nuts and bought more candy than usual.  I purchased 341.35 ounces or 21.33 pounds, but a lot of it will be going to friends.

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Oct. 31, 2019

Happy Halloween, if that is your thing.  For me, it is just another day.  However, I will include a few Halloween cartoons below.


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In other news, the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to approve a resolution establishing the procedures for the impeachment inquiry’s next phase.  The vote, 232 for and 196 against, was mostly along party lines, although Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) voted against the resolution.  Every Republican voted against the resolution.

Prior to the vote, Republican leaders denounced what they called the “Soviet-style” nature of the investigation thus far, citing the use of closed-door hearings and lack of due process for President Trump.  The resolution lays out the framework for public hearings and eventual proceedings in the Judiciary Committee, which would craft any potential articles of impeachment against the president.

House approves Trump
impeachment process on party lines

Oct. 30, 2019

The Washington Nationals are the World Series champions after beating the Houston Astros tonight in game 7.  Congratulations, Nationals!  The game lasted 9 innings.

The final score was Nationals 6, Astros 2.  Here are the scores for the final game tonight and the runs, hits and errors for all of the innings:

Nationals 6, Astros 2 in the final game of the 2019 World Series

In the series, the Nationals won 4 games and the Astros won 3 games.  It was the first time ever that the Nationals have won the World Series.

It also was the first time in World Series history that neither team won a game at home; every game was won by the visiting team.  Here are a few stats for the 7 games:

Tuesday, Oct. 22
Game 1 — Washington at Houston
9 innings
5    4

Wednesday, Oct. 23
Game 2 — Washington at Houston
9 innings
12   3

Friday, Oct. 25
Game 3 — Houston at Washington
9 innings
4    1

Saturday, Oct. 26
Game 4 — Houston at Washington
9 innings
8    1


Sunday, Oct. 27
Game 5 — Houston at Washington
9 innings
7    1

Tuesday, Oct. 29
Game 6 — Washington at Houston
9 innings
7    2

Wednesday, Oct. 30
Game 7 — Washington at Houston
9 innings
6    2

Oct. 29, 2019

An impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump was begun in the U.S. House of Representatives on Sep. 24.  Today, an 8-page resolution was released by the House.  A vote on the resolution is expected on Oct. 31.

House Democrats release resolution
detailing next steps in impeachment inquiry

Oct. 27, 2019

Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiThe world’s most wanted terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is dead.  Last night, a U.S.-led special forces operation stormed his terrorist compound in northwest Syria.  Wearing a suicide vest, he blew himself up, as well as three of his six children who were with him.  No special forces were injured or killed in the raid.

In 2010, Al-Baghdadi was announced as leader of ISI (the Islamic State of Iraq) following the death of his predecessor, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.  He remained leader of ISI until its formal expansion into Syria in 2013.

In 2013, he announced the formation of ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), alternatively translated from Arabic as ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).  In 2014, ISIL announced the establishment of a worldwide caliphate.  Al-Baghdadi was named its caliph, to be known as “Caliph Ibrahim,” and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was renamed IS (the Islamic State).

The caliphate was defeated in Iraq in 2017.  It fell in Syria when it lost its territory in March 2019.

In a September 2017 message, al-Baghdadi encouraged his followers to keep the movement alive.  Followers of his jihadist group were urged to attack the West, including its media, and to keep fighting in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.  He also told “soldiers and supporters of the Caliphate everywhere” to avoid deviation and asked Allah to grant ISIS victory.

ISIS leader's death marks latest
defeat of once-powerful group

Oct. 26, 2019

Fire warnings in CaliforniaTens of thousands of new evacuations have been ordered due to an increase of wildfires in California.  Furthermore, strong winds are expected to blow through much of the region during the weekend.

These could be the strongest winds of the year, with some gusts reaching 85 mph in bone-dry humidity.  The National Weather Service has warned that it could be a record wind event.

Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency throughout much of the state, as wildfires are burning from Sonoma to Los Angeles.  Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) confirmed it would initiate a mass power shut-off of nearly 940,000 customers beginning today and extending into tomorrow, with the total number of people impacted rising from 2.5 to 2.8 million.

California wildfires force more than 50,000 evacuations
after 'historic wind event,' more power shutoffs

Oct. 23, 2019

Tornado AlleyA few nights ago (Sunday night into Monday morning), at least nine tornadoes of varying magnitudes hit the area in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area of northern Texas.  This is in the southern portion of what commonly is referred to as “Tornado Alley.”

The strongest tornado was a category EF3, with winds of about 140 mph.  It traveled about 20 miles, cutting a 14-mile path of destruction through north Dallas.  This twister was on the ground for about 40 minutes and was visible with the naked eye only when flashes of lightning occurred.  It caused power outages for tens of thousands of people.

Amazingly, no lives were lost due to these tornadoes.  The next day, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson echoed the words of many residents: “I think we should consider ourselves very fortunate that we did not lose any lives—no fatalities and no serious injuries—in last night’s storms.

Also, on Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 16 counties, including Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Hunt and Tarrant.  Hopefully, the declaration will help communities with state resources, will temporarily waive some regulations and will let utility companies bring in resources to help, for instance, with restoring power.

The Insurance Council of Texas has stated today that the tornadoes caused over 2 billion dollars in damage.  If so, that would make this tornado outbreak the costliest in Texas state history.

Record Breaking Tornado Hits DFW

Oct. 19, 2019

Garlock Fault in CaliforniaThe San Andreas Fault, about 750 miles in length, is the longest fault in California.  The second-longest fault in the state is the Garlock Fault, about 160 miles in length.  The two faults meet in the Antelope Valley.

There have been a series of minor earthquakes since the major 2019 Ridgecrest Earthquakes on July 4 & July 5.  The Garlock Fault has moved about 2 cm during this time.

Seismologists believe that the Garlock Fault is capable of producing an 8.0-magnitude earthquake.  They are recommending that Californians download the MyShake Earthquake Early Warning App.

Is 'The Big One' coming? A California fault capable of an
8.0 earthquake is moving for the first time, study says.

Oct. 17, 2019

This is the 30th anniversary of the 6.9 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.  A great deal of damage was done to San Francisco and the Bay Area due to that sizeable quake.

The temblor interrupted the third game of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics.  Because of this, a great many people in the Bay Area were watching the game rather than driving on streets and freeways, and rush hour traffic was lighter than normal.  Most likely, this resulted in a small fraction of the injuries and deaths that otherwise would have occurred, had the quake taken place on a typical weekday.

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It was late afternoon that day, and I was sound asleep in a chair next to the swimming pool half a block away from my home in Irvine.  At 5:04 p.m., I suddenly woke up but had no idea why.  It felt like someone had shaken my chair, but no one was around and there were no unusual noises.  I am an extremely light sleeper, though.

I got up, walked home, turned on the TV, and soon saw news about the large earthquake.  To this day, I suspect that a small wave from the quake jarred me awake, even though I was located almost 350 miles southeast of the epicenter.

30 years ago: The Loma
Prieta earthquake in photos

Today, a statewide earthquake alert system is being launched in California.  It doesn’t predict shaking before it happens, but it can warn people before the tremors reach them.

California's statewide earthquake
alert system launches Thursday

Oct. 16, 2019

During the Democratic debate last night on CNN, Ron Reagan was featured in a commercial.  He is the son of former President Ronald Reagan (1981–1989), who was a conservative Republican and a strong Christian.  On the contrary, Ron is a liberal Democrat and has been a staunch atheist since the age of 12.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation aired the 30-second ad twice on CNN during the Democratic debate.  In the commercial, Reagan said that he is a “lifelong atheist, not afraid of burning in hell.”  The ad was rejected by ABC during last month’s Democratic debate.

'Ron Reagan' tops Google search during
Dem debate following plug for atheist group

I’ve always hoped that, somehow, Ron Reagan would change his views about God and be saved.  If he does not, once he finds himself in hell, he instantly will change his mind about not being afraid to burn in hell.  Presumably though, at that point, it will be too late. 

Oct. 14, 2019

This is the first full day of the week-long Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot.  It also is a special Sabbath when no regular work is to be done (Leviticus 23:33-35).

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Sukkot in JerusalemAll native-born Israelites are to construct and to dwell in booths or “sukkot” (which is the plural of booth or “sukkah”) for a week.  This is a reminder to them of the temporary tabernacles in which their Israelite ancestors lived for 40 years after leaving ancient Egypt (Leviticus 23:42,43).

Jesus, whose birth was in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1), most likely was born in a sukkah during Sukkot, not in a stable in December.  The word “tabernacle,” used as a verb, means “to take up temporary residence, especially to inhabit a physical body” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the Only Begotten, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

The words in that verse translated as “made his dwelling” among us are more accurately translated as “tabernacled” among us.  So Jesus tabernacled with mankind for a few decades while He was here the first time.

Being a Jew, Jesus celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles and even taught in the temple courts during the days of this feast (John 7:1-44).  In the future Messianic era, during the Millennium, Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah will return to tabernacle with us again.  Representatives from the nations of the world will go to Jerusalem, where King Yeshua will be sitting on His throne, to observe the Feast of Tabernacles—essentially, a giant birthday celebration for Jesus:

At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD.  No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 3:17)

The LORD will be king over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name. ... Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:9,16)

More information can be found here: Do you think that Jesus was born on December 25 of the Gregorian calendar, or could He have been born at a time that aligned with the Hebraic calendar of feasts and festivals?

Oct. 11, 2019

Federal Judge David Briones in Texas has ruled that President Trump’s proclamation declaring a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border is unlawful.  Trump made this declaration in a speech at the White House back on Feb. 15.

At that time, Trump described the invasion of drugs, gangs and people coming over the U.S./Mexico border as a “national security crisis.”  He also signed a bill that authorized over $6 billion in Pentagon and Defense Department money to be spent on border wall building.

The Trump administration has argued that a federal judge does not have the power to constrain the president, who is the head of a separate branch of government.  This case probably will be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Trump broke law with border
wall emergency, judge rules
   Judge rules that Trump's emergency declaration
to build border wall violated federal law

Oct. 10, 2019

Hundreds of thousands of people in northern California have been out of power since yesterday.  Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has shut off the power due to predicted high winds, which could down power lines and start wildfires.

In southern California, gusty Santa Ana winds are expected today.  Southern Edison (SCE) has announced that it may turn off power in several areas of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Here's what you need to know
about the California power outages
   Millions of Californians Facing
Days in Dark Even as Winds Slow

Northern California outages  Southern California outages

In other news, Turkey began a military assault on Syria, specifically on Kurdish fighters, earlier this week.  The killings by airstrikes and artillery shelling are continuing today, with no end in sight.

The Turkish military operation began soon after President Trump announced that U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Kurdish territory.  Many U.S. troops were surprised when this order was given.  There also are many on both sides of the political aisle who are puzzled by and dismayed with Trump’s decision.

However, Trump has repeatedly pledged to destroy the Turkish economy if Turkey commits atrocities against the Kurds.  Also, he has not removed US forces from Syria, so it still is possible that they might engage in military action against Turkey.

Turkey’s military assault in Syria leaves more
than 150 Kurdish fighters dead, officials say

Oct. 9, 2019

Today is the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.  It is the highest holy day of the Hebraic year.  Today also is the final day of the 40-day season of Teshuvah, a major period of repentance, asking God for forgiveness and returning to a meaningful relationship with Him.

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God ordained this day in ancient Israel for the high priest to enter the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle, and later the temple.  He was to make atonement for his sins and for the sins of the people (Leviticus 16:1-34).

Later, God also told Moses that this Day of Atonement was to be a special day of commemoration.  It was to be a day of sacred assembly, a day to deny oneself (for example, to abstain from eating), and a day to refrain from work (Leviticus 23:26-32).

On Yom Kippur each year in ancient Israel, the high priest selected two goats that would be the slain goat and the “scapegoat”.  It is because these goats made atonement for the sins and guilt of the people that the day was referred to as the Day of Atonement.

There are direct connections between Yom Kippur and Jesus, atonement sacrifice and Redeemer.  Firstly, He was our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7b) whose blood was shed for the atonement of our sins, and there are other parallels between Jesus and the Passover lamb.  Secondly, He will return to earth, to begin to rule and reign, on a future Yom Kippur, at the end of the 70th Week.

Here are two email responses I have written in the past having to do with Yom Kippur:

I have been abstaining from food since sunset last evening, which is when Yom Kippur began.  I will be fasting for 25 hours.

Oct. 6, 2019

One of the main things I like about being here in Marin County is being able to eat lots of fresh vegetables, spicy hot chili peppers and apples that grow in my friend’s garden and yard.  These organic edibles do not flourish as much in autumn as they do in late summer (such as on Sep. 4, 2018), but there still is a nice abundance of them growing.  I can’t get enough. 


25-second slideshow

Those two conjoined tomatoes amuse me.  They make me think about Ben Carson and the pair of conjoined twins, connected at their heads, that he reportedly separated back in 1987.  I wonder if he might be as effective in separating the two tomatoes. 

Oct. 5, 2019

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Today is Shabbat Shuvah, which means “Sabbath of Return.”  It always is the Sabbath between Rosh haShanah (the Feast of Trumpets) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).  Shabbat Shuvah also is a play on the phrase “Shabbat Teshuvah” or Sabbath of Repentance.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9)

This is a day of reflection leading up to the highest holy day of Yom Kippur, which is a few days from now on Oct. 9.  It is a time of penitence, seeking reconciliation with God, knowing that we have fallen short of His high expectations.

Shabbat Shuvah always takes place during Yamim Nora’im or Days of Awe.  These are the final 10 days of the season of Teshuvah.

Oct. 4, 2019

This has been a very strenuous and fatiguing day.  It was one of those days where almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

I was out of bed by 3:20 a.m. to get ready to go with my friend to an ophthalmology appointment to have his cataracts removed.  He drove there, but he needed for me to drive him back because his eyes would be dilated and his vision distorted.

The Kaiser Permanente clinic we were going to was 75 miles away, and he needed to be there by 7:00 a.m.  We weren’t sure what the traffic going there would be like, so we had decided to leave at 5:00 a.m.  The traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as we had anticipated, and we were there by 6:25 a.m. (less than 1½ hour).

After checking in at 7:00 a.m., there was a lengthy wait.  Then it took about 2 hours for his surgical prepping, surgical procedure and recovery to take place.  During that time, I had planned to respond to some emails, since I have gotten way behind on doing that for the past couple of weeks.

However, although I was able to get online, the only site I was unable to reach was AOL.com to check my emails, due to a connection that was “not secure.”  That was very inconvenient.

Following the surgery and recovery period, we had over 5 hours to “twiddle our thumbs” before his eyes were rechecked so that he could be dismissed.  During that time, he was very light-sensitive and all the lights had halos around them.

I had brought my own lunch with me, but he had not.  So I drove him to Black Bear Diner, a few miles away, to eat.  I liked some of their decorations.  The traffic there and back was very busy, but that was nothing compared to what it would be like later.

Back at the clinic, I was very sleepy and briefly dozed off a few times where I was sitting.  I still was unable to check my email online, so there was a whole lot of wasted time.

After a few more hours, the surgeon was able to recheck his eyes and dismiss him.  We felt it was rather coincidental that I was the first one to fit him with contacts decades ago, when we both worked at the same health-care clinic in Orange County; and today I accompanied him to his cataract surgery, ending his need to wear contacts anymore.

Finally, at about 4:20 p.m., we were able to leave the Kaiser facility.  We had hoped that the traffic back through San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County wouldn’t be too bad, but that turned out NOT to be the case at all.  That is one drive I never will forget.  Incidentally, the gasoline prices in San Francisco were utterly outrageous and ridiculous.

Soon after entering San Francisco from the northbound 280 Freeway, the traffic suddenly began slowing.  Before long, it had reduced to a crawl.  Traffic reports on KFSO Radio indicated that an accident in the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge, on the northbound 101 Freeway, had caused lane closures and traffic to be at a virtual stand-still in both directions.

Countless people on the radio were reporting that it was a “nightmare” driving on the freeway and city streets.  Indeed, that turned out to be the case.  We agreed that it was one of the WORST traffic jams we’d ever experienced for decades in either northern or southern California.

Numerous times up to the GG Bridge, we had to stop for 5 or more minutes at a time, then continue a few yards and stop again.  I was very sleepy, having gotten only about 5 hours of disconnected sleep last night but was unable to take a decent nap during the day.  Yet, I was driving back and had to force myself to remain awake and concentrate the whole way back.  It was not easy at all.

A couple of times, I almost made a couple of right turns to go back and cross over the Oakland Bay Bridge and drive up the east side of the bay instead.  What’s funny is that a few minutes after I told Barry that I was thinking about doing that, the traffic reporter on the radio said that the traffic on the Bay Bridge and on the San Rafael Bridge was extremely slow as well, probably because so many people were crossing them to avoid the Golden Gate Bridge.  So we just kept plugging along.

Whereas the drive to the clinic this morning took less than 1½ hour, the 75-mile trip back home took over 3½ hours.  Just before we reached the GG Bridge—which we crossed going south this morning when it was dark, as well as going north tonight—the accident finally had been cleared and the traffic FINALLY began to accelerate.  It really was a terrible day, but I was thankful to the Lord God for getting us through it safely and unharmed.




1-minute slideshow

Oct. 2, 2019

On Sep. 6, 2018, Dallas police office Amber Guyger, now 31, mistakenly entered an apartment on a floor other than her own, thinking it was her apartment.  Inside his own apartment, Botham Jean, 26, was eating an ice cream cone.

Believing that he was a burglar in her apartment and was a threat to her, Officer Guyger fatally shot the innocent Mr. Jean.  She said that she had just worked a long 13-hour shift, was exhausted and was not thinking straight.

Earlier this week, following a trial of several days, a jury found Guyger guilty of the murder of Botham Jean.  Today, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison, although she will be eligible for parole after 5 years.

After the sentencing was announced today, Botham’s brother Brandt, 18, spoke some very heart-rending words to all in attendance.  He said that he forgave Amber, did not want her to go to jail, that he loved her as a person and that he hoped she would give her life to Christ, since that is what Botham would have wanted her to do.

Then Brandt asked the judge if he could hug Amber, and his wish was granted by Judge Tammy Kemp.  This young guy is one of the most supreme examples of forgiving others of their trespasses that I’ve ever seen.  This is what Jesus urged all of us to do.

If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

Botham Jean's brother gave Amber Guyger a hug after the former cop
was sentenced for his brother's murder in a powerful courtroom moment

Oct. 1, 2019

Every Oct. 1, often referred to as “Shocktober 1st,” I’m always reminded of the 5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987.  It happened at 7:42 a.m., just as I was finishing breakfast before going to work.

My house in Irvine was about 40 miles from the epicenter, and it rocked for several seconds but did no damage to my property.  The quake was felt throughout southern California and southern Nevada.

I was watching the morning news out of Los Angeles.  A few minutes after the main shock, there was a small aftershock, which I did not feel.

I remember watching two of the news guys, Christopher Nance and Kent Shocknek.  They got freaked out due to the shaking and the swaying lights, caused by the aftershock, and jumped under their desk.  You can watch a short David Letterman video where he talked about it and then showed a video of what happened.

I also felt a 5.3 aftershock three days later.  Then life went on as usual.  Here is a video, under 5 minutes, showing damage from the initial quake on Oct. 1 and from the aftershock on Oct. 4: SoCal Whittier Narrows Earthquakes (1987).

Here is a page with a great deal of information about earthquakes, what to do to prepare for them, and what to do when they occur:

Be Prepared: Household Earthquake Safety Tips
and Helpful Home Modifications to Consider

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