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More Dog

I don’t really have anything I urgently want to say tonight, so here are some more pictures of Sally (click to embiggen).



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Why Archaeology?

In the movie Conan the Barbarian (the original one, with Arnold Schwarzenegger), there is a scene right at the beginning where young Conan’s village is attacked by raiders. The village is destroyed, the adults are all killed, and as the children are being led off into slavery the narrator says, “no one would ever know my lord’s people had lived at all.”

That quote, in a word, is why I am drawn to archaeology. There’s something in me that resists the idea that people should live and die with nobody to remember them. It’s not just that I’m curious about the past, although I am that. It’s that fundamentally, I think that people matter, and they should not simply be forgotten.


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He is Risen!

Luke 24:1-53 (NIV)

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.

One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

“What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

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Snow Dog

I don’t really have anything new to say, so here’s a picture of my favorite dog, taken back in January of 2016 (click to embiggen).


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Safety Team

As I mentioned two posts ago, I started going to church again after not going for several years. This is not a fundamental change; I hadn’t stopped believing, I’d just gotten lazy. Also, the church I had been attending when I first came to Reno was just too big, and I realize now that it’s not good for me to attend a church where it’s too easy for me to hide and not get involved with, or even really get to know, the people. So about seven months ago, after looking at various church web sites, I decided to try visiting Outlook Christian Church, which looked good online and is close to my house.

You know how sometimes when you walk into a place you can immediately get kind of a feel for it? That happened here. At no point did I ever feel like I was a guest in that church; right from the beginning I felt like part of the family. So I went back. And kept going back, and got to know people. So now, seven months later, I’ve been recruited to be part of the security team (sometimes called the safety team, which might sound a little less off-putting for some people). When  I first found out they had a security team I was happy that the leaders were thinking about that, but also heartbroken that we live in a world where a church would even need security. Why I got asked to be a part of it is still a bit of mystery to me, since I don’t really have any security background. But Joe Lewis, the team leader, says they recruit for personality and train for competence. Okay.

I started last Sunday. It’s a little odd being in church during the service without participating in the singing or paying attention to the sermon. But I learned a lot, and I got a chance to pray with a couple of people I probably wouldn’t otherwise have interacted with. This is not a ministry that I ever really imagined myself doing, but I think it is where God wants me to be right now.

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Fifteen years ago today I married the most wonderful woman I’d ever known. We celebrated this morning with a delicious sausage and egg breakfast, followed a little later by a scenic drive around Lake Tahoe, accompanied by our dog Sally. This evening we have dinner reservations at one of our favorite restaurants.

Catherine, when we got married, I believed that I couldn’t possibly love anybody more than I loved you that day. Time has proven me wrong, for I love you today even more than I did back them. Happy anniversary my love. Thank you for being with me for the past fifteen years, and may we have many more together.


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I’m not Dead yet!

Wow! Look at all the cobwebs in here. I haven’t posted anything since, what, November 2017? A lot has happened since them. Things like…

  • When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master. (I completed my MA in anthropology at UNR.)
  • I went to Promontory Summit, Utah, for the 150th anniversary of the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
  • I started going to church again after far too long being lazy.
  • I switched from a Mac to a Windows laptop, mostly because I don’t like Apple’s behavior as a company. But it also gave me faster render times for my 3D art. Roughly 50 times faster, which I still find amazing.
  • I got my certificate in Basic Life Saving (CPR and AED).

However, my model railroad still hasn’t gotten past the planning stage.

I’m going to try to get this blog going again, with at least one new post a week. We’ll see how long I keep it up.


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If it walks like a duck…

According to sociologist Jessie Daniels at CUNY, a so-called “expert” on racism:

Here’s a useful rule of thumb: If I can replace the group identifier you use with “Jewish” and the result reads like something Joseph Goebbels might have written, you do not have the moral high ground.


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An Admission of Murder?

According to this news story, the attorney representing Minneapolis police officer Jeronimo Yanez claims Officer Yanez saw that Philandro Castile was carrying a gun, and in reaction to “the presence of that gun and the display of that gun,” he shot and killed Castile. Of course, there may be other information that has not yet come to light, but if one takes this explanation at face value, it sounds like Officer Yanez murdered Mr. Castile.

The statement made by the attorney doesn’t allege that Mr. Castile had drawn the gun, much less that he was pointing it at anybody; simply that it was visible. In this case, it appears that it was perfectly legal for Mr. Castile to carry a gun, but that’s not actually relevant. You do not get to kill somebody just because they have a gun, regardless of whether or not it’s legal for them to have it. If the simple presence of a gun was enough to justify killing someone, then anybody could go to the local shooting range and kill everyone there. Or, for that matter, they could shoot any police office they see.

Imagine, just for a moment, what would have happened if the situation had been reversed. Suppose that Officer Yanez had been off duty, and Mr. Castile had not known who he was. Officer Yanez started to get something out of his wallet, and Mr. Castile got a glimpse of the gun that he undoubtedly carries. If Mr. Castile had shot and killed Officer Yanez in that situation, does anybody think that this excuse would be accepted? Or that he would be walking around free while the police decide whether or not the shooting was justified?


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On this day…

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

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