It’s October 31st: Happy…

Nevada Day!

OK, but everybody thinks of Halloween, can’t we try a little change of pace once in a while?

On October 31, 1864 President Lincoln signed the Bill making Nevada a state.  Since this happened during the Civil War,Nevada adopted the motto of “Battle Born”.

But this isn’t just a historical date, in Nevada it’s a big deal. Nevada’s

The Nevada State Capitol in Carson City
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capital, Carson City hosts numerous events such as a parade, costume and beard contests, music, fun and more.  In years gone by there was also a big football game between Carson High and Reno…

Many of the festivities continue to this day, and needless to say it’s a holiday for most, but there is one very interesting component that has arisen in recent years: The politicians have gotten involved.

For nearly a century all of the celebrations went down on October 31st, but a few years ago the Legislature in their infinite wisdom changed the observance to the last Friday in October so that there would always be a three-day weekend.  If you are a purist, this is ridiculous, but even for the more pragmatic among us it really looks dumb this year.

This year, in order to assure that Nevada Day is part of a three-day weekend, the observance has been moved from Monday to the preceding Friday… and the parade moved from Monday to Friday… and then to Saturday!

Isn’t it great when politicians get involved?

Well, if Nevada Day isn’t a great alternative to the norm for you, there is another day that could work…

It’s October 31st… Happy

Reformation Day!

Our Lutheran friends will certainly recognize this one, for it marks the day on which Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the church at Wittenburg,Germany. (October 31, 1517)

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder, pain...
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Historians consider this to be the event that sparked the Reformation which changed the course of European (and later American) history.

Luther had no intention at that time of challenging the whole Catholic Church; rather he had concerns and posted the 95 Theses as debate and discussion topics for scholarly review.  You see, he was a college professor and he posted them on the church door at his university.  The act of posting subjects on the door was not a defiant act, but more like what we might do by posting a topic on an internet message board.

Of course in 1517 this sort of thing could get out of hand in a hurry… and let’s just say ‘the rest is history’. For those who desire more detailed information… just follow the links in this post.

But then, if you must be conventional, then there’s always Halloween.  I’m not all that crazy about Halloween because of its pagan origins and symbols.  There are certain elements of it that are just plain evil in my view.  Witches, ghouls, goblins, murder and mayhem really aren’t children’s playthings… and they aren’t funny either.

When my kids were young, I compromised by letting them participate in the candy and fun part, but I explained the dark side when they were old enough, and I didn’t let them get involved with it.  Was this the right course of action?  I still struggle with it.  These days, I’m more inclined to see it the way Mark Brown does in this video:

So, to sum it all up, October 31st can mean many things to many people.  Some are good, some not as good, and a few are just good old-fashioned fun. What is October 31st for you?

Hey, look on the bright side: This year there’s always Monday Night Football!


Happy Birthday Teddy Roosevelt!

Yes, today is the 153rd birthday of our 26th president.

It’s also true that our 26th president was one of our more colorful characters! 

He came to public prominence during the Spanish-American War in 1898 as Colonel Roosevelt of the “Rough Riders”; you know, the dude who conquered San Juan Hill down in Cuba.  How important this victory actually was is the subject of a lot of conjecture, but one things is definite… Roosevelt became a star as a result.

In 1900, he became William McKinley‘s running mate and ended up as president upon Mr. McKinley’s assassination in 1901, much to the chagrin of those who made him VP to get him out of New York!

Roosevelt was famous for clicking his teeth (usually three or more times in loud succession when he was happy about something… a habit that tended to unnerve people.

He was the kind of guy who couldn’t sit still, pacing furiously across rooms where ever he went.  He was an ardent advocate of the “strenuous life” in which he was always active and on the go… something that made the cartoonists of his day pretty happy.

He was also a serious president, enacting many reforms and taking credit for even more…

…and was quite busy in foreign affairs walking softly and carrying big sticks with him; he even won the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering peace in the Russo-Japanese war.

He is very famous for splitting with his party in 1912 to oppose his own hand-picked successor, William Howard Taft in the general election leading to the victory of Woodrow Wilson that year. (thanks a lot, Ted)

Here’s something Mr. Roosevelt did that most people don’t know about: he completely remodeled the White House, making it the building we are familiar with today. He moved the president’s office and working space to a new West Wing…

And, as you will see in the remaining photos, he transformed the White House from a threadbare old Victorian to a more modern look… Here’s his new entrance hall

His new look Blue Room…

The new look Red Room…

and the Green Room…

…and of course the East Room…

…and finally the all new State Dining Room (note the dead animal heads overlooking your dinner!)

(White House pictures source: White House Museum)

And so there you go; an all new reference for you!

Theodore Roosevelt: Interior Decorator

A Trip into the Past: 1936

A week or so ago, we visited 1961; 50 years ago.  Let’s go back another 25 years to 1936.

While 1961 was a different world from the one we live in today, 1936 was even more different, in fact, the 60’s young people spoke of a “generation gap” between them and their parents’ generation.  Well, here’s their parents’ formative time.

1936 was in the very midst of the Great Depression.  Unemployment was sky-high, times were very tough.  Prices will shock you… Here are some from that year:

Average cost of a new home: $3,925.00

A gallon of gas 10 cents

A loaf of bread 8 cents

Average house rent $24.00 per month

A new car $665.00

OK, you ge the idea… average annual income?


There was no TV, you watched your favorite show on the radio.  If you

Great Depression
Image by Koshyk via Flickr

wanted to hop a flight to the coast, you had to take the train.  Telephones were wired in place and phone numbers had 4 digits; there were no computers, microwaves, cell phones, internet or Facebook… you talked to people in person or you wrote them a letter by snail mail.

You behaved yourself in public, and if you were dating you probably had a chaperone.

The New York Yankees won the 1936 World Series (go figure) over the New York Giants.  Jesse Owens was winning gold in the Berlin Olympics.

African-American Jesse Owens on the podium aft...
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Jesse Owens
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to four term...
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was president here, and Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Munich, G...
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ran the show in Germany; the world was approaching the brink of calamity. The Spanish Civil War

Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 in the Spanish Civil War
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broke out that year… and Imperial Japan was expanding its aggression  in China.

When I was young in the 60’s and 70’s my parents called those times the “good old days”!  I still can’t quite figure out why… maybe because they were younger then…?

Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother," a...
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Is it any wonder there was a “generation gap”?  Our parents grew up in really tough times while we grew up in a time of prosperity.  Our parents had to deal with the Great Depression and World War; we dealt with rock music and the Cold War… talk about different references!

Of course the same applies to those times of 50 and 75 years ago and our kids today. 

I wonder why we expect the young of today to see the world the way we do… and I wonder why we expect the people who grew up in the 30’s to see the world the way we do… are we crazy? In both cases their frames of reference are completely different.

the dawn of time

All frames of reference have a beginning point, and for the Christian, it begins with the dawn of time, when God made the universe and everything in it. 

God made humanity last, and put the man and the woman who He had made in a garden. 

God told the man to tend to His garden…

…and God put the man over all of His other creatures…

…He gave them dominion over all the earth, and saw that it was very good. The man, Adam, and the woman, Eve, lived in peace and harmony with all God’s creation in perfect innocence.

theologians over the centuries have said that God created humanity for fellowship with Him, and in this beautiful and tranquil setting we can see what ‘fellowship’ means…

They had a job to do for God, exercising God’s ‘dominion’ over the earth… and they also had a relationship with God; they talked directly with Him.  Notice in this old classic that Adam and Eve are talking with God face to face. (Funny how artists always portray God dressed in man’s clothes… and always in very ancient attire.  Who’s to say He doesn’t wear a modern-day business suit? But then, I digress!)

So, they had direct personal access to God (relationship) and they had a job given them by God (purpose).  “Fellowship”, therefore is a relationship with purpose.  Thus, we can say that the reason that God made all of us from the very beginning of time is for fellowship between humanity and God: Relationship with purpose.

Oh, but sadly that isn’t quite the end of the story…

God gave them one prohibition: they must not eat from a certain tree…

But then, that is a post for another time…

Autumnal Reflections

Autumn has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember.  There’s so much about it to like; pumpkins,

changing leaves,


the World Series,

seasonal cuisine

and all of this is spite of the fact that we had to go back to school!

When I was a kid, I always wanted to go somewhere that had the fall colors in nature…

kind of like this:

there aren’t many scenes like this in LA!

Gotta love this one…

I always thought of Fall as the beginning of the holidays; lots of fun to look forward to.  There’s just something about this season; it’s sort of the culmination of the entire year… it even smells good! There’s only one thing about it that isn’t great: It’s followed by winter!

If you didn’t know that winter was followed by spring and summer, that would really put a damper on things, at least for me.  You could say that Fall is a time when the world seems to be dying away in a blaze of glory… and then everything will be dormant for a season.

After a season of dormancy, there is rebirth!

It’s quite a bit like the greatest gift in my last post: there’s a time to live, a time to die, and a time to rise again.

Isn’t it amazing how God teaches eternal truth in nature?  It’s no wonder that Paul wrote: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. ” (Romans 1:20)

The Greatest Gift of All

What is the greatest gift you have ever received?

There could be quite a few answers to a question like that; for me, the greatest gift I’ve ever received can be summed up in this picture…

This picture is called “The Resurrection”

There are others that have the same idea behind them…


You might think that these really don’t look like the resurrection pictures you’re used to, they usually look more like this:

There is one major difference between the first three and this last one: The last picture is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the first three are the resurrection of ME and YOU!

OK, in all four of them, the artist is giving his guess of what it would look like, so I wouldn’t claim that the scene will match exactly… not that I really care.  The fact of the resurrection (of those of us in Christ) is the point here.  The day is coming when all of us who are in Christ will arise from the dead to live with Him for eternity.

Now you’d think that this certain knowledge would have more of an effect in the Christian life than it does, wouldn’t you?

Most of us struggle through life full of worries and stress; we get all caught up in the stuff of this world… jobs, our boss, the kids, the bills, the house and all the rest.  A friend of mine put it best in a seminar when he said,

 “Have you ever looked up at the stars on a clear night in the country?  There are millions of them; more than we can count, and every one of them is as big as our sun.  Just imagine the vastness of God’s creation: it literally defies comprehension… and yet most of us go through life worrying about what others think of us.”

Just consider the wonders of God’s creation:

How can we not be affected by its awesomeness?

Now consider the gift of eternal life… if God can make the heavens and the earth, then why would we have a problem with eternal life?  When we accepted Christ, we inherited the gift of eternal life.  With this gift, we have the certainty that just as Jesus Himself rose from the grave, so shall you and I…

Don’t life’s headaches seem a whole lot less significant?

A Walk Down Memory Lane: 1961

A lot of people can remember way back… in this case 50 years.

Fifty years ago, in 1961, we lived in a world that was quite different from the world of today.  For example, when I was a little kid, I was required to address my friends’ parents as Mr. or Mrs. such and such.  There was no way that I could call them by their first name… in the unlikely event that I knew what it was!  There was no bad language on TV or radio or in newspapers, and a little kid only said a bad word if he wanted his mouth washed out with soap.

So right off the bat, it would seem that we lived in a more polite environment then than we do now!

Here, let’s review the state of things in October 1961:

John F. Kennedy was President (you can click on any of these pictures for a larger image)

In fact, 1961 was his first year in office…

You’ll never guess who won the World Series that year!

Yep, it was the Yankees…

And in December, the Packers won the NFL championship

Fashion was much more “modest” than it is today, it seems that the ladies preferred to keep the guys guessing just a bit more than now:

The guys look quite a bit more “spiffy” too; gotta love that hat!

And everyone seemed to dress up a little more when they went our; even if it was just for a Coke.

So let’s see, society was more polite, the President was a classy guy, people were more concerned about looking good… oh yes and the Yankees were winning it all. People also spent a lot of time watching TV.  Of course everybody watched old Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights

Yep, it was always a really big sheeewww

The commercials in those days were classic.  Here’s one they pulled…

The most popular song in October of 1964 was “Hit the road Jack” by Ray Charles.  I can assure you that they didn’t need an edited version for the radio; no F-bombs in that song!

I remember that my Mom always dragged me with her to the grocery store… there was only one redeeming factor about going there: Our store had a cookie aisle that was full of freshly baked cookies in glass bins, and there was a “cookie lady” who would take your order and bag the cookies for you.  She would always give a little kid an extra cookie for free; that kind of saved the whole thing from my point of view.

I also remember that my Mom would go to the store once a week and buy groceries for a family of four and pay with a $20. bill… and get change back!

Read ’em and weep:

And you know what else?  They drove cars made from actual steel!

It may sound crazy, but these cars were made by a Company that was owned by actual shareholders, not by the taxpayers; imagine! Want to get even crazier?  They were completely made in the USA!!!

The winner of the Oscar (they could still say “winner” in those days) for Best Picture was…

So I guess the big movies were about people who left the gangs for the girl they loved…

Yes sir, it sure was a different world 50 years ago!

You know what’s really sad?  Most of the people on earth today have no personal memory of a time when parents could let their kids go out and play and never even think about them being abducted.  They can’t remember a time when people knew how to behave in public, or when people conversed without swearing or ever talking trash.  Would our kids believe there was a time when there were no gangs or drugs or violence in school?  And finally, they cannot possibly conceive of a time without cell phones and texting… and understand that we were actually better for it!

OH, did I forget something?  Yes, I think I did: you could also pray in public without having to worry about being sued.

My kids always seemed to think that I reacted badly to the things they thought were “cool” and new.  They simply couldn’t know that I could see how far we had regressed over my lifetime.  They also couldn’t know that many of their new discoveries were things that I had seen long before… and know how they turn out.

Funny thing is that my kids always rolled their eyes and guffawed when I told them that there was a time like 1961; they simply can’t believe that I’m not making the whole thing up.

Now if we remember 1961, we also remember that a few years later there was a bunch of talk about the “generation gap”.  I guess that maybe there really is a “generation gap” but now we can see that what it really is comes down to different frames of reference.  If you have lived a long time, you have way more references than the young do.  The only question that remains is this: Who makes the adjustment so that communication can take place: the person with more references or the person with fewer references?

Thanks for reading this!  We’ll be visiting some more times in future blogs.  For now,

God Bless!

Postscript: If you would like to see more about 1961, here is a vintage “Year in Review” show: