Author Archive

Mobile Viewing

Monday, July 4th, 2011

We are now friendly to and viewable from mobile devices!

You can now browse and read ThoughtPaths.com from all types of mobile devices more comfortably.

Try it and enjoy…

Share

Bible verses along the way…

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

In the course of following Prof. Horner’s Reading approach, I will tweet some of the verses that strike me as I go. It is interesting how the juxtaposition of readings adds context and insights…

The latest Tweets will be shown in our left sidebar. I should also note that all verses will be quote from the ESV Bible version, which is what I have adopted for this type of reading.

Please follow this on Twitter!

Share

Bible Reading Plan

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Yikes, another Bible reading plan! At first blush that was my reaction as well. Had it not been for an intriguing comment on another Reformed blog I would likely have dismissed it summarily with a polite yawn.

That would have been most unfortunate, and I am very thankful that the Lord prodded me appropriately.

The plan in question is called Professor Horner’s Bible reading plan. It has a web site and a facebook page if you Google for it.

In a nutshell, it proposes that one read one chapter from each of ten lists of Bible books each day – that is 10 chapters from 10 different books, daily. The ten book lists cover the whole Bible and are chosen by the good professor to reflect various New and Old Testament divisions and areas of importance.

Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But it works!

Each of the lists are different lengths, so over time the juxtaposition of books and chapters read daily changes. The result is a unique contextualization.

Here is the original article.

I made one modification. Acts was on a list by itself, while Romans was grouped with other Epistles. Given the Reformed doctrinal significance of Romans, I moved it to join Acts. This increases the frequency of Romans somewhat.

Here is a speadsheet of my version, which makes it easier to follow the program. Notice that the days have numbers, not dates, so you can start any time.

My opinion after 75 days -> his predication about the effects are both correct and wonderful. It is very profitable.

Try it…

Share

Keep Your Greek – Book Review

Friday, March 18th, 2011

So, you know a usable amount, or a lot, of NT Greek. You did the basic grammar courses, added a syntax and exegesis course, and maybe a related preaching or teaching course. Lots of sweat and a little inspiration. And voila, usable Koine Greek (hopefully).

We all agree that this is invaluable if not vital do quality study, preaching and teaching of the Word.

Now the real challenge begins. Retaining a language that you do not actively speak every day means deliberately keeping it up. But how?

Keep Your Greek

Keep Your Greek

Keep Your Greek, Strategies for Busy People by Constantine Campbell was created to address this problem.

This book was not created in the vacuum of the academic study. Each chapter of the book was created through a blog post and associated blog comments (some of which are included in most chapters). I followed this process online and the result is a timely compendium which hits the mark.

The book is clearly writen and addresses each issue concisely. There is lots of (Greek geek) humour and a point of view that those using Greek will appreciate. In short, it does the job in an engaging fashion, which is half the battle.

It is not that this book contains a lot of surprises, since there is little new under the language learning sun. However, it pulls together most of the tips and tricks appropriate to Kione under one roof. This is uniquely useful and encouraging.

The main requirement, as expected, is ongoing, consistent effort. No surprise there, but the encouragement is appropriate.

Along with the expected suggestions (keep your vocabulary up, practice parsing), there are a couple of strategies for retention and increased usability that are not as often suggested:
– skim reading, as you would in English, to practice getting the ‘just’ of the text. This is rarely suggested for this type of language work, especially for the less advanced.
– varying reading speed deliberately.

Lastly, there is a section on recovering your dormant Greek.

Overall, this is a useful, engaging and most of all encouraging look at a problem shared by most serious bible students. It is a welcome addition. Constantine Campbell is to be commended.

I should close by mentioning that Zondervan gave me a copy of this book for review. Irregardless, I would likely have purchased it and my opinions to do consider that.

Share

Fire juggling in brief…

Monday, November 15th, 2010

A short synopsis of the fire juggling pics…

[cincopa AEHAjVaNxZig]

The complete gallery is available HERE.

Share

Need a smile?

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

I remember laughing at these guys when I was a kid. But this has a present day twist in the music and they haven’t lost anything with age…

Share

Did ya’ ever notice…

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Question – What do the following services have in common, from the standpoint of ongoing use?

1. Cleaning lady or service company
2. Lawn service
3. Snow removal service
4. Financial Adviser

Let’s put it in a scenario… You decide that one of these services is to be farmed out – say, house cleaning. That is, you are too lazy, too busy or too whatever to do it yourself. So, you check around and find what appears to be a suitable person or service org. Most of these arrangements are informal, so you say go ahead and they start.

The first few times are wonderful. If it is a cleaning service, your house is clean and tidy, including places you didn’t think of or didn’t want to think of. You are delighted. You can live in your mother’s standards without effort!

A period of time elapses when this continues and you settle into complacency around the service. It just happens as a given.

Then, slowly, the service starts to decline. This is not startling or extreme, just not up to the same standard here and there. A new lower standard settles in and that is what is permanent, not what you contracted for. If you are busy and not looking at it too closely, you may not notice for a while. The provider is too busy or rushed for everything, corners get cut, etc. It is slow creep…

You are paying the same and have the same service level expectations. So why is this?

It is like they are on trial for a while, but that is not the real service level. You only see the real level once you are in the bag as a customer and you relax.

There is something wrong here! Is the whole point that you should be able to relax with the assurance that the job is being done?

Now, I don’t have an answer other than vigilance and changing provider occasionally (a pain in the rear end). But this phenomena seems so prevalent in service areas that it is a sociological study in the making.

I am also willing to bet that this generalizes more widely, but that would be outside of my direct anecdotal experience to date. You can draw you own conclusions.

Share

Almost but not quite.. until now

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Having expanded the theme to cover more of the expanse of present LCD resolutions, the form was right.

However, thanks to a timely user comment, I realized that readability had suffered by having the lines of text in the posts themselves containing too many characters – the average person being able to quickly scan only 60-70 characters without extra movement. Since I usually read the posts in the blog interface word processor, I didn’t notice this right off.

I bit the bullet and reverted to my original desire, on the back burner because it was too much work – widening via a second sidebar on the left rather than just wider textual area. some judicious forum searching turned up someone else with more the solution (there is nothing new under the sun, as usual).

So, there you have it, post readability retained yet screen usage increased!

This also means that more of the sidebar material is visible without excessive scrolling, so more of it may actually be seen.

Lastly, it has always annoyed me that when viewing a single post in old theme the sidebars were not displayed. To me this was shortsighted design, limiting the reader’s navigation options when leaving the page. This has now been remedied.

Now to convert my other blog to this format…

Share

Wider is better

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Over and over these days, we hear these days that as a society our waist line is wider, and that this is bad news. Vaughnerian girth and Renascence shape are definitely out of favour.

Blogs are somewhat the opposite. Average screen resolution has grown over the last couple of years. Just a short few years ago, the average user was viewing the net on a 640×480 VGA screen. Then we graduated to 1024×768, which lasted quite a while – partially due to the cost of LCD production on one hand, and the physical weight and cost of large glass crts on the other.

This all changed, of course, with the ramping up of LCD production and the corresponding drop in prices.

As this happened, it also became both possible (in cost of technology) and desirable (to support video in movie format) to move from the older 5:4 video format to the 16:9 cinema format screen.

As a non-gaming, non-movie-watching contrarian, I should note that I rue that day… I am writing this on a 24″ 1920×1080 LCD, but I would prefer a 5:4 format 20″ LCD of the same technical capability. Sadly that is not available 🙁

All that is to say that screens are bigger, particularly in width. This make of standard blog theme width, which was set for a 640×480 width screen, out dated and almost weird on a large screen.

Since I still liked the old display appearance of our Kubrick based theme, but felt a wider presentation was in order,  a little judicious adjustment of code was in order.

The result is the present wide Kubrick based template, which I found did not exist in any distribution – go figure. It does look a little bit more up to date, but it avoids the more extreme changes that seemed necessary to obtain the same result via another theme.

Share

Classic 1911A 45

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Well, to complete the lineup (for now ), there just had to be something traditional and big…

SpringField 1911A Custom

A classic 1911A 45 Cal with wonderful custom work (Ed brown beaver tail, stainless barrel and hammer, exotic grips, Heine sites, carbon fiber trigger, and full tuning job). Who could resist…

Share

Guaranteed career for someone…

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Want a trade and career with: good prospects, ‘honest days work’ self employment, a good income, very strong long term prospects, and that doesn’t entail working for the Government or big industry? Does that sound impossible today? Well, to my surprise, it appears that it is possible, if you think a tad outside the box…

Consider this:

1. Gun owners in Canada are legion. Even restricted, and yes prohibited (but duly licensed) gun owners are huge in number in all regions and increasing.
2. Firearms can not, in general, be serviced or modified by the owner.
3. Most firearms require periodic service.
4. Guns owners like to personalize and customize firearms.
5. Skilled gunsmiths, particularly for pistols, are very scare.
6. Though there are many good gunsmiths available in the US, it is virtually impossible to have firearms serviced cross-border (Canadian, not US, border services are actually the problem).

From this you might conclude correctly that:

1. There is a large, fairly affluent populace of firearms owners in Canada who need gunsmith services and can not easily obtain them.
2. A good gunsmith is greatly appreciated.
3. There is a very large (and increasing) trade in firearms and services, with very few full service dealers with real interest in their clients.

All this points to the reality that the prospects for a gunsmith with good skills (particularly with hand guns) are wonderful in Canada. This is particularly true with the movement of trade to the Internet, which allows a business to be visible, known, and to service clients Canada wide almost as if they were local.

Good so far, but now the problem…

No full time community college in Canada presently appears to offer training in the gunsmith trade. Even within the related tool and die making trade training, where this would be a natural option, there is little awareness – even as their base trade declines.

This would appear to be mostly a politics and awareness problem, since this somewhat exacting occupation appeals to the same ‘geeky’ propensity that much of high tech work does.

The only training available is of the ‘correspondence school’ variety. Not to demean this, since I have no direct knowledge, but it would not seem to offer the same level or legitimacy as college, and one wonders about government licensing afterwords. But I may stand correct in this later, if someone can fill me in.

Any training seems to be of the traditional apprentice variety – meaning that you must find a gunsmith in order to become one. This is something of a catch 22 admittedly. That notwithstanding, some mechanical and tooling skills, combined with some research, should yield a training path.

Conclusion

So, folks, it appears that if one would like a challenging, rewarding, self-employed career, where are you greatly appreciated by your clients and have a solid income, look no further than gunsmith’ing and firearms sales.

This is definitely not a tongue in cheek post. I only discovered this situation when I started to own firearms and wanted the sort of skilled and personable service that I would expect in my own field (IT). I have been fortunate to find a wonderful firearms adviser and gunsmith, but I had to look 1500 miles west. This says it all…

Now, since I am curious I may investigate training options a bit more.

Share

Reading the Bible for All Its Worth – Part 2/2

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Some Reservations

The presentation falters somewhat through an overly extensive addition of warnings for each genre. These warnings describe how interpretation is likely to fail in a myriad of ways, and they cast something of a cloud over the methodology. Though valid in some interpretive cases, presenting them in this manner is counter productive and largely unnecessary for the lay bible study student. After three decades teach and designing post secondary curriculum, I have serious pedagogical reservations about this approach. The most likely effect is to convince the reader that their likelihood of interpretive success is very low. This is a pedagogical flaw.

In reading this text, one must also bearing mind that Fee and Stuart (particularly Fee) are longstanding proponents of and participants in the more liberal side of the NIV translation. Fee is also a major proponent of gender-neutral translation. This particularly raises a serious doctrinal flag for this reviewer.

Conclusion

This book is appropriate for lay bible students who are willing to participate in the exercises presented through the examples. The effectiveness of the text would be seriously diminished by a lack of engagement through the sample Scriptures.

Due to my reservations, I would normally recommend this book for an instructor-lead delivery model (ie. Adult Bible School), or to those with an appreciation of the doctrinal caveats. Within that context, it can be very edifying.

Overall, many lay bible students would benefit from this presentation and it would enrich their Bible study. I have recommended it to numerous people.

Share

Reading the Bible for All Its Worth – Part 1/2

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

With the previous review of Ryken’s text in mind, it seemed appropriate to dust off an old copy of Fee and Stuart’s book for another look and a review…

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 2nd Edition
Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart,
Grand Rapids, Michigan,
Zondervan, 265p,
ISBN 0-310-38491-5

Summary

How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is a brief, but reasonably complete lay introduction to hermeneutics. Their goal is to facilitate both bible reading and bible study, with an emphasis on bridging the gap between the meaning of the text for the original recipient and the meaning for the present reader. The initial chapters explain the need for a systematic approach to bible study, as opposed to simple reading. A clear distinction is drawn between exegesis and hermeneutics as distinct, ordered activities. The selection of an appropriate study translation is also explored.

Commentary

The body of the book defines and discusses the Biblical genres in a tradition format, addressing the Epistles, Old Testament Narratives, Acts, the Gospels, the Parables, the Laws, the Prophets, Psalms, Wisdom books and the Revelation. An appendix addresses the selection of quality commentaries. Each genre taught by means of both explanation accompanied by appropriate sample Scriptures. In most cases, the discussion of each genre instructs the reader to work actively through the example Scripture. This yields a continuous set of inline exercises, which maintain reader engagement and avoid the problems of passive description. This is an effective pedagogy.

Lastly, but very significantly, many chapters have summary lists of the analytical guidelines for that genre. This strongly supports subsequent use and it a feature that was noted in my previous review of the Ryken text as a significant omission.

Throughout the portion addressing each genre, the text consistently stresses two activities – repeated reading of the Biblical text under analysis, and the importance of context. This repetition is very successful, and is reminiscent of the same recommendation by A.I. Pink in his book “Knowing God”.

The need for reasoned, common sense bible study, the division between exegesis and hermeneutics, and the differentiation between original and present meaning are all very effective presented. The tradition division into genres and the use of extensive reader participation in processes is well executed and effective. Assuming that the reader participates in the process as requested in the text, a good foundation will be laid for genre based analysis.

Share

A Little Hard Chrome

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

I liked this as soon as I saw it. Hard chrome is the most durable finish (better than nickle) and looks so nice. This Para Ordinance LDA 40cal is a lovely gun.

This guns also adds heavier ordinance to the collection and make it feasible to use it in the high points division of IPSC or Defensive Pistol. It offers the higher power without resorting to the canon level recoil of a 45 cal.

The 40 cal will receive less use than the utilitarian 9mm, but is a great option. Since it is the same 1911 frame as my others, it is a good choice for easy transitions.

The magwell is very nice for a stock gun. The adjustable rear site yields good accuracy and also control when experimenting with different size ammo loads. Perfect for IPSC or Defensive Pistol.

The trigger is very smooth and longer than some. An interesting change.

ParaLDA-40cal-web

Many shooters start to reload ammo at the 40cal level, to save money. Though it is an intriguing idea, the start up costs take it off the table…for now.

Share

Everyone needs a 9mm

Monday, July 19th, 2010

As the title says, we all need a 9mm. Just about the standard for many years, though the police now carry something a little bigger, with more stopping power. The 9mm is a nice compromise of a serious hand gun but with manageable recoil if you you shoot a lot of rounds in competition. That combines with quite economical ammo cost when compared to 40 or 45 cal.

Here are some of the features that I found appealing:
– 1911 format
– great STI quality
– reasonable recoil
– very reliable
– fiber optic front and adjustable rear sights
– exotic wood grips
– skeletonized trigger and hammer

STI-Spartan-9mm-web

The only area where the jury is still out is the parkarized finish. Though it is superior to blueing for wearability, I don’t know if I like the look. I am considering having it hard chromed at some point. We shall see.

A shooting review will have to wait until I have put more rounds through it.

Share