Posted in Social Issues

The Cure to California’s Water Woes: “Star Wars”

The water situation in California is getting perennially severe. I have read several different stories and commentaries about possible solutions, and how popular or practical they are.

The most obvious solution is also the least politically possible. The state is along the shores of a limitless supply of ocean water. Yet the potential costs, in money and environmental impact, continues to hold it back. The most practical energy source for the desalination process would be atomic, but that carries too great an environmental stigma. Other energy sources have carbon problems, or other costly environmental impacts.

Another suggestion is “toilet to tap” — recycling sewage water for drinking water. Phrased that way it is unappealing, but for all practical purposes it is actually cleaner than what most people drink. Most sewage effluent is treated and then fed back into nearby rivers and streams, where cities draw their water into their water treatment plants. the “toilet to tap” water would go through more treatment than other effluent before getting blended with the rest of the tap water.  Still, the solution isn’t very popular, despite the crisis.

And then I saw it in the movie Star Wars — the moisture vaporators — are the solution to California’s water problems. Pull the water straight out of the air.

Yes, I know, go ahead and laugh at a solution out of science fiction. Back in the 1980s they mocked the Star Wars missile defense system that way. The thing is, we are already using moisture vaporators — we just don’t recognize it!

Here in Missouri we have a dehumidifier for the basement. During the summer it generates around 5 gallons of water a day out of the air. We have a small room air conditioner for the upstairs dormer. It generates 5 gallons a day too. We haven’t figured out how to capture the water from the main heat pump in the house, but it obviously must generate more.

Our culture uses air conditioning, which rips moisture out of the air as it works, and all of it goes uncaptured. How much water could be gathered from homes, from stores, from offices, that goes wasted? The water is already being vaporated, it just needs to be collected. Politicians think big, but maybe people need to think small. Done properly, it won’t even use additional energy. How much more green could you get?

Alas, it is probably as out of date as the rain barrel, and so nothing will likely come of the idea.

Posted in Politics

Re writing (wrestling) history

The purveyors of a sanitized past, in their attempt to ensure the entire past be seen only through the lens of the current age’s political correctness, have decreed that anyone who oversteps the bounds of their correctness be erased from history.

Such it seems is the reaction of the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) in the case of Hulk Hogan. They are apparently afraid that any mention of Hogan, related to any of his past of current achievements, will taint them with the current controversy about what he may have said of a racist nature in a private conversation that got taped and released.

The moral of this story is, no matter what good you may have done, if you offend the mores of current social justice, none of it matters, all of it should be erased, its impact negated.

The other option, of course, is to not be erased, but to be totally vilified for the social justice offense, and have all your good achievements forgotten.

In both cases, we fail to learn from history. The good someone does shouldn’t erase the bad, or the bad the good. The bad might mar the good, corrupt it even, but we should still recognize its existence.

I will go very extreme. Perhaps the most “all bad” character in our cultural history today is Adolf Hitler. I will not make light of his evils. But he couldn’t have been so evil if he hadn’t also had some good, some virtues, some strengths, to bolster and support his evils.

Have any of you read Mein Kampf? It has been years since I have, yet I was able to recognize the amazing amounts of good mixed into the book, good that made the toxic portions go down easy.

The good wasn’t totally corrupted either. Hitler’s economic policies created a resurgence of Germany’s economy and many social goods. Yet to even suggest such a thing, or that we could learn from them, is considered anathema today.

The real issue is that all public figures have feet of clay somewhere, and our hyper social media doesn’t allow anyone of a public nature to have any real privacy on these things. And then when they do go viral the feeding frenzy begins and the mobs start screaming for the person’s head. No sense of balance, no sense of justice, no sense of  fair play.

Anyone offense gets sent to the metaphorical guillotine. We have rule by the social mob, ruled over by a sense of social justice that will eventually devour even its own, as did the literal guillotine.

So, can we learn from this? Yes, never erase the past, no matter how uncomfortable, or how uncomfortable that person now is in the present.

As the old cliches go, we need to stop sowing the wind, or we will reap the whirlwind. Those who fail to learn from the past will live to repeat it. Who knows, perhaps even with a literal guillotine.

Posted in Family

A Blast of the Past #16: Christmas in Missouri. circa 1997

The above picture is probably the iconic family picture from Christmas 1997. Here Carly isn’t quite a year, and sits so sweetly with the M&M candy cane held in her hands.


That was a year where we had a live tree, as you can see above. The big wrapped packages were the parts of the new full-sized crib we had ordered for her, and waiting to be assembled. See some of the assembly below:


This Christmas also had a very iconic (I seem to like that word) present — the Spinning Pooh Walker. That toy had many miles put on it by at least 4 of the 5 cousins back in the day.

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It was also a time when Papa was there, making 4 generations of the Warner family.I’m not finding a 4-generation picture, but the below two pictures show all 4 generations with Papa.

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Posted in Politics

Case Closed (practically — the technical term is “suspended”)

Just under a month ago I wrote a post about my experience in being run off the road while riding my bicycle. In that time I have heard nothing about what the police have done to investigate, and whether or not they located the perpetrators, or simply closed the case.

The officer who took my statement gave me a card with a case number, and said it should take a couple of weeks for the detectives to investigate and if I didn’t hear anything from them before that I could call and get a report on my case. At least that is what I understood him to say.

So today I called the number on stub I got with the report number, learned a case report had been filed, and that I could get a copy by stop by any police station. So I decided to detour by bicycle trip home and stop by the Shoal Creek Patrol to learn what they had filed.

I got there after 6 o’clock to be second in line. The first person was somebody who had some sort of report or ticket (I was unclear which end of the issue they were on) issued by the country sheriff’s department, who thought they could get it resolved by talking to the city policy department. Took about 5 more minutes of explaining before I was able to get to the window.

I passed my stub and explained I had been told my case report had been filed and I wanted to learn what they had found out.

“That will be 11 dollars,” I was told.

While waiting I had read the sign about arrest records being $11 each. But I didn’t want an arrest report, I wanted the information on my case report.

The officer on the desk then asked why I wanted it. “To find out what they learned when they investigated.”

“The only thing is here is the report we got from you.”

So I biked up in 90 degree weather for a report that hasn’t even been completed. As far as I know at this point, nothing has been done on my case.

The officer gave me another number I could call, for the unit that should be investigating.

Obviously I have the wrong expectations here. I decided to call the number and find out what I should have expected. Was I supposed to receive a call, or will I receive a call when they finish the investigation? How much success can they have investigating an incident that occurred a month ago?

So I made the call last night. Was told by the officer on the phone that the case was suspended due to lack of leads. Vehicle was registered in Joplin. But unless they get additional leads, someone coming forward with a tip, people to put in a lineup, it won’t progress anymore.

I’m going to guess I could have found that out two weeks ago if I had known the right number to call. But it will probably never show up on my case number — 15-044769.

My memory is not perfectly clear on the surroundings when I was run off the road, but I don’t think any other vehicles went by during that time. Certainly there were no vehicles behind the pickup truck when I pulled up to it at the stop sign.

The police officer mentioned two males. I told him there were three people in the truck, that appeared male to me. So it looks like the report started off with an inaccuracy. And I am certain I mentioned three people in the truck — at least two with afro-type hairstyles — to the original officer.

One of the possible conclusions to this story is, if you want to go on a spree, don’t do it in your own hometown. It looks like the police aren’t able to effectively contact or investigate people who do something in a vehicle that is from a community some distance away. If you are from Joplin, go to Kansas City to cause your havoc, if you are from Kansas City, go to Joplin.

I also got the impression from the conversation that I would have had more luck with the case if I had been injured.  So I guess I’d rather be whole and have an unsuccessful conclusion to the investigation of my attempted assailants, than to get injured and have them catch the perpetrators.

Posted in Family, Reviews

KC Zoo: Penguins

(Final post in a series on a day at the Kansas City Zoo)

After finishing the carousel ride we hit the last main exhibit — the Penguins.


The Penguin habitat includes two main sections: one for cold water penguins and one for the warm water penguins. Back in April Betsy and I had seen the feeding of the cold water penguins. This time we watched the Humboldt (warm water) penguins being fed.DSC06823

When we arrived we had a little time until the feeding, so we started by observing the cold water penguins.  There were a couple of them that liked to swim right up to the glass and seemed to observe some of the motions that the humans on the other side were doing.


During the feeding we watched the keepr try to feed fish to one of the penguin chicks (which was almost as big as an adult already) but the chick refused it.  He much rather had his dad eat the fish and ther feed him the regurgitated pieces, instead of swalloning the fish whole, as the adult penguins were doing.


Some of the penguins seemed to tease the other penguins when they got a fish, wwhile turning it length-wise so they could slide it whole down their throats.


Posted in Avondale United Methodist Church, Church

Sunday Evening Meditation

I had planned to get something together ahead of time for this Sunday’s post, and then I was going to do something quick midday. Now it is evening, and I still don’t have a post up. So I’ll just do a “short” meditation.

Our church had a meeting today of the parents of students in the youth group. It was precipitated by the decision (known for awhile now), of our current youth director, Mark Whittaker, to step down from the position, due to family and stage of life reasons.Betsy and I attended, and gave some input, so I don’t want this seen as some sort of arm-chair quarterback comment. But the issues and questions being addressed are ones that I think have been discussed by people ministering to youth, and church youth in particular, for my entire lifetime. So I wanted to frame some of those issues.

(Note to self, If I had the time, i.e., need to take the time, Mark is someone that really deserves to have a profile feature done on him. Perhaps I should put together a people profile feature on my Avondale Enterprises blog.)

The question is one of how to get the youth engaged and involved, to keep them interested and feel a part of the church. In the past 50 years people have been suggesting giving them their own music, their own services, their own activities. But do their activities truly teach, or only titillate?

I think both are possible, but I am concerned about activities that divide or bring the youth out of the adult worship. Dividing the church along generational lines, or lines of musical preference, or any other lines, is breaking up the family, the community, the communion we are meant to be. One of the concerns we had at the mega-church we came from was how we became segregated into the people of the same age and socio-economic class. One of the things we like about where we are is how the relationships cross all those divides.We are more one body when we fellowship and worship with the people different from ourselves.

I think this blog post on youth and worship expresses many important points.  We have forgotten many of the roles of worship.

One of the things people think is that youth need “contemporary worship”, and “contemporary music” in their worship. This isn’t new. It was said 50 years ago, and is still being said now.  And just as it draws in some youth, it repels others. To assume that this is the right thing for all youth does a disservice to many youth.

Yes, you might say, but leaving them in “traditional” worship does a disservice to the greater number. (Here comes Star Trek, Vulcan saying, “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one.” But we in the church aren’t Vulcans, and that isn’t Christ’s calling either.) When I read this blog post, I agree with it, at it disagrees with the idea that “traditional” worship does disservice to the greater number.

The linked post reminds us that there is a formative, educational function to worship, not just entertainment value. It teaches that anything truly important requires effort and work. It also requires efforts on the part of parents to model good worship: passing of the peace, singing from the hymnal, the mode of prayer, recitation of the liturgy.

It also encourages us not to sell kids short. They are capable of mastering these spiritual disciplines. And the more the world rejects Christ, the more important become the Spiritual Disciplines.

Am I against “contemporary” music? Against “contemporary” forms of worship. Not at all. But they shouldn’t be used because they are contemporary.Using something because of where it lies on the timeline of history is probably the worst reason for the church to choose it. We serve an eternal God and Savior — our modes of worship should similarly be chosen with the eternal in mind.

It is a curious paradox to me how people are wanting us to be counter-cultural in our faith by seeing how well we can mimic modern culture.

I came out of today’s meeting with certain concerns about some of the proposals, but also a lot of encouragement about the hearts of those attending. I’m sure we will find a solution that fits the eternal nature of the God we serve, and draws upon the past and present to translate the eternal truths of the faith to the next generation.

Posted in Education, Family, Reviews

KC Zoo: Carousel

The Zoo has a carousel where instead of horses the animals you ride on are various zoo animals. It is a very good idea in principal, but unlike the carousels we ride at the amusement park, it is very slow. It needs to be faster.

The central part of the carousel had a lot of mirrors on it, so while riding I used it for taking interesting pictures.  You can see some of them in the clip below.

P.S. — The final post will be Monday: Penguins.

Posted in Family, Reviews

KC Zoo: Australia and the Tiger Trail

From the Australia train section you can head in two directions: Down the Tiger Trail or to Australia. We chose the Tiger Trail first.


A new exhibit had opened on the Tiger Trail since Betsy and I had visited in April. The Tiger Trail used to have cages for the great tigers, but since they are going for more natural habitats, the cages are being replaced. The new habitat that open was the Orangatan Canopy.


With the hot weather we didn’t see much at the Canopy. for us it was underwhelming.

The trail also had a Tiger still on it – with signs that they were aware that he was sick and was getting treatment.

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After the Tiger Trail we made our way through Australia. We didn’t see the kangaroos, but we saw several birds in the various bird sanctuaries along the way. We even say a caretaker trying to feed one of the birds.



DSC06744 DSC06741As mentioned yesterday, the train wasn’t working so we walked back to the central station.

Posted in Family, Reviews

KC Zoo: Train to Australia

We began our transport series in Africa on the Sky Safari, transferred to the Tram, and today I will talk about the next step: the Train to Australia.


The tram was a full-size tram, but the train is more of a child-size seat. It begins by going through a short tunnel that actually heads away from Australia before making a turn that takes it through the children’s zone and cuts across the edge of Australia before coming to a stop at the Australia station.


DSC06702We got our best view of kangaroos from the train. The kangaroos were lying in the shade in places not visible to the walking traffic, but somewhat visible from the train.

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I’ll skip ahead past our journey on the Tiger Trail and through Australia, to mention our second section with the train. Our intention had been to ride the train back to the main station. But when we came to the train it was closed. It was sitting at the Australia station not moving. Apparently it was overheated (in 100 degree weather — imagine that!). So we didn’t get to ride the train the full circuit.


Posted in Family, Reviews

KC Zoo: Return from Africa — on the Tram

Our second trip on the Sky Safari finished our tour of Africa. So we went from one transportation device to another: the Tram. We took the tram to get to Africa, and we took the tram to get back from Africa.

This meant we didn’t stop along the elephant trail, but we did get to see a couple glimpses of the elephants on the way back to the main transit station near the front gate.

we also got to see the second tram, and confirm for ourselves that there are actually two running.

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