Friday, January 30, 2009


On January 17, 2009 neighbors in Bay City, Michigan found a 93 year old man frozen to death in his home. The city owned utility company had installed a “limiter” on his electric meter on the 13th and left a note on his door. No one tried to contact him face to face to tell him how the device works. It acts like a circuit breaker to shut off the power when usage exceeds a set amount, the homeowner has to go outside and reset the thing. No one will ever know if he understood what had been done or how it worked. The utility followed its usual policy of just leaving a note.

On January 29, 2009 a reporter for the Detroit News out of Detroit, Michigan received a tip that a man s body was frozen in the ice in an elevator shaft in an abandon warehouse. The body had been found a week earlier by a group of “urban explores” playing hockey on the frozen water that had collected in the buildings basement. It took three calls to 911 over a two day time span before anyone from the city did anything. What’s more there were homeless people living in the building who had known about the body for at least a month.

On Thursday January 29, 2009 the Detroit News told of a man found frozen to death in his truck at his rural home in Sumpter Township. It appears he was living in the truck because there was no heat, electricity, or running water inside the house and he had a heater in the truck hooked to an electric generator outside of it. He was found by metal scrapers passing through his property. He had been dead at least two weeks and no one had checked on him.

In each case someone knew or should have known what was happening. Someone should have checked on them or in the case of the man in the ice reported him to the police. Each one was a case of indifference and isolation. No one checked on them and in each case they were isolated from relatives and neighbors. Each time it was something that should never happened the way it did.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Power Of prayer

In the last year I’ve gone through a lot of things that should have had a negative effect on my life. I had both my knees replaced and went through half the year with only one months pay, about $800.00 from my 401k, and what my wife makes at the shoe factory. In August I started getting disability checks. By all rights we should be in really bad shape financially, but we aren’t and there are two reasons why.

1)      We live on a tight budget. This is something we always have and always will do. When you only have a limited amount to spend you need to keep track of what you have to spend, when you have to spend it, and if you can get by not spending it. A budget allows you to prioritize your spending. Deferring what is important and how much of your income you can afford to use to meet those needs.

2)      Most important of all we had help. When ever things seemed the bleakest, there was an unexpected windfall or things were not as bad as they had seemed. We were able to get by with less than we thought we needed, we were able to spread the payment over time, or there was extra income we didn’t expect. Yes we had help, not from a person but from the Lord.

I was brought up to believe that He was watching over me and if I was willing to put things in His hands He would take care of me. That does not mean that I can sit back and do nothing, nor does it mean that He will give me a fancy car or a big screen TV. It means that if I have faith in Him and bring my problems to Him in prayer, He will provide me with what I need. When I ask for guidance He will show me where to go. I’ve always believed that when life closes the door on you God opens a window. He answers your prayers; it’s just that the answer may not be the one you wanted to hear.

My mother was a real believer in the power of prayer. She was also a believer in what she called laying out a fleece. She would ask God to show her if what she was praying for was what He wanted. I can remember many times after a thing had happened that she would say that it was what God wanted because she had asked for a sign and He had given it to her. Although I lack that kind of faith I know that He will be there when I need Him, and often it will be in a way that says “Oh yea of little faith, did you forget I said I would take care of you”.

I was raised to believe in the idea that if you knock the door will open, if you ask it will be given, but you have to make the effort.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mr. Obama's BlackBery

Technology, security, and the government of the United States. It is interesting to me that a man who used technology so well in his campaign to become president should find himself limited in the use of technology.

Yet that would seem to be the case. The President finely got the OK to use a Blackberry but it will have limits on who can have e-mail access and no GPS capabilities. It turns out that all e-mails must be saved for security reasons, privet e-mail accounts might get hacked, and as far as the GPS goes the fewer people who know exactly where the president is the better.

Mr. Obama’s security is more important than the ability to remain accessible to the people. Take a look at this from

Obama's new Blackberry: Speculation mounts over details of President's smartphone

Details of the spy-proof smartphone that Barack Obama is believed to have been given to replace his cherished BlackBerry have emerged.

1 of 2 Images
Barack Obama - Barack Obama 'to be allowed to continue using BlackBerry in White House'
Barack Obama joked that aides would have to pry his BlackBerry from his hands Photo: AP

President Obama, a self-confessed BlackBerry addict, famously said that administrators would have to "pry it from my hands" after becoming inaugurated.

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said the buzz about Obama's BlackBerry replacement is "almost as exciting as the presidential dog".

He is to be given a secure, souped-up, high-tech personal digital assistant (PDA), fully loaded with encryption devised by the National Security Agency (NSA), which gathers intelligence from cyberspace.

There is speculation that the President will carry a Sectera Edge, made by General Dynamics, the military contractor, and developed specially for the NSA.

The Sectera Edge is a heavy-duty, highly secure mobile phone, one of the few certified by National Security Agency for top-secret government usage.

It was developed under a Defense Department project called SME-PED or Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device. It costs around £2,400.

The device can switch from an ordinary PDA to a secure communications device at the touch of a button and its screen turns red when used in classified mode to signal that it can communicate only with similar handsets.

The Sectera Edge also includes the option to "exchange secure e-mail with government personnel". It will not be possible to forward presidential e-mails to third parties.

There had been security fears about terrorist hackers being able to pinpoint the president's location. By law, all but the most personal e-mails will be stored in the National Archives.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Eight am on the twenty sixth of January and as I set down at my computer I can see that it is seventeen below zero. I think that is a record low for this date, if it’s not it should be. All in all it has been quite a winter here in beautify Big Rapids. We aren’t running water yet, but at least two places further north are.

Running water for those who don’t know the joys of cold weather is keeping a pencil thin stream of water running to keep the pipes from freezing.  It usually works although there have times they freeze anyway. That’s when you get the fun job of trying to thaw them out.

 There are two ways for your pipes to freeze. The first is all because of the frost. As the weather goes from warm to freezing the frost gets pushed deeper and deeper until it is wrapped around your pipes and they freeze. The other is for them to be poorly insulated or not heated properly.

If you can reach them and they aren’t plastic, you can use a torch to heat them. If they are in the ground you can hire a guy to hook up his welder and send an electric current through them to heat the water and melt the ice. Of course there is always the chance that when they thaw them they will be broken and flood your house.

If you can’t get the water running don’t worry. You can always melt snow; after all there is lots it around. Remember spring will come sometime and than the water will be on again.