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Busy, Busy

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 11:57 PM

Well, I've been so busy I haven't gotten back to blog about anything, so I'll just mention what I want to blog about — Ozark Trip Review (Part 2, only one month late!), How I Like Mac OS X Jaguar, My Take on Harry Potter, and finally thoughts on Worship Services. All that and more whenever I get around to it.

In the mean time, since I already let the cat out of the bag (ahem), I did get Jaguar installed without killing Macbert the Ruby iMac. Woohoo! So far so good.. I've been trying out Safari, AppleWork for OS X, Sherlock 3, etc. It's a little disorienting the way Macs work, but it's been fun so far.

Maybe I'll get a good post on here tomorrow…

Thanks and Thanks Again

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:06 AM

I'd like to thank anyone who prayed for my grandmother. Things are going much better now, although your prayers continue to be helpful. Prayer is certainly powerful, at any rate, and I appreciate it very much!

In all of the commotion, life indeed did trump blogging (I think that is MeanDean from blogs4God that coined that phrase), and not only blogging but BlogShares activities as well. :-) It seems the BSEC election has come and gone, and even though I didn't win, I want to thank everyone again for your support. While the election certainly wasn't “real,” I really appreciate your real support. In reality it was a blessing I didn't win anyway considering how crazy the last week has been. Anyway, as I said, I really appreciate support. Because of my friends here in the blogosphere I still ended up in 7th place, not bad considering many of those running had far more name recognition than I did.

That actually is an interesting demonstration of how it would be very possible, if we as Evangelicals really tried, to make a much larger political dent than we do right now. In the BlogShares example, to the best of my knowledge, every regular reader of was kind enough to vote for me. They knew me, knew where I stood, and made an effort to go vote. On the other hand, while some of those who won have very popular blogs, none of them won by a large margin. The name recognition didn't really help them as much as you might expect. I was running without any name recognition, and for a time made it all the way to third place (out of six seats).

In the real political world there is similar power in unknown but well supported political hopefuls. If Evangelicals could focus our energies on promoting political candidates that we thought best represented our concerns and didn't automatically assume we didn't have a chance to influence the “system,” we very well could rally enough support as our people would have a reason to go beyond the average 30% voter attendance. Think about that: if just 30% of the country supports traditional values, and unlike the other 70%, it mustered 80% voter attendance on election day, that 30% could be more powerful than the 70% majority that only has 30% active voters.

This would be a major victory for traditional values! If we, as those supporters, did this, we could let candidates know that we wouldn't just vote for the lesser of two evils. We wouldn't compromise on positions concerning embryonic stem cell research just because the other choice is to compromise on the entire pro-life agenda. Instead, we would be able to hand pick the candidates that actually stuck to pro-life views across the board (while it was lost in the shuffle after 9/11, don't forget many leading Republicans — “prolife” ones — supported and continue to support destroying embryos to create new stem cell lines).

Even if it didn't work out that well, but like my BlogShares run, only placed the candidate at a small-margin loss, it would still serve to let the politicos know that name recognition alone wasn't going to keep them going — they must also remember the powerful force that Evangelical Christianity can be and should be.

Pray, Please.

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:27 PM

I got a call from my mother this morning that she had called an ambulance to take my grandmother to the hospital. We don't know if its a stroke or what happened. My grandmother has been suffering from Alzheimer's for awhile and has gone down dramatically this week. Perhaps that has a connection to what was going on this morning — the only symptom I know at the moment was that her pulse was fluctuating from 60-120 fairly quickly and the Doctor decided she needed to go to the emergency room. Right now, I am just sitting here waiting to know where she is and what's wrong with her. Please pray for her.

Friday Five after the Fry

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:32 AM

Well, before I dive into Friday Five this week, which is again a pretty good one, I must say Cracker Barrel's fried cod is deliciouswith vanilla bean ice cream! Yum.

1. What do you most want to be remembered for?
Hmm… I'm not really sure I have one particular thing I want to be remembered for. I guess ideally, I'd like to be remembered as someone who tried his best even if things didn't always work out best.

2. What quotation best fits your outlook on life?
“Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed the passage with you?”

—Walt Whitman

3. What single achievement are you most proud of in the past year?
Really getting Open for Business to take off (including hitting ~ 200,000 page views for January!).

4. What about the past ten years?
Doing a 180 on my views concerning politics, life, faith, etc., seems like a good choice. I'm certainly not proud of my old views and I'm not really proud of this “accomplishment,” as I believe God did it and not me, but I guess that's true of many things (I give myself far too much credit on most things). Ten years ago, I was a relativistic, liberal “wacko.” I supported Clinton/Gore. 'Nuff said? Anyone who knows me knows that isn't the case today, well, except perhaps for the “wacko” part. ;-)

5. If you were asked to give a child a single piece of advice to guide them through life, what would you say?
“If everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you jump off it too?” No, I'm just kidding.

Actually, I might stick to a similar theme to that. Namely, despite what others say or do, or what might be easiest or best for yourself, always “'[l]ove the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'” and “'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Mark 12:30-31a [NIV]). If you succeed in these two things, you have taken care of everything else you ever need to do.

Good Day So Far

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:19 PM

Well, it's been a good 24 hours, I would say. Last night I introduced a new library catalog system, using the KOHA Free Software library program, to our newly formed librarian staff and the Educational Resource Center committee. Things went very well — KOHA has allowed us to do virtually everything (and in some ways more than) a $1,000 library program for gratis. The system is now running a Mandrake Linux desktop customized to make exactly two programs accessible: KOHA and BibleTime.

I still have a few “battles” before everything is right. For instance, we still need label printing and I somehow need to link a label printing program with KOHA's MySQL backend. I'm hoping to accomplish this with KBarcode, but if that doesn't work, I bookmarked the site of another alternative.

Oh, for the first time in months, Open for Business also got Slashdotted… well, sorta. My current article about Lindows' announcement concerning the SCO-IBM case hasn't been picked up by Slashdot, but some Slashdot reader that liked it posted a comment on the latest Slashdot story on SCO and it has drawn roughly the same number of people as a “real” Slashdotting normally would. Fortunately, my PHP caching system, which dep was kind enough to help me with, is keeping everything running much more efficiently than during my previous encounters with Slashdot.

Well, that's all for now, except that I would like to give a great big “THANK-YOU” to Josiah and Christopher for both promoting my run for the BlogShares BSEC. I never expected anyone to actually do so, so it was a nice surprise. Thanks guys!

Sunday/Monday Fives

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:45 AM

1. What drinking water do you prefer — tap, bottle, purifier, etc.?
I like bottled water, in particular Aquafina, but Coca-Cola's brand (name escapes me at midnight) is good too. Tap is alright, although I never realized how “bad” it was until I got a water purifier on my sink. Now I only drink that from the tap.

2. What are your favorite flavor of chips? Probably “Original,” although I like BBQ as well. I consistently prefer just a good old salted chip though, and a freshly cooked chip is even better. :-)

3. Of all the things you can cook, what dish do you like the most? Probably my barbecued burgers.

4. How do you have your eggs? As I see it, there are two ways to eat eggs: fried or as an omelet. I prefer an omelet, especially one with ham, cheese, green pepper, onion, and possibly jalapeno.

5. Who was the last person who cooked you a meal? How did it turn out? Well, being a holiday, my mother made a very good meal I enjoyed today. Nothing fancy, but she always makes a nice dinner on Memorial Day Sunday that I enjoyed. BBQ'ed sausage, cheese and broccoli rice, stir fried vegetables, apple sauce and brownies with Eddy's vanilla bean ice cream.

Ozark Trip 2k3

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:48 AM

The weather was absolutely beautiful this week, making the trip even better than I expected. I went with mom and a close family friend who had gone down to the Ozarks with us last year. This year we stayed for five nights/six days at two different resorts — the old tried-and-true Rock Lane Resort (of which I am suppose to build a new website for soon) and Big Cedar.

Rock Lane is a forty something year old place that was first discovered by my grandparents in the 60's. We have been there enough to know everyone at the front desk (and stay in contact with them when at home) and the owner, all of whom couldn't be nicer. While much of the resort, including our favorite cove side rooms, have been or are now on the chopping block to make way for timeshares, 40 or so rooms remain and it's still the very best view of the lake I've seen. Rock Lane is on a peninsula, actually they own it, so it's very easy to get to the lake and walk the shore line. It also features a very nice, expanding marina and lots of Canadian geese, ducks, and other wildlife that wait for feedings.

As an added plus, Rock Lane is only minutes away from Silver Dollar City, both of which are on Indian Point, and only about thirty minutes away from Branson and just a few more from Kimberling City. At any rate, we stayed there for three days and enjoyed it immensely as usual.

Silver Dollar City was great, just like always, as well. Up until last year, we would actually buy seasons passes to the 'City, unfortunately, time restraints have prevented visiting it as much recently.Spring is a pretty good time to go there, although as a little tip from a wanna-be-local, I'd recommend the Fall for the smallest crowds. Christmas at Silver Dollar City (November 1 - December 31) is also not to be missed and everyone should go and see their six story Christmas tree with synchronized light and music show and their multimillion light bulb decoration job which takes two months to prepare (notably, SDC — like much of the Ozarks — remembers the REAL reason for the Christmas season).

Another favorite stop we hit was Scoops, the great ice cream shop across from the Route 165 scenic overlook. Scoops, which has won blue ribbons at the State Fair five years in a row (three blue ribbons for the majority of those years), makes all of their own ice cream and make one amazing chocolate ice cream ice cream soda. Like Rock Lane, we know all of the people at Scoops, and they too couldn't be nicer. I just wish I could bring some of their great ice cream home with me.

Speaking of food, a trip to the Wooden Nickle, located by Branson West (that's on the other side of Indian Point from Branson) should not be missed on ANY trip to the area. Their salad “tree” (named such since it is a round salad bar build around an old tree) is exquisite and their fried chicken is the best I've had anywhere. The salad bar can easily be a meal by itself for just $8.99 (this is a serious salad bar), but you can add three pieces of great chicken and an excellent baked potato for just $4 more. The salad bar has tons of goodies beyond the normal fare, including fresh baked breads, cut-your-own cheddar and pepper cheese, stew, and good pudding.

Well, before I move on, I might as well continue my food review with one more notable mention. Billy Gayle's Uniquables and Cafe on Route 265 looks rather unassuming. It's an old cabin with a few gas pumps out side and flea market fare in in the first few rooms, but the last brightly decorated room is home to (IMO) the world's best omelet. Yum! You get a large plate that is half filled by a square omelet, half filled by hash browns, and then topped by four pieces of Texas toast perfectly toasted. “Gayle's Famous Omelet” (without mushrooms) is my personal favorite and is one of the food highlights of the trip.

Moving away from food, after a stop at Country Mart for some bread (okay not away from food) for the geese and ducks, we headed back to Rock Lane and enjoyed the quiet beauty of the place. This is really a great place to accomplish my mission on the trip — to relax and enjoy. If you're looking to get away and the Ozarks are an option, consider Rock Lane. I've probably been there 20-something times and it's never been disappointing.

Well before I put everyone to sleep, I will stop for the night, and pick up tomorrow with the details of Big Cedar and another place that is quite possibly one of the Ozark's most beautiful areas. Stay tuned.

Gone For a Few Days

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:15 AM

Well, I'm off for a few days of R-n-R on Table Rock Lake. :-) Woo hoo! Have a great week everyone…. as Arnold Schwarzenegger says, “I'll Be Back.”

Note for blogs4God

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:55 PM

It seems that the good people that bring us blogs4God are doing some list updating. Jen Kibler-McCabe is asking blogs that should be included in the “20somethings” cache to say something to indicate this. So, I am saying something… hopefully not too late, I had meant to do this a few days ago. There, now, back to work. sigh

Time to post

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:02 AM

It sure has been stormy. My “alarm” yesterday morning was the outdoor weather warning system (interestingly enough, it seems they've given up on having a voice go along with the siren — that was really impressive when they did that for six months or so). Anyway, the storm produced tornadic-like “spin” not too far from here, but nothing touched down that I know of.

The Weather Channel guys where probably disappointed, they had positioned someone in East St. Louis so that the arch would be a backdrop to their broadcast. I guess maybe they thought it would be exciting to watch the arch get vacuumed up by the storm. Maybe not. Whatever the case, they claimed they got a photo of the arch being struck by lightning. I'm not sure if it really was, it looked to me like the lightning was actually behind the arch, but if it did hit, the TWC reporter assured us that it wasn't a completely unusual event.

You know, that makes me wonder… how long before we see “embedded” meteorologists? It might be fun to watch the report of a meteorologist from within the cyclone. With the reporters all set for a natural edition of “shock and awe” in St. Louis, an embedded reporter would have fit in fine. Or, then again, maybe not.

At any rate, I ought to quit blogging now as I can tell my humor may go off the deep end of quite soon now, if it hasn't already. Tim, out.

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