Helm's Deep, the rise and fall of the American empire, and April 20th.

April 19: Dikes break in Grand Forks and start the Flood of 1997, Oklahoma City bombing, Branch Davidian compound in Waco burns, American Revolution begins.

April 20: Columbine school shooting, Deepwater Horizon rig explodes, and...

I present this, the future of this nation a.k.a. why a future invasion of America will be highly successful with little resistance.

I saw this image posted on Facebook with the following lead-in: "Lots of stuff for the kids to do, be sure to swing by the capital tomorrow, there will be live music, and yoga classes. A bunch of free giveaways."

Fun for the kids. Free yoga.

I notice that some group calling themselves Helms Deep will be performing.


What I'd like to know is how well these folks think the Battle of Helm's Deep would have gone had the Rohirrim been all busy with marijuana, mellow with a case of the munchies, insisting that pot was totally innocuous and is the only plant or substance on the face of the earth that would cur…

Too many gateways to guard.

My best advice for businesses and organizations is to leave social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. Those platforms amount to little more than another gateway for customers to gripe and threaten you. You think you're announcing specials and creating pretty images and building a brand and engaging, and people are just using it as a way to anonymously be an ass.

Every gateway of communication that you open up, you have to man. Someone has to be watching it to respond immediately, or not only will the original gripe still be a problem, but people turn into ridiculous narcissistic selfish toads if you don't respond ASAP; they start adding your lack of immediate reply to their already delusional "important" fuss. They even start posting to their followers about how upset they are about your treatment of them, to get them to pile on you.

All those social media gateways basically mean endless mea culpas.

This has become NORMALIZED BEHAVIOR for people now, to respond…

5 ways to be a safe driver in Hampden

Internet marketing is awful.

I worked in that world for several years; I know the tricks. Just thinking about how much I could tell you about what really goes on behind all of the Shiny Happy Marketing People is absolutely wearying. It's enough for a book.

One technique to garner traffic is to create some generic piece of content, and then email all over tarnation to see if someone will use it on their website. There are a variety of ways marketers find and choose their email targets, some more thoughtful than others. Regardless, this is one of many reasons why you see what seems to be the same content everywhere on the internet.

I actually save those emails that I receive (and I get a fair number, since my name is on a lot of marketing blog posts from back in the day and people think I am interested) labeled as "great email examples", because some are so badly done I can't keep myself from going back and cherishing them. Clearly, the word "great" in the la…

Easy steps to caring about the environment instead of just lecturing and protesting as if you care.

My brother sent me this photo last summer, of dad holding a salamander. I can see, by the background, that we had salamanders in the Quonset.

This is not the first time that's happened.

About fifteen years ago I wrote a blog post about my efforts to catch and release lots of salamanders that were in the farm shop and Quonset. On occasion, when I run into someone who was a regular reader of my blog back in the day, they remember that post. I'm not sure why; perhaps some were traumatized by the photo of a bucket of squirming salamanders.

I've always loved salamanders. I think they're about the cutest thing around. I love picking them up, and having their little feet crawl across my hand and arm. I have spent hours watching and studying them. I swerve to miss them on roads. On those days when there are mass quantities out on the roads and highways, crossing from one side to the next, I try not to go anywhere because I don't want to run over them.

Now that I live in t…

Love is not God.

God is love, but love is not God.

I'd read that statement in several places in recent months, regarding how so much that the Bible says is sin is dismissed today under the guise of "love." Perhaps the mathematician in us broke down "God is love" as an equation, with God and love on the sides of an equal sign, being of the same value. This is not the case, especially since our human version of "love" is so far from what God considers love.

This isn't just semantics. This is crucial, because love has become an idol.

We've turned some pablum version of love into a god. We take our feeble versions of human love (mostly eros, in this day and age, with little agape or philia) and justify all kinds of behavior by saying "if God is love, how can this love be wrong?", or "love is love," a truly stupid mathematical statement if I've ever seen one.

As with any topic of debate, how are you defining this self-equating love? Sexual? …

The files from whence ideas connect.

I'm constantly on the lookout for new ideas or for new information that might relate to something else I'm working on. It never ceases to amaze me how, by simply choosing the next project to work on, so many of the magazine articles or books I randomly read connect or fall into place in the current project. Most of that is simply choosing a new project or focus of interest, with the rest not being magical coincidence, but simply your mind being aware of the new focus and already attuned to how the new information could fit in or relate.
Still, I always love those moments when I'm reading something and it strikes me how much this applies to my current project or area of interest. I also save a lot of clippings and other items that I find interesting that I end up referring to later in various ways. It looks a bit like this:

Since I always have a project on the burner, everything I read falls into place nicely. I'm not sure what the experience would be if I weren't …

Strike two, and you're out. At least on social media.

My blog readers from years past know of my foray into the world of TheoBlogging. It got pretty ugly. Knowing how awful it got only makes how bad it is now all that much more impressive (in a negative way).

I'd started this blog post a while back, and had tossed a link in it to a Facebook post. I can't see that post now, so I don't know if it exists and I'm blocked, or what. I don't remember what it was about, or why I saw fit to start a bare draft and include that. Clearly, something explosive was said. The original title of this post was "A faith blogger goes ballistic on social media" and that sure sounds click-worthy.

A couple of random statements, then.

First, there have been few things as disappointing as reading the social media accounts of the Christian authors (and even bloggers). There are books I own that were a real blessing, only to discover the author is a bit of an ass on Twitter. Super disappointing.

Let's be honest. I was an ass on Twi…