By Steve Eggleston

At 2 am local time, Daylight Saving Time ends for everybody outside of the non-Navajo portion of Arizona and Hawaii. That means that tomorrow has 25 hours, to equalize the late-winter beginning of Daylight Saving day length of 23 hours. Assuming one remembers to set his or her clocks back 1 hour, that results in an extra hour of sleep, or if one is inclined to stay out until bar closing, an extra hour of partying.

While the changeover between Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time is a convenient time to do semi-annual maintenance such as a check of smoke detector batteries, it is a major hassle to change a whole host of clocks, from watches to alarm clocks, from car clocks to the clock on the microwave. Further, there is a multi-day adjustment period, more pronounced in spring.

Personally, I hate having to do the adjustments. The question then becomes whether to keep Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time year-round. Some say it should be full-time Daylight Saving Time because there’s more light in the evening. That ignores the fact that the time zones are already biased toward later solar time; that is, sunrise, noon and sunset occur later than what civil time would indicate.

The bias toward lateness is amplified by Daylight Saving. For example, in Muskegon, Michigan, just across Lake Michigan from Milwaukee, on December 21, the shortest day of the year, sunrise is 8:14 am EST, with sunset at 5:12 pm EST. If Daylight Saving were in effect, people who work the traditional 9-5 first shift would be arriving at work in the dark.

On the other hand, a few select places, like Milwaukee and Fitchburg, see solar noon before civil time noon. It takes a dedicated person to stay asleep for hours after a 4 am sunrise, though most people manage to stay asleep well after a 5 am sunrise.

The tiebreaker, so to speak, are a pair of studies made after extensions of Daylight Saving Time. The first, conducted after a 15-month experiment of year-round Daylight Saving Time was cut short after less than 10 months in October 1974, found no significant energy savings (the primary driver of the experiment) with an unexplained, but statistically significant increase in winter-time deaths of school-age children. The second, after the current 4-5 week extension (depending on when April 1 falls) of the historic 6-month Daylight Saving Time began in 2007, also found negligible energy savings.

Since I am a morning person, I’ll gladly take the earlier sunrises.

The Latest of my reviews of the Peter Capaldi Era of Doctor Who

Summary: Suddenly the Earth is covered by a Forest, is it an invasion, a mad environmentalist’s experiment gone wild or something else?

Plot:  A little girl knocks at the TARDIS door the Doctor discovers she is part of Danny Pink’s class who says she was sent there when the Doctor. Looking outside he finds that although landing next to Nelson’s Column he is surrounded by a forest, meanwhile Clara & Danny are on a sleep over field trip to the natural museum with a “gifted” class and they discover the forest as well. Being informed by the Doctor that Maebh is missing they make their way to the TARDIS where the Doctor determines both that this is a world wide phenomenon and that Maebh somehow perceives what is going on and what does it have to do with an impending solar storm? Can they solve the mystery of Maebh, the new forest, survive the solar storm and most important get the kids home before they set up camp in the TARDIS permanently?
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Writing:  Frank Cottrell-Boyce the famous Marxist filmwriter takes his first crack at Doctor Who and manages an interesting plot with several elements that work such Danny’s aloofness to the threat, the interplay between Clara & Danny and the kids who were underutilized. These however are overshadowed by several holes that you can drive a truck through (more on that later). While I found it worked better with repeated watching it was one of the weakest stories of the season, I think would have been better if written as a two parter expanding both the roles of the kids and perhaps some interaction with the authorities.

Acting: Capaldi’s interaction with the kids makes a good performance even better, Sam Anderson has his best episode bar none and the kids all do their job well. They really should be on screen more.

Memorable Moments: Do you have an appointment, don’t touch anything,

Doctor Who Flashbacks: Solar Flares (4th Doctor) the Bank of Karabraxos (this season)

Oddities: If the trees save the planet from the solar flairs that suggest that in the time of the Solar flairs (see 4th doctor season 1) It’s quite likely that as mankind fled earth remained habitable but they simply didn’t realize it.

Pet Peeves:   OK there are a boatload:

1. If the trees were wedging the door of the Museum shut how did Maebh get out to find the Doctor?

2. Maebh says she had a voice from Ms. Oswald to find the doctor but at the time she gets the “thought” claris unaware of the threat.

3. You are going to create “carefully controlled fires” in a planet covered with forests? People are stupid but they aren’t THAT stupid

4. I understand they need to see there are no rings on the tree but if a branch can break they can cut down the trees as needed (see 3)

5. At one point Clara is convinced the world is doomed and decides it’s better for all the kids to die rather than escape without their parents sending the Doctor to leave on his own. That not only a violation of basic morality & the maternal instinct (granted he is not yet a mother at this point) but it’s the exact opposite of Clara in Day of the Doctor worried about all hose kids that are going to burn.

6. There is absolutely no reason why Maebh’s sister would suddenly come back there is nothing in the plot to suggest that is connected with the trees.

And finally the single most unbelievable business in the whole episode.

Is anyone ANYONE going to tell me that a batch of kids, suddenly finding themselves in the TARDIS are:

#1 Not going to touch anything after the Doctor leaves
#2 Not going to start wandering through the TARDIS

particularly after the Doctor and Clara leave it?

I know Science Fiction requires a level of “willing suspension of disbelief” but a batch of school kids doing that? I’m sorry that’s beyond my capacity to do it.

Great Quote(s) 

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Maebh: MAEBH: I need the Doctor. Are you the Doctor?
The Doctor: Yes. Do you have an appointment? You need an appointment to see the Doctor.

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Clara: You are enjoying this just a little bit too much. Come on. Are you not even a little bit curious about how? Who? Why? When?
Danny: I am curious. I am bewildered. I am, in fact, enchanted. But I’m not the priority. The kids are.
Clara: You see, now, that attitude is…actually very attractive.

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The Doctor: Haven’t any of you been struck by the fact that it’s, look, it’s bigger on the inside?
Ruby: There wasn’t a forest. Then there was a forest. Nothing surprises us any more.

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Clara: Tell them, Mister Pink, what an educational opportunity
Danny: You, you go. This. This is enough for me.
Clara: What? Coronal ejections, geomagnetic storms. How often do you get a playlist like that?
Danny: I was a soldier. I put myself at risk. I didn’t try too hard to survive, but somehow, here I am. And now I can see what I nearly lost. And it’s enough. I don’t want to see more things. I want to see the things in front of me more clearly. There are wonders here, Clara Oswald. Bradley saying please, that’s a wonder. One person is more amazing, harder to understand, but more amazing than universes.

Final Verdict:   Two and a Half Stars. I really wanted to get it to three based on the performances but the more I thought about the episode the less I liked it.

Ranking of Season:   10th of 10. When the only thing longer than the Pet Peeve’s section is the episode list section you know you’re in trouble.

1. The Caretaker
2. Mummy on the Orient Express
3. Into the Dalek
4. Listen
5. Flatline
6. Robot of Sherwood
7. Time Heist
8. Kill the Moon
9. Deep Breath
10. In the Forest of the Night

by baldilocks

Again, I find myself writing on the fly, an unplanned topic. I don’t even know what the topic is as I type these very words.

Perhaps putting down my “feelings,” my true thoughts would be best. Well, not all of my thoughts, since it is often best to keep some things to oneself.

Here’s what I “feel”: something is coming, a very radical shift in our everyday lives, in our world. The abnormal is about to become the New Normal. I guess that it isn’t difficult to guess why I think this.Tuesday marks the last set of nationwide elections before the scheduled end of the Obama Administration. We’ve seen what the last six years have wrought and the “feeling” I have is that the 2014 elections will mark an upswing in tyranny–regardless of the outcome. A beginning of the end.

So this weekend, I will make it a point to enjoy the old normal things in my life: the solitude and spaciousness of my home, the relative peacefulness of my neighborhood–and odd thing in the heart of South Central Los Angeles–the clarity and freshness of the air after last night’s rainstorm (also an odd thing in light of California’s ongoing drought); the ripening of my lemon tree and the still-blooming beauty of my bougainvillea bush. And I look forward to the ongoing (Holy) spiritual richness of church services tomorrow and to seeing my pastor and my friends there.

All of these are God’s recognizable blessings. I pray that we all are able to recognize His blessings when they are obscured by the feces storm that I “feel” coming.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2014…maybe.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

 

Dr. Chumley: Fly specks, fly specks! I’ve been spending my life among fly specks while miracles have been leaning on lampposts at 18th and Fairfax!

Harvey 1950

A while back  on EWTN Fr. Mitch Pacwa was asked about Marian apparitions in the Muslim world.  He mentioned an apparition I’d never heard of in 2009 in Egypt and noted that the large number of Muslims converting to Christianity & the violence of groups like ISIS & Boko Haram against Christians are related.

The Apparition is Our Lady of Warraq:

Thousands have been coming nightly since the first sighting of the Virgin Mary on December 10, in the hope of being blessed by her light.

The prospect of benediction is a much needed morale boost for the Christian minority which complains of systematic discrimination and marginalisation in the Muslim majority Arab country.

Tea vendors and sweet sellers snake through the crowd where thousands of families have gathered with young children and babies.

“The first person to spot the sighting of the Virgin Mary was a Muslim neighour. He took a video and pictures and distributed them to everyone,” said Father Fishay, a priest at the Warrak church, describing how he first heard of the apparition.

Hassan, the Muslim neighbour, was sitting at his local coffee shop when at around 8:30 pm, he saw a strong light coming from the church.

Others on the street began to notice the light and saw a bird circling above the church. At around 2 am, a vision of the Virgin Mary in her white and blue robes appeared, Fishay said.

But Muslim residents of the area insist it is a hoax, with someone creating the image with laser beams.

the local Bishop has said this:

The Bishopric of Giza announces that the Holy Virgin has appeared in a transfiguration at the Church named after her in Warraq al-Hadar, Giza, in the early hours of Friday 11 December 2009 at 1:00am. The Holy Virgin appeared in her full height in luminous robes, above the middle dome of the church, in pure white dress and a royal blue belt. She had a crown on her head, above which appeared the cross on top of the dome. The crosses on top of the church’s domes and towers glowed brightly with light. The Holy Virgin moved between the domes and on to the top of the church gate between its two twin towers. The local residents all saw her.
The apparition lasted from 1:00am till 4:00am on Friday, and was registered by cameras and cell phones. Some 3,000 people from the neighbourhood, surrounding areas, and passers-by gathered in the street in front of the church to see the apparition.

Since Friday, the huge crowds gathered in the vicinity of the church have been seeing luminous white pigeons soaring above the church during various times of the night, as well as a star which emerges suddenly in the heaven, travels some 200 metres across, then disappears. The huge crowds gathered around the church do not cease singing hymns and praises for the Holy Virgin.

This is a great blessing for the Church and for all the people of Egypt.
May her blessing and intercession benefit us all.

Signed
Anba Theodosius
Bishop-General of Giza

On wikipedia there is a section “Critical evaluation of the events” attempting to debunk said apparition claiming it was just a combination of lights around a tower.

There are several problems with that argument. The first and most obvious is a Muslim isn’t going to perceive the Virgin Mary in a set of lights but more importantly if this was just the way the lights happened to fall then it would have been something seen and perceived a long time before and a long time after this date.

As I’ve said many times, it takes a lot more faith to disbelieve that it does to believe

The Book of Deuteronomy provides its readers with a fascinating look at the Nation of Israel for nearly a 38 to 49 year period (1440 to 1402).

The people of Israel were experiencing a phenomenal transition as they moved from being a nation of former slaves (foreign bondage for 400 to 430 years!) into becoming a new, burgeoning, and prosperous nation.

The Old Testament Israel people could be characterized as “a community of faith” surrounded by hostile nations and unfriendly peoples.  In fact, in many ways, the Old Testament Israelite’s experience provides a paradigm with regards to how modern-day disciples should conduct themselves in the current surroundings.

The British Scientist-Theologian Dr. Alister McGrath wrote that “the Church or The Body of Yeshua or Christian disciples is best described as “ that we should think of ourselves, our churches, and our families as “colonies of heaven, as outposts of the real eternal city, who seek to keep its laws in the midst of alien territory.”

Wow, what a statement!

One wonders if Dr. McGrath was thinking about ancient Israel.

Ancient Israel was planted in the midst of hostile nations (in the Middle East) – and they were created to be an outpost – a community that would display the values of “the real eternal city in the midst of alien territory.”

The challenge for ancient Israel was to stay true to their calling and to their belief system while living in the midst of nations that would seek to absorb and assimilate them – and take them away from their belief of Hebrew monotheism.

The people of Old Testament Israel faced a huge and daunting task!

This task still exists today for people of faith.

McGrath’s trenchant observation should remain in both the hearts and minds of people who adhere to a Judeo-Christian value system in Europe, North America and South America, Africa – and to off shoot nations of Europe (for example, Australia and New Zealand).

Quite too often there is a belief among Judeo-Christian values voters – those of all stripes whether or not they are Democrat or Republican – that if only the right people were elected, then their nations – and in this case The United States – would be wonderfully transformed in a positive direction.

This writer disagrees with that premise.

First, and foremost, to quote the late Andrew Breitbart “politics flows downhill from culture.” Mr. Breitbart understood that ultimately the politicians that are elected and the policies that they represent do not so much change a culture as much as they simply reflect that culture.

Secondly, the United States of America has historically been transformed from the bottom up.  Generally speaking Americans of goodwill have faithfully sought to first transform their own lives (from power from GOD) and then next affect positive cultural transformation in the immediate society around them.

As we approach the Mid-Term elections around this nation it is incumbent upon people of a Judeo-Christian belief system to remember that there are limits to what can be accomplished politically and juridically, but there is no limit to what can take place through the time-honored disciplines of prayer, study, meditation, journaling – and community formation through discipleship making (Matthew 28.18-20).

Let us hear the departing words of Yeshua as He spoke these encouraging words to his followers:

16 The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. 18 Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.