Sunday, October 26, 2008

People Of Faith

Do you believe in God? Are you a Christian? Exactly what do you believe in?
If you are a person of faith, you are constantly at odds over the belief system of others. In fact, some things probably turn your stomach.
I don't know many atheists (at least I don't think I do), and that's probably a good thing. It's not that I would not like them, but there is a serious fundamental difference in the way I think and what guides me compared to the way they think. I'll be honest, it would be a big hurdle for me to get over.
A group of atheists is launching a new advertising campaign in London, England. The fact there doesn't seem to be much backlash is strange, but does not surprise me for Europe is becoming more and more secular.
Europe has become a hotbed for humanists, or people who reject religious beliefs and center more on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.
I guess it's a bit of "Be Your Own God."
Anyhow, back to the ad campaign these atheists and humanists are launching. On 30 buses around London, there will be a news slogan: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
The reason: nonbelievers are fighting what they say is the preferential treatment given to religion in British society.
I really thought since humans have been believing in a higher power forever, nonbelievers would be used to being treated a little different.
I also think it's strange how they say, "There's probably no God." I would have thought they would say, "There is definitely no God."
Comedy writer Ariane Sherine, who started the campaign, said she came up with the idea after visiting a Web site saying nonbelievers would spend eternity in hell.
I think the joke is on her.
Those of different faiths have had a pretty tame reaction to the group's new campaign. They claim it will end up getting more people to church.
"It tells people to 'stop worrying,' which is hardly going to be a great comfort for those who are concerned about losing jobs or homes in the recession," said Theos director Paul Woolley. "Stunts like this demonstrate how militant atheists are often great adverts for Christianity."
Stunts like this make me feel a little sorry for those nonbelievers. Then again, I'm just some crazy guy living in the sticks clinging to my religion and my gun!

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Working Out The Brain

According to a new study set to appear in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, surfing the Web could be beneficial for the brain. The study was made at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Volunteers carried out different tasks on the computer including Web searches and book-reading while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans. During the MRI, they were given search tasks such as finding out how to choose a car etc.
"The bottom line is, when older people read a simulated book page, we see areas of the brain activated that you'd expect, the visual cortex, and areas that control language and reading," Small said. "When they search on the Internet, they use the same areas, but there was much greater activation particularly in the front part, which controls decision-making and complex reasoning. But it was only for the people who had previous experience with the Internet."
Scientists and researchers now say "mental workouts" can improve concentration and help prevent dementia and memory loss.
As a child of an Alzheimer's victim, I'll be exercising my brain until I no longer can. I would suggest you encourage your parents or grandparents to exercise their brains as well. Puzzles, books, the Internet, etc. could be one way to staving off a horrible disease,
Sex offenders in Maryland will not be giving candy to trick-or-treaters. They are receiving paper signs in the mail that read "No candy at this residence," which they are required to post on their front doors or possibly face a parole violation.
The signs began arriving last week and were accompanied by a letter explaining they must stay at home, turn off outside lights and not answer the door on Halloween.
"Halloween provides a rare opportunity for you to demonstrate to your neighbors that you are making a sincere effort to change the direction of your life," the letter to sex offenders reads.
Maryland is also distributing pamphlets statewide to warn families to stay away from 1,200 homes with the pumpkin signs.
Maryland began the program in 2005.
If your wife is overweight, it could be your fault.
A study analyzing the female weight cycle found that happiness – or the lack thereof – greatly affects the woman’s waistline, London's Daily Mail reported this week.
The report found that females gained and lost weight in stages.
Stage one resulted in an average loss of five pounds when the relationship begins.
When the woman gets comfortable with their partner, they start to gain weight.
Wedding plans also send the scales down as women tend to lose weight before their big day.
The arrival of a baby then reverses the weight loss, followed by diet plans to lose weight gained when pregnant.
The study, done by the U.K. weight management form, involved 3,000 women and found weight varied an average of 28 pounds during the mentioned stages.
So, who is to blame for my weight gain? Certainly not me. How about Little Debbie!

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Mixed Bag Of Opinion

This news with ACORN is terrible!
You'd think with all of the technology used in this country, we could figure out a way to keep people from cheating.
ACORN members and workers violating voter registration laws should be in prison for years. And whomever is responsible for the idea of paying people per registration should be there as well.
With the Dallas Cowboys registered in Nevada and hundreds saying they've registered a minimum of 10 times, it is a slap in the face to every American!
I can't believe these cheaters get federal money. That's right, ACORN is using your tax dollars to commit voter fraud. Let your state and national elected officials know how you feel about this!
Great things are happening in Iraq and the media is not reporting on it. Why?
One reason is because they are pulling out of the country.
As a direct result of the stability of the country, major news organizations are now leaving the country.
"It (the war) remains important and it remains interesting," said Alissa J. Rubin, the New York Times' acting bureau chief in Baghdad. "But what's in front of us now is almost a static situation. There's not a clear narrative line. The stories are more complex."
In other words, Americans aren't getting killed as much and we don't want to do stories on U.S. troops helping others and keeping the peace.
It's no wonder most Americans think there is media bias in this country.
Here's something for you parents:
First-graders in San Francisco took a field trip to City Hall last Friday to celebrate the marriage of their lesbian teacher on.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the field trip was suggested by a parent at the Creative Arts Charter School. The school said the trip was academically relevant.
"It really is what we call a teachable moment," said Liz Jaroslow, the school’s interim director. "I think I'm well within the parameters."
The students even tossed rose petals on their teacher and her wife as they left City Hall.
How sweet!

Note to teacher: please let me know before doing anything out of what I may consider normal.
Concerned Parent
PS: Don't hesitate to call if you don't know what normal means.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The "Ridge" Is Worth It!

The first major event was held at StoneyRidge Municipal Golf Course Wednesday and was very impressive.
The T.L. Roach, Jr. Unit hosted a benefit tournament for the Special Olympics and the turnout was excellent.
Roach Unit personnel did a terrific job with the event and StoneyRidge did not disappoint those ready to play.
I love to golf. I took up the sport a little late, but it is very challenging and rewarding.
Golf can be humiliating. It is also addictive. It can anger you to the point where you invent new cuss words in one moment and make you feel like the strongest man in the world the next. Whatever the emotion, StoneyRidge is pretty enough to enhance it.
Many of you don't golf and have no desire to. I think you deserve to see what this place is all about should you desire to. I would like to suggest our City Council play up the official opening of StoneyRidge and invite the residents to come out and see the facility first hand. After all, they are the owners of the place.
Another major event will be happening at the club this weekend. The Ladies Golf Association is hosting a tournament with around 72 players participating, many from out of town. Some will be staying in hotel rooms and many will be shopping and eating a meal or two here. That's big money for Childress as a whole.
We may indeed be facing tough economic times for the foreseeable future, but that may be a good thing locally as Childress becomes an affordable and desirable alternative destination compared to larger cities.
Those in nearby cities can spend a Saturday in Childress, play golf, eat, shop and catch a movie for a third of what it would cost in the big city. Let's seize on these opportunities and begin to market ourselves to that degree.
Residents of Childress are blessed to be in a place where the future is not bleak. We are blessed to have opportunity because many around us are struggling.
Go take a look at StoneyRidge. Check out the new jail. Go see Bobby Sanders at the ATV park under construction. Take pride in your community and continue to work to make it better!
This city is positioned to grow and offer even more opportunity. But it won't stay that way.
Once upon a time, many small towns thought their future was secure. They had train stations, bus stations, grocery stores and a whole lot of retailers. Saturday night the farmers would load their families up and the town would buzz. Sound familiar?
Things change and as a community, either you're going to change with the times or you're going to regret it. I know this town is full of like-minded, good people who don't won't to regret a thing. As long as we have that, we have a fighting chance.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rural Texas = Big Provider

Rural Texas is sometimes an afterthought. It's wrong, but true.
Many in urban areas consider us "hicks" or "gun-toting zealots."
According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, here are some facts for those who knock us small-town folk to consider:
• Texas is the second-largest agricultural state in the United States, accounting for about 7 percent of the total U.S. agricultural income.
• The food, horticulture and fiber industry is the second-largest industry in the state and generates $73 billion a year for the economy.
• Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state with more than 155 wineries and 220 commercial vineyards, producing more than 2 million gallons of wine. The Texas Hill Country Viticultural Area is the second-largest Viticultural Area in the United States, covering 15,000 square miles.
• Eighty percent of the land in Texas is in some form of agricultural production.
• Ninety-two percent of Texas' agricultural operations are still run by individuals or families.
• Although agriculture employs one out of every seven working Texans, less than 2 percent of the population is involved in day-to-day farming or ranching.
• Texas farmers grow more than 60 different commercial fruit and vegetable crops.
• Texas ranks first in the nation in the number of cattle and calves, accounting for 15 percent of the U.S. total. The Lone Star State also is the top producer of cotton, sheep, wool, goats, mohair and horses. The state's top crops also include vegetables, citrus, corn, wheat, peanuts, pecans, grain sorghum, hay and rice.
• Besides livestock and crops, the state's agriculture industry includes timber/forestry, aquaculture, bees/honey and nursery/greenhouse.
• Texas is the third largest exporter of agricultural commodities. Texas' top agricultural exports are live animals and red meat; cotton and cottonseed; hides and skins; wheat and products; and feeds and fodder.
• Each Texas farmer grows enough food and fiber for 128 people - 94.3 in the United States and 33.7 abroad.
• Texas' 1 million horses, representing approximately 15 percent of all horses nationwide, makes the state a leader in the United States. Texas also leads the nation in the number of registered American Quarter Horses, American Paint Horses, Appaloosa horses and American Miniature Horses.

Next time someone knocks rural Texas or America to you, tell them to get their facts straight.

Copyright Christopher Blackburn 2008