East Galveston Beach

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Both my Dad and I were hit with the smell of salt water the moment we opened the car doors. For us, it was special and a thousand memories flooded our minds. For my two sons, Andy and Joey, it was a first-time experience. Yes, they have been to the beach before. But this is the first time that they will remember it. We were down in Galveston for the day and we took the boys to walk around on the beach. The smell of the air, the seagulls flying about, even the smell of suntan lotion fired up our memories of vacations and day trip pasts. And now I was sharing them with Andy and Joey.

We told Andy he could walk in the water, but no higher than his shins or knees. Yeah, right! In the first five minutes he was soaked and upset that he didn’t have his bathing suit. Not sure what we were thinking, but I let him play in the water nonetheless.

As for Joey, he was sitting with me on a patch of soft sand, digging our toes into it. He wasn’t feeling well and wanted to stick next to my side.EastBeach003

Dad just wanted to walk along the beach and so we sat there while he took a stroll.

My father was born and raised in Galveston back in the 1930s and 1940s. His father, William James Newton Hammons, had come from west Texas where he was born in Callahan County back on November 4, 1902. His mother was a Missouri girl, born in 1898 in Sedalia, Mo., and her family made it to Texas as fast as they could, arriving in Galveston around 1908 or 1910. Apparently Clara Helen Varnon was absolutely gorgeous and a fine catch. She was also known for pushing social boundaries. According to legend, she was the first woman in Galveston to get a driver’s license and the first woman in Galveston to buy a car. At that time, it was scandalous. But she had a job and wanted a car and didn’t let anything get in her way of obtaining one.

My grandfather was a bit of a charmer and it is reported even went on a date with Mary Martin, the famous actress. He didn’t make any impression on her because she ended up marrying some guy named Hagman. You know the offspring of that union, Larry Hagman, their son, from Dallas fame. My Pops did however secure the affections of my grandmother. Since she was living in Galveston, that is when Pops moved there as well, and he became a real estate broker. He was part of the deal that sold the house known as the Bishop’s Palace, or Gresham’s Castle, to the Roman Catholic Church. The story goes that the Catholic Church wanted him and his fellow brokers just to give it to them, but they were not in a position to be that charitable.

EastBeach002There we were kicking about Galveston for the day. Dad took us to the Moody Gardens to explore the rain forest exhibit, then down to the beach just to walk around. He said east Galveston beach is one of the few places he can take off his shoes and walk barefoot. Now I know where I get my propensity to wear shoes all the time from. There are very few places I feel comfortable taking my shoes off and going barefoot. And yes, Galveston beach is one of them. The sand is extremely soft.

Dad grew up coming to this beach as a child. He told us that when he was extremely sick and covered with boils from some unknown malady, his father took him down to the beach to immerse him in the cold waters. It seems odd to us, but Dad recovered from whatever ailment it was. I’m not suggesting we all do this with our sick children, but it worked for Dad.

One of my favorite memories of east beach eating lunch there. We would make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with Lay’s potato chips and Oreo cookies for dessert. What made it so special was the Texas sun would warm up the Oreo cookies for us while we were playing in the water, which made them extremely good to eat. It’s very similar to sun-warmed plain M&M’s. Just the right temperature for softening up the chocolate in the middle. Try it some time.

manowarOne of my worst memories was the time I met some guy my age and we decided to go up and down the beach popping all the Portuguese Man-O-Wars with handfuls of sands. Why, I will never know. But it was something boys do that makes no sense. My desire to do so quickly ended when my companion in this endeavor popped one, sending all the nice acids from the explosion all over my body.  That ruined my day.

After spending an hour there, we decided to head up the boulevard to get something to eat and Landry’s. Given that Andy was soaking wet, we also decided to stop and Academy and buy him some dry clothes. We didn’t want to go all the way back to the hotel before we ate. Andy loved the new pants and shirt we bought him.

Of the Photos: top is Dad with his shoes off, Andy getting ready to get soaked, and Joey at my side. Below, me on one of our trips to the beach back in the late 1960s.

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The Death of Sean Bean

SeanBeanI watched another movie this week where I got to see the death of Sean Bean once again. If you will recall, I wrote about this in my post last week about the Three War Movies. In that one, Age of Heroes, he died in a commando raid on a Nazi radar unit.

The most recent movie where I witnessed his death: Goldeneye, the 1995 James Bond movie. This is the first one that featured Judy Dench as M. I remember complaining about the political correctness at the time, but Judy Dench outlasted Pierce Bronson and made it into the recent Bond movies with Daniel Craig, but died in the latest movie, Skyfall.

But back to Sean Bean. Yes, he was the villain in Goldeneye and had the displeasure of dying twice in the movie. The first time, it was faked, but we didn’t know that going into the movie. The second time, he fell from the top of a radar, some 300 feet or so. He survived the fall, but then the giant radar collapsed on top of him putting him out of his misery. Knowing that Sean Bean is the actor is a pretty good indication he will probably die at some point in the movie. I think the challenge now is to find a Sean Bean movie in which his character doesn’t die.

Remember I mentioned last week that he also dies in The LORD of the Rings and Patriot Games. In LOTR, he plays Boromir and does a great job of doing so. But if you have read the books, you know he gets cut down by a bunch of orcs trying to save a couple of hobbits. It’s quite a noble death.

In Patriot Games he plays and embittered IRA terrorist (is there some redundancy in that statement?) There he dies at the hands of our hero, Harrison Ford who is playing CIA analyst Jack Ryan. Of course, we are rooting for Jack Ryan to get rid of the evil terrorist. In fact, he plays so many villains that it is hard to see him in a roll where that isn’t the part. There must be a movie out there where he is a good guy and he doesn’t die. But I don’t know what it is.

Heaven Is For Real — NOT!

I was driving home today listening to Sean Hannity and his coworkers go on and on about this new movie coming out, based on the book of the same title, Heaven Is For Real. Given that Hannity was giving a complete endorsement for it, I thought I might bring some discernment to the discussion. I know many, and I mean many, are going to eat up whatever the book or movie says because these books always make heaven more palatable for those who are lost. I know, some of those who read this will think I’m just raining on the 4-year-olds parade because I don’t believe his story. Please hear me out.

First off, we are test the spirits and whatever anyone says concerning the things of God with Scripture (1 John 4:1). These stories never measure up. They never agree with what Scripture says about heaven. They always talk about the great peace they have, getting chummy with Jesus, seeing old friends and learning about things here on earth. What these stories lack is what Scripture gives us about heaven, and how it is focused purely on the Triune God’s glory. The people in heaven are not focusing on one another, but on God Himself. They are not getting chummy with each other, but praising God, singing the praise of Christ and rejoicing at the grace HE showed us for getting there. (I know, this sounds boring to the non-believer’s ears, but there will be nothing boring in heaven even if we do the same activity for the next 25 million years).

We don’t see these type accounts given when the prophets of God are given visions of heaven. For instance, Isaiah has a vision of the LORD sitting on His throne in the year that King Uzziah died. Does Isaiah get all chummy with the LORD, i.e., did he go and sit on His lap like this 4-yeard-old boy supposedly does in the movie about to be released? No, he falls as a dead man before the LORD and cries out: “Woe is me, I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”

Remember that Isaiah was a prophet of God. By the time we get to his vision in Isaiah 6, he had already been preaching and prophesying for the LORD, the same LORD that he would fall before and make a proclamation of his own sinfulness.

This is because God is exceedingly and abundantly holy. He does not tolerate sin. When we, as fallen sinful beings, find ourselves in the presence of a holy being, it has a tendency to make us drop down and either hide from the holy being or worship the One before us.

These popular books never speak of the holiness of God, or His glory, or anything that resembles heaven as it is portrayed in the Bible. It’s all based on the person’s experience. This is the key to such stories. It’s completely impossible to test their experience or test what they think happened.

I do not for a moment doubt that this little boy had an experience of some kind. But it wasn’t heaven. It may have been demonic in nature for all we know. We don’t know. But to accept this story without comparing it to Scripture is foolishness and is an open door for all kinds of fanciful doctrines that the world may conjure up for the masses.

Second, not only do we have the account of Isaiah, but we also have Paul giving us the account of a man he knew that was caught up to the third heaven. The man doesn’t give us a description or tell us he saw old friends there. What he does say is that it was unlawful for him to speak to the issue. And I know such a man… how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible word, which it is not lawful for a man to utter (2 Corinthians 12:3-4).

Paul, who was guided by the Holy Spirit, is telling us that even if someone were taken to heaven and brought back, it would be unlawful for that person to say anything about it. Far be it from these modern-day prophets to stay silent about what they thought they saw. They are making it straight to the publishers of Christian drivel to sell their stories without any regard whatsoever to God’s Law or His Word. That is because most of these people are not really Christians. They are not those who go out of their way to die to self and exalt the LORD. They may include the LORD in their stories. False prophets always do. It gives them a sense of authentication with those who lack discernment. But they are never concerned with Jesus Christ and the gospel, that He comes to save sinners. In fact, most of them want nothing to do with the gospel. They simply need Jesus the meek-and-mild, not the Holy Son of God, Alpha and Omega, the King of all Creation and the final judge of all of mankind.

Finally, the heavens these people describe are nothing like what Jesus describes when He says, The Kingdom of heaven is like… That is because their heaven, and His (yes, it belongs to Him), are different heavens. These false prophets want nothing to do with the real heaven of Scripture. Otherwise, they would be touting the heavens of Scripture as opposed to the heaven of their imaginations.

The point being, if you want to know what heaven is like, and know it for real, read the Bible. What the Bible tells us about heaven is authoritative. It is not speculation or imagination. It is what Jesus told us it would be.

Please watch the video below for more on this topic. Hattip for the video: Neil.

Squatters

We call them squatters. Who are they? They can be anyone, your neighbor, people from out of town, foreigners, legal and illegal aliens, the young, the old, … anyone. They usually travel in groups of two or three, but sometimes, entire carloads come and join in the squatting. They always come the same time every year, without missing a beat. They come, they look, they squat, and after what seems like an eternity of 20 to 30 minutes, they finally get up and leave.

These squatters ALWAYS have their cameras. There are those who just use their iPhones, to those with full-fledge cameras and fancy lenses costing thousands of dollars.  And they are always squatting, to get that perfect shot or their dog, their cat, the local longhorn steers, their children, their families, anything that might seem interesting. They shoot, and shoot, and shoot.

Usually, once you have squatted, unless there is a new arrival of a baby, a puppy, or the image of Jesus in a spider web, you are content with previous squatting sessions. The reason: after the squatting sessions, the pictures are all pretty much the same. A new season, doesn’t necessarily bring new and interesting photos. In fact, as one who has squatted in the past, I never had the pictures I took developed. They just sit deep inside my computer on the hard drive (and the back up hard drive along with a copy in the bowels of Carbonite.com). I drag them out every now and then to remind myself that I don’t need to got squatting even though this season of squatting has lasted longer than usual. It will pass in a week or two, and people along the roadsides will disappear. They will quit pulling over trying to find that perfect field full of the objects of their affections.

What are they looking for? That perfect picture of something with the bluebonnets. I get the fact that they are beautiful and rare. Since they only last two or three weeks, that makes each season of bluebonnets special. Since they are unique to Texas, it makes it uniquely Texas.

When the bluebonnets first arrived, I was tempted to get a few shots of the bluebonnets. But then I realized, “Hey, I live here. Don’t embarrass your folks.” In other words, don’t act like a squatter, someone passing through this hidden hill country of Washington County. Take it like you live here. Enjoy them. Don’t cut them down and trust that they will be back again next year, like always.

Then I realized I needed to dig up a few shots taken when I was… a squatter. Enjoy.

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Three War Movies

I’ve been watching a few war movies here of late because they were in my queue at Netflix and I didn’t want to put anything at the top. The three movies: Letters from Iwo Jima, Age of Heroes and the last one, The Great Raid I just finished watching. In fact, the credits are still rolling as I write this. So I will review them in reverse order.

The Great Raid

I was about a third of the way through this movie when I realized that I had seen it before, but I couldn’t remember how it ended. Apparently, on my first viewing, it left so little impression upon me that I completely forgot that I had seen it. After viewing it a second time, I’m glad that in a few moments, I will be able to forget it all over again.

Just a few thoughts. The story behind the movie is really a great story and I’m sure that the two books the movie is based upon are quite good. But this movie was pure Hollywood slop. I know that all World War II movies cannot compare to Saving Private Ryan, or Blackhawk Down. But this movie lacked any seriousness at all. It really reminded me of Pearl Harbor, or the 35 minutes of Pearl Harbor that I did watch before I got bored with it.

This movie couldn’t figure out whether it was a war movie or a love story. I know that both took place in real life, but the director and Hollywood couldn’t pull it off. There were far too many cliches and no real suspense at all. You knew the outcome before it came. The only question was: which cheesy pretty-faced actor would bite the big one?

Plus the characters were truly two dimensional. What I mean by that is that all the Japanese characters were ruthless, killing machines that thrive on killing and being ruthless. They have one motive, being as ruthless and mean as possible so that we can see that the Japanese are just downright mean killers and evil wicked people.

In comparison with Letters from Iwo Jima, this movie really falls flat. It’s not worth the 2 hours and 12 minutes it took to get through the thing. This was pure Hollywood. It wasn’t someone’s project, but Hollywood cranking out a movie just to fill seats, and it showed.

Age of Heroes 

[Warning: slight spoiler alert] I only saw this on Netflix and added it to my queue because it looked like it might be good. It really was. It was about the beginning of Ian Flemming’s commando unites in the United Kingdom that have become so legendary. The squad of men are tasked with going into German occupied Sweden in order to steal some radar equipment so that the British can learn how to jam it.

While Hollywood couldn’t pull it off with The Great Raid, the British company that put this movie together scored big in my book. They even brought in Sean Bean as the commander of this commando unit. Not to give it away, this movie is another one to add to the list of all the movies that Sean Bean had died in. I saw some Youtube clip last week that showed the top five actors who are killed in the movies and Sean Bean was in at number 2. Remember, he died in Lord of the Rings, as well as Patriot Games. Just a couple you know of.

But aside from Sean Bean from getting killed in the next to last scene, it was a great movie. It was actually suspenseful which is something I think is very useful when making war movies. Perhaps the dolts in Hollywood could learn a thing or two from the British gang that made this movie.

Letters From Iwo Jima

MV5BMjE0NzgwODI4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjg3OTA0MQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_Some of you are probably saying: “But Timothy, Letters from Iwo Jima is produced by Hollywood!

Not really. It’s a Clint Eastwood directed movie and had Dreamworks involved. These are serious players in the movie making industry and are know for turning out good movies.

What the first movie I reviewed failed to do, this one pulled off wonderfully. We get to peel away the two-dimensional Japanese ruthless warrior motif and see that these soldiers had hopes and dreams just like our guys did on our side. In fact, one of the main characters, Saigo, is beaten for his comment that he wished the Island would just sink so they could go home to their families. Even those who seem to fit the two-dimensional mold end up breaking it. One Japanese officer is fed up with fighting in the caves, so he takes some land minds, drapes them over his body and goes out and lays in a field waiting for an American tank to run over him. Nothing like that happens at all, and he finally gives up and goes back to the cave.

This movie is also a companion movie to Flags of Our Fathers, which I have not seen. Both movies are about the same event, the capturing of Iwo Jima which was the turning point of the war, but one is from the Americans’ view and Letters is from the Japanese perspective. I can’t wait to see Flags of Our Fathers, and if I ever get a decent paying job, I’m going to buy both of them.

LGBTX Community Does Not Want Acceptance, They Want Royalty!

I have written before on my blog, that living in our days, we now know how it was that Lot was oppressed by the wicked deeds of those in which he lived 2 Peter 2:7-8).  We are living in modern-day Sodom, although Sodom wasn’t as wicked. There are very few reasons to celebrate the current state of our culture. In fact, we should probably mourn the moral death of our country by sitting down in sack cloth and ashes. Our culture is dead because sin leads to death, and our culture has embraced so much of what is sinful to God and proclaimed it normal.

I know that we won’t mourn as we should. We are too busy living our lives, playing golf, shopping, going about our business like they did in the days of Noah, never realizing that what we are seeing in our culture is the judgment of God (See Romans 1:18ff, which I believe shows that homosexuality is actually God’s judgement on people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. In other words, homosexuality is not a blessing from God, but a curse upon man for turning away from His truth).

The latest atrocity?

Brendan Eich, a CEO with Mozilla was forced to resigned because in 2008, he supported Proposition 8 in California with a donation of $1,000.

Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned under pressure after gay rights activists demanded that he step down or recant his support of traditional marriage laws.

Eich donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that amended the state’s constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The full article here.

What this shows is that the LGBTX community doesn’t want “just acceptance.” The want complete and total royalty status to the point that to “think” their lifestyles are wrong is tantamount to sin against them. The Left has attempted for year to silence those who oppose it’s agenda and they have found the perfect weapon in pseudo civil rights movement of the gay and lesbians community. I say “pseudo civil rights movement” for several reasons.

First, gay people are not born that way. There is no scientific evidence that supports that belief. Blacks are born that way, so it was and is wrong to be prejudice against them based on their color. Gays choose their lifestyle.

Secondly, what ends up happening with the gay and lesbian rights movement is the trampling of others rights. This is why it is not a true right. In order for gays and lesbians to be acceptable, they must silence all who oppose them. In doing so they have trampled on the First Amendment rights, both politically and religiously of Mr. Eich above. They are now kings and queens in the truer sense of the word, since grumbling against them will not be allowed. The tolerance they claim to support is intolerant of dissension.

We all know that the latest manifestation of this movement, gay marriage, is a falsehood because we don’t have to argue from the Bible to show gay marriage to be absurd. David W. Virtue of VirtueOnline shows us this:

The Bible alone, however, does not have to be used to demonstrate this understanding of marriage. The biblical viewpoint of marriage has been the universal understanding of marriage in every human civilization in world history. History argues against gay marriage. Modern secular psychology recognizes that men and women are psychologically and emotionally designed to complement one another. In regard to the family, psychologists contend that a union between a man and woman in which both spouses serve as good gender role models is the best environment in which to raise well-adjusted children. Psychology argues against gay marriage. In nature/physicality, clearly, men and women were designed to “fit” together sexually. With the “natural” purpose of sexual intercourse being procreation, clearly only a sexual relationship between a man and a woman can fulfill this purpose. Nature argues against gay marriage.

So, if the Bible, history, psychology, and nature all argue for marriage being between a man and a woman—why is there such a controversy today? Why are those who are opposed to gay marriage/same-sex marriage labeled as hateful, intolerant bigots, no matter how respectfully the opposition is presented? Why is the gay rights movement so aggressively pushing for gay marriage/same-sex marriage when most people, religious and non-religious, are supportive of—or at least far less opposed to—gay couples having all the same legal rights as married couples with some form of civil union?

The answer, according to the Bible, is that everyone inherently knows that homosexuality is immoral and unnatural. The only way to suppress this inherent knowledge is by normalizing homosexuality and attacking any and all opposition to it. The best way to normalize homosexuality is by placing gay marriage/same-sex marriage on an equal plane with traditional opposite-gender marriage. Romans 1:18-32 illustrates this. The truth is known because God has made it plain. The truth is rejected and replaced with a lie. The lie is then promoted and the truth suppressed and attacked. The vehemence and anger expressed by many in the gay rights movement to any who oppose them is, in fact, an indication that they know their position is indefensible. Trying to overcome a weak position by raising your voice is the oldest trick in the debating book. There is perhaps no more accurate description of the modern gay rights agenda than Romans 1:31, “they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

This is why the attack on those, like Mr. Eich, is so fierce by the gay lobby. They cannot stand for anyone to take a stand against them. This is also why the true church and the gay lobby can never join hands in any way. Darkness and Light have nothing to do with one another, so as Christians, we can never truly tolerate what the gay community is asking us for.

We must always pronounce sin as sin, and since the gay lobby, under the guise removing bullying from our culture, will bully us into silence. They will run us out of the marketplace, take our homes, even shut down our churches if given the chance.

And I believe we are giving them the chance. Far too many fail to stand up against this movement. They do so out of fear. Just look what happened to Mr. Eich above and I’m not sure if he is even a Christian. He just believes in traditional marriage and he lost his job for that belief. He made a private donation to a cause he believed in and the thuggery of the left found it’s latest victim.

Yes, we have the freedom to speak out against the kings and queens of society, but they will make us pay for doing so.

This is why we should mourn. Our free country is no longer free, but bound by the conscience of wicked left. We know the same torment that Lot endured, and it is sad.